30 January 2015

New cultural services consultation launched in Lambeth

The council has today launched a new consultation on the future of cultural services in Lambeth, an area that includes parks, sports facilities and libraries. The council is looking for residents views on how the borough takes forward these important services in an era of steep central government cuts by the Lib Dem-Tory coalition.

The context

Lambeth's budget has been slashed by 50% since 2010 which means between the start of the decade and 2018, Lambeth will have had its resources reduced by £200 million. At present we currently spend more than half of our budget on services for vulnerable people, including older and disabled people as well as those suffering with mental health issues. This does mean that with the scale of these cuts we do have to make some tough choices. In cultural services, the council needs to reduce its library budget by £1 million and its wider cultural services budget by £4 million.

What are the proposals for cultural services in the future across Lambeth?

Despite the unprecedented nature of the cuts, the council is keen to ensure that residents are involved in helping to shape the future of cultural services by consulting on its proposals for these services.

Proposals for parks and other areas can be found in Lambeth's handbook that gives an overview of the cooperative parks model and other proposals.

On libraries, the council is proposing:
  • 5 town centre libraries where we'll work with volunteers to extend opening hours
  • Those town centre libraries supporting a wider Network of community lending libraries in community settings - like the successful one in Streatham Vale. 
  • Community libraries like Carnegie potentially becoming community hubs - including community library provision.

Cabinet Member for Cultural services, Jane Edbrooke, commenting on these proposals says:

"We’ll have to make some tough decisions too. Some smaller libraries simply won’t be able to continue. This isn't easy, but I think that by 2020 we will have more places to borrow books, town centre libraries with longer than ever opening hours and importantly, more people reading than ever in Lambeth."

What does this means for Vassall?

The key proposal for Vassall relates to the Minet library, which has a similar proposal as the Waterloo library. An extract from the consultation documents outlines the current proposal:

"We are proposing to decommission Waterloo Library and Minet Library services during 2015 and sell them by 2016 on the open market. This means the revenue budgets for library services currently provided by the council at Waterloo Library and Minet Library sites will stop but the money raised from the sale of these sites will help facilitate investment into the endowment for the Lambeth Community Library Fund.

By utilising money from private sector developers, we are proposing to establish a one off Lambeth Library Challenge Fund during 2016 and 2017 specifically for Bishops and Vassall Wards. This fund will be open for charitable trusts and social enterprises to bid for funding to establish a community library offer, for example the fund could purchase equipment that will support self-service technologies, capital costs of creating a fit-for- purpose space, volunteer programmes and
peer-to-peer support networks.

We are also proposing that these charitable trusts and social enterprises will also be able to apply for revenue funding from the Lambeth Community Library Fund or ask for support from a town centre library."

Given these proposals, it is vital that as many residents as possible fill in this consultation, which can be found here.

Local councillors will be seeking the views of residents as well and are intending to meet key local community groups in the next few weeks to get their opinions on these ideas. If you have any thoughts please do send them through to your local councillors as well, at the addresses provided opposite.

29 January 2015

Longfield Hall launches its Longfield Listens project

Longfield Hall in Vassall has launched a new consultation aimed at getting resident's views about the kind of services local people want to see from the hall and whether they have any ideas for new uses for the building.

The listening excersise, called Longfield Listens (#longfieldlistens) is encouraging local people to fill in a short questionnaire here.

Local Vassall Labour Councillor Paul Gadsby said:

"Longfield Hall is a great community building that has been providing outstanding services to the community for many, many years. It is great that they are asking for views on what local people want from the Hall in the future and I would really encourage everyone to spend a few moments to fill in this short consultation."

27 January 2015

Vassall councillor surgeries in February

Vassall Ward Councillors Jacqui Dyer, Paul Gadsby and Annie Gallop will be holding their regular surgeries in Vassall in February​. They will be held on:

Tuesday, ​3 February ​2015
Myatts Field Park Depot
Cormont Road
1pm - 2pm

Thursday, 26 February 2015
Cowley Estate Community Centre
off Vassall Road

Saturday, 28 February 2015
Myatts Field South Community Hall
Burton Lane

If these dates are inconvenient for you or you have a problem or issue that requires immediate attention please contact the Vassall Labour Councillors directly:

Councillor Jacqui Dyer - 07920 548463 -jdyer3@lambeth.gov.uk

Councillor Paul Gadsby - 07814 567 690 - pgadsby@lambeth.gov.uk

Councillor Annie Gallop - 07920 560175 - agallop@lambeth.gov.uk

24 January 2015

New funding for Myatt's Field Park announced

The Myatt's Field Park project has been awarded £14,500 in new funding after a successful bid to the borough's Pioneer Business Development Fund. The winning application, which was supported by Lambeth council, is the subject of a written question from Vassall councillor Annie Gallop at next week's council meeting.

