Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Camberwell Green Councillors Annual Report - The first year of this Administration

Annual Report from Camberwell Green Ward Councillors 2007

This time last year, we were in the build up to the local election. Camberwell was identified as a key seat with the smallest Labour majority in the Borough. Dora and John were reselected to stand as candidates, and were joined by Chris who was standing for the first time

As the campaign progressed it became more and more apparent that the Liberal Democrats were not contesting Camberwell and we therefore asked members to help in the more closely contested Brunswick Park. In May we had an election result we can all be proud of. In Camberwell Green there was a 22% swing to Labour, and Camberwell Green is second only to Peckham for strength of Labour vote for any ward in the whole of London. Thank you to all the members who selected us and have given us your support at selection, in the campaign and beyond. We are only able to do our job because of your support. Thank you.

Since May, we have kept up the hard work. We now hold six surgeries a month, more than any other ward in Southwark, we are putting out direct mails, surgery cards and newsletters. The campaign continues with Christmas Cards sent over Christmas and a Rose planned in the next few weeks. This will be in the format of an Annual Report and will go out in April .

In the Council, Dora has been elected as the Chair of the Labour Group, vice-chair of the Disciplinary Appeals Committee and she chairs the Fairtrade Steering Committee. Chris is the Group Treasurer and member of the Environment and Community Safety Scrutiny Sub-Committee and co-chair of the Transport Study Group of Camberwell Community Council with Dora. John is on the Shadow Executive as Community Safety Spokesperson and is also the Chair of Education and Children Scrutiny Sub-Committee and chairs the Crime Study Group of Camberwell Community Council.

In Camberwell we have been working hard tackling local problems and difficulties that people have had. There have been a number of planning issues where the Council has failed people and where we have stepped in and made a difference. On Caspian Street, work has finally restarted on a previously abandoned building which was attracting anti-social problems to the area. In Warner Street, a car pound which has been operating without consent and causing problems for their neighbours is being shut down in the next few weeks. And in Urlwin Street we have fought hard against a new development which is not suitable for the area, taking it to the point where the Council considered challenging the development in the High Court.

After a long campaign, we now have controlled parking in North Camberwell which is proving successful. For too long people around the Grosvenor Estate could not park as out of town commuters parked their cars there all day and got the bus into London. There was parking chaos and a lot of local anger. The Controlled Parking Zone means residents can now park nearer their homes and the estate is less congested.

In October, we took the new Chief Executive, Annie Sheppard, around the ward to give her a feel of the different areas and communities within it. We also pointed out areas which we need help in resolving such as investment in Camberwell Green centre, better cleaning and maintenance on Brandon 3, trees being cut back on the Grosvenor and new play facilities for St Joseph’s Primary School as well as a new public toilet on Camberwell Green.
We have continued to keep in touch with local groups and regularly attend the neighbourhood housing forums, the TRA’s and new groups like the SE5 Forum and the Transport Study Group. We are also keeping up our work with the Safer Neighbourhood Team. We have been working with them to set the priorities that matter to the area such as cracking down on anti-social behaviour. While the Safer Neighbourhood Team make a real difference, Camberwell still has crime problems. It is one of the top five London wards for violent crime, a fact that was all too tragically brought to the fore before Christmas with the fatal shooting on Camberwell Road. Since then, we have all been working with the Police to press for action to be taken to stop this sort of terrible crime from happening again.

Our campaign to get the investment we need into Camberwell Leisure Centre continues. We were dealt a serious blow at the most recent Camberwell Community Council when the head of Leisure told us that one of the recommendations he would be putting to the Executive was to close Camberwell Leisure Centre. This is something that has never been on the table and we had thought that there had been cross party support for regenerating the Leisure Centre, with the only disagreement being where to get the money from. At Council Assembly this was raised and the Executive denied it would be closed, but we will continue to keep up the pressure to make sure that the Lib Dem/Tory coalition that run the Council know how important this is to Camberwell and that they can not continue to leave us and our needs behind.

We also argued against the lack of community consultation when we discovered that the Executive were proposing to sell of the Age Concern building in Crawford Road. This has been empty for years and we tried to encourage both Age Concern and the Council to allow local community groups to use it but without success. Following our intervention we have now got a last minute agreement that when the building is sold there will be a caveat that the ground floor will have some form of community use.

Dora has continued to work on promoting Fairtrade in the Borough. Fairtrade fortnight starts on Monday 26th February and we will be having sampling stalls in all the shopping malls including Butterfly Walk in Camberwell. Dora is looking for volunteers to help staff it. If you are interested in helping (not more than 2hours at a time) then please let Dora know.

The Decent Homes work in Camberwell continues with varying success in different parts of the ward. We are continuing to take up individual problems and work with the Area Housing Office to make sure that people get the works they need and that they are carried out as well as possible.

Chris has been continuing to work on transport issues in Camberwell and has met with the Executive Members as well as people in transport planning to find solutions to some of Camberwell’s transport problems. This will be a long process, but the work goes on.

Thank you for your support over the last year and as always we want to hear what you think. Are we getting it right or are there things you want us to focus on? Please talk to us and let us know.

Best wishes,

Councillors Dora Dixon-Fyle, John Friary, Chris Page


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