Saturday 21 July 2012
One of the most positive creative aspects of People before Profit, has been the way in which the areas huge artistic community have taken to the former Garage on Hartes lane just behind TK maxx and Sainsburys in New Cross. The regular gallery as it has become since we occupied it to bring a run down building back into community use has been a huge success and popular across London with people from all walks of life take part and really getting enjoyment from this free space. We are presently consulting all local residents as to what they think about the use of an empty building into a Gallery and Music space, as well as encouraging any local resident to use for free community events. In September we will see the space used and open to every resident to display their own art work at our major exhibition, so contact the Gallery to take part. Paul Tecklenberg is the curator for a new show at the Gallery on Sunday 22 July from 12-5. Called .. UNITED.. The show will be as amazing as ever bringing together Artists who use units in their work. This Could be a Tablet,Block,Label, Tile Bottle or even a Bird Box. This show will also have live music, from the roof whilst the street becomes a great party. Bring a picnic, bring your friends, this is a wonderful free event,that you do not have to be a supporter or member of People before profit to enjoy. www.hartslanestudios.org
Wednesday 18 July 2012
Dear readers, We have come along way, since i first started putting a few stories on line and expressing my anger and concerns at the way local people have been ignored and opposed upon by our elected Labour party leadership in Lewisham. I never expected to see People before profit grow as fast as it has. In Ireland 2 MPs have been elected and 12 local Councillors, in Lewisham we have won a huge number of campaigns, before we have secured a single election victory, but seeing more and more people from all the main political parties, as well as the huge number of local residents, who never voted before joing and voting people before profit has been a real positive part of being a community activist, our need and the fights ahead are so important and having an election mandate like the 7000 who voted for Barbara raymond as our People before candidate in the London GLA elections, was key in forcing the Council to do a huge u-turn on housing. for once voting in Lewisham and Greenwich truly made a difference, and i cannot thank every one for the lift it has given our group. The huge numbers of people reading my blog from the Dozen or so 2 years ago, has also changed, i have at last discovered how to use my blog and how to read the stats, face book and twitter is a media i have still to get to grips with, but i hope that the huge amount of work we do in Lewisham inspires you were ever you are to get active, to seek out the real news, and to think for yourself, over the past year people have been reading my Blog from USA, Russia, Iraq and the other 4 corners of the world, it seems People before profits message goes far beyound Lewisham, and i hope next year we are seeing my 3000 regular followers increase to 10.000, and that we have elected People before profit members across the UK, with other groups forming across the world..
Lewisham is now the forth largest inner London borough. The population is now officially 275000. Up from 249.000 in 2001. The rate of growth is increasing and projections are we are likely to see a population of 300.000 by 2021, making us the biggest inner London borough. However this figure is still far fewer than the areas pre war population.
Monday 16 July 2012
The first 50 Austrian Olympic team Members arrived today in Deptford. Over the past 2 years, i had been asking local residents about seeing some real advantage from the games for local people. Several have moved out and turned over homes in the area to the team members working behind the sports stars. The money they will be spending in the Local economy will be around £100.000, this will be a huge plus, for a lot of local residents as well as local traders. They also plan to organise a sports day in the area free and open to every one during the games. We will not have a Coke or a Big Mac in site. So when you here yet another interesting sound spoken . please say hello and welcome to Deptford.
Yet another consultation on Convoy wharf. The good news was to see the planned model of the Lennox included in the model, which is a fantastic proposal to build the last great ship in Deptford as a major tourist attraction and a proposal that will generate real long term skilled jobs. The Developers have made it difficult for themselfs to go back on this, and it will look very odd to put forward a planning application without the proposal. People before profit has always had a clear vision for the site and has put Jobs, housing locals need,green energy and long term jobs at the core of any request for support. Joan Ruddock was present, clearly she under huge pressure so is listerning to residents concerns, unlike the 12 plus Labour Councillors whos wards include New Cross/Deptford as part of the ward border. Next Meeting will be September when a much firmer proposal will be in place. Talking to staff, they would like to start building in 2013. So guys, get our residents on training today, for the skilled Labour at all levels you will need over the next 13 plus years. Lewisham College can offer the training, You have the empty Wharehouse that cannot be knocked down, but this would make the perfect jobs hub.
