Sunday, 11 December 2011

Christmas Update

Firstly, apologies for the lack of blogging over the past couple of months. It has been a busy few weeks in Stockwell and the town hall. You can keep up with our latest activities by following us on Twitter - @labourstockwell, @alexbigham, @imogenwalker and @cllrpetebowyer.

Normal blogging service will resume in January, but until then here are a few things that your local Labour team has been up to since September...

- The Portuguese Speakers' Community Centre project have found a permanent home in Kennington at 1 Othello Close (just opposite the tube station). This is great news for the project and will help them deliver services and activities for the Portuguese speaking community. The centre will officially open on 13 December. Email Cllr Alex Bigham if you want to know more.

- The Friends of Stockwell War Memorial has been officially established thanks to the work of Naomi Klein and Sheila Dartnell. They have held a number of meetings and are busy organising work to publicise the much needed restoration of the memorial. The Friends group laid a wreath along with Councillors and the Mayor of Lambeth on Remembrance Sunday.

- We have held a number of consultation meetings with the Stockwell Forum and other residents groups on the plans to develop the Vauxhall - Nine Elms area. You can read Labour's draft manifesto for the area here. There is also now a masterplan being developed to turn the Vauxhall gyratory into a far more pleasant, pedestrian friendly 'town centre' with new residential, retail and office buildings.

- We continue to campaign to bring the TFL bike hire scheme to Stockwell. The Mayor has now promised there will be bike docking stations in Stockwell by 2013, but we will keep up the pressure. A huge number of residents signed the petition which we presented to the Mayor, and you can still add your name here:

- In other news, the much loved Annie McCall hospital site was put up for sale recently. However, Cllr Imogen Walker continues to work closely with the Stockwell Studios, run by local artists to ensure that any development of the site protects space for the artists to use.

- Finally, we continue to work closely with our hard working London Assembly Member, Val Shawcross. Your Labour team of Ken, Val and the Cllrs in Stockwell have been campainging for a farer deal for residents - a 7% reduction in bus and tube fares, along with reversing Boris Johnson's cuts to police numbers in London. The only way to make sure this happens is to come out and vote Labour in May next year.

Until the new year, have a very happy Christmas, and a peaceful holiday.

Cllr Alex Bigham, Cllr Imogen Walker, Cllr Pete Bowyer
Labour Team for Stockwell.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Labour in Lambeth reveals plans to transform Vauxhall Nine Elms

New community funds, better public services, parks and transport schemes are planned

Lambeth’s Labour Councillors have unveiled their plans to transform the Vauxhall-Nine Elms-Battersea area to ensure local residents get the maximum benefit from the regeneration proposals.

In a draft manifesto, Labour has pledged that they “will ensure that the necessary infrastructure and public services will be provided for local residents affected by the developments.”

One of the highlights is the plan to develop a new ‘Community Endowment Fund’ of at least £1million which will provide an annual pot of money for local groups to ensure that the benefits of the regeneration continue after the building has finished. In addition, funding that comes from new developments for improving the community will be ring fenced so it can’t be used to subsidise any overspend on the planned Northern Line Extension.

Labour’s Leader in Lambeth, and Co-chair of the VNEB Strategy Board, Cllr Steve Reed said:
“We are getting ahead of the curve in announcing these pledges for local people – the first political party to set out a manifesto for Vauxhall Nine Elms. With 16,000 new homes coming to the area we need to be sure that our public services meet the demands of our existing and new residents. We will be engaging with our communities, so they can tell us what they want. ”

The draft manifesto will go out for consultation over the next two months. Labour Councillors will be discussing the plans with local people, community groups, residents’ associations, and other key stakeholders.

To improve transport, Labour pledges to support:
· An extended Northern line to run from Kennington to Nine Elms and Battersea
· New bus services along Wandsworth Road and Nine Elms Lane.
· A cycle bridge at Pimlico, new boat services, walkways and improved access to the river.
· The extension of the TFL bike hire scheme further South
· Traffic calming measures and improvements to prevent ‘rat runs’ through residential areas.

To improve our open spaces, Labour pledges to:
· Preserve and improve Vauxhall Park, Spring Gardens and Larkhall Park.
· Lobby TfL to remove the Vauxhall gyratory to improve the area for pedestrians and cyclists.
· Ensure that any new tall buildings do not significantly overshadow parks and homes.

In public services and culture, Labour pledges to:
· Create extra school places, doctors, and ensure hospital services are not adversely affected.
· Ensure police are not diverted by protecting the new US Embassy.
· Develop new cultural provision in the area, provide extra sports pitches and leisure centres

To support local businesses and jobs, Labour pledges to:
· Ensure developers offer apprenticeships for young residents and the unemployed.
· Work to provide new spaces for retail outlets and street markets.

