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A group of Southwark Green Party members joined friends from neighbouring Lambeth at City Hall a few weeks ago at Mayor’s Question Time. These take place through the year and it is when AMs (Assembly Members) get to quiz the Mayor and hold him to account on a range of issues.
A question handled by Siân Berry was simple: How will you reduce the amount of waste London generates? Missing from Mayor Khan’s answer was anything relating to concrete actions or targets for reducing London’s waste.
Southwark Green Party objects to the proposal by Dolphin Living for the old Hunnex site at 35-39 Parkhouse Street, in Camberwell, just south of Burgess Park. This is for a 6-10 storey building with 100 flats.
This is one of several applications for tall buildings around the perimeter of Burgess Park, risking permanent destruction of the habitat and character of the park. (We have previously objected to the earlier Burgess Business Park proposal.) It is important not to set a precedent by approving this application.
Our key objections to this application are:
1) the buildings are too tall, in breach of Southwark Council policy
2) the residential density is too high, also in breach of policy
3) the development would have a detrimental impact on Burgess Park in terms of biodiversity and public use
4) lack of local public transport.
We support the building of new homes for social rent, but this development would be 65% market rent and only 15% social rent. There is no shortage of unaffordable homes in Southwark! In initial public consultations, the developers proposed to provide 50% 'affordable' homes, but this has now been reduced to 35% (the minimum required by Southwark).
Hello! I’m Claire Sheppard and I want to represent Camberwell and Peckham as your MP. I think it’s time for a change and for real action on the climate emergency.
Peckham has been my home for nearly 20 years. It’s where my husband and I chose to get married, start our own businesses and raise our family. I’m a local campaigner, volunteer and activist with a deep love and respect for the area.
Some of the community just got here, some have been here all their lives. What we all have in common is that we want to live in an area where the community is strong and united – and all of us want the best for each other.
- runs her own business, working from the Bussey Building in Peckham
- is an active shareholder in The Ivy House, London’s first co-operatively owned pub
- runs Nunhead Rocks community group
- set up the local branch of the Nunhead Women’s Institute and has been President three times
Her background and experience
- degree in politics and English literature
- professional experience working with government departments on campaigns for school dinners and healthy eating, and against drink driving, alcohol and substance abuse
- has run her own market research business for 7 years
Defend the NHS
Four years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I was treated with supreme care at local hospitals but I could see our NHS was creaking at the seams. That’s why I support the Green Party policy of protecting and investing in the NHS. We pay for public services, we use them, they belong to all of us.
Yes to Europe
Inequality, austerity and lack of investment in communities were the underlying reasons people voted to leave the EU. The Green Party will tackle those problems head on. We need a People’s Vote to let voters have the final say on their future, based on the facts as they are today.
No to climate change
The Green Party’s Green New Deal will replace fossil fuels with clean energy, build energy efficient new homes and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Only the Green Party is committed to making Britain carbon neutral by 2030. Vote Green to make our society work for everyone.
I love the people, the Peace Wall, the libraries, the microbrewers and microbakers and micropublishers, the parks, the dogs, the Coal Line. I love the view from One Tree Hill, the view from the cemeteries, the reservoirs, the Bussey, the car park, my living room window. I love how much all of those views matter to those who live here.
I love our independent bakers, cafés, florists, butchers, pharmacists, corner shops, dry cleaners, car washes, art trails, fetes, dog shows.
I adore all the choirs, crafting groups, the W.I., the fitness groups, quizzers, park runners, the dog walking community. I love our sports teams, especially Dulwich Hamlet FC.
Young people are leading the charge in the fight against climate change. Our individual actions aren’t enough, we need Green voices in Parliament and in every council to enact real change. We don’t have time to muck about.
Follow us on Twitter @SouthwarkGP @ShinyShep
New opportunities to make a Green vote count in Southwark
Uniting to Remain, Lib Dems step aside for the Green Party's co-leader Jonathan Bartley in Dulwich & West Norwood, while Hannah Graham of the Green Party steps aside in Bermondsey & Old Southwark.
The co-leader of the Green Party, Jonathan Bartley, has been selected to fight the seat of Dulwich and West Norwood in South London at the general election. The other Remain parties, the Lib Dems and Change UK, will not contest the seat as part of the 'Remain Alliance' organised by Unite to Remain. Voters in this constiituency have the opportunity to make history and elect London’s first Green Party MP.
