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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Motion to support and Welcome Refugees in Wandsworth:
Speech to the full council – October 14th 2015
Cllr Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Bedford ward
A man desperately clung on to his wife and two children as their boat capsized and they were washed away from him and onto the shores of a Turkish beach. Like driftwood.
This familiy, just like yours and mine, had hopes and dreams of a life ahead.
Sadly this is not an isolated event.
Bodies crammed into hot lorries, dangerous sea crossings and death of the most vulnerable. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees stated, ‘Syria has become the greatest tragedy of this century – a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history’
You will agree, this is a far cry from Wandsworth, “the brighter borough”…
So often, humanitarian crises offer no way for us to intervene and make a difference but sometimes, just sometimes, we can…
We should be proud to be leading the way here in Wandsworth, not sitting idly by, waiting to react to some grand announcement from up high.
Other councils have taken a stand for what is right while we sit here waiting… There are over 700 signiatures on the petition for Wandsworth to assist in accomodating families. This is just one example of Wandsworth residents proving they want us to take action.
All sides of the chamber in Merton council have come together to listen to their residents and have pledged to bring local voluntary and faith groups together to welcome refugees.
Kingston council, a conservative majority council has a bold leader in Cllr Davis.
Kingston Council was one of the first local authorities to make a commitment to accomodate 50 Syrian refugees. They used a Home Office resettlement scheme with rents paid through Housing Benefits (funded by the European Union).
Kingston council works hard with community leaders and local people to identify suitable properties. Cllr Davis wrote to other council leaders across the country to encourage them to do the same. Local communities can play a vital role in solving this humanitarian crisis.
Let it be clearly understood that there is a huge distinction between refugees and economic migrants. They are NOT THE SAME.
Our opposition colleagues may speak about housing our own residents as a priority and perhaps suggest we take refugees into our own homes, as one councillor suggested to a concerned constituent.
To be very clear, Wandsworth residents will not come second.
We are simply asking to accommodate at least 10 refugee families urgently if private accommodation is funded by central government and without displacing those on existing housing lists.
Help can go beyond housing families. There are a number of excellent voluntary and faith group organisations doing excellent work and offering support. This includes the Katherine Low settlement and Churches Together. We can make a plan to address any gaps in support, and create relationships with these groups to provide long-term support for refugee families.
I have spent years living and working in refugee camps in the Middle East. These people are strong, proud, honourable and hard working, even when living in diseased and putrid conditions. They are compelled to risk their lives because they have NO OTHER CHOICE.
If we believe in democracy and freedom, we cannot turn our back on those who seek the same for their families.
Let Little 3 year old Aylan’s death mean something. Let us act. We will go home tonight to warm beds, warm food and comfort. We have the ability to ensure that at least a few families can do the same.
Together lets take this small but significant step.
Lets Put political affiliation aside and do the right thing. Thank you.
Motion to support and accommodate refugees in Wandsworth:
We can and we should do so much more.
Speech to full Council on 14 October 2015
Cllr Fleur Anderson, Bedford Ward
Wandsworth Labour Councillors showing support for welcoming refugees in Wandsworth before the debate
Almost 100 years almost to the day there was a wonderful garden party thrown by Wandsworth residents in Southfields to welcome Belgian refugees during the First World War, with lemonade refreshments and entertainment from the girls of Putney County Secondary School. Fast forward to today and as soon as there was news of great need for clothes in the refugee camp so near us in Calais, the people of Wandsworth again showed huge spontaneous generosity and wanting to support refugees.
Like many Wandsworth residents when I saw the refugees fleeing, I knew that given different circumstances that could be me and could me my family and I wanted to do something to make a difference. We have the opportunity as Councillors to do lots of things that are very practical and help many individuals – it will be something about being a Councillor that we will look back on with pride.
Today I convened a meeting of refugee groups in the Borough to consider how we can work together better, and the Council can play more of a role in doing this, and I am glad to see that the amended motion includes this – but we could do more.
This motion really doesn’t ask for much and offered every opportunity for cross-party agreement of some small steps of support for refugees in Wandsworth and leadership in London, but the amendment is hugely disappointing and says we will do the absolute bare minimum.