The consultation on the draft manifesto will run until 15 November.
To download the manifesto, click here.
To comment on the plans, you can email

Monday, 12 September 2011

Stockwell Festival this coming weekend

The annual jamboree that is the Stockwell Festival is upon us again. It is being held on:

Saturday 17 September 2011

in Larkhall Park
Courland Grove
London SW8 2PX

Stockwell Labour Party will have a stall with information on our campaigns and a chance to talk to your local councillors.
This year the Stockwell festival will be spread across five sites: Larkhall Park and Playground, Oasis Nature Garden, Go Kart track and Adventure Playground, and it is a joint project by Stockwell Partnership and Oasis Play.

The theme this year is Peace, Inclusion and Cohesion.

On the Pineapple Stage there's a vibrant line-up with hillbilly bluegrass from the Glenbuck Cherry Pickers, jazzy blues from Marcina Arnold and the Love Rats and steel panners Southside Harmonics. Plus dance moves from Dance Starz, acrobatic cheerleaders Fyer Flyz and Confusion.

Don't miss the famous Pineapple Peace Parade, face painting, arts and craft workshops, magic and circus workshops, interactive drumming workshops, the Bureau of Silly Ideas Pineapple Car, local artists, an opporunity to paint messages of Peace on the Giant Peace Wall, Stockwell stories and songs from local residents.

Services on site include Dr Bike who will give you advice and mechanical know-how on your bike. Friends of Larkhall Park exhibit the latest park developments.

If you’d like to volunteer on the day, please contact Anna at or call 07973 71117.

Follow Stockwell Festival on Facebook and Twitter @stockwellfesty or visit

Reminder: Stockwell War Memorial meeting

A quick reminder that the first Friends meeting for Stockwell War Memorial is on Wednesday 14 September at 7pm at the Stockwell Resource Centre, Studley Road (behind the tube).

Come and find out about this fascinating building and how you can help be part of the push to ensure its future is a bright one.

All welcome!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

New Market in Stockwell...

A new market opens next weekend (Saturday 17th September 2011, 10am – 4pm) at The Cavendish Arms on Hartington Road SW8 2HJ. The market will then be open the 2nd Saturday of the month.

Outside there will be stalls for foodies and plant lovers while inside in the ballroom there will be arts, crafts, clothes and gifts.

Some of the highlights so far are: -
· Di Lieto Bakery (ex South Lambeth Road) are returning to the area to trade from the market
· Mimosa Delicatessen (from the October market)
· Wildflowers plants and cut flowers
· Blueberry Hill Cakes

There will also be hot food in the form of savoury and sweet freshly made crepes, a Mediterranean BBQ and fresh Chorizo rolls, so you can come and have brunch, lunch or afternoon tea. The bar in the Cavendish is open from 11am.

Inside you will find: -
· Fein & Cooper Homewares (as seen in Liberties) selling homewares from vintage fabrics and vintage inspired lace curtains
· Moseley Giftware
· Retro and Designer Second-hand Clothing
· Upcycled furniture
· Hand printed bags, aprons and lavender bags

The majority of traders are local from Stockwell, Vauxhall and South Lambeth, so the market has a real community feel. Trade local and support your local community.

You can keep up to date with the market and the traders who will be there by following them on Facebook or Twitter, or visiting

Congratulations to Ian Beever and the rest of the market team on this great initiative!

News from The Lost Theatre

The artist David Taborn will be teaching Life Drawing and Printmaking at the Lost Theatre (208 Wandsworth Rd SW8 2JU near Lansdowne Way) on Wednesday evenings 7-9pm, 10 sessions from 21 September onwards. Email Vanessa at if you are interested.

Also Lost Theatre's Sunday Drama Club for 5-10 year olds, run by Leigh Tredger, will be starting on Sunday 18 September, 12noon-1pm. The classes cost £40 for 10 sessions. The group will be working on a version of the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' by Catherine House, which they will present on Lost Theatre's stage to an invited audience on 18 December. There is an opportunity to meet Leigh Tredger when she teaches a dance routine at the Stockwell Festival on Saturday 17 Saturday (first Session at 2pm and then 3.30pm to participate in the parade starting at 4.30pm.)

Lost Theatre is also running a Drama Class for 11-15 year olds, Wednesdays 5.30-6.30pm, starting 14 September (£40 for ten sessions).

Family-suited productions coming up include Honk! a musical comedy based on The Ugly Duckling (13 September - 1 October), a National Theatre schools production of Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream and from the West End the musical of Little Women (12 December - 7 January).

