On October 26, 100 volunteers came on to the streets of Battersea to campaign for Will Martindale, Battersea’s next Labour MP. I was number 30.
You can meet all 100 in this fun short video of the day (below). Will Martindale has also written an article explaining why upset Lib Dem, divided Tories and new young voters will make Battersea will be a Labour gain in the General Election of 2015.
I have called a public meeting in the Town Hall tomorrow night (Tuesday, 6.30pm in Room 122) to discuss the housing crisis in Wandsworth. I hope you can come.
Private rents are up 14pc in a year, the average income of a homebuyer is now more than £100,000 and there are 6,000 people waiting for council flats.
Looking to buy? This parking space in Battersea costs £70,000, this garage in Tooting costs £315,000 and this former council flat in Latchmere costs £550,000!
Homelessness is on the rise and the Bedroom Tax is hurting hundreds of local families – you can read how it has affected one mother on the Shaftesbury Estate here.
The council should be working round the clock to help people move up the housing ladder. Instead they have decided to cut 45 roles from the housing department.
These job losses are not necessary. Wandsworth’s housing finances are in excellent shape and its officers widely respected.
Housing services are not paid for from Council Tax – they are paid for by people who live in council housing. Wandsworth charges the highest council rents in the country so its housing department is very well off. These cuts aim to save money from a rents account that has a predicted £1,800m surplus!
Wandsworth has a dreadful record on homeless families left in unsuitable B&B accommodation, yet it is proposed to reduce the size of the relevant team and add to its duties. Continue reading
Mrs Simpson outside her Battersea home
Guest post by Mrs Simpson
I am disabled.
I live in a three bedroom house on the Shaftesbury Estate with my husband and son. My house is owned by the Peabody Trust.
I had serious back trouble after having children. As time went on it got worse. It got to the stage that I could not get in and out of my bath or get up my stairs.
In the end I had to sleep in my front room and wash in a sink because I couldn’t get in the bath.
I applied to my housing trust to move but they did not have any adapted properties available. I was told to move out the borough as it was the only chance that I would probably get of finding an adapted property.
I have lived in Battersea all my life. My husband works at a nursery and I have two daughters that live close by. They are always on hand to help me. Continue reading
This poster on Falcon Road promotes the council’s Big Society Fund. It features Senia, Sandra and Hadas, three remarkable local mothers who volunteer for Women of Wandsworth (WoW Mums).
The real story behind the smiles on the poster is how they overcame war, family breakdown and homlessness to contribute so much to Battersea.
I’ve got to know Senia, Sandra and Hadas quite well in the past few years – and I’m still slightly in awe of them. Here are their extraordinary stories…
Big Society Fund poster on Falcon Road, Battersea featuring Sandra, Senia and Hadas
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