The constituency of Dulwich & West Norwood is shared between the boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth. Both boroughs had high votes for 'Remain' in the 2016 referendum, with Lambeth polling at 78% and Southwark at 73%.
In the recent European elections in Dulwich and West Norwood, Remain parties (Lib Dems, Change UK and the Greens) received 64% of the vote. Labour achieved 19%, the Brexit Party 10% and the Conservatives just 4%.
In Bermondsey & Old Southwark, the Green Party will not field a candidate in the upcoming General Election, as part of a national series of electoral arrangements with the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru.
This decision was not made lightly. Following a motion at the Green Party conference to enable national negotiations, and detailed local discussion, Green Party members in the constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark were balloted on their views. We deeply regret that voters in some constituencies, including this one, are being denied the chance to vote Green.
In this climate emergency, it is more crucial than ever for the country to have more Green MPs. But in a First Past The Post voting system, smaller parties lose out. Voters feel disenfranchised, unable to vote for their real first choice. That's why we have always supported Fairer Votes, and a reform of the voting system.
A series of electoral arrangements has been made in a handful of constituencies across England and Wales to ensure the Remain vote is unified and to help elect more Green MPs in places like the Isle of Wight and Bristol West. We welcome the reciprocal action by the Liberal Democrats. This does not mean that the Green Party agrees with the Lib Dems on all issues or endorses their manifesto. A summary of the Green Party political programme can be found here.
Green Party candidate Hannah Graham is stepping aside in Bermondsey & Old Southwark. She said:
‘While I am very sorry not to be able to stand to represent people living in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, I believe this arrangement is the best way forward for local people. It shows that Greens are willing to work with other parties for the common good.
‘I will continue to support Greens in the general election campaign in Southwark. I will be heading over to Dulwich and West Norwood where Jonathan Bartley is standing. He’s a well-known spokesperson for the national party and a councillor in Lambeth. I will also be supporting incredible local activist Claire Sheppard who is standing as the Green Party candidate in Camberwell and Peckham.
‘I urge Green supporters from all over Southwark to support Jonathan and Claire. Have a look on greenparty.org.uk and southwarkgreenparty.org.uk to find out what’s happening near you, and follow @SouthwarkGP on Twitter and Facebook.’
Hannah Graham is also a candidate on the Green Party list for the London Assembly. This is an election conducted under a proportional voting system and voters across Southwark will be able to vote for Hannah to become a London Assembly member, joining existing Green Assembly Members Sian Berry and Caroline Russell, in May 2020.
Your Green Party candidates in Southwark
Camberwell & Peckham
Nunhead resident and local activist Claire Sheppard will be standing for the Green Party. Claire set up the Nunhead and Peckham branch of the Women's Institute, and campaigns for climate and social justice.
Dulwich & West Norwood
Jonathan Bartley is co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, a councillor in St Leonard's ward, Lambeth, and Leader of the Opposition on Lambeth council.
More information about Jonathan and his campaign can be found here.
Protect our trees – and plant many more
Most of us feel a deep sense of loss when trees we're used to seeing every day are felled. Unfortunately, that's an experience all too familiar in Southwark, where many trees have come down over the past decade. The council's own figures show a net loss of around 1,400 street trees between 2013 and 2017 alone.
Southwark Transport Plan Annual Monitoring Report, 2016/17, p.45
Southwark Green Party has long campaigned to protect trees and green spaces. We welcomed the chance to reply to Southwark Council's recent consultation on its vision and objectives for tree management. The consultation has now closed, but you can read the draft Tree Management Policy on the council's consultation hub.
In March 2019 a motion to declare a climate emergency was passed unanimously by Southwark’s Council Assembly and committed Southwark to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Southwark Green Party believes the council's policies on tree planting and management should be driven by this target. To achieve this, it is essential that mature trees are protected and many more trees are planted along our streets, on estates and in parks.
We were disappointed to find that Southwark's draft Tree Management Policy contains no mention of either the 2030 target or the declaration of a climate emergency. The document suggests that trees are something to be managed, while bringing "environmental benefits" and contributing to "local character". But trees can do so much more! Large-scale planting schemes could transform our streets, estates and green spaces, and play a crucial role in absorbing greenhouse gases and tackling the climate crisis.