Police Appeal

Police are investigating an Operation Withern (ie London Riots) crime of GBH that occurred on Monday 8 August just after 1.20am on Stockwell Road, SW9 at the junction with Broomgrove Road.

The victim aged 27 was on his way home when he saw a large group of black men, all aged approximately 18 years, aggressively approach a woman on a bicycle, and then push her off.

He intervened and was subsequently assaulted by the group leaving him unconscious. The victim received injuries to his jaw and head but is recovering well.

Police are keen to speak with the female cyclist, who would be an important witness, and to anyone else that may have been there or seen what went on.

Anyone with information is asked to call DC Jenny Courtney from Lambeth CID on 020 8721 3537.

Albert Square hosts digital switchover party

London's countdown to Digital Switchover will be launched with a street tea party for residents of Albert Square, SW8.

After April 2012, when London switches over to digital-only TV, your analogue equipment (including video recorders) will not work and you could miss out on your favourite shows, so it is important that everyone has the digital equipment and set-up appropriate to their needs.
The Switchover Help Scheme press office will be talking to local residents about digital switchover, what they need to do to be prepared and the extra help that is available to certain eligible groups - including people aged 75 and over or those with a disability.

Please tell your friends, relatives and neighbours who may not be aware of the change or who are not online about this invitation.

RSVP (required) to Josie Wolstenholme on 020 7781 2300 or email

Monday 12 September, 10am-12pm,
Location: Albert Square, Stockwell, London SW8

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Police numbers unspun

A lot of spin has been put on the issue of police numbers by Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson this morning, with an attempt to claim numbers will not go down in the light of recent violence.

But the actual budgets he is responsible for tell a different story. The Metropolitan Police Authority, which is appointed by the Mayor and receives its budget from the Mayor says that the numbers of police will reduce by 1,985 between this year (2011/12 - 53,126) and next year (2012/13 - 51,141)  in its committee papers (see full document here). In addition, all police recruitment has been frozen.

Rather than going on the Today programme and making spurious claims to back up his election chances, the Mayor should come clean with Londoners so we can get to grips with policing the capital effectively.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

A message from your local councillors

Along with you, our friends and neighbours in Stockwell, we are appalled at the recent events of looting and violence across London and the UK.

We hope that your business, homes and property remain safe,
but in an emergency only please:
Dial 999

For non-emergencies, call 101

To report information about the current unrest,
call the Met incident room on 020 8345 4142.

Alex Bigham, Imogen Walker, Pete Bowyer
Stockwell Councillors

Monday, 8 August 2011

Lambeth Leader responds to events in Brixton

The Leader of Lambeth Council, Steve Reed, has cut short his holiday to deal with events in Brixton, and has written the following in reaction to what happened last night.

"Brixton is quickly returning to normal after last night’s disgraceful looting and disorder. Let’s be clear about one thing first: this was no re-run of 1981. What we saw last night was a mob of mainly young people taking advantage of the violence in Tottenham the night before to stage copycat activities so they could break into local shops. They targeted businesses selling mobile phones, video games, electronic goods including plasma screen TV sets, and sports clothing. It seems they used social media to move quickly in an attempt to out-run the police. There is universal condemnation from across the community this morning for what was nothing more than criminality and opportunistic theft.

I went on a walkabout around Brixton first thing and saw the clean-up operation in full swing. The damaged shops are being secured. Broken glass and litter – some of it left over from the Brixton Splash event yesterday afternoon – was being cleaned away. The Council is working with businesses and the police to make sure our town centre is restored to normal working as quickly as possible."

To read the full piece, click here

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Stockwell War Memorial - photos of damage


Stockwell War Memorial, a set on Flickr.

I visited the memorial this morning to inspect damage along with Sheila Dartnell and Naomi Klein. Not only is some of the stonework damaged, there appeared to be an insect infestation in the base of the clock tower.

Monday, 25 July 2011

New group to protect and renew Stockwell war memorial

A group of interested residents and the Stockwell councillors have come together to establish a Friends group for the Stockwell war memorial. The objective of the group is to lobby the council to make repairs to the stonework lettering on the war memorial and improve the general look and feel of the site, such as the paintwork on the underground shelter.

The organisation is being set up with an informal steering committee of Naomi Klein, who has written a book on the memorial, and Sheila Dartnell whose great-uncle is remembered on the cenotaph. They are being supported by Cllr Alex Bigham on behalf of the Stockwell councillors.

