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Honor Oak Road safety action 6 July 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Streets.
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This story appears in the July – August 2014 Forest Hill Focus

In a response to a petition raised by the Tewkesbury Lodge Residents’ Association in conjunction with Lib Dem campaigners Alex Feakes and Philip Peake and presented by them to Lewisham Council last year, the Council have agreed to introduce measures to make Honor Oak Road safer for pedestrians and traffic alike.

Many residents had raised concerns with Alex and Phil about the speed of traffic along the road, particularly the section between Canonbie Road and Forest Hill Road, which includes Fairlawn and Francesca Cabrini primary schools. “Action on this issue is long overdue, but it’s good news that the council is finally getting its act together,” commented Alex.

The proposed measures include extending ‘guard railing’ along the pavement to protect pedestrians, footway bollards to prevent obscurement caused by pavement parking, and reinstatement and enforcement of the ‘school zone’ markings outside Fairlawn school.

Separately, the council has added Honor Oak Road to this year’s carriageway resurfacing programme, and is also considering calls by Canonbie Road residents to reduce rat running through use of no entry signs and barriers at the junction with Honor Oak Road, though like the footway proposals this will depend upon available funding.

Wells Park Road murder – more needs to be done to tackle serious youth violence locally 6 July 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Police, Young people.
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This is an extended version of a story which appears in the July – August 2014 Forest Hill Focus

We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of James Hunter, who was murdered in Wells Park Road, Sydenham, on May 31st. Residents told us of their worries about crime in precisely this area. It is really important that these concerns are taken seriously and, now that Sydenham Police Station is closed, that there is a local and well advertised place where people can talk to the police.

Lib Dem campaigner Margot Wilson said: “I have been in contact with the local police about what plans they have to patrol the area and what early intervention projects there are. They have told me that they are currently in discussion with the council about further events around youth engagement in the area following feedback from two meetings at the TNG in the days after the murder. I am concerned that while there are projects to counteract serious youth violence in others parts of London, there appear to be none in Lewisham.”

Duwayne Brooks, Lib Dem candidate in the election for Mayor of Lewisham, described his heartache at being told of another death among our young people and offered his condolences to the families:

“For years, I have been trying to highlight the issue of serious youth violence in our borough but it has been constantly denied and I have been continuously blocked. I tried to implement an early intervention procedure to help target those nine to thirteen year olds who get caught with the wrong groups. I was told it’s not needed. Now we have another unnecessary death where a number of families will be in pain for something that was and is preventable.”

The Focus Team had contacted Lewisham Homes about the possible gating of blocks on Wells Park Road earlier in May, after the issue was raised by a local resident we called on. Lewisham Homes told us that they do not currently have funding to install door entry systems. They can only repair and maintain existing systems. However they do intend to work more closely with residents through consultation to agree improvements to estates. This plan is in the very early stages and subject to approval and funding, but if it goes ahead residents will be invited to put forward their suggestions.

The Focus Team have written to Lewisham Council requesting a 24 hour monitored CCTV camera be placed on Wells Park Road. While this would be council-controlled and funded the police would also have access to it and it would provide a valuable supplement to their patrols in the area.

The police have been working on expanding neighbourhood watch schemes generally in and around Forest Hill. If you would be interested in getting involved let us know and we can pass your details on.

Residents in the Sydenham part of the ward should be aware that the Police have drop in centres at the Sainsbury’s Savacentre, Southend Lane, Sydenham, SE26 4PU, on Wednesday 7-8pm, Thursday 7-8pm and Saturday 2-3pm. They can otherwise be contacted at Catford Hill Police Station.

Extra buses on the way 6 July 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Transport.
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This story appears in the July – August 2014 Forest Hill Focus

George Crozier at a bus stop in Forest Hill

George Crozier has welcomed TfL’s promise of extra buses at peak times

Some good news from TfL for our campaign against bus overcrowding. They are laying on four extra services a day on the 176 route at peak times.

Focus Team member George Crozier asked Lib Dem London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, who is Deputy Chair of the Assembly’s Transport Committee, to take up overcrowding on the 176 and the 185 with TfL, and whether there is a need for additional buses at peak times. This followed a survey which identified the two routes as among the ten most overcrowded in the whole of London.

Caroline and her office energetically took up the issue and we have now been told by TfL that they will be running additional services on the 176 towards central London during the morning rush hour and in the opposite direction in the evening rush hour. Buses will now be running every seven minutes rather than every eight minutes on during these peak times.

TfL told Caroline they could not “provide a precise timescale at present, but would like to assure Mr Crozier that we are working hard to implement this proposal as quickly as possible, subject to receipt of costs from the operator and approval.”

On the 185, TfL say they are still reviewing the data, and depending on the outcome will look at undertaking additional surveys or providing extra buses if required.

We will keep you informed of developments on both routes.

Council election blunder – wrong results declared in Forest Hill 2 July 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Uncategorized.
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Lewisham Council have admitted they miscounted local election votes in Forest Hill in May, resulting in 1708 votes being counted twice and the wrong results being officially recorded.

The blunder became clear when the results were published and the number of votes cast came to more than three times the number of ballot papers issued, when three is the maximum number of legal votes anyone can cast.

Lewisham Liberal Democrats raised this with the council after it was drawn to our attention by a local resident.

At a hastily convened meeting with candidates and their agents the council’s chief executive conceded that a mistake had been made. He explained that what had happened was that two groups of counters had been working to a single tally sheet for recording the votes they counted. One group entered their data and it went to the accountants for entering in the official spreadsheet. The tally sheet was then recalled so the other group’s figures could be added. The updated totals were then given to the accountants who added them in. The first group’s totals were therefore added in twice. The result was that 1708 votes – about one in six of all votes cast – were accounted for twice.