So how can Southwark make this happen? Below are some of our proposals.[Read more...]
Part of Green Dale. Photo: Friends of Dog Kennel Hill Wood
Southwark Green Party has submitted an objection to the planning application to build a new stadium on Metropolitan Open Land on Green Dale. This Site of Importance for Nature Conservation is in East Dulwich, roughly between the large branch of Sainsbury's on busy Dog Kennel Hill and the pedestrian and cycle-path between Champion Hill and Dulwich that's also - very confusingly - known as Green Dale.
We were proud to give German MEP Terry Reintke a badge celebrating the long friendship between Dulwich Hamlet and the German club Altona 93, on her visit to Peckham this summer.
We support Dulwich Hamlet Football Club as a pillar of the local community, and celebrate its special character as inclusive and socially progressive. But we are not convinced that this plan is any more sustainable for the club than previous ones, and would rather see investment in the clubhouse, bar and sports centre to help support the club.
Where will the local footballers and fans of the future go for a kickabout, when the proposed Multi Use Games Area is just 5% of the size of the existing free access astroturf pitches?
Local resident and Green Party member Eleanor Margolies has written about the value of Green Dale for local residents here and the Friends of Dog Kennel Hill wood have written a thorough account of the many reasons for objecting to this proposal here.
We gave Southwark Council the following key reasons for our objection:
1. Undermining protection of Metropolitan Open Land
The loss of Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) has become a worrying trend in recent years. The Council for Protection of Rural England's 2014 Green Belt Review notes the large volumes of open space that have been lost in London since 2009, with MOL accounting for the largest proportion of this.
Open spaces in general and MOL in particular contribute significantly to the physical and mental health of residents of Southwark and of London. The MOL designation, as you will be aware, is is intended to protect areas of landscape, recreation, nature conservation and scientific interest which are strategically important. Green Dale was designated as MOL for good reason, and twice previously developers have been refused permission to build on Green Dale fields. The intention to protect it should be upheld. The coherence of policy should thus be maintained, along with the integrity of protected designations.
This is a point that we have made before in previous applications (March 2017) relating to this site, so it's disappointing to see a further application that seeks to overturn this principle. We hope the council will not entertain such backwards steps.
2. Loss of community and social benefit
The current use of the site adjoining Green Dale for Dulwich Hamlet Football Ground and the open astroturf pitch is part of an arrangement to compensate the local community for the loss of open space when the Sainsbury's supermarket was built. Again the recognition of this social contract needs to be respected rather than overridden by any new development, lest Southwark becomes a borough where the needs and amenities of local communities are constantly eroded.
The borough of Southwark has one of the highest levels of adult and child obesity in London, with more than 40% of children overweight and obese when they leave primary school, compared to 33% nationally. Nearby facilities for informal sports have been taken away (e.g. for building new blocks on the East Dulwich Estate) making the public 'turn up and play' pitches on Green Dale more essential than ever.
The proposed Multi Use Games Area MUGA is 5% of the size of the current astro turf pitch. This reduction in publicly accessible sports facilities goes against policies 2.1 'Enhancement of community facilities' of the Southwark Plan 2007, Strategic policies 4 'Places for learning, enjoyment and healthy lifestyles' and 11 'Open spaces and wildlife' of the Core Strategy 2011, and Policy 3.19 'Sports facilities' of the London Plan 2016."
3. Unique character of Green Dale scrubland
The London Wildlife Trust views Green Dale's area of unspoilt scrub and grassland as unique in inner South London. Southwark Council have designated it a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. At a point where the benefits of re-wilding parts of our environment are increasingly being recognised across London and around the world, the developers' proposals threaten to take Green Dale in the opposite direction. Southwark could lose a unique area that supports - according to ecological assessments - foraging birds, bats and small mammals including hedgehogs. The developers' 'investment' risks turning this into a sanitised identikit space of the kind already spread across the borough.
High numbers of Southwark residents live in flats with no access to garden space. Green Dale is adjoined by two large council estates (circa 1,500 flats in blocks) and provides a crucial opportunity for local children to experience the natural world through professionally led bird- and bat-watching walks, supervised conservation work and independent exploration.
4. Further policy conflict
We note that Southwark councillors unanimously declared a climate emergency in March this year, with the aim of making borough carbon neutral by 2030. Doing away with protection of MOL and green spaces would undermine efforts to meet that target.
