April news

News below on: Dr Johnson Avenue proposed trial closure, 20mph speed limit consultation, housing waiting list issue, Neighbourhood Network Wednesdays.

Update on Dr Johnson Avenue Proposed Trial Closure

The consultation closed on Friday 15th April and by two days before this I was informed that there had been 2,500 responses. The officer in charge of the consolation has told me that these will be assessed and a paper will be written for the Community Services Oversight Committee meeting on June 7th at 7.30pm. The agenda with the papers normally come out one week in advance and so we can expect the paper and recommendations to be published on 1st June. 

Dr Johnson Avenue proposed closure – consultation ends THIS FRIDAY, 15th April

Do have your say on the proposed closure by taking couple of minutes to go online by Friday: click here to go to the Dr Johnson Wandsworth consultation.

Thank you very much to the over 100 people who came to the public meeting about this on March 22nd. It was hard to find a venue big enough, very local and available for that night so thanks to everyone who found the venue at the Seventh Day Adventist Church behind Balham Boulevard. It’s very big and welcoming church and new to us!
In response to hearing from many local residents, the main aims of the meeting were to share information about the background to the proposal and on-going process, and to hear each others opinions. We were able to do thanks to the high attendance at the meeting. We also aimed to create another forum to submit comments into the consultation, and to enable local Councillors to hear your views. The notes from the meeting, with a summary of issues raised, will be sent to the Council in advance of the consultation deadline as it attached here.
There was a report about the meeting in the local Guardian:
20mph Cross Borough Speed Limit
20mph limits are proven to make roads safer

20mph limits are proven to make roads safer

There is a consultation on this happening as well. Although we have been successful in getting a 20mph speed limit in our ward, we felt that it was really confusing to have a patchwork or roads around us some of which are 20mph and some of which are 30mph. It doesn’t help to change driver’s behaviour or enable police to enforce these. So please take a minute to increase the response to the consultation by going here: click here to go to the Wandsworth consultation.

Housing issues
Rosena and I support many people with all sorts of housing issues – do get in contact with us if you have a housing issue we can raise on your behalf and support you with. This month a local lady reached the top of the housing list after waiting 8 years, but had some real housing difficulties and needed to ask the Council for emergency temporary accommodation. Then she was told that if she does this, she will no longer be on he housing list. I am sure and hope that this must have been a mistake, but is very distressing indeed for the lady concerned – who now needs the housing place more than ever, not less. I hope that this will be sorted out and I will report back.
Network Neighbourhood Wednesdays
Our wonderful local neighbourly group is going from strength to strength and the monthly toddler group followed by coffee mornings for everyone has gone to being weekly. Do drop in between 9.30 and 11.30 to meet other local people. Its is at the Scout Hal on the corner of Elmfield Rd and Balham High Road, opposite Du Cane Court. We always have great conversations and its nice to connect with other people.
Children Services Changes – including to the Triangle and Balham Nursery
A lot of changes are currently about to be made to Early Years Provision across the Borough, and following the closure of the wonderful One O’Clock Clubs three years ago, we’re very worried.
We have a lot  of questions that we are asking Council officers about what the changes will actually mean, and we are committed to campaigning for universal, local stay and play services. If you are interested in finding out more, please email us: fanderson@wandswoth.gov.uk, rallin-khan@wandsworth.gov.uk
Bicycle Parking outside Trinity Medical Centre
A local resident told me that he’d had his bike stolen from outside Trinity Medical Centre and that there should be cycle parking hoops there. This is the Medical Centre and Pharmacy near the Ritherdon Road junction with Balham High Road where is plenty of pavement space and nowhere to secure bikes. I’m glad to say that the Council and Transport for London agreed with my request and have said that they will install cycle parking there in the next 3 months. If you know of another spot where you think there should be cycle parking let us know.
Monthly Drop In Surgery
We have a monthly Bedford ward surgery on the third Saturday of every month upstairs in Balham library – do drop in between 10am and 11am. We’ll be there on Saturday 16th April.

Information about the Dr Johnson Avenue Proposal

Information on the Dr Johnson Avenue Proposal

I’ve posted below answers to commonly asked questions compiled by Cllr Candida Jones, and a letter the Labour Councillors wrote to the Leader of the Council rising issues of concern about the consultation, and the response we received today. There is also a map of the consultation area.

Q and A

The answers below have been provided by Wandsworth Council in answer to various questions it has been asked and by Ravi Govindia, the Leader of Wandsworth Council

Motivation for the proposals

Why propose these changes? Dr Johnson Avenue’s tarmac could be removed and be replaced with grass and trees, creating a larger open space and providing a safer route for pedestrians and cyclists.

Does the Council intend to start charging for the car park at the end of Dr Johnson Avenue? There are no powers currently available to the council to control the use of the car park. One option that has been mentioned is that if Dr Johnson Avenue is blocked up and re-designated as common land then a land swap could take place with the car park and if that became re-designated as highways land instead of common land then parking control measures could be introduced following statutory consultation. However, there are no proposals for this at present.

