30 October 2011

Friern Road and Peckham Rye Junction - Experimental Road Closure

The Council is intending to carry out a trial closure of Friern Road at the junction with Peckham Rye.

The trial is planned to last up to 12 months and comes as a result of concerns about excessive traffic on the north eastern section of Friern Road. These concerns have grown for a number of local resident following the opening of the Harris Boys Academy on Peckham Rye.

Traffic surveys undertaken on Friern Road, near the junction with Peckham Rye have shown a significant increase in traffic volume during peak periods. There is also concern about the higher than expected number of large vehicles using the route, including some articulated vehicles that are likely to have difficulty negotiating these roads. The closure will not include cycles and emergency vehicles and access to the road will be maintained via Barry Road.

There is currently a consultation being carried out on the experimental closure. The consultation form has been posted through the doors of homes on a number of surrounding roads. You can also download the form here. The consultation closes on the 18th November.

24 October 2011

One O’Clock Club Update

As some readers will know, there is a great deal of community interest in the future of Peckham Rye One O’Clock Club, partly as a result of the budget cuts which have hit Southwark Council and also as a result of rumours that the club was soon to close.

We’re not sure where the rumours have come from and we remain committed to keeping the club open. We’re now at the stage where we want to set up a community ‘steering group’ for the club to make sure that happens.

The cuts mean that the staffing budget for One O’Clock Clubs across the borough will be cut from next April – the budget to cover maintenance and running costs (heating, lighting etc.) remains. Two One O’Clock Clubs are pretty certain to be run by local children’s centres – i.e. they will take on the club and run the club without charging the council as they will benefit from the use of buildings at other times. We had hoped that this might be a possibility for Peckham Rye and negotiations continue with Rye Oak. However, at the moment there is no certainty that this will happen.

We have therefore been investigating exactly what responsibility the community would take on if a group of people came forward to run the club. On the face of it, it might be quite a big ask as parents would need to organise the club being open, cleaning it up at the end of the day and possibly managing bookings for other users. However, it looks like there would be no cost to community group and no charging for people who use the club. The council will offer some help in getting things set up and also investigate whether the council’s parks team whether they might be able to help out with a few things.

As there is money to rebuild the club, it’s also possible that the rebuild could be timed for April which would allow the community a little more time to get organised before it opened with a new club.

Lots of questions remain and we are a little frustrated that we still have some unanswered questions after having waited so long. However, we’re hoping we’ll have more answers very soon and would also like to hear what interest there is from the local community to help run the club. So we’re suggesting a meeting sometime in the week beginning 7 or 14 Nov. We need to check availability of a few council officers but it would be good to hear any thoughts about what time during the day or evening would be best for people to meet. We’ll then post a finalised date here asap.

13 October 2011

Lib Dems and the truth - a marriage of convenience?

Leave aside for a moment the betrayals, lies and right wing politics of the coalition. If you really want to know what Lib Dems are like, just take a very close look at the way they behave in your borough, Southwark. Sometimes I am left breathless at their behaviour. They will do and say simply anything if they think they can get a vote out of it.

Let me give you a recent example. In the neighbouring ward to our own is a Lib Dem Councillor, James Barber. He has recently written a blog post about what he calls Southwark Labour's "Wedding rip-off".

He is scathing in his criticism of the council for putting up wedding and civil parntership fees by 27%. He goes on: "Labour Southwark are penalising people for falling in love. Rather than saying 'I do' couples will be saying 'I’m sorry but I can’t afford it.' It is a heartless move from a mean spirited Labour Council ..."

First things first. It's clear to anyone who's been awake for the last 18 months, that the council is being forced to make savings it would never otherwise have made simply because of the precipitous, growth sapping cuts of a Lib Dem-Tory coalition Government. They, for example chose to cut funding far more harshly for boroughs like Southwark than for leafy Tory areas like Richmond.

But what is even more incredible about Cllr Barber's position is that the Liberal Democrats (who controlled Southwark Council up until May 2010) had an IDENTICAL policy when they were in power. Let me prove it to you.

Here is the Labour report and decision on Marriage Fees and Charges which Barber is referring to. As you will see Paragraph 6 of the report agrees to increase Fees and Charges for marriages and civil partnerships in line with the Medium Term Resource Strategy for 2010/11 -12/13. It states: "The (MTRS) 2010/11 – 2012/13 has been referenced as part of this review. In particular the report acknowledges that Fees and Charges should be set at a level, at a minimum, that is equal to the most appropriate London average except where this conflicts with council policy, would lead to adverse revenue implications or would impact adversely on vulnerable clients."

So far, so good. But now take a look at Southwark Lib Dems own Medium Term Resources Strategy 2009/10 to 2011/12 “Shaping Southwark Together”. This agrees: "To generally increase discretionary fees and charges by 2% above the current rate of inflation for the type of service being provided with the objective of ensuring Southwark’s fees and charges are at a minimum at least equal to most appropriate London average (e.g. inner London, family, groupings etc)..."

So, even without £34m of cuts the Lib Dems intended to increase marriage fees in line with other inner london boroughs which is precisely what Labour is having to do. I could give you many, many other examples of this kind of behaviour. It's the kind of dirty politics which drags everyone down with it.

5 October 2011

1 October 2011

Chart Breakthrough!

Exciting news for Peckham Rye Labour. This blog has has broken through into the national charts (err..sort of)

The Peckham Rye Labour Blog made it to the heady heights of number 28 in the top 35 Councillor Blogs in the country according to the Total Politics Website: http://www.totalpolitics.com/blog/258497/top-35-councillor-blogs-2011.thtml

Despite the superstardom that will inevitably follow, we promise not to let it go to our heads!