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;

Consultation

Christmas Fair fun

ravenstone picTis the season to be jolly and we have been enjoying attending the local primary school Christmas fairs. This past weekend saw us visit Rutherford House and Ravenstone schools. Lots of organisation went in to putting on fun stalls and even Santa’s grotto! They were a pleasure to visit!

Save Balham Lesuire Centre Creche – please sign the petition

Save our Creche!!

Balham Lesuire Centre during 'refurbishment' which didn't replace the creche

Balham Lesuire Centre during ‘refurbishment’ which didn’t replace the creche

Balham Lesuire Centre crèche used to be a ‘life saver’ for lots of local mums but has been allowed to decline, pushed out of its room into an unsuitable room and has been closed this week and ‘until further notice’ because the room is too cold.

Please show your support for Balham Lesuire Centre Creche and sign the petition to Wandsworth Council and People and Places:

http://www.tootinglabour.com/creche

Save our creche

We demand that Balham Lesuire Centre creche is saved, provided with high quality premises and well advertised to local parents.

  • The creche enables parents of young children to exercise and is essential for physical and mental health
  • Without the creche, our local Lesuire Centre is out of bounds whilst our children are small
  • The creche has been moved from a prominent room at the front to an unsuitable squash court at the back
  • The creche has not been advertised and so has declined in use – although there is large local demand for this

We call on Wandsworth Council and People and Places to save the creche and make it a great facility for babies and a lifeline for carers.

Please sign the petition and share with friends: http://www.tootinglabour.com/creche

Thanks

Cllrs Fleur Anderson and Rosena Allin-Khan

Balham High Road consultation – ends on Sunday – plans very weak

Do you use Balham High Road? 

If so, could you spare a couple of minutes to take part in the current Transport for London consultation on some changes to cycle lanes to the stretch near Tooting Bec station?

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/balham-high-road/consult_view

I think it doesn’t go far enough – what do you think?

There have been lots of accidents on this part of the road and lots of people have signed the petitions to TfL to address this and look at all of the road from Tooting Bec to Balham station. These have included petitions by parents at St Anselms and Rutherford House School. 

It is very disappointing that this proposal is just for a small stretch of road, is just thinking about cycling rather and could be a scheme to make Balham Boulevard dual carriageway a very attractive area for everyone. It looks like cyclists will still have to weave in and out of parked cars and around buses instead of having a dedicated and separate cycle lane. In other roads cycle lanes have been put in and bus stops are in the road rather than on the cycle lanes (e.g. the new cycle superhighway at Vauxhall) and here is the opportunity to put these in on the High Road too.

The current plans are really just tinkering with the Ritherdon Road junction and don’t look any safer or more attractive or enough to encourage more people to use this road for cycling. 

It also doesn’t include a key demand of local residents to increase the length of the pedestrian lights at Tooting Bec. 

Please do take part in the consultation by Sunday 15th November and include some of these points if you agree:
– does this make it safer for everyone including pedestrians and motorcyclists?
– why is this such a small stretch of road, and where are the plans for ‘Balham Boulevard’ which should all be joined up and not done separately
– we want proper separate cycles lanes not more shared ones, and ‘hanging bus stops’ in the road rather than the cycle lanes
– increase the length of the pedestrian lights at Tooting Bec station
– make the area outside Rutherford House School much safer – this doesn’t seem to be in this scheme either

 

Link

Newsletter – October 2015

Crossrail 2 may come to Balham

Crossrail 2 was due to go through Tooting Broadway and this was very welcome for the area. However it seems that the geological research has shown this may not be possible, and a different route with a station at Balham is now being proposed. There will be more information at public briefings in Battersea, Tooting Broadway and Balham. We will publish this here.

The building works will be between 2020 and 2030 and result in a new underground line between Wimbledon and Tottenham Hale which will receive the congestion on the Northern Line and British Rail line. The Tooting Broadway option has hit problems due to a sand fault line underground which would mean it would take two years longer than planned, be more expensive and entail lots of digging out of the sand and removal by lorries. However if Balham is chosen this will be a lost opportunity to provide more transport links for an area which needs it more, would mean that Waitrose would become a building site for six years right in the heart of Balham Town Centre and a shaft needs to be built on Wandsworth Common.

At a recent presentation on plans for the consultation about CrossRail2, Rosena and Fleur asked many questions about what the consultation will really mean and if it is a real consultation, and asked that more people than previously planned are consulted – including all businesses in Balham as they will be very affected. We do urge everyone to get involved in the consultation and to shape these proposals.

The Balham information drop in times are both outside 3 Balham Grove, SW12 8AY on 27th November from 12 noon – 8pm and on 28th November from 11am-4pm.

Wandsworth Conservatives vote against offering welcome to 10 refugee families

Wandsworth Labour Councillors showing support for welcoming refugees in Wandsworth before the debate

Wandsworth Labour Councillors showing support for welcoming refugees in Wandsworth before the debate

Rosena and Fleur both gave speeches in favour of the Labour motion to the Council to welcome at least 10 refugee families to Wandsworth, to become a Borough of Sanctuary and to sign up to the Government scheme to relocate refugees from Syria to this country. This government scheme is being paid for from government funds and would not displace anyone from housing lists in Wandsworth, but would continue a proud tradition we have in Wandsworth of welcoming refugees at a time of particular crisis for so many families. Our Council should be showing our welcome and pushing others to do the same by making this public pledge to welcome refugees.

