Dr Eleanor Margolies, a South Londoner who has lived in Camberwell since 2002, is a writer, researcher, and well-known local campaigner. She was chair of her estate’s Regeneration Project Team for five years, fundraising for a community garden and the estate's first cycle lockers, helping to organise two Big Lunch street parties, and successfully advocating for residents over recycling bins and road safety.
In 2014, Eleanor led a citizen science project to study air pollution with pupils at Dog Kennel Hill School and scientists from King’s College London. "Children and the elderly are most at risk but we’re all affected. Southwark Council should be lobbying Transport for London to clean up local buses and get diesel fumes out of our playgrounds."
Eleanor loves discovering local history, quiet streets and new cafes by walking. She created a guide to Camberwell art and parks and has led walks for the public. She is a member of the Cycle Joint Steering Group on Southwark Council and campaigns for safe cycle routes and secure bike parking. In her spare time she volunteers with Wheels for Wellbeing at the Herne Hill Velodrome.
Eleanor was the Green parliamentary candidate for Camberwell & Peckham in 2017. Eleanor says: "I've lived in this area for more than 15 years. I have a proven record of getting things done, from raising £50,000 to create a community garden to running a citizen science project on air pollution.
"As your councillor, I will work for a healthy environment for us all by cutting air pollution and putting safety first on our streets. I will work for easy, effective recycling that doesn’t clutter pavements. I will support more investment in youth services and better communication with residents. With an eye for detail, I will hold Southwark to account. A Green voice on Southwark Council would mean a voice for a fairer, healthier and more efficient Southwark."
Latest news featuring Eleanor Margolies
In the Southwark Council elections on 3rd May 2018, Southwark Green Party's lead candidate Eleanor Margolies achieved 31% of the vote in St Giles ward. Her tally of 1,420 votes - a 13.8% swing to the Greens since the 2014 election in this ward - fell just under 700 votes short of the 2,118 votes which elected the third of the three Labour councillors in the ward. [Full St Giles result...]
Southwark Labour increased their majority on the council even further, winning 49 of the 60 seats declared so far (with the election for the final three seats delayed). Southwark Lib Dems have won 11 seats, while Southwark Conservatives have lost their only two seats on the council.
The Green Party is now in second place in 10 out of the 23 wards in Southwark, taking 13.4% of the vote across the borough and cementing their place as Southwark's third party.
Borough-wide vote shares (with 22 of 23 wards declared):
+/- since 2014
|Women's Equality Party
|Christian People's Party
Ward-by-ward Green vote share
Greens taking direct action to improve our area
Some of the work Green activists have done locally:
put up air pollution monitors near schools in Peckham, Camberwell and Dulwich
- petitioned the Mayor for cleaner buses through our area
- run a free Travel Clinic at Brunswick Park summer fete
- reported flytipping
chased Thames Water on 4 water leaks, speeding up the repair of a leak that had been gushing for weeks over a pavement on Dalwood Street
- reported 3 abandoned bikes for reuse by charity
- got protection for damaged trees on McNeil Road
- planted a pollution screen round a school playground
- asked the Mayor to challenge the council’s plans to demolish Peckham Arch – we want it to stay.
Why do councillors ignore residents' views?
Last year, Southwark Council ran a consultation on its proposed 'Southwark Spine' cycle route. Local people and road safety experts said the designs would make cycling more dangerous, especially around Bellenden Road. In fact, 63% of people who replied opposed it.
But just before the election was called, one of the Labour councillors for this area, Ian Wingfield, signed off the scheme.
Eleanor Margolies says: "This makes a mockery of the idea of consultation. The Southwark Spine was meant to make cycling safe for all ages, from 8-80. Hundreds of people took the time to write in with their concerns. I can’t believe Cllr Wingfield has ignored us all. I will listen to residents and fight for a better scheme that reduces motor traffic and is safer for everyone."
The playground of Goose Green Primary School in East Dulwich is full of activity: there’s a water area where children can create rushing rivers or meandering streams and a music station with percussion and wind instruments, as well as plenty of joyful running about for no apparent reason. But the playground is adjacent to a very busy road carrying 5 bus routes, a main route between Camberwell and the South Circular. It’s one of 1,148 schools in London within 150 metres of roads carrying 10,000 or more vehicles per day.
In 2017, David Jennings and Eleanor Margolies, members of Southwark Green Party, measured nitrogen dioxide levels outside the school as part of an area-wide study.
Eleanor Margolies slams council inaction on Camberwell house
A four-bedroom house in Camberwell has been left unoccupied for 20 years.
Local resident Eleanor Margolies said, "In 2002, I contacted Southwark Council about this house. I was told that the council was “in negotiations” with the owner. It's a scandal that the house is still empty and rotting away 15 years later. This is a shocking waste when so many in Southwark are in need of a home."
Local councils can make a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) of unoccupied buildings. Or they can use an Empty Dwelling Management Order — they have to pay to refurbish the building but keep the rental income afterwards.
Southwark Council has received funds from Transport for London to create Quietway 7 from Elephant and Castle to Dulwich. The Quietways are designed to be safe and pleasant for people aged 8-80, of all abilities, for trips to school, work and shops. No lycra required! The changes will also improve the streets for people on foot, including new crossings along the route, and wider pavements outside Brunswick Park on Benhill Road.
But contractors working for Notting Hill Housing on Edmund Street put in two new humps along the Quietway route – and made them the wrong shape!
Camberwell & Peckham Green News previously reported on the campaign by local residents for a crossing of Denmark Hill at Love Walk – first consulted on by Southwark Council way back in 2011.
Eleanor Margolies says: "I’ve been asking council officers to update residents about their plans for Camberwell. In October, I spotted an official Traffic Order for the new crossing. When it’s built, this will make it much safer to get around – especially to King’s. But there’s still nothing about the start date on the council website. Communication could be so much better!"
Eleanor has been working with the ‘Green Growers’ group, volunteers who help Southwark groups that need help with their community gardens. The group has planted vegetables on the East Dulwich Estate and revived a herb garden on the Rockingham Estate near Elephant and Castle.
In Camberwell, they weeded Benhill Road Nature Garden, trimmed back shrubs ready for the winter, picked up litter and cleared the pond of weed.
Eleanor calls for cleaner buses and a zero emission delivery scheme
Local people have been telling us they are worried about air pollution and want fewer cars and trucks passing through their streets. Southwark Green Party measured nitrogen dioxide pollution. It was more than twice the legal limit in Camberwell, and way above the legal limit outside many local schools.
Eleanor Margolies says: "This is an urgent health issue. Over 500 people signed our petition to ask the Mayor of London to clean up dirty diesel buses. And Southwark Council needs to take action too. The council should:
- Keep long-distance traffic to main roads, not residential streets
- Support zero emission delivery schemes
- Tell drivers how they can help by turning engines off when they stop for a minute or more."
Southwark Greens support the cross-party local campaign for a tube station at the Bricklayers' Arms.
At a well-supported demonstration on Saturday 4 November, Peter Wright from Living Streets demolished the claim that it would be ‘too close’ to other tube stations – it’s farther to any of the nearby stations than the average distance on the Bakerloo line. Simon Hughes pointed out that the original plans for the Jubilee line didn’t include a stop at Southwark – now a very busy station. Caroline Pidgeon pointed out that major investment and disruption are already proposed for the construction of a ventilation shaft - constructing a station would be a relatively small additional cost. And a tube station need not be a large building, since most of the business happens below ground – Bermondsey tube station is a good example of this.
Eleanor Margolies from Southwark Green Party affirmed the local party’s support for a station at Bricklayers' Arms and asked for it to be set in the context of local travel needs.