16 July 2013

BIG NEWS for Southwark: Your Labour Council will build 10,000 new homes

Southwark's Labour run Council will be making a really huge announcement at a council Cabinet meeting this afternoon.  Council leader Peter John will set out plans to build 10,000 new council homes over the next thirty years.

This will be one of the biggest home building programmes of its kind in the country and shows how politics really can make a positive difference.  Everyone knows that there is an acute shortage of affordable housing in our borough, and this bold move will make a big difference to the lives of thousands of local families.  Southwark Labour has made a decision to buck the national trend and invest in the most important thing to any family - good quality, affordable housing.  

The decision follows on from the hugely influential Independent Housing Commission Report, chaired by Jan Luba QC. The Commission set out different options for the council which involved maintaining current levels of council housing, or reducing the number of homes.

Having carefully considered its finances and spoken to residents, Southwark has decided to intervene decisively and put an end to the steady, long-term reduction of affordable housing in our borough.  Labour is now committed to increasing the council's housing stock and improving the the quality of all homes in the borough and put more trust in local people to manage their homes and communities.

Southwark has a waiting list of 20,000 for council homes, and Labour has already committed to building 1,000 new council homes by 2020. The announcement reveals an even more ambitious programme of homebuilding to meet demand.

Leader of Southwark Council, Cllr Peter John, said: 

"I'm incredibly proud to announce that Southwark Council will build 10,000 new council homes in the borough over the next thirty years. I can't overstate the significance of this decision, at a time when the trend is for council housing to be sold off more often than it is built, despite huge demand for affordable homes.

"We announced last year that we plan to build 1,000 new council homes in the next few years, and we are well on our way to delivering that plan. But frankly, even that large number of homes will barely scratch the surface of our 20,000-long housing waiting list, and we don't want to sit around waiting for an inevitable crisis to happen - we need to act now.

"We're a relatively small borough in terms of geography but we punch above our weight - people want to live and work here, and with our regeneration of areas like Elephant & Castle, and Peckham, not to mention the London Bridge quarter, demand for homes in the borough will only increase.

"We're working with private developers to bring a range of different types of housing to all parts of Southwark, but as a council we are passionately committed to helping the most vulnerable in society, and that is why we need council housing above all else.

"My own vision for housing in Southwark in 30 years time is of a place where you will not know whether you are visiting an estate in private or council ownership; where the quality of our council homes rivals or exceeds those produced for private sale, and where those properties are managed and maintained either by their residents, or the council, or by a combination of both – but always with the agreement and support of their residents.

"I hope other councils will look at our plans and consider joining Southwark in reversing the trend away from council housing, and start building now for a fairer future for all."

4 July 2013

Cherry Tree on Peckham Rye Park

A message from fellow Peckham Rye Labour Councillor, Renata Hamvas, about the proposed felling of the cherry tree on Peckham Rye Park (pictured above):

"Following this issue being raised by concerned residents, all tree felling has been suspended in Peckham Rye Park. Friends of Peckham Rye Park will be discussing each tree with Council Officers. The magnificent large cherry tree that unfortunately has white rot fungus is to be examined by sonic tomography (sort of tree ultrasound). This will enable the internal structure of the tree to be studied to see if it is possible to save the tree."

3 July 2013

A Community Walking Event - Organised by Nunhead American Radio

An important announcement from American comedian, proud Nunheader and host of Nunhead American Radio ("the only Radio Programme for Americans living in Nunhead"), Lewis Schaffer.  

Lewis and his team are organising "Nunhead Beats the Bounds - A Community Walking Event".  The event details are:

Saturday, 20th July 2013 at 2PM

Meeting Place: Corner Peckham Rye East and East Dulwich Road / Nunhead Lane, the southern side.Ending at: 4PM Nunhead Green.

In characteristically modest style, Lewis states that "Just as Americans discovered the Moon on July 20, 1969, so to Americans will discover Nunhead on July 20th, 2013." Although, you'll be pleased to hear the event is not limited to Americans only. 

According to Lewis "'Beating the bounds' is an ancient British tradition where the local people would come together to celebrate and demarcate the boundary of their parish."

He goes on "This day-long event will promote cohesion, show that all of Nunhead is in walking distance, and to define the shape of Nunhead for future generations."

And on "We will march from Peckham Rye to One Tree Hill, down Ivydale Road to Queens Road back up to Peckham Rye and around to Nunhead Green. Nunheaders young and old will pound the pavements, roads, trees and buildings with sticks. We will sing of Angels, William Blake, Queen Elizabeth, and Dr. Harold Moody, and the other residents and visitors of Nunhead."

And on "The procession will be headed by Lewis Schaffer, host of Nunhead American Radio, Richard Guard, Anna Crockatt and the Dulwich Ukulele Club with community representatives and religious organisations, non-religious and atheist community, the Gay and Lesbian communities, representatives of the many immigrant groups, and the constituent areas of Nunhead: Nunhead Village, Olde Nunhead, Nunhead Rye and Nunhead Heights.

And on "It is estimated it will take 2 hours to do the 4.5 miles culminating in an 'Event of Nunhead Unity' with music and comedy, picnics and food, on Nunhead Green. Nunhead Beats the Bounds will be inclusive, interfaith, multicultural yet very, very British."
I'm sure this will be a great community event which will get lots of local people together and, of course, solidify our special relationship with our American cousins.