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Councillor Joanne Simpson, Prince's Ward, blogs on the new council-rent homes and brand new children's centre being delivered in Kennington...

This summer sees the completion of the Lollard Street development, delivering 70 Council-rent homes and a brand new Ethelred children’s centre and nursery in the heart of Kennington, Prince’s ward.

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Councillor Joanne Simpson, Councillor Vaila McClure and Councillor Lib Peck at Ethelred nursery

London is facing the worst housing crisis since the second world war. In Lambeth, a borough with some of the highest levels of deprivation in the whole country, 3,000 of our residents are stuck on the housing waiting list, and 1,700 families go to sleep every night in sub-standard temporary accommodation like B&Bs.

On top of this, the Tory Government propped up by their then Lib Dem Coalition partners, changed legislation to make it easier for private housing developers to maximise profits and shirk their affordable housing obligations. Up-to-20% profit margins are now enshrined in law, the affordable housing grant has been scrapped, and Councils are powerless to make developers provide affordable housing when a developer can demonstrate that doing so would compromise their financial profit.

Councils of all parties have lobbied the Government to lift the legal and financial restrictions that prevent Councils from borrowing money to build social housing. These calls have fallen on deaf ears. Despite this, Lambeth Labour remains committed to meeting the needs of our residents, especially our most vulnerable, in the face of consistent and unrelenting local-government-bashing from Theresa May and her Tory Government.

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In 2014, as part of our election pledges to you, we committed to delivering 1,000 brand new Council homes across the borough. And in Prince’s ward, your three local Councillors have been rigorous in making sure that developments in the area benefit local residents as much as possible. The 70 new Council-rent homes at Lollard Street and brand new Ethelred children’s centre in the middle of the Ethelred Towers estate, are being delivered as part of a wider scheme to redevelop the Shell Centre in Waterloo by Canary Wharf Group. Labour Councillors lobbied hard to make sure that the social housing contribution would be delivered in Kennington on a site that the Council otherwise would not have been able to develop. As part of the planning obligations for Canary Wharf, we made them commit to not only fund the housing, but also to use their expertise, experience and supply chain to construct the buildings. And throughout the process, we have made sure that the builds are to Lambeth Council’s specifications, including me as as ward councillor chairing monthly community liaison meetings between the developer and the Ethelred Towers Tenants and Residents Association, to keep residents informed and mitigate the nuisance that large-scale construction can cause.

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The Prince's Labour team: Jon Davies, Councillor Joanne Simpson and Councillor David Amos

After four years’ construction, the buildings are almost complete. As your three Prince’s Councillors, we have fought hard so that those who have had to put up with living on a building site are the ones who benefit most from the results. We are pleased that our lobbying paid off and that a local lettings policy will apply, meaning that Ethelred Towers Council tenants with the most housing need will have first dibs on moving into the new homes, to be managed by Homes for Lambeth. Residents will start moving in from this summer.

This is great news for Prince’s ward, and the 70 homes will contribute towards Lambeth Labour’s pledge to build 1,000 new Council-rent homes by this year, an election pledge which we are proud to report we are on target to meet. Whilst 70 new homes, and indeed 1,000, might seem a drop in the ocean given the acute housing shortage blighting our borough, for the 70 families who will move in this summer, and for the hundredss of local children who will now be able to attend a fit-for-purpose children’s centre, the outcome will be life-changing.

70 new Council-rent homes and a brand new children’s centre in Kennington

Councillor Joanne Simpson, Prince's Ward, blogs on the new council-rent homes and brand new children's centre being delivered in Kennington...

The long-running campaign by Ferndale and Larkhall Labour Teams to replace the dilapidated footbridge between Hubert Grove and Dolman Place has finally paid off. 

The footbridge, which is used by over 200 people every day to walk to work, do their shopping and access Lambeth Hospital and Brixton Station has been in a run-down state for many years.  

The 100 year old bridge is covered in graffiti and weeds and the poor lighting means that many residents are reluctant to use it at night.

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Irfan Mohammed, Josh Lindsey (Ferndale Labour candidates), Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite and Cllr Paul McGlone

Responsibility for the inspection and maintenance of the bridge is Network Rail’s and thanks to successful lobbying by Ferndale and Larkhall councillors, nearly £1m will be spent on designing and installing a modern, safe, well-lit replacement.

Led by Cllr Paul McGlone and Cllr Andy Wilson, local councillors have also secured a guarantee that ways of improving access for cyclists, the elderly and people with limited mobility will be explored as part of the design process.

Cllr Andy Wilson, Labour councillor for Larkhall said:

"This is a vital improvement for residents that Larkhall Labour has been campaigning for over many years. Residents have long been raising concerns about safety and anti-social behaviour  so this new, extensive works will be welcomed by communities on both sides of the bridge."

As the bridge crosses the mainline rail network, closing it is very expensive. Network Rail have indicated that the earliest they could do the work is in 2020. However, the Labour Action Teams, backed by Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Envrionment, Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, are pressing Network Rail to bring forward the works and look closely at opportunities to do the work sooner.

Funding for the new bridge will come from the  Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), a tax paid by developers to mitigate the impact of development on local communities. Over £2m is due to be spent in Brixton through the Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 payments this year on local parks, sports facilities, and community buildings such as the Brixton Windmill. 

Labour Team secures £1m for new Brixton footbridge

The long-running campaign by Ferndale and Larkhall Labour Teams to replace the dilapidated footbridge between Hubert Grove and Dolman Place has finally paid off. 

Lambeth Labour has kicked off the new year by approving the replacement of Lambeth Landscapes vehicles which will result in a significant reduction of in emissions of toxic air pollutants, particularly NO2 and Particulate Matter.

Cllr Sonia Winifred, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, approved the decision to replace more than 40 ageing diesel vehicles with cleaner models. Diesel vehicles, particularly older models, pre Euro 6 standard, are the biggest generator of the toxic compounds in poor air quality. Replacing the polluting vehicles in the current fleet will play a part in improving the health of Lambeth residents.

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2017 was a year of action against air pollution in Lambeth. Labour councillors have:

Our work has been supported with funding from the Mayor of London, who continues to show real leadership, and we look forward to working closely with the Sadiq as he develops plans to expand Ultra Low Emission Zone, plant hundreds of new trees and invest in electric charging infrastructure.

Lambeth Labour will continue to work to make our air cleaner. As well as replacing Lambeth Landscapes diesel cars, over the next six months we will spend £150,000 on installing new cycle hangars across the borough - increasing the total number of spaces by over 10%.

 

Cllr Winifred  said:

“Air pollution in our city is an invisible killer and it is something that here in Lambeth we are determined to tackle. I am proud to have made this hugely important decision for our borough. Replacing diesel vehicles in our Lambeth Landscapes fleet will make a huge different to the air quality of our residents.

 

Cllr Brathwaite said:

“Lambeth has been at the forefront of efforts to kick clean air up the political agenda. This move is one of many we have made as part of our clean air committment. Replacing our Lambeth Landscapes cars is a huge step forward.  We are working hard every day to improve air quality through our borough, particularly looking at protecting our children and elderly people. I am proud to continue to work cooperatively with my colleagues across the council to tackle air pollution.”

 

Lambeth replaces diesel cars with cleaner vehicles

Lambeth Labour has kicked off the new year by approving the replacement of Lambeth Landscapes vehicles which will result in a significant reduction of in emissions of toxic air pollutants,...

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