Saturday, 27 December 2008

Happy Christmas to Stand up for Stockwell readers

Happy Christmas all and wishing you all the best for the New Year.

With mountains of Christmas shopping and a busy time at work it's been a while since I updated the Stand up for Stockwell blog, so apologies, but it's one of my (many) new year's resolutions to keep the blog more up to date.

Quite a few stories will be put up - but one in particular to look at: the ward purse. Your chance to spend up to £12,000 in Stockwell on a community project, so do send us your ideas in the comments or via one of the 3 Labour councillors.

Alex B

Friday, 26 December 2008

Stockwell on TV, film and radio

Stockwell has been on the big and small screen a far bit recently. It was a little while ago, but Channel 4's Rich Kid, Poor Kid featured two teenagers from Stockwell - Alice who was rich and somewhat snobbish, who lived I think on Larkhall Rise, and Natalie who lived on the Studley Estate.

It was fairly straightforward TV - rich kid seems stupid and prejudiced against everyone but people from private schools, while poor kid is smart but struggling with a single parent who's out of work. Not a particularly original story there, but what was inspiring was the way both teenagers developed over the programme - Alice's prejudices started to disappear the more time she spent with Natalie, while Natalie managed to find her young brother a school place, and decorate his bedroom, so he no longer slept on the floor. It was quite moving in the end to see how her pleased her brother was with his new bunk bed. You can make up your own mind if you haven't seen it via the Channel 4 website or download the 4OD service.

In other TV news, ITV have announced that they will tread where the BBC daren't in making a documentary about the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes. Entitled Stockwell, the hour long docu-drama is based on evidence given in the recently concluded inquiry, and will be aired early next year.

The ever eagle-eyed Bathsheba over at Stockwell News also notes that Radio 4's Taking a Stand talked about Lana Vandenberghe's decision to leak evidence she had access to at the Independent Police Complaints Commission about the de Menezes case.

As Sir Trev would say, and finally...the alternative comedy film Bigga than Ben which features two Russian chancers trying to make a quick fortune in London also featured a few fleating scenes in Stockwell, including filming outside the Nat West Bank opposite the station (blink and you'll miss it.)

facelift for the South Lambeth Estate

The Onion bag blog has some nice pictures of the refurbishment of the South Lambeth estate:
It has been two years coming, but the estate has now been spruced up with double glazing.

No support from Boris Johnson for Stockwell Parks

There are many great things about living in Stockwell, but one of the things lacking in the ward is green spaces - the only public green space in the whole of Stockwell ward is the memorial gardens, and that is hardly a place to take your kids to play (i'm not including green areas such as on estates like the Studley).

There are 3 parks just on the boundary of Stockwell ward though - Larkhall Park, Vauxhall Park and the Slade Gardens. So I was interested to hear about the Mayor's competition to renovate London parks with a makeover of up to £400,000.

But Boris doesn't seem interested in our local parks - you can't vote for any of these to benefit from the Mayoral fund! In fact, the only ones you can vote for in the whole of Lambeth are Kennington Park or Spring Gardens.

No disrepect to them - they may well need the extra cash, but it does beg the question - what are the Tories or their Mayor doing for Stockwell?

Free money for Stockwell...

Well, with a few catches admittedly.

Lambeth have introduced a pot of money known as a ward purse. This means that up to £12,000 can be allocated to spend on between one and three local community projects in Stockwell.

We have some ideas on how to spend the money - but we want to hear from you what you think needs funding in Stockwell. You can leave a comment below, contact me on or contact one of your 3 Labour councillors.

We want to hear your ideas: the money could be spent on new play equipment for a playground, refurbishing a community hall, helping set up a residents group, organising an event for local residents, putting in new bike racks....or lots of other things. If you want to look at the Council guidelines about what the money can be used for you can read them here.

The money can be spent on a wide variety of projects, but it has to be a 'one-off' cost, rather than a running cost for a scheme - e.g. refurbishing a playground rather than paying a part time community warden.

Whatever your idea is - we want to hear about it! Please send us your ideas as soon as possible.