Modelling

Which roads were included in the modelling? Aldrington Road, Bedford Hill, Bushnell Road, Church Lane, Elmbourne Road, Fransican Road, Furzedown Road, Garrad’s Road, Mantilla Road, Mitcham Road, Mitcham Lane, Moyser Road, Rectory Lane, Ritherdon Road, St James’s Drive, Thrale Road, Topsham Road, Trinity Crescent, Ullathorne Road, West Drive.

What does it show? Big decrease for Thrale Rd, West Drive. Big increase for Garrads Rd – around 30% in both directions for both rush hours. Over 40% increase in Northbound traffic on Mantilla Rd in the evening rush. Up to 28% decrease in Elmbourne taffic in the two rush hours but an increase of 34% in the morning and 65% in the evening for Southbound traffic in Elmbourne Rd. 

Consultation

How many responses were there to the first consultation? 678, of which 58% in favour of closing Dr Johnson Avenue

When does the current consultation end? April 15

How many responses received by the Council so far?1,451

Which roads have received leaflets from the Council about the consultation? Adams Mews, Avoca up to Topsham, Balham High Road (up to Elmfield Road), Barringer Square, Bedford Hill (from Elmfield to Garrad’s Road), Birchwood from Furzedown Drive to Daleside, Brandreth, Brookview, Bushnell, Carmina, Cheriton Square, Chetwode, Childerbert, Church Lane from Mantilla Road, Clairview, Cloudesdale, Colson Way, Dafforne, Dr Johnson, Drakefield, Elmbourne, Foulser, Foxbourne, Franciscan up to Mantilla, Furzedown Drive to Moyser, Furzedown Road to Church Lane, Garrad’s Road, Gracedale, Heritage Estate, Hillbury, Holderness, Huron, Louisville, Mantilla, Manville, Montana, Moyser from Furzedown Drive to Ribblesdale, Mulberry Close, Netherfield, Nimrod and Ribblesdale from Moyser to Thrale, North Drive, Parklands, Pringle Gardens, Ramblers Close, Ritherdon, Ritherdon, Romberg, Sainfoin, Stapleton, Streathbourne, Terrapin, Thrale to Ribblesdale, Tooting Bec Road down to Topsham, Tooting Bec Road from Ambleside to Tooting Bec tube, Trinity Crescent, Ullathorne, Veronica, West Drive, Wheatland, Woodnook.

Can a larger area be consulted? (all of Furzedown and more of Bedford and Nightingale, for instance?) The number of paper consultation documents delivered was increased following the February meeting of the Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (CSOSC) with some 6,800 having been delivered. About 30% of the responses have been from the SW16 postcode, Furzedown.

Why wasn’t the no right-turn into Elmbourne Road included in the first consultation? The initial public engagement carried out in August 2015 was to seek an early indication of the local opinion before committing further resources to investigate the finer detail of the proposal.

Why introduce the no right turn into Elmbourne now? In order to prevent drivers from using Elmbourne Road as an alternative route, the proposals include a ban on vehicles turning right from Tooting Bec Road, ensuring northbound traffic could not access it, while further measures could be put in place to deter southbound traffic from making the corresponding left turn.

When will the results of the current consultation be published? There will be a considerable amount of analysis required when the consultation closes. The elements of the scheme have purposely been separated in the questionnaire to enable people to answer to individual aspects and then allow us to carefully consider the results and to differentiate between views on the closure of Dr Johnson Avenue and the popularity of the other measures.  

Will the council consult again after the trial period?  The CSOSC will consider this matter including noting the result of the consultation. Should the CSOSC decide on progressing to a trial closure of Dr Johnson Avenue an Experimental Traffic Order would be made which would include a specific address and email for people to contact. The period it is open for comment or objection is up to six months which can loosely be considered as another consultation period. The experimental order would be in the local press and laminated copies will be displayed on site with the contact details on.

Outstanding question

Will the Lambeth residents and/or Council be consulted?

Letter to the Leader of the Council:

Dear Cllr Govindia

Complaint about Process of the Consultation on the Closure of Dr Johnson Ave

We sent the following letter on 9th March, and are now copying it by email.

We have serious concerns about the way in which this consultation has been conducted, and received many, many complaints from the local community. We ask you to make urgent changes to the consultation so that

-          it will adequately represent the views of all local residents for whom this will potentially have a big impact on their daily lives and so the outcomes must be credible by local residents

-          it will stand up to scrutiny if either the consultation shows a that local people do not want this and this part of the grant has to be returned to the Heritage Lottery Fund, or if the majority do want this but a significant amount of local people remain very inconvenienced and subsequently question the process.

