28 April 2010

Local people endorsing Peckham Rye Labour . . .

"I’m supporting Labour because Renata, Gavin and Victoria are really hard workers and they live locally. If we want champions for our community on the council, I think they should live here, not a half hour bus ride away."
Judith Harries, Barforth Road resident

"One of the reasons I’m voting Labour is because I know Victoria, Gavin, and Renata will fight hard for the extension of the 63 bus to Honor Oak Park Station."
Jonathan Sale , Honor Oak Rise resident

"I’m voting Labour because I want my home to be warm, dry and safe now, not the twenty or thirty years’ time that the Lib Dems are planning."
Sulaiman Baul, Rother House resident

"I’m voting Labour so all our children will get free, healthy school meals at primary school."
Jenny Wickham, Mundania Road resident

"I’m supporting Labour because Gavin, Renata and Victoria are committed to doubling recycling rates in our area. Under the Lib Dems and Tories Southwark has the 6th worst recycling rate in the country."
Gaby Charing, Forest Hill Road resident

"Our streets should be a haven for pedestrians and our small shopping parades should be safe. Renata, Victoria and Gavin have campaigned with me to improve traffic and safety in our area."
Aubyn Graham, Peckham Rye Councillor

24 April 2010

Parents give the thumbs up to free school meals

We spent yesterday afternoon speaking to parents whose children attend Ivydale Primary School about Southwark Labour's pledge to introduce free school meals for all primary school children. This is a pledge that I'm particularly proud to be standing on at the forthcoming local elections.

Parents of children at Ivydale School gave an overwhelmingly positive reaction to these plans. Labour's policy is to take money that is currently being wasted on consultants, lawyers and spin doctors and invest it to deliver free school meals. This will provide every child in a Southwark primary school with a healthy meal in the middle of the school day. Study after study shows the educational benefits that can come with a healthy meal during the school day. Removing the stigma attached to free school meals will also ensure that the many children eligible for meals, but who currently don't take them up, will do so.

We will be spreading the word about this proposal at all of the primary schools attended by Peckham Rye's children over the coming week.

22 April 2010

Our April Newsletter

CLICK HERE to download the latest local news:
  • Peckham Rye Park and Common children's and sports facilities plus the Lib Dems' plans to cut Peckham Rye's Park Manager.
  • The latest on the shortage of primary school places in East Dulwich, Nunhead and Honor Oak.
  • Flytipping, poor housing repairs, bus services, traffic and recycling across the ward and the disused toilet block on Peckham Rye Common.

21 April 2010

A link to make you think . . .

We normally post links to other blogs via Twitter, but I thought I'd give this one extra prominence with a post. Anyone wanting a quick run-down of the failings of the Lib Dem-Tory alliance in Southwark since 2002 should take a look at Peter John's blog here.

I'll repeat his list here in any case:

1. We now have the worst run council in inner-London. That's not just my verdict, it is the verdict of the Audit Commission.
2. We have the 3rd worst council tax collection rate in the country - over £7 million goes uncollected each year. In the rest of the country they would collect at least another £5 million!
3. Our recycling rate is the 6th worst in the country. See the story below!
4. Our adult social care service has fallen from an excellent rating to being one of the 8 worst in the country - again, not just my view, but the view of the independent CQC watchdog.
5. Our housing service has been red flagged by the Audit Commission - they don't think the council is capable of bringing our council housing up to an acceptable standard with the plans currently in place. This is a truly damning indictment for the second largest landlord in the country - with 18,000 unfit homes.
6. We have the highest levels of childhood obesity in England.

If you're looking for a positive alternative take a look at Southwark Labour's manifesto here.

19 April 2010

Some candidates are more local than others...

Home sweet home in Peckham Rye

All the Peckham Rye Labour candidates live locally and we have all been involved in a variety of community groups for some time. As I tell many people on the doorstep, I would never have dreamed of standing to be a councillor had it not been clear to me how much the Lib Dems and Tories were failing our part of Southwark.

Fighting Peckham Rye ward is very personal for me - it's about making sure that the services me, my family and my neighbours rely on are high quality and that we work hard to ensure that the most vulnerable in Peckham Rye get a better deal than they do at present.

Meanwhile the Lib Dems and Tories couldn't find a single local person to represent them, instead parachuting in candidates from Camberwell and elsewhere in the borough who presumably are interested in propping up their colleagues in the Town Hall rather than in standing up for their own community.