Alex Bigham

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Stockwell drug den cleared up

A drug den on Clapham Road that had become a magnet for addicts and fly-tippers has been cleaned up. The garden of an abandoned house in Stockwell was littered with used needles after gangs of addicts turned it into a shooting-up gallery. Broken beer bottles, dumped rubbish and rotten food was also left at the Clapham Road home leaving neighbours desperate for it to be cleared out.

A team of eight local offenders joined specialist cleaners from Lambeth Council to make sure the potentially deadly waste was safely disposed of. Dozens of needles and syringes were collected at the property, which was know locally as the “Doctor’s surgery”. The private house was overrun with the addicts after it was abandoned and left to go to ruin.

Matt, an offender who helped in the clean-up through London Probation’s Community Payback scheme, said: “It’s jobs like this that make us want to do the work. I’ve got kids and the possibility of a child wandering into a place like this doesn’t bear thinking about.” Lambeth’s street care team, public health and community safety teams were joined by the Stockwell Safer Neighbourhood team and offenders from the Community Payback scheme to get the job done. To make sure the house doesn’t become a haven for drug users again there will be regular checks on it and work will be done to make it as secure as possible.

Sergeant Geoff Ross from Stockwell Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: “Clearing up this eyesore, which was being used by drug users and becoming a health hazard, will definitely improve the appearance of the area and reduce anti social behaviour. I'd like to thank the council for working with us on this and for overcoming the barriers involved in dealing with a private property of this sort.”

What do you think of how the site looks now? Let us know in the comments, or contact your Labour councillors. (story from: Lambeth Life)

Last week to stand up for Stockwell on housing

There is less than a week left to send in your thoughts about Lambeth's housing strategy. Many residents will no doubt have taken part in the tenants conference on Saturday in the town hall, but if you didn't get a chance, you can still have your say - until Friday 21 November.

There are many problems with housing in Stockwell - from high waiting lists, over crowding figures, homelessness or those on middle to low incomes who cannot afford a place of their own.

Lambeth's new draft Housing Strategy outlines the councils overall priorities for the next five years. Initial discussions have outlines these major challenges:

· improving the supply of dwellings in the borough
· improving neighbourhoods
· improving access to housing and supporting vulnerable people in the borough
· mixed and sustainable communities
· tackling worklessness
· empowering residents.

This is your chance to have your say on the Draft Housing Strategy before it is finalised and published. The consultation period will last until Friday 21 November 2008.

For more information on the Housing Strategy contact: Tunde Hinton on email: or telephone: 020 7926 3109.

Local artists create giant mural in Stockwell

If Stockwell is looking even more colourful than before, it's because there is a new giant mural - at the former Annie McCall Maternity Hospital, on Jeffreys Road which is now home to the Stockwell studios. Nearly 200 people helped create the mural of paintings of their early memories, which was inspired by the old maternity hospital.

The project was run by Art4Space and created by people of all ages.

Onionbag blogger has some more pictures of the mural.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Fire at Chicken Takeaway on Stockwell Road

There has been a major fire at the Biggz chicken takeaway on Stockwell Road, opposite The Swan. The shop is currently closed and the flats above the shop appear to be badly burnt and damaged. This is especially concerning as the dry cleaners that used to be in the building also burnt down. It looks somewhat suspicious.

Local residents, including the Stockwell Park Residents Association have rightly complained about the shop before. It has become a magnet for youths and gangs who hang around and outside the shop intimidating passers by. I have also heard that it has been the victim of 2 drive bys, and that one of the reasons so many gangs hang out there is that the owner is only 17(!) having been bought the shop by her Dad. Labour councillors and residents rightly opposed the extension of their licence til 3am, but more action may need to be taken if the shop reopens. I'll update this if I hear any more.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Lambeth announces credit crunch taskforce - Have your say

We are all aware of the impact of the credit crunch and the current economic crisis. Whether it be concerns about jobs, the cost of heating, the price of goods in a shop, or the difficulty in getting a mortgage, the credit crunch doesn't just effect the fat cats in the city, it has a real impact on our lives in Stockwell.

The leader of Lambeth, Steve Reed has set up a Credit Crunch Taskforce to come up with fresh ideas for how to help local people cope.

