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Selling School Land

Southwark Council is twisting the arms of Albion Primary School to sell a significant part of its site. With that money the school will be rebuilt. The rebuild will I’m sure be lovely. But the principle is alarming. At the same time Southwark Council is spending millions on expanding schools that could be fully funded via the free school route.

The school governors and management appear positive and happy about these plans. And I wholly agree with single form entry schools becoming two form entry schools. Two form entry schools are more viable. Although already an Ofsted outstanding school with it’s extra size it will have the ability for more teacher specialisation.

But if this school was any where but inner London and Southwark the idea of halving the site would be ridiculous. The idea that a Southwark Council primary school would need to sell so much land to have decent new buildings would be anathema to the school and parents.

Which state school will be next for this treatment?


School Food Hygiene – Still A Problem

sfhrsweb5I’m really chuffed that my expose of shockingly low school food hygiene standards two years ago has crystallised into massive improvements. But their is still more that needs to be done.

Southwark’s 118 school, nurseries and colleges now have 95 x 5 stars, 18 x 4 stars, 4 x 3 stars and 1 x 2 stars – and that school has asked for a re-inspection and talking to them I think will do much better.

Lambeth is now trailing behind Southwark on this with of its 99 schools 85 x 5 stars, 9 x 4 stars, 2 x 3 stars but 2 x 1 stars Major Improvement Necessary. This is still shocking and I’m sure The London Nautical School and Wyvil Infants primary School must be planning to sort this out. They are imperilling children’s health.

1 star


If you’d like to see your child, grandchild, niece, nephew school food hygiene rating search here for Southwark and here for Lambeth.

North Cross Road Improvements

So works are finally underway to improve the junction of North Cross Road with Lordship Lane.

NCR_LL Junction Improvement Scheme Proposals

It should dramatically improve the entrance to NCR, slow traffic and improve the look and feel of this gateway into our local street market. It will also reclaim some dead space from Lordship Lane from cars that don’t use it to pedestrians who will use it. Lastly, the bus stop currently doesn’t work – with parked cars blocking buses getting to the kerb. The two car parking space are being relocated and buses will be able to pull in properly.

Do you know any other spots where we could reclaim road space that isn’t used for pedestrians?

New East dulwich Primary School – Planning Permission

Next Tuesday 14 July the Planning Committee will decide whether to grant planning permission for a new Harris East Dulwich Primary School.

I hope they do. The council planning officers recommendation is to grant permission. You can see the full report here.

I have written in support of the scheme. But I have asked for the Planning Committee to leave the proposed kerb buildout on Handcraft Road for the Dulwich Community Council to decide. Council officers have asked for the kerb to be increased from 2.1m wide to 3.5m and for 55m. This is clearly ridiculous and no other local school has such a vast area outside one of its entrances.

A separate application to demolish the current structure has also been submitted. They plan to start demolition on Wednesday 5 August.

Fingers crossed for next Tuesday.

Monstrous Tory Human Right Act Destruction

The Tories are proposing to replace the Human Right Act and block British citizens from being protected by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Winston Churchill led the UK’s and Commonwealth in winning help;ing win World War 2. He then tirelessly pushed for the ECHR. He considered it critical to winning the peace. So the irony of a Tory government, whilst we have the disaster of Russia in all but name invading Ukraine i.e. European peace crumbling, destroying Winston Churchill’s arguably equally important legacy to European peace as winning the war is quite simply monstrous.

If you can;t bare the thought of such barbarism please support our campaign to save the Human Rights Act.


The Future of Democracy

The recent UK general election was the most unproportional UK election of all time. When only 66% of the electorate bothered to vote and just 36% of the people who voted, voted for the winning party. It is hard to stomach radical changes from a political party with only 24% of the total electorate voting for them.

In fact just 16% of UK voters say they trust us politicians. I’m pretty tired of hearing “you politicians are all in it for yourselves”, “you’re all the same”, etc. For the record we’re not. Most politicians I’ve met are really decent public spirited local residents who want to improve things.

Clearly we need electoral reform to start changing these perceptions but winning parties in the UK are unlikely to allow this unless they feel it’s in their interests. A real Catch-22.

