On 17th November, Sarah Lewis (Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Vauxhall) and Graham Neale (Lib Dem councillor for St George’s Ward, Southwark) joined local residents to see off an unwanted housing development planned for the former Woodlands Nursing Home site in Kennington.
At public inquiry, testimonials from residents (supported by crowd-funded legal representation), led the national planning inspectorate to deny developer Lifestory Group (formerly Anthology) planning permission for their proposed scheme.
“Both existing and emerging planning policy recognises that providing quality, affordable housing that meets a range of needs through unit and tenure mix, is in the best interests of Lambeth. The Woodlands Nursing Home site must deliver a housing scheme that supports our young people and our young families, each of whom has a right to a safe and secure home. They are the future of our borough,” said Sarah Lewis, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Vauxhall.
The Stop the Blocks Community Action Group, a coordinated volunteer campaign group comprised of local residents’ associations and residents, was formed two years ago in response to the developer’s proposals for a development on this former public land.
While the local community has been supportive of the redevelopment of the site from the start, objections to plans put forward by Lifestory Group centred around the lack of genuinely affordably housing and the disproportionate impact of the planned towers on the local conservation area.
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Last week the government confirmed that the London GLA and English council elections due in 2020-2021 would still take place in early May, despite the pandemic and lockdown. We had proposed delaying the elections till later in 2021, in order to make it safer for voting and campaigning, but the Conservative government did not agree. To add insult to injury, the minister in charge has also written to political parties stating that in person campaigning, like leaflet delivery, is a breach of the Coronavirus restrictions whilst still allowing paid for leaflet delivery. Our mayoral candidate, Luisa Porritt will be leading our campaign across London.
We have a great team of GLA candidates, starting with Caroline Pidgeon, MLA. Caroline has long been involved with Lambeth, being based just over the border in Southwark. She's often campaigned with the Lambeth team and has been very supportive of local issues, with a particular focus on transport and the Fire Safety/Cladding Scandals. We also have Brixton local Florence Cyrot standing for Lambeth and Southwark Constituency. Then Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, Charley Hasted and Rob Blackie, three long term Lambeth residents are running for the London-wide List.
Local elections are usually an exciting time, where teams of candidates and activists get out and speak to residents on a vast scale. This activity is mostly volunteer run, with little money being available or being spent even at the best of times, but now in early 2021 during the Pandemic we will all be required to rely heavily on social media and telephone canvassing. We will all need to campaign differently. Voters will need to work harder too, even if just to register for postal voting. We are really concerned that many will simply not be able to vote as the process will require a lot more effort than usual. Please enroll for a postal vote if you have not already!
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It is with great sadness that Lambeth Liberal Democrats have learned former Mayor of Lambeth, and Liberal Democrat Councillor for 20 years, Daphne Kathleen Marchant BEM passed away in her sleep on Wednesday afternoon, 3rd February.
Daphne was elected as a councillor for Streatham Wells in 1994 and served until 2014. During that period, she was twice chosen as Mayor of Lambeth, a role in which she took immense pride and dedicated herself in the interests of both young and old in the Borough.
Today Lambeth Council has revealed that it has made financial provision for supporting EU nationals navigate the new Settled Status migration status created to replace Freedom of Movement rights. We welcome this move. The Lambeth Liberal Democrats have been lobbying the Council for sometime now to roll out provisions like other London or UK boroughs have done and whilst we would have preferred this to be in place in 2020, before the first cut-off deadline, now’s good as well.
We also suggested to the Council that further effort be made to inform EU and other residents about the requirement to obtain settled or pre settled status. We recommended that the Council send a further mail-out to all Lambeth households with this information and links to where to get further advice or support. It is disappointing that the Council has not decided to take up this suggestion as well. This is disapointing and we will lobby the Council to change its mind on this.
We look forward to seeing the money being provided urgently to the CAB, Southwark Law Centre and Indoamerican Migrant Refugee Organisation and that this money be spent urgently on providing enhanced advice services. We intend to check with the Council and these organisations to see how this money has been allocated and how effectively it has been used to support our EU residents needing help. We are particularly interested in finding out which organisations applied for support and if any were refused.
Check out our Settled Status Campaign if you wish to know more.
On 1 January 2021 the UK begins life fully outside the EU as the transition period ends. For many EU citizens living in the EU it marks the end of an era; a time to reflect on what has been lost and an uncertain future.
On Christmas Day, Florence Cyrot spoke to French radio station Europe 1 about her experience. Florence moved to London from France in August 2001 and is the Lib Dems' candidate for the Lambeth & Southwark constituency in May's elections for the Greater London Assembly.
Listen to the interview in French or read a transcript in English below.