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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.

Thank you!

We are hugely grateful and proud to have been elected as your councillors for Penge and Cator.

We value the support of our community and will work hard to support ALL local residents, groups and businesses over the next four years.

While the Conservatives remain in charge of Bromley Council, we will continue to fight for more affordable housing, cleaner and safer streets to protect care services, libraries and other public services from further cuts and hold them to account.

With the rollout of universal credit in July and further cuts likely, we will also be doing everything we can to support anyone affected. If you ever have an issue, together with our MP Ellie Reeves, we’re here to try and help.

You can find us on the high street outside the Post Office- 10:45 to 12:15 on the first Saturday of every month or contact us using the details on the back of this newsletter.

Find  out more about us and how to get in touch on the Councillors page

Kathy, Kevin and Simon

Local updates- March

ALEXANDRA PARK PADDLING POOL TO BE REPAIRED

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At full council last month we asked whether the paddling pool situated in Alexandra Park would be repaired for use in time for summer. It is the only paddling pool in the north of the borough and had been left needed extensive repairs. Last summer it was only available for use for five days.

This was unacceptable and deprived local children of amenities and play place. After raising this and with extensive help and support from the Friends of Cator and Alexandra Group we have received an assurance from the council that their contractor, Amey, will be undertaking the necessary repairs for the pool to be fully functioning by summer.

 

CONTROLLED PARKING- UPDATE FOR WORDSWORTH ROAD

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After significant communication with residents, council officers and the relevant Portfolio Holder, it has been agreed that due to the number of objections from residents of Wordsworth Road being included in the scheme, a new consultation with residents and local councillors will be undertaken. We strongly urge residents affected to fully take part in this consultation to ensure any decision is based upon the true wishes of residents.

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.

Schools funding update

Thank you to the many residents who got in contact with our Labour councillors, asking them to oppose the attempt by Bromley council to take £1 million from local primary schools’ budgets (which they did).

The Council was unsuccessful and will be funding the gap from their reserves.

Local schools remain under huge pressure from cuts even now and Labour councillors thank everyone for supporting local headteachers and staff, who are working incredibly hard during such difficult times to provide children with a good education.

Bromley sets council tax

The Conservatives controlling Bromley Council agreed a 5.79% council tax increase (of which 4.99% is from the council, with 2% specifically to fund social care) The Tories also passed an unimpressive and unimaginative budget which will do little to help vulnerable residents.

As we knew would happen our alternative budget, which was fully costed, balanced and met the challenges faced by the Government’s savage cuts in local government funding over the past nine years, was voted down by the Tories.

Our proposals included:

Saving our high streets and supporting local businesses

In Penge and other shopping areas like the high street, we’d provide funding for small businesses, invest to reopen empty shop properties, offer tax incentives for start-ups and promote schemes to create more jobs locally with local housing associations and community groups. Our vision is for vibrant High Streets people want to buy from and secure, decently paid jobs for residents.

More jobs and businesses will lead to people spending more money in Penge. The resulting funds would lead to increased investment in safety, security, paths and rubbish collection.

Delivering affordable homes and cracking down on dodgy landlords

We would have looked to create more places local people can actually afford to live in – some of it on modular homes aimed at a fast solution to temporary accommodation, the rest of to house residents on our waiting list, many of them currently in over- crowded or unfit properties. We would also introduce a landlord registration scheme to monitor the behaviour of landlords and letting agencies to make sure they comply with the law.

Tackling crime and youth violence

Our budget would pay for the Council to recruit a proactive and dedicated Youth Violence officer working in our communities. We would put money into saving lives and, by recognising the symptoms and causes behind disaffected youths and those affected by mental health issues, put early interventions in place to reduce the risk of getting involved in drugs, violence or gangs and hopefully prevent any more young lives being lost in Bromley.

We continue to push for ideas like these, for better local services, more spending on bin collections, street cleaning and for a council that puts local people’s needs first.

Please come to our Christmas party!

Local Labour Councillors are holding a free community Christmas Party this Saturday – all local residents welcome!

The event is organised by Cllr Kathy Bance, Cllr Kevin Brook and Cllr Simon Jeal to wish seasons greetings to all in Penge and Cator. A buffet and soft drinks will be provided. Party go-ers are welcome to bring their own drinks, including alcoholic ones if wished.

The Labour Councillors Community Christmas Party details are as follows:

When? Saturday 8th December, from 7pm
Where? Melvin Hall (SE20 8EU)
How much? Free!
What to bring? A buffet and soft drinks will be provided but please feel free to
bring your own drink/alcohol.

No need to book – just turn up!

