Thank you to everyone who has contacted us, supported us and voted for us during this year. We’re really honoured to be your local councillors and aim to help you as much as possible. Here are some of our highlights of 2018.
The Wandsworth council elections were in May and we had hoped that Labour would win the council. We had worked a hard with local residents and community groups to write an exciting manifesto which we were looking forward to delivering. Labour did get more votes that the Tories (123,208 to 121,295), but fewer council seats – 26 out of 60.
Since the election there have been very few new ideas from the Conservatives. Instead of taking action on the environment, housing and building up our local communities that we would have done, there is the same increase on homelessness, constant cuts to community services and children’s centres, and no real changes on our roads to cut pollution.
The increase in Labour councillors has been very welcome – especially new councillors Cllr Clare Fraser and Cllr Hector Denfield here in Bedford ward, and many other excellent new community representatives across the borough. Its exciting to be a part of this team, and its good news for residents.
One of the main issues raised by local residents is too much traffic – resulting in traffic jams, too much pollution, danger to pedestrians and damaged parked cars. We have been working with local residents to make these views known to the council for several years, and following many petitions, traffic surveys, work with Transport of London there is now a proposal for changes to Elmbourne Road to address the traffic there – a full blog about this will follow, and the committee will meet on February 12th at 7.30pm
We will continue to promote cycle hoops and pods, cycle friendly road changes, and address issues of rat-running.
Tooting Common and the Lido
The very hot summer wasn’t fun for everyone in the super long queues at Tooting Lido. We met with council officers and Place for People who manage the Lido to find out what caused the problems and what can be done to fix them. They make plenty of profit and must afford more working card machines and more staff to communicate with everyone queueing – we’ll be meeting with them regularly next year.
Cllr Fleur Anderson stood down from the Tooting Common Management Advisory Committee after 4 years of active membership, and Cllr Clare Fraser has joined the committee. It meets monthly and aims to preserve the special ‘character’ of the common. Do get in touch with Cllr Fraser if you’d like to raise anything about the common. The recent extensive Thames Water works were to fix a leak under the railway by making a new diverted pipe.
Parkrun goes from strength to strength and is a great asset to Tooting Common. The free, timed 5km run (three laps) is run entirely by an army of really dedicated local volunteers each Saturday. Thank you to all the volunteers who make it possible, and encourage so many local people to be fitter and do something good together. We hope that Wandsworth Council will relent and agree to a run in Battersea Park too.
Children’s Centres at risk
In November we found out that the Finance Committee were proposing to close the Triangle ‘stay and play’ sessions as the Boxing club and former One O’Clock club buildings are being leased to a sports café company. This was a shock to parents and staff – and we hadn’t been told either. We informed parents immediately and led a campaign which did result in staffed stay and play sessions being included in the new contract. However, the current sessions will be stopped and aren’t being located nearby during the building work – although we will still keep asking for this. The future of the Hillbrook and Franciscan Roads children’s centres remain under discussion following a consultation which finished in December. ‘Stay and play’ sessions are a really valuable service for children and parents and for community cohesion and need to be protected by Wandsworth Council even in this times of increasing cuts.
We have had some victories on housing and been able to help individual families such as one family who were being moved to unsuitable local temporary accommodation and after intervention now have a permanent ground floor flat that they need. Homeless continues to rise in Wandsworth and families are moved in and out of Bedford ward. If you are at risk of eviction or falling behind on the rent, do get in touch with your local councillor and the housing team as soon as possible.
We have one of the most active Neighbourhood Watch and Safer Neighbourhood Team groups in Wandsworth. As your local councillors, we are engaged members of the group and also regularly respond to reported safety issues. We are very concerned about domestic violence, knife crime and hate crime which do not feature in locally reported issues but affect lots of residents. Moped crime is reducing thanks to police efforts on this.
Action on anti-social behaviour
We have helped a lot of local people with anti-social behaviour issues from dogs to loud music and parties and fly-tipping. The environmental health team seem to be less responsive and are unable to come out during the week, which makes getting evidence of noise hard. We have helped over 100 residents with issues and are supporting several more people.
SW12 and SW17 Neighbourhood Network – podcast launch!!
In April our local neighbourhood network group launched a podcast which you can listen to as you walk up and down the High Road between Balham and Tooting Bec stations. There are interviews with local people and lots to learn – including from the self-styled Mayor of Balham, comedian Arthur Smith.
The Neighbourhood Network met throughout the year, offering a place to meet other local people for a coffee, a toddlers play time and arts and craft activities to do together. From next year they will be meeting at Richards Kitchen, 16A Tooting Bec Road (nr Tooting Bec tube) fortnightly on Wednesdays starting on 9th January from 10.45 – 12. We were very sad that John Waterlow, one of the group’s founders, died suddenly in the summer – he is very missed.
Future Tooting – Environment Event
In April local environment groups held an excellent event looking at local and global environment issues, and we are fortunate to have several active local environment groups – including Transition Town Tooting. We discussed energy efficiency, climate change and pollution together and I hope there will be a follow up event. It has been inspiring to go to several Transition Town Tooting events during the year. They have teamed up with Ravenstone School to start a new greening the playground project which we are pleased to support too.
Tooting Bec and Balham Neighbourhood Forum
The most recent meeting of the Tooting Bec and Broadway Neighbourhood Forum was held in December. The Forum is a group of local residents who are putting together the Tooting Bec and Broadway Neighbourhood Plan. The Neighbourhood Plan is a formal and important document that will help guide planning decisions in Tooting. The Plan will be an expression of the views of all local residents and businesses.
For over a year, the Forum conducted a consultation which asked people what they want more of in Tooting, what they want less of, what they feel Tooting is missing, and what makes Tooting so great and should be preserved. At the meeting in December the first results of this consultation were presented and there were some very clear and interesting trends.
The Forum have been awarded a grant and have used the money to engage Jan Kattein Architects to help develop the next stage of the Neighbourhood Plan.
The Forum is always looking for people to get involved to make the Neighbourhood plan the best it can be. If you’d like more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
Residents Associations for Baringer Square, Rydevale and Larch Close
We have held regular walk abouts in these three estates, with council officers, and lots of improvement have been made as a result – although several cleaning issues are constant problems. We have been trying to support the start-up of residents asssociations in Rydevale Estate and Larch Close, and are confident that this will happen in 2019 – do get in touch if you can be involved.
New Saturday surgeries – come and see us – no appointment needed!
The second Saturday of every month – 11am – 12 noon at St Anselms Church Hall (opposite Tooting Bec station on Tooting Bec Road)
The fourth Saturday of every month – 10am – 11am – the residents meeting room, Baringer Square, opposite 109 Fransiscan Road.
Happy New Year and best wishes for a happy and peaceful 2019,
Cllr Fleur Anderson, Cllr Hector Denfield and Cllr Clare Fraser