Streatham Wells

Labour Leader Ed Miliband & Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds Visit Streatham

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Labour Leader Ed Miliband and Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds visited local residents Mhairi and Declan in Streatham Wells this morning.

Ed Miliband spoke of his support for Labour’s Streatham Wells local election candidates Malcolm Clark, Mohammed Seedat and Amelie Treppass, saying:

“Amelie, Mohammed and Malcolm would make first rate councillors for Streatham Wells and are fighting for lower rents, an end to the pernicious bedroom tax, more jobs and apprenticeships for young people and a freeze on energy prices. The sitting councillors support a Tory led government that has set its face against our policies in this area. That’s why I’m urging everyone in Streatham Wells to vote for Amelie, Mohammed and Malcolm on May 22nd”

Ed Miliband has written this morning about London’s housing crisis and last week launched Labour’s cost of living contract – detailing 10 steps Ed Miliband will take as prime minister to tackle the cost of living crisis.

You can follow the latest news from the Streatham Wells Labour Action team on their twitter account: @streathamwells

Supporting the Redevelopment of Streatham Mosque: My thoughts on redeveloping the South London Islamic Centre in our constituency.

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Local residents may be aware of the plans to redevelop the South London Islamic Centre, which is in Mitcham Lane in the Streatham Wells part of my constituency.

The South London Islamic Centre has been a part of my constituency since before I was born. It is a part of the fabric of our community and a great centre for many local people. Those who worship there want to redevelop the site to make it more suitable for its religious, educational, community and leisure use. The decision about the planning application for this development will be made in the next few weeks.

In my view, it is clear that a new building is needed and it seems obvious that the current building very much needs redelvoping. From my visits to the Centre I know how hard the trustees and members there have worked to do as much as possible to ensure the designs meet the criteria of the planners, and have been trying hard to ensure they reach out to those people in our community who don’t use the mosque, as well as those who do.

It would be incredibly sad if this redevelopment does not go ahead and the Mosque’s members were forced to worship elsewhere. I made clear my support for the future of the Mosque and this redevelopment during my last visit there to meet the Chair of the Trustees at the end of 2013, and I have made representations to those involved in the planning decision making clear my support. The determination date for this planning application is January 29th.

My message to everyone involved is simple – the South London Islamic Centre is an incredibly important part of our local community. Let’s get behind it and get this redevelopment started.

I hope as many people as possible can express their support. More information can be found at the links below.

Best wishes,

Chuka

Chuka Umunna MP
Member of Parliament for Streatham
covering Streatham and parts of Clapham, Balham, Tulse Hill and Brixton

 

The South London Islamic Centre’s website can be found at http://www.streathammosque.com/

More details of the planning application can be seen at this link

 

Streatham Hub September update

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Below is an update on the Streatham Hub project which has been distributed to local residents by developers Vinci Construction:

Commencement of Construction Works

Dear Neighbour

Hopefully you received our previous newsletter in July confirming that VINCI Construction UK Ltd has been appointed to construct the new Streatham Hub development. We promised that we would provide information regularly throughout the project to advise you of progress and explain relevant activities that you will see happening before they start. Thus we wish to advise you of our next steps.

You will have seen that hoardings have recently been erected around the empty buildings to protect the public from the construction activities that are about to start. We have been carrying out various internal surveys and stripping out works. Alterations to some of the statutory utilities in the neighbourhood have also commenced and these works will continue.

We would confirm that demolition of the existing buildings will commence in mid-September, starting with the Sunday School. The demolition works will continue progressively around the site with excavation and piling following on.

The method of undertaking the demolition has been discussed and agreed with the United Reform Church, the adjoining Nursery staff and also the operators of Streatham Ice Rink. Additional hoardings and protective screens will be introduced and safety signage erected as required to ensure that there will be no risk to the safety of users of these and adjacent facilities.

We would also confirm that the Ice Rink will remain in operation until at least the end of this year.

We recognise that construction works are unsettling to the general public, and we would repeat our assurance that we will take every opportunity to minimise any disruption or nuisance.