5. Compensatory benefits are questionable
We support the growth and prosperity of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club. However, we do not see clear evidence that the new larger stadium would be more sustainable for them than the current one. We do not want to see the club bite off more than it can chew by taking on new overheads that it may not be able to afford in the long term.
Friends of Green Dale The site includes reports on the wildlife and trees on Green Dale
The proposed expansion of Heathrow and London City airports would be an environmental catastrophe. It would mean more plane noise, more pollution, more congestion on our roads. Increases in greenhouse gas emissions would make it impossible for the UK to meet even its current, inadequate commitments to address the crisis of the global rise in temperatures.
The construction of a third runway at Heathrow (in effect, a new airport adjoining the existing one) would have the most damaging environmental impact of any new infrastructure project in Britain. It will result in 750 more flights a day (280,000 a year); the destruction of around 750 homes; two new car parks with 24,000 and 22,000 parking spaces; diversions of the M25 and A4; the rerouting of local rivers; and loss of habitats at wildlife areas including Staines Moor, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Increased disturbance from flight paths will impact Southwark residents, along with millions of people across London, including many who are not currently overflown.
At London City airport in the Docklands, expansion plans would almost double the number of flights, affecting some of London's most heavily overflown communities, including parts of Southwark. The current respite break from 12.30pm Saturday to 12.30pm Sunday would be scrapped and there would be more early morning and late evening flights.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign against London City's plans, Caroline Russell, Green Party member in the London Assembly, said: “Londoners' lives are made a misery by aircraft noise. It’s really important people have their say to stop any expansion at City airport, especially into the weekends when flights are currently banned. It’s shocking that residents have to organise and campaign to keep their peace and quiet.”
Despite what the airports claim, neither of these projects is bound to go ahead – they can be stopped if public opposition and pressure on politicians is strong enough. So how can you make your voice heard? Both Heathrow and London City are now carrying out statutory consultations on their expansion plans (Heathrow closes on 13 September, London City on 18 October). We recommend you don't reply via the airports' websites, where "leading" questions in the online response forms encourage support for the plans, alongside misleading claims of sustainable development.
You can, however, state your opposition to airport expansion by replying directly by email to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also sign online petitions organised by local campaign groups:
If your MP is Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham, email@example.com) or Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark, firstname.lastname@example.org), it's important to send them copies of your replies to the consultations. Both these Labour MPs backed the Heathrow third runway in last year's parliamentary vote. Helen Hayes (Dulwich and West Norwood, email@example.com) has so far opposed airport expansion.
Further information from:
View of St George's Church from Burgess Park
We have objected to the 10-storey development proposed for Burgess Business Park in Camberwell primarily because it is too tall, and will overshadow Burgess Park, harming the new wildlife area and the enjoyment of the park by local people. Burgess Park is both ecologically important and a vital breathing space for people living in densely built up areas of Southwark along the Walworth Road and Old Kent Road. This is only one of several schemes planned for Parkhouse Street. If passed, this development would set a precedent for other inappropriately tall buildings along the boundary of the park.
Overshadowing newly planted wildlife areas
Burgess Park is designated as Metropolitan Open Land and a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, and under Southwark Council’s Core Strategy should have protection from inappropriate building. The height of this proposed development raises serious concerns, given its location adjoining the park, and in particular the wildlife area of the park (which has recently been replanted at significant public expense).
The proposed development is sited with insufficient set-back from the boundary of the park and will adversely affect biodiversity, causing damage to tree roots during construction work, impacting on nesting birds and other wildlife, and overshadowing trees and other planting.
Protect mature trees as part of the response to the Climate Emergency
The tree survey commissioned by the applicant and undertaken in June 2016 fails to give sufficient consideration to the ecological value of the trees within or adjacent to the site, which form part of a green corridor linking the park with the church and surrounding streets. In March 2019, Southwark Council Assembly voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency, committing Southwark to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. To meet this target, it is essential that mature trees such as those adjoining 21-23 Parkhouse Street are protected from inappropriate redevelopment.