The local choice on 6th May is Labour.

15 April 2010

Peckham Rye Park & Common development - compare the manifestos

For people concerned about the new natural play area, the new One O'Clock Club and changing facilities on Peckham Rye, it's worth taking a look at the respective Southwark Labour and Lib Dem manifestos and making a comparison. The plans for new facilities have crept along at a snails pace under the Lib Dem-Tory council, leaving residents of Peckham Rye wondering what was happening and if the scheme was at risk.

As local Labour candidates we have ensured that the Southwark Labour's manifesto included a commitment to "turn the plans for a new One O'Clock Club and changing rooms and pitches for local teams into a reality." This means that if residents of Southwark elect a Labour council, we guarantee that this too-long-delayed redevelopment with actually be delivered.

So when the the Southwark Lib Dem Manifesto was published the other day, I was extremely surprised to see there was no reference whatsoever to the new One O'Clock Club, the natural play area or the changing rooms. Given the low priority that they have given the project during their time in charge, this is hardly surprising, but does show that under a Lib Dem council the development is under risk of being dropped.

The money allocated for the natural play area must be spent by March 2011. Last year the council declared that the ageing One O'Clock Club building would come to the end of its life by July 2010. The new facilities and pitches for sports clubs on the park and Homestall Road need a sizable commitment of funding and energy to drive the project forward. Only Labour has made the right promise to our area on this project. It's like the Lib Dems and Tories didn't notice the big green area in the middle of our ward!

13 April 2010

Southwark Labour's Manifesto now available online

If you want to make an informed choice about the policies of the different parties seeking to control Southwark council, a good place to start is the local manifestos. I'm really proud to be standing on a a series of pledges which will make out borough a cleaner, safer and fairer place to live. For me the most important changes that Labour is seeking to make are:

1. The introduction of free school meals for all primary school kids
2. The doubling of Southwark's currently woeful recycling rate.
3. Halving the price of meals on wheels (after the Lib Dems and Tories hiked it up)
4. turning plans for a new one O'clock club on Peckham Rye and changing rooms and pitches for local sports teams into a reality. (The Lib Dems and Tories have been dragging their feet for years)

If you'd like to see a full version of the manifesto online, you can do so by clicking here. Or if you would like a hard copy posted to you, just e-mail us at peckhamryelabour@hotmail.com

Canvassers beware!

No sure if it was us, the Lib Dems, the Tories or the Greens who'd upset this household! Still, I took the point and refrained from asking for their support. I'll just make a universal apology for all the bath-times, tea-times and dinner times that have been (and may still be) disturbed by our campaigning.

11 April 2010

Southwark Labour's pledges for improving the environment

We all know that Southwark council has the 6th worst recycling rate in the country and has a generally terrible record on environmental issues. But we're fully aware that it's not enough for Labour candidates in Southwark to just point at the inadequacies of the Lib Dem-Tory Coalition.

That's why I'm setting out Southwark Labour's pledges for improving the environment. These are the green policies which will be delivered if enough Labour councillors are elected on May 6th:

- Labour will double the recycling rate in our borough

- We will introduce combined heat power for our heating systems , and conduct a full green audit of the council's energy use by 2010.

- We will create a publicly available register of tree protection orders in the borough.

- Labour will reopen two air quality test stations that Lib Dems and Tories inexplicably shut down.

- Where possible, we will open up green spaces on vacant land

- We will introduce cycle parking on our estates, to encourage people to use bicycles.

9 April 2010

Extend the 63 Campaign Latest

Thanks to all those who have been emailing Boris through the blog asking him to extend the 63 bus to Honor Oak Park station. If you haven't already done so, you can add your voice to the campaign by simply clicking here. Please do change the text if you want to make the email more personal.

Today we've received a new response to our campaign from TfL about the campaign. It again stresses that only around a quarter of the extra costs involved in extending the route (whilst maintaining the frequency) would be recouped by the extension. This is not considered a high enough return to be a good use of the bus subsidy especially at a time when the subsidy is being reduced (by Boris...)

However it's clear that TfL are now sensing the pressure from local residents so a final push is needed. Please send that email or send a message to Boris by signing one of our campaign postcards.

TfL are committed to monitoring the effects of the East London Line extension on local bus demand. So, as long as we ensure our campaigning continues beyond the election, we may be able to show the clear desire from the Peckham Rye, Honor Oak and East Dulwich area for the extension.

