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September 2016
LABOUR LOCAL from your Bishop's Ward councillors - Kevin Craig,  Jennie Mosley, Ben Kind

In this edition

Garden Bridge  Dead in the water?
Housing  Charing House balcony collapse
Health  Air quality, cycling and St Thomas', Dr Patricia Moberly
Library  Just the (temporary) ticket
Planning  OCCC, Lambeth Estate, Southbank Place, BFI
Schools  Say no to segregation
Round-up  Railway bridge mess, crime, parks pledge
GARDEN BRIDGE

Dead in the water?

The tide is turning against the Garden Bridge. We've been fighting hard alongside local groups to help #stopthegardenbridge ruining our South Bank. There's been a lot going on:
  • The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched an inquiry into the £60 million of public money pledged to the bridge - much of it already spent. It will be headed by Dame Margaret Hodge MP, former Chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.
  • After discussions with us, Kate Hoey MP secured a debate in Parliament – and did a brilliant job representing local people. You can watch here (starts at 18.30) or read a transcript here.
  • Lord Ahmad, the Department of Transport minister, has agreed to meet us on site in October.  We look forward to showing him first hand the potential issues and concerns for our area.
  • Complaints have been filed with both the National Audit Office and Charity Commission over multiple concerns about use of public money. We eagerly await their outcome.
  • The Garden Bridge Trust went pleading again to the Department of Transport for an extension of a £15 million loan due to end this month, which guaranteed payment to contractors in the likely event the project is scrapped.
  • The Chair of the Garden Bridge Trust, Lord Davies, admitted in a BBC Newsnight interview that bridge construction is a year behind schedule, costs have risen and donors have pulled out. The trust is still £56 million short of the new estimated cost of £185 million.
All three of us are working closely with local groups including Thames Central Open Spaces, WCDG and individuals to protect the South Bank and beautiful tree-lined avenue of Queen's Walk. This walkway is an Asset of Community Value and we will fight to ensure it remains so – at Lambeth Council, London and Government level.
 
Crucially we and local community groups need all possible financial support to fund the ongoing legal challenge against these plans – please click here if you can help. Every penny counts. 

If you missed it before, ITV coverage of our opinion poll showing lack of public support for the Garden Bridge is here and here.  A record of an earlier lobby of Lambeth Council led by Jennie is here.
HOUSING

Balcony collapse

Many of you will be aware of the extremely serious events at Charing House, Windmill Walk last Friday. A balcony collapsed, also destroying the balcony below, and the subsequent emergency evacuation triggered an altercation with a resident which resulted in armed police being called - read more here and here.
 
We councillors visited the site within an hour and had lengthy discussions with Grainger PLC, which owns the property. We returned on Saturday, talking to residents for a number of hours. Kate Hoey MP has also been in contact with Grainger.

We're very concerned by these events and recognise that huge disruption has been caused to residents of Charing House and the immediate area around Windmill Walk - and we will stay very closely in touch with the situation as it develops.

Grainger have told us their investigations are continuing, working with Lambeth Council Building Control. Most Charing House residents have been able to return home, but five flats are still to be declared safe; their residents are in temporary accommodation in nearby fully-serviced apartments. Until a full diagnosis by structural engineers, all residents in Charing, Tait & Benson and Winchester Park have been asked to refrain from using their balconies.
HEALTH

The air that we breathe

Air quality is one of the most important priorities for your local Labour team. We've been campaigning alongside many local organisations over the past two years since being elected.

In addition, Lambeth Council has made improving air quality a priority for the borough as a whole. The Lambeth Air Quality Action Plan aims to reduce exposure to air pollution and focus on the actions needed to improve air quality.  

A draft of the plan is currently open to consultation, so please take part and express your views - click here.

Ben has been leading our work in Bishop’s Ward - on getting buses to turn off their engines more frequently when parked on Baylis Road next to Matheson Lang Gardens, and on the introduction of a garden wall at Lambeth North tube station.

