(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.
Local musician Jamie West has released a song, Put Your Love Letters Up , inspired by the events following last years looting at Clapham Junction.
He says: “I filmed, with the co-operation of Wandsworth Film Office, about the ‘lovewalls’ people made after the London riots last year. I hope you enjoy it – I am a Wandsworth resident, and the film is ultimately about celebrating the place I grew up.”
Just who were that group of hooded figures in orange jumpsuits walking down Northcote Road this lunchtime?
It was a protest to mark the 10th anniversary of Wandsworth resident Shaker Aamer imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay. He remains the last Londoner in Guantanamo, despite not being charged or tried for any crime. His wife and four children – one of whom he has never met – still live locally.
The independent report into the disorder in Wandsworth in August has been published. You can read it here. It rightly condemns the looters and praises the ‘broom army’; when I first read the report these 10 new pieces of information jumped out at me: