This week’s letters to the editor: 26/10/17

(26 October, 2017)

This week's letters include: Peckham Vision on the council's decision to drop Peckhamplex and multi-storey redevelopment; residents' reaction to Bermondsey Spa redevelopment


Thanks for supporting Peckham Vision 

Southwark Council last week announced that they had removed the Peckham Multi Storey building from the New Southwark Plan (NSP).

This is the building which houses Peckhamplex cinema, Bold Tendencies and Franks Cafe, and the soon to be launched Peckham Levels.

These businesses provide hundreds of jobs, and much loved social and entertainment activities for thousands of people.

This is a resounding success for sustained local community action. It follows Peckham Vision’s five year campaign involving thousands of local people seeking a more informed decision about the future of this site.

Peckham Vision would like to thank everyone who supported our campaign for a review of the Council’s plan to demolish the building and redevelop the site.

So to everyone who bought a T-shirt, tote bag, tea towel or card, sent an email, attended a meeting, leafleted, posted their views in a web discussion, shared posts, tweeted, took photos, studied planning documents, told their friends, dropped into our shop, or some of many other actions, THANK YOU. It all counted!

Our community shop is open Saturdays 2-5pm or Tuesdays 2-4pm in Holdrons Arcade 135A Rye Lane, for anyone who wants to discuss what this means for Peckham, and what is going on in Planning!

Eileen Conn, Co-ordinator, Peckham Vision,


Spa residents are dismayed

In response to your article ‘Student digs still too high’, Southwark News, October 12, 2017.

Bermondsey Spa residents reeled in dismay as the real implications of a development proposal at Spa Road were revealed by professional experts.

Residents attending an emergency meeting at the Buddhist Centre in Spa Road learned  from a panel (which included town planners) that if proposals for a massive 7 storey building dwarfing all surrounding property are agreed, the reality for many local people will mean :

*Local residents losing up to 60% of natural light to their homes

*The end of privacy for local residents in their homes

*A massive influx of over 200 people living on one site with huge potential for noise  disturbance in the neighbourhood

The planning application is for student accommodation for 205 people.  Concerned residents have until 28th October to object to the council.

Whilst most people are not opposed to the site being developed, they want an acceptable compromise where the development size is scaled back to allow people to continue enjoying their homes.

Many local people have pointed out that drawings submitted by the developers are misleading.  They show a development which looks to be the same size as the Victorian Grade II listed building next door.  The reality is that it is at least double the size.

Andrea Whytock (on behalf of the Residents Steering Committee)


Barnardo’s welcomes Government plans

The Government’s plans to make it safer for children to go on the internet are welcome and could have a positive impact for countless young Londoners.

As the UK’s largest children’s charity, Barnardo’s has been calling for a safer internet and for parents to be more aware of the technology children are using and who they’re talking to online. Nowhere is that more important than in our digitally connected capital.

Our concern is that the digital revolution is enabling the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people through the internet and mobile devices.

The Government’s new draft Internet Safety Strategy represents a golden opportunity to make social media companies more responsible for the content that may appear on their sites.

We have recommended the industry introduces measures to prevent online abuse, such as ensuring current and future games and apps have safeguards to prevent children being harmed, with users clearly informed about privacy settings.  We also believe children should be taught about online dangers in compulsory age-appropriate relationship and sex education lessons being introduced in 2019.

There must be an online code of practice that every social media company signs up to. Companies also need to build in basic safety features from the outset during the design of their products. And we need to ensure that every child is taught the skills they need to be safe online.

A recent survey for Barnardo’s of more than 2,300 people revealed that a quarter (25 per cent) of youngsters aged 13-15 said they had communicated with a stranger on social media. This included 27 per cent of girls and 33 per cent of 14 year olds.

The poll results coincided with the release of our Childhoods in a Digital World paper, examining both the challenges and opportunities to children from the rapidly evolving technological world.

This proposal is what we at Barnardo’s have been calling for to help protect vulnerable children and young people. We look forward to working with the Government to ensure children are safe online, in London and beyond.

Lynn Gradwell , Director, Barnardo’s London


More thinking on social care

In response to calls from Age UK for the Government to bring forward proposals for social care following a rise in delayed transfers of care.

Nearly 60 per cent of all delayed transfers of care are actually down to the NHS due to patients waiting for other health services or assessments.

However, no council wants to see anyone stay in hospital for a day longer than necessary.

Councils are doing all they can to try and help people live independently in their communities and reduce demand on hospitals.

But with unprecedented funding cuts since 2010 and social care services facing a £2.3 billion funding gap by 2020, this is becoming increasingly difficult. That is why the need for the Government to use the Autumn Budget to reform and fully fund social care is urgent.

The extra money for social care announced in the Spring Budget was a step in the right direction, but this was one-off funding and not a long-term solution.

The recent threats by the Government and NHS England to withhold or direct how councils spend this money is not the way to solve the social care crisis. We need to work together to make sure we make the best use of our scarce resources, social care services and care workers.

It is vital they work with councils to prevent people ending up in hospital in the first place and helping those unfortunate to be stuck unnecessarily in a hospital bed get out quickly and safely, back into the community and close to their loved ones.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board


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