The clock tower cenotaph was built in 1922 and commemorates the names of 574 local men who died in the First World War. The names on the memorial were put forward after the war by friends, family and neighbours of those who lost their lives in the bloodiest war in history. Behind each and every name is a man, and every man had a story. And in many cases, the name carved at Stockwell is the only thing left.

What can I do to help?


There are 472 paper signatures and 72 electronic. But we need more! Please take a minute to sign the petition at


Find out more about the Friends Group at or email us at  

The inaugural meeting of the group will be held on 14th September at 7pm at the Stockwell Community Resource Centre, 1 Studley Road (just to rear of the tube). All are welcome to attend.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Stockwell Forum Meeting - 21 June

Stockwell Forum meeting, Tuesday 21 June, 7-8.30pm
Stockwell Community Resource Centre
1 Studley Road
London SW4 6RA

(not previously advertised venue)


Youth and Gangs in Stockwell
Perspectives from:
  • Commander David Zinzan, South East Area, Metropolitan Police
  • Cllr Pete Robbins, Cabinet member for Children and Young People
  • Claire Belgard, Young and Safe
  • Young People Matter / Big Sistah, youth group
  • Question and Answer Session
Local Planning Update
Some key developments and planning applications which will – or might – affect the local neighbourhood
Ian Beever, local resident

‘Get to Know Your Community’ – : The Portuguese Community Centre
Update from Luis Ventura, Development Project Manager

Local Projects Update

Open session for Forum members to update others

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Residents invited to visit new waste facility

Ever wondered what happens when you put your orange sack outside your front door? Well, if you're happy to hold your nose for an hour or so, you are invited to visit the new £25m waste and recycling facility that Lambeth uses, run by the Western Riverside Waste Authority.

Visits have been arranged by Lambeth Council as part of Recycle Week 2011, and give residents a first hand view of how the machines help materials to be processed faster, more efficiently and more cost effectively than before, it is claimed.

The facility, which is in Wandsworth, and was opened earlier this year by the Princess Royal, uses the latest technology to separate a variety of materials, such as plastic, metal cans, paper, cardboard and glass collected from homes across Lambeth. It means that materials collected in Lambeth no longer have to be taken to another facility in Kent, as before, meaning fewer lorries on the road, and less pollution and congestion, according to the council.

Councillor Lorna Campbell, Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability, said: “It is vital we all recycle as much as we can because recycling saves money and helps keep the council tax bill down. I hope there will be plenty of interest from people keen to see what happens to their recycling once it is collected from their home.”

To take part in the visit, email Catherine Bourke, waste development officer on or call 020 7926 8971 for more information.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Tell us what you think about libraries...

Labour Councillors have established a Libraries Commission to look at the future of library services in Lambeth, folllowing the unprecedented cuts to the council's budget by the government. We are asking local people to tell us what they want from their local libraries and how we can ensure they meet the needs of the community and can be sustained for the long term.

As part of this discussion there will be an “open space” session on Tuesday 14 June in which participants will be able to set the meeting’s agenda.

All your ideas will be fed into the Library Commission. This is a group of councillors and independent people with an interest in libraries. They will use your comments and ideas in order to draw up a set of proposals. The proposals will go to the Lambeth Council Cabinet for them to consider in October 2011.

The next open space sessions will be held on: 
Tuesday 14 June 2011, 6.30 to 9.30pm at the Assembly Hall in Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton SW2

If you would like to attend the open space sessions and have any communications or access requirements contact:
Text: 07772 103 628  Call: 0800 013 1497 or 020 7926 6397

To tell the commission what you think about the future of libraries in Lambeth, visit Lambeth's libraries consultation page.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Murder Appeal

Detectives from Trident are appealing for witnesses and information following the murder in Clapham Road, near to Stockwell underground station.

Police officers patrolling in the area heard shots fired in Clapham Road, SW8 near to the underground station at 23:30hrs on Tuesday 31 May. A 25-year-old man received gun shot wounds and was taken to a south London hospital. He was pronounced dead at 00:29hrs.

He has been formally identified as Sadiq Adebiyi, 25, from the Stockwell area. Next of kin has been informed. A post-mortem will take place in due course.

At this early stage it is believed the victim was standing in Clapham Road on the pavement directly outside Richardson Court when he was shot. A dark coloured motorcycle carrying two men wearing dark clothing and helmets crossed Clapham Road from the direction of the Stockwell Gardens Estate. Following the shooting the motorcycle left the scene at speed and was pursued by a marked police van, which was passing at the time, into Binfield Road.