1. To repeat concerns from last year, the consultation was done very last minute, very rushed and during the summer holidays. It should not have been used as the basis for the Lottery Fund Bid as did not adequately represent the local community, and references to the consultation last summer are met widely with questions about who saw this. This should have been conducted with plenty of time and very wide publicity before the funding was applied for. The outcome of this consultation could very well be a rejection and therefore the opportunity to include items that the community all really want in the bid could be lost.

2. The consultation is currently being delivered in a very plain unaddressed white envelope which is easily overlooked and discarded especially given the amount of junk mail we all receive everyday – so even where it is delivered it is not being seen.

3. The consultation is not being conducted widely enough – all roads in Furzedown should be included, all roads on the Heaver Estate, and all parents of St Anselms School (which is very near to the Elmbourne Rd junction) must receive this as they will be very directly affected – or benefit from the changes.

4. The consultation is not being done with active users of the Common beyond the nearby roads. The affected residents should be seen not only as road users but also users of the Common for all sides of the project to be represented in the consultation.

5. The box to fill in on the consultation is too small and does not allow people to record their views and concerns about the potential results of the closure to be felt.

6. A sizeable number people who are in favour of the trial of the Avenue closure are not in favour of the ‘no right turn’ into Elmbourne Rd, given that there is no right turn at Tooting Bec either.  There is concern about what would happen at this junction, but the ‘no right turn’ should not have been the only option given. The results should clearly show who doesn’t want the closure at all, who does want the closure and no right turn, and who wants the Avenue closure but not the ‘no right turn’. Currently there is very real likelihood that people are objecting to this plan because of the ‘no right turn’ and therefore an opportunity to trial this is wanted but cannot continue because of a secondary aspect of the proposal. Again this would be wasted opportunity for funding for another project for Tooting Common.

7. The consultations have still not been delivered to all roads on the plan and these should be urgently delivered as the final two weeks of the consultation are during the Easter holidays.

8. Finally, if the trial goes ahead, the plan to ask people to ‘write in’ their comments about their experiences of the trial will be chaotic. Who will they need to write to, by when, and how will these be collated? Please can a central plan to receive the communications be set up during the trial, with a clear deadline before the end of the trial.

Please urgently make plans to improve the consultation and make it more widely known.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Fleur Anderson (Bedford), Cllr Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (Bedford), Cllr Candida Jones (Furzedown), Cllr Leonie Cooper (Furzedown), Cllr Mark Thomas (Furzedown)

Response received on March 21st:

Dear Councillor Anderson

Thank you for your email dated the 14th March regarding the on-going consultation about a proposal to close Dr Johnson Avenue to through traffic. I wish to assure you that the consultation is being carried out in a thorough manner being available to all, without restriction, online and reinforced locally by the delivery of paper copies. You would not wish me to undermine the integrity of this process but I want to reassure you that if the broad consensus is against the closure of Dr Johnson Avenue and not reinstate the area as part of Tooting Bec Common, the Council will not want to fly in the face of that opinion. The results of the consultation will be made public through a report to the Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee giving ample opportunity for councillor and public scrutiny.

1.       The initial public engagement carried out in August 2015 was to seek an early indication of the local opinion before committing further resources to investigate the finer detail of the proposal. It was undertaken online with notifications published more than once via the Council electronic newsletter 24/7, micro –blogging together with notices displayed on the common. In addition, Tooting Common MAC has been kept informed. The consultation ran from 25th July to 30th August 2015. Whilst if at all possible the summer period is avoided when carrying out consultations, there was a need to continue with it back then and I believe the duration of this particular consultation would have given very many people the opportunity to respond. There were 678 online responses which would indicate the message was heard by local people who responded with their view. In addition, the Heritage Lottery Fund was submitted on the basis that a more formal consultation would be carried out at a later date, which is currently underway.

2.       You and I both know from our experience, as people who post literature through letterboxes, that people often throw it away before reading it. This consultation document was purposely delivered in a white envelope instead of a brown one in an attempt to avoid ‘auto-binning’ in accordance with previous advice of the government. A number of paper consultation responses have already been received and many more online responses, a total of some 1,451 to date.

3.      I do not agree that the consultation is not wide enough. The online consultation is of course boundless. The number of paper consultation documents delivered was increased following the February meeting of the CSOSC with some 6,800 having been delivered. I feel you are unnecessarily concentrating on paper consultation documents when there has been a general call for online consultations to be carried out, including at the CSOSC. About 30% of the responses have been from the SW16 postcode, Furzedown, so the message is out there.

4.      Posters advising of the consultation have been placed in and around the common to invite common users to participate, including Dr Johnson Avenue, Elmbourne Road, Hillbury Road and noticeboards within the common. As noted above, the Tooting Common MAC is also aware and will no doubt be putting the message around. I reiterate that the online consultation is open to all without boundary. The consultation document asks if they are responding as local residents, common user, driver and allows for multiple responses if people feel they are within more than one category.