In this respect, Peter Muncaster, our Stakeholder Manager, or I can be contacted on the telephone numbers below should you have any queries or concerns.

Steve Diggines
Project Director
VINCI Construction UK Ltd

Lambeth MPs’ statement on the Boundary Review

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Residents in Lambeth will have seen the Boundary Commission for England’s proposals published this week. Lambeth’s principal town centres are currently represented by the three of us. Under the proposals Lambeth will be carved up between six new parliamentary constituencies with a disregard for borough boundaries and historic districts.

The stated aim of the legislation which brought the Boundary Review into being was to even out the number of registered electors in each constituency, yet the review ignored the fact that areas like Lambeth contain a disproportionate number of people who are not on the register.

The truth is that the review was politically motivated and designed to advantage the Conservative Party as many independent commentators have made clear. The result is that just when our communities need more representation than ever, in this age of austerity and when our constituents are having to cope with too far too fast government cuts, we will see less representation in the future for one of the most deprived boroughs in the country.

We will be voting against these proposals when they are put before the House of Commons in late 2013 not because of any personal interest but because they are the wrong thing for this borough which we love so much.

We want to assure all of our constituents in Lambeth that we were elected to serve the people in each constituency for this parliament and that is what we will do right up until the next General Election regardless of what comes after.

Kate Hoey MP
Member of Parliament for Vauxhall

Tessa Jowell MP
Member of Parliament for Dulwich & West Norwood

Chuka Umunna MP
Member of Parliament for Streatham

Albert Carr Gardens walkabout

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Earlier this month, Chuka went on a walkabout of Albert Carr Gardens estate in Streatham Wells and met with local residents to talk about their concerns.

He was accompanied on the walkabout by the Chair of the estate’s Tenants and Residents’ Association, as well as officers from the local Safer Neighbourhoods Team and Lambeth Living, giving local residents the opportunity to raise issues directly with housing officers and the police.

Sackville Estate walkabout

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Recently Chuka organised a walkabout of the Sackville Estate in Streatham Wells, and was joined by local residents, the estate’s Tenants and Residents Association, the local Safer Neighbourhoods Team, and the estate services manager from Lambeth Living.

This gave the residents the chance to point out problems to Lambeth Living directly, which will be followed up to ensure that repairs discussed on the day will be carried out within a reasonable timeframe.

The Safer Neighbourhoods Team informed Chuka of successes in tackling anti-social behaviour and Lambeth Living promised that new recycling banks would be delivered soon.

Local MP comments on fireworks decision

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Chuka Umunna, Member of Parliament for Streatham, has commented on Lambeth Council’s decision to cancel this year’s fireworks display at Streatham Common.

The display, which has taken place in Streatham annually for many years, would have taken place shortly on Bonfire Night, Friday 5 November.

Mr Umunna said:

“Given the scale of cuts the government has made this week to local authority budgets, I understand the need for savings, but I am disappointed that Streatham’s fireworks display has been cancelled.

“I am encouraged by the fact that the council is looking into rotating the annual fireworks display around the borough, which I think would be the fairest solution, and that options are being explored with local businesses to fund displays in the future.”

Streatham Hub: Pope’s Road Temporary Ice Provision

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

The building of the Streatham Hub has been fraught with delays since its inception more than 10 years ago.

History

Tesco Plc (“Tesco”) purchased the site where Streatham Ice Rink is currently situated almost a decade ago. In June 2001 the retailer published plans to demolish the Ice Rink – these were abandoned following strong opposition from local user groups, community and voluntary organisations.

New plans were approved by Lambeth Council (the “Council”) in February 2003 with a Section 106 Agreement associated with the scheme – which has become known as the ‘Streatham Hub’ – being concluded between the Council and Tesco in December 2007.

Under the agreement the development was set to provide new leisure facilities, a new supermarket and 250 new homes for the Streatham area where Streatham Ice Arena is currently located. There would also be a new transport hub linking road and rail. The Council said that as part of the deal Tesco would not be allowed to open its supermarket until the new leisure centre and ice rink open. Planning consent was granted to Tesco on this basis in December 2007.