Officers arrested a 19-year-old man in Battersea a short time later. A 21-year-old man was arrested in Battersea on Wednesday 1 June. They remain in custody at south London police stations.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Hutchison, Trident, said:

"I am appealing to anyone who may have witnessed this incident to come forward and speak to the police. I am particularly keen to hear from anyone who may have seen the motorcycle travelling at high speed towards the Battersea area. The police van pursued the motorcycle into the Patmore Estate. I believe there were two suspects on the motorcycle at the time and that one of the suspects got off somewhere in the estate. When police stopped the motorcycle they arrested the 19-year-old rider. I would like to hear from anyone who saw a person getting off a motorcycle in the Patmore Estate shortly before midnight on 31 May."

Trident would also like to stress that witnesses who are fearful can be protected and provided with anonymity in a court case. Trident has extensive experience in witness protection and anonymity and has used it successfully on many occasions.

Detectives are asking anyone with information to call the incident room on 020 8247 4553 or to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Lambeth appoints first ever Portuguese Speaking Communities Champion

Lambeth Council has officially appointed its first ever Portuguese Speaking Communities Champion, Adelina Pereira, at a packed meeting of the full council.
The South London borough contains the highest concentration of Portuguese-speaking people outside of mainland Portugal – over 50,000 residents or one in six of the population, according to estimates, making Portuguese speakers the biggest single minority group in Lambeth.

Adelina Pereira (pictured with Cllr Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth and Cllr Alex Bigham from Stockwell) is a community activist and writer who has lived in the borough for six years. She has been actively campaigning for the Portuguese-speaking communities, helping to write the first ever Portuguese Labour Party Manifesto for the local elections, and securing the gift from the Azores of the borough’s first ever statue of a Portuguese citizen – Catherine of Braganza.

Adelina said, “It is a great honour to become the first ever Portuguese Speaking Communities Champion. It is right and proper that our community which plays such an active role and adds such vibrancy to our local area is recognised in this way. I look forward to working with the Council and my colleagues in the Portuguese speaking community to drive forward a positive agenda for change. From educational achievement to political involvement, there are a lot of issues we need to address, and I look forward to playing my part.”

Cllr Alex Bigham, who represents Stockwell, which is often dubbed ‘Little Portugal’, said “One of the central priorities of Labour Councillors is to promote equality and to celebrate the diversity of Lambeth’s communities. Portuguese citizens have traditionally been under-represented in our borough’s corridors of power, and with this appointment we hope to go some way to redressing that. Adelina will be a strong and passionate voice for her community.”

The role of Portuguese Speaking Communities Champion was officially announced at a meeting of the council, and has been incorporated into the London Borough of Lambeth’s Constitution. The appointment is for four years, or until the next local elections.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Can you help us spruce up Tradescant Road and our local area?

As your local Labour councillors, we will be joining a group of residents who have organised a session on Saturday (2 April) to clean up and improve our local environment around Tradescant Road and Walberswick Street. If you live nearby, we hope you might be able to join us too.

The Council provide tools and support through a scheme called ‘Community Freshview’ in order to help local people take action to improve the environment. This is one element of what we call
‘the Co-operative Council’ and the scheme recently won an award from Tidy Britain UK.

The plan is to meet at 10am by the Stockwell Partnership, at the corner of Tradescant Road and South Lambeth Road. The day will run until around 2pm— but please turn up when you can. So far about 15 people have signed up to take part, please do come and join in.

If your wall or railings or gate need painting, we can help. If you think your neighbour would like their wall or gate painting we can help them too - so please ask your neighbours.

There's a rubbish amnesty—skips will be available for you to dispose of anything you like. Plus, there will also be free compost for you to take and use in your garden.

We’d like to thank Andrew, Matt and the other organisers for planning the clean up. If you would like to see a Community Freshview in your area, please contact one of us.

Cllr Alex Bigham, Cllr Imogen Walker and Cllr Peter Bowyer.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Appeal following shooting in Stockwell 30.03.11

Detectives are appealing for witnesses and information after a shooting in Stockwell that left a young girl and a man in hospital.

Police and London Ambulance Service were called at approximately 21:15 hrs on Tuesday, 29 March to reports of shots fired in Stockwell Food & Wine shop, Stockwell Road, SW9.

Emergency services found a five-year-old girl and a 35-year-old man suffering from gunshots wounds inside the shop.

It is believed that two black youths ran into the shop shortly before the shots were fired. The youths had been chased from Broom Grove Road, across Stockwell Road, and into the shop by three other black youths on bicycles.

Once the youths on bikes were outside the shop, one of them fired shots into the shop front.

A five year old girl was shot in the chest and the 35-year-old man was shot in the face. They were both taken to a south London hospital. Their conditions are described as critical but stable.