5.      If respondents feel that they have additional comments they are welcome to submit these via email or post or more simply attach another sheet to the paper consultation. There is plenty of space on the online version. It has been found that online responses tend to have more written comments, regardless of the amount of space in a paper / online consultation document.

6.      There will be a considerable amount of analysis required when the consultation closes. The elements of the scheme have purposely been separated in the questionnaire to enable people to answer to individual aspects and then allow us to carefully consider the results and to differentiate between views on the closure of Dr Johnson Avenue and the popularity of the other measures.

7.      Delivery of leaflets in the Furzedown area were completed on the 10th March and the closing date for returns was extended to 15th April 2016 to ensure that residents have ample time to respond.

8.       The CSOSC will consider this matter including noting the result of the consultation. Should the CSOSC decide on progressing to a trial closure of Dr Johnson Avenue an Experimental Traffic Order would be made which would include a specific address and email for people to contact. The period it is open for comment or objection is up to six months which can loosely be considered as another consultation period. The experimental order would be in the local press and laminated copies will be displayed on site with the contact details on.

I trust you are now assured on the depth and reliability of this consultation and that your queries have been answered.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Ravi Govindia

Leader of Wandsworth Borough Council

 

Dr Johnson’s Avenue Public Meeting, Crossrail2, 20mph and the Triangle Children’s Centres

Dr Johnson’s Avenue Proposed Road Closure – public meeting 22nd March

There is currently a consultation on the proposed closure of Dr Johnson Avenue which will join up two parts of the Common and increase the amount of green open land we have on our doorsteps. The proposal is to also include a no right turn’ from Tooting Bec Rd into Elmbourne Rd and to have this as a trial scheme for 6 months to see the effects. What do you think? Click here to add your views to the Council Consultation – deadline April 15th This is very controversial, and Rosena and Fleur have written a joint letter to the leader of the Council to raise concerns about several aspects of the consultation and proposals.

We are also holding a public meeting to hear each others views and give a further opportunity to feedback to us as Councillors, Tuesday March 22nd at the Seventh Day Adventist Church on 83 Elmfield Rd (also through the alley next to Ladbrokes on the High Road) from 7pm – 8pm.

If you can come to the meeting please get your free ticket here so that we can see how many people can come and feedback to you.

Crossrail2 This will be a long process, and the latest step is that Crossrail2 have published a report on the consultation responses received. This has gone onto the website today (16th March) and confirms that the majority of responses about Balham were in favour of Tooting Broadway instead, and that there are lots of concerns about the access shaft on Wandsworth Common. The response by Crossrail to the consultation responses will be published in the Summer. It is predicted to open in 2033.

20mph limits across the whole Borough Lets have these across Wandsworth!

We’re alright here and as a result of our campaigning we have a 20mph limit across Bedford Ward, but its odd for drivers never to know whether there is a limit or not in Wandsworth as there is a patchwork of 20mph limits. We asked for the Council to introduce a cross-borough 20mph limit (on residential roads) all at once and they are consulting on this now. Please do take a couple of minutes to click here and say what you think about this plan.

All change again at the Triangle Children’s Centre

I’m still in mourning for the wonderful One O’Clock Club we used to have at the Triangle. The reason it was changed was to introduce more provision for 3 year olds, but this is now being changed again. The council are planning to put the Triangle Centre out to tender for a nursery to run as a nursery in the mornings and stay and play in the afternoons. We welcome stay and play but it must be really affordable, otherwise it won’t be usable by most people and won’t have the great supportive, community element to it which was so good for carers and small children. Anyone interested in looking into whether this could still be run as a cooperative (as in Lambeth) or some other way of bringing back the One O’Clock Club to the Triangle please get in touch. Tendering is likely to be in the Summer. In the meantime there is a consultation on changes to many children centres here. If you’d like to support FREE stay and play centres, or make any other comment please do and share with others. The deadline is May 24th but you can do this now!

Click here for the Children’s Centre Consultation

Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees – launch event

This week Kingston Council is welcoming its first Syrian family to come to the Borough in the official Government scheme which relocates Syrians who have fled from war to refugee camps in Syria.

Here in Wandsworth a new organisation is forming to bring together people who support refugees and asylum seekers here and abroad. The launch event is at 4.30pm at the Battersea Arts Centre. There will be a big launch photo (bring a ‘welcome’ sign to hold if you can) and then a skill share where you can find out more about local organisations working with refugees and how you could support them.

To join the supporters list or find out more, email wandsworthwelcomesrefugees@gmail.com

February Newsletter 2016

Balham and Bec February 2016 Newsletter

Dr Johnson Avenue – proposal for closure latest update 

Dr Johnson Avenue

Dr Johnson Avenue

I really welcome consultation on the closure of Dr Johnson Avenue but I’m very concerned that the effects of traffic changes on nearby roads aren’t being considered and could be chaotic.

