News and Views

Select a topic from the menu(s) above, or keep reading for all our latest news and views. You can also download copies of our community newsletters, or read A Green Voice For Southwark, our blog about Southwark news and local issues, with a focus on Camberwell and Peckham.

Ask Southwark Council to declare a climate emergency

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.

 

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Greens call for youth services and community access to Walworth Town Hall

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.

Submit your response to the Walworth Town Hall proposals.

[Read more...]
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North Peckham Healthy Streets

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...]
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Labour Lets Southwark Down Over People's Vote

Caroline Lucas speaklng on People's Vote platformThe 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...]
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Call for London councils to act on idling

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.

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Caroline Russell - an inspiring London Assembly Member

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.

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Autumn Conference 2018

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).

ConfPanorama.jpg

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A people's vote

We support the campaign for a vote on the actual terms of Brexit - a chance for us all to say whether we prefer the deal that has been negotiated or to remain as we currently are.

We marched in June with the campaign for a People's Vote - and there will be even more of us on Saturday 20 October. Save the date, details to follow. www.peoples-vote.uk/march

Something you can do in the meantime is sign the European Citizens Initiative -  www.eucitizen2017.org/ - to retain EU citizenship in spite of Brexit. This is for all EU nationals - pass it on!

Have a look at the information compiled by Green MEP Molly Scott Cato about the people behind the push for Brexit https://badboysofbrexit.com/

 

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Canada Water Masterplan - Planning Application submitted

Just 8 days after the Council elections, British Land submitted its planning application for the Canada Water Masterplan – handily ensuring there was no opportunity to debate it during the election campaign.

Only three sites are set out in detail. Yet as the developer has submitted a “hybrid” planning application, British Land will not require any further planning applications provided they stay within these (very broad) outline plans.

Southwark Green Party has repeatedly raised serious concerns over the Canada Water Masterplan proposals, which have not been addressed.  We are now supporting the wider community campaign opposing the planning application.

See our detailed feedback, and email response template:

https://www.southwarkgreenparty.org.uk/cwmp

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Call in the Elephant decision, says Sian Berry

Greens Shahrar Ali, Sian Berry, Rashid Nix, Liba Hoskin and Caroline Russell on a trip to meet members of the Latin American business community and Elephant Action Network in April 2016.Green London Assembly Member Sian Berry has written to Sadiq Khan about the redevelopment of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre and London College of Communication. She draws the Mayor's attention to serious failings in the developer's plan, including the lack of affordable housing, the loss of space for small businesses and the loss of affordable cultural and leisure space - and the serious implications for protected groups of each of these failings. These failings have been raised by local residents in campaigning and through the planning process.

She writes:

I urge you to take over the application and act as the Local Planning Authority. There is a very strong case for considering this scheme as a strategic and important development with London-wide significance on a number of grounds.

[Read more...]
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No Heathrow Expansion

The decision of two out of Southwark's three Labour MPs to vote in favour of building a third runway at Heathrow airport is bitterly disappointing.
Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) and Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham) have failed to protect their constituents from increased plane noise and air pollution. Worse still, they have increased the chances of catastrophic global warming in years to come, because an expanded Heathrow will stop the UK from meeting its legally binding targets to avert climate change. 
We congratulate Helen Hayes (MP for Dulwich and West Norwood) on taking a principled and far-sighted stand. But our other elected representatives cannot defend their support for this disastrous project.
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Elephant and Castle planning update

Southwark Green Party pay tribute to the many campaign groups and individuals who have managed to get important concessions in the Elephant & Castle development plan. Residents, traders, students, housing activists and support groups have worked tirelessly and deserve everyone’s thanks.

However, the concessions did not include suitable protections for existing traders, nor is there enough truly affordable housing. As such, we were dismayed to see it voted through.

We firmly believe that those who voted in favour have not paid 'due regard' to the equality impact. The Latin American community, who have made the Elephant a vibrant, welcoming home, will be massively affected. Many small business owners fear they will never recover.

