Why was the Winstanley Estate built?

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I was excited to find this 1938 ‘Britain from Above‘ photograph – the first time I’ve seen the houses that Winstanley Estate replaced.

This is how the same Winstanley area looks today – not one building remains from 1938.

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Wandsworth council recently announced a regeneration plan that will demolish much of the estate over the next decade – including 700 homes built in the 1960s and 1970s.

When the above aerial photograph was taken in 1938, the Winstanley area was already earmarked for slum clearance. Then wartime bombing shattered thousands of Battersea homes. Continue reading

Winstanley regeneration is about building communities, not just homes

Wendy Speck on the Kambala Estate

Latchmere Labour councillor Wendy Speck

Guest post by councillor Wendy Speck

Regeneration to me is about building homes and a good, safe community people are proud to live in.

It is not that long since the riots in Clapham Junction, when the whole community was unsettled and we, as local councillors have worked hard in Latchmere and in the local community to see how we can make things better for our local residents.

We have worked to keep our local library and community hall open (which meant being active on the local Friends of York Gardens Library Committee) and the planning group for the Big Local Lottery funding, which covers some of the area, taking part in meetings and activities of many local groups and so on, so they were encouraged to see their area prosper.

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Winstanley Estate regeneration: 10 problems – and how we can make it a success

(Speech to Wandsworth council, December 2013 – starts at 31.30mins)

I think this crucial regeneration project has begun well, thanks to hard work by staff and consultants, co-operation between political parties and, crucially, engagement from local people. Who have, so far, backed the most bold option put in front of them.

It is a mighty challenge now for the council to sell the benefits of potentially demolishing 700 homes and replacing them with around 2,000 new homes – perhaps a billion pounds of new housing – on that estate.

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Wrong, harmful and costly: Wandsworth’s reckless housing cuts

(Speech from Oct 16, 2013 – starts at 12 mins in the above video)

I think housing is the biggest challenge that faces this council.

It’s an issue that affects every one of us.

Young renters moving through a series of expensive, short-term flats. Parents struggling to fund their children – from the ‘Bank of Mom & Dad’. The homeless families with their lives in ruins.

Local house prices are now 13 times local salaries. Private rents up 14pc in a year. Wandsworth is living through a housing crisis.

As councillor Thomas skilfully outlined, a series of welfare reforms are hitting our poorest residents. And this impact is about to get worse.

Housing is important.

That’s why Wandsworth’s Housing department is important.

It does some fantastic work. Tenant satisfaction levels are extraordinary, officers have created hundreds of Hidden Homes, the graffiti removal service is excellent there are hugely popular open days to encourage home ownership and affordable housing.

The £100m regeneration of our most deprived estates is possible thanks to the long-term strength of the rents account – the Housing Revenue account – which has a £1.8bn projected surplus.

And it can’t be said often enough in this debate – housing is funded by those people who live in council housing. There is a legal ring-fence around the money collected in rent – more than £100m a year.

Unlike other debates about  cuts to services, this is not about the money we receive from government and this is not about the council tax we collect from residents.

The first thing to say about these proposals for 45 job cuts is that they were pushed through to evade scrutiny. The plans were fully formed at the time of the last housing committee but were hidden from councillors. This is not fair dealing.

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Wandsworth’s in a housing crisis – and the council just made it worse

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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

The Wall in the Head: Why money alone can’t help our worst estates

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.

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Analysis: ‘Wandsworth fixes rents by elections not economics’

New research shows Wandsworth sets rent increases at less than half the government guideline in the year before local elections and more than double the guideline in the first year after local elections.

This shocking finding came from analysis I commissioned of rent data from the past 20 years – and follows the council’s decision to increase rents by 2.7% in 2013/14. Wandsworth council already charges the highest rents in Britain and by the end of this year benefit cuts will seriously affect many families in social housing.

Data reveals that year before an election Wandsworth charges 44% of the government’s suggested guideline rent rise; but the year after each election rents leap by 246% of the guideline.