On behalf of Vassall's councillors, Cllr Gallop asked:

It is excellent news that the application from Vassall's Myatt’s Fields Park Project to the Pioneer Business Development Fund has been successful following support from Lambeth. Can the Cabinet Member outline what this successful application will mean for the park and what improvement residents can expect to see?

Answering this question, the cabinet member for neighbourhoods, Cllr Jane Edbrooke, said:

Lambeth’s cooperative parks programme is one of the council’s major service transformation programmes, which seeks to involve local communities and residents more in their respective parks. 
The mandate for this locally-driven service model has been provided by {Lambeth's} cabinet and its future direction and scope will be tested with our communities, as part of the broader creative communities consultation which will commence shortly.

To help us achieve our cooperative ambitions, we have established the Parks Pioneer Business Development Fund.  Although this fund is not set up for direct use on parks services, it aims to support our local communities and residents who wish to take on increased responsibilities in our parks by making small grants available to support their initial start up and organisational development needs.  As background information the business development fund guidance is attached for reference. 

The Myatt’s Field Park Project (MFPP) Group are one of our parks pioneers who are planning to independently manage Myatt’s Field Park, subject to final approval.  Their successful application to the business development fund was for feasibility studies, exploring income generation potential in the park, and to support the development of their business plans.  This resource will help them meet our public interest test requirements in due course; providing assurance to the council that the MFPP Group are ready for their increased responsibilities and have a financially viable model in place.  

Although this fund is not set up for direct use on parks services, we anticipate that by helping MFPP Group establish themselves as a robust organisation, we are welcoming their vision for Myatt’s Field Park to be at the heart of a green and sustainable neighbourhood.  One where Myatt’s Field Park is transformed into a local food and community hub that makes a difference to the people that use, visit, and live around it.  This is because we will be supporting:

         a more locally accountable, not-for-profit group that shapes the services around the needs of local community and delivers locally set priorities; creating a sense of local ownership and better quality of services for local residents and park users.  

         greater efficiencies with an enhanced and locally driven focus on income generation and new partnerships (e.g. exploring more volunteering opportunities)

         fewer layers of management

         model that is more attractive to grant funders.

This innovative model will start to be fleshed out over the coming months in partnership with the council, ward councillors, and the local community.

23 January 2015

"Special look" to be taken at parking issues in Vassall

Lambeth council's cabinet member for parking has confirmed that the borough will be taking a "special look" at the parking issues in Vassall, particularly in the area around Myatt's Field Park.

The information was revealed in a written answer to a question submitted to next week's council meeting by Cllr Mary Atkins who was drawing attention to the announcement just before Christmas of a parking stress review in the borough. Cllr Atkins asked:

"The nine Labour councillors representing Brixton Hill, Tulse Hill and Vassall have been lobbying relentlessly for a Controlled Parking Zone review in areas of their wards following feedback from residents, so we are delighted with Councillor Brathwaite’s plans to conduct a parking stress review in 2015. Can the Cabinet Member outline when this will take place and how it will be implemented?"

Answering the question, Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, the Lambeth council member with responsibility for parking said:

The volume of communications from local residents and businesses requesting reviews of existing CPZs or the extension of control parking restrictions has been notable. Residents in Myatt’s Field find that they live in one of the few parts of Lambeth close to the centre of London without a CPZ and have expressed their frustration at the parking stress and congestion caused by commuter parking and the growing parking demand by occupiers of nearby developments. Given that large scale developments within the borough are set to continue, particularly to the north, the demand for parking spaces is unlikely to abate. 

