LOCAL INFORMATION & NEWS

Extracts from previous RCDT Weekly ENews/Events Listings: November 2006

9 November 2006

News Sports Area for Spring Gardens. Derek Prentice (Lambeth Environment) has circulated the following note to local people and Council officers involved in the Spring Gardens Development Framework group meetings: ‘Work on the construction of the new sports pitch and associated landscaping will commence within the next two weeks and is due to be completed around the end of March next year. There will of course be some disruption to the Park and the whole site of the work will be fenced off. As part of this work some 6 trees will need to be removed but 31 new trees will be planted. This work will complete Phase 1 of the Urban Framework and together with the work being undertaken to improve the tunnels at Vauxhall Walk and New Spring Gardens, will, I am sure you will agree, greatly enhance both the appearance and enjoyment of the Park.’

Post-Murder Follow-Up Meeting 8 November. At least 120 people attended the meeting held last night to receive report backs from Council and police officers on what action they were taking on the issues raised at the meeting held after the tragic murder of Carmelita Tulloch. The police reported on a variety of actions and plan to have a mini-police ‘station’ operation. The information vehicle on Spring Gardens will remain for a while. There have been several raids on suspected drug houses. The Council reported that various repair and improvement programmes e.g. secure doors were being brought forward. Discussions were continuing on CCTV but residents should not put their faith them as a solution. The Council seemed to suggest that the creation of the Arms Length Management Organisation for the Housing Department will be helpful in the future. It reported that the area was well serviced with youth provision compared with other areas of the Borough. Underspend on the summer holiday playscheme will be allocated to the Sports Action Zone. The Chief Executive spoke. Local Prince’s Ward Councillor Sam Townend and Kate Hoey, MP were there. It is not clear what follow-up there will be from the meeting, but there is still hope that there will be an increase in tenants and residents associations on the Vauxhall Gardens Estate.

Vauxhall City Farm needs your help. John Roberts, Farm Director writes: As most of you know the farm was closed for a number of weeks due to health and safety renovation works. The farm had its grand re-opening, that many of you attended on Sunday 1st of October 2006 and thank you to all of you that supported us on the day. But we need your help again. The farm has many jobs that we cannot get funding for and try as we might (and we do) the farm staff just cannot cope with the amount extra pressure that is put upon us. So I have decided that as we cannot afford to pay for the following help and no one will volunteer to support these roles. We would look at a new way to elicit support. We need one or two cleaners for two hours a day to help clean the classroom (this includes the kitchen, the teaching area and the toilets) the porter cabins and volunteers area. Staff already clean the rest of the farm and there is just not enough hours in the day to complete these tasks, unless we reduce our opening times. We are also looking for someone do help us with basic admin support, answering telephone calls, doing the post, writing thank you letters etc for a few hours a day. 10-12pm. These are not glamorous jobs we know but nevertheless are important to support the farm in its daily operational duties. This is why we would like to trade horse-riding lessons in exchange for the above role. We charge between 20 - 35 pounds for a lesson depending if you live in Lambeth and income and would willing to exchange this for 5 hours cleaning or 10 hours admin. The lessons would have to be exchanged during weekdays. I know that this may not be that attractive to many but we really do need this extra help if we are to maintain the high standards that people have come to expect form the farm. No one likes a dirty toilet or kitchen and we know it’s annoying calling the farm only to get an answer phone message that we reply to days latter. Please help us, to help the community and e mail john for further details. Thanks. Farm Contact details. Tel 020 7582 5104 Email vcf@btconnect.com

Council Budget Consultation. Lambeth Council is consulting on its budget setting process. The consultation includes stakeholder workshops, focus groups, on-street interviews and an online survey. The aim is to engage residents, stakeholders, businesses and people that work in Lambeth in discussing their budget priorities in what will become an annual process of open dialogue. For more information on the consultation the link is: www.lambeth.gov.uk/finance. The link to survey is: www.lambeth.gov.uk/surveys/oace/budget06.htm. The deadline for the survey is 17 November. Richard Bridge (Waterloo activist) writes: I do hope that as interested local residents and members of local groups that you will find this interesting. Taking up the opportunities (often too few!) to express our views about how we would like the council to focus its attention and funds, is always vital. It is also really quite informative as well!

