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Latest news and views from Walworth Green Party
After the 2014 local elections, Southwark's Labour-run council promised they would build 1,500 new council homes by the end of 2018. Now Councillor Mark Williams, lead for regeneration and new homes, has admitted "we will not be meeting this target".
Only 400 new homes will have been built - less than one-third of the local Labour promise. Southwark Labour's 2014 manifesto had promised 11,000 new homes, but it didn't say how long they would need to meet this pledge. It has since emerged that the Labour-dominated Council's official homebuilding targets stretch to the year 2043 - 25 years away from now.
"Before the application we hadn't seen local councillors for 2-3 years"
Diverse small traders facing displacement in Elephant & Castle regeneration are already having their livelihoods damaged by Southwark Council indifference. The Latin American community hub remains particularly at risk without proper guarantees.
Elephant Artworks boxpark will be closing down by the end of this year to make way for new flats. Developers Delancey are offering a 'new' boxpark as replacement temporary accommodation for displaced Shopping Centre businesses. Yet Elephant-based lawyer Adriana Hoyos Rojas, Latin community rep in the Elephant traders' deputation, said: "We first heard about this on social media. We've not been told the cost, quantity or duration of units in the 'new' boxpark. Traders have no information about notice to vacate. Legal advice offered to traders is not independent.
In December, property developers Delancey put in an application to demolish Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre and London College of Communication. Councillors on Southwark Council’s Planning Committee refused to approve the plan, yet accommodated an eleventh-hour promise from Delancey to make an improved offer. This means the committee will hear the proposal again this month.
Meanwhile, the Shopping Centre is being run down, conveniently bolstering the claimed 'need' for demolition. Certain entrances are now being closed during trading hours (right). Empty units are no longer available for re-let, enhancing a 'ghost town' feel. Escalators have been left broken for long periods. Pedestrian access has been unsatisfactory since removal of subways. Yet the building is structurally sound and could be imaginatively refurbished, re-landscaped and re-clad. This would avoid nine years of environmental destruction, intense construction noise, degraded local shopping and leisure facilities, and enormous disruption to nearby residents' home delivery access.
Walworth’s air contains levels of a harmful pollutant which greatly exceed European and World Health Organisation standards, shows new research by Southwark Green Party.
Laboratory analysis of air samples taken by local Green parliamentary candidate John Tyson last autumn found nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels at Bricklayers Arms (where New Kent Road, Old Kent Road and Tower Bridge Road meet) were nearly double the EU limit. Studies have shown that excessive NO2 worsens shortness of breath, coughing and lung inflammation, particularly for people with asthma.
We all know the answer to “Opportunity for Whom?” Disregard for existing communities has been the keynote of the Elephant & Castle Opportunity Area. The Mayor’s new London Plan has big ambitions, in particular the target of 65,000 new homes a year, delivered mainly through additional Opportunity Areas across the city. But they will fail unless London stops ignoring or actively displacing existing communities in so-called regenerations, and instead puts them first. A formal recognition of Existing Communities would include a Right to Community, with clear definitions of community and a set of subsidiary rights, including to clean air.
This is an opportunity for change: combining big principles, clear entitlements, and a guerilla localism to bring the benefits of development home.
Keep the community together, say local campaigners and Green Party
Aylesbury residents have been fighting plans from Labour-run Southwark Council to demolish their homes. The second public inquiry is due to complete in April. Across the Aylesbury, 2,700 council homes are to be destroyed. None will be built in their place. Previous experience of the Heygate demolition suggests council tenants will be rehoused in scattered locations across Southwark, losing their communities while rents may increase.
Aylesbury Estate homeowners are being hit with Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) which will force them out with payoffs much too low to buy any other property in the area or even in London. The UK Government previously recognised that Southwark’s plans breach the homeowners’ human rights.
The Walworth community is fighting to save one of the last surviving Victorian scene-painting studios, based at 'Flints' at the Queens Row. Harkers Studio housed a local business which served both the theatre industry and the wider arts community. Labour-run Southwark Council has granted planning permission to redevelop the building into flats and office space, without much consultation.
The cluster of around 100 Latin American businesses in the Elephant & Castle area continues to fear for its future. The Latin community has been here for decades, adding hugely to local cultural and community life. There are many Latin businesses in Elephant Shopping Centre, most of them family-run.
Southwark Council is due to decide on Tuesday 16th January on permission for demolition and redevelopment of Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, plus the London College of Communication (LCC) site. If permission is granted, property company Delancey plans to begin demolition work in September 2019.
