Southwark Children Health Exposed

In 2012 I exposed the debacle of Southwark Council not ensuring through inspections that all Southwark schools have safe food hygiene. Then a number of schools had shockingly low food hygiene scores and real issues to fix. Things have been improving. Or have they.

You can see Southwark school current food hygiene ratings here:

Currently we have:

1 x 2 * The play shelter Ltd, Snowfield Primary School, SE1

4 x 3* Surrey Square Primary School, SE17, St.Anthony’s RC Primary Schoo, SE22, Pembroke College mission, SE17, 1st choice day nursery, SE1.

15 x 4*’

98 x 5

But the following schools have not had any food hygiene inspections for some considerable time (over two years). The recommendation is yearly as children as young as 4 can not shop around or spot bad food hygiene practices. That a third of such schools have had no inspections to ensure they’re still providing safe healthy food for Southwark young people is shocking. I’m shocked at the rapid return to food hygiene complacency of Southwark Labour.

4*’s – school name – date of last inspection – not inspected for over 2 years

London Christian School, Porlock Hall, SE1 3RY 4 July 2012

Drummond Road ,SE16 6EE 13 September 2013

London College of Communications Student Union 30 August 2012


5*’s – school name – date of last inspection – not inspected for over 2 years

Comber Grove Primary School- 5 March 2013

Bacons College 14 March 2013

Bright lands 27 Jan 2011

Southwark College, Keens Road 24 Jan 2013

Harris Boys East Dulwich 25 Sept 2013

Dulwich Village CofE Infant 24 Feb 2012

Crampton Junior & Infant 13 July 2012

Pupil Referral Unit, Davey St 25 Nov 2014

St.Michael RC school 13 March 2012

St.Paul Primary School 3 July 2012

Tuke School, Daniel Garden? SE15 6ER 13 November 2010

Notre Dame RC girls school 118 St Georges Road SE1 6EX 11 December 2013

Haymerle School 17 May 2011

Highshore School 19 July 2012

Allen’s School 5 July 2012

Oliver Goldsmith Primary School, 83 Peckham Road, SE5 8UH 29 March 2012

St James the Great School 1 November 2011

Dog Kennel Hill School 26 January 2011

Boucher CofE school 26 November 2010

JAGS, 144 East Dulwich Grove 17 December 2010

JAGS, 2 Dulwich Village 23 January 2013

London Southbank University 23 November 2010

Newlines Schools, 14 March 2013

St.Francesca Cabrini school 15 February 2011

St.Georges CE school 27 November 2013

Snowfields Primary School 19 July 2012

Townsend Primary School 28 November 2012

Young Parents Education centre 17 September 2012



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.

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.







Cycle Parking Limit The Cycle Revolution

Cycling in London has dramatically increased for London residents commuting into central London. In 2011 London 8.3% of such commuters cycle – it feels much higher now.

Apart from safer routes to encourage more people to cycle, and they appear to be on the way now, people cycling have to have somewhere to park their bicycles – at both ends. Without such parking the Cycling Revolution will stall.

We need a step increase in cycling to improve public heath helping the NHS cope with its financial pressures, longevity, better mental health, fitter citizens, less social exclusion. Cycling has a strategic imperative for our society.

Home Cycle Parking – Most cyclists have to parking their bikes in hallways, outside homes insecurely, blocks of flats basements – often behind many doors. We will never have a cycling revolution with such crap cycle parking. In East Dulwich we’ve been supporting new Bikehangars which are a start. We’ll need 200 for East Dulwich alone to support half of the 25% cycling levels we could reach within the next 10 years. So far we have 4 on order!

Our planning rules must change to ensure cycle parking is really accessible to all new homes – not hidden away in marginal spaces. New houses in London only have to have 1 or 2 cycle parking spaces but in Holland it would be 5 in a proper 4m2 shed. Flats 1 o2 in London, 2-5 in Holland and easily accessible.