Among the ideas being discussed is help so people claim all the benefits they’re entitled to. With the council’s help over recent months, residents have already claimed an extra £1m they were missing out on. Whether it’s Winter Fuel Payments, Child Tax Credits, or grants to help you insulate your home, there are lots of ways people can get more money to ease the burden. If you think you might be missing out on your benefits, please click here.

There are also plans to cut waste in the town hall, to keep council tax low. Ther will be an opportunity to present plans to central Government for extra help for people struggling with mortgage repayments, or bigger cash payments to help pensioners pay their heating bills.

The taskforce will present their ideas in the next few weeks. In the meantime, send your views to Steve Reed via or let us know what you think in the comments section.

Date for your Diary 3: Short breaks engagement day, 15 November

Want to have your say about how Lambeth council develops its short breaks programme for families with children and young people with disabilities? Then do go to the event to be held at Michael Tippet School on 15 November.

Short breaks provide opportunities for disabled children and young people to spend time away from their primary carers. They provide an essential opportunity for carers to recharge their batteries, and disabled children and young people to experience new relationships, environments and positive activities.

This is a chance for mums and dads, children and young people to help Lambeth Council shape the future of short breaks. On the day you will hear speeches from key note speakers, have a chance to participate in a range of workshops for parents and carers. Children and young people can put forward their views; watch performances by CandoCo Dance Company and take part in activities for all the family such as face painting.

A free lunch and refreshments will be available on the day. A crèche will also be onsite. To book onto the event, fill in the booking form, or contact for further information.

Date for your Diary 2: Fireworks Display, Weds 5 November

This year, Lambeth is hosting the only simultaneous firework display in London.

The safest and most impressive way to celebrate Bonfire night will be at one of three fireworks displays at Brockwell Park, Clapham Common or Streatham Common

Our skies will be lit up with an impressive three tonnes of fireworks and 28,000 visual effects in total. For details of how to get to any of the displays, and information including safety tips about holding your own fireworks party visit
So remember, remember, Wednesday 5th November at 7.30pm.

Anybody with information about shops selling fireworks to young people under 18 years old should contact the Stockwell Safer Neighbourhood Team on 020 8649 2533 or 07920 233836, or Lambeth Trading Standards on 0207 926 6109.

Date for your Diary 1: Remembrance Sunday, 9th November

This year, Remembrance Sunday falls on 9th November 2008. Remembrance Sunday is the day traditionally put aside to remember all those who have given their lives for the peace and freedom we enjoy today.

Residents are invited to pay their respects at the Stockwell War Memorial, opposite the tube station where a Remembrance service will be held at 11.00am. Local Labour councillors will be paying their respects at the service.

More school places for Stockwell Primary

The popular Stockwell Primary School is set to receive a major revamp that will mean more than 200 new places for pupils.

Lambeth Council has bought a four storey building and land next to Stockwell Primary. It means the school will eventually be able teach 630 pupils, a 50 per cent rise on the current total of 420. The move is the first phase in the borough-wide plan to increase the number of primary school places available to families, and work will begin on transforming the building in 2010 when the current lease runs out. The new building will provide more classrooms as well as increasing the amount of outdoor space available to the school.

Councillor Paul McGlone, Lambeth’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We want to give our children great schools and a high quality education across the borough. Stockwell Primary is an excellent school giving children a great start in life so I’m delighted we’ve been able to give even more local kids this opportunity.”

The latest Ofsted report for the school shows it has been judged to be outstanding in most areas – including pupil achievement. Executive head teacher Janet Mulholland said: “This expansion will not only provide more places for pupils but also improved curricular facilities such as an expanded library, science, design technology and art studios. It will also further enhance the provision for families and provide additional employment opportun ities for the community. This is a very exciting and innovative project – Lambeth Council should be commended for its foresight and vision.”

Have your say - Lambeth Living conference, Sat 15 November

Lambeth Living, the new organisation set up by Lambeth to run council housing in the borough, is holding the annual residents conference on Saturday 15th November at Lambeth Town Hall, between 9am and 4.30pm.

Residents are invited to attend this annual event which has been specially designed for Lambeth Living residents under the theme 'Communities in control: Real people, real power'. This is an opportunity to come together to share ideas and experiences relating to the management of your home.