To take just the pledge to give a home to 10 refugee families, if funded by central government, and supported unanimously by the Churches Together in Balham and Upper Tooting as well as so many other Wandsworth residents. Its just 10 families, and was a request to all Local Authorities by Yvette Cooper when she was Home Secretary. It could be a really meaningful figure and show that we will play our part. As Yvette Copper said:
“If every city took 10 refugee families, if every London borough took 10 families, if every county council took 10 families, if Scotland, Wales and every English region played their part, then in a month we’d have nearly 10,000 more places for vulnerable refugees fleeing danger, seeking safety.”
Wandsworth residents have been really generous themselves but they there is only so much they can do. People expect a similar big-hearted Wandsworth reaction from their Council but have been disappointed. Becoming a Borough of Sanctuary could have been a really inspirational demonstration of Wandsworth long tradition of welcome and the role which the Council can play best of coordinating services – council and voluntary – to give the best support to families who have had to flee their country. The Council and should do more.
We could do so much more than just offer a home to ten families, but it’s a start.
We could do so much more to support refugee associations than be facilitators an coordinators – but it’s a start.
We could do more to inspire London and other London Boroughs to be more ambitious in welcoming refugees than just becoming a Borough of Sanctuary – but it’s a start.
Lets step up, lets make this start and lets be leaders in London in staying true to our tradition as a Borough in welcoming refugees.
To amend this motion and take out even these small steps is shameful. Please support the motion and reject the amendment.
After a gap of two years we are excited to let you know that the Balham Food Festival is returning!
When; Sunday 27th September, 11am-6pm
Located in the recently transformed Hildreth Street and Bedford Hill Place.
There will be over 25 stalls featuring a diverse range of delicious, freshly cooked dishes from local restaurants, bars and cafés, plus gourmet cheeses, charcuterie, cakes and treats, this will be accompanied by jazz and other musical treats.
Come and enjoy the fun! There will be cooking demonstrations, music, dancing and a Kids Zone.
20 is plenty!
We’ve had a 20mph speed limit in our ward for nearly a year now, and have been campaigning for this to be across the Borough. Currently the numbers of cars and accidents is rising but the 20mph roads are just dotted about the Borough which is confusing for drivers and leaves roads less safe than with a slower speed limit. Residents were expected to petition people on their own road and achieve high amounts of signatures to ask the Council to make it 20mph.
After a long time and refusal by the Council to consider a Borough-wide limit, we saw success this week. In a U-turn and cross-party decision at the Community Services Committee, there will now be consultation on a fast track move to 20mph on all residential roads. It’ll take a few more months but could lead to a really positive change for making our roads safer as it can be better enforced and will change drivers’ behaviour.
Residents Association for Rydevale Estate and Cornford Grove
We asked the local Council to support starting a new residents association for this area (just off Bedford Hill). Local residents said they would be interested and the first meeting was held in early September and we hope it will build into an active group to take up concerns of the residents and have ideas for improvements which can be made in their area.
Local people are really concerned about road safety on Balham High Road and in August there was yet another accident involving a car and motorbike – this time outside Tescos. We’re working with parents at Rutherford House who are concerned about the entrance, and with St Anselms parents who have started a petition about safety on the High Road, longer lights for pedestrians at Tooting Bec and asking for a crossing at Elmbourne Road, and residents of Hillbury and Elmbourne Rd who also are signing a petition for traffic calming measures for their roads.
Tooting Bec Cafe
Tooting Common Cafe – new lease signed
A new lease has been signed from now until 2030 and although there are lots of rumours, we don’t yet know who the lease holder is. Whoever it is they must now renovate the cafe and include a new male and female toilet, open to the public and with baby-changing facilities.
Refugees Crisis – what can we do?
We share the concern of many residents that we should be welcoming to refugees and do what we can to support refugees already living here and arriving. The Council have said that they are ready and willing to respond to request from the Government. However we think Wandsworth could be pledging to house families and pushing other Councils to be more ambitious and welcoming through their leadership – rather than just ‘waiting and seeing’.
We are really worried about the recent accident which happened on Balham High Road involving a motorbike, and have seen several other accidents on the same stretch of road in the last year. So with your MP Sadiq Khan we have launched a petition to ask the Council and Transport for London to urgently work together to make this road safer.
Lots of people have been signing – please sign too:
In the meantime we have written and been talking with the Council, Transport for London and the local Police Commander – as a result you might have seen extra police officers at the Ritherdon Rd junction assessing the traffic along the road.