200 objections have been lodged by the local community to Delancey’s current redevelopment plans. The Green Party’s submissions highlighted numerous features which many local people find unacceptable:
North Walworth has been subjected to years of “regeneration”, resulting in very scarce public benefits but staggering profits for Lendlease. The next phase of “regeneration” at the Shopping Centre only acknowledged the existing traders and community after the offshore developers submitted their planning application. Is there really no alternative?
North Walworth Green News
Faraday Green News
Walworth local candidates
Below is information about the Green Party candidates for Walworth wards.
North Walworth ward candidates
The Green Party candidates for North Walworth in the Southwark Council elections on Thursday 3rd May 2018 are Peter Baffoe, Adriana Hoyos Rojas, and Guy Mannes-Abbott.
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...]
Adriana Hoyos Rojas is a Colombian-born qualified lawyer who has lived in the UK since 2002 and in London since 2007. She has spent the last five years working directly with immigrant communities. She founded a law firm which specialises in immigration law and supporting Colombian businesses, based in Elephant & Castle since 2012, plus the BriCol Lawyers Association. Adriana is currently a leading advocate for the local Latin American community in their ongoing fight to retain a viable Latin Quarter in a redeveloped Elephant & Castle. [Read more...]
Guy Mannes-Abbott is a North Walworth resident and an author whose work often performs in visual art contexts, including his critically-acclaimed In Ramallah, Running (London 2012). He once taught theory at London's AA School of Architecture, and his cultural criticism has been published widely in publications including The Independent, The Guardian, New Statesman, Architectural Review, and Middle East Monitor. He is a core member of the Gulf Labour Coalition. [Read more...]
Faraday ward candidates
The Green Party candidates for Faraday ward in the Southwark Council elections on Thursday 3rd May 2018 will include Ignas Galvelis and Liba Hoskin.
Ignas Galvelis is a longtime supporter of the Green Party. He has participated in green campaigns in London, Southwark as well as Bristol. He is standing in Faraday ward to fight for the rights of Aylesbury Estate and other social tenants, local leaseholders and to address the local concerns of health, environmental pollution and social inequality. Ignas has built and maintained technologies to help solve medical and environmental challenges. He volunteered in environmental and technological non-profit Focus Fusion Society for more than a decade and helped raise money for critical research components to provide an alternative clean, green and plentiful energy source to address the social issue of energy poverty. Ignas profoundly cares about universal social and environmental equality and putting people before profits. [Read more...]
Liba Hoskin is a Walworth resident of 30 years, and coordinator of Walworth Green Party. She is a retired maths teacher, and mother to three adult children. A housing campaigner, she is active in Alvey TRA, Elephant Amenity Network and Southwark Defend Council Housing. She has volunteered in local parks to help improve local green spaces. Liba stands for investing in education, culture, sport, youth and adult care - as a means of saving on health and crime expenses, and increasing residents' quality of life. She supports cleanup and investment in public transport, secure cycling routes and quietways, planting and maintenance of trees to improve air quality. She wants to preserve and invest in good quality council housing stock, as a best means for providing secure and sustainable housing. She stands for rent control, and against socially and environmentally wasteful demolitions of council estates and the breaking up of communities. [Read more...]
Newington ward candidates
The Green Party candidates for Newington ward in the Southwark Council elections on Thursday 3rd May 2018 will include Betiel Mahari and David Powell.
Betiel Mahari is a single mother of two children, aged 10 and 11. She works in retail on a zero-hours contract. Betiel lived on the Loughborough Park Estate in Brixton for 11 years, until her family lost their home when the estate was completely demolished in a £75m "regeneration" scheme. She was forced to leave Brixton, with huge disruption to her family. Betiel's health has been affected and she describes her life as "totally ruined". Betiel is now fighting to stave off being evicted for a second time, because her "affordable" home in Newington is not affordable. Betiel says: "'Affordable' rent is a con. It's set at 80% of market rents, not according to any measure of actual affordability. The cap on Housing Benefit payments means I won't have enough money coming in to maintain our family's tenancy." She is passionate about social housing, and how important it is to maintain it. Betiel is now standing for the Green Party because of its commitment to social housing and providing everyone with a safe and affordable home. [Read more...]
David Powell's area of interest and expertise is education. He has lived in Walworth and Kennington for over 30 years, and his sons went to a local primary school where he has been a Governor for over ten years. A performing musician, David does some teaching for Southwark Music Service, and has done instrumental teaching as well as short music projects in many Southwark primary schools. He is also Director of Music at a local Parish Church which contributes to a local Food Bank, and hosts projects for asylum-seekers and homeless people. David wants to bring about a change in local housing policy. He says: "Many people in this area feel powerless to influence decision-making by a remote Council, ignored and marginalised." [Read more...]
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