Speakers include:
Asuman Ozkan - Chair of Lambeth Living
Pete Redman - Chief Executive, Lambeth Living (Interim)
Cllr Steve Reed - Leader Lambeth Council
Keynote speaker:
Phil Morgan - Chief Executive, Tenant Participation Advisory Service

In addition to 8 workshops running through the day there will be exhibitions and a prize draw. Lunch will be provided and there will be a crèche available for 4-12 year olds. There is full disabled access at this venue.

HOW TO ATTEND: Phone: 020 7926 3402/1661 to reserve your place, or email for a booking form.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The present and future of Lambeth

On Saturday local Labour party members and councillors gathered to talk about how Labour is delivering on its manifesto promises and the future of Lambeth to 2010 and beyond. Alex Bigham, action team member for Stockwell was there to stand up for the needs of Stockwell residents.

There were lots of issues that came up, but there were some clear messages:

- More has to be done to tackle violent youth crime and gangs. There has been a 50% reduction in violent crime in Lambeth, but we shouldn't be complacent. We need to look at long term solutions, including better youth services and more routes into employment, as well as crackdowns on those who carry knives or guns.

- The housing services provided by Lambeth Living and housing associations have to improve their customer service. Tenants and residents must be treated as customers, not as irritants. Problems should be sorted out at the first time of asking, and within a clear timeframe.

- Our environment is our most precious asset. That means ensuring simple things, like bins get put back in their stores, but also we need to get our recycling rates up. Lambeth now has the toughest carbon reduction targets in London - it is all our responsibility to deliver these.

These are just headlines, and there are other priorities for the future - do let us know in the comments what you think Labour should be focussing on in Stockwell.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

What have the Romans ever done for us?

or...what has Labour done since getting elected and ousting the Lib Dems in 2006? Let's look at Labour's manifesto commitments in Lambeth, and see if they have met them, and what Labour inherited from the Lib Dem administration.

1. Your Council Tax kept down

Under Labour
In the 2 years since Labour came to power, council tax in Lambeth has only gone up in line with inflation. In the next 2 years, it will be lower or frozen if possible.

Under the Lib Dems
The Lib Dems raised council tax by 40% when they were in power – adding around £1,000 to your council tax bill.

2. Your safety improved

Under Labour
Labour has introduced safer neighbourhood teams into each ward in Lambeth, including Stockwell, as promised. We cracked down on drug dealers in Brixton and in the last 12 months, violent crime in Lambeth has gone down by 50%. We're tackling the long term causes of crime by trebling the funding for youth services.

Under the Lib Dems
The Lib Dems were soft on crime, opposing measures to tackle criminals, and being on soft on drugs. They even let a fraudster walk off with £3 million of council money – and even tried to hush up allegations when one of their own councillors was caught stealing public money.

3. Your street bright and clean

Under Labour
Labour is doubling the investment to repair roads and pavements. The number of street sweepers in Lambeth is going up and there are new street lights across the borough, including in Stockwell.

Under the Lib Dems
Pavements were left cracked and dangerous, and potholes were not repaired. They wasted millions on buying luxury office blocks and paying off staff, instead of repairing pavements and keeping the borough safe and clean.

4. Your child given the best start in life

Under Labour
3 new schools have been built in Lambeth, and major repairs and refurbishments are happening - including to schools like Stockwell Park High School. Labour introduced the first ever Youth Mayor for Lambeth, elected and with a budget to spend on the services that young people want.

Under the Lib Dems
500 children were not allocated a school at all, a problem Labour sorted. The Lib Dems had the worst funded youth service in London.

5. Your environment greener

Under Labour
Labour expanded recycling in Lambeth, so you can now recycle more waste, like household food packaging. Lambeth now has the toughest carbon reduction targets in London.

Under the Lib Dems
The Lib Dems tried to limit your recycling options until Labour forced them to offer both orange sacks and green boxes. They slipped 60% behind the best councils and didn't let us recycle items that residents in other boroughs could and cut the regular garden waste recycling service.

Labour also had a separate housing manifesto - to make all homes in Lambeth safe, warm and dry. Under the Lib Dems, 10,000 homes didn't meet the decent homes standard. Labour has introduced a new management team - the ALMO called Lambeth Living to bring in £240 million of extra funding to make sure this happens.