Just days after winning our housing campaign, Lewisham council have published plans to build 250 new council homes. People before profit hope this is not just cheap election talk, as they are set to lose the New Cross ward By-Election when it is called. In an interview with South London Press today, i requested that any homes built, reflect real local housing need, and that part of the proposals must included housing for young people.# From next April any one under the age of 35 years will no longer be able to secure social housing, only rooms and bedsits. We are also concerned at proposals to take away all benifit from people under 25 years old, they also need housing. people before profit also want to see these homes built with Local residents securing the jobs. Self build may also be an option. We are still though demanding and reminding the Council that it must bring back into use the 2000 empty homes across the borough, and to turn empty buidings into residential use. This is a fight our supporters can be proud to have been part. We need to get other Community activists to set up People before Branches across the UK, and build greater links with our elected members in Ireland.
Friday 13 July 2012
The South London Press today has huge heading...£1BN rescue, then goes on to rave about the new plans to Develop the area with 15 Tower blocks and which is discribed by its developer... Mr Mushtag Malik as a Gold mine, with more bums on seats at the football ground this will mean more crowds and more cash.. the virtuous circle every club dreams about. his words not mine. As a seasoned campaigner on planning issues, i have yet to see or hear about a single local resident who has secured any sort of job, on any of the new developments that presently blight much of Lewisham, or a single local resident who has been able to buy any off the affordable units for sale, whilst it is a fact that New developments in Deptford have lead to artists and established businesses large and small being priced out of the area, only to be replaced by Tesco Metro, Betting shops or empty units at rents that would not be out of place in the West End. People before profit, except that developers will secure planning permmission what ever we say or do, but it is in our view a just campaign to ask that all developers by law should train local residents with the long term skills a development of this size requires over the 13 years it will take to build. We also want to see the roofs used to generate free or low cost fuel and energy for the use of all local residents, whilst we should have a real vision and long term view to develop the commercial space, not into further empty shops, but commercial units sustaining green and long term skilled work, with opportunities for all, Whilst the Social sector housing should reflect local Housing need, Homes for the Elderly, people with disabililty and families in chronic over crowding, Whilst the Community aspect should include a primary and Secondary school, Health care and more provision for the young and the Old, as well as a much needed green space that improves the wild life habitat and the quality of life for us all. Under our proposals, you would see a Community a space that was open to all, and real long term jobs for years to come. This developer clearly sees a huge profit with next to no community benifit... Labour Lewisham, loves the idea of turning ever more lewisham Land into towers of steel and cement with a faceless community that get on and off a train on the way to and from work, and take no part in the wider community, a bit like SE8 in Deptford, a development that has huge numbers of people living just 200 yards from the High street, but when i carried out a survey of residents, i could not find a single tenant who said they had ever been. I have today sent a letter to the South London press raising my points. on Saturday i am at yet another open day on Convoy Wharf. What we truly need is Lewisham residents to start Voting people before profit candidates, who will put Community need before private greed and who will always put the local long term residential, interests first. Clearly the Labour Party is the Party of Big Business and to hell with the voters. Wake up Lewisham, whilst you still can aford to live here.. Are you aware that Lewisham has seen the highest rent increases in the UK. Why? New regeneration attracts richer people who can pay more, forcing up Council and Private sector rents, and pushing out the very people that makes living here so good.
Thursday 12 July 2012
Whose Games? whose City? With so much hype, it would be difficult to think, that some members of the public would have a different view of the Olympic games, and its impact on London, as well as whose interests it serves. Already real consern has been raised about installing missle sites on Council homes with Families and children, as well as the real Agenda of putting a missile site on Blackheath Common, here in Lewisham .Other clear conscerns arev the Sponsors. Is it really exceptable that a company can buy its way into the Olympics reguardless of its negative impact of residents health, or the impact on the way it contacts its business in other countries. At the last People before profit meeting in London, we had a Speaker from Counter Olympics, who kept a packed meeting gripped withy what has been going on. Read the website; www.counterolympicsnetwork.wordpress.com Join the demo; 12 noon Saturday 28th July, at mile end Park, Nearest tube Mile end. March to Victoria Park for.....Peoples Games for All.
