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.

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

Our local library is incredible – but it needs your help to stay that way

York Gardens Library

York Gardens Library

Something special is happening at York Gardens Library. Each Saturday from 10am more than a dozen teenagers from the local estates receive free one-on-one tuition to help with their GCSE Maths and English.

This support is provided by volunteers – and it makes a real difference. “The free tutoring came at just the right time and helped me pass the subjects I was struggling in,” says local teenager Una. Her mother was delighted that Una could go on to a good college after tutoring improved her Maths grade to a C.

This fantastic scheme is just what we hoped for when a community campaign saved York Gardens Library from closure last year.

Last week there was more good news: Lloyds Banking Group’s Community Fund awarded £5,000 to the Library, following a public vote.

Unfortunately, just a few yards away from the library the scene is grim. What was the local Adventure Playground is now a muddy pile of wooden poles.

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Let’s Talk: A chance to have your say tomorrow at York Gardens

Latchmere councillors Tony Belton, Wendy Speck and Simon Hogg with Harriet Harman MP and Senia Dedic in York Gardens Library

Latchmere councillors Tony Belton, Wendy Speck and Simon Hogg with Harriet Harman MP and Senia Dedic in York Gardens Library

Tomorrow evening you have the chance to deliver your verdict on a wide range of local services and highlight areas of concern.

The leader of the council and senior Town Hall managers will join your local Labour councillors – Tony Belton, Wendy Speck and me – to answer your questions at York Gardens Library from 7.30pm. (People who are unable to attend on Thursday, July 19 can email questions in advance to www.wandsworth.gov.uk/letstalk.)

Hopefully you heard about the event from all the posters that are up, and the Latchmere leafets that have gone through every door in the neighbourhood!

Topics that crop up regularly at these meetings include street cleaning, recycling, parking, public transport and the NHS. Tony, Wendy and I will be speaking about three areas we think are a priority – these are: Continue reading

Free chicken, facepaint and £1,000,000: Hundreds of local people come to awesome Winstanley consultation

This post features material by Syeda Islam, Helen Garforth and Sandra Munoz

Residents young and old came to York Gardens Library on Thursday, June 14 to share their thoughts on how best to make a positive difference to their neighbourhood. More than 400 people contributed to this energetic and well-organised community consultation on how to spend a Big Lottery Fund grant of £1,000,000 over the next 10 years.

Local children take part in the consultation

Local children take part in the consultation

The guests, in bright sunshine, were greeted by the Falconbrook School Steel band and the Sacred Heart Choir, in the lovely gardens in front of the library.

The place was buzzing with various stalls and activities brought by local organisations – in the Library and also at Providence House, the Adventure Playground, and Pennethorne Square. A smoothie bike was available for all to “exercise” their way to a healthy drink.

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VIDEO: Latchmere won the Lottery – help us spend £1,000,000

A family fun day tomorrow (June 14) will give you the chance to say what sort of community you want to live in.

Big Local is an exciting opportunity to use at least £1 million of Lottery money to make a massive and lasting positive difference to our community in west Battersea. How the money is spent will be decided by local people, not politicians – this excellent video explains more:

You are invited to find out more and share your ideas:

14th June – Please come along any time from 3pm to 8pm
York Gardens Library Continue reading