We aren't complacent about life in Lambeth, but it's clear that things are better under Labour, and would be much worse under the Lib Dems.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Have your say - crime and safety in Stockwell

Your local Labour councillors want to know what you think about safety in Stockwell, and what could be done to improve it.

Please download, print and fill in the form - Stockwell Crime Survey, and send it back via the freepost address on the form.

We want to know if you've been a victim of crime or seen a crime being committed recently in Stockwell. Also, tell us what would make you feel safer in your community. That way we can ensure that what the decisions made in the town hall truly reflect what you want.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Crime Survey to be launched on Studley Estate

Your Stockwell Labour councillors and members will be out on the Studley Estate this week to distribute a crime survey.

This is to ask local residents if they are aware of any criminal activity, or have been the victim of crime recently. You can also suggest things that would make you feel safer in your community.

If you're not in when we visit, or if you live somewhere else in Stockwell, you can still take part.

Just download the survey from here - Stockwell Crime Survey, and send it back via freepost, so no stamp needed.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Bronze woman statue unveiled in Stockwell

Exciting and inspirational news for Stockwell. The first ever statue in England of an African-Caribbean woman was unveiled on Wednesday (8 October) in the Stockwell Memorial Gardens. It celebrates the contribution of Caribbean women, and indeed all women to British society.

The ten foot high bronze statue of a woman holding a baby is based on the poem Bronze Woman which was written by Guyanan-born Cecile Nobrega, who lives locally. Cecile was the guest of honour at the unveiling of the statue, along with Baroness Scotland, and local Councillor Pete Bowyer.

The installation is the culmination of a ten year campaign by Ms Nobrega, and was revealed to coincide with Black History Month.

Some photos of the event have been posted here and here.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Jean Charles de Menezes

The inquiry into the tragic shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes has begun down the road at the Oval . This isn't the place to go over the details of what happened and why, and of course we hope that such things can be prevented in the future. I remember the day vividly, speaking to people who saw first hand what happened.

There is a wider point about Stockwell though - we have inevitably become partly defined by the incident. Witness today's viral email with the highly inappropriate film poster on the platform. I believe Stockwell should not become an infamous place - linked simply to crime and awful incidents like the de Menezes shooting.

In time, Jean Charle's family and friends will need to decide what should happen with the memorial that has been created outside the station. I'm not prejudging that in any way. Stockwell will be in the news for the next days and weeks, but it will be crucial that when the cameras go, we don't forget what happened that day, and that the legacy of that day can create something positive for our community.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Stockwell Festival 2008

The Stockwell Festival is back this year after a two year absence. Starting at noon on Saturday 20th September, the festival is being held in Larkhall Park.

The famous pineapple parade is back which will samba from Larkhall Park down to Stockwell Road.

There's also a free after-party at the Cavendish Arms on Hartington Road.

More details:

(photo from Stockwell Partnership)

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Advice Surgeries

Your Stockwell Labour councillors hold a surgery where you can come for advice and help with any problems. These are shared with the Larkhall Labour councillors.

Surgeries are held at the Stockwell Community Resource Centre, 1 Studley Road, London, SW4 6RA (behind Stockwell tube)


Surgeries are held on:

1st Thursday of every month, 6pm

3rd Saturday of every month, 11am

No need to make an appointment, simply turn up on the day.

Out on the Fenwick estate

I was out on the Fenwick estate today. Many remember it as the place where Billy Cox, the 15 year old teenager was tragically shot and killed. I was out talking to people on the estate and handing out a crime survey along with some of the labour councillors for Larkhall (

We went past the house where Billy lived, and the memorial spray painted onto one of the walls of the estate. Despite some media perceptions, it certainly isn't a notorious estate, nor is it a crime ridden ghetto that many would portray it as.

Most people we talked to felt fairly safe on their estate, even if they were aware of drug dealing on Landor road, or some gangs hanging round. One of the worst problems was some kids running along the roof space of the estate, disturbing the asbestos in the roof, a problem that was causing nuisance to some residents, but would be easily solved by a padlock. It makes you realise how important it is to have a good local councillor to sort these things, and someone who makes the effort to get out on an estate, when council officers rarely have the time.