In the short-term a Lib Dem Lord Jeremy Purvis is proposing a new Constitutional Convention Bill about how we thoughtfully consider how we run our country – the system we vote under, House of Lords, etc. Fab. Long overdue. I suspect tories will sink it at the first opportunity but you can but hope.

Longer-term how do we make voting easier and the number of issues voters can influence far higher. In Scotland we’ve seen how passionate the referendum became and how high the turnout resulting. Locally we’ve seen huge interest generated by a junction being changed – Townley Road/East Dulwich Grove.

The flip side to this is the huge increase in support for campaigning groups, online petitions. 38 degrees is a great example of harnessing people power.

It was one of the reasons I signed-up to MyMP2015. It feels a logical extension to making myself so available on the EastDulwichForum and trying to get a step increase in how people can participate in decisions.

But with the internet how much more participatory could we be?

One successful mode is Podemos the Spanish political party. They use a mix of offline citizen assemblies and online forums so all members can get to shape party policy. Expanding this to a council or parliament would give everyone a say in how our country in run.

What do you think? How would you shape our

GP Services

NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) makes all the decisions about GP services. The CCG is a club of all Gp practices across the borough – replacing what was previously called the PCT.

They’re investing £2M in GP services but are they doing it in the right way?

They’ve created two hubs for overflow GP appointments. One in Bermondsey Spa to cover the north of Southwark and one in the middle at the Lister Primary Care Centre covering the south of Southwark.

The assumption is patients don’t care where they can be seen by a GP. That GP practices will never have sufficient appointment slots so sending patients elsewhere means GP practices don’t have to plan so thoroughly.

if you think this doesn’t make sense please email your thoughts to the CCG consultatoon manager –

you our can also tell her what services you think should be on the new Dulwich Hospital replacement facilities.







Lordship Lane Post Office – Modernisation Approved

For decades the Post Office network had been shrinking. Under Labour and Conservatives governments a number of local and many Post Offices nationally were closed. Between 1960-2010 the network plummeted from 25,000 to 11,500 Post Offices. As part of the coalition lib Dems ensured an investment fund was created to stop this rot continuing.

A key Lib Dem achievement in the Coalition was securing the future of Britain’s post office network. Business Secretary, Vince Cable, working with Postal Affairs Minister, Edward Davey, and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, secured £1.34 billion of funding for Britain’s post offices and a Government commitment that there will be no programme of post office closures under the Coalition.

So I’m chuffed to announce that some of that money is being used to completely modernise our Crown Post Office on Lordship Lane. Planning Permission for this has just been granted. It will have self-service, better counters. The next challenge is getting more modern opening hours…


Magna Carta 800th anniversary

19 June 2015 is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

seal Magna Carta was an attempt to find an antidote to the challenges from an over mighty king.

With the ideas of freedom from the Magna Carta being signed 19 June 1215,  it had been shown that not even the king was above the Common Law of the land. Over time Magna Carta became an idea which could never be uninvented, or unimagined.

Thirteen copies of Magna Carta were quickly made and sent throughout the kingdom. Magna Carta had gone viral. With so many important witnesses to the events Magna Carta to be ever denied or forgotten.

Over the course of the subsequent 800 years, the idea of Magna Carta gathered momentum and assumed a greater and greater importance around the ideas of liberty and justice. These central clauses, usually referred to as 38 and 39, have not only stood the test of time, but have a potency of their own which has seen off hundreds of attempts at annulment, repeal, modification and suspension by successive monarchs and governments. Of the original 63 original clauses three remain part of our law to this day.

Are you celebrating 800 years of liberty and justice?

London Taffic Casualties Up

Crashes involving people being injured are up. They’re up 13% on last year.

Killed and serious injuries are down for all categories except motorcyclists. But overall casualties are up due to slight injuries which have been rising since 2007.

One line of inquiry for TfL is that the rising London population and resulting journeys is to cause this. So effectively the rate of crashes involving injuries would be down. I hope they reach a conclusion soon. Those slight injuries could preclude a rapid rise in more serious injuries.