Breaching the aims of the New Southwark Plan
Southwark Green Party is not opposed in principle to the redevelopment of Burgess Business Park. However, we object to this proposed development, which – at 10 storeys high – fails to preserve the character of the existing area, in breach of the stated aims of the New Southwark Plan. The surrounding conservation area is comprised mainly of two-storey Victorian and Georgian houses, in some cases grade 2-listed, and includes St George's Church (1824).
The proposed development will be obtrusively visible from within Burgess Park, destroying the special character of tranquillity and tree-lined horizons found in the park now.
Southwark Green Party welcomes the increase in social rented housing to 50% in this revised planning application, and recognises that this exceeds the minimum 35% affordable homes under Southwark Council’s planning policies. However, we note that density is higher than the maximum 700 habitable rooms per hectare set out in Southwark’s Residential Design Standards Special Planning Guidance (2015). We are also concerned that the workspaces available for artists to rent will be smaller and more expensive than those in the building currently occupying the site.
The Burgess Business Park site has the potential to deliver much-needed affordable housing and workspace but redevelopment must not come at the expense of the existing community, green spaces and the council’s own Biodiversity Action Plan. We therefore object to this planning application.
Southwark Green Party made a formal response to the planning application for 21-23 Parkhouse Street, SE5 (Planning reference 19/AP/0469) making the above points.
In March 2019, Southwark Council passed a motion to ‘do all it can to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030’. Transport is the biggest single source of carbon emissions in our borough, so we need real leadership on transport to change the way we get around and deliver goods.
Here are some proposals from Southwark Green Party for the kind of interventions we will need to meet the target of going climate neutral by 2030.
1. Green our streets
Southwark's own reports show that the borough has lost 1,000 street trees in the last ten years.
We would make sure all these lost trees are replaced, and plant new trees to absorb carbon and clean particulate pollution from the air. By replacing a car parking space with trees, cycle parking and parklets using Sustainable Urban Drainage principles, we would both improve the air locally, offset emissions and adapt to higher rainfall, reducing the risk of flash flooding.
2. Put low and zero carbon travel first
We'd radically improve conditions for walking and cycling for people of all ages and abilities. We would do this by making streets accessible to cars but not convenient as short-cuts. We’ve seen this work in Walthamstow, where traffic levels fell by 56%.
We’d create bus and cycle ‘gates’ that make taking the bus faster than taking a car or Uber. This would be useful on the Walworth Road, by Blue Anchor Library, and on Thurlow St. The council could ask TfL to do this on streets controlled by TfL, like Borough High St and on Duke St Hill by London Bridge.
We would deliver a cycling network that meets Londonwide quality standards by 2025 and create Low Traffic Neighbourhoods across the borough to prioritise walking.
Van Gogh Walk, a low traffic street in Lambeth.
3. Manage parking better to influence transport choices
We propose a rush hour ban on loading/unloading for combustion engine vehicles to reduce peak hour congestion and encourage use of zero-carbon freight cycles. We’d support freight cycle services by providing micro consolidation hubs. Team London Bridge are helping businesses based in their area to find cargo bike services that suit them. Cargo bikes take up less space than vans and offer more reliable journey times, as well as putting out zero emissions.
Photo from https://www.outspokencycles.co.uk/london-bridge-cargo-bike-expo/
At the moment there’s a confusing range of ‘click and collect’ services. We’d produce an interactive map of the best places to pick up parcels rather than getting them delivered to work or home.
Southwark has fewer Controlled Parking Zones than most other London boroughs. We think CPZs are a good way to reduce the dominance of our streets by parked cars, to help ensure car owners can park nearer home, and to discourage the most polluting vehicles.
A small but emblematic action: while parking places are needed near shops, why does Southwark Council offer private car-owners a Christmas bonus with free parking on shopping parades? Instead, we'd encourage everyone to shop local with incentives for walking and cycling, like free cargo bike deliveries along the lines of the Waltham Forest Christmas Courier.
4 Enable lower & zero emission movement
We need investment to help people choose an alternative to the private car. We would roll out the TfL Cycle Hire scheme to include the whole area within the Overground in Southwark (i.e. including Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill & Rotherhithe) by 2022. We’d work with companies providing e-bikes and e-cars for whole borough.
We support the idea of TfL taking control of south London railway lines to improve reliability and quality of the service. And we need big improvements to key stations like Peckham Rye that still shamefully have no step-free access. Denmark Hill has more passengers per day passing through it than Nottingham – and is dangerously overcrowded at peak times.