In 2009 Tesco indicated to the Council that it wished to revise the scheme on account of economic conditions which it said meant the 2007 plans were no longer financially viable. With respect to their revised proposals, residents were alarmed when in October 2009 representatives from Tesco refused to guarantee that it would be able to ensure continuity of ice pending the development being completed (under the original plans the old ice rink would only close once the new ice rink opened, thus ensuring continuity of ice). Continuous ice provision is essential for the many user groups of the ice rink including Olympian skaters and the famous Streatham Redskins ice hockey team.

Keep Streatham Skating

In October 2009 I established a cross party coalition to campaign for continuity of ice to be retained following the public meeting that month. Various online and off line petitions, and a Facebook group, were established which thousands of residents signed. Following this campaign, Tesco and Lambeth came forward with revised proposals under which the old ice rink would close before the new one opened but temporary ice provision paid for by Tesco would be put in its place somewhere near by.

The revised proposals were approved by the Tesco Plc board in March 2010. This approval was of some significance since on the last two occasions when the scheme had gone to the Tesco Board for approval, no approval had been forthcoming; on this occasion the scheme was promoted by the Chief Executive himself and given Board approval.

Hands Off Our Common

As part of the revised proposals, the option of putting a temporary ice rink on Streatham Common whilst the new rink is built was discussed and considered. However, whilst many of the user groups of the ice rink were supportive of this plan given its close proximity to the current ice rink site, regular users of Streatham Common were deeply opposed and a campaign – Hands Off Our Common (HOOC) – was established in May 2010 to reject the revised proposals. Groups involved with HOOC included Sustainable Streatham, Streatham Action, Friends of Streatham Common and the Streatham Society.

The campaign was successful and on 26 July 2010 Lambeth Council’s cabinet resolved not to place the temporary ice skating provision on Streatham Common following a report from Council officers citing legal obstacles, practical difficulties and the likely extensive delay resulting from implementation, as the main reasons for not pursuing this: Report to Cabinet, 26 July 2010.

Instead the Council officers’ report recommended that the temporary ice skating provision be placed at Pope’s Road in Brixton, one of 14 options considered by the Council. The officers’ paper lists the advantages and disadvantages of Pope’s Road as follows:

Advantages

• In Council ownership
• Site to be demolished and will be in vacant possession shortly.
• Site large enough
• Good accessibility
• Good public transport links
• Viability of town centre would be enhanced

Disadvantages

• Could raise objections among market traders if temporary car park not provided.
• Loss of car parking for market traders, but can be mitigated by relocating elsewhere on site.
• Possible community safety concerns.
• Opportunity cost to Council for delaying its redevelopment of the site.

The timetable for completion of the entire Streatham Hub scheme envisages the temporary ice rink being opened at Pope’s Road towards the end of 2011 and the new ice rink (along with the supermarket etc) being completed in the summer of 2013.

Some stakeholders who use the ice rink support siting the temporary provision at Pope’s Road so long as Tesco are not permitted to open their supermarket before completion of the new ice rink and the other leisure facilities – this was the view presented to Lambeth’s cabinet on 26 July 2010 by the Secretary of Streatham Ice Skating Action Group. SISAG’s members include representatives of the dance club, figure skating club and hockey clubs who use the current ice rink. In response Council cabinet members confirmed that the Tesco store would not be allowed to open until the leisure facilities had been completed.

Save Skating in Streatham

Some users of the ice rink and local councillors have voiced great concern about the temporary provision being situated out of Streatham and formed a campaign: Save Skating in Streatham (SSS). They worry the ice rink will never return to Streatham and have considerable concerns about community safety, access and parking at the Pope’s Road site. Their petition (which has been signed by 335 people at the time of writing) is here, their Facebook page is here, and their recent letter to me is here. They argued that a site at Stockport Road should be considered but the campaign is now focused on enforcement of original section 106 Agreement under which it was agreed the old ice rink would stay in situ until the new ice rink opens.