The loss of the Coronet, which brings huge diversity of music to the area, and the inadequate plans to temporarily rehome the bingo hall and bowling alley will contribute to the social cleansing of our BAME communities and loss of facilities for older people.

[Read more...]
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Legal action

A flooded street in Thailand, 2011

Who says you can’t deal with climate change in court?

Jonathan Crow QC, Attorney General to HRH Prince of Wales, is one of the lawyers representing Plan B - a charitable organisation - and 11 citizens ranging in age from 9 to 79. They are challenging the UK government over its inaction on climate change. The legal challenge is supported by the Green Party. 

[Read more...]
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Inspiring streets

Left to right: Barbara Pattinson (SE5 Forum), Eleanor Margolies (Southwark Green Party), Magda Devas (Women's Equality Party, Lambeth), Becca Thackray (Green councillor, Herne Hill ward, Lambeth), Jemima Hartshorn (Mums for Lungs)

Eleanor Margolies and Phil Vabulas from Southwark Green Party were delighted to join a study trip to Walthamstow - to walk around the streets that have been transformed by reducing through motor traffic. The walking tour was led by Paul Gasson of Walthamstow Village Residents' Association, and Dan Kelly, a parent and school governor.

The walk took in streets alongside a primary school where children are now able to walk, scoot and play without fear of constant passing traffic, the largest street market in Europe, new squares for community use and thriving parades of small shops.

One of five newly elected Green councillors in Lambeth, Becca Thackray said the visit was: 'A breath of fresh air to see just what can be achieved, in terms of traffic calming, pollution-lowering, urban greening and improving physical, mental and community health'.

More information from Waltham Forest Council here. The Evening Standard reports here on how traffic has fallen by half as a result of the measures.
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Southwark Council election results

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):

Party

%

+/- since 2014

Seats won

Gains/losses

Labour 52.0% +8.0% 49 +2
Liberal Democrat 21.3% +2.0% 11  
Green 13.4% -1.5% 0  
Conservative 10.5% -2.1% 0 -2
Women's Equality Party 1.6% +1.6% 0  
Independent 0.8% +0.8% 0  
UKIP 0.2% -5.8% 0  
Christian People's Party 0.1% +0.1% 0  
TUSC 0.1% -0.8% 0  


Ward-by-ward Green vote share

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Key info for election day

Today, Thursday 3rd May, there is a Southwark Council election. You will choose two or three councillors to serve you for four years.

Who to vote for is an important decision. Here is some useful information before voting.

When you vote, you will be given one ballot paper and told how many votes you have (three in most wards, two in a handful of smaller wards). Mark your preferred candidates. You can vote for all three (or two) candidates from one party or for a mixture of parties.

Southwark Council is currently run by Southwark Labour, with a huge majority of 48 out of 63 councillors. Labour will probably run Southwark Council again in 2018. 

This election is not for an MP, or about the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. This is to choose local councillors to work hard and speak up for you on Southwark Council.

Councils dominated by one party, no matter which party it is, provide worse value for money for taxpayers. If people here choose to elect Green Party councillors, it will ensure balance and scrutiny.

Council elections are also about choosing people who will work hard to make the area better. Green Party councillors will:

  • defend and improve council homes
  • work for more truly affordable, secure housing
  • protect local businesses, parks and trees
  • make streets safe for walking and cycling
  • clean up the air we breathe.

Last time around, in the 2014 council elections, the Green Party came second in one-third of Southwark wards: Camberwell Green, Champion Hill, Faraday, Nunhead & Queen's Road, Peckham, Peckham Rye, Rye Lane and St Giles

You can vote if you’re on the register (and over 18). In these council elections, qualifying Commonwealth citizens and EU citizens resident in the UK can vote.

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm.

Find your polling station: wheredoivote.co.uk

You don’t need your polling card to vote.

Live in St Giles ward, Camberwell? Extra local info

In Camberwell's St Giles ward you have three votes.