Buses, vans and cars travelling at lower speeds takes less energy, and improves safety for pedestrians. We’d make the council fleet of vans and cars, as well as their subcontractors, use Intelligent Speed Adaptation. We’d push for it to be rolled out on local buses by TfL too.
5. Engage people
It’s hard to know how we’re doing as a borough, with figures buried in official reports. So we’d create a live digital dashboard showing annual reductions in emissions and daily progress in getting people travelling actively - like a smart meter for Southwark transport. How many people are cycling down the Walworth Road today? How many delivery companies have changed to electric or pedal power? We'd talk to neighbours and community groups from early on about their ideas for the methods and locations for measures to reduce traffic and air pollution. We'd test out ideas using temporary, colourful materials – try it out with straw bales and paint for a month before installing concrete slabs!
How will we pay for it?
Getting drivers to pay a fairer contribution to the costs they impose on us all will encourage other forms of travel. All the money raised from parking charges has to be spent on transport improvements, so they help improve other forms of travel. Consider how much we are paying now to keep things as they are. Asthma alone costs the UK health service at least £1.1 billion each year, with the health service in Southwark particularly badly affected. And there's a heavy human cost too. We can’t carry on with business as usual. It’s killing us.
Other parts of our plan simply involve a redirection of money that Southwark Council already receives from Transport for London.
Some of these ideas might seem a bit off-the-wall – but measures introduced by the London Assembly like the Congestion Charge and the Ultra Low Emission Zone have been established without any of the chaos predicted by some commentators.
We’d love to hear your thoughts.
The Movement Plan approved by Southwark Council in 2019 (download here) claims to be a bold vision to change how we get around the borough over the next 20 years. How does it measure up in the light of Southwark Council’s declaration of a climate emergency at the end of March 2019?
Let’s start with the good news. We’re told that 77% of Southwark people who were surveyed support reducing traffic. And there’s an exciting sounding policy to introduce street closures to reallocate space for people. But as we read on, what sounded like a commitment to deliver more healthy streets turns out to be a commitment to ‘explore’ acting – is this code for commissioning more studies from consultants? In fact the whole document falls down on a lack of detailed commitments and deadlines.
Will the Movement Plan really help us to walk and cycle more?
Many more people would like to cycle if only it felt safe, rather than having to jostle with drivers cutting through residential areas.. Similarly, many people hop on the bus for a short journey because the alternative – perhaps a noisy, polluted, grubby street with a pavement that’s a bit too narrow for comfort – just isn’t appealing. Imagine how different it would be if you positively chose to walk those ten minutes because it gave you a chance to go through a small park, pick up groceries or walk side by side, chatting with friends. (This is called, in the jargon, ‘suppressed demand’ for walking and cycling).
It’s cheering to see here a map of the full cycle network proposed in 2015 in the accompanying Local Implementation Plan (under 'Action 4'). But no quality standards, funding or delivery deadlines are proposed - so about as useful as a freshly painted cycle logo on a rat-run. Nor does it show TfL's proposed routes, including the flagship Rotherhithe Bridge. (The Mayor pulled the plug on the Rotherhithe Bridge in June - Caroline Russell has called for a free ferry crossing to be put in place quickly instead).
There’s a new walking network map, but it lacks routes, particularly in the southern half of borough and on the Rotherhithe peninsula. And with funding focused on 'fun' interventions and promotion, maybe this will be a 'virtual' network, something you will only see with an Augmented Reality app?
It’s great to see that the council plans again to allow contraflow cycling on all one-way streets. Initially proposed in 2015, the only thing that has happened since is that the council lost the money it had earmarked for this. But there are no actions related to equality in cycling – making it possible for all ages and abilities to cycle safely. And the text is far too vague when it comes to promises to extend 'the cycle hire schemes' across the borough. Maybe that’s because the clear commitment to do so in Southwark Labour’s 2014 manifesto still hasn’t been met. We all know there is a massive hole in the availability of Santander hire bikes in London – and that hole is in Southwark!
Transport for London map showing hire bike docking stations in red. (Interactive version here)
So tell us, Southwark Council, will you invest in getting TfL hire bikes installed all the way to Rotherhithe and Camberwell? We don’t want another debacle like the Mobo and ofo bike hire schemes, which had to be abandoned after a less than a year. We want to be part of a reliable, London-wide scheme. Tell us where and by when we can expect them!