Balham Boulevard latest news
Balham High Road – could become more of a ‘Boulevard’?
A couple of years ago a plan to make Balham High Road between the Ritherdon Road and Balham a much nicer environment was brought to the Council and agreed. This ‘Balham Boulevard’ plan was to change the current four lane highway into a two lane highway with a nice side road and more greenery and a café style to the pavements – making it a nice place to come to and not just move through. This has multi-million pound backing, and agreement for happen in 2017. But no plans have come about.
Fleur went to progress meeting at the Town Hall and was very disappointed to find that there has been no progress and that Transport for London have found it too hard to make any plans for the road yet. We will both be working with local groups and other Councillors to revive the project, agree a clear vision and hope to get it back on track.
Closure of Triangle nursery
Many local parents have been very upset that the Tooting Locality Nursery at the Triangle was suddenly closed at the end of the Summer term, another sad loss of a much loved facility for under 5s in the area.
Park Run – still on its way!
Park Run have been working on a course around Tooting Common which doesn’t go over any roads, doesn’t impact too much on the busiest paths (we hope) and is the necessary 5km. The current plan is to start near the cricket pitch by Hillbury Road and go up or down the Chestnut Walk and use the bridleway. Using Chestnut Avenue may well be too busy and the grass on the other side of the lake too boggy in Winter so its still being worked on but is nearly there. All being well it should be going to committee for approval in September – so hopefully it won’t be too long until we can be getting our trainers on every Saturday morning for Tooting Commons very own ParkRun and join thousands of others all over the country.
Balham Lesuire Centre creche concerns – tell all young mums about the crèche!
Talking of facilities for under 5s, we love the refurbishment to Balham Lesuire Centre, but no need for a crèche has be buit into the contract between Enable and the Council. As a result there is no room especially designated for a crèche, no advertising of the crèche and as a result the morning facility currently in a squash court is in danger of being closed. Talks are on-going with Balham Lesuire Centre and we really hope that they continue to offer the crèche as it is vital to enabling young mums to get exercise at a time of life when too many young mums can be quite isolated.
Dr Johnson Ave closure consultation
Dr Johnson Avenue s lovely – could it be lovelier without traffic?
Do you want Dr Johnson Avenue to be closed to traffic, grassed over and be a cycle track instead of a road? Whatever you think about this – do have your say.
Residents of Elmbourne Road and Hillbury Road have felt for quite some time that traffic is increasing and getting faster and more aggressive with cyclists , other cars and even pedestrians. These are quite narrow roads with heavy traffic flow. Changes to Dr Johnson Avenue could have an impact on them, but this is an opportunity into how to make these roads safer too. We have raised this with the Council and also support the residents’ petition to the Council assessment of these rooads and options such as making them no through roads be considered.
‘Who put that there?’
All too often it is easy to forget how the day-to-day lives of the partially sighted can be so different to ours.
That is why we are extremely grateful to one Bedford resident who helped give us insight into life for the blind and partially sighted.
Did you know?
95 per cent of blind and partially sighted people have collided with an obstacle in their local neighbourhood over a three-month period.
Nearly a third of those were injured, yet less than one percent claimed compensation for injuries.
The most common obstacles collided with are:
– cars parked on pavements (70% )
– bins of all kinds (64%)
– permanent and temporary street furniture (59%)
We will be taking some walks around the ward to identify potential hazards but if you can think of any, please do get in touch!
‘Lets Talk’ and Tooting Town Centre Manager meetings
Lets Talk meetings are held regularly around Wandsworth and come to our ward every few years. Its a chance to speak directly to the Council Leader, opposition leader and lots of officers. The Bedford Ward meeting was attended by about 30 people and the issues raised included: too many betting shops, Balham creche, Elmbourne Road safety, parking and speeding, investment in ‘Tooting Bec village’, litter and street cleaning around Tooting Bec station, hedges obstructing pavements, what will replace Barclays Bank, the ‘legal high’ shop on Garratt Lane, enforcement of the 20MPH zone and what is happening to Tooting Bec Lodge. Issues for Tooting Common were: concerns about the removal of the white line and poor signage on the pedestrian/cycle track, floodlights when the triangle football pitch is renovated, rats, litter by the pond and repairs to the tennis court. Wider Borough issues raised were concerns about the lack of affordable housing and despite lots of new developments there is nowhere affordable for first/second time buyers, and what the merger of some services with Richmond council will mean for us.
