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Library and Controlled Parking Zone 2 December 2015

Posted by margotwilson in Uncategorized.
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Philip Peake writes
We’ve been hearing a lot of concern about two particular issues at the moment: the Council’s proposed parking restrictions and cuts to the library
The Council has suggested that the library become a ‘community library’ along the lines of Sydenham or Crofton Park. This means it is essentially staffed and run by volunteers.
Research by the Forest Hill Society shows that borrowing has dramatically fallen in those libraries while the fall at Forest Hill has been barely perceptible. There has been an increase in use for other purposes at Sydenham library but there is a very real concern that scope for volunteering at libraries has been reached its limit.
We feel that the quality of service at Forest Hill is genuinely under threat.  Please do let us know what you think about the scheme.
The Council is proposing a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in Forest Hill.  Full details can be found by following this link https://lewisham-consult.objective.co.uk/portal.
The proposed zone would cover most of Forest Hill ward up to (but not including) Sydenham Hill, Canonbie Road in the north and the hilltop ridge within Tewkesbury Lodge estate. The final boundaries if a zone is introduced may be different.
A residents’ permit currently costs £120 per year (£30 for a low-emission vehicle). Lots of people oppose the scheme for this reason or because it would make life difficult for family, carers and others to visit.
On the other hand, there are busier areas of the ward where we’ve had complaints about the problems caused by parking and requests for such a scheme for example around the pools and library. Do you have a view? If yes, let us know!

Library Consultation Closes This Week 10 November 2015

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We have until 15 November to DSC01416tell Lewisham Council what we think of plans for Forest Hill Library. The Council’s preferred option is to turn it into a “Community Library” in order to save money.

Currently the situation is very uncertain as we simply do not know, at this stage, who the “community partner” would be.

It seems likely that the number of books borrowed would decline more quickly as a “community” library. Some library staff would be made redundant. The library would rely on volunteers who may or may not be reliable, expert or available.

Empty Homes and new developments. 9 November 2015

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 These bungalows 2015-08-20 19.40.54at 94/96 London Road are owned by the Council. They appear to have been empty and derelict for some time. The plan is to use the site to build a block of Council flats in line with a target of 500 new homes by 2018. There are several other developments in the pipeline in Forest Hill, so it will be a while before a planning application is made.

Across the road it is proposed to build 45 flats across three sites on the Forest Estate. Further up the hill the Hanover Housing Association is developing 33 new homes on the site of Featherstone Lodge.

It is important that due consideration is given to such matters as where these new residents will park their cars in these hilly spaces.

Meeting to Discuss the Future of Library Services 3 October 2015

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There will be a meeting to discuss the future of the library services, including Forest Hill, on Monday October 19 at 7.30pm in the Sydenham School in Dartmouth Road.DSC01416

Additional P12 services will run from 26th September 29 September 2015

Posted by Alex Feakes in Uncategorized.
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Transport for London reports that from Saturday 26 September additional buses will be used on route P12 during the daytime on a daily basis specifically designed to improve reliability for customers and ensure that service keeps to the timetable whenever possible.

Route P12 runs between Surrey Quays Shopping Centre and Brockley Rise, Honor Oak Park.

Proposed changes along the A20 between New Cross and Lewisham 29 September 2015

Posted by Alex Feakes in Uncategorized.
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This is a little far from Forest Hill, but may affect you if you drive up around New Cross, particularly to the Municipal Waste site at Landsman Way.

TfL are proposing a package of improvements along the A20 between New Cross and Lewisham, which aim to improve safety and reduce the potential for delays to journey times for all road users.

For more details, please see the consulation site, and have your say: A20 consultation.

What do you think should happen to the Forest Hill Library ? Public consultation coming soon. 10 September 2015

Posted by margotwilson in Uncategorized.
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In the present refugee crisis we see the importance of having a  community hub in our local library, which is being used as a collection point for donations. Just when plans are afoot to improve Dartmouth Road, the future of this valuable centre is by no means certain.
The Council are proposing to make Forest Hill Library a community library rather than one run by the council. This would be similar to the way Sydenham Library is run. The Council is receiving less money from the government so they are seeking a community partner to  manage  and develop the library.
There are just a few weeks for the public to comment. The consultation opens on 1 October and closes on 12 November so we have just six short weeks to make our views known.
What kind of partner is found, if indeed one can be found, will be of the utmost  importance.
We need to make sure
  • we keep expert staff. Anyone who has seen the librarians  helping children to do the summer reading challenge, as Margot did recently, will know they really know their stuff.
  • people can use the internet for free and there is someone there to help those who need it.
  • there’s a good supply of books including our wonderful children’s books.

Council’s last chance to save Honor Oak woodlands 8 August 2015

Posted by George Crozier in Environment.
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This is an update to this posting two weeks ago, based on this press statement from Southwark Lib Dems 

Southwark’s Labour council has been offered a final chance to halt the felling of 60 trees and digging up of 60 graves as part of its plans for new burial space in two local cemeteries which form part of the Green Chain Walk close to Honor Oak and Forest Hill. 

At the last meeting of the council, Southwark Liberal Democrat councillors tabled a motion calling on the ruling Labour administration to carry out a new consultation exercise on where new burial space for Southwark residents is located.  Labour refused to support the proposal.

Following the council meeting, Liberal Democrat councillors have written to the Chair of the Council’s main scrutiny committee asking for the cemeteries strategy and proposals for Southwark Woods to be looked at in more detail with a proper analysis of costs, alternatives and environmental impact.