The two youths, who police believe were the intended targets, ran from the shop and chased the three others who were on bikes, running off along Broom Grove Road and into the Stockwell Park Estate.

An incident room has opened under Detective Chief Inspector Tony Boughton, Trident, on 020 8247 4553.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Boughton said: "This is a terrible incident where an innocent child has been seriously injured. We want to hear from the local community, who might have seen these youths cycling around the estate between 21:00hrs and 22:00hrs. I appeal to those who have information or were involved in this shooting to come forward and assist us with this investigation. These criminals have seriously injured two innocent bystanders and must face the consequences of their actions."

No arrests. Enquiries continue.

Witnesses or anyone with any information can call the Trident incident room on 020 8247 4553 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The two victims are not related to each other.

Girl 5, and man, 35, injured in shooting in Stockwell Road

Last night there was a shooting in a newsagent in Stockwell Road. A girl aged five years old and a thirty five year old man were injured in the shooting. Neither are related.

Cllr Alex Bigham from Stockwell said, "our thoughts are with the victims at this time and their families."

Cllr Rachel Heywood, Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Tackling serious violence is a major priority for this council. A crime like this is hugely shocking and we will do everything in our power to assist the police with their investigation.”

The murder is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Services’ Operation Trident and anyone with any information is asked to urgently contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Stockwell Road remains closed  to traffic this morning.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Don't Forget to Fill in your Census!

27 March was Census Day, and you have only a few days left to fill in your Census form. This is a chance to ensure our community gets the right amount of money based on our needs, and every form is worth nearly £300 in funding from government.

Census forms need to be filled in by law, and refusing to complete one can lead to a fine of up to £1,000. The forms take about five minutes to fill in, and it only comes around every ten years.

We want to encourage black and ethnic minority communities to fill in the forms so we get an accurate picture of Stockwell's diversity.

In particular, we want to ensure good representation from the Portuguese speaking community. This year, the census has the option of recording your identity so groups can fill in "Portuguese", "Brazilian", "Angolan" etc so we get a better picture of how many Portuguese speaking residents live in Lambeth.

Portuguese speaking community leaders have started holding sessions to help people fill in their Census forms.

Census Support Sessions for Portuguese Speakers
Springfield Community Centre, 110 Union Road
Tuesday 29th Mar, Thursday 31st Mar and Saturday 2nd April
6pm to 9pm

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Tory Mayor and TFL shut down Stockwell station

Many local residents are fuming at the news that the Tory Mayor Boris Johnson and TFL have decided that Stockwell station will be closed this weekend. A vital transport link not just from the local area, but also as an interchange will be shut down on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 March. The entire Victoria line will be shut, but only Stockwell station on the Northern line will be closed down, inexplicably.

Your local Labour councillors have written to Val Shawcross, our local Labour Assembly Member who chairs the Transport Committee to express their frustration at the decision.

Monday, 28 February 2011

New CCTV camera installed on Dorset Road

A temporary petard CCTV camera has been put up on Dorset Road. The camera offers clears views of the shops, parts of the South Lambeth Estate and the stretch of Dorset Road towards Clapham Road.

Although the area has been quieter in previous years, partly thanks to the action in implementing a dispersal zone, this camera will provide the opportunity to record behaviour and gather intelligence on problematic individuals for further action.

Please contact the CCTV suite if you witness anti-social behaviour or any activity you feel should be monitored and recorded in the area. You can leave a voicemail message which will be picked up by monitoring officer. The number is 020 7926 0494.

Car Club set to come to Stockwell

Following requests from local residents, a space for a car club is set to be installed in Stockwell Park Crescent. The scheme, which will be operated by Streetcar will allow residents access to a car when needed rather than keeping a vehicle permanently.

The changes will be implemented as part of a review to the Stockwell Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ), and will be offset by the introduction of new pay and display spaces, following consultation with local residents.

Friday, 25 February 2011

750 and counting - Follow us on Twitter

If you want to get the latest news in 140 characters or less, you can follow the Stockwell Labour Twitter feed - @labourstockwell. We are now up to 750 followers and rising...

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Anger spreads as Government cuts bite deep

Last night, an organised protest by various trade unions and left-wing activists disrupted the proceedings at Lambeth's budget-setting meeting. The noise from the protesters meant that the meeting couldn't be held in public - preventing deputations from the community having their say and councillors from taking their decisions in front of local residents. Details are here:

Given that the meeting was sadly held being closed doors, I've decided to publish an edited version of what I would have said last night. The Liberal Democrats and Tories in government have cut Lambeth's budget by one third - which equates to £37 million this year. However, Labour took the decisions to reduce back office staff, so that only £1 million of that will be cut from frontline services.

