Harris Nunhead Primary School – proposal withdrawn

Today the Harris Federation requested that the proposal for a new Harris Nunhead Primary School be withdrawn.

Please see the letter here: Proposed Harris Primary Academy Nunhead 2

It seems unlikely that the Education Finance Agency will refuse this request.

The proposal had generated much opposition from people concerned it would reduce the amount of space for a new secondary school on the Dulwich Hospital site but also people not surprisingly unwilling to send their children the 1-2 miles from the Nunhead/east East Dulwich area to a new primary school at the Dulwich Hospital site. Harris Federation have listened to the consultation and acted accoridngly in good faith.

I am still unconvinced that we will have sufficient primary school places for local families – and am seeking to meet Southwark COuncil forecasters to review the numbers.

We now need to ensure that blocking this new primary school does result in the largest possible secondary school – without compromising any new health centre facilities.

What do you think?

Drugs Reform – Long Overdue

The Deputy Prime Minister has confirmed that the Liberal Democrat manifesto will contain the most far-reaching drug reform policies ever put forward by a major political party. At long last.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg made the commitment at an event alongside entrepreneur Richard Branson, a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

The manifesto will include commitments to:

Adopt the approach used in Portugal, where those arrested for possession of drugs for personal use are diverted into treatment, education or civil penalties that do not attract a criminal record.

Legislate to end the use of imprisonment for possession of drugs for personal use, diverting resources towards tackling organised drug crime instead, as a first step towards reforming the system.

Continue to apply severe penalties to those who manufacture, import or deal in illegal drugs, and clamp down on those who produce and sell unregulated chemical highs.

Establish a review to assess the effectiveness of the cannabis legalisation experiments in the United States and Uruguay, in relation to public health and criminal activity.

Legislate to make the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs independent in setting the classification of drugs, while remaining accountable to Parliament and the wider public.

Enable doctors to prescribe cannabis for medicinal use.

Put the Department of Health rather than the Home Office in charge of drug policy.

I am anti-drugs, but as a society we have a responsibility to look at the evidence of what actually works to reduce drug harm.

At the moment, the level of harm to individuals and communities – here and around the world – is still unacceptably high. We need to practically solve this problem. So, if you’re anti-drugs, you should be pro-reform like me. Brave political leadership to openly acknowledge that new ways of controlling illegal drug markets and discouraging use are required.

We need to accept the overwhelming evidence that things are not working, the war on drugs has been a failure, that politicians are letting down the victims of the drugs trade by failing to engage with the evidence.

Talking tough while acting weak may be tempting, but it no longer fools anyone. It is time to commit to a radically smarter approach to tackle this problem head-on.

Labour Amnesia

Do you remember at the 2010 general election howLabour said it would slash public spending during this Parliament, with cuts bigger than Thatcher. Odd how Labour doesn’t mention that much these days…







What short memories Ed Milliband must think we have.

Dulwich Hospital Spare Land RELEASED

A year ago I submitted a Right to Contest the spare land at the Dulwich Hospital site. This right was created by Lib Dems in the coalition government.

Please see the letter from the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP – Minister for the Cabinet Office – NMP625917

I’m delighted at last to report that as a direct result of my request the spare land has now been added to the Register of Surplus Public Land. This is a key pre requisite for any new use such as new schools.

NHS property have held back 11,300m3 of the 28,300m2 for the new health centre. So I will check whether more than the 17,000m2 can be released at this point. In public meeting they’ve said they’ll only need 7,000-9,000m2 for the new health centre. I suspect they’re being ultra cautious.

Patience is a virtue I have little of but I’m delighted that all the chasing by myself and Lib Dem colleagues at all levels of local, regional and national government and the support of the Cabinet Office has been successful.

This prepares the ground for the Educational Finance Agency to tell us its decision of whether they’ve selected either The Charter School or Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation to open a new secondary school for us and have a site to house it in.

Labour Blair Gaddafi Collusion

Shocking to read that Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government colluded with the Colonel Gaddafi government.

The Guardian reports that Libyan Intelligence agents were allowed to operate in the UK. That a number of exchanges took place and close working. That rendition and torture resulted.

The people who suffered this are suing UK government departments – MI5/6, Home and Foreign Offices. An attempt to have the case thrown out failed on Thursday.

Truly shocking that a UK government could stoop so low.


Chaotic Southwark Highway Renewals

Southwark Labour have just confirmed what roads and pavements they will renew over the next three financial years. It’s great they plan to spend more over the next three years but to fund this they plan to drastically reduce budgets in future years. Topically this remind me of GReek government finances.

