Labour ignores residents on protecting green spaces

Labour have again ignored local residents’ calls to protect green spaces in Southwark and ignored the climate emergency by over-riding Southwark Liberal Democrats’ full council motion to prevent council development on such spaces. 

The Lib Dem motion called for an urgent review of the policy of squeezing extra homes onto green spaces when other solutions are possible as well as formal protections and enhancement.  Instead, every Labour councillor voted unanimously to replace it with propaganda about their failed housing and climate action promises removing two key clauses that afford the level of protection needed for our scarce green amenity[i] across Southwark. 

Deputations at this week’s Full Council meeting - which was all about providing better services for youth - were made by Save Bells representing Bells Gardens residents and Dodson and Amigo Group representing residents on their estates.  Both groups told how they were not properly consulted and not listened to by the Labour run council about losing amenities for their children such as lawns, ball courts and football pitches on which their children relied.

Cllr Anood Al-Samerai, Spokesperson for Housing of the Southwark Liberal Democrats said:

“Labour show once again they ignore residents and fail to represent their interests.  We desperately need more council homes.  Southwark Labour claim they don’t have the land and need to take over green spaces.  But they are using council land for private homes whilst selling and demolishing thousands more council homes than they are building. It’s a disgrace. We will continue to work with residents and community groups across Southwark to fight for green spaces.”

Leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrats, Cllr Hamish McCallum, said:

“There are better ways to build council homes than sacrificing the precious green spaces that all residents depend on. Last year, there were over 2000 private homes completed in Southwark[ii], but just 26 council homes.  Southwark Lib Dems are fighting to protect green spaces from Southwark Labour council-led development and find other solutions to tackle the housing crisis, such as getting empty homes back into use and getting more council homes in new developments.  All residents - existing and future - need suitable amenities near their homes, including green spaces and play spaces. We must protect those spaces.”

The Southwark Liberal Democrat Council group have clearly stated their support for new council homes - but believe that the way Labour is riding roughshod over residents trying to protect their precious green spaces is appalling and shortsighted.  They have launched a petition and are putting pressure on Labour for green spaces to be protected and enhanced. 

Please sign our petition to protect green spaces in Southwark -> https://bit.ly/southwarkgreenspaces

 

[i] A Friends of the Earth report in September 2020 ranked Southwark as one of the worst local authorities in England for residents’ access to green spaces. It also noted, “42% of England’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities live in the most green-space deprived neighbourhoods.” See https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/insight/englands-green-space-gap

[ii] Table 253  Housebuilding: permanent dwellings started and completed, by tenure and district, 2020/21, https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-house-building

 

NOTES:

  • For details of the original proposed motion -> click here

  • Southwark Labour’s policies have played to the benefit of property developers moving in on prime land that could have been council homes.  Over 11 years, Southwark Labour have demolished or sold over 3000 council homes and left 1000 long term empty, whilst an explosion in new private and second homes of over 17,000 has occurred.  In the same time, the council have built less than 1000 council homes by end of last year – building just 26 in 2020/21 – and will considerably miss their promised target of 2500 more by 2022.  Over 15,000 people are now on waiting lists for Southwark council homes as a result

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