Bromley Feeder Schools Concerns

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We know that many residents with children at primary schools around Penge are concerned about the introduction of so called ‘ feeder schools’ in the borough, proposed by academy trusts. These have the dual effect of reducing catchment areas and causing harm to primary schools outside of such trusts, of which Penge has some, to receive less applications and therefore receiving less funding. It also would mean parents likely having less choice of schools, as more spaces will be reserved for certain primary schools.

Bromley council issued a statement opposing academy trusts using feeder schools, but while we have been warning this would happen for years, because Bromley’s Conservatives were over-eager to convert schools to academies (Bromley has the highest proportion of schools being academies in the whole country ) the council has very little ability to prevent feeder schools being introduced across the borough.

One Academy chain (Langley Park learning trust) has decided, following campaigning by residents and Councillors, not to designate any of its primaries as feeder schools. We hope this means other academies will follow but will continue to monitor the situation and work with residents to campaign against the introduction of feeder schools by other Academy chains.

Trinity Medical Centre Closure

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Residents who use Trinity Medical Centre on Croydon Road (which has served the local community of Penge and Anerley for over three decades) have just been notified that the surgery will close over the next few months, despite efforts of Councillors, the NHS, residents and our MP Ellie Reeves to find a way to keep it open.

The building is privately owned and leased to the NHS for use as a GP surgery. The owners decided to sell it and, despite efforts by the NHS to find another location, there is nowhere they could find locally for Trinity to be re-located to so that it could continue to run.

 The Clinical Commissioning Group (who source GP services for Bromley NHS) does not have the funding available to buy the building or an alternative site, lack of investment in the NHS and national planning for property development means funds to build or develop a new location for the surgery cannot be found in the short time left before the building is sold.

Patients will be contacted and helped to move to one of the other GP practices in and near Penge. We are sorry to see the surgery close and seriously concerned that other surgeries across Bromley may face the same situation in the future.

In our alternative budget last month, we proposed that Bromley Council (which has investments of more than £350 million) used unallocated investment funds to buy the building in order to ensure the surgery stayed open. This could be for a time limited period, say five years, which would be long enough for the NHS to secure long term premises. (which was not possible within the relatively brief notice period of the sale of the existing building) You will not be surprised to hear that Bromley Conservatives did not support this proposal. We continue to argue that Bromley Council and the NHS should be doing more to stop surgeries closing and safeguard healthcare services for Penge residents.

 

N.B. Update-

We understand that letters which were meant to have been sent by the CCG last week have not been sent due to an error.

A meeting for patients organised for today (11th March) has now been cancelled as a result, but a patient engagement meeting organised by the CCG is going ahead on Monday 16th March, 6-7pm at Anerley Town Hall. SE20 8BD.

We are hopeful that a further meeting will be arranged to replace the cancelled one for those who are unable to attend on Monday.

Community Litter Pick- Saturday 1st September

 

Fed up with litter around Penge? So are we! We’re trying to get the Council to improve, but we’re also taking more direct action to clean Penge’s streets!

 

We receive many complaints from residents that their streets have not been cleaned on schedule, or that roads like the High street or parks around Penge are not being cleaned often enough. While we continue to push Bromley council to provide a better level of service, we are not optimistic that the Conservatives will deliver any big improvement any time soon.

Until the Council requires their contractor to provide a better service, we think direct action is needed to keep our streets clean. So, as we have done in previous years and following McDonald’s successful ‘Love Where you Live’ litter pick in May, we will be arranging a litter pick on Saturday 1st September (after our street surgery)

Meeting at Melvin Hall, Melvin Road, SE20 8EU at 12:30 to pick up equipment, we will be heading out with groups of volunteers to try and clear as much litter from the surrounding roads as we can.

If you are able to come and help, we would love for as many residents as possible to join us to cover a larger area.

 

 

 

Universal Credit rolled out in Bromley

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The Government’s changes to merge a number of different benefits into one ‘Universal Credit’ were rolled out for many existing claimants in Bromley on 25th July.

In other parts of the country where universal credit has already been rolled out, there have been problems, causing hardship for people as a result of the change- in particular the deliberate five week delay (which in many cases takes longer) before getting the first payment can cause people to need to rely on food banks or go into debt.

While some aspects of the rollout have been improved, we still have serious concerns that the changes will cause problems for some of our most vulnerable residents.

If you have moved onto Universal Credit and have any questions or problems, please come along to our UC help surgery on Tuesday 4th September, from 6:30pm at Melvin Hall, Melvin Road, Penge, SE20 8EU.

If you can’t make this session we will be looking to organise more in the future, if you have any problems or need help more urgently- please contact us (Kathy.Bance@bromley.gov.uk, Kevin.Books@bromley.gov.uk or Simon.Jeal@bromley.gov.uk) and we can arrange a 1-1 appointment to provide support.

Our Push to Make Penge Roads Safer

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At July’s meeting of Bromley Council, Penge’s councillors (as part of Bromley’s Labour group) presented our motion calling for the Council’s road safety policy to be reviewed.