7 April 2010

Change at the Ivy House

Thanks to the excellent Nunhead Forum for information on the changes taking place at the Ivy House on Stuart Road.

I've been here a few times to watch the footie and it's a very friendly if slightly cavernous pub that is a little the worse for wear. It seems like it's potential as both a pub and a venue has now being spotted and redevelopment is now afoot. This is great news as I'm keen that our area retains its pubs as sometimes it's nice not to have to wander too far from Ivydale Road.

The pub's recent closure and the skip outside provided clues that something was going on and it seems that the owners of The Alma in Crystal Palace are taking over the Ivy House. A quick look at their website seems to indicate they have made The Alma into a vibrant local pub with nice food, bar games, a market in the garden(?!) and that they also have TVs showing the sport. I'm not a huge fan of locals becoming expensive gastro pubs and The Alma does look like they have managed to strike a nice balance - I hope that's what will happen here in Nunhead.

The only slightly puzzling bit of information from the Nunhead Forum is that the Ivy House might only be opening for gigs rather than as a local boozer too - seems a shame but perhaps I've misunderstood.

There will be a promoters night on 29th April, the 'Pull the Other One' comedy night will continue and the next one will be the 30th April and then there will be a big opening party on 1st May.

6 April 2010

The case for tetra-pak doorstep recycling

Peckham Rye Labour has made doubling the recycling rate a key election promise. After eight years of Lib Dem failure on recycling (and goodness knows how many tonnes of rubbish needlessly ending up in landfill) we believe only a change at the Town Hall will deliver the boost to recycling we need.

Part of our commitment to boosting recycling is to increase the amount of stuff that the council is willing to collect and recycle. Many councils that have successfully increased recycling are those willing to collect items that may be more challenging or expensive to collect. Labour is committed to recycling a wider variety of items including plastic bags and tetra paks and also to introducing food scraps recycling.

The case for this policy is clear if you check out the stuff people currently put into their clear bags or their blue bags and boxes. Nearly every clear bag I spotted when out in Peckham Rye last week contained a tetra pak or two. Providing three or four locations to take your tetra paks to is all very well but if you don't have a car or you already find Southwark's recycling system complicated, adding another confusing layer to our recycling system will not solve Southwark's recycling chaos.

As residents who have spoken to me on the doorsteps will know, I do want to keep us separating out our recycling at source. There is a weight of advice and evidence from the Government's expert adviser on recycling, independent waste experts and NGOs to support this. In contrast the Lib Dems are have committed to bring in a system of 'comingling' should they retain control of the council. This is a policy largely based on the view of the large company that runs their recycling system and which would no doubt benefit from this policy.

My point here is not just to make the case for separation at source but for how this must be combined with an increase in the the items collected door to door. From what I have seen in Peckham Rye, by only collecting items such as tetra paks at a few recycling 'centres', many recyclable items will continue to end up in landfill.

The Lib Dems voted against Labour's plans to invest in door-to-door recycling and to help roll-out improved recycling in flats. The Lib Dems' latest decisions on recycling seem to be beholden to the vested interests that run Southwark's recycling service. This is yet another indication of their failure to genuinely recognise the scale of the recycling challenges Southwark faces. Recycling shouldn't be about making money it's about a long-term investment to change behaviour and protect our environment.

Southwark Lib Dems' big 'X' to improved recycling

5 April 2010

Peckham Rye Adventure Playground Opening Tomorrow (Tues 6 April)

I'd heard at the last Friends of Peckham Rye Park meeting that the Adventure Playground on Peckham Rye would be opening at Easter. Walking past over the last few days it's been very much closed and it's clear work still needs to be done.

However, Gavin and I noticed a sign up today giving opening times for the next week or so. I understand that further work is still needed but the playground will now be open on the following dates and times:
Tues 6 April 11.00am - 5.00pm
Weds 7 April 11.00am - 5.00pm
Thurs 8 April 11.00am - 5.00pm
Fri 9 April 11.00am - 5.00pm
Mon 12 April 11.00am - 5.00pm
Tues 13 April 11.00am - 5.00pm
Weds 14 April 11.00am - 5.00pm
Thurs 15 April 11.00am - 5.00pm
Fri 16 April 11.00am - 5.00pm

I know that lots of local parents, including Renata, have chased the council about the playground many times over the last year or so. I'm glad that progress is now being made but it does seem painfully slow. The Lib Dems' do have a terrible record on delivering projects. We are very concerned that in addition to the delays to the playground, the redevelopment plans for the One O'Clock Club and new sports facilities on the Rye are under threat because of their refusal to fund these urgently needed projects. I'll give a fuller update on our concerns later this week.