Rosena and Fleur are following up on these issues, and this week raised many of them with the Tooting Centre Manager in meeting held with Sadiq Kahn MP.
Bedford Hill side of the railway bridge – an eyesore
The Bedford Hill railway bridge could do with some love and less signs, graffiti and weeds
We’ve been to look at this neglected corner of Balham with a local resident and agree with him that this is an eyesore – lots of weeds, scrubland and graffiti. We’ve been in touch with Transport for London and the Balham Partnership to ask them to look into making something much nicer of this corner of land and of the railway bridge itself.
Stapleton Road improvements
There will be some upgrading of the Tooting Bec station end of Stapleton Road with a proposal for more trees, two way cycling, café tables, cycle hoops and clearer signs at each end of the one way. The consultation for this finishes on August 3rd.
Whilst we really welcome these improvements, we are disappointed that this is all that came of a much more ambitious scheme to look at all of the streets around Tooting Bec Station as ‘Tooting Bec Village’ and see what could be done to enhance the whole area. This is really needed but seems to have been dropped.
With the finances coming for the Tooting Broadway area roads, this maybe an opportunity to look again at the streets around Tooting Bec Station. I have talked about this with the Tooting Town Manager and will continue to work on this.
A new Wandsworth wide cycling strategy is being consulted on – whatever your views on cycling, or good ideas about how to increase cycling either on specific roads or generally – do add them to the consultation here:
Air pollution is a very big issue for Londoners and kills 1400 of us every year, as well as contributing to lung and heart diseases. There is a new air quality plan for Wandsworth also out for consultation at the moment – do take some time to see if you think it could be improved or any comments you would like to make on it. The deadline is August 5th:
In other local Labour party news, we’ve recently had big increase in members – welcome if this is you! We’ve also been debating nd nominating candidates for future elections in some packed and every engaging meetings. The Tooting Labour party has endorsed Sadiq Kahn as our mayoral candidate, Yvette Cooper for the Labour leadership and Stella Creasy for the Deputy Leadership and Leonie Cooper for the Greater London Assembly elections which are next year.
Some current local issues below are: changes on Tooting Common, ‘Lets Talk’ event coming up, Tooting Bec Lodge, Not the One O’Clock club, Crime levels and issues, air pollution, Council waste of money on a ‘Golden Ticket scheme, housing issues
Some events in June:
3rd June – monthly Neighbourhood Network’s rhyme time (9 – 10) and coffee morning 10 – 1pm at the Scout Hall on the High Road – just drop in, all welcome
6th June: Rutherford House summer fair 11a, – 2.30pm
7th June -Tooting Common Dog Show and Ritherdon Road Street Party
Saturday 20th June – monthly Bedford ward drop-in surgery run by Rosena and Fleur, upstairs in Balham library 10 – 11am
Sunday 21st June 2pm Tooting Bec Lido to discuss local Road safety. ALL users welcome.
Monday 22nd June – Lets Talk event with the leader of the Council, Council Officers and your three local Councillors – your change to bring up issues, get answers and see what your neighbour’s concerns are
29th June – Tooting Common MAC Annual Public Meeting: The MAC (Management Advisory Committee) is a group of local volunteers who advise the Council on how we would like our Common to be managed, the APM was very well attended last year and Council Officers are there to report on activities and hear your issues.
Thank you!! We have now been Councillors for a year and would like to say thank you again to everyone who has supported us along the way. Its been a lot of learning, great to be able to really help so many people and support so many great local groups and people. We’ve loved it so far, and look forward to doing even more in the next year.
Changes on Tooting Common
The white line in the cycle lane segregating cyclists from pedestrians has been scrapped away and new signs put up to explain that this IS still a cycle path but pedestrians have priority. The Cafe lease for the next 15 years is being tendered for, but no news on any outcomes yet.
‘Lets Talk’ meeting, 7.30pm 22nd June at the Scout Hall on Balham High Road
Please do come to the Lets Talk event on 22nd June whether you have an issue to bring up , or are interested in local issues. It would be great to see as many people as possible – and only happens in each ward every few years. Do take this opportunity to raise issues with us your Councillors, the Council leader and officers. We’d LOVE to see you there!