We pay tribute to the campaigning work of the Matheson Lang Residents' Association, SoWN, Carole Wright, Ben Stephenson and many other local organisations and individual residents. We are currently producing a Bishop’s Ward councillors' response to the Lambeth Air Quality Action Plan consultation - informed by what you have told us.

And we're delighted to see that Cornwall Road Bus Garage is now joint home to Europe's largest electric bus fleet, launched by Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross.

Cycling...

We continue to support Lambeth Council’s efforts to be the best borough in London for cycling.

We're so proud that Lambeth has more secure cycle spaces for our residents than any other authority in the country, and that the council promotes cycling through Try Before You Bike, Free 1-2-1 cycle training for residents, Dr Bike sessions, bike maintenance workshops and local bike markets. Three of the first seven cycle Quietways - designed as quieter, lower-traffic routes suitable for less confident cyclists - pass through Lambeth, and we 
attended a number of meetings to help in their development.
 

...and St Thomas'

We also support the ongoing discussions around the bus stop on Westminster Bridge. We ourselves are both users of St Thomas’ Hospital and daily cyclists. 

We believe that an eventual solution has to both protect pedestrians and users of the hospital and not endanger the life of a single cyclist. Both these objectives can and must be met, and we're engaging constructively in the process.

Lastly, in the coming months we'll be reporting back on our other remaining cycling related promises for this area.

This Saturday: Car Free Day in Cornwall Road

Lambeth Council is celebrating Cycle Quietway 1 in Cornwall Road - and sustainable travel in general - with a Car Free Day this Saturday (24 September) from 12-5pm, between Stamford Street and the railway bridge. It will include free bike checks, a cycle market, live music, a roller disco and food stalls.

A great loss to our community

Very sadly, the wonderful Dr Patricia Moberly, North Lambeth resident, former Chair of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust and an amazing friend of ours passed away recently.

You can read an obituary on the London SE1 website, and we again express our sincere condolences to Patricia’s family. She will be greatly missed. She was a source of much support and inspiration to us as local councillors and community activists.
LIBRARY

Just the (temporary) ticket

We have been honouring our election promise of working to ensure Waterloo doesn't lose its library because of the tough spending choices forced on Lambeth Council by Government cuts.

We organised petitions, campaigned in local media and lobbied the council's Cabinet, making a passionate case for the need for continued library provision in Waterloo now and in the future.

The council listened to us and, in conjunction with Oasis, a temporary Waterloo Library opened this week on Kennington Road - with council leader Cllr Lib Peck and Oasis' Steve Chalke joining us, local children and residents. Something really positive has come out of very difficult circumstances, given that the Government has cut Lambeth's money by over half. The temporary library has longer opening hours and is already being very well used - it was buzzing when we visited this week. We're hugely grateful to Oasis for stepping up to the challenge and offering its building and staff.

Longer term, we're backing the idea for Oasis to include a new permanent Waterloo Library, fronting onto the square at the junction of Lower Marsh and Baylis Road, as part of its plans for a new Johanna School.
PLANNING

OCCC

It is even more striking, given the collapse of the balcony at Charing House, to reflect that Grainger had a few days earlier revealed revised proposals to redevelop the whole OCCC Estate.  Bishop’s Ward councillors have been involved in the consultation of this process right from the beginning in November 2015. We recognise the huge importance to our local residents – even more so after last week's problems and the huge disruption caused.

Lambeth Estate

Ben and Kevin have been leading our efforts on key issues here recently.

Ben has been liaising with Lambeth Estates Residents' Association about revised plans for a modern extension in the courtyard at EF Language Centre on Roupell Street. We supported residents when they fought the previous plans last year, and we will again.

Meanwhile, Kevin worked closely with LERA and Peabody Stamford Street Tenants' and Residents' Association to oppose a proposal to double the height of Friars Bridge Court on Blackfriars Road, which the Government's heritage watchdog Historic England warned would "visually overwhelm" the Roupell Street Conservation Area. Despite a letter from the Bishop's Ward councillors, and opposition from the neighbouring Cathedrals Ward councillors in Southwark, Southwark Council's Planning Committee approved the application. Kevin helped with a last-ditch appeal to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, signed by all the councillors, Kate Hoey MP, residents associations and others. Unfortunately it wasn't successful, but no stone was left unturned and we've sent a further signal to other developers who propose inappropriate schemes - our community is a force to be reckoned with!