I should mention that the Brixton Market Traders’ Association also oppose the temporary ice provision being placed at Pope’s Road – they argued at the 26 July 2010 cabinet meeting that the space could instead provide much needed parking facilities for Brixton Market customers.

My thoughts

Firstly, I should state that, as the Member of Parliament for Streatham, I have no legal power to affect this situation nor am I a party or signatory to any of the agreements between Tesco and the Council – it would be misleading for me to claim otherwise. My role – as an advocate for the area – is to ensure that as many of the voices and concerns of the community as possible are heard when decisions are made.

Secondly, there are a range of stakeholders with an interest in this development but – as the history of the project has demonstrated – those interests are not necessarily aligned and, even within the different groups concerned, there is a diversity of views too; I know this because I have spent much time consulting with all of them. For example, some ice rink user groups are happy to accept Pope’s Road as a temporary solution; others are not. Unfortunately this is not a project that will complete to the satisfaction of all involved – a degree of compromise on everyone’s part will be required.

That said, all are agreed on the principle that we all want to see the Streatham Hub completed as soon as possible, so that we can benefit from the fantastic leisure provision which it will provide, employment opportunities and new homes. My priority has always been to see the project completed as quickly as possible with this aim in mind whilst ensuring that, at the very least, there is ice provision for the current users of the ice rink in the interim.

Thirdly, the original s106 Agreement – agreed in 2007 – will be varied by Deed of Variation (if it has not been already) to allow for the revised 2010 plans to proceed. This is because Tesco would not agree to develop the Hub on the basis agreed in 2007, citing current economic conditions and commercial viability. I voiced some scepticism of their arguments in this regard given its pre-tax profits increased during the recession but their position remains unchanged. It is for this reason that Tesco paying for temporary provision pending completion of the scheme was agreed upon this year. There has always been a possibility that, should Tesco not deem the scheme commercially viable, they would walk away from the Hub project altogether leaving the future of ice skating in Streatham in peril – thankfully we did not reach this point. So whilst I have great sympathy with the SSS campaign objective to enforce the original s106 Agreement, I do not see how this can be done given what has come to pass and Tesco’s position. A lot has happened since the original 2007 agreement was concluded and I do not think we can wind the clock back (so to speak).

However, this does not mean that I am entirely happy with the Pope’s Road solution that has been proposed as things stand. It is vital that the concerns raised in relation to parking, community safety, spectator accommodation and transport are addressed ahead of the erection of the temporary provision. I understand that ice skating user groups met with Council officers yesterday and that progress towards the resolution of some of these issues has progressed.

Between now and the construction of the temporary provision at the end of next year, I will do all I can to demand that these issues are resolved. I met with Council officers and cabinet members during the summer with this is mind and I have written to Council officers for an update on progress in this regard which I will publish on this website in due course. I have also spoken with my colleague, Tessa Jowell MP, in relation to the concerns raised by the Market Traders Association of Brixton Market which is located in her constituency.

Finally, I am aware that the user groups of Streatham Swimming Pool feel that their concerns in relation to swimming provision in the vicinity have been overlooked somewhat given the focus on the ice rink. I was a frequent user of the pool myself as a child as I often competed there as a competitive swimmer. It is totally unsatisfactory that my constituents have been having to travel some distance in order to be able to continue to swim on a regular basis. This is an issue I have raised with the Council but my office will be seeking to arrange a meeting between myself and the stakeholder group for Streatham Swimming Pool imminently to see what further needs to be done.

If you wish to contact me further on this issue, please write to me at my constituency office or email me – contact details are here.

Kind regards,

Chuka

MP campaigns for decent homes

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Shadow housing minister John Healey joined Streatham MP Chuka Umunna  yesterday on a visit to  Streatham’s Valley Road Estate, one of the thousands of estates across the country whose future has  been thrown into uncertainty as residents wait to hear whether the Decent Homes programme funding it was promised by the last Labour Government will be subject to the coalition’s cuts.

Lambeth Living, the arms – length management organisation which manages the Valley Road