Destination Cycle Parking – We currently rely upon ‘free’ cycle parking – locking bikes to lamp posts, railings and the like which only gets you so far. For a step increase in cycling you must have proper cycle parking and lots of it. In London secondary schools are supposed to have 1 cycle parking space for every 8 pupils or staff or 12.5%. Dutch schools have 50-100%. London offices have 1 space for every 90m2, Dutch offices 1.7/100m2. At my workplace – a modern building – the cycle parking is so obscurely placed in the basement that I ‘free’ park outside. So we must not just box tick that parking has been provided for people cycling but that it easily accessible.

If we get cycle parking fixed at both end we will see a cycling revolution.

Are you going to be part of it?

New London Lorries

I’m really chuffed to see that the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) campaign for a new lorry design they started two years ago to minimise crashes with cyclists is coming good.


Construction lorries are involved in around 75% of all cyclists deaths in London each year. The cabs of these lorries are high, they have turning movements that many aren’t used to and they weigh so much that if they do run you down you are literally squished. A very dear friend had this happen over and she died.

So LCC came up with a concept from their lorry expert Charlie Lloyd ideas with a much lower cab. This gives much great vision and fewer dead zones where the lorry driver hasn’t a clue what s going on. But with a lower profile it reduces drag for the lorry saving fuel. And fuel is major expense for companies running any commercial vehicles.

Mercedes have just launched a new line incorporating these ideas. I hope it becomes the new standard that other lorry manufactures adopt and literally many lives will be saved…

actual design

Noise Leads To Obesity

Swedish scientists have found what appears a link before road and jet noise and obesity.

Apparently living near a busy noisy road or under a noisy flight path can cause obesity. The mechanism isn’t clear yet but this could partly explain why poorer people suffer from obesity – they generally can’t afford to live on quieter streets.

One suggested mechanism for this is that noise exposure could be an important physiological stressor increasing cortisol production. High levels of cortisol have a role in depositing fat around the middle of the body.

Apparently all noise production – whether motor vehicles trains or aircraft have this impact but aircraft noise was found to have the highest association with increase weight.

Short term I hop this will be the final nail in the Heathrow airport expansion. On so many levels and now this it shouldn’t proceed. But it also suggests Gatwick shouldn’t happen which is almost as bad an idea as Heathrow.

But medium to longer-term we need to make where we all live so much quieter.

How do you think this can be achieved?

Aircraft noise – steeper landing and takeoffs would cut noise, banning the noises aircrafts, working internationally on a replacement for Chapter 3.

Train noise – ends diesel trains coming into London, noise baffle walls along noisy train routes and end noisy platform PA’s that can be hard outside stations.

Traffic noise – get more people cycling and walking, make the London low emissions zone low pollution AND a low noise zone. Add noise pollution cameras along our busier roads to enforce this.


Local Train Air Pollution

Southwark and Lambeth being inner London boroughs suffers from some of the worst air pollution in London and the UK. Without significant changes in the way we live and work we will never meet EU air quality standards that we’ve been breaching since 2010. In fact the UK Supreme Court has told the UK government it must draw up plans to meet them by the end of this year.

Even with such plans many south London residents will needlessly die while we await these plans to be implemented.

Where does this air pollution come from?

The worst offenders are diesel engines – they produce Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and particulates – that’s from diesel engines in buses, taxis, lorries, cars and trains.

Buses and taxis are something Transport for London control and can directly influence. Lorries and cars can partly be controlled by Transport for London through the congestion charging zone and low emissions zones but also UK and European regulations around taxation and design standards.

The last remaining diesel train services into London Bridge rail station come from the Hurst Green to Uckfield railway line. But we also have diesel trains serving Exeter and Salisbury into Waterloo station. Air pollution doesn’t follow political boundaries so on most days that Waterloo air pollution gets blown across Lambeth and Southwark.

So what can we do about it?

We can all support the electrification of the Hurst Green-Uckfield train line so they no longer have diesel trains coming into London Bridge. The coalition government asked for this to be studied and £100,000 to do this was allocated in the last coalition budget.

To help things along please sign this petition.

To end diesels trains coming into Waterloo please email asking them if they will help London meets its Air Pollution legal requirement by ending diesel trains into London Waterloo.