Southbank Place

Jennie led our efforts to ensure that the redevelopment of the Shell Centre site - now known as Southbank Place - is well managed.

Through her persistence and hard work, she won changes to the traffic management scheme for construction vehicles, which had been impacting very seriously on local residents. She will be stay very closely involved with this issue and remains in close contact with those involved.

BFI

This week Kevin was meeting the British Film Institute to get an update on its plans in and around Jubilee Gardens.

The BFI wants to build a new film centre on part of the current Hungerford car park site. The rest of the land is due to be added to the gardens.
SCHOOLS

Say no to segregation

We'd like to share the comments of Oasis founder Steve Chalke - covered by the BBC - following the Government’s announcement on schools reform.

We recognise that residents of this area send their children to a huge variety of schools in Bishop’s Ward and outside Lambeth - ranging from academies and free schools to specialist establishments like King’s College Maths School in Kennington.

We agree with Steve’s comments. We totally support social mobility, but believe that attempts to sift and separate students at 11 years old will be counter-productive. As Steve said, Oasis aims to improve standards "by a ruthless commitment to helping every child reach their potential, regardless of their starting point".

Please sign Lambeth Labour's petition on schools policy by clicking here.
ROUND-UP

Railway bridge mess

On the ongoing issue of bird droppings under the bridge on Juxon Street, we're working with Network Rail and Lambeth Council to find a solution. This issue has proved very difficult to resolve in recent months, and the support and work of local resident Julie Minns in advocating for our local community has been absolutely invaluable. We hope to have an update soon.

Crime and safety

As councillors, we're very, very proud of Labour’s introduction of Safer Neighbourhood Teams, which were designed to allow the local community to interact with and direct the focus of the police. The next meeting of our Bishop's Ward Safer Neighbourhood Panel is on Tuesday 11 October at 10am, and if you would like more information please contact the Panel here.  Again, we stress – get involved with the Bishop’s Safer Neighbourhood Panel... you can help direct the priorities of local police.

Parks pledge

Jennie, Kevin and Ben have signed the pledge for London to become a National Park City - a campaign that's in full swing at the moment.

We are extremely pleased to have been able to make this commitment, which you can read more about here.

Other recent meetings

Over the last eight weeks, meetings we have attended as councillors on your behalf include the South Bank Partnership and a consultation meeting on Lambeth Palace's plans for a new library building.  All of us attended the South Bank Forum, which continues to be a hugely important gathering for our area.
HERE FOR YOU
We are your Bishop’s Ward councillors and we do our very best to work for you with every ounce of energy and determination that we have - week in, week out, not just at election time. We're all incredibly honoured to serve as councillors.

We deal with large number of queries via email, in person at our surgeries and when we're out and about knocking on doors. Since 2014, we've undertaken several hundred pieces of casework concerning a wide range of issues including:
  • Tackling dog mess
  • Managing litter and dirty streets
  • Requests for planting
  • Fighting street crime
  • Reducing noise and disturbance from pubs
  • Appeal letters for school places
  • Dealing with anti-social tenants
  • Housing waiting list issues
  • Repairs not done by Lambeth Housing (or Lambeth Living as it used to be)
Every single phone call, meeting or letter matters to us.
Please do get in touch if you need any other details. Click on the email links below, phone us, or visit our monthly councillor surgeries - at Waterloo Action Centre on the second Wednesday of every month at 6.30pm, or our roving councillor surgery visiting different areas of Bishop's Ward on the last Saturday of every month.
Twitter
Website
Email Cllr Ben Kind
Email Cllr Jennie Mosley
Email Cllr Kevin Craig
Copyright © 2016 Bishop's Labour Party, All rights reserved.


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