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Friday, 28 January 2011

How Lambeth’s proposed budget could affect Prince’s ward


Lambeth Council has been hit by the biggest cuts to local government in living memory. The Tory- Lib Dem Government is slashing funding to Lambeth by a third over the next three years, which includes a 12% cut this year.

The Tory- Lib Dem Government has chosen to target poorer inner-city areas like Lambeth for the biggest cuts. By comparison, wealthy areas like Surrey, Dorset and Buckinghamshire are only facing cuts of a couple of percentage points.

Over the past four years Labour has been proactive in making efficiencies in Lambeth – cutting £30 million from the budget to prioritise frontline services. We now have to make £79 million is savings in a shorter period of time. We will do everything in our power to save money by cutting management costs and the back office, but cuts on this scale will result in reductions to services. We hope new cooperative models of ownership will allow some services to be delivered in new, more efficient ways.

Lambeth’s proposed 2011/12 budget has a sharp focus on residents’ priorities – tackling crime, protecting the most vulnerable, and ensuring frontline services like schools, street cleaning, and youth services are preserved.


Policing
We will continue to fund the extra Council-funded PCSOs on the Prince’s ward Safer Neighbourhoods Team.
A reorganisation of Lambeth Police will mean extra officers released to work exclusively in the North Lambeth Area

Adult social care
Eligibility criteria will not be changed, so the Council will still provide care to those in both critical and substantial need.
Meals on Wheels will continue to provide a daily hot food service

Children and young people
We have protected frontline social workers so they can continue to protect Lambeth’s most vulnerable children
Services for children with disabilities and special needs will be protected
Council-run adventure playgrounds like Lollard Street will stay open, but have their management transferred to the voluntary sector

Libraries
No library closures have been announced, but big savings in libraries need to be made. We pledge to work closely with the Friends of Durning Library to identify savings and new ways of working to try to ensure we can keep Durning Library open.

Environment
Weekly refuse collections will continue.
Recycling will be made compulsory.
Charges will be introduced for green and bulky waste collection
The current road and pavement resurfacing programme will continue, though some smaller potholes will go unrepaired.
Though not directly part of the budget, proposals have already been anounced to increase fees for parking permits

Parks
More events will be allowed in Lambeth’s parks (like Kennington Park and Clapham Common) to generate more income for the Council
The work of the Council’s Park Ranger Service will be split between Grounds Maintenance Staff and the police

Staff
Many residents of our area are employed by the Council. Cutting management and ‘the back office’ means making people’s jobs redundant. There will be significant job losses as management and service structures are reorganised.

Asset sales
Lambeth desperately needs to raise money to pay for crucial capital works – like expanding schools, resurfacing streets and pavements, and improving leisure facilities. We have to sell assets which are not being used fully. In Prince’s ward these are likely to be:

- Beaufoy Institute, Black Prince Road – The Beaufoy has lain empty for many years. Considerable time and money has been spent by the Council on examining options for its use, including a studio school proposal which did not proceed. In the absence of any viable proposals for its use as an educational site the Council proposes to sell the building and the site to raise money for Lambeth’s top priorities.

- Shelley site, Oakden Street – in recent years this school site has housed the Michael Tippett School and the Olive School. It has been empty since summer 2010. The Council does not need the site for further school ‘decants’, and there is no projected demand (or funding) for expansion of primary schools in North Lambeth. A recent survey of residents in the area carried out by councillors indicated that a majority would support selling the site for housing development. We will work closely with local residents on the details of how we go about selling the site, and will support Archbishop Sumner’s School in looking at other options for their aspiration to expand in the future (sadly, no funding is available to meet that aspiration currently).

- Half of the Old Lilian Baylis site, Lollard Street – Thanks to Labour the Sports Action Zone has been using the site for sports and youth activities, and other community groups have used buildings on the site. The Council is working on a proposal to transfer ownership of half of the site to a community trust to continue the sports, youth and community work on the fantastic facilities the SAZ have developed. In the next year we hope to sell the other half of the site (containing the listed school buildings) to a developer to enable a well-designed mixed-use proposal to be developed. Again, we will work closely with the community on the details of this development.

1 comment:

Governor said...

I add this comment to clarify the current position of Archbishop Sumner School (ABS) with respect to school expansion and the Shelley site (mentioned in this post) as I have recently been made aware that this post may have led to some misunderstanding of this.

The current position of the school is that the governing body of ABS is assessing whether expansion, or alternatively staying as we are, would be in the best interests of the school. This doesn't represent an "aspiration to expand". Our assessments are ongoing and no decision on expansion has yet been reached.

This assessment is something that we have undertaken in the light of the strong view held by some members of the local community that ABS should expand. It is obviously of great importance that we make sure we fully understand all the potential implications of the options in order to make the best decision for the future of our school. As such the governing body is carefully assessing many aspects of the implications of expanding or remaining as we are and will reach a decision on the best course of action in due course.

As the Shelley site is currently unoccupied and is very close to the existing school site it would provide a clear opportunity for a potential future expansion and is one option that is being considered by the governing body. Since this post first appeared on 28th Jan the governing body has consulted with councillors and formally requested in writing (on 5th Feb) that Lambeth delay any decision on the sale of the Shelley site for a year, if at all possible within the tight budget constraints and savings targets for this year. This request was made with the intention of securing the opportunity to fully assess the possibility of future expansion onto the site, which would otherwise be lost to the school in perpetuity. Should the delay be granted the ultimate decision on whether or not ABS should seek to expand onto the Shelley site will be based on those assessments.

These reasons for requesting the delay were expressed in the letter of 5th Feb to Cllr Peter Robbins, Princes Ward Councillors, Kate Hoey MP and others.

Julie Minns
Chair of Governors
Archbishop Sumner School

Promoted by David Amos and Joanne Simpson of Prince's Branch Labour Party (Vauxhall Constituency and Lambeth Borough) all at 264A Rosendale Road, SE24 9DL