2016 Christmas Information – we hope you find it useful

Christmas Information – we hope you find it usefulSouthwark Parks

All locked parks will be opened every day at 7.30am and closed at 4.30pm.

No bus services Christmas day. Other days Sunday services.

Services will be stop at around 8pm on Christmas eve – don’t get caught out.
Southern and Thameslink no services Christmas day or Boxing day via London Bridge. Limited services all other days and some planned strikes action.
London Overground no services Christmas and Boxing day. Reduced services other days.

Dulwich Leisure Centre
Christmas eve and New Years eve 7am-2pm; Christmas, Boxing and New Years days closed. Normal opening hours but closing at 7pm other holiday days.

Library Opening Hours
All Southwark libraries close Xmas eve at 1pm. For precise details please see:
Dulwich Library
Grove Vale Library
And if you have kids do get them involved with the Winter Reading Challenge

Rubbish and Recycling
Over the holidays recycling and rubbish collections will be one day later and return to normal Monday 2 January.

Normal collection day Christmas periods collection day
Mon 26 Dec Tue 27 Dec
Tue 27 Dec Wed 28 Dec
Wed 28 Dec Thu 29 Dec
Thu 29 Dec Fri 30 Dec
Fri 30 Dec Sat 31 Dec

If you have food/garden waste collections then you can just leave any real Christmas tree out on the next collection day.

Otherwise you can take real and plastic Christmas trees to the council waste collection centre on Devon Street, SE1 (just off the Old Kent Road).

We hope you have a great break over Christmas and New Year.

Dulwich & West Norwood – my local priorities

If elected as your MP this Thursday my local priorities – above and beyond the Lib Dem national manifesto are:

  • Helping solve the local schools crisis through opening new schools, building in the right places. I have already ensured an extra 3,100 primary and secondary schools places locally. But we need at least another 1,500 school places.
  • Saving local libraries. Lambeth Council is planning to close 5 libraries and downsize two others. We have shown through building new libraries such as John Harvard Library that if you build better libraries more people use them more. I’ve persuaded developers to give us a brand new Grove Vale Library in 2016. I will work to persuade Lambeth Labour to reverse these avoidable cuts.
  • Creating more apprenticeships and jobs. Local unemployment claiming benefits has fallen to 3.5% but the UK average is 2.5%. Apprenticeships have more than doubled under the coalition government – they’re a Lib Dem priority – but we can all do better at creating them helping to ensure lower unemployment and higher incomes over the longer-term.


East Dulwich New Capital Projects

2002 Southwark Lib Dems initiated the Cleaner, Greener, Safer programme where each ward in Southwark gets a pot of capital money to allocate to new projects.

Last night we decided which projects to support in East Dulwich ward – ED CGS 15_16

Safer: Fencing between Dulwich library and St.Thomas Moore RC Church, Library Annexe opened as new space for Police surgeries and the like, More Crime Prevention, Norcroft Gardens fencing and lgihting.

Cleaner: Friern Road estate play area renewal, Goose Green School entrance, East Dulwich Community Centre new flooring.

Greener: Lots more trees locally, Physic GardenHeber School Upcycle Garden.

Our next funding decision will be our £25,000 of revenue funding in March. If you have any ideas to make the area better please let us know.

New Dulwich Police Base

Boris Johnson our conservative Mayor of London closure of East Dulwich Police station in June 2013 without a suitable replacement has been a disaster for local Policing.

By the local Police management own admission at a Dulwich Community Council meeting our local Police now spend a third of their time traveling to and from our areas from their base in Camberwell.

To solve this problem local East Dulwich councillors and Dulwich Lib Dems have been campaigning for a new base for Police enabling our Police to minimise time away form our ares. Ideally a Police base but any base that they can work from. WE also need such a base for the general public to be able to meet our police to report crimes and issues in privacy.

After working behind the scenes for nearly a year Cllr Rosie Shimell and myself have formally proposed that the Dulwich Library annexe be used for this purpose. We have found budgets we allocate that could fund this. I’m hopeful that Southwark Police and Council will agree to this solution to our dire need for a local touch down based for Dulwich Police and residents.

Do you agree we need such a base?


New Grove Vale Library

Yesterday core samples were taken under the Dulwich Garden Centre – see the picture. Core samples of the ground are used to check how much weight the ground can hold and what type of foundations will be required and a key step forward.

It also marked the Section 106 agreement making another step forward. Watching paint dry would be quicker but progress is progress. Still not resolved and still with some daft sections but close to being sufficient for building to be started.

If you’d like to know more about this scheme for a new Grove Vale library in late 2014/15 get in touch.

More and Bigger libraries?

The Museum Libraries Archives Council released a report June 2008 stating how much library space they’d calculated areas needed per thousand population. I came across this report and have calculated their recommendations on Southwark. It is quite a shock.

They recommend 25 to 35m2 per thousandpeople. Assuming an average of 30m2 then Southwark even with the new Canada Water library has4,914m2 public space in libraries suitable for a population of only 201,713. But Southwark’s population is reported to be around 315,000.

So we need more library space. Roughly 3,400m2. But clearly this doesn’t reflect library opening hours and where the space should be and what population growth will do to our population of residents. We also need to reflect on the impact of people working and studying but no living in Southwark. Library service dimensioning.

I’ll be doing this maths over the next few weeks – but as a minimum we need the space of an extra two Canada Water libraries spread across Southwark.

Library closing

I was really saddened to be told that the council is reducing library opening hours and closing them earlier at Brandon, East Street, Nunhead and Grove Vale libraries.

Libraries are a key resource not just for borrowing books, CD’s, etc but also for those needing to study or search for work using all the local and national newspapers and computer resources.

For local Grove Vale library the hours will reduce from 33 hours a week to 27. The headline is this is part of a £398,000 yearly saving. But they could achieve the cuts without reducing library hours.

Instead of employing three people to cover each Libraries opening, two could be employed and a very part time person to cover lunch breaks. Or even better would be to devolve the library spending to each Library manager and let them decide how to make the savings while maximising services. This would make middle management savings. This would also enable the closure of the libraries hidden secret 13th non public library on Wilson’s Road which houses 25,000 books and a central book buying function and distribution system.

The libraries budget is also not helped by the libraries team still having the old ex.Peckham library and adjoining office in the ground floor of a block of council housing to maintain.

Other savings could be made by not having a separate lift maintenance contract for Peckham Library, Canada Water library and Dulwich Library but piggy backing on the Council Housing massive lift contract – around £50,000 saving.

I’m sure with a deeper dive significant other savings could be made. I’ve made lots of these suggestions to the councillor in charge. Hopefully they will adopted at least a few of these and keep our libraries open.

Nice one for new Grove Vale library?

For a number of years I’ve been working towards a brand new Grove Vale library. We had a scheme ready but the banking collapse killed that one. The latest scheme gained planning permission earlier this year. But getting a sensible section 106 that details the library has proved shall we say ‘ellusive’.

Council officers wanted to include a clause about deciding whether to take a library or money instead with realy complicated ocnditions and clauses. So complicated that lawyers have been having a field day. The uncertainty this caused meant its been hard for the developers who have to keep in mind what banks will lend against. Banks don’t like uncertainty.

The developer, and even more so I, became worried that the council was deciding to stall and planned to take the money. It would appear from assurances today that I was reading the runes wrongly.

TODAY the council leader Councillor Peter John has stepped in and I sincerely hope will break the deadlock. He is clear that Labour Southwark also want to keep Grove Vale library and also want to have a new double sized Grove Vale library. So he has today stated that the cabinet report on libraries being decided 18 October will have a recommendation for the new Grove Vale library. Nice one. Thank you Peter. I will hold you to this.

Why so much passion for a new Grove Vale library? Its right on the doorstep to the most deprived area around East Dulwich – the East Dulwich estate. It will bring much improved access to books, etc but also computers, study places and space to job hunt. Huge proportion of our library users are job hunting and studying. So a real lift for people wanting to do this that can’t easily do this at home.

New East Dulwich Library

Museums, Libraries and Archives council recommend 30 square metres of spaces for every one thousand population. For Southwark’s 305,000+ population (this number is those registered with GP’s) that would mean we needed 9,150 m2.  Currently we have 4,914 m2. We clearly have a huge deficiency in library space.

The nearly finished Canada Water library will help by adding 1,315 m2 net compared to Rotherhithe library which will close. This still leaves us hugely deficient.

But more locally last night the Planning Committee approved a new development next to East Dulwich station that includes a new Grove Vale library. The current library has 100 m2 for customers and the new one would double that to 200 m2 + have 50 m2 terrace. The time line would see this delivered in the first half of 2014.

Its currently bursting at the seams homework club of kids mostly from the East Dulwich Estate in South Camberwell ward, toddlers groups, etc  could all expand with no extra resources. The current library lease costs £25,000 a year but the new library would have a 125 year peppercorn rent of £100 a year. The new library would also be one big space allowing other services such as selling coffee etc to raise revenue to support the library. The new building will have CHP and be eco excellent in its part saving lots on the utility bills. The one risk is the current library review. I’m hopeful that new revenue streams and reducing layers of management and back office costs will occur from that review rather than close libraries from our already under dimensioned library service.

For your say on the Southwark Library review: https://forms.southwark.gov.uk/ShowForm.asp?fm_fid=591

For a picture of what 18-22 Grove Vale will broadly look like – 18_22 Grove Vale

Southwark Libraries

A public consultation about Southwark Libraries future is currently taking place. Please do complete the survey questionnaire and tell Southwark what you think – https://forms.southwark.gov.uk/ShowForm.asp?fm_fid=591

The Museums and Libraries Association recommend 30m2 of library space for every 1,000 population. Southwark has roughly half the recommended space to support its population. Canada Water library opening will help but we’re still dreadfully deficient in library space.