LEGI (Local Enterprise Growth Initiative) Bid Fails. The following information has been circulated by the Council Regeneration team: ‘We have heard from the Government Office for London today that none of the 11 round 2 London LEGI bids (out of 52 in total nationwide) has been shortlisted. Therefore Lambeth has not been successful in this round. We will not receive any formal feedback from GOL until the New Year. While this is disappointing, we are advised that Lambeth submitted a strong bid and the process of developing the bid was in itself extremely valuable. We now have a strong partnership in place to take forward the LEGI strategy and we wish to continue to build on this. This is not the end of the story. In the short term, we will be taking forward the following activity under the banner of ‘Enterprising Lambeth’:

  • Continue to implement the LEGI action plan 2006/07, including forthcoming activity such as Enterprise Week and the Supply Lambeth: Meet the Public Sector Buyer event
  • Establish the Enterprise Board under the Local Strategic Partnership
  • Develop the LEGI bid proposals into a full enterprise strategy for Lambeth to guide the future work of the Enterprise Board
  • Review the range of alternative resources within the borough available to support implementation of the strategy
  • Develop an Enterprise action plan for 2007/08

These activities will be reported in more detail in due course. The Enterprise Board may also wish to consider submitting a round 3 bid to LEGI in 2007.’

Local Area Agreement Meeting. Friday 17 November (12-5pm) at Oval Cricket Ground. Sector organisations are invited to attend the Lambeth First seminar on Keynote Speaker Chair of Lambeth First Councillor Steve Reed. How will the partnership as a whole approach service planning in the run up to implementation of Lambeth’s first LAA on April 1st 2007, and beyond? Separate service planning events are also being planned in the theme partnership to take forward more detailed planning in the blocks. Delegates will have two opportunities to attend break-put sessions to discuss the service planning issues for: performance and data management, risk planning, equalities, financial planning; commissioning; community engagement and communications.

  • develop critical tasks for LAA development for the November and January submissions
  • start in earnest planning for implementation on April 1st
  • look at the longer term perspective – where do we want LAA’s to take us?

Whilst it is understood that diaries are filling up, we urge partners and departments to ensure that there is adequate representation at senior departmental level and key leads.

Places limited so book quickly. Contact: Julie Haughton, Project Officer, Lambeth First, Room 206, Lambeth Town Hall, SW2 1RW Tel: 020 792 62736. Fax: 020 7926 2752. Email: jhaughton@lambeth.gov.uk . Web: www.lambethfirst.org.uk

17 November 2006

Founder's Place development goes to planning appeal
Read more at: http://www.London-SE1.co.uk/news/view/2430

Charlie Chaplin Adventure Playground Proposed Cuts. Betty Agweiwaa, a local mother, writes: Charlie Chaplin Adventure playground for children with disabilities is run by an organisation called' KIDS'. This organisation is proposing changes to the structure and policies to the running of the Playground. They want to charge children for after school-club, Saturday club and holiday playschemes, and also cut the number of playworkers from one adult to four children to one adult to eight children. Currently the playground has two full time workers who manage the services but KIDS is proposing to cut this to one full time staff and one part time staff. As a parent, I believe these changes would have a damaging effect to the safety and quality of service offered to these children if 'KIDS' go ahead with the proposal.