Southwark Liberal Democrat Leader, Councillor Anood Al-Samerai, said:

“The strength of feeling locally about the Labour council’s plans for Southwark Woods is clear with over 8,000 people signing the petition to save the trees, woodland and old graves. Yet again though, Labour councillors refused to listen to local residents and call a halt to their plans. 

“There are alternatives that would allow Southwark residents to still be buried in the borough that should be looked at properly… I hope that Labour councillors will now listen at the last minute and agree that the plans should be put on hold to look at the issues in more detail.  This is the Labour administration’s last chance to change their minds and save the woods for future generations.”

Forest Hill Lib Dems are strongly supporting the efforts of our Southwark colleagues to save these valuable local woodlands.

Fury at Conservative Government’s dismantling of environmental policies 8 August 2015

Posted by George Crozier in Environment.
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Forest Hill Liberal Democrats have joined a chorus of anger over the new majority Conservative Government’s abandonment of environmental policies introduced and promoted by the previous Coalition Government.

In just three months since the general election the Conservatives have:

  • Scrapped subsidies for onshore wind and commercial solar – the two cheapest forms of clean energy
  • Slashed the energy efficiency budget and scrapped the Green Deal – a programme set up by the Liberal Democrats in Coalition to help people make their homes more energy efficient
  • Ended the tax break for clean cars
  • Abolished rules on zero carbon housing
  • Lowered taxes on polluting firms
  • Announced the part-privatisation of the Green Investment Bank
  • Scrapped the exemption from the Climate Change Levy for renewable energy (described by Friends of the Earth as like putting an alcohol tax on apple juice!)

They have also:

  • Lifted a ban on bee-slaying neonicotinoid pesticides
  • Reversed a pledge to keep fracking out of nationally important nature sites
  • Announced support for a ‘review’ of two key European wildlife laws, the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive

The Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth has called it “a grotesque 90 days of ideological enviro-bashing”, observing “David Cameron’s Conservative Government took aim at anything green and shot to kill”. (You can read his full article here – he pulls no punches.)

The heads of 10 of Britain’s leading green groups, including National Trust, Greenpeace and the RSPB, have written to David Cameron calling the cutting or watering-down of 10 key environmental policies woeful and shocking.

Back in April we highlighted the success of the Lib Dems in delivering on environmental policies in the Coalition Government despite opposition from the Conservatives. With the Lib Dems in Government, investment in renewable energy was more than double that under the previous Labour administration, and for the past three years was the highest of any country in Europe. The amount of renewable energy being generated also more than doubled.

Forest Hill Lib Dem campaigner Margot Wilson said: “It is desperately sad to see the strong environmental policies and achievements of the Coalition Government, such as support for renewables and zero carbon housing, being dismantled by the Conservatives now that they are in government on their own.

“Perhaps the loopiest change of all is extending the Climate Change Levy – a tax specifically created to penalise and so reduce carbon pollution – to low and zero-carbon renewable energy, totally undermining its purpose. What was a green tax is being turned into a tax on all energy, dirty or clean.”

The green economy has been a British success story in recent years – it grew 5% a year during the recession – but these changes will undermine it and make businesses less likely to invest in green projects going forward.

For example, waste management firm Veolia invested £10m in a project which draws gas out of landfill sites – on the promise that they’d be getting a subsidy until 2023. But the incentives are to be cancelled eight years early. A company spokesman told the BBC: “We’re very angry that the Government have made a complete U-turn on subsidies that were agreed until 2023 with only 1 month’s notice. This isn’t the way to run a government and give business the confidence to invest.”

Swedish energy company Vattenfall has said it is scrapping a planned windfarm in Lincolnshire, blaming the government’s changes to planning laws for increasing risk to the project.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said: “For five years we fought sceptical Tories to ensure we were the greenest Government ever by investing billions in renewables and setting out ambitious climate change targets. By quietly dumping the Green Deal, David Cameron has yet again shown how little he cares about the future of the planet.

“The Prime Minister has not so much hugged a husky as led it behind the coal shed, shot it in the head and told his Energy Secretary it has gone to live on a farm in the country.”

Former Friends of the Earth Director Tony Juniper has commented: “the last few months mark the worst period for environmental policy that I have seen in my 30 years’ work in this field.” He attributes it to “an anti-environment ideology based on the view that ecological goals interfere with the market, increase costs and are against the interests of people”.

More ‘looked after’ children going missing in Lewisham. 6 August 2015

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Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for London, recently reported on the numbers of children going missing from care. By using the Freedom of Information Act, she was able to discover that, in Lewisham from 2013-2014 the number of children  gong missing from care increased by 164% from 28 to 74.

Numbers of children going missing from placements within the borough had gone from 11 in 2013 to 36 in 2014.  The number of children going missing from placements outside the borough had gone from 17 in 2013 to 38 in 2014. The number still missing was not disclosed.

Her report recommends

  • the setting up of a Mayoral Task Force for vulnerable children who go missing,
  • more transparency and consistency in the collection of data
  • and training for councillors on this issue .

“A looked after child is already a vulnerable child” Caroline told the News Shopper, “If they go missing for 24 hours or more they are immediately at serious risk, such as being drawn into criminal activity or becoming a victim of sexual abuse. There are a number of criminal syndicates which target girls and boys for sexual abuse, often targeting runaway children.

“While I recognise Lewisham Council are at least being open about how serious the situation is, it is now time they acted and turned this situation around.”