The Grenfell Tower disaster left the whole nation in shock, but the similarities to Southwark’s own tragic fire in 2009 at Lakanal House, Camberwell, where six died, were startling.
Green activist John Tyson and Green London Assembly member Sian Berry presented a petition with over 100,000 signatures to the Home Office calling on the Government to implement recommendations from the Lakanal inquest. Proposals such as retro-fitting sprinklers, made by the coroner in a letter sent to government ministers in 2013, were largely ignored.
The Council’s response to fire safety has been heavy handed, and caused distress to some residents. Some have raised concerns that the zero tolerance to all outside furniture is too reminiscent of what came in after Lakanal. What about reviews of compartment breaches?
John says, ‘A key lesson from Grenfell was that we need to listen to people. Residents raised concerns that weren’t heard. Our response needs to be to find fire safety measures that are practical, ensure safety, but recognise individual needs.’
As Greens we believe our homes are a fundamental basic right. Whether you own or rent, you want to know you and your loved ones have somewhere to live. And there’s no more important time than over winter.
Green activist John Tyson worked throughout the summer with the Ledbury Action Group to get the Council to commit to rehousing residents and safeguarding their estate, in Peckham. Successive councils had ignored residents’ concerns over building safety, and an engineers’ report finally commissioned this year found that the four blocks were at risk of collapse from a gas explosion.Read more
Greens in Southwark campaign with businesses and communities to protect and improve
Across Southwark regeneration has brought significant change, but who really benefits? The Green Party is committed to making sure locals are given the opportunity to make their areas work for them. Local voices have an expert knowledge of their area, of what needs to be preserved, and what needs to be changed.
- Our activists are helping traders and locals worried about the proposed demolition of the Elephant & Castle shopping centre, which has been a vital community asset for decades
- John Tyson started a petition to save bingo at the shopping centre. Older residents are being discriminated against under current regeneration plans.
- We're supporting locals opposing proposed development on Tam Street until it's shown how it will benefit the community.
- Whilst the Council is proposing to spend £1.2m on Dickens Square park regeneration, we’re asking why they’ve cut their parks teams from 5 to 2.
- Southwark Greens joined local businesses in a cross-party campaign calling on TfL to add a tube station at Bricklayers roundabout to their proposed Bakerloo extension.
- We’re engaging with the amazing Vital OKR, who are working to stop the demolition of crucial businesses and industry on the Old Kent Road.
- Southwark Greens are helping Lokma Restaurant, who want the Council to help preserve Bermondsey Abbey ruins beneath their floor.
Challenging Southwark Council's repairs service
Ever needed a repair from the council? How long did you have to wait? Was it done to a decent standard?
Following our own walkabout, we reported 11 communal repairs on the Rockingham Estate in one day. We believe our council, and their contractors, are failing to keep our homes safe and secure.
Chaucer Green candidate, John Tyson, says, “As a resident of 6 years on the Rockingham, I know first hand the terrible repairs service we have: weeks and months to get repairs done, poor quality, lack of follow up. As councillor, I’d ensure there was a thorough review, particularly focused on finding failing contractors, and reducing wait times.”
John wrote the petition with the Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations that kept the telephone repair line free to call.
So many residents in our communities are making a positive difference, and we’re working hard to support them. The voluntary sector adds an estimated £50bn to the UK economy a year, while unpaid carers save £60bn. We really value all that, and think you’re amazing.
John Tyson, the Green Party candidate for Chaucer Ward says: ‘So many in our community volunteer their time, through local groups, but also as parents and carers. We need to recognise, support and champion them.’
- We’ve been helping Rocking Village plant new flower beds on Rockingham Street – reviving plant diversity and improving air quality.
- We’ve been involved with consultations on Harper Road cycle safety and reducing traffic, working with Friends of Harper Road Triangle.
- Green activist John Tyson is an active member of Tabard Growers, a community gardening project working with residents across Tabard Estate.