A family were also being tormented by a neighbour who played their music extremely loudly and hurled abuse at them through the wall. I perhaps clumsily set the person off by asking her to turn her music down (not too much to ask?) In the end, if she doesn't behave like a reasonable neighbour, you'll need to get an ASBO and maybe an eviction. It makes you realise that even so-called "minor" offences like anti-social behaviour are really important, and sorting them out can make people's lives much less of a nightmare.

Useful Numbers

A list of useful phone numbers for Stockwell residents:

In an Emergency – always call 999

Police numbers
Police non-emergencies – 0300 123 1212
Stockwell Safer Neighbourhoods Team - 020 8721 2626 or 07920 233 836

Find a local GP - 0800 587 8078
Out of Hours GP - 020 8693 9066
Find a local Dentist - 0800 587 0878/020 7716 7085
Out of Hours Dental - 020 8299 5509
NHS Direct (non-emergencies) - 08 45 46 47
Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital – 020 7188 7188
King’s College Hospital – 020 3299 9000
Ambulance non-emergencies - 020 7887 6678

Fire, Gas, Electricity, Water
Fire non-emergencies - 020 587 2000
Gas emergencies - 0800 111 9999
London Electricity - 0800 028 0247
Thames Water - 0845 920 0800

Lambeth Council - Main Switchboard - 020 7926 1000

Lambeth Children and Young People's Services - 020 7926 9896
Admissions - 020 7926 9503
Lambeth College - 020 7501 5000/5600
Lambeth Academy - 020 7498 5004
Career development and student loans - 020 7926 9474

Lambeth Housing (Lambeth Living) - 020 7926 6000
Housing repairs - 020 7926 6666
Noise Complaints - 020 7926 6111 (9am – 5pm) - 020 7926 5999 (10pm – 3am)

Lambeth Automatic PCN payment line 0870 241 3262 / 0845 331 3310

Lambeth Parking Services - 020 7926 9000

Lambeth Planning Enquiries - 020 7926 1180

Lambeth Parks - 020 7926 9000

Lambeth Streetcare - 020 7926 9000Lambeth Streetcare call centre deal with a large number of issues including: abandoned vehicles: graffiti removal; litter and dumped rubbish; bulky refuse collections; recycling; road and pavement repairs; street lighting; parking enquiries.

Other Useful Numbers
Benefits (including Housing and Council Tax) - 020 7649 9311
Citizens Advice Bureau - 020 8715 0707
Lambeth Law Centre - 020 7737 9781
Thames Water - 0800 032 5202
Transport for London - 020 72225600 /0845 305 1234
Stockwell Day Centre – 020 7926 1040
Lambeth Adult and Community Services – 020 7926 5555
Train Information – 08457 484950
Age Concern Lambeth – 020 7733 0528
ChildLine – 0800 1111
Domestic Violence helpline (24hr) – 0808 2000 247
Samaritans - 08457 90 90 90

We try to keep this list up to date, but please let us know if any have changed or are incorrect.

Your Stockwell Labour Candidates

Councillor Alex Bigham
Tel: 07814 566 011

Councillor Imogen Walker
Tel: 07946 216 941

Guilherme Rosa - Labour Candidate

You can write to all your Stockwell Labour councillors at:
Lambeth Town Hall
Brixton Hill

Advice Surgeries:
Your Stockwell Labour councillors hold a surgery where you can come for advice and help with any problems. No need to make an appointment, just turn up on the day.

1st Thursday of every month at 6pm
Stockwell Community Resource Centre, 1 Studley Road

3rd Saturday of every month at 11am
Stockwell Community Resource Centre, 1 Studley Road

Contact Us

Councillor Alex Bigham
Tel: 07814 566 011

Councillor Imogen Walker
Tel: 07946 216 941

Guilherme Rosa

You can write to all your Stockwell Labour councillors at:
Lambeth Town Hall
Brixton Hill
SW2 1RW.

Welcome to Stand up for Stockwell

Hello and thanks for visiting the site.

This blog has been started up by Alex Bigham, Secretary of Stockwell Labour Party for everyone in Stockwell who wants to stand up and make our place a better community to live in.

Feel free to send your thoughts on what you'd like to see in the blog.

For now it will include details of things happening in Stockwell, the goings on in Lambeth council, good or bad and what the Labour party is up to. Enjoy.