Monday 9 July 2012
The Front Page story of Labour Councillors Greed, as exposed by my questions to Lewisham council.This is the 3rd Front page story Lewisham People beforev profit have had in one month. http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/lewisham/9793142.Absentee_councillor_pockets___4_906_per_meeting/
Thursday 5 July 2012
What does it take to force our main political leaders to admit that the answer to our Housing and jobs crises, is a major Capital house building programme of new Council housing?. I do not think i am alone in being disgusted at the way poor people are being uprooted and moved around the Country like seasonal veg going to market. After seeing the distressing sight of people being forced out from Kensington and Chelsea to Dagenham. Dispite having familie links to the borough going back generations. It seems that it counts for little these days, and the people that have been born and bred are being priced out and carted off to Dagenham, an area with no family, job, or friend connections. In todays paper, Croydon is forcing families to move to Yorkshire, Hull and anywhere else that they can can force people to move. Whilst all this is going on, i note that a new flat has come to market in the City for sale, The Affordable housing price tag is a breath taking £705.000, this will come with a tax advantage, but how, this can in any ones mind be seen as Affordable Social housing is yet a further example of how Housing is being used in London, to clear the streets of working class people. With Missile sights on London Council blocks and more Soldiers on the streets than fighting in the Middle east. It seems it is only a matter of time before London becomes the real posh city from a science fiction movie.. People of London wake up, and challenge what you are being told, and what is going on.
Monday 2 July 2012
Dear Reader, As you can see from my questions, it has opened a can of worms. Clearly these 2 Labour Councillors, Padmore and Long have Claimed a staggering £11.344.50 each for just attending 1 meeting out of an expected 17. At full Council meetings it would seem that the paper work has been altered to give the impression that Councillors have been present at meetings, that clearly they did not attend. Why is the Labour party signing attendence records for councillors who have not shown up? this is clearly fraud if true, and people before profit will be raising more questions on this, at the next public meeting. I have also under freedom of information, requested full attendence and money claimed by Councillor Long from SLAM. Whilst Labour seeks to protect Councillor Long, readers may recall that before the last round of Elections Long was featured in the News shopper Newspaper for her poor level of attendence. Will this abuse of power be anothe to get life long Labour party Voters to end the greed and the Gravy train, the only way they can, by Voting People before profit candidates in the next round of Elections?. PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 1 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM COUNCIL MEETING 28 JUNE 2012 Question asked by: Mr R Woolford (on behalf of Lewisham People Before Profit) Member to reply: Councillor Maslin Question Can you please confirm how much money in allowances and expenses Councillor Long and Councillor Padmore have claimed from January 2011 to January 2012? Reply Councillors Long and Padmore both received a Basic Councillor Allowance of £9,812. Additionally Councillor Long was Chair of the Council until April 6 2011 and Councillor Padmore was Chair of a Planning Committee until the same date. Each therefore received an additional Special Responsibility payment of £1,532.50p for the period specified. Neither Councillor Long or Councillor Padmore claimed any expenses between January 2011 and January 2012. Q Time PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 2 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM COUNCIL MEETING 28 JUNE 2012 Question asked by: Mr R Woolford (on behalf of Lewisham People Before Profit) Member to reply: Mayor Question Can the Mayor confirm that he is happy for Labour Councillors to only attend meetings once every six months, in order that they can claim up to £13,000 in public allowances? Reply My happiness is completely irrelevant to the way in which councillors carry out their duties. Those duties include a range of activities only some of which are recorded and published. Meetings of formal bodies which usually take place at the Town Hall form an important part of a councillor’s role and it is these which are recorded. I would expect councillors to attend a high proportion of those meetings as well as carrying out their other duties diligently. Q Time PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 3 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM COUNCIL MEETING 28 JUNE 2012 Question asked by: Mr R Woolford (on behalf of Lewisham People Before Profit) Member to reply: Mayor Question Can the Mayor at a time of real need, cuts and attacks on the most poor in Lewisham, state what is the acceptable number of meetings Councillors should attend, and what is the number of advice surgeries Councillors should be expected to attend, per year? Reply I will deal first with attendance at meetings. It is difficult to place a definitive number on attendance as there will be individual factors that need to be taken into account both personal to the councillor and also concerning the number of meetings involved in as much as some councillors are required to attend more meetings than others. I would expect councillors to attend a significant proportion of such meetings and also expect attendance records to be taken into account when future appointments are under consideration. I do not have direct and personal responsibility for councillors with the exception of my Cabinet members who I expect to attend most meetings but recognise that there may be occasions when their attendance at an unrecorded community meeting will be a better use of their time. On other