We are very disappointed that the Conservative Councillors removed these from the motion and that there could not be cross-party support for very modest proposals in the motion. We welcome the announcement from Conservative Councillors during the debate are planning to welcome families, but are disappointed that they could not commit to welcoming at least 10 families (only 10?!) or to joining the governments own Syrian Relocation Scheme, or to becoming a Borough of Sanctuary (which costs nothing) which shows the intent of coordinating refugee support services better.

Rosena and I have both posted our speeches for the debate on this blog, and will continue to support the refugee groups in Wandsworth who are doing a great job and feeling increasingly overwhelmed by the demands, especially for advice in accessing support.

We handed in a petition of 706 people organising online by local resident Tom Baker to request that 10 families are welcomed as well. His petition was in the local Guardian:

Road Safety Demands

Rosena and Fleur handing in the Hillbury and Elmbourne Rds safety petition

Rosena and Fleur handing in the Hillbury and Elmbourne Rds safety petition

There have been several nasty accidents on Balham High Road recently and road safety is a big concern for people who use the road. So much so that several local people have been organising petitions to ask for action to be taken. Cllr Allin-Khan have been working with different groups and handed in four road safety petitions to the Council on Wednesday evening. These were;

1. St Anselms parents asking for crossings on Balham High Road and Elmbourne Rd, longer pedestrian lights at Tooting Bec station and improved road safety on Balham High Road – 155 signatures 3 days was amazing and shows the strength of

Rosena and Fleur handing in the St Anselms school road safety petition to the Council

Rosena and Fleur handing in the St Anselms school road safety petition to the Council

feeling  

 2. Rutherford House parents concerning about cars turning into Tescos and concerns about safety on Balham High Road
  
 3. Residents of Hillbury and Elmbourne Rds with concerns about safety on their roads, asking for a crossing and for closing the Bedford Hill ends of the roads to be considered with the consideration of closing Dr Johnson Avenue.  

  4. A petition shared by people who live near to Balham High Road to ask for safety measures to be looked at for the road – especially from Tooting Park Road down to Tooting Bec Station where several accidents have happened, most involving motorbikes but most recently a cyclist.

We hope that Wandsworth Council and Transport for London will look into these urgently. Please do be in touch with us if you have road safety concerns about your road too.

Tooting Bec Lodge 

For all of us who have been so worried about the deterioration of Tooting Bec Lodge – the lovely old white Grade 2 listed building on Tooting Bec Rd with the hoardings around it – the good news is that action will soon be taken. Wandsworth Council planning applications committee agreed last night to move ahead and serve Compulsory Purchase Order on the owners. 

Cllr Fleur Anderson and Cllr Rex Osbourne deploring the crumbling state of the Lodge in September last year - nothing much has changed

Cllr Fleur Anderson and Cllr Rex Osbourne deploring the crumbling state of the Lodge in September last year – nothing much has changed

With many other local people it has been a case of constantly raising concerns with the Council and I’m really glad they will now take what is an unusual step for them. Congratulations to the many local people including the ‘Custodians of the Lodge’, Sadiq Khan MP, Cllr Allin-Khan, Cllr Rex Osborn, Cllr Antonia Dunn and others who keep up the campaign. It is one of the few historic buildings in Tooting Bec and we want to see it restored.

Police cuts 

Since May 2010, as a result of the Government cuts, London has lost 3,170 dedicated neighbourhood Police Community Safety Officers (PCSOs) – this is a cut of over 70%. In Wandsworth the number of PCSOs on our streets have been reduced from 119 in May 2010 to 24 in August 2015.

As a result of the Government’s Spending Review in 2010 the Metropolitan Police have faced cuts of almost £600m. This 20% cut to its budget has devastated the police service in the capital, despite promises from the Mayor of London and Home Secretary that the cuts would not affect police numbers.

At the upcoming Government’s Spending Review this November it is widely expected that the Metropolitan Police will face a minimum of another £800m in cuts, with reports that the budget could be cut by as much as 43%.

The ‘Safer Neighbourhood Team’ (SNT) model introduced by the Labour Government was widely welcomed by communities and saw each ward allocated a dedicated team of six officers (1 Sergeant, 2 PCs and 3 PCSOs). However there is now just one PCSO per ward, and these are under threat.  In Wandsworth PCSOs are not only an invaluable part of making our communities and neighbourhoods safe, but often recruitment of PCSOs is a first step to recruiting more BAME police officers.

In Wandsworth fear of crime is a real concern amongst residents; cutting neighbourhood policing teams and PCSOs will reduce the presence of police on our streets and only add to the fear of crime locally. The Metropolitan Police Management Board was going to consider a proposal to cut all PCSOs at its September meeting, but this has now been deferred to the December meeting and has faced a high level of criticism and concern. We hope that these cuts to our local police team will be rejected.

Tax Credit Cuts

We are very concerned about the affect that the cuts in working tax credits and child tax credits will have and if you are worried about what this drop in income will mean for your family do get in touch with us.

On 30th April 2015 David Cameron made a clear and specific promise that he would not cut child tax credits, but on 15th September 2015 the Government voted through changes to tax credits which will mean three million families nationally losing up to £1,000 per year. This action comes when child poverty nationally has increased by half a million between 2010 and 2015, and homelessness in Wandsworth has increased from 400 households in 2010 to 1,179 households this year. In Wandsworth there are 13,900 families with children relying on tax credit income top-ups to make ends meet. Of these, two thirds are working families who could now see a significant reduction in their income.