A site for residents of Prince's Ward, SE11, in the London Borough of Lambeth. Check for updates from your Labour Action Team's campaigning, local information, and meetings.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Get your Vauxhall Perk Card today

Vauxhall businesses have launched their 'Perk Card', entitling residents and workers in our area to discounts from local businesses.

Go to www.vauxhallvillage.com  to apply for your card today!

Speed table for Lambeth Walk and other improvements for cyclists

The Council are planning to carry out some improvements which should make a significant difference to many cycle trips in our area.

At the junction of Lambeth Walk, Lollard Street and Old Paradise Street (pictured) the existing two raised crossings will be replaced with a single speed table for the whole junction, so that cyclists don't have to bump up and down twice when crossing the junction. The change will also stop vehicles speeding east-west through the junction, and make other improvements to the public realm.

Further north, Carlisle Lane will be resurfaced, which is excellent news for all road users, as it has terrible potholes along its length. The Council will be allowing cyclists to travel in both directions along Carlisle Lane. This will allow cyclists to safely travel more directly and conveniently.

The statutory consultation deadline has passed, but if you have any serious concerns about these proposals please do let us know.

Saturday 23 March 2013

Dozens brave blizzards to enjoy community coffee morning

Despite the atrocious weather, dozens of local residents made it along to our community coffee morning today at St Anselm's Church Hall.

It was great chance for all three local councillors; Lorna, Mark and Steve; to catch up with some familiar and some new faces.

We were delighted to be joined by London Assembly Member Val Shawcross, who listened to residents' concerns about the Mayor of London's plans to close police stations and fire stations. Lots of people signed Lambeth's petition calling on the Mayor to restore 100 police officers to our borough.

Thursday 21 March 2013

Shameless developer tries to slash affordable housing from 31% to 0% at Vauxhall Sky Gardens

As your local Labour councillors we want your help to oppose the scrapping of 75 affordable homes in the Vauxhall Sky Gardens development, preventing local residents who will otherwise struggle to get on the housing ladder to live here in Vauxhall.

We know that local people place a great value on living in mixed communities, with good quality housing that is accessible to people of all income levels. It is vital that we have that balance in new developments too, which is why Lambeth Council has such a tough planning policy that means that they must include as much affordable housing as can be afforded.

The developer of Vauxhall Sky Gardens originally agreed to provide 75 affordable housing units, and are now trying to shirk their responsibility by removing all the affordable housing. We want to make it clear to big developers, both now and in the future, that we won't stand by and let them shirk their responsibility to preserve mixed communities.

Lambeth's planning applications committee has the power to reject the developers attempt to scrap all of the affordable housing in Vauxhall Sky Gardens, backed by the Council's tough policy on affordable housing, but it is important that we help them by showing that the community would be right behind them. So we want as many local people as possible to make their voices heard by registering their opposition to the developers' attempt to shirk their responsibilities, and demand that they reinstate the affordable housing quota.

If you support our campaign then please visit the Lambeth Planning Website and register to make your objection or alternatively write your objection to planning applications using the reference 13/00686/S106, and send it to Lambeth Planning, Phoenix House, 10 Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 2LL.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Prince's ward community coffee morning

We're pleased to announce details of 2013 Prince's ward community coffee morning!

Saturday 23 March
11am - 12:30pm
St Anselm's Church Hall

Please come along to say hello to your local councillors, Lorna, Mark and Steve, and your London Assembly Member Val Shawcross.

Monday 11 March 2013

See the proposals for the podium area around Ethelred Towers

Proposals are being drawn up for new housing, improved environment and an enhanced, relocated Nursery & Children’s Centre on the Ethelred Towers Estate along Lollard Street.

The developers want to show you the ideas and hear your thoughts so that the designs respond to the community’s needs, aspirations and views.

Come along to the drop-in public exhibition where you can see the proposals, talk to the project team and give them your feedback.

Ethelred Estate Youth Club, 7 Lollard Street, SE11 6QH
Wednesday 13 March, 2 - 7.30pm

For more information contact Soundings on 020 7729 1705 or email lollardstreet@soundingsoffice.com

Thursday 7 March 2013

Ofsted judge Lilian Baylis outstanding in all areas

Lilian Baylis Technology School has just been graded as outstanding in all aspects by OfSTED. The report details how the school has been graded as outstanding for achievement, teaching, behaviour and leadership. No other secondary school in Lambeth has achieved this and Lilian Baylis Technology School is one of only two schools in London to achieve this since the new harder Ofsted inspection process was introduced in September 2012.

Over the last 10 years Lilian Baylis Technology School has been transformed. Once considered a failing school it has now proven itself against the most stringent Ofsted framework yet. The school now joins the elite 10% of secondary schools nationally to be graded as outstanding in all areas.