 

Our motion followed many recent reports of accidents on roads around Penge, including many on Thicket Road, Otford Road and Ash Grove Road in recent months, and residents’ concerns of speeding and dangerous drivers. (We’ve had reports of frequent speeding on Maple Road, Oakfield Road, Lennard Road and Kings Hall Road- among many others)

We argued that the Council should be taking more proactive measures to prevent accidents in places where residents are reporting problems, particularly by changing their reliance on Killed and Seriously Injured (KSI) statistics, meaning that accidents in which, by chance, no one was injured aren’t counted when considering where road safety measures should be taken- so nothing will be done until after a particular number of people have been killed or seriously harmed.

We also called for the council to consider a wider range of road safety measures, such as ‘mini-Hollands’ and more 20mph zones (especially around schools). While (as always) the Conservative majority amended our motion for political reasons, they did agree to a more limited review by the Environment Committee.

While Bromley has seen a significant reduction is casualties over the past ten year, more recent trends show a much less positive picture- looking at Transport for London (TfL) figures from 2010 to 2016 shows a slight increase in KSIs, while in 2016, the most recent year data is available for, far from being one of the safest boroughs as the Tories often claim Bromley had the joint 4th highest number of fatalities and joint 2nd highest number of KSI casualties for all outer London boroughs.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s recently announced Vision Zero Action Plan on road safety aims to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads. We will continue to support residents and campaign for changes to try to make Penge’s roads safer and prevent residents coming to harm.

Controlled Parking Update

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Update on the controlled parking zone on roads around Penge East Station

 

In June, Angus Culverwell, Head of Traffic and Road Safety at Bromley Council was invited to meet with residents and ward councillors to discuss the progress of he
Controlled Parking Zone east of Penge High Street.

A number of points were raised by residents. These included;

PERMITS – The impression was that these were available to residents and not businesses. Since the meeting some businesses have purchased a permit. This was raised with Angus Culverwell at a conference call on July 6th and an update given soon.

HOURS OF USE – For the probationary period permits cost £40 for a 10 – 12 CPZ. Residents felt these hours were inadequate and wanted 8.30 – 18.30. The cost of the permit would increase to £80 but this was generally felt acceptable.

WHITE LINES – These were discussed in relation to dropped kerbs. They can be helpful in detering parking but are not enforceable.

PARKING BAYS – Mr Culverwell agreed that the number of bays may be excessive and this will be looked at. Permit holders do not have to pay extra to park in parking bays.

IMPLEMENTATION – This was due in April but in reality enforcement officers had not begun till May/June

Whilst Mr Culverwell clarified certain points the scheme is in a probationary period. A new consultation with letters sent to all residents will take place in the next couple of months dressing the above concerns. A finalised scheme will then be updated. We will keep you updated but feel free to contact us with any questions.

Criminals Dump Trailer Full of Rubbish on Oakfield Road

Bromley council are investigating after a 40ft trailer full of rubbish, including mattresses, construction waste, carpet and other household related items, was left abandoned on Oakfield Road.

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The criminal fly tipping is believed to be the work of a professional gang and similar incidents have been seen in other boroughs. The removal of the trailer yesterday, which was not road-worthy and had no registration, required specialist equipment and is expected to cost more than £20,000.
Efforts are underway to identify those responsible with CCTV being studied and local residents contacted to ask if anyone witnessed something which may not have been suspicious at the time.  Environmental crime information can be reported to the Council by visiting www.bromley.gov.uk/envirocrime

The Council are also warning residents and local businesses to properly check that anyone being employed to remove unwanted items or waste from their home is a registered waste carrier and holds a valid licence. A business can be fined up to £5000 for not registering, but householders can also be prosecuted for using an unlicensed waste carrier.

While this incident is much larger than usual, fly-tipping is a common problem we see around the area. Any fly tipping which you see can be reported on the Council’s website www.bromley.gov.uk/report. When the Council removes the flytip, the person who reported it is notified.  In emergencies, when a road is completely blocked for instance, fly-tipping should be reported by phone so that priority attention can be given.

Peter Fookes Becomes Alderman of Bromley

At a special meeting of Bromley Council on Wednesday, Peter Fookes was made an honorary Alderman of the London Borough of Bromley.

Peter

First elected as a Labour Councillor for Penge in 1990, Peter represented our ward for 28 years until the local elections earlier this month. In that time he also served as Co-Leader of the Council and was leader of the Labour group during two separate terms.

In addition, Peter spent his time on the council working tirelessly to help local people, including attending Living Well at Holy Trinity Church on Friday lunchtimes to assist residents there for many years.

Labour groupPeter with Bromley’s current Labour group

Peter continues to be a trustee of Melvin Hall, following the successful work by a group including our Councillors to keep it running for the community. He also continues to sit on the committee organising the Penge Festival, Penge in Bloom and Penge Older People’s Network.

All four photoPeter with Penge and Cator’s councillors, Kevin Brooks, Kathy Bance MBE and Simon Jeal

On behalf of the local Labour party, all of our members and local residents, we congratulate Peter and thank him for all his work supporting our community over the past three decades.