occasions there may, of course, be personal reasons for non-attendance for example ill-health. With regard to advice surgeries there cannot be a hard and fast view on the right number of surgeries. When I was a ward councillor I represented two very different wards one which required the councillors to ensure that there were weekly surgeries and attendance was usually in double figures. When I represented another ward the take up at the fortnightly surgery never reached double figures and on many occasions no one came at all. In planning advice surgeries it is essential that local circumstances are taken into account. I am also aware that in the ten years since I stopped being a ward councillor many more people have begun to use email and indeed social media. Receiving casework via Facebook as happens now was unheard of ten years ago. Councillors would be well advised to keep their arrangements under review and adjust them to take account of their electors preferences. Q Time ED RES. & REGEN. PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 4 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM COUNCIL MEETING 28 JUNE 2012 Question asked by: Mr R Woolford (on behalf of Lewisham People Before Profit) Member to reply: Mayor Question Can the Mayor give reasons as to why two Councillors for New Cross Ward, Councillors Padmore and Long, are failing to serve there electorate by not attending advice surgeries advertised, and why according to Lewisham Counci’ls own web site, Councillors Long and Padmore have only attended 1 meeting out of the 17 they had been expected to attend? Reply I have endeavoured to contact both of the individual councillors mentioned before formulating an answer to this question. I have also looked at the current information regarding attendance which is published on the Council web site. I have received information from Cllr Long and my response is based on that. In the case of Cllr Padmore I have not been able to make contact but have received some limited information third hand. There are two distinct parts to this question and I will deal with them separately. I will deal firstly with attendance at Advice surgeries. It is my understanding that some changes were made to the Advice surgery arrangements for New Cross Ward to reduce the number from 4 to 2 per month – one at All Saints Church and one at Wavelengths Library and that the advertising was changed to reflect this. However it is possible that some of the material advertising the previous arrangements is still in circulation and this may have caused some confusion. There was also a period when Wavelengths Library was closed and there was a delay in being able to relocate the surgeries until Deptford Lounge opened. Other than these difficulties I am only aware of one occasion when an advertised surgery did not take place due unforeseen family issues. It is my understanding that the surgeries are currently being held by Cllrs Long and Maslin only due to Cllr Padmore’s ill health although I understand he has continued to deal with case work on behalf of constituents who contact him directly. I will now turn to the question of attendance at meetings. As I indicated earlier I have not had direct contact with Cllr Padmore and his attendance over the last six months (the most recent period published on the Council’s web site) is very low which is matter for considerable concern. However as I indicated earlier it is my understanding that Cllr Padmore has been ill. I do not know the extent or seriousness of that illness and I shall discuss with appropriate colleagues what action is appropriate in these circumstances. Cllr Long acknowledges that her attendance during the calendar year 2011 at those meetings where this is recorded fell below the high standards she had maintained during her previous 28 years on the council however her current attendance over the last six months is 60% according to the information published on the Council’s web site. Cllr Long also drew to my attention that she has a public service role within the NHS as chair of SLaM which imposes a significant work load of its own. I understand that Cllr Long attends a number of meetings in the local area which are not included in the figures published by the council. Question Q Time PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 5 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM COUNCIL MEETING 28 JUNE 2012 Question asked by: Mr R Woolford (on behalf of Lewisham People Before Profit) Member to reply: Mayor Question Is The Labour Group leader aware, that none of the 3 Labour New Cross ward Councillors are attending Advice surgeries? Reply I refer the questioner to the answer to question 4 which makes clear that this question is based on inaccurate information. Q Time PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 6 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM COUNCIL MEETING 28 JUNE 2012 Question asked by: Mr R Woolford (on behalf of Lewisham People Before Profit) Member to reply: The Mayor Question Can the Mayor please explain why Councillor Joseph Folorunso,(Eveyn Ward) email and telephone details given out on all Council literature and website is inaccurate, making it almost impossible for Evelyn Ward residents to contact him with problems, case work and requests for help, .and can you confirm when he will start to attend advertised advice Surgery's in Evelyn ward? Reply I have spoken to Cllr Folorunso and he has informed me that the telephone number which has been advertised on the Council web site is correct but he has been experiencing difficulty receiving email through the council system. His contact phone number 0208 314 6905 and email is firstname.lastname@example.org as published on his surgery leaflet. Officers are checking that there are no technical problems and that the information on the website and Lewisham life is correct. Cllr Folorunso informed me that he and his fellow ward councillors are covering the advice surgeries as advertised. I will ask Council officers to assist in resolving the technical problems.