Carols 4ALL will be taking place on Saturday 15 December from 11.00-1.00 in All Saints Church, Lovelace Road. It is a wonderful annual event, bringing together local residents of all ages for mince pies, singing, mulled wine and festive cheer.
Drop in any time and stay for 10 minutes or 2 hours to enjoy singing traditional carols.
We are thrilled that work has started on the new zebra crossing on Norwood Road, next to Harpenden Road.
Road safety is our top priority and we have been really disappointed by the delays to the delivery of this scheme. Initially, a complaint held up the delivery, and then complications regarding road traffic orders. These have been resolved, and in the meantime we organised for the contractors to be on site every morning with stop/go signs to help students cross the road to school.
The zebra crossing was a key aspect of Streetworks, designed by the community in workshops and receiving significant support during extensive consultation. We worked with Elmgreen School as well as local groups like the Norwood and Tulse Hill Forums and the Business Improvement District to ensure residents had many opportunities to have their say including meetings, workshops, market stalls, in-person surveys, social media and letters through every local door.
Throughout our time as your local councillors, we have been working with our local Safety Neighbourhood Team on various issues across the ward. This has included specific work surrounding ASB on the Peabody estate and on issues relating to more general concerns from residents, from burglaries to speeding, for example.
Community speed watch with the police and residents on Lancaster Avenue
In our time as Thurlow Park’s Labour councillors, we have witnessed Conservative cuts to the Met police budget that have had direct repercussions here in Lambeth. Serious violence has started to rise, police counters have all closed except for a single station in Brixton, neighbourhood policing is under threat.
Lambeth police will likely merge with Southwark police to form one new ‘Borough Command Unit’ with a single Commander, 5 superintendents straddling the two boroughs, and approximately 1400 officers. Many of you have raised this with us, especially your concerns about knife crime and increasing anti-social behaviour.
Further measures set out by the Mayor of London for the coming financial year include:
£20m to pay for long awaited 2% pay rises for hard working police officers who are otherwise struggling to stay living in London as rents and the cost of living rise faster than wages
£13.9m to pay for recruitment to maintain staff numbers
£15m to tackle knife/youth violence – Cabinet Lead Mohammed Seedat will meet MOPAC to decide how this money is used in Lambeth
As your local cllrs we will continue to work with our Safety Neighbourhood Team to support their efforts in the ward and keep people safe. We supported the Lambeth Labour #SaveOurStations campaign and helped to deliver leaflets in the ward as well as support the online petition.
As a result of our campaign in Lambeth and other campaigns across London, the Mayor of London has promised 2 dedicated neighbourhood police officers per ward, while the Deputy Mayor for policing has acknowledged the importance of neighbourhood policing and as a result new ‘contact sessions’ in every ward means police will be engaging with residents more directly. This is very welcome and we have already seen #cuppawithacopper contact sessions begin. Our team in Thurlow Park advertise their contact sessions here.
As your local councillors, we will continue to attend the Safer Neighbourhood Ward panels as it even more essential to support our local neighbourhood policing teams as they try to mitigate the effects of cuts to their service. We have started monthly ASB and community safety surgeries on the Peabody Estate at 10.30am on the last Monday of the month and work closely with Peabody’s community safety team. We helped to roll out Smart Water to tackle rising burglary rates and support residents to run neighbourhood watches.
We want to reassure residents that despite cuts, we continue to work to ensure all parts of the ward are included in police patrols and we meet with officers to highlight areas of concern or which need greater attention.
Map showing where the Thurlow Park safer neighbourhood team patrolled on 8th February
Anti-social behaviour and crime are the top concern for many residents on the Peabody Estates – both Rosendale Road and Peabody Hill. It is very important to us that residents are, and feel, safe in their homes and neighbourhoods, and have been working hard to tackle this issue.
It’s a complicated issue, and no one agency on its own is going to be able to resolve it. So, we have been developing a multi-agency approach,
regularly coordinating meetings which bring together Peabody, the police, the council, community and youth groups, and local residents. We have ensured that Peabody prioritise our estate, and over the last year we have secured wardens who regularly patrol.
To complement this, we have started a new anti-social behaviour and community safety surgery and walkabout. Every month, one of your local Labour councillors, the community safety officer from Peabody and the Peabody estate manager will be on site on the last Monday of the month from 10.30-12.30.
Residents can make an appointment to see us at the community centre, organise for us to visit your home, or drop-in to see us. It’s an opportunity to raise any issue with us and get the support you need to resolve it. We also do a walkabout and visit any parts of the estate which residents have flagged for concern.
This week, our session included a walkabout of Blocks E and F, and a letter delivery to residents in those blocks reminding them of their responsibilities to be considerate neighbours. We also met with the local police who were visiting some households, and had a drop-in surgery where we discussed issues from domestic violence to noise complaints with residents.
House prices are putting homeownership out of reach and by the end of 2021 it is predicted that almost one in four households will be renting privately.
Nowhere is this more acute than in London. In 2011-12 the proportion of private tenants in London rose above the proportion of social rented tenants for the first time since the mid-1960s, and this number continues to rise. A growing number of our residents in Thurlow Park, and across West Norwood and Herne Hill, rent privately.
Most private landlords want to ‘do the right thing’ by their tenants but they often lack the knowledge or support to get this right. Other landlords make the most of the unregulated nature of the private rented market. We know from our own experiences of renting locally, that the sector needs to improve. Too often at our advice surgeries hear stories from residents with issues ranging from damp and mismanagement, to excessive lettings agent fees and unfair evictions.
A third of private rented homes fail to meet the Decent Homes Standard and stagnant wages cannot keep pace with spiralling rents. The housing benefit freeze mean many in the private rented sector now face a substantial monthly shortfall between the housing benefit they receive and even the cheapest rents.
We believe the private rented sector must improve – so we are setting up a new group for private renters in West Norwood so that we can campaign for change. By coming together, we can share our experiences, support each other, and have a louder voice.
Please join our first meeting on 25th January to talk about how we can work together locally to improve the private rented sector. We have booked a space at Knowles of Norwood, 294-296 Norwood Road, from 7pm, and will be joined by a speaker from Generation Rent. Let us know you’re coming on Facebook.
The 4all Autumn Fair is an annual fixture in the Thurlow Park diary – a great afternoon of activities, community groups, craft stalls, music, games for children and a BBQ, tea and cake. It takes place at All Saints Church on Lovelace Road from 2-5pm on Saturday 23rd September.
Your local councillors will be at the Fair to listen to your ideas and concerns for the local area, and to provide any support or advice you may need.