What was agreed last Thursday:

- wide consultation on-line and letters to 6,000 residents about the closure of Dr Johnson Avenue and no right turn from Tooting Bec Rd into Elmbourne Rd

- if this is supported, for the closure to be trialled for 6 months before being made permanent if successful.

What I proposed but was not agreed by the Conservative Councillors:

- to have options in the consultation and separate the no right turn from the closure of the Avenue

– to see if people do want the closure of Dr Johnson Avenue but not the ‘no right turn’

- to include consideration of traffic calming for the top of Elmbourne and Hillbury Roads at the same time

- to consider traffic calming for Avoca and Montana Rds at the same time, given the very likely increase in traffic this will cause I like the idea of having a larger Commons space through closing the Avenue but I’m very concerned by the knock-on effects of closing Elmbourne Rd to traffic from Furzedown, Streatham and further afield.

More traffic will come down Bedford Rd and into Hillbury and the top end of Elmbourne, and effects on Montana and Avoca Rd could mean more traffic there too. People will turn down these road to loop round back onto Tooting Bec Rd and turn left into Elmbourne Road.

I’ve been really supportive of the residents of Hillbury and Elmbourne Rds that got together last Autumn to sign a petition dangerous cars on their roads and asking for this to be looked into at the same time as the Dr Johnson Avenue closure. I am disappointed that Hillbury Rd has not been included in any of the traffic modelling research up to now, and I will still keep pressing the Council to address problems on these narrow roads.

I really welcome the consultation being in the proposal from the start and the six month trial as no amount of modelling can really foretell what will happen. However I proposed at Committee that further measures for traffic calming for Hillbury, all of the Elmbourne, Avoca and Montana Rds be adding to the planning and to the consultation, and will also keep pushing for this. We’ll update here and on Twitter (@CllrFleur @DrRosena).

Station Ticket Office Closures – have your say by March 14th

Last week posters went up to announce the future closure of the train ticket offices in Balham and Wandsworth Common train stations. I could understand this for tue stations, but trains have more complicated ticket requests than tubes and the ticket offices are there for a good reason. For example I buy half termly tickets for my children to school and the ticket staff couldn’t say how I could do this in the future if they are closed. Doing everything on-line isn’t possible and doesn’t work for everyone. Here is more information from the RMT.

Sadiq Khan MP has also written to the train operators to ask for more information about what these closures will mean for things like buying complex train tickets.

The emails to write to – with the station name – are stationchange@gtrailway.com and enquiries@londontravelwatch.org.uk

Please email us too: fanderson@wandsworth.gov.uk and rallin-khan@wandsworth.gov.uk

What is the Future of Chestnut Avenue on Tooting Common – mixed messages over consultation

Chestnut Avenue in the Summer

Members of the Tooting Common volunteer advisory committee (MAC) assessing the Avenue last Summer

Have your say by April 3rd: http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/DrJ

The news that the trees on Chestnut Avenue may need to be cut down will be a big concern to all of us who love Tooting Common. I have walked through the avenue countless times to the playground, tennis courts, to teach my kids to cycle, to walk the dog and now even go on ParkRuns under the beautiful trees (every Saturday at 9am – free!).

During research for a bid for the Heritage Lottery Fund it was found that 20 out of the 77 trees on the Avenue have a disease called ‘bleeding canker’ and will deteriorate.

So the decision that faces us is – do we:

a) have less of a uniform avenue of trees all the same species and height by replacing diseased trees with healthy young ones, or

b) create a new uniform avenue of all new trees which generations to come will benefit from by removing all of the trees (diseased and healthy) at once and replacing with saplings.

The question of who takes this decision has been in the spotlight as the Council said in a press release last December that the public would be consulted, but it wasn’t clear if this was just the Tooting Common local groups or wider public. Then a paper outlining plans for the Avenue came out without any mention of consultation but instead a preference for the above plan b (here is the paper). This caused understandable alarm as local people want to know more about the real condition of the trees and be consulted about something which will affect them and the Common they love so much.

There were quickly two petitions asking for consultation, and passionate please from three local groups to Committee in favour of consultation with local people before making plans. These were the Furzedown Network, the Friends of the Tooting Common and the Tooting Common Management Advisory Group which I’m also a member of. Thanks to everyone who signed the petitions as the public pressure worked and the Council have said that they would consult – but then rejected an amendment to the paper to include consultation. In the face of these really mixed messages I am sure that the Council will consult, but I have concerns about what the questions will be, how well publicised the consultation will be and how much it will count for.

Local Guardian article on Chestnut Avenue and mixed messages.

A couple of weeks ago one of the trees on the Avenue fell down and was found to have another disease – root decay – and so there will be another tree survey carried out. Of course the main issue here is safety and if any trees are unsafe the Council will take action as usual.

We’ll continue to work hard for local residents to have their say and for this is be listened to.