4 April 2010

Southwark Lib Dems - Is it ever their fault?

Southwark Liberal Democrats have a habit of talking about council services as if they have no control over them. Their approach to the crises or policy failures for which they have responsibility almost always involves one or more of the following:

1. Blaming the government
2. Pretending they don't run the council
3. Blaming the residents of Southwark

However, up until now, the Lib Dems have refrained from pointing the finger at their partners in power at the Town Hall - the Conservatives.

Short of an overall majority after the 2006 elections, the Lib Dems asked the Conservatives to form a coalition with them to run Southwark. So far, they haven't been bare-faced enough to blame the very people that they installed in power. In fact, almost the only successfully implemented policy from the Lib Dems over the last eight years has been ensuring that a tiny group of Tory councillors have a role in running our council. Not very liberal and not very democratic.

But guess what? Now even that is changing. At their recent election campaign launch, Southwark Lib Dem councillor (and GLA member) Caroline Pidgeon made a remarkable statement. She said "I'm fed up of having a Tory running housing in this borough."

I'm sure that every single council tenant and council leaseholder would agree. Southwark officially has the worst council housing in London, but only the Lib Dems can be blamed for this. They chose the give the executive housing position to a Tory councillor - clearly not interested in the huge challenge of renewing our existing council homes and ensuring that we build the new homes needed. At any point over the last four long years, as our homes were neglected, as the hole in the housing budget ballooned to £700million and as leaseholders were saddled with crippling charges for poorly done maintenance, the Lib Dems could have taken this role off the Tories.

However, even taking all this into account, no one councillor can take responsibility for housing failure in Southwark. The entire ruling coalition discusses and agrees policies and votes through decisions and budgets. Councillor Pidgeon might be "fed up" but not so fed up she actually spoke up about it until five weeks before an election.

3 April 2010

Are you registered to vote?

Speaking to many residents of Peckham Rye in recent months, it's clear that interest is growing in the forthcoming local and national elections. However, there has been a small but significant number of people we've met on the doorstep who thought they were registered to vote but who weren't actually on the electoral register.

Regardless of which party or candidates people are thinking of voting for, we want to see as many people as possible registered to vote for the May 6th local elections (which is also a possible date for the general election.)

The deadline for registering to vote and applying for a postal vote in the 2010 elections is Tuesday 20th April. If you would like to check if you are registered to vote, or if you would like to have a registration/postal vote application form sent out to you, you can ring Southwark electoral services on 020 7525 7373. You can also get further information about registering to vote from Southwark's dedicated 2010 elections page here and the more general guide on how to register to vote in Southwark here.

We hope you will be registered to vote to ensure that your voice is heard on May 6th.

1 April 2010

Concern growing for missing Lib Dem and Tory candidates....

Concern is growing for the well-being of Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates standing for Peckham Rye Ward in the 2010 elections. All six candidates set out for Peckham Rye from their homes on Sunday afternoon, but haven’t been seen since. Unconfirmed reports suggest that they may have run out of supplies during the long, arduous journey and have taken refuge in Southwark Town Hall.

The six candidates have been making visits to Peckham Rye in recent months in an attempt to convince residents that they understand local issues. However, it appears that the treks across the borough of Southwark may have finally taken their toll.

Labour candidates have been accused of having an unfair advantage in the race to become councillors for the ward. By selecting candidates who live in Peckham Rye, they have not had to develop the complex orienteering and mountain climbing skills which the Tory and Lib Dems candidates have been forced to master.

Statements issued by the Lib Dems and Tories today, Thursday 1 April, state that they are considering introducing a new councillor special responsibility allowance for those with the best map reading skills:

“Our track record over the last eight years is one of forcing through whopping increases in special allowances for councillors, wasting millions on consultants and pouring council taxpayers’ money down the drain. We’ll go on developing even more ridiculous ways to spend your money if you vote for us at the next election. We think the map-reading special responsibility allowance is the best way to ensure our candidates can actually find their wards....”

Their full statements can be read by clicking here.