South London 'Watergate' must lead to urgent reform

The word “Watergate” recently took on a new meaning when Streatham residents were left for days without any running water. Residents had no flushing toilets, showers or drinking water when pipes burst following freezing temperatures. A minimum of 12,000 households were affected and were asked to visit water distribution points – sometimes as far as half an hour from their homes – to pick up bottled water instead. In the days following, neighbouring areas like Tooting Broadway and Herne Hill also suffered severe, hard to manage pipe bursts.

Thames Water’s handling of the situation left residents disgusted, and has highlighted the need for an urgent investigation into the company’s operating model and ability to deliver a proper service. The company, which paid a hundred million pounds in dividends last year, moved slowly to make repairs and failed to meet a series of self-imposed deadlines. Communication was patchy and sometimes contradictory. The company failed to set up enough water distribution points, or to deliver water to members of the community who were unable to travel.


Ofwat, the regulator, recently fined Thames Water the maximum penalty for failing to meet leakage commitments. And the company has clearly ignored recommendations made at a public meeting in Lambeth in early 2017, demanding that it improve maintenance programmes and mitigate against the potential for more burst pipes.

While Thames’ woes are a current hot topic in the media, local Liberal Democrats have been pointing out the failures of the current system for many years.

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Lib Dems are the true pro-EU party, say Lambeth Liberal Democrat candidates

Eight Lambeth Lib Dem candidates signed on to a letter published in the Guardian, calling the Labour leadership out on its recent shift in Brexit position.

Our candidates joined one hundred other Lib Dem candidates from wards across London, as well as MPs Sir Vince Cable, Tom Brake, Ed Davey, and London AM Caroline Pidgeon.


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Support our 'Sack Southern!' campaign

Local residents surveyed by Streatham Wells Lib Dems said that making local rail services more reliable is a top priority on transport.

Commuters have put up with Thameslink and Southern Rail's incompetence and thoroughly dreadful service for far too long. According to the National Audit Office, our rail routes have consistently higher levels of disruption than anywhere else on the national rail network.

With their contract set to expire in 2021, we are calling for Thameslink and Southern to be sacked now and for Transport for London (TfL) to take over local rail services.Train_Station_web_res.png

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Local solutions to green issues - #RethinkingLambeth

As part of our Rethinking Lambeth campaign, local Lib Dems are committed to finding innovative solutions to the green issues facing the borough and beyond. Last week saw our inaugural Green issues meeting in Clapham, where we were honoured to be joined by the always inspiring Caroline Pidgeon AM.


Caroline spoke powerfully about the numerous challenges facing our environment, and how Lib Dems have consistently been at the forefront of devising and advocating policies to address them. Big wins like the plastic bag charge and the Thames Tideway Tunnel to keep raw sewage out of the river are due in large part to many years of hard work by Lib Dem politicians at national and European level. Meanwhile, our London Lib Dem representatives have been influential in the launch of the bus Hopper ticket and recent work on road pricing to tackle congestion and air pollution. At the same time, we are fighting proposals such as the Silvertown tunnel and Enderby Wharf cruise ship dock that promise only more traffic, noise and pollution for residents while failing to address the real problems facing London.

What then can we do, as Lambeth Lib Dem members and supporters, to advance green issues locally? 

The local elections provide a great opportunity to highlight the issues that we care about, particularly in areas where the Labour council is failing to make a difference.

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Lambeth residents call for an end to police cuts! Have you?

Earlier this week we highlighted the Mayor of London's sustained attack on community police forces across our capital.

Many of you are concerned about the cuts that have already taken place. And nearly 100 of you have signed our petition, calling on the Mayor to reconsider his proposed merger of Lambeth and Southwark forces. Are you one of them?  


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Lib Dems launch campaign to stop cuts to the RV1 bus route

Bishops Ward Lib Dem candidates are calling on the Mayor of London to take urgent action and reverse his decision to cut the RV1 bus service by half.

Along with our colleagues in Southwark Lib Dems, the Bishops Ward team of Audrey Eager, Charley Halsted and Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett have written to Transport for London to demand the plans are immediately halted so residents can have their say.

The RV1 bus is a vital service for local residents in Lambeth. That’s why we are calling on the Mayor of London to reverse his decision to cut half the RV1 buses. It is simply unacceptable for the Mayor (who claims to be the champion of our buses) to halve this service without even asking anyone.