Lord Clyde – Intermediate Housing Redevelopment. The former Lord Clyde pub on Tyers St which was a hostel for a while is being redeveloped to build intermediate housing. There was strong opposition to the original planning application especially from the Friends of Spring Gardens. The Council granted planning permission on re-application with opponents believing that it would be rejected.  Following it receiving planning permission, there were lengthy discussions in the Spring Gardens Development Framework meetings about trying to re-locate the project elsewhere through a land swap.  This failed to happen. The issue was discussed at the recent meeting of the Friends of Spring Gardens Annual General Meeting.  Friends Chairman Eamonn McMahon has sent the following letter to Kate Hoey (MP), the Lambeth Council Leader and Chief Executive and local Councillors.

‘The Friends and Committee of the Friends of Spring Gardens have resolved at their Annual General Meeting, on October 25th 2006, to express their deep frustration and disappointment at the failure of Lambeth Council and the De Paul Trust to re-locate the site of The Lord Clyde to a more suitable position.

We now suspect that due process did not take place, with the planning application.

The facts are

1 The planning application was first submitted in early 2005 and a petition of over 120 signatures and approximately 45 letters of objection were lodged against it.

2 The Development framework plans recommended that the hostel should be re-sited away from the park

3 The planning application was "Withdrawn" 6th June 2005

4 Subsequent council / committee Framework meetings unanimously agreed that the hostel could and would be re-positioned away from the park, as recommended in the Spring Gardens Development Framework Plans, commissioned and paid for by Lambeth Parks on behalf of the Friends of Spring Gardens.

5 The same application was re-submitted to Lambeth in October 2005.

It was assumed by the original signatories of the petition and the letter writers that their earlier objections would be taken in to consideration as there was no fundamental difference between the two applications. Everyone had also been given repeated reassurances from David Thompson and Graeme Russell of Lambeth Housing that a SWAP could and would take place.
Our then local councillor Keith Fitchett who supported and was instrumental in the Framework document did not attend the planning hearing believing as we all did that the building would not get planning permission.

6 Planning permission was granted, but we were still told by housing a Swap was possible.

The Swap has not happened, and has been abandoned, the hostel will now be built on its original site despite all the recommendations and the overwhelming opposition from the local community.

This is a very sorry reflection on the ability of Lambeth Council to execute the plans, hopes, and aspirations of our local community.

My personal disappointment is overwhelming but I have been pressed by the members of my committee and the friends of Spring Gardens and many members of our local community to ask if DUE PROCESS was followed in these proceedings, and I call on Maff Potts from the Department of Communities and Local Government to co-ordinate a dialogue between Kate Hoey our local MP and Lorna Campbell, our newly-elected local councillor to clarify and make sense of the situation.’

Kennington Association Sets Up A Planning Group. Kennington Association is setting up a planning group. Cathy Preece of KA explains: ‘Kennington is changing - mostly for the better; however, an important function of KA is to ensure that the area remains a good place to live with community facilities improved to help meet the new demand created by new development. The Committee view is that the Association should focus on: a) contributing to overarching planning policy; b) providing a community voice on large planning applications that will have a major impact on the area; c) engaging with Lambeth Council on community priorities and possible uses for S106 (planning gain) money. The KA aims to represent the community as a whole. It is therefore difficult to become engaged in individual applications; however, we would hope to assist local residents with advice on how the planning process works. Many hands make light work, and though Sarah O'Connell has agreed to lead she would welcome help. If you are interested in planning and development or have specific skills or knowledge which would be of use (surveyors, trees, property, licensing...) we would be delighted if you would join our planning sub-group. We are also interested in hear from those with free time during the day who would be willing and able to do background research.’ kenningtonassn@aol.com

Get Walking - Keep Walking and Little Legs - Big Strides. Vauxhall based Ramblers’ Association pilot projects for Lambeth. Southwark and Lewisham to promote the health benefits of walking and awareness of local walking opportunities in Lambeth to increase walking levels in urban areas. It looks forward to hearing from groups and organisations who would like to get involved in these projects. For further details contact: Rebecca Barnham - Little Legs Project Officer: rebeccab@ramblers.org.uk. Louise Hillyer - Outreach Officer: louiseh@ramblers.org.uk. Ramblers’ Association, 2nd Floor, 89 Albert Embankment, SE1 7TW. Tel: 020 7339 8500. www.ramblers.org.uk . This is something the local Health & Fitness network might want to become involved with.