When the history of this borough is written, those who chronicle it may draw comparisons between the events of today and those that faced the leadership of Lambeth in the 1980s.

In the face of the government of Mrs Thatcher, who at least had the honesty to say she didn’t believe in society, the party of Ted Knight entered into an exercise in political grandstanding, which saw Lambeth get surcharged and become the basket case of local government.

Faced with the same kind of onslaught from Mr Pickles, this Labour council has made a different choice. Despite having our budget slashed by a third, we will protect the services that matter most, defend the most vulnerable residents and cut out waste and inefficiency wherever we find it. That is what I mean by responsible leadership.

So instead of simply passing the cuts on, we have saved more than £24 million by reducing back office staff. Of course, these are not pain free – and it is right that we pay tribute to the staff in Lambeth who are going through a period of uncertainty and fear.

The Conservative led government has made much of the fact that – to borrow a phrase from Thatcher, that there is no alternative. But is that true? Is it economic sense, or misplaced ideology to want to pare down the deficit over 4 years rather than 8? Would you want to pay off your mortgage in 15 years or 30, if it meant you couldn’t afford to pay for the other necessities in your life?

And if these cuts aren’t ideological, why is it in London, that boroughs like Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Hackney have the highest levels of cuts while boroughs like Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea and Richmond upon Thames have the lowest. This government has hit the most deprived and vulnerable communities hardest.

And what about the Lib Dems? Their leader in Lambeth, Cllr Lumsden has frankly, failed to meet his responsibilities. He had the chance to sign a letter condemning the cuts along with his fellow Lib Dem council leads and failed to do so.

Instead, he has been travelling round to other councils, giving a presentation saying “do not be a constructive opposition” and when speaking about cuts in local services says “it is not our problem”. He urges his colleagues to be opportunistic and set traps for councils. That’s the kind of leadership we’ve come to expect from his party.

Labour is prepared to support this government where it is right – in its attempt to make public services work better for communities or to help people to break the cycle of worklessness. But we cannot support the kind of proposals the Lib Dems are advocating tonight.

Labour has put together a balanced and structurally sound budget. Where possible we have used funds from the balance sheet to protect frontline services. By contrast, the Lib Dems have conducted a smash and grab raid on our reserves - funds which must be protected by law. Lambeth's Section 151 financial officer - a non party figure said this was financially risky.

The last time the Lib Dems were in power they left Lambeth in financial chaos - with no reserves, a 40 per cent tax hike and cuts to key services. This is what would happen if they had the chance to put in place this set of proposals which only add up to poor financial management.

We have acted to protect services. While the government has taken away 1 pound in every 3 from our budget, we will focus resources on the frontline, so we can increase the number of neighbourhood police, protect street cleaning services, build new leisure facilities across the borough and maintain key services like children’s social care. All while freezing council tax.

That is a responsible budget, that responds to our residents' needs and protects our most vulnerable communities.

(Photo courtesy of Cllr Mark Bennett)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The map that shames the Government

One of the most impressive pieces of propaganda that the Tory-led government has managed to perpetuate is the idea that cutting public services to this degree and this quickly is not ideological, but necessitated by economics. Of course, every party agrees there is a need to reduce the deficit, although I can never remember the Lib Dems or Tories telling the Labour government to reduce the amount we spent on hospitals, schools or police. If your bank gave you a choice of paying off your mortgage over 15 years or 30 years, and the monthly repayments for doing the former meant you couldn't afford your other bills, you wouldn't take the first option?

The idea that there are simply vast sums of money that were wasted by Labour, or continue to be wasted by councils is simply untrue. Eric Pickles, the Thatcherite minister for local government likes to lambast councils for spending money on keeping their residents informed about services, or paying their senior staff, as if saving a few thousand pounds would make up for cutting council's budgets by one third. In Lambeth we have made efficiency savings over the past four years, and will further reduce the number of staff at our budget meeting tonight. But while we will do our utmost to protect frontline services, making staff redundant is not pain free - not only does it damage morale within an organisation, but it can affect our ability to monitor the services we provide local residents.

The worst aspect of the cuts is not that they are front loaded, nor that they appear to be driven by ideology rather than good sense. It is that they are targeted at the most deprived communities in our country. The map above has been produced from figures compiled by The Guardian. It shows how our most vulnerable residents are being targeted - those boroughs with higher levels of child poverty, like Lambeth, Hackney and Haringey come off worse, while richer boroughs, often run by Lib Dem or Conservative administrations like Harrow, Kingston upon Thames or Kensington & Chelsea come off best.

It really is a map to shame Eric Pickles.