In response to residents’ long held concerns about parking stress, despite the harsh financial times this council faces, I am determined to find ways to address residents concerns about parking stress. It was therefore decided that a borough wide feasibility study of parking should be undertaken.

A borough wide study will:

· Enable us to consider the matter holistically, ensuring that any measures undertaken by Lambeth to address parking stress in one area do not displace the problem onto neighbouring streets

· Ensure that limited resources are targeted at areas which need them most​

· Help officers prioritise areas rather than implement measures on an ad hoc basis

· Provide an overview of parking patterns and evidence to enable new CPZs or other parking restrictions to be considered

· Enable us to take action on addressing parking stress earlier.

The feasibility study will start in April 2015 and will be carried out in two phases along 12 months:

The first phase will concentrate on the north of the borough, most of which is covered by CPZs. This part of Lambeth has experienced the most development pressure. The review will assess whether parking stress has increased with higher densities or whether changing travel patterns and falling car ownership has minimised the impact of the rising population. During this phase there will be an opportunity to review the hours existing CPZ s operate to determine whether they continue to meet the need of local communities.

While this review is being undertaken we will take parallel action to address some existing parking problems. We shall also be taking a special look at Myatt’s Field. The review will undertake a technical overview of the parking needs of the area taking into account current and future developments in the vicinity.

Once Phase 1 is concluded, officers will analyse the results and implement the measures needed to tackle parking stress in the north of the borough, subject to finance. That way, residents in areas determined by phase 1 of the review to be most in need of action, will not have to wait a year from the start of the review to find out the schemes proposed, in consultation with residents and businesses, to elevate parking stress in their locality.

Phase 2 of the review will be to carry out a parking stress survey in the rest of the borough – mainly the non-CPZ areas. This will enable the council to determine whether there is a need to extend the existing controlled parking zones or implement other measures to address parking stress. In the south of the borough a number of local communities have campaigned for new CPZs and several major development schemes could add to parking stress in the future.

I would encourage as many people and businesses as possible to take part in the review. Anyone who would like to be kept informed should sign up at www.lambeth.gov.uk/cpz

22 January 2015

Minet Hub meeting tonight: Support your local library and park

This evening, Thursday 22 January 2015, you  are invited to a meeting of new local Vassall Ward charity the Minet Hub. The meeting will be held at Longfield Hall, 50 Knatchbull Road, SE5 6:30 - 8:00pm.

The Minet Hub has been set up to bring together the Minet Library and Longfield Hall, both on Knatchbull Road, Myatt's Fields Park, the Remakery on Paulet Road and the Minet Conservation Association which works for the benefit of the local area.

The five organisations got together in 2014 with the aim of offering increased opportunities for cultural, creative and health promoting events and activities and to promote social cohesion, the environment, employment and enterprise and well being.

The Minet Hub is currently engaged in a 6 month plan to determine its remit and identify how it will meet its objectives and relevant needs of the local community. As part of this process the Minet Hub will be consulting with local people on

  • Its plans for the role it will undertake in enhancing the local cultural and recreational offer (including developing Longfield Hall and the Library and Archive).
  • What local people might want from the Minet Hub.
  • How local people can become involved with the Minet Hub.
  • How the collective resources of the Minet Hub Charities could be used most effectively to enhance what is offered locally. 

The meeting is being held to appoint the Directors for the Minet Hub. It is also intended that the meeting will be used to inform local people of the current Directors’ plans for achieving the charity’s objectives, and to recruit new Members (and Directors) to support the work of the Minet Hub.

This meeting is open to the public.

Membership is open to anyone living in Vassall, Coldharbour, or Camberwell Green wards, and to groups based in these wards (if you are based outside this area you can become an Associate Member). Under-18s can become Junior Members and voluntary / non-profit groups can also join as Group Members.

To apply for membership please contact: hub@minet.org.uk

More information on the Minet Hub webpage

21 January 2015

Police community action day: what do you want from your local police?

Local Vassall police officers are holding a community action day in our area on Thursday, 22 January  2015- and they want residents' input on what the day should involve.

This will be a dedicated day where our local dedicated police officers focus on a particular activity that benefits the local community. In previous years and in other areas, this has involved, for example police having a more visible presence outside schools during drop off/pick up times in areas where there is a busy traffic problem or focusing on a community engagement day.