COMMUNITIES FIRST

‘Communities First’ is to be a new Lambeth Council approach to community consultation and engagement and strengthening the role of the Ward Councillors. The Council meeting on 22 November will discuss a paper, which is partly the outcome of the consultation launched in 2005 on the future of the area forums. There will be increased clarity between informing, consulting, involving and devolving. It is hoped ‘to secure the widest possible involvement from Lambeth’s diverse neighbourhoods and communities.’ Main features of the proposals are as follows.

Area Assemblies

• A single Area Assembly with terms of reference to be developed through consultation
• Any individual, organisation, business may attend.
• The Assemblies will be led by Democratic Services
• Ward Councillors will be able to raise issues of concern via the Assembly to the Cabinet
• Areas will be able to influence the development and delivery of the Lambeth Community Strategy and Local Area Agreement commitments
• Each Assembly will have a rolling programme of open community consultation meetings based around themes and priorities with the emerging Lambeth Local Area Agreement
• Assembly meetings will be ‘single issue’ based and not decision-making bodies.
• Outcomes will be reported to the Council and Lambeth First

Neighbourhood and Community Bodies

• Neighbourhood and community bodies will be promoted and encouraged ‘to provide a collective voice and promote well-being of their neighbourhood through the development of Community Action Plans (structured around the themes of the Local Area Agreement)’
• These bodies will ensure that the delivery of public services is firmly rooted in the community, where the needs of a neighbourhood can be addressed in a multi-purpose and holistic way.’
• The Community Action Plan will establish a vision for the local neighbourhood
o identify local priorities based on evidence of need
o bring together Ward Councillors, local people, service providers (inc. community and voluntary groups), police. etc
• Outline service standards within the neighbourhood
• Each partner will sign up to the Plan
• The neighbourhood community body will have the responsibility to increase the level of active citizenship, participation and engagement, encourage service take up, tap into new resources, encourage new ways of working, and build conf9idence and influence public service delivery
• A community neighbourhood body could be an existing community group, friends of group, forum, development trust, etc or a new body created in response to the Communities First project
• Boundaries should be determined locally as ‘ward boundaries and town centres are not necessarily reflective of local communities or neighbourhood identity and do not normally provide the basis for effective engagement.
• Communities of interest will also be encouraged to develop bodies with the Communities First context e.g., disabilities, faith, BME.

Community Management & Ownership of Assets

• There is a role for the ‘community managing, or owning assets, particularly on the basis of a longer lease, or through transfer of the freehold’, ‘to revive under-utilised assets and provide a foundation for other community action.’

Neighbourhood Delivery of Community/Public Services

• ‘Where appropriate community/neighbourhood bodies, with the appropriate capacity and infrastructure could act as the springboard as future models to deliver public services through a strategic commissioning process.’

Tenant Management

• The government will be exploring new ways of encouraging the growth of tenant management.
• ‘The principle should be to build upon the practical lessons, which have been a success in Lambeth with regards to TMOs and use these lessons to develop best practice models.

Strengthening the Role of the Ward Councillor

• ‘The emphasis within the Communities First project is to work alongside the Ward Councillor to develop a clear framework to support their important role, which could be built around:
o brokering and leading on the development and then participation in community/neighbourhood bodies
o facilitating community engagement and supporting neighbourhoods to take control of matters for themselves
o navigating and reaching out across diverse cultures and interest groups, as well as having a sound understanding of the dynamics between different groups
o a clear understanding and championing of robust local governance arrangements and structures
• Building local profile is important.