20mph cross-borough speed limits – consultation

After several years of campaigning for 20 mph zones with street by street requests and petitions, we are glad that the Council have listened to us and agree a cross-borough consultation on having a 20mph speed limit on all residential roads. this will mean that people don’t have to spend ages trying to get the required amount of signatures to ask for their road to be safer, and we don’t have a confusing patchwork of some streets 20mph and some still 30mph which doesn’t help changing driver behaviour.

Lower speed is good for safety and good for reducing air pollution. If you agree (or disagree) with this being rolled out across the Borough (we already have this in our ward) please take a couple of minutes to have your say in the consultation.

20mph consultation - the deadline will be in May but don’t wait till then!

Heritage Lottery Funding for lots of Tooting Common projects

It is good news that the Council have been successful in a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund which will mean the renovation of the Woodfield Pavillion, and fountain, improvements to the Lido and community conservation and history projects. More info here.

Traffic Danger on Balham High Road

Safety concerns about Balham High Road

Safety concerns about Balham High Road

Last Autumn there was yet another accident on Balham High Road and 221 quickly signed the petition promoted by our Sadiq Khan MP and asking for more action for safety. There seem to be accidents very frequent – and very often motorbikes. The main roads in the Borough are the responsibility of Transport of London, but the Council can lobby TfL to take more action and prioritise safety measures on some roads.

As a result of the petition, the Council wrote a paper but said that the action they were taking was enough. This action was improvements to Stapleton Road, to Bedford Hill, meetings with TfL, planned changes to the Ritherdon Rd junction and the new ‘Balham Boulevard’ plan. However none of these actions are either on the road in question or will address road safety.

I proposed that saying ‘no further action’ was not good enough for this very dangerous road. Instead urgent action should be taken to lobby TfL and to speed up the ‘Balham Boulevard’ proposals. These were agreed by all Councillors in a rare moment of cross-party action which I hope will result in TfL looking again at this accident blackspot before even more accidents happen.

Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees

Please come to the Launch Celebration of the new organisation ‘Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees’ on Saturday March 26th at Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, from 4.30 – 5.30. Its really exciting that this is happening.

Lots of organisations and individuals are coming together to form this new umbrella organisation to support refugees and asylum seekers here, in Calais and in other countries. We want to be able to connect people wanting to support with organisations needed support, to be a voice for concerned Wandsworth refugees and all residents to the Council and to our MPs. We’re going to have a big picture of all the supporters together outside the Battersea Arts Centre, and then a ‘skill share’ where everyone can get some more info to ask the question ‘what can I do’? There will be something for everyone – I hope to see you there!

If you’d like more information or to become a supporter of Wandsworth Refugees please email wandsworthwelcomesrefugees@gmail.com

Wandsworth Children’s Services rated as failing 

We are really shocked about the serious flaws in the Council’s Childrens’ Services Department which led to the recent Ofsted report. We are also worried about care of the children and the lack of information given to members so that they could oversee the work of the department sufficiently. It echoes many serious concerns about whether the ‘Oversight and Scrutiny’ Committees which we both sit on can really serve their purpose when they meet so rarely and with such full agendas. The Council’s attention is very much on the merger with Richmond and working out how to make cuts and the report shows that this Department has seriously failed children. More information is in this Local Guardian news story.

St Anselms School Achievements

I’ve been a parent at St Anselms since 2002 and am now a Governor and always very proud of the school and its children and teachers. Today the school will be honoured for its excellent academic achievement and results at a Wandsworth event which I will be honoured to attend to represent the school.

I wish them all the best as they recruit a new Headteacher and say a sad farewell to Mrs MacCauley who attended St Anselms and has taught there for over 20 years.

 

Chestnut Avenue

Tootin common photo

We love Tooting common and indeed all the green spaces this borough has to offer. We have been dismayed to hear about plans to cut down a beautiful avenue of trees, not least since the views of residents have not been sought. The Council assured us that local people would be involved in the decision, however, it appears as though this consultation did not take place.

We have until Thursday this week to voice our opinion so please do follow the link below to sign the petition and do share it amongst other local residents.

http://sadiqkhan.nationbuilder.com/consult_our_community_before_cutting_down_our_trees

Thank you!

January Newsletter

Latest news below on: Refugee clothes collection, Crossrail2, BACTA awards, Children centres, Heritage Lottery Fund, Park Run, Tooting Common Playground, Heaver Estate Crime, Cycle Quietway consultation, Tooting Common Cafe, diseased trees on Tooting Common

Christmas and New Year has been a lovely mild holiday and Cllrs Fleur and Rosena have not stopped working for local residents in taking up lots of personal issues with housing, paving, litter, planning applications and going to local community meetings. We hold drop in surgeries on the third Saturday of every month at Balham library at 10am, and respond to emails as fast as we can: Fanderson@wandsworth.gov.uk  rallin-kha@wandsworth.gov.uk

Good luck to all parents filling in their primary school application forms and university UCAS forms!

