As part of our commitment to protecting our public spaces, Chair of Lambeth Liberal Democrats, Doug Buist, recently wrote to Lambeth Council raising concerns about the closure of Brockwell Park on Sunday 5th April 2020.
When Brockwell Park in Herne Hill was closed on Sunday 5 April, I wrote to Cllr Jack Hopkins, the leader of Lambeth Council, as well as my ward councillors and MP, to seek reassurances that the park would re-open the following day. Observing the current Government guidance on staying at home and social distancing is vital to protecting lives, it is also in all our interests to ensure a measured approach to issues like access to parks and open spaces.
There were reasonable concerns about use of the park on the Saturday (4 April), but I believe we need to keep all our parks open for the following reasons:
- They provide space to exercise and maintain mental health and wellbeing.
- In a high density area where people have no or limited access to personal green space, they will enable us all to sustain isolation and distancing.
- Many residents are working hard throughout the week to both provide essential services and to save businesses and are entitled to enjoy the limited relaxation options available to them.
- Parks often provide a safer, healthier access to local amenities like shops.
- The evidence is that the vast majority of people are using the park in the way demanded by the government instructions.
It was also not helpful to release the figure of 3,000 park users (for which no methodology was given) on Twitter which subsequently led to a less-than-measured media and social media frenzy.
That leads to something that we need to emphasise as Liberal Democrats: the need to be mindful of our civic rights at this time.
It cannot become - maliciously or inadvertently - an excuse for authorities to over-reach in their control of individuals' lives, or to encourage people to start making up their own rules and harassing people who are abiding by the law (as we have seen a lot on social media in recent weeks). We also continue to pay our Council Tax and should be able to expect access to the services we fund.
I was pleased to receive a swift reply from the Leader’s Office that it was anticipated the park would reopen on Monday (as it did).
I also expressed my thanks for the work the Council is doing to support the community in Lambeth at this time.
Add your reaction
Happy new year! After a restful break over the festive period, we start 2020 as the lead challengers to Labour in Lambeth. Thanks to your support for our parliamentary candidates, Helen Thompson in Streatham and Sarah Lewis in Vauxhall, the Liberal Democrats finished a strong second place in both constituencies in December's general election.
In Streatham we saw the biggest swing to the Lib Dems in any Labour-held seat in the country, while in Vauxhall we also increased our share of the vote. Helen and Sarah had the support of hundreds of volunteers and, while we were disappointed that this was not enough for them to join our parliamentary party on the green benches, it is clear that there is a real appetite for the Liberal Democrats to be a strong, alternative voice in our borough.
Add your reaction
On Thursday 12th December a vote for Helen Thompson will give Streatham a voice committed to delivering change
Watch Helen explain why she's standing to be the next Liberal Democrat MP for Streatham and why you should support her on this Thursday
Add your reaction
Some local voters shared with us just a few of the great reasons to vote Liberal Democrat in Streatham
There are just a few days to go until you elect your next MP.
So far in this campaign I’ve knocked on thousands of doors and I have listened carefully to the things that really matter to you.
You’ve told me you want an MP who will hold Lambeth Council to account.
You want an MP who will make sure the needs of our community are represented at City Hall where decisions are made on areas such as transport and police.
You want an MP who will work with everyone in our community.
And you want an MP who will stop Brexit and campaign with you for the issues you care about.
As your MP this is what I will do. So please vote for me on December 12th.