Letters to the editor: 06/04/17

(06 April, 2017)

Union's response to day centre closures, commentary on Neil Coyle's beef with Jeremy Corbyn, and why residents should pay attention to the 'Visions' for each area of the borough, and the potential developments waiting to be built

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Get involved to stop just more luxury flats

The council is consulting until 28 April on its ‘vision’ for your area.

Why waste time looking at anything as vague as a politician’s ‘vision’?

Because this is when they ‘roll the pitch’ for now until 2033. Then, when the specific scheme comes along, the odds are nicely stacked in their favour. So take a look at your area: www.tinyurl.com/NSP2017 is a short web address to take you to the document.

Each area has its own numbered section, for example Rotherhithe is section 17. The ‘vision’ is supposed to describe what is there, good and bad, not just the council’s dreams. Surprise, surprise: although in his foreword Cllr Mark Williams emphasises infrastructure and open space and ‘enhancing the character of Southwark’s unique areas’, the Rotherhithe ‘vision’ says nothing about the Thames, which is unique infrastructure and open space. Nor does the vision acknowledge the existing serious deficit in social and transport infrastructure. One reason is he wants to build a 28 storey tower block at South Dock on the river.

Cllr Williams says his top goal is ‘housing, of all tenures, for our residents’. On 3 March Transparency International reported that up to 4 out of 5 homes in the capital’s new housing developments are foreign-owned, with many left empty; some of the worst examples it found are in Southwark. It is bad news for us when Southwark’s housing attracts the attention of an international anti-corruption group.

Don’t be blindsided. Take a look at the vision for your area and comment in the next month.

In Southwark News on 23 March, GP Jonty Heaversedge said how important it is to spot and act on the early warning signs of eating disorders. Southwark Council has a disorder, gorging itself on building flats which aren’t for local residents. It’s just as important to act on the early warning signs.

Douglas Board, Rotherhithe

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Powerful voice of parents and carers 

I was both privileged and saddened to witness a powerful deputation to Council Assembly last month from the parents and carers of service users of The Camden Society.

The grace and dignity with which they portrayed the vital significance of this service to their loved ones and the devastation day centres closure will bring was very affecting.

Your readers should know what a sorry affair this has all been.  Firstly the Riverside Day Centre was offered up to developers by the council before any consultation with users or carers.  The Camden Society alleges that the council have ignored their pleas for talks around the leases.  I have studied the Camden Society annual accounts and have found no financial provision or warning that the leases were to end.  At no time have the Camden Society informed UNISON, which represents many Camden Society employees, that the lease to their premises was under threat.   One wonders why the Camden Society didn’t call earlier on support from the parents and carers if the council was ignoring them?

The Liberal Democrats are supporting service users and their families and are to be commended for this.  Regrettably to do so by political point scoring and seeking scrutiny isn’t a solution, it’s an inquest.

What’s needed are practical suggestions and assistance to save the centres and the service.  Perhaps Neil Coyle MP will respond to the inquiries he’s had on this subject?

Southwark UNISON calls on the Council to, at the very least, extend the lease at the Riverside Centre until such time as alternative accommodation has been found.  It could also put a stipulation in any planning decision that a new Day Centre should be part of any development.  No one within the council will confirm or deny the intention to build a new swanky office for social workers on the site of the Queens Road Day Centre.

UNISON says if the council is building a new complex on this site it should re-provide a new Day Centre at the same time.  Both of these developments will be commercial for profit opportunities, UNISON says share this profit with the community don’t sentence a valuable and vulnerable part of the community to imprisonment in their own homes.

Sue Plain, Branch Secretary, Southwark UNISON

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Does Coyle want Corbyn’s job?

Neil Coyle tweeted; “Another PMQs. Another day Tories get away with failing the economy, workers, police, NHS and schools.

“Corbyn’s incompetence hurts us all.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3096116/jeremy-corbyn-destroyed-on-social-media-and-by-his-own-mps-after-failing-to-capitalise-on-theresa-mays-humiliating-national-insurance-u-turn-at-pmqs/

Does Neil Coyle think disloyal tweets engender respect from constituents?

In my opinion they just make him look a fool.

If Labour get trounced at the next general election it will be idiotic posturing from Neil and his cohorts who will share the blame.

Jeremy was fairly elected as Labour leader but he isn’t being given what Australians call a ‘fair go’: constant carping and theatrical hissy-fits from MPs don’t impress the public at large.

Moreover, as far as I know, there’s no great Keir Hardie or Aneurin Bevan type leader waiting in the wings to take over – not even a Tony Blair.

Maybe Neil harbours a fantasy that the party might call on him to take command.

Perhaps he imagines a day when he and his wife take a victory stroll up Downing Street – resounding cheers from Southwark residents booming from over the river.

That’s never going to happen, Neil.

Michael Zehse, Peckham

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