Tooting Bec Lodge
The latest on the historic Lodge on Tooting Bec Road is that cotinuing concern that despite the scaffolding going up, there is still a lack of progress being made on renovating the building. The Council report that the owners is currently sourcing windows and a historically correct rendering for the plasterwork and will be continuing, but we are continuing to share our concerns and hope that the owner will share a timetable with us so that we can see what the plans are and can check progress against these.
Not the One O’Clock club
I know that lots of people are concerned that the Childrens’ Centre on the Triangle (previously a One O’clock club as a drop on stay and play centre open to all under 5s and carers from 1 – 5pm) is now a very much restricted service. It is just open on some afternoons and with much shorter sessions for certain age groups (e.g. under 1s) so parents with children of different ages can’t go. This is really disappointing and we are in discussion with the Council about this. As shown by figures I have recently asked for, as a One O’Clock club there were an average 741 users per month but now as a more targeted provision there are 277 per month. I should stress that clearly these can’t be directly compared as services, and the new centre may be able to provide some areas of provision which the One O’Clock club didn’t. But equally the new provision is clearly helping far fewer carers and parents at a time of life when the stay and play centre was a tried, tested and very successful Council provision. This would be a good issue for discussion at the ‘Lets Talk’ event.
A list of opening times and sessions at the Triangle Centre is here: http://fis.wandsworth.gov.uk/kb5/wandsworth/fsd/organisation.page?id=CvJXZjSCBQQ
Crime levels and issues
We attended the recent Safer Neighbourhood meeting and were pleased to hear how crime is low in our ward, and that the police are always very keen to hear from the community about areas they can focus on. With the hot weather coming up, everyone is reminded to keep their windows shut when they aren’t in the room. Also remember to lock your car as the number of thefts from unlocked cars is always a factor, and do call 101 if you see anything suspicious or would like to report anything which is not an emergency.
Air pollution – what do you think of the action plan?
There are two real concerns in our air and Wandsworth has been given notice to sort these areas out: high levels of nitrogen dioxide and small particles. These cause lung and heart problems and we don’t even know the long-term damage these are causing to our children. We can’t see the small particles and they are half the width of a human hair, and our body cannot get rid of them easily. They cause heart and lung disease and problems especially for the young and elderly, and can cause cancer.
Wandsworth Council have just released a draft action plan on air pollution and are asking for your comments by 5th August. http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/info/200485/air_quality
Council waste of money on a ‘Golden Ticket scheme
Wandsworth council has just wasted thousands of pounds on nearly having a scheme to encourage recycling through being able to win £20,000 if your golden ticket is pulled out of a draw. This was going to be done jointly by Wandsworth and two local boroughs, but after going to print with leaflets for everyone, this scheme has been scrapped. Here is the story in the Evening Standard last week:
Fleur attended planning committee to speak on behalf of residents objections to converting a house in Foxborne Road into 3 flats, and agreeing with additional windows to a extension on Montana Rd which weren’t originally in the planning application. There were an unusually large number of complaints made to the Foxbourne Rd plans and Fleur emphasised these to the committee.
A lot of time in the last couple of months has been spent supporting several families who have housing difficulties, and we welcome anyone in this position to contact us as soon as possible in the process – don’t call us in as a last resort! We’ve been helping to work with the Council housing officers and even with housing offices in other Boroughs if it comes to that. We’ve had some recent good news about one family that was offered unsuitable accommodation in Birmingham but now has been offered housing locally and they are delighted.
New roles for us
Finally, this time of year is like the start of a new school year in the Council calendar and we both have new roles – Rosena is Deputy Leader of the Labour Group of Councillors and Fleur is the opposition spokesperson for Community Services.
My dog was barking like crazy in the middle of the night – but the reason was great! New 20 mph signs were being painted. It has been fantastic to see the 20MPH signs go up all over the streets in the ward. We spent a lot of time collecting the signatures for each street to reach the 25% threshold to ask the Council to consult about these plans. The response to the consultation was very much in favour, and now the residential roads in the ward are all 20MPH. These have shown in other areas in the country to encourage much safer driving, and I hope to see the same happening here.
Wheatsheaf wins again!