Headteacher Gary Phillips stated ‘this confirms what our parents have known for many years. Lilian Baylis Technology School is a great school that ensures, as the report states, that its students make exceptional progress from their starting points. Students come to Lilian Baylis Technology School and go onto the best universities to study Medicine, Law and Accountancy whilst others go onto great apprenticeships in Engineering or Business. Lilian Baylis does what it says at the front of the school. It transforms the life chances of all its students'.

Chair of Governors, Teresa Clay, stated, ‘I am so proud of all that our students, parents and staff have achieved. They are Lambeth's hidden heroes. They have collectively transformed a once failing school into one of only 2 across all of London with a perfect OfSTED. We will not be resting on this. The Governors and Head are determined that results will continue to rise and that our fantastic new 6th form which is already one of the largest in Lambeth further expands'.

Local councillor Mark Harrison said, 'This is is an incredible achievement for Gary, his team, and the students at Lilian Baylis. It's a truly outstanding school which does amazing work for the students who attend. In Lambeth we should celebrate the fact that the standard of our schools is so high.'

Lambeth Council Tax - frozen for a fifth year

Sunday 3 March 2013

Mark argues against Fire Brigade development at Planning Inquiry

On Friday local councillor Mark Harrison gave evidence to the Planning Inquiry which will decide whether the redevelopment of the Fire Brigade HQ will go ahead. The proposed development is over three sites - the riverside fire station building, the large warehouse site on Whitgift Street, and the small site at the corner of Black Prince Road and Newport Street.

Lambeth's Planning Committee turned down the development last year, but the developer is now appealling that decision.

The Whitgift Estate Residents' Association, the Friends of Lambeth High Street Recreation Ground, and the Kennington Association are putting their own case against the development at the Inquiry, as well as the Council.

Here is what Mark said to the Inquiry:

My name’s Mark Harrison, and I’ve been one of the local ward councillors for Prince’s ward since June 2009. I’ve lived in the immediate area for eight and half years, have been very closely involved in the Ethelred Estate’s Tenant Management Organisation for many years and know very well the problems of worklessness and deprivation which many residents suffer from. I’ve also worked very closely with the Whitgift Estate Residents Association, Vauxhall Gardens Estate Residents Association, and Friends of Lambeth High Street Recreation Ground over several years.

Over time as a councillor I’ve come to realise importance of the KIBA policy (Key Industrial and Business Area) and the need to defend it against incursions. Once the principle is conceded developers have opened a door allowing them to develop a residential scheme. The point of KIBAs is to preserve land for employment. In the Newport Street/ Southbank House KIBA there are many businesses employing local people which, because of the nature of their enterprise, could not share their site with housing – like Costa Coffee (70% employees local), and James Knight (50% local employees). We need to have businesses providing jobs for people living locally – residents of local estates who might have low skills and qualifications but who are willing and able to work in a food preparation facility, a mechanics, a dry cleaning facility, or a shop. Central London also needs sites for services like these which enable the West End and Westminster to function, and minimise unnecessarily long delivery journeys. KIBAs allow us to preserve a mix of employment generating uses and prevents Lambeth becoming an economically dead dormitory suburb.

For these reasons the sacrifice of the principle of a KIBA should only be for the most persuasive of reasons and the highest quality building. This is neither – it’s a development with a hugely negative impact on local communities and few benefits.

In particular the offer of 7% affordable housing is totally derisory. If Lambeth is to compromise on the principle of the KIBA policy, and allow a mixed use development, the development HAS to provide both more employment space AND the 40% affordable housing we expect and demand.

I’m not an expert on viability studies – all I know is that they seem to change with the wind and that I don’t trust them for a second – but to me they are irrelevant in this case. Why should we sacrifice this crucial point of principle because a developer claims the sums don’t stack up? Frankly, that is not the problem of residents of our area. If we are suffer the negative effects of this development, then the least we should expect are a decent number of affordable homes and a decent number of jobs. This does not provide this.

The developer has previously tried to persuade me that the development is great because it will enable the London Fire Authority to pay to upgrade its fire stations across the capital. Obviously LFEPA is keen to upgrade Lambeth Fire Station – but how it chooses to pay to do that is not really a concern of local residents. And upgrading fire stations in north London is certainly of no benefit to residents living around this site. It’s up to LFEPA how it finds the cash to upgrade fire stations across the capital, but residents of north Lambeth should not be singled out to foot the bill. We should not be pressurised into accepting an unacceptable development on these grounds.