But the decision has many duplications. For example they plan to renew 10% of footways on Dovercourt Road this coming financial year (FY) but then renew 100% of the footways in FY 17_18! Similar duplications for Aysgarth Road, Beauval Road, Casino Avenue, Copleston Road, Danecroft Road, Elmwood Road, Playfield Crescent, Wyneham Road.My favourite is replacing 75% of Tell Grove footwards in FY 2016/17 & then another 75% in FY 2017/18.

Grove Vale is called Grove Lane, some streets listed as in Dulwich are in SE1.

You could not make this up.

Perhaps their is a simple explanation. Eitherway do take a look at the currently signed off plans for road and pavement renewals in Southwark and those specific to the Dulwich area: Highway renewals

Needless to say I’veasked for the decisionto be repeated – in the Dulwich area alone we’ve spotted £147,000 of duplications. So for the whole of Southwark the errors are likely to be around £1M. Ouch!

Voter Registration Nonsense

The last Labour government in response to flagrant voter fraud started the process to introduce individual voter registration. The new system

The old system one person in each household registered everyone in the house – I did for our family. But sometimes people added extra people. So the new system means everyone has to register themselves with their unique National Insurance number to ensure no cheating from bogus residents.

My own experience is buy to-let landlords being registered sometimes multiple times for properties they don’t live in. So the new system will stop this and ensure tenants can register to vote.

To smooth the transition to the new system the Department for Works and Pensions has assisted local councils by matching over 90% of all the previously registered voters with their National Insurance numbers and other have reregistered themselves. This has left under a million voters across the country no longer being registered to vote.

So if you’re no longer registered to vote it is quick and easy and for the first time ever via a new online system. It takes just a few minutes, your National Insurance number and date of birth –www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Lib Dems in government have also ensured another £10 million to smooth the introduction of this system that has been policy of all parties for a number of years.

East Dulwich Highway Renewals

Every year we have a little devolved highway renewals money to allocate on East Dulwich ward.

This year we’ve decided to allocated our 2015/16 £38.095 on:

1. £24,843 on renewing the pavement along Lordship Lane eastern side going northwards from North Cross Road.

2. £13,252 remaining on repairing the pavement on Landells Road not repaied this financial year. The total cost would be £37,257 Goodrich Road to lordship lane along landells Road but we have to start somewhere.

Sadly we don’t have sufficient money £88,636 in our devolved pot to resurface Rodwell Road footways. Sorry.

Southwark Civic Awards 2015

Nominations for the 2015 Southwark Civic Awards should be submitted by the 31 January 2015.

These awards are recommended by the Southwark Civic Association an independent non-political organisation. The actual awards are then confirmed by Southwark Councillors.

There are two main categories of Award, which satisfy most circumstances: Letter of Commendation or Liberty of the Old Metropolitan Boroughs of Southwark, Bermondsey or Camberwell

In addition, and in exceptional circumstances, there are options for further Awards, as appropriate: Mayor’s Discretionary Award, Southwark Lifetime Award, Young Southwark Civic Award and something … of the Year Award


Letter of Commendation – A Letter of Commendation may be awarded to a nominee who has demonstrated an exceptional contribution to the life of the local community, usually for a period exceeding five years.

Liberty of the Old Metropolitan Borough – A Liberty of the Old Metropolitan Borough will be considered when a nominee has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the life of the community, usually for a period exceeding ten years.

Mayor’s Discretionary Award – A Mayor’s Discretionary Award may be made to an individual/organisation that, during the Mayor’s term of office, has attracted special notice for exceptional community activity.

Southwark Lifetime Award – A Southwark Lifetime Award may be recommended where an individual has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the life of the community, typically for a period exceeding twenty years.

Young Southwark Civic Award A Young Southwark Civic Award may be made to a young person of 18 and under who has demonstrated exceptional community spirit and civic responsibility but, by virtue of their age, is ineligible for a Letter of Commendation.

… of the Year Award – An ‘…. of the Year Award’ may be made where a nominee’s contribution is considered to be an outstanding example of a specific commitment, action or activity in the year of nomination. Some may be made in conjunction with Volunteer Centre Southwark and Community Action Southwark.


An individual whose unpaid voluntary activity is unrelated to, or additional to, the nominee’s current employment

A community group, organisation or business which is based in, and/or benefits the Southwark community.


Serving members of the Court of the Southwark Civic Association

Current elected members of Southwark Council

Employees of Southwark Council (unless for unpaid voluntary activity which is unrelated to or additional to current employment)

Previous Honorands of equal or greater Awards