Urgent!! Clothes collection for refugees – do you have a spare men’s coat?

Clothes collection for Calais refugees

Clothes collection for Calais refugees

Seem brilliant local women are coordinating a clothes collection to fill a van going to the Calais and Dunkirk refugee camps. Ravenstone and St Anslems School parents are getting involved and word is spreading fast.

The collection is on Larch Close, off Bedford Hill (near the Drs Surgery) on Saturday 16th January from 10am – 4pm. Items needed are mens jackets, trousers, gloves, hats, sleeping bags – not women’s and children’s clothes.

 

 

Crossrail 2

This is the new North-South railway from Wimbledon to Tottenham and will come to either Tooting Broadway or Balham. Whichever it goes to will mean building works for several years from 2020 and the whole line will be finished by about 2030. Rosena and Fleur sent a submission to the consultation which finished on January 6th and will continue to lobby TfL for more consultation with local people and on these points:

1.Tooting Broadway needs the development benefits more than Balham does. This needs to be more of a factor in the decision making than it is now. The benefits to Tooting Broadway may far outweigh the additional costs, and the impact on business in Tooting Broadway and Balham needs to be further analysed and then used in decision making.
2. Balham already has more rail links.
3. Although it will be disruptive in Tooting Broadway, having a building site in the middle of Balham for years will be more detrimental for less benefit.
4. Better access to St George’s Hospital is a positive benefit for Tooting Broadway.
5. TfL should keep doing more investigation into the actual building costs of Tooting Broadway before discounting it. They may not be as different from Balham costs as currently estimated.
6. The Balham route means an access shaft on the Bolingbroke Road part of Wandsworth Common which is very, very unpopular locally.
7. The consultation was too limited and did not even have a question about Tooting Broadway which will have reduced responses on this.
Now that the consultation is closed we will continue to lobby for more consultation, and for more information about the economic and social benefits of Tooting Broadway to be factored into the decision making. We should hear responses in a couple of months and it will take many more months after that for the whole scheme to be approved by the Government.

AMAZING BACTA award night

The highlight of December for both of us was the Balham and Tooting Community Association (BACTA) award night. Which was a packed, glittering and joyous celebration of local people who make a huge contribution to peoples lives. The award winners were all very humble and inspiring and it made us truly happy to be a part of such a wonderful community.

Housing Bill

We spend a lot of time supporting people with housing issues, and those most affected have been moved out of Wandsworth to temporary accommodation. We are really worried about the impact that the current government Housing Bill will have on families and young people having a chance of having a home  in Wandsworth which is already such a crisis that over 1,000 families are in temporary accommodation. The right to buy of housing association homes will cost Wandsworth Council dearly and cost residents even more. Already, according to Cllr Simon Hogg; ‘In the last 25 years, 14,791 local council homes have been sold off and only 5,170 affordable homes built in their place. We’re 10,000 short.’ Now this will just get worse.

Parents being turned away from children centres

Parents and mums net have contacted us with very worrying reports that parents from neighbouring Lambeth have been turned away from the Triangle children centre, and we have also seen a letter which says that nannies and childminder may not be welcome. We have queried this with officers and they have said that a policy was being wrongly applied and that Lambeth parents are welcome. However Rosena’s letter about the nanny and childminder policy has not been responded to yet – but this discriminates against children with working parents. On top of the closure of One O’Clock clubs and the Lesuire centre creche, this is yet another cutback in Council provision for pre-school children.

Tooting Common Heritage Lottery Fund

A major funding has been applied for to do a range of new projects to maintain and restore the heritage and ecology of the Common and improve it for all users. We will hear about whether this has been successful on 11th February and then expect to have a lot of projects consulted on for the next three years. We really do hope that the bid has been successful and have been involved with lots of other people in the work that went into local consultations on the proposals. One of the projects would be the closure of Dr Johnson Avenue to traffic – if the bid is successful, a full traffic survey and much wider consultation than last summer would be the next step.

Park Run

We hear that Park Run WILL be coming to Tooting Be in the very near future – watch this space!! It is a volunteer organised weekly 5km run at 9am every Saturday. You will need to register on the Park Run website, although the Tooting Bec run isn’t up there quite yet. Time to dust off your running shoes?

Tooting Common Playground

Good news for children! Plans are being drawn up for spending £30,00 for new equipment  for Tooting Common Chestnut Avenue playground.

Heaver Estate Crime

At this month’s Safer Neighbourhood Team meeting, local police and crime prevention team reported that the Heaver Estate has had a spate of 34 burglaries in 9 months recently. Police are patrolling a lot more, and contacting residents and offering to come and give advice on crime prevention – be aware everyone.

