St.Ives Inspiration

The residents of St.Ives have voted via a new Neighbourhood Plan require that all new build homes must be occupied as principal residents – not holiday or second homes.

In Southwark many new homes are sold to foreign residents and sit idle. It means even the low new home build numbers are diluted further by so many homes being lost in this way.

Lib Dems have asked the labour Southwark administration whether they would support such a stance by neighbourhoods. They reacted by claiming no evidence of this problem in Southwark exists. That such homes generate receipts to be used for social housing. But they have said that for example if the Bankside Neighbourhood plan can justify such a scheme with damaging scheme viability ned meeting affordable housing they could support such a proposal.

Watch this space…

Where is the Cycle Parking

For several years now residents have been asking for cycle parking, in the form of BikeHangars, to be installed close to their homes. Without secure bicycle parking people can’t easily own bicycles let alone use them.

So far Southwark Council have organised 99 such BikeHangars each hosting 6 bicycles. But they have another 100 residents from across the borough requesting such bicycle parking. My experience in East Dulwich is that from expressing an interest to a BikeHangar happening or being told it wont happen takes 2-3 years. It is ridiculous that it takes so very long. Sadly the cabinet member responsible is under the impression it takes’ only’ one year.

Most people live in homes where cycle parking isn’t available. We want to reach Danish and Dutch levels of cycling of at least 25%. The benefits to residents and the community of this level of cycling would be profoundly positive- environment, air pollution, fitness, etc. We have 300,000 people living  in Southwark of which around 42,000 are below the age of 10 and probably wont need full sized cycle parking. So we need cycle parking for around 25% of 258,000 = 64,500 bicycles or 11,000 BikeHangars.

This level bicycle parking need is so huge it needs to be treated as a strategic programme.

Do you want a BikeHangar close to your house?

 

Compulsory Marriage

Getting legally married when people have religious marriage isn’t compulsory. Big deal I hear you ask. But if you then become religiously unmarried you have no legal rights to alimony, splitting ownership of a home, who looks after the children, access rights to children.

An obvious example is where a marriage is annulled by a Sharia Court. I get why people might hold a court based on their religious text to decide cases only involving people of that religion where they agree to this – and communities can put a lot of pressure for people to religiously conform. But what I don’t get is where the outcome of such a case results in a burden on the state. Not splitting and deciding on how the split happens as per the laws of the UK can mean tax payers subsidise that outcome. So a call for all religious marriages having to be civilly reiterated in UK law seems a good way of resolving this issue.

What do you think?

East Dulwich Double Yellow Lines

Southwark Labour proposed earlier this year to have 10m of double yellow lines added to East Dulwich junctions. So for a 4 way junction 10m on each side of each junction would result in 80m of double yellow lines. We have a lot of junctions WOW circa 10km of parking would be removed across Dulwich.

We’ve objected and finally had agreement that ward councillors will review all such junctions and make our counter proposals. This is what I’ve proposed to my ward colleagues – maximum of 2m of double yellow lines from the apex of each corner. Cllr Rosie Shimell has confirmed she agrees so we’re now just waiting for the Labour councillor to agree or make alternate proposals for us to consider

East Dulwich double yelllow lines Sheet1

What do you think?

Denmark Hill Extra Ticket Machine

After 18months of campaigning we’ve managed to get a second ticket machine at Denmark Hill station. I’ve chased the required planning permissions through. Caroline Pidgeon GLA AM has been super supportive nudging the train company. We met on site,  with our new Lib Dem Dulwich and West Norwood parliamentary candidate, to see the new machine which is currently undergoing final testing before going live soon…IMG_0984

Southwark Eviscerate Community Councils

Community councils were set-up by Lib Dems when they led the council in 2002. Simple idea that power should be exercised as close to residents as possible. Community councils decided local planning applications, traffic schemes, devolved budgets around investing in local areas, devolved revenue spending to help create new projects, and generally gave local residents the power to directly influence local councillors in decisions about their neighbourhood.

Sadly not everyone wants to make local decisions. Community councils were stripped of making local planning decisions when Labour took control of Southwark council. They then dramatically reduced the number of meeting down from 10 a year to 5 each year. and the number of community councils from 8 to 5 making them much less local outside of the Dulwich area.

I’ve sat on the main planning committee deciding on local planning applications where all local Labour councillors had refused to be involved in a local planning decision because it was contentious. So clearly hiding such decisions behind a town hall in Tooley Street suits such councillors purposes.