You’ll never miss a target if you never set one
When it comes to targets, the Movement Plan is seriously disappointing. There is still no target to reduce motor traffic before 2041. With Southwark Council having passed a motion to ‘do all it can to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030’, and emissions from the transport sector being the biggest single source,we need real leadership on the actions that will make that possible.
The Movement Plan does include a target to reduce 10% morning peak freight traffic by 2026. In other words taking seven years to reduce traffic by 3% for three hours per day! The Belgian city of Ghent reduced all rush hour motor traffic by 12% in just the first year of its 'filtered permeability' plan.
Progress in reducing collisions on Southwark streets has stalled since 2013 and has now gone into reverse. But there are no new actions proposed on road safety other than ‘working with the police’ and installing moped anchors to secure powered two wheelers safely’.
What would we do? Read our proposals for cutting carbon through changing the way we get around.
Are you wondering where to get started with Southwark Greens? Have you tried a Third Thursday social? Third Thursdays are a great way for a new member to meet fellow Greens, as I discovered last week.
A group of us gathered at The Remakery, a not-for-profit maker-space under a block of flats off Coldharbour Lane. Over coffee and nibbles we introduced ourselves and I was relieved to find that I wasn’t the only newbie. We were then welcomed by Dylan, a volunteer and resident maker, who gave us a brief history of the transformation from burnt out garages to creative community.
Then it was time for a tour the facilities – spaces for woodworking, metalwork and upholstery as well as a communal kitchen, fitted out with salvaged materials for just £45. Members can subscribe for 10, 20 or 30 hours a month - membership starts as low as £18 for 10 hours a month. (Full details here.) If you need advice or a helping hand, the resident makers like Dylan are there to guide you. If you want to learn new skills there are regular courses. Guitars from old tables, tables that began life as scaffolding planks, a menagerie of animals fashioned from old paint tins filled the corridor, ready for the upcoming open studio weekend.
The highlight for some of us was the Aladdin’s cave of donated, scavenged and salvaged materials at the far end of the space. Members can take their pick – anything from a high value piece of hardwood for a creative project to an offcut to practise drilling and sawing.
The conversation flowed, connections were made, ideas sparked. And this newcomer even found herself inspired to write about it!
Photos: Bartley Shaw
The next Third Thursday social will be a picnic in Burgess Park on Thursday 18 July, 6.30pm. All ages welcome.
Supporters of the Green Party are out and about in Southwark delivering copies of this letter from Caroline Lucas. Sadly, we can't get round to every single door in Southwark, so if you want to deliver to your street/block of flats, drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our leafletting sessions here.
Below is the leaflet we're delivering.
Southwark Green Party submitted today its objections to the Canada Water Masterplan. Despite further changes made by the developers in response to mounting local opposition, the vast majority of our serious concerns remain unaddressed, and we continue to support the wider community campaign opposing the planning application.
See our detailed feedback, and email response template:[Read more...]
We welcome action by the London Assembly, Lambeth Council, Bristol City Council and other city councils around the world declaring and committing resources to tackling the Climate Emergency and becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Southwark Greens are petitioning Southwark Council to declare a Climate Emergency and review the council’s current carbon reduction plans to establish the actions needed to be compatible with 1.5 degrees warming and to bring the timescale forward from 2050 to 2030.
Further we ask the council to call on government and the Mayor of London to give Southwark Council the powers and funding to enable Southwark Council to become carbon neutral by 2030.
The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published in October 2018, describes the enormous harm that a 2°C rise is likely to cause compared with a 1.5°C rise, and confirms that limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C may still be possible with ambitious action from national and sub-national authorities and others.
Please sign the petition and pass the link on to friends and neighbours.
Southwark Council is consulting on proposals for the redevelopment of Walworth Town Hall, following the fire that destroyed its roof in 2013. Responses are invited from individual members of the community, as well as neighbourhood groups. The deadline is Monday 21 January.
Two proposals are presented for consultation. Both would see the building leased to a private developer for 250 years.
