Guest post by councillor Mark Thomas
Wandsworth is in the grip of a growing housing crisis.
House prices up 10% in the last year and private rents by 14%
The disastrous effects of the Tories’ unjust welfare cuts, with lives turned upside down and those on low incomes pushed out of the borough.
Virtually every week now I am contacted by people – many of them in decent jobs – who are truly desperate because they have been evicted by their landlords and are unable to find anywhere else where they can afford to rent.
All in all, nearly 3,000 private renters in Wandsworth have been affected by the Government’s housing benefit cuts.
More than 2,000 tenants hit by the bedroom tax.
And around 850 residents by the overall benefits cap.
Unsurprisingly the result has been a rise in the levels of homelessness, with families now being rehoused as far away as Portsmouth and Reigate.
In the face of such challenges, surely what we need is a positive vision of how to develop Wandsworth’s housing function, based on the principles of preventing homelessness and increasing the quality and affordability of the housing available.
Instead, the Tories have put forward a set of cuts to the housing department totally lacking in imagination, clarity of purpose, or common sense. Continue reading
Detectives are investigating the death of a man in Battersea following police being called at 19:51hrs last night, to a man suffering gunshot wounds in Coppock Close, SW11.
Officers and London Ambulance Service attended and a 19-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination will be held in due course. Officers from Wandsworth are investigating, supported by colleagues from the Specialist Crime & Operations Command.
There has been no arrest at this early stage.
Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner, said: “I am keen to establish if there was anyone in the area who saw or heard anything suspicious yesterday evening. I’m appealing for anyone who has any information no matter how small to please come forward and help us with our inquiry.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information that may assist police is asked to contact detectives on 020 8358 0200 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
From council flat repairs and new affordable homes to Hollywood mansions and why we should scrap stamp duty – 51 of my tweets from the past two months about housing in Wandsworth. You can read more each day here @CllrSimonHogg
York Gardens Library
This Saturday hundreds of Battersea Labour Party members will come together in York Gardens Library to choose our candidate for the 2015 General Election.
There are four talented people to choose from – Martin Linton, the well-regarded MP from 1997-2010, has not put himself forward and now runs the Labour2Palestine organisation. I’ve met all the candidates, read their campaign literature and asked them specific policy questions.
Battersea will be lucky to have any one of these candidates. Whoever wins the nomination will have a wonderful opportunity as well as a serious challenge. Jane Ellison has made an impressive start as Battersea’s new MP and it will be tough to defeat her. Continue reading
The Riverlight development under construction in Nine Elms
Guest post by councillor Peter Carpenter. Text of a speech delivered this evening at Wandsworth Town Hall
Let me first make it clear that the Labour Party is entirely supportive of the Council’s efforts to ensure that the development of Nine Elms results in employment and apprenticeship opportunities for Wandsworth residents during the construction phase, and provides long term employment opportunities for Wandsworth residents in the operational phase of the development.
Let me repeat, what Wandsworth is doing in Nine Elms is good, but as we know from education, Good is not good enough, we have to aspire to be Outstanding. Opportunities like the Nine Elms development only come along once in a generation. It’s our job as Wandsworth Councillors to ensure that we make the absolute best of this opportunity for the residents of Wandsworth we represent.
There are three areas where I believe we are selling the residents of Wandsworth short: Infrastructure, Housing and Employment. And then there are the 30 wasted Tory years when no development occurred on these sites – at a cumulative cost of hundreds of millions in lost Business Rates and Council Tax.
Speech to Wandsworth council, May 15. Starts at 6 mins 10 secs in the below video of the debate
This council created modern Latchmere, the ward I represent, and we got it wrong. We built streets in the sky where neighbours fear to stop and talk. Designed estates with few shops and no jobs – in some cases literally with walls around them.
We had a tenancy policy that – coupled with a misguided Right To Buy scheme – has concentrated the borough’s most troubled families in the same places.
As I told this chamber in my maiden speech, I joined the council to change Latchmere, not keep it the same.
Since I made that speech in 2010, on the Winstanley and York Road Estates, six young men have been shot and one stabbed to death.
I recently received this excellent letter from a resident concerned about proposed cuts to the London Fire Brigade. This Saturday (April 20), I will join dozens of volunteers in taking its message to people in the affected neighbourhoods of Battersea.
I read today a letter in the Wandsworth Guardian by
Richard Tracey AM, the letter implied that Wandsworth was would not be
affected by the planned cuts to London Fire Brigade. The area of North
Wandsworth where I live will be greatly affected by these planned
Any fires in the north of the borough are regularly attended by
fire appliances that are due to be cut under LSP5. Battersea Fire
Station only has one firefighting appliance left since the cuts in the
early 1990s. This one fire engine depends wholly on back-up from
Chelsea, Clapham and Westminster Fire Stations. Clapham often send all
three of their appliances across into Battersea, as do Chelsea and
Westminster. Clapham and Westminster are due to close and Chelsea
downgraded to one fire engine as part of LSP5.
There have been many fires in North Wandsworth, some recently where
these fire engines have been totally relied on for quintessential back-
up, sometimes meaning the difference between life and death at certain
incidents. So I hardly think any scaremongering is baseless.
A recent fire in my street in the heart of Battersea had to have five fire
appliances attend, to deal with it speedily and safely, of those five
appliances, four are due to be cut. This type of incident in this area
is not a rare occurrence, but happens with frightening regularity.