This alone would be sufficient to reject this development, but then there is the issue of loss of daylight for the residents of Whitgift House, which residents have spoken eloquently about this afternoon, and which I believe the expert witness Mr Littlefair was very clear would be totally unacceptable. In addition to the residents of Whitgift House and 2 Whitgift Street, we need to consider the damaging effects that plunging Lambeth High Street Recreation Ground into darkness will have. We have worked hard as a community over the past few years developing a fantastic refurbishment plan for the park, which will help make it pleasant and safe, and build a new water feature. We have serious concerns that the dingy light left by the development will hinder plant growth and cause the water feature to moss up; as well as reducing the amenity for park users as it is left in the shade.

I would like to also briefly highlight some of the other objections the three councillors for Prince’s ward made to this application:

We’re particularly concerned by Building G, to the east of the viaduct. The plans were for this building to be entirely affordable housing. We strongly believe this would accentuate social segregation and work against the key planning principle of creating mixed communities. In our area we have a cleavage between the rich riverside strip, and the two large and deprived estates on the other side of the viaduct. This development relegates its affordable housing to the side of the viaduct which already suffers from severe deprivation. Building G should contain more private housing, and more affordable housing should be on the west side of the viaduct. We also feel there has been a missed opportunity to include a retail unit in the ground floor of Building G, which would join one of the few local small local parades of shops (Black Prince Road) which is flourishing and expanding. We also feel Building G has an inappropriate appearance – it is surrounded by handsome and well proportioned Victorian buildings which the current design has no relationship to. It appears the architect has designed Building G as an afterthought, unimaginatively using the same style as the unrelated buildings west of the viaduct, and not even bothering to square off the south side of the site to create a right angled building which would suit its prominent corner plot.

Finally there is the level of parking spaces. I’m not aware if the number has changed since we first objected, but we strongly believe this should be a car free development, with the exception of parking for the fire brigade, disabled drivers and car club spaces. This is Lambeth policy across the borough for all developments, and we particularly feel that this city centre location means residents do not need to add to congestion by owning a car.

Digital Bazaar comes to Durning Library

Digital Bazaar is a free, friendly  neighbourhood event where local people offer training in all types of digital skills including mobile phones, computers, digital cameras, tablets, e-readers and the internet.

It has been running with great success at Tate South Lambeth Library since 2011 and is now also running at Durning. Drop by between 10am and 12pm on Saturday 9 March and have all your digital queries resolved!

100 more police

Lambeth Council has launched a campaign calling for the Mayor of London to provide an additional
100 police officers for Lambeth to make our streets safer.

The Mayor of London is responsible for policing across London. According to his own figures the number of police officers in Lambeth has fallen by 20 per cent since 2010. That’s the biggest
reduction of any London borough. Lambeth had 1,052 officers in May 2010, but just 838 by December 2012, meaning we lost 214 police officers in that time.

A fair deal for Lambeth

While Lambeth has suffered a 20 per cent reduction in police numbers, other boroughs like Hammersmith and Fulham has only seen a reduction of five per cent. Lambeth residents pay just as much for the police, through the Mayor’s portion of the council tax – we are entitled to get our fair share of police. 100 more police officers would mean Lambeth being treated like other London boroughs and will bring us in line with the London average. We think that’s a fair deal.

Five reasons why we need 100 more police officers for Lambeth

1. Local policing works for Lambeth and we know community confidence comes from good, local, visible policing. 100 more police will let us continue to combat crime at a local level.

2. We are at the forefront of tackling violence against women and girls. 100 more police will allow us to continue this vital work.

3. We have the second highest robbery rates in London and are in the top three boroughs for serious violent crime. 100 more police will mean putting resources where they are needed most.

4. Residents need to know we are serious about ending the cycle of gang crime. 100 more police will send a clear message that gang violence will be stopped.

5. The fear of crime is the top concern for our residents yet we are facing the biggest reduction in police numbers of all London boroughs. 100 more police will show residents we are on their side.

What’s the alternative?

The Mayor of London has set out his proposals on policing at www.london.gov.uk

Get involved

The Mayor of London will make a final decision on police numbers by April. You can make your voice heard by signing the petition.

Big Dig at Bird Walk

Local volunteers are working to improve the alleyway between Wincott Street and Oakden Street, which we are planning to rename Bird Walk.

Bird Walk has been registered with The Big Dig 2013- A nationwide event on Saturday 16 March along with 65 other growing spaces in London, joining another 200 community gardens from 27 other towns and cities in the UK to engage local people.

The Big Dig Day is all about getting people down to their local community garden to get growing. Whether you are new to gardening or an experienced gardener we need your help to make your local community garden grow. With the help of generous, local people this previously unloved alley in Kennington is being transformed into a 'given garden' created with donated local plants.

What is happening:
First spring season planting -If you could donate seeds, a cutting or a spare plant. If you have an oversized plant maybe we can help you divide it? All we ask is that you are keen to see it in another garden - a public garden for the benefit of all.

When: 16/03/2013  Time: Working party from 11am - 1pm
Where: Wincott Street/Oakden Street SE11 6SQ

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