It is great that the Wheatsheaf pub in Tooting Bec was the place for the Government announcement of new national powers coming in next month for people to have a say in protecting their local pubs. All the thousands of local people who took part in the campaign to save the historic Wheatsheaf building should also be really proud of this. Despite huge local opposition to the threats of it becoming a supermarket, the Council dragged their feet and took over a year to agree protection measures. Sadiq Khan MP really supported the local campaign group and I’m glad to have joined so many other local people in being part of something which has made the Government take action. There is more info on this here: http://www.sadiqkhan.org.uk/wheatsheaf_campaign_makes_history
Balham Boulevard – slower progress on new plans for Balham High Road
I’ve always felt that the High Road between Tooting Bec station and Balham station is not the prettiest stretch of road and could do with some love and attention. Balham Boulevard and the creation of a more European town style stretch of road was put to the Council a while ago and it was agreed to look more into this. We really support consideration of a way of having quieter lanes at each side for cyclists, something which is both safer and nicer looking. In the last year I have seen three motorbike accidents in the stretch between Ritherdon Road and Tooting Bec station alone, and I’d love to see more trees and a more cafe style look to the pavements.
We’ve been talking with Council officers about progress and the latest update is not good, the latest news is this: ‘The Balham Boulevard Plans are being led by TfL as it sits on their network. We have now been informed that they have had difficulties in designing segregated cycle lanes in this location due to the potential conflicts with traffic turning in and out of the numerous side roads. As a result they have concluded that the cyclists can be more safely accommodated in wider bus lanes. In addition, following requests to look at traffic movements at the junction of Balham High Road and Balham Station Road, they have incorporated that work into the wider Balham Boulevard project. This has set back the design process while they are redrawing the brief for the project. TfL has not yet confirmed the revised timetable, but I suspect we will not see any designs until late Summer, with possible consultation in the Autumn 2015.’
We will keep working with the Council to involve as many local people as possible in these plans and create an area which is both useful for traffic and nicer for everyone.
Tooting Common Cafe – could a community group take on the new lease?
Tooting Common Cafe – could a community group take it on?
The lease for this cafe has come up for renewal, for 15 years. Some renovation and creation of public access toilets is part of the new terms (good news!). I’m part of a community group which has just been formed to see if we could put a bid together in quite a short time to take on the lease. For more information contact me or see the group on Twitter: @TootComCafCo – we’d love more people to join!
Transition Town Tooting hustings
It is election season and there are many hustings and other election meetings taking place. I went to one recently organised by Transition Town Tooting, a group promoting sustainable living and community in the area. Lots of people came and shared ideas for how our area could be improved, from really affordable housing, supporting small businesses, stopping littering, more community-minded planning decisions and more.
Traffic, litter, pavements, housing issues and more – get in touch!
We’ve regularly visit different streets to speak to as many people as possible, and many people have been raising issues about housing problems, littering and fly tipping and traffic issues in their streets which we’re working on to resolve with the Council. These are good examples of some of the issues that we as Councillors can represent your views and concerns to the Council – so do contact us about these and other issues.
We have monthly surgery at Balham Library on the this Saturday of each month from 10 – 11am – no appointment needed. Do email us too:
Exciting things are afoot in Balham town centre! Sitting on the Balham town centre board, I have been able to hear about all the great work that has been done thus far, as well as find out about the opening/ completion of some wonderful communal spaces due in the early summer.
There is a great town centre feeling in Balham and Valentines day last month was a huge success with a “feel good” factor off the scale as wonderful red balloons lined the streets.
Here is a picture of a sight inspection of the area outside Sainsbury on Bedford Hill. Hopefully this space will see some live music, food festivals and many other community activities.
Thursday 5th March saw a very exciting event held in Tooting, hosted by Sadiq Khan. The aim was to gather lots of local women of all ages and celebrate International Women’s Day. There were members of the local community, faith groups and sixth form students. What a lovely, friendly and interesting mix of ladies.
It was a fantastic turnout and after a few short speeches, where some of us councillors shared our stories, it was over to the group discussions. We covered topics such as how to improve political engagement and we celebrated how far we have come in hundred years.
With many new voters in our community, some of the younger attendees felt that eighteen year olds may not vote as they cannot identify with the politicians they see in the media. We discussed the importance of improving the number of women role models in politics and all agreed that without using our votes, we cannot see more women in power.
International Women’s Day event attendees.
It was a throughly inspirational morning and topped off perfectly with a lovely cup of tea!