Monday, 21 February 2011

New Exhibition on Covent Garden Market Plans

The developers of the New Coven Garden Market site are holding a public exhibition on the plans for the area. The exhibition will be open to local residents and businesses with an opportunity to see updated plans for the redevelopment of The Garden.

This is the third exhibition on the plans, incorporating comments from the first two in 2009 and 2010. This will be the final time the plans go on display before the developers submit a planning application to Wandsworth Council.

The exhibition itself will be based in the Yvonne Carr Community Centre on Thessaly Road and will be open at the following times:

• Thursday 3 March, 4.00pm – 8.00pm
• Friday 4 March, 4.00pm – 8.00pm
• Saturday 5 March, 10.00am – 5.00pm

If you are unable to visit the exhibition but want to know more about the plans you can request a leaflet by emailing or calling the dedicated hotline on 0800 977 8794. More information will also be available from Thursday 3 March on the New Covent Garden Market website -

Thursday, 17 February 2011

New Statue to celebrate ‘Queen of Tea Drinking’

A new statue has been gifted to Lambeth to celebrate Catherine of Braganza – the Portuguese consort of Charles II who made tea drinking popular in Britain. The statue is believe to be the first monument to a person of Portuguese origin in the UK.

The Horta Chamber of Commerce and Industry and have offered to present a bust of Catherine of Braganza as a gift from the Islands of the Azores to Lambeth and the Portuguese-speaking community in the borough.

Catherine of Braganza was the Portuguese Infanta, and the Queen consort of Charles II, who as part of her dowry brought Tangier and Bombay under British rule.

She is particularly renowned for introducing the custom of drinking tea in England which was popular with the Portuguese nobility at the time. The tea had been imported to Portugal from Portuguese colonies in Asia as well as through the trade Portuguese merchants maintained with China , India and Japan. Drinking "high tea" at 4pm was popularised by Catherine and is still a Portuguese tradition. Catherine is also said to have introduced the fork and tangerines to the dining tables of England.

The groups behind the initiative already have an Azorean-based Portuguese sculptor who is designing the statue which will be made out of basalt stone. This type of volcanic rock is iconic and the most connoted with the Azores because of the constant volcanic and seismic activity in the archipelago.

Lambeth Council have responded enthusiastically to the idea, with Stockwell Labour Councillor Alex Bigham saying: “This is a fantastic testament to the relationship between Britain and Portugal – the oldest of our alliances. Celebrating Catherine of Braganza reminds of us the shared history of our two nations which is reflected in the vibrant and thriving Portuguese community which we have in Stockwell and the rest of Lambeth.”

Adelina Pereira, a member of the Portuguese community who helped facilitate the gift said, “This artistic endeavour is something that is very close to the heart of the Portuguese people. Although Catherine was initially unpopular because of language difficulties and her Catholic religion, the British public warmed to her because of her decorum and loyalty to her adopted country.”

Lambeth Council officers are currently considering the proposal, and the statue is likely to be situated on Wilcox Road, near the area of Stockwell known as ‘Little Portugal’.

New bike racks in Crimsworth Road

Following consultation with local residents, Lambeth Council is planning to install new secure bike racks in Crimsworth Road.

The new racks will be outside 81/83 Crimsworth Road and at the side of No. 19 Crimsworth Road, and will mean the removal of car parking spaces.
This to provide secure bicycle parking for residents who do not have the space or ability to securely park bicycles in or within a reasonable distance of their residence.

Stockwell Councillor Imogen Walker who chairs Lambeth’s Environment and Community Safety Committee said, “This is good news for cyclists in Stockwell and reflects our commitment to become one of London’s greenest boroughs”.

Next Stockwell Forum meeting

The next meeting of the Stockwell Forum will take place on 1st March and will include updates from Cllr Sally Prentice on the Vauxhall Nine Elms scheme, Cllr Alex Bigham on Lambeth’s budget and Luis Ventura on the Portuguese Community Centre. The full agenda is below…

Tuesday 1 March 7.00 – 8.30pm in the Stockwell Community Resource Centre

Steve Griffin, Stockwell Partnership

Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea Area of Opportunity
Update by Cllr Sally Prentice

The Lambeth Budget – Impact on Services
Talk by Cllr Alex Bigham

‘Get to Know Your Community’ – #4: The Portuguese Community Centre
Luis Ventura, Development Project Manager

Free Portuguese food / refreshments

Well London
Talk by Marie Clough

Local Planning Update – some key developments and planning applications which will – or might – affect the local neighbourhood – Ian Beever, local resident

Local Projects Update
Open session for Forum members to update others