The figures can be revealed after a political row in the most recent Town Hall Housing Committee. At the January 23 meeting, Labour councillor Tony Belton produced a list of rent increases for the past 20 years and stated that rents were clearly set to match political priorities, not financial ones. Continue reading

VIDEO The truth about housing: These cuts are unfair – but costs have got out of control

I gave this speech on Housing and the Government’s benefit cuts during a debate in Wandsworth Council’s December meeting. A video of the whole session is below, my speech leads the debate and begins at 35 seconds in. The text of the speech is below.

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9 things your local Labour Party did for you this year

Here is what your local councillors, Tony Belton, Wendy Speck and I, have achieved in 2012 with the help of volunteers and local residents:

1 Helped to save York Gardens Library, again

Harriet Harman MP celebrates with local mums in York Gardens Library

Harriet Harman MP celebrates with local mums in York Gardens Library

Local Labour councillors are proud to have led the community campaign that saved York Gardens Library last year. But to keep the library open we now need to:

  • Raise £70,000 in room hire each year – please book a room if you have a birthday party or special occasion
  • Make sure local children use the computers, the free homework club and GCSE Success tutoring

I was very impressed on recent visits to the library to see dozens of children from the local estates benefit from the free Maths and English tutoring supplied by GCSE Success. One local mother I invited to the House of Commons had a chance to explain how these volunteer tutors had given her daughter the chance to following her dream of becoming a lawyer.

Visit www.saveyorkgardens.com for more information.

Unfortunately, this year we failed to stop York Gardens Adventure Playground being demolished, having previously stopped Wandsworth charging children £2.50 to use adventure playgrounds.

IN 2013 WE WILL work with parents and the council to ensure a top-class new playground for York Gardens is in place for the spring.

2 Worked hard on the £60m estate regeneration for Winstanley and York Road

Tony Belton, Wendy Speck and Simon Hogg on the Winstanley Estate

Councillors Tony Belton, Wendy Speck and Simon Hogg on the Winstanley Estate

The Kinghan report into last summer’s riots concluded that the Winstanley Estate is in the worst 1 per cent of places in the country to grow up as a child. We are pleased that Wandsworth has agreed to make a huge investment to regenerate the York Road and Winstanley Estates. We stood for election in 2010 on a promise to improve our estates and we will stand again in 2014 on the same promise. Labour will ensure residents’ interests are put first in the regeneration, meaning:

  • Full consultation with the community
  • Construction jobs for local people
  • All social housing to be replaced, with residents guaranteed a chance to return
  • Estates should be given mix of housing types and tenures
  • No overall loss of play space or parks

IN 2013 WE WILL continue this work and link it to the £1m Big Lottery Funding that will help renew our community as well as the buildings we live in.

3 Supported Battersea’s community gardens

'Dig for the Dodd' at the community garden

‘Dig for the Dodd’ at the Doddington Estate roof garden

Labour councillors have supported the growth of community gardens all over Battersea this year: from securing £5,000 in funding for the Doddington Estate Roof Garden, to helping in the Falcon Estate garden and working to set up a Kambala Estate community garden. More information at Facebook.com/doddingtongarden.
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IN 2013 WE WILL dig deep to help the brand new Kambala garden come into bloom. Contact green-fingered councillor Wendy Speck (wspeck@wandsworth.gov.uk) to get involved.

4 Led the fight to save our local police stations

Earlier this year, Battersea Labour Party used a freedom of information request to uncover the disturbing fact that Lavender Hill Police station has “in principle approval for disposal in 2012/13″. Not only did Tory councillors refuse to join the campaign to save the police station, they accused us of ‘scaremongering’ (see video above).

By December, the Evening Standard reported that almost half of London’s police stations were to close to the public. Wandsworth’s top policeman recently predicted: “The front counters at Battersea, Tooting and Putney High Street [police stations] would close”.

Tony, Wendy and I know what a crucial role Lavender Hill Police station played in finally ending the riots at Clapham Junction last year and we will do everything we can to keep it open.

IN 2013 WE WILL ask every Wandsworth councillor to choose between supporting the police station cuts and supporting community campaigns to save our police stations.

5 Backed local businesses and job-seekers

Cllr Simon Hogg (left) and Levi Roots at the Big Local consultation

Councillor Simon Hogg (left) with local businessman Levi Roots at the Big Local consultation, which attracted 400 local residents to discuss the future of Latchmere

2012 was a very tough year to run a business in Battersea – and unemployment continued to rise. We stood up for local businesses that were flooded and facing high business rates and worked to help stallholders set up in markets and employ local youths.