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Fears over community policing cuts heightened by planned merger

In December 2017, Labour closed the Streatham police front counter that cost £500,000 to kit out just two years ago. With Labour fighting amongst themselves, Lambeth Labour failed to stop their own Mayor’s planned police station closures. Lambeth Labour even asked Streatham residents to sign a petition on the issue, which they did not submit to the Mayor before the consultation deadline!

Now we have learned that, in a major shake up of the London Metropolitan Police, Southwark and Lambeth police will be merged into one new ‘Basic Command Unit’.

The planned merger of local forces promises to cut police numbers further and distance the Met from the communities it serves.

Helen Thompson, Lib Dem campaigner for Streatham Wells, said: “Now that Labour has closed our police front-counter, I’m worried that this merger will mean fewer police, slower response times and less community reassurance. In Lambeth, the number of police on the beat has reduced from 806 in 2015 to 695 in 2017. We want to see this trend reversed, and to ensure that police in our communities are accessible to all.”

If you agree that Lambeth needs its own police force, support our campaign here.


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Lambeth Lib Dems raise money for London mental health charity

A huge thank you to all of you who came out to our “Pizza, Politics and Mental Health” event at the Three Stags on Monday evening.  I was blown away by the open, inclusive and positive atmosphere - and completely inspired by Norman Lamb’s talk and Q&A.  We are so fortunate to be able to learn from his experiences (personal and political) and we are determined to carry this energy forward into our local council campaigning and beyond!


Furthermore, we raised a fantastic £137.57 for the charity Cocoon Family Support. The money will go directly to help local families who are struggling with mental illness.  These mums (and dads) are often falling through the gaps in current service provision for mild to moderate Perinatal mental illness, and Rosie and her small team of volunteers do an incredible job.

The official Time To Talk Day 2018 is happening TODAY and there is still time to get involved.  Take a look at their website for ideas and resources.

Remember: you don’t have to be an expert to talk about mental health!

Just reach out and ask someone how they are doing. Perhaps somebody you haven’t heard from in a while, or who has pulled out of a few social events.  As Time To Change are emphasising this year, you can talk about mental health anywhere, any time!

Finally, we just wanted to sign post you to some more local resources (in terms of mental health, services and other events).  We hope this is useful, and builds on all the enthusiasm and connections made in the room at the event!

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Lib Dems help secure consultation on buffer zones around abortion clinics

Liberal Democrat council candidates have helped secure a consultation on buffer zones around Lambeth’s three abortion clinics.


Liberal Democrats were part of a cross party delegation

Protesters from anti-abortion groups are frequently seen close to the clinics in Streatham and Brixton Hill. Protestors use upsetting images and false information on abortions to attempt to dissuade women from using the clinics’ services. Women and their partners have complained of feeling targeted and intimidated. See our story on the issue here

Streatham Wells candidate Helen Thompson (pictured below) and Oval candidate Kathryn Grant (pictured back row right, above) were part of the deputation submitted to the council meeting on 24th January.

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Lib Dems appeal to Labour Lambeth councillor responsible for Lovebox and Field Day

This letter was sent to Lambeth council Cabinet member Cllr Sonia Winifred, who will decide on whether the 40,000 capacity Lovebox and the 37,000 Field Day events can take place in Brockwell Park this summer.

Dear Councillor Winifred,

Following the public meeting in Herne Hill on 18 January, we are writing to you to express our deep concern about the applications to hold the Field Day and Lovebox festivals in Brockwell Park this summer.

In brief, our position is this:

  • Neither Field Day, Lovebox nor Lambeth Council provided reassurance that the events do not pose a considerable risk to the park.
  • Both applications should be rejected.
  • We call for a moratorium on new proposals, including the present ones, for commercial events in Brockwell Park for 2018.
  • There needs to be full, proper and publicised consultation with residents on the nature of these events.
  • The consultation process has been poorly handled and has led to division rather than community dialogue.
  • There should be core funding for parks; aggressive threats to the future of both Brockwell Park and the Lambeth Country Show should cease.
  • Urgent repairs to the park should be carried out without delay.
  • If elected on 3 May we will use any influence we have to cancel any contract Labour makes with the promoters.

The plans presented on Thursday, which added only limited insight to the existing knowledge, did very little to reassure that these events can take place without the prospect of considerable damage to the park’s environment, infrastructure and wildlife, and huge inconvenience to local residents. There is a lack of research, planning and due diligence and it is clear that the promoters have not based their applications on worked up knowledge of the park in which they hope to hold their festival.

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