Louise Young, coordinator of Southwark Green Party, said, "We're saying that the local community deserves a wider range of public-focused and community-led uses than is envisaged in either of the two proposals. These proposals put the emphasis on commerce, through private event hire and a restaurant, ahead of public uses that are part of the building's heritage. We support the Walworth Society's ideas to house the Newington Library, Cuming Museum, a reference library and archive space, as well as to provide a venue for community talks, meetings, films, performance. We want to see this historic building continue at the centre of public life, and don't want to see these resources pushed into lower quality buildings."
We are submitting a Southwark Green Party response to the five consultation questions, as outlined below. Please use this as a resource, where helpful, to build your own response.[Read more...]
We've just responded to Southwark Council's consultation on proposed changes to streets between Burgess Park and Commercial Way. Some of our members took part in the three public walkabouts and workshops last year to identify problems in the area.
Eleanor said: 'It was the first really integrated transport consultation process I'd taken part in - thinking about walking, cycling and parking together. There was also valuable input from Dutch transport consultants who brought a very positive attitude and some new ideas.'
Problems identified included:
- the dangerous crossing of Peckham Road from Kelly Avenue to Lyndhurst Way, where cyclists get no clue as to when it's safe to cross,
- the hostile atmosphere for cyclists on Commercial Way - especially noticeable when other sections of the route (Kelly Avenue, Chandler Way) are pleasant for walking and cycling because there's access for residents and deliveries in motor vehicles but no through traffic,
- lack of capacity for an increase in the number of people cycling via Burgess Park - and thus the need for safe routes on the parallel roads (East-West on St George's Way and North-South on Wells Way),
- the need for cycle routes that are safe 24 hours a day, i.e. benefitting from the 'eyes on the street', rather than being directed through Burgess Park,
- commuters parking on St George's Way early in the morning before heading into central London, with vehicles blocking parking for local residents,
- vehicles for sale parked up on Wells Way.
It's really good to see how the proposals have taken on board the observations made by people on those walkabouts.
What's more, the council is making use of an 'experimental' approach with its suggestion for changes to St George's Way. The changes will be open for public comments for 18 months before a decision is made whether to make a permanent change. This is a really welcome approach. Local residents can experience the difference, rather than having to make a decision based on drawings.
You've got till Friday 11 January to respond - do send in your comments if you live in this area or walk/cycle through (or would, if only it was safer). It doesn't take long, and you can choose just to answer on sections relevant to you.
Read on for details of our response ...[Read more...]
The people of Southwark voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union (1). But at the final full Southwark Council meeting of 2018, we saw Southwark Labour toe the party line to come out against supporting a People’s Vote.
You would be forgiven for thinking it’d be a no-brainer. After all, alongside our residents’ vote, two of the three Southwark Labour MPs support a People’s Vote, and Southwark Greens and Lib Dem councillors have been calling for the Council’s support from the beginning.[Read more...]
Along with over 400 Londoners, community groups and businesses, Southwark Green Party has signed a letter initiated by campaigning group Mums for Lungs to unite local councils in the fight for clean air.
The letter urges local councils to apply for the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund in a bid to protect children from illegal levels of air pollution by working collaboratively to address 'idling' – stationary cars with their engines running. The letter was sent to Lambeth, Southwark, Richmond, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Islington, Camden, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Bromley, Barnet, Lewisham, Ealing, Hounslow, Haringey, Croydon and Merton councils.[Read more...]
When Caroline Russell first became a transport campaigner in the early 1990s, she was courted by both Labour and the Lib Dems to stand in local elections. But, she says: “I knew I always trusted what the Greens said on transport.”
Twenty-five years on, Caroline is a councillor in Highbury East ward, Islington – the only Green on a council that is otherwise 100% Labour. With Sian Berry, she is also one of two Green members of the London Assembly and chair of the assembly’s environment committee, holding mayor Sadiq Khan to account to ensure he delivers on promises to reduce air pollution and make travelling around London safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
Caroline works tirelessly for environmental and social justice, and we were delighted to welcome her as our guest speaker at Southwark Green Party’s AGM, held on 15 November at the Albrighton Centre, SE22.[Read more...]
Southwark Greens were in Bristol from 5-7 October for the Green Party's 2018 autumn conference, with a schedule packed with training sessions (e.g. canvassing masterclasses, guidance on writing newsletters and leaflets), policy working groups (e.g. "Tackling period poverty in young people", "Animal sentience and the Animal Welfare Act") and fringe meetings ("What do we want for our schools?", "How Green is Corbynomics?" and much more).