Helping our community this Christmas

As 2018 comes to an end, we would like to wish everyone happy holidays and
the very best for the New Year. We also invite you to join us at our free community Christmas Party on Saturday 8th December, 7pm at Melvin Hall (SE20 8EU) a buffet and soft drinks will be provided but please feel free to bring your own drink/alcohol.
Bromley Labour and Conservative councillors and party members are working together to support Bromley Brighter Beginnings this Christmas. It is a charity supporting local families in financial hardship, as well as women and children in domestic violence refuges. Their Christmas appeal is collecting donations to provide hampers with toys, games and food, giving families a welcome boost over the Christmas period.
We know this is just one of many appeals local groups and residents are running in the lead up to Christmas as more people than ever are feeling the impact of austerity and cuts to local services. Thank you to the charities doing amazing work locally and to everyone who is donating. You can also donate at:

  • Living Well’s Christmas appeal is asking for donations to prepare the 150 food bags they give out to local people the week before Christmas. See their website or Facebook page for a full list of items they need. Drop off at Holy Trinity Church on Lennard Road at certain times or at the donation bin in Sainsburys.
  • Melvin Hall Community Centre are collecting toys and small gifts for women and children in Bromley and Croydon Women’s Aid’s refuges. Donations can be dropped at the hall during the day or by contacting Cllr Kathy Bance at kathy.bance@ bromley.gov.uk

Food Hygiene- our push to raise standards in Penge

How clean is your favourite place to eat? Take a look next time you pop in.

Penge has a diverse range of popular and even award winning places to eat out, but there are a number of our restaurants, cafes and food outlets that do not have the “acceptable” Level 3 Food Hygiene Rating with the Food Standards Agency.

Labour Councillors  have made contact with all those places rated below a level 3 and have encouraged them to complete the outstanding works and reapply for their next inspection.

Please do check the rating on display or ask the next time you pop out for a takeaway or bite to eat- to demonstrate to owners the importance of having clean and safe places to eat locally.

Councillors walk over fire for local charity

Three Labour Councillors participated in a ‘firewalk’ challenge this weekend to raise money for St Christopher’s Hospice.

The charity challenged local supporters to walk over hot coals barefoot to support the work they do for the community. Labour Councillors Kevin Brooks, Simon Jeal and Josh King volunteered to step up, or over, the plate. Their sponsorship page is still open for donations to the local hospice.

Councillor Jeal (Penge & Cator) said: “I’m pretty risk averse so it’s not my sort of thing at all. But the team at St Christopher’s do amazing work for local residents and their families, so walking across fire was the least I could do to support them.

Councillor Kevin Brooks (Penge & Cator) added, “Being the second time I have done a firewalk I was much less nervous. A massive thanks must go to all our sponsors who raised money for St Christopher’s, a truly local community charity.

Councillor Josh King (Clockhouse) had more personal reasons for participating, “When I was asked if I wanted to do a firewalk for St. Christopher’s the answer was a quick yes as members of my family have benefited from the hospice’s excellent care. The thought of walking on hot coals was pretty scary but in the event it was really easy and painless. I’d do it again for a good cause. “

The Labour Councillors participated in a team walking in memory Steve Murphy – a local resident and ardent charity supporter who passed away in the hospice last year.

They have raised just over half its target so far, with more pledged. To donate to St Christopher’s Hospice visit their sponsorship page. 

Councillors support new winter shelter

Rising numbers of people sleeping on our streets is a concern nationally and in Bromley. Labour councillors are working  hard to find practical solutions to support those who find themselves without a roof over their heads.

Labour Councillors have long been involved with Bromley Winter Shelter, and now Cllr Kathy Bance is working with them to expand the amount of help they can provide over the coldest months of the year.

The national Conservative government’s record on supporting those who have no choice but to sleep rough is shameful. The number of people dying whilst destitute on our streets has doubled on their watch over just 5 years.

Whilst Bromley council recently launched its homelessness strategy, Labour Councillors know this is a council which has often failed to even accurately count the number of people sleeping rough, let alone tackle the problem of hidden homelessness and the large
housing waiting list.

To provide immediate support, last year Labour Councillors took part in a sponsored sleep-out to raise money for Bromley Homeless Shelter, which provides meals and beds to local rough sleepers during the winter, they are taking part in the fundraiser again this year.

Councillor Kathy Bance has been working with the Shelter and local churches to begin operating a second shelter in the North of the borough, starting this winter. It will
increase the number of people the shelter can provide support to and get more people off of the streets during what can be very cold and wet winter nights.

It doesn’t have to be like this – Labour’s national manifesto would start by making 4,000 homes available for former rough sleepers (& 100,000 affordable homes overall), as well as stopping the damaging cuts to vital homelessness services which keep people warm, dry and alive. See Labour’s manifesto pledges for Housing & Homelessness.