Aylesbury Estate

In April the main Planning committee agreed to the demolition of the 2758 homes that form the Aylesbury estate. The vast majority being social rented council homes, all 2,249 of them + 509 leasehold homes.

The replacement will be 2,745 new residential units in tower blocks up to 20 storeys high with only 37.5% social rent and 12.5% shared ownership with the remaining 50% private homes. So a huge decrease in social housing.

I sat on that planning committee and we heard much contradictory evidence. Assertions such as the estate had high levels of crime, ill health and low employment levels. But after 20 years of low investment is this surprising. The crime rate was an odd one as past years when they had their own Police Safer Neighbourhood Team they reported record lower levels of crime compared to the surrounding areas. We heard the heating was unreliable. But we also heard how for long periods it hadn’t been maintained properly. Much of the ill health is probably from poverty rather than the homes they live in.

Several times residents have been asked how they would like to see the future of council housing. Overwhelmingly they’ve said they want to live in council homes rather than Housing Associations homes.
Other consultations people have said they like the vision for the Aylesbury estate but we heard from a number who didn’t agree. No one attended to support the application which I found telling.
For leaseholders it was suggested years of agony arguing over the value of their properties with offers falling woefully short of the replacement cost. From the heygate debacle it looks like social cleansing of leaseholders from the area.

From an environmental perspective it didn’t feel good.
The plans will see more than a one third reduction in open space. From 4.8 hectares down to 3ha. No segregated cycle paths. Routes within the park don’t all align with paths in Burgess Park.
The target is to only reduce CO2 emissions by 30% when we know the planet needs 80% reduction. But this will be more than swallowed up by the huge loss of embedded carbon in the current structures. We heard and I’ve visited a number of blocks that could be kept and urgent residential leaseholders
Could be decanted to them over time. But the applicant rejected this out of hand.

We heard that the building weren’t safe and could collapse like a pack of cards. Objectors pointed out it was the same design as the Heygate estate which didn’t fall down like a pack of cards during demolition. So the expert evidence just did;t come across as credible compared to real world experience in Southwark.


So I found myself unable to support these plans and no longer supportive of the general Aylesbury plans. They appear wrong headed on so many levels now that the detail has been fleshed out. Problems could be fixed through helping people find work to boost their incomes. Through long-term proper maintenance. And yes I have visited homes on the estate. AS a minimum many blocks are perfectly sound.

So I voted against the plans and application which I was surprised at as I had anticipated before reading the report that it would have been well thought through and convincing

Care Act – Success

Knowing that you will receive the best care possible means the world to everyone who finds themselves or their loved ones in need of social care.

Lib Dem Care Ministers Pail Burstow, Norman Lamb and other Lib Dem colleagues we have worked hard to reform our badly out of date care system.

This April we reached a major milestone with the Care Act coming into effect. As the independent health charity the Kings Fund put it, “the coalition has made more progress [on care] in five years than the previous government did in thirteen”.

The Care Act creates new rights and protections for people who need care and new rights for the friends and family who selflessly care for them. It puts in place for the first time a national rules to determine when a person is eligible for care ending the unfair postcode lottery that existed in the past.

This means that people with the same level of care needs will now be treated in the same way wherever they live. It also puts people’s wellbeing at the heart of all care decisions, and creates new responsibilities for local authorities to make sure that support is available to stop people developing care needs in the first place.

Importantly, the Care Act finally ends the devastating unfairness that meant the most in need could be left facing catastrophic care costs.

Sir Andrew Dilnott was asked to chair a commission on this difficult issue within 8 weeks of forming a government back in 2010, and when the commission reported Lib Dem colleagues challenged Osborne’s intransigence and secured the money to fund it.

Thanks to our efforts there will now be a cap on the lifetime costs of care, giving people certainty and the ability to plan for their needs.

As the Kings Fund put it “To make any headway at all on an issue that has eluded all previous attempts at reform – and in the toughest fiscal climate in living memory – is a big achievement.”

The Care Act shows the difference Lib Dems can make in government, working together to build a fairer society for everyone.