Homes, schools and street cleaning

by Anood Al-Samerai on 27 June, 2013

Last night saw Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Community Council. This now covers a huge area and makes it difficult to have very local decision making. However, we do our best and had constructive discussions about important issues.

I was horribly struck that Labour Southwark really don’t seem to have got a grasp of what matters to residents – those who were at the meeting and the countless other residents I hear from: affordable homes, schools and street cleaning.

There was an audible gasp in the room as it became clear that all the grand discussions about the future of Canada Water don’t include thinking about a new primary school. Even though we know that the council is desperate for school places. This is a shameful and short sighted approach to an area which already has pressure for primary and secondary places and where the pressure is only going to get greater as new homes are built.

And it was on new homes that my other worries centred. The council officer presenting confirmed that the council’s policy was still that 35% of homes in new developments should be affordable. However, as we know from the scandalous decisions at the Elephant, developers will try to get away with less affordable homes that this. The Labour councillor sat next to me wouldn’t look me in the eye when I asked whether they were going to push for 35% affordable homes at Canada Water. How can residents believe that the council is on their side when they can’t act on the very basic needs of affordable homes and new schools?

And one of the final victories of the evening for the Lib Dem councillors was Labour admitting that they did need to put more money back into street cleaning. A sure sign that we must continue to fight the battles which matter.

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