Community Call for Action

• This involves the Councillor taking up communities concerns
• If the problem is not solved then the Councillor asks the Council Executive to take action
• If that does not solve the problem then the Councillor asks the Overview & Scrutiny Committee to investigate
• the Committee considers, rejects or makes recommendations, which may be accepted or rejected by the Council Executive/local partners

Comment (personal by Sean Creighton)

There are several grounds on which the proposals can be critically assessed.

• The opportunity to create decision making neighbourhood committees with budgets has been missed.
• The approach is too top down, rather than building a process from the bottom up.
• The potential multiplicity of local neighbourhood/community bodies reflecting communities of interest could be divisive, unless linked into a more general neighbourhood one.
• The opportunity to develop the co-ordination and leadership potential of the Town Centre Managers has been missed.
• How are the neighbourhood/communities bodies to be serviced and resourced?
• Does the new role for Ward Councillor restrict or enhance party political opposition?
• There is no discussion of what was learnt from the Area Strategy and Neighbourhood Renewal work in 2005/6.

The paper does make clear (para. 2.4) that ‘to secure the widest possible involvement from Lambeth’s diverse neighbourhoods and communities’ ‘will require flexibility in both structures and methods and the creating of appropriate environments and opportunities to ensure this is achieved.’ Therefore it can be argued that the way the proposals can be welcomed because how they work out at local level will be shaped through the process of taking part.

Note: ‘Towards A Community Plan. Discussion Paper’. In view of the meeting on 5 December to enable local people and their organisations to discuss ‘Communities First’ with the Deputy Leader of the Council (see November/December Diary below), Sean Creighton, RCDT’s Development & Management Worker has put together a discussion paper ‘Towards a Community Plan’, partly based on what has been emerging out of the 28 June ‘Planning Our Future’ public meeting. Copies of the discussion paper are available from info@rcdt.org . The report of the 28 June meeting can be seen on www.rcdt.org.

24 November 2006

Oval Christmas Lights get off to a flying start with Linford Christie. Paul Mathie (North Lambeth Town Centre Team – last working day) writes: North Lambeth Town Centre office in partnership with local groups and businesses staged a hugely successful Christmas lights switch on with very special guest sprint legend Linford Christie OBE last night. Children from local schools led a musical procession to the Lavender Restaurant joining Vassall Voices choir in Christmas Carols. Cllr Faye Gray opened the ceremony before handing over to Linford, who as Britain’s former team captain, Olympic 100m champion and our most successful male athlete in history, probably needed little introduction. Linford, now something of a North Lambeth regular following his work with Sport Action Zone at the old Lilian Baylis school, led the sizeable expectant crowd in the countdown ensuring the Oval lights burst into action on the ‘b’ of the bang this year.

Drones Jazz Jam. Tim Clark (organiser of the Jazz Jam sessions at the Pilgrim Pub) writes: Another good night last week - the sound was good, the atmosphere particularly relaxed and friendly - and more good music. Thanks to those of you who came and warmed up the chilly November evening. More of the same this week, hopefully with some new (or old faces). There's plenty of room for you - horns, pianists, strummers and drummers, herald angels,
percussionists, cowbell tinklers, even bass players (we'll try anything once)... anyone who can play a bit and wants to try ... let's be having you! I hope you are all enjoying yourselves - please feel free to tell me if you are, OR if there's anything that could be improved - I like hearing from you. If you haven't been down yet, do come, we have lots of fun. Either to play, listen, or just drink and soak up the ambience. The more the merrier. Let's have a really good run up to Christmas. ...looking forward to seeing you all this Tuesday evening at London's friendliest jam, in one of London's friendliest pubs. Note: for further details see Regular Events Section below. Please note change in start time from 8 to 8.15pm.

Alford House Heritage Lottery Grant. Alford House youth centre has been awarded a  £25,000 Heritage Lottery grant to undertake a project involving young people doing a video of their lives and family backgrounds, looking at the lives and family backgrounds and heritage of other local people, and doing a comparison with a similar project in New York.