George Crozier commented:

“It beggars belief that a basic error on this scale could take place without the Returning Officer or any of his staff spotting it. Candidates and their agents watch closely at the count to make sure votes go onto the right piles and are recorded correctly. But there is very little they can do when correctly recorded tally sheets are entered into the computer twice.

“It is very hard to change a result once it has been declared. The council could easily have faced the expense of taking themselves to an electoral court if this error had changed who was elected. As it is, because it did not change who won, we have accepted that rather than face unnecessary expense the council can let the originally declared result officially stand, even though it includes a technically impossible mismatch between ballot papers and votes. However we are pressing the council to publish the actual number of votes cast too so that the people of Forest Hill have their votes accurately recorded.”

The council chief executive has promised us that the council will put safeguards in place to ensure there can be no repetition of this error.

Margot Wilson welcomed this news:

“The council must take action to make sure a blunder like this can never happen again. A simple system of stamping tally sheets as having been entered into the computer would stop them being entered twice. A check of the number of votes cast in a ward against the number of ballot papers included in the count to make sure they are not incompatible would have shown immediately what had happened.

“It is important for the people of Lewisham to be able to have confidence in their election results and in the council’s ability to count them accurately.”

 

Forest Hill ward 2014 local election result

The actual number of votes cast for each candidate was as follows (official and declared total in brackets):

Hilton (Lab) 1869 (2115)

Bernards (Lab) 1718 (1945)

Upex (Lab) 1595 (1814)

Feakes (Lib Dem) 1118 (1292)

Crozier (Lib Dem) 732 (866)

Wilson (Lib Dem) 707 (839)

Taylor (Green) 693 (786)

Jones (Green) 676 (764)

Thompson (Green) 545 (615)

Ferguson (Con) 537 (622)

Squires (Con) 506 (592)

Tebble (Con) 437 (518)

Oakley (UKIP) 378 (419)

Cain (PBP) 378 (408)

Duwayne Brooks calls for the issue of youth violence in Lewisham to be taken seriously 7 June 2014

Posted by margotwilson in Uncategorized.
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In a letter to the South London Press, Duwayne Brooks, our Libdem candidate in the election for Mayor of Lewisham, described his heartache at being told of another death among our young people and offered his condolences to the families.

He said: ” For years, I have been trying to highlight the issue of serious youth violence in our borough but it has been constantly denied and I have been continuously blocked. I tried to implement an early intervention procedure to help target those nine to thirteen year olds who get caught with the wrong groups. I was told it’s not needed. Now we have another unnecessary death where a number of families will be in pain for something that was and is preventable.” 

Murder in Wells Park Road 6 June 2014

Posted by margotwilson in Uncategorized.
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Sadly, nothing could be of greater concern than the murder of James Hunter this week in Wells Park Road.  We  offer our condolences to his family and friends.Margot knows something of their pain as this week was the birthday of her own murdered daughter.  Residents told us of their worries about crime in precisely this area. It is really important that these concerns are taken seriously and, now that Sydenham Police Station is closed, that there is a local and well advertised place where  people can talk to the police.

This evening there will be a community meeting at the TNG centre in Wells Park Road from 6-7pm.

 

Thankyou to voters 6 June 2014

Posted by margotwilson in Uncategorized.
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New Forest Hill team 1 for letterhead We should like to thank all those voters who supported the Libdem candidates in Forest Hill. You .gave us one of our best results in the Lewisham Council elections.

Unfortunately the Labour party now has only one opponent on the Council so is free to appoint new Cabinet members (however vague their titles) and raise their own expenses. We will continue to  hold them to account notwithstanding.

We are proud that we fought on local issues. Building on the work done by our former Councillors, Philip Peake and Alex Feakes,we shall continue to champion the concerns of people in Forest Hill and to work with individuals and groups to make the ward an even better place.

 

The local team who gets things done for #ForestHill residents 21 May 2014

Posted by Alex Feakes in Uncategorized.
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Our priorities for the elections:

A green and growing Forest Hill
Campaigning to get more trees planted locally – putting the Forest back into Forest Hill – any to protect and improve our public services.

A prosperous Forest Hill
Working with traders to regenerate our high streets and bring jobs to our area, and working for better facilities for young and old alike.

A connected Forest Hill
Achieving improvements to public transport services and provision for cyclists, and action to alleviate parking problems and repair substandard road surfaces.q

Tree Trouble 5 May 2014

Posted by margotwilson in Uncategorized.
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Much concern has been expressed recently by residents mourning the loss of beautiful trees in their street. Trees are not only beautiful to look at but are essential as shade in heat waves, and in the fight against air pollution and climate change. We regret that The Borough of Lewisham has one of the lowest replanting rates in London. The council’s budget for change is largely taken up with maintenance, although clearing of trees which fell in the winter storms has not yet extended to removing the debris on the grass verge in Charlecote Grove.remains of fallen tree left on verge in Charlecote Grove (2)
Street trees may have been removed because of decay or because they threaten to cause subsidence in neighbouring houses.
Benson Road has never had  trees  Whatever the reason residents who have contacted us would like to see more trees planted.
There are opportunities to achieve this:
    • The council may benefit from a national government scheme in the future, although at present there is only a scheme to plant trees outside towns.
  • Residents can join together and bid for money at the local assembly to plant street trees.
  •  An individual resident can bypass the assembly process and pay for a tree.

Welcome to Lewisham, or Southwark? 27 April 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Uncategorized.
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20140427-133640.jpg
So who put the Welcome to Lewisham sign on Lordship Lane round the wrong way, so you only see it when you’re leaving Lewisham for Southwark?

And more to the point, why, a month or more since it was reported, has nothing been done about it?

Not exactly the message of competence we want to send to travellers on one of our busiest roads!

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