This is the Southwark ward where Green candidates have the best chance of getting elected. You can use your vote to add to Southwark Labour's majority on the council, or you can elect three independent, hard-working Green women: Eleanor Margolies, Paula Orr and Susie Wheeldon.

At the last election in 2014, St Giles elected Labour Party councillors. The Green Party was in second place. Votes for other parties are very unlikely to decide the winner.

People in St Giles have the power to put a Green voice on to Southwark Council for the first time since 2010. If you choose to give just one vote to the Green Party, it is the "lead Green Party candidate" Eleanor Margolies who has the best chance of being elected.

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Justice for Aylesbury Estate tenants and leaseholders

Aylesbury Estate demolition underwayBuild more council housing - not unaffordable luxury flats

Temporary tenants need to be able to obtain secure tenancies rather than being shuffled about from one address to another, and so relieving Southwark Council from providing secure tenancies. Secure tenants need to be able to retain their secure tenancies, rather than losing them by being forced to change to a housing association lease.

Leaseholders demand like-for-like replacements for their flats, in the local area – so they can remain with their community, and have no increase in commute to work. They reject any invasion of their privacy with financial assessments, and financial restrictions like the £16k rule. They demand the right to transfer any mortgages at the same repayment level. They should be able to pass on their homes to their children, make alterations, and let out the property if they so wish.

[Read more...]
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We stand against the Aylesbury social cleansing

Labour claim they have built 535 new council homes, while on the Heygate Estate they have already destroyed 941 council homes and they are in the process of destroying 778 council homes on the Aylesbury Estatea total loss of 1,719 council homes. Architect Liam Hennessy says: “When it comes to social housing Southwark Labour is a total loss. The right to return’ on the Aylesbury cannot be taken seriously because the number of council homes to be demolished is 778 greater than being provided on the ‘regenerated’ estate.”

According to the most recent independent monitoring of Southwark Labour Council’s record on council homes, they built a grand total of 13 council homes in the three years 2014, 2015, 2016! (London Plan Annual Monitoring Report 2015-2016, pages 108-109)

Southwark Labour claim they will build 11,000 new council homes by 2043. At the rate of 4.33 council homes per year – from the most recent independent audit of new council homes - it will take Southwark Labour 2,540 years to build their target of 11,000 council homes!

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Liveable London

We support the Liveable London campaign and are pleased to see the London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets working together, showing that we have common interests as people who want safer, more pleasant streets, whether on foot or on cycle.

If elected as councillors, we will do everything we can to implement policies to make it easier and safer to walk and cycle.

Southwark Greens have been working for more action on air pollution in Southwark since 2011. Our actions include:
• triggering the first full council debate on air pollution
• putting up nitrogen dioxide pollution monitors near schools in Peckham, Camberwell and Dulwich
• taking a 500+ signature petition to the Mayor for cleaner buses through our area
• running a free Travel Clinic at Brunswick Park summer fete to help people work out how much they could save by giving up a private car
• planting a pollution screen round Goose Green Primary school playground

More details here.

Southwark Greens have opposed Southwark Council’s plans to demolish Peckham Arch and asked the Mayor to look at how these plans fail to take into account TfL’s identification of a high potential for walking and cycling in Peckham.

We support CS4 - a cycle route going between Tower Bridge and Greenwich - and would like Southwark Council and TfL to work together to fill in the missing pieces. We support the idea of a new bridge across the river for pedestrians and cyclists - the Brunel Bridge. 

[Read more...]
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Helpline no help

Left out in the cold by Southwark Council

Homes on the D’Eynsford Estate in Camberwell were left without any heating for days in freezing weather earlier this year. What really upset residents was that no one answered the emergency helpline at Southwark Council. One resident reported that it was only when they took to Twitter that they got a response from councillors - and then from Southwark Council. A heater was produced for them - but nothing for those who weren't so active on social media. The council demonstrated little care for the many elderly people living on the D'Eynsford on their own.

Reassurance, information about the repair schedule, and practical action like the loan of a portable heater is the minimum tenants should expect. The council’s communication with Southwark residents must improve.

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