We strongly supported Wandsworth’s new jobs brokerage scheme that will match local candidates to the job opportunities coming up in Nine Elms. We also backed the W.O.W  Enterprise Club which helps lone parents set up their own businesses.

NesetSabirLocal businessman Neset Sabir (left): “Councillor Simon Hogg helped me when my basement flooded and when my mopeds were stolen. I trust him.”
 
IN 2013 WE WILL continue to boost local entrepreneurs and help job seekers get the skills they need

6 Action on parking: Made bailiffs return a car to Clark Lawrence Court that had been wrongly towed away…

…secured the release of a clamped vehicle by challenging the council’s contractor and supported a council crack-down on Blue Badge fraud that has caught 441 cheats.

IN 2013 WE WILL support a freeze in the cost of a residents’ parking permit, as we did in 2012

7 Action on housing: Got the council to repair entryphones at Pennethorne House and Culvert Road, the pavement at Ashley Crescent, the map at McDermott Close…

Wendy Speck on a visit to discuss local issues on the Kambala Estate

Councillor Wendy Speck on a visit to discuss local issues on the Kambala Estate

…a leak in Holcroft House, a broken door in Dungeness House, negotiated a payment extension for Inkster House residents who faced a 200 per cent increase in service charges. We also pushed the council to agree empty homes should from now on pay fair Council Tax and spoke out on the housing crisis facing young people facing high rents and mortgage deposits.

IN 2013 WE WILL help constituents made homeless by the housing benefit cap and prepare for the effects of the next round of housing benefit cuts.

8 Celebrated the Overground arriving at Clapham Junction

Martin Linton on Platform 2 at Clapham Junction: The long wait for an Overground train is over!

Martin Linton on Platform 2 at Clapham Junction: the long wait for an Overground train is over!

Thanks to tireless work by former Battersea MP Martin Linton, local people can now take the Overground Line from the new Platform 2 at Clapham Junction to Clapham High St (8 mins), Peckham (15 mins), Surrey Quays (24 mins), Whitechapel (33 mins).

The wonderful new line that opened in December links up to Canada Water (for Jubilee line services to Canary Wharf and Stratford), Clapham High Street (for Northern Line services to the City and the West End), Highbury & Islington (for Victoria Line and National Rail services) and Shoreditch High Street (for the City).

IN 2013 WE WILL continue to lobby for improvements to Clapham Junction, surely the worst-designed major station in Britain.

9 Opposed over-development

Model of the Nine Elms development, from Battersea Power Station up to Vauxhall

Model of the Nine Elms development, from Battersea Power Station up to Vauxhall

Too often Wandsworth council puts the interests of property developers over the interests of residents. Another legacy of Martin Linton’s time as Battersea MP was stopping the construction of 42-storey towers at Clapham Junction and the Ram Brewery site.

This year Tony, Wendy and I met architects, planners and members of the public to:

  • Discuss the public benefit of developments on the Prince’s Head pub site on Falcon Road, the Peabody Estate and the Travis Perkins site on Battersea Park Road.
  • Stop developers behaving antisocially during construction: we were recently appalled by reports that concrete was being laid at 3am on the Battersea Reach site, with the council’s full knowledge! This Christmas morning I was woken at 7am by construction work from another site.

And a few of the other issues we tackled in 2012…

Councillor Simon Hogg listens to ideas for improving the local area

Councillor Simon Hogg listens to ideas for improving the local area

…Arson attacks in Fairchild Close… Planned extension for Falcon Road Mosque… Council cutting lollipop ladies… Big Local Lottery funding… Bed Bugs in Penge House… New windows for Sporle Court… Gun crime in York Gardens, Falcon Road and Pennethorne Square… Need for more CCTV on Maysoule Road… Lack of teenagers’ facilities on Battersea Fields Estate… Discussion with former Health Secretary Andy Burnham about the future shape of the NHS… Public appeal for PlayStation equipment at the STORM youth club…

Will Martindale presents the PS3 games and controllers to STORM

Local Labour volunteer Will Martindale presents PlayStation3 games and controllers to STORM youth club: The computer equipment was donated by local families