Lib Dems fight to protect green spaces with council motion

Southwark Liberal Democrats are fighting to protect green spaces from council development. They have launched a petition and are putting pressure on Labour to vote for a full council motion which calls for green spaces to be protected and enhanced.

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. The Lib Dem motion calls for an urgent review of the policy of squeezing extra homes onto green spaces when other solutions are possible.

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

“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. Our motion and petition calls on the council to protect green spaces and find other solutions for council homes.   

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. Southwark Lib Dems will fight to protect green spaces 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.”

The petition can be accessed here -> https://bit.ly/southwarkgreenspaces

NOTES:

  • Please see the full motion -> click here or Council Assembly Motions Item 5.2 on the Council Website -> click here

  • The Southwark Lib Dems announced a policy to protect green spaces from development in early June 2021 -> click here

  • A Friends of the Earth report last year 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. Southwark has a green space problem and the council has many other areas it could be building council homes instead of consuming valuable green space.  The motion effectively calls for it to improve the criteria around selecting such sites.

  • Multiple projects (the ‘Peckham Green’ site and ‘Bells Gardens’, to name a few) have met resistance from campaigners living on or near the proposed site of construction. These campaigners want new homes, but not at the cost of their green spaces. There is real concern that more green spaces across Southwark could face similar proposals.

  • 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 28 in 2019 – 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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