Walworth Green Party candidates Liba Hoskin, Liam Hennessy and David Powell joined Lina Usma for a chat on her Latin American community podcast.
You can listen in at https://www.mixcloud.com/mujeresaldia/green-party-candidates-southwark/
The first minute is a Spanish-language introduction by Lina, before the other candidates are introduced in English.
Nearly 20% of Southwark’s 63 councillors work as lobbyists, found 2013 research by journalist Anna Minton.
One of these is East Walworth Labour councillor Rebecca Lury, who works as a managing director for public relations (PR) firm GK Strategy. Her firm has a specialism in advising development corporations seeking contentious planning permission from local councils. Councillor Lury volunteered support for planning permission for Trafalgar Place (Elephant Park phase 1) with social housing quotas slashed in favour of fat profits.
Two former leaders of Southwark Council, Jeremy Fraser (Labour) and Nick Stanton (Lib Dem) went on to similar lobbying/PR careers. Independent local campaign group The 35% Campaign has collated numerous similar examples at 35percent.org/revolving-doors.
Private Eye magazine reported that many companies have wined and dined Peter John, current Labour leader of Southwark Council. Freebies accepted from developers Lend Lease include two £1,600 tickets to the London Olympics opening ceremony, and an expenses-paid trip to Cannes for a property show. Lend Lease are building £2.5m penthouses on the site of the demolished Heygate Estate.
Following ongoing community pressure, the planning application to demolish Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre and London College of Communication will now not be reconsidered by councillors until after the local election on 3rd May.
Southwark Labour pushed through the previous controversial demolition of the Heygate Estate two months after winning a council election.
Latin American community newspaper editor Lina Usma said:
Historic Walworth Town Hall, and Newington Library next door which houses the Cuming Museum, suffered significant damage in a fire in 2013. In 2015 plans were drawn up for redevelopment of the buildings, but Southwark Council has now paused these plans. They were costed at around £40 million, almost twice the original budget. Evidently there was no adequate fire insurance policy despite both these Edwardian buildings being Grade 2 listed.
Labour-run Southwark Council has published a glossy website walworthtownhall.com proclaiming an “opportunity” for “investors, developers, businesses, organisations or other consortia” to express interest in “play[ing] their part in reviving this historic gem”. The council proclaims willingness to consider “ancillary and complementary commercial uses” alongside arts and culture uses retaining “some genuine public access to... parts of the site”.
Southwark Council leader Peter John stated there was “no alternative” to displacing existing communities and building only 3% social rented units throughout the Elephant & Castle Opportunity Area (OA). He was wrong in principle and in fact.
I would counter this regressive OA model with a Green Economic Zone. “We need local economies that put communities first, and provide opportunity, dignity and well-being. Whole rivers of wealth run through local places. We need to capture it, because it already belongs to us,” say progressive economic thinkers CLES.
North Walworth Green News
Local Green Party volunteers hand-deliver copies of our printed newsletter North Walworth Green News to thousands of local letterboxes. (There are some gated flats whose letterboxes we may be unable to access to make a delivery.) You can download issues of North Walworth Green News as PDF files here:
North Walworth ward candidates
The Green Party candidates for North Walworth in the Southwark Council elections on Thursday 3rd May 2018 are Peter Baffoe, Guy Mannes-Abbott and Lina Usma.
Peter Baffoe is Southwark born and bred. He works as a community development officer for a small charity based in Bermondsey. He is husband to Winnie and they have three "adorable" children. Having grown up in the borough, through his work in a local charity and role as governor at a Southwark primary school, Peter sees the impact of decisions made by the government and local council on the vulnerable, young and old. He has witnessed the positive development in Southwark, but believes more sustainable and equitable approaches are required in matters which impact our communities such as housing, employment, education, recreation and the environment. [Read more...]
Guy Mannes-Abbott is a writer whose work often performs in visual arts contexts, and a former AA School of Architecture lecturer. He has lived on Balfour Street for 27 years, latterly with Sanna, a Swedish architect, and their two boys aged 17 and 5. Guy led what became a community campaign to force the Council and Lendlease to recognise the public welfare or commons value of the 458-tree urban forest on the old Heygate Estate, which produced planning precedents and saved 182 trees. Beyond that Lendlease are some 900 trees into 1600 mandated replacements planted through the neighbourhood. There were and are alternatives to Southwark’s approach to "regeneration", and Guy stood up for objectors to the Heygate Estate demolition at Planning Committee in 2013, in dramatic contrast to two of the sitting councillors who at the time were happy to support a 3% social rent scheme, with 20% car spaces in a car-free regeneration. He is a new school governor at Friars School. [Read more...]
Lina Usma, originally from Colombia, has been in the borough of Southwark for nearly 20 years. She is the director of Extra Media, a company based in Manor Place. Lina has been involved for many years with the local communities, as she was a Community Development Support Officer at CAS where she had the opportunity to be in touch with many local organisations. As a local tenant and a member of the Latin American Community, Lina is fighting to make sure that community businesses are protected and are not displaced. She is also a trustee in Su Mano Amiga, aiming to help victims of Domestic Violence in Southwark and Lambeth. She is keen to support any initiatives related to women, sustainability and community development as she knows women have so much to offer.
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