Vassall councillors - Jacqui Dyer, Annie Gallop and Paul Gadsby - will be consulting local community groups on what they would like from this day, but if you have any ideas, please contact our local PC Louise Steeden on Louise.J.Steeden@met.pnn.police.uk - do also copy in your local councillors as we would be keen to hear your views!

09 January 2015

Patmos housing estate (PACCA) brought back under Lambeth control

Lambeth Council has taken back control of the housing formerly managed by the Patmos Area Community Conservation Assocation (PACCA) Tenant Management Organisation.

PACCA managed 286 homes in Vassall Ward, in the Patmos and Lothian Road  areas.

Following an investigation by Pricewaterhouse Coopers into its finances and performance, PACCA, which managed 286 homes in Lambeth, was served with a supervision notice by the council in December 2013 which PACCA has disputed.

Following PACCA’s failed judicial review application, at a hearing last month an independent arbitrator has agreed that Lambeth council was correct in carrying out a Special Review and serving the Notice of Supervision on PACCA

From 6 January 2015. Lambeth Living on behalf of the council , will be responsible for all services on the estate. Residents will be informed and advised not to contact PACCA for any queries relating to the management of the estate..

Lambeth Living

Contact 020 7926 6000, Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm

Out of hours 020 7926 6666 (to report emergencies - outside working hours, weekends and Bank holidays)

Lambeth news release: Patmos Housing Estate under Lambeth Council management

06 January 2015

Put your Christmas tree out for collection this week

From 5- 9 January 2015 Lambeth will be collecting real Christmas trees at the same time as your normal recycling collection. Put your Christmas tree out with your normal rubbish and recycling and it will be collected on your usual collection day.

Alternatively take your Christmas tree to one of the sites below for recycling through January:
  • Clapham Common, Windmill Drive, SW4
  • Streatham Common, rear of Upper Common car park, SW16
  • Archbishops Park, Carlisle Lane, SE1
  • Lambeth Reuse and Recycling Centre, Vale Street, SE27 9PA 
Further information on the Love Lambeth website

05 January 2015

Holland Town estate update: Next general meeting and Bowhill playgroundgardening session!

Residents on the Holland Town estate are kick starting the new year with two events open to all people living in the area:

Sunday, 18 January 2014, Bowhill gardening event, 11am-2pm: The local resident's association are organising a special gardening event, supported by volunteers from Myatt Fields Park, aimed at preparing the Bowhill playground for the summer. It will also feature a teach in about how to grow your own plants. For further details, email htra@gmail.com

Wednesday, 21 January 2014, General meeting, 7pm onwards, Brixton Road Youth Centre,143-145 Brixton Road: Residents will be meeting to discuss the current issues on the estate, open to all and for more information contact htra@gmail.com

04 January 2015

Vassall Safer Neighbourhood Panel meeting this week

On Tuesday (6 January 2015) Vassall's Safer Neighbourhood's Panel will be meeting to discuss local crime, anti-social behaviour and policing issues in the community. The gathering will be taking place from 6.30pm at the Church Manor estate office, just off Vassall Road, and is open to all members of the public.

If you have an issue you wish to discuss relating to crime please contact one of your local councillors, who will be attending the meeting (details on the right hand side) or email your local dedicated police officer, PC Louise Steeden here.

02 January 2015

Have your say on the new Town Hall redevelopment

Lambeth council is looking for resident's views on the next stage of the new Town Hall development.

In April 2014, Lambeth Council signed an agreement with Muse Developments for the Your New Town Hall project, which will reduce the Council’s office buildings from 14 to 2, resulting in savings of at least £4.5m a year in the future.  The scheme will also aim to create new jobs and homes, as well as deliver a purpose-built new council office building. It will also seek to free up space in the Town Hall for business and community use. This new development will pay for itself through the redevelopment of the old office buildings that often cost a great deal of money to run.

Local residents are now being asked to take part in the 'Community Design' stage - the process of defining and improving the proposals for the Town Hall development. The council will be holding consultation sessions where residents and other interest groups will be able to give their feedback and you can also give your views online at this website.

You have until the 15 January to get you views in, so please do have a look at the website and take the time to put your ideas across. A further round of public consultation and engagement will then be undertaken in the autumn.