Cycle Quietway consultation

There are plans for new cycle routes across London, which are aimed at ‘leisure cyclists’ with routes through back streets and quieter areas. There are plans for a route across Tooting Common, and responses to a consultation are encouraged – it finishes on 14 February.

http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/quietways

There are drop in sessions fro more information at Tooting Common Cafe on Thursday 14 January: 9.00am until 12.00pm and Saturday 30 January: 11.00am until 2.00pm.

Tooting Common Cafe

Tooting Common Cafe - awaiting approval for extension

Tooting Common Cafe – awaiting approval for extension

Talking of Tooting Common cafe, the current owners have been awarded a new long term lease, and the planning permission for the extension has been approved by Wandsworth Council but also has to be approved by the National Inspectorate (because it is on the Common) and they are waiting for this. In the meantime, the size of the extension has been marked out on the ground so you can see what it will be.

 

Diseased trees on Tooting Common

As a result of tree surveys on Tooting Common, disease has been found in some of the Horse Chestnut Trees. More surveys and consultation on future plans will be taking place during this year. There is more information here:

http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/article/13135/disease_strikes_tooting_common_horse_chestnuts

Crossrail2 – consultation ends on Friday!!

We’ve had lots of emails and questions about Crossrail2 and the consultation ends on Friday 8th at 5pm – please have your say!!
Crossrail2 is a new north-south London rail line which will be built from 2020 – 2030 and then will have 30 trains an hour and mean Balham to Tottenham will be a 12 minute journey, and congestion on the Northern line will be reduced. We really welcome this! Currently there is a consultation about local views on having a station at Balham – but Tooting Broadway is another potential route.
The consultation is just a couple of questions:
There is more information here: http://crossrail2.co.uk
Please do spread the word as well, and as there isn’t a question about Tooting Broadway, please encourage people to fill in comments about both routes (or one or the other) in the Balham question.
Crossrail2 Route

Crossrail2 Route

Here are some points we will be making:

1.Tooting Broadway needs the development benefits more than Balham does. This needs to be more of a factor in the decision making than it is now. The benefits to Tooting Broadway may far outweigh the additional costs, and the impact on business in Tooting Broadway and Balham needs to be further analysed and then used in decision making.
2. Balham already has more rail links.
3. Although it will be disruptive in Tooting Broadway, having a building site in the middle of Balham for years will be more detrimental for less benefit.
4. Better access to St George’s Hospital is a positive benefit for Tooting Broadway.
5. TfL should keep doing more investigation into the actual building costs of Tooting Broadway before discounting it. They may not be as different from Balham costs as currently estimated.
6. The Balham route means an access shaft on the Bolingbroke Road part of Wandsworth Common which is very, very unpopular locally.

7. The consultation was too limited and did not even have a question about Tooting Broadway which will have reduced responses on this.
Do get in touch with us if you have any questions.
Cllrs Fleur and Rosena
fanderson@wandsworth.gov.uk
rallinkhan@wandsworth.gov.uk

A Hospital Christmas

While most people were at home eating turkey, chapatis or both (!), a core of individuals were working as the most amazing team. I am compelled to write this post as I feel so proud to be part of this team and feel so strongly that our NHS services MUST be protected.

Working in frontline emergency services is also sometimes known as working on the “thin green line”. This is the line that can separate life and death.

I am one of the doctors who work on the thin green line at St Georges Hospital Emergency Department in Tooting and I am posting this to remind everyone how lucky we are to have this service in our midst and to highlight how hard the staff work to ensure our community stay safe and well.

Doctors, nurses, admin staff, porters, radiographers, domestic staff all work shifts spanning twenty-four hours, seven days a week. There are no holidays in the Emergency Department, no Christmas, no Boxing Day, just work and service provision. Staff come home to missed family moments, cold turkey cuts and fatigue. They do this with a sense of pride that they have served the patients and their families that day.

I was recently asked to do a video diary for a TV channel and it highlighted an average day for me and so many others like me. Having to stop and record my day gave me a chance to take stock. We leave the house in the dark before our babies have even woken, we work sometimes in excess of 10-12 hours without a break as it is too busy, we tell people their loved ones have died, we see extreme pain and suffering and then we return home in the dark to miss our children going to bed. We manage to stay positive despite all this and appreciate the fact that to do this work in the NHS is an honour and a privilege.

The system is stretched, in desperate need of more funding. We know the waits can be long, we really do try as hard as we can.

The next time a friend, colleague or loved one working at St Georges cannot attend a family gathering, social meeting or otherwise, spare a thought as to why that is and maybe give them a great big hug when you see them..they probably need it!

 

Crossrail 2 public consultations

crossrail pic

You may have seen the Crossrail 2 roadshow vans out and about. Local residents have had their chance to ask questions and express their views. No doubt, Fleur and I were out to hear what people had to say. Tooting Broadway or Balham?.. That is the question.

Regardless of where is ultimately chosen, this stands to affect most local residents.

Where would you like it to be? For further information and to have your say, follow the link below;

http://crossrail2.co.uk/consultation/