Labour are now saying they want to centralise traffic scheme decision making to a single Labour councillor in the councils Tooley Street ivory towers.The fig leaf of saving money has been given. That a council officer attending a meeting is too expensive. With 5 meetings per year for 5 community councils at  4 hours (including travel time) the saving will amount to around £2,500 each year of officer time. But we’ve been given the option of talking about traffic schemes but with no expert officer present to explain what they’re trying to do and their ideas should work and we can only ask the Labour traffic tsar to consider issues and concerns we raise.

Academic research shows more people involved in decisions the more likely they are to catch problems and make good decisions. Three ward councillors, 6 fellow councillors on the community council, neighbouring residents and an expert council officer – I’ve seen this work really well. I’ve seen it save money; of daft schemes be canned, or tweaked to actually work. I’ve seen proposed scheme forget about pedestrians which we corrected for example.

If you think centralising traffic schemes, only discussing local issues 5 times a year, not deciding local planning schemes locally is a bad idea please respond to the councils consultation and tell them what you think.

Denmark Hill Station Over Crowding

Local users of Denmark Hill station asked me how the chaos that has become Denmark Hill station could be allowed to happen.

After digging…. The coalition government agree to fund making the station Access for All. When Network Rail contacted Southwark Council the Labour council insisted that as the existing walkway was part of the overall station listing it couldn’t be touched. The planners refused to discuss widening the walkway sufficiently to support station growth and adding lifts. Instead they insisted upon a new bridge and structures to link the platforms. This then meant a new ticket office and blew the budget. It also meant the funds didn’t stretch to expand capacity for more people coming and going and forecast growth. This broken scheme was built. London Overground opened. It is now clear the wrong scheme was built and Southwark Council are equally to blame as Network Rail.

At rush hour it feels decidedly dangerous due to extreme over crowding.

We need a station fit to work properly with so many more passengers. In just one year 10% growth in users:

1415 Entries & Exits 1314 Entries & Exits
5,631,008 5,166,040

 

Fixing East Dulwich Roads

Some good news. Wednesday night East Dulwich councillors allocated our devolved road maintenance budget as per my proposals. All this maintenance is long over due and completes partially completed work funded by Southwark Council – we’re having to use our devolved budget to finish these incomplete works,

Rodwell Road  – £29,870 to resurface parts of Rodwell Road not resurfaced previously. Not enough to do the pavements as well. Another year.

Landcroft Road – £20,000 to resurface middle third of Landcroft Road not previously resurfaced.

Landells road – £47,250 to replace half of all the pavements of Landells Road.

The works should take place between November and March 2017. When we have more details of exactly when the work will take place we’ll let everyone know.

School Food Hygiene

All children should attend great schools. But they and their parents shouldn’t need to be concerned about basic food hygiene of school kitchens.

When I first raised the issue of poor school hygiene in Southwark in 2013 12 of our schools had only 3 star ratings. A year ago July 2015 it had broadly improved with the lowest ratings with 2 schools with 3 stars but 2 x 1 stars Major Improvement Necessary.

Currently no Southwark school has 3 stars and one has only 1 star. So big improvement needed.

1 star

 

 

But the Southwark website listing all Southwark school ratings was updated in June 2013.

But can we trust these ratings? of the 119 ratings 69 were inspected over 18 months ago – way past the recommended re inspection rate for schools. The oldest inspection recorded was 5 year 10 months ago!

Come on Southwark – do what’s right by the boroughs children and parents

Bakerloo Line Extension Short Changed

This week Transport for London have announced they are proposing two new Bakerloo Line stations in Southwark as part of extending it to the south east to Lewisham and beyond. It should drastically reduce traffic providing a much better alternative for people travelling into the centre of London.

This sounds good until you start looking into it. This part of the extension, from Elephant & Castle to New Cross Gate, will be about 4.5km long. But the existing Bakerloo Line is 23.2km long with 25 stations. So a station near enough ever kilometre on the current Bakerloo Line.

So why aren’t TfL proposing at least three stations along this section?

That would be a station every 1.125km. So a station at the Bricklayers Arms Roundabout, Burgess Park/Albany Road, Ilderton Road junction.

Come on TfL don’t short change the people of Bermondsey or Southwark. We want three stations not two.