Speech to Wandsworth council, May 15, 2013
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.
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.”
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: