Alertboxes

Last year I applied for 32 Alertboxes costing £5,000 – little boxes that send alerts to neighbouring businesses who can rush to help resolve a problem. Really useful at getting people to talk to neighbouring shops and offices and has a happy benefit of building up a community feelingh. They were installed in Lordship Lane and Northcross Road. If you look carefully in shop doors and windows you’ll see little stickers telling you shops that have them. During the first year the Crime Prevention Officer reported a 57% reduction in crime where these Alertboxes have been installed. WOW!

On this basis the East Dulwich coucillors – Richard Thomas, Joanthan Mitchell and myself – have allocated £25,000 to saturate East dulwich with this technology before March.

If only fighting all crime was this obvious and straightforward.

Be a Streetleader

I normally cycle to work. Due to a mishap while playing with my children I’m using buses this week. On a bike you whizz along. With a bus commute you get time to contemplate as it’s a much slower way to travel.

So what to do on a bus journey. Today I just couldn’t help myself but email graffiti problems that need be fixed. I reported eight in just one journey via the Streetleader scheme.

Inspecting over 650km of roads every day is just not possible by the council but if the community keep an open eye and report problems they get fixed thsat much quicker.

If you’d like to be a Streetleader as well, call Dave Taylor on 020 7525 2455 or email him at dave.taylor@southwark.gov.uk

New Grove Vale library….

Eighteen months ago I approached developer St.Aidan’s who’d applied for planning permission to redevelope the Dulwich Garden Centre, 18-22 Grove Vale. Personally it’s sad to see the demise of a a garden centre – that’s where we buy our plants from for our garden. But if it is going to be redeveloped then I wanted to ensure that any scheme benefited the local community in East Dulwich.  So I proposed the current charming but pokey Grove Vale library be moved to a proposed new development across the road on a peppercorn rent. I attended the previous schemes planning appeal in January’07 to help ensure it didn’t proceed as it was an ugly pastiche with no community benefit.

The new scheme, progressing through the planning process, includes 24 flats and a new 230m2 Grove Vale community library. The current Grove Vale library is only 144m2. So the new library would be big enough for school classes from Dog Kennel Hill, Goose Green and other local schools to visit, hold adult education, have lots more study desks and computers and be a much bigger asset to the community. If approved it would be on a peppercorn rent for circa 125 years. The would release money that would enable it to be open much more than the current four days per week.

My calculations show this as having a potential net present value of £2,000,000 for East Dulwich.

Still quite a few issues to work through but I’m really excited by how Southwark Council Officers have been able, working with a developer, to get this scheme submitted. Hopefully it will be approved in December or January.

Watch this space for updates.

Dulwich Library – open 20% more often

Dulwich Libary is the most popular library in Southwark. It’s located a few feet from the boundary of East Dulwich ward and an incredibly useful resource for the area. I’ve often visited and had to wait some time before I could find a desk position to work from.

Starting this week Dulwich Library is now open EVERY Wednesday from 9am to 8pm. This means Dulwich Library is now open 7 days a week. The number of hours this library is open has increased from 55 to 66 hours per week. Additionally the very large meeting room opposite the study area, when not booked for events, will be set up for students to study. Each of these improvement is a step increase in facilities for library users and students studying at this library.

The new arrangements follow a pre-election promise from all three Liberal Democrat East Dulwich councillors Richard Thomas, Jonathan Mitchell and myself to get longer opening hours for local libraries.

This has all been possible by reaarnging staff time and at no extra cost to tax payers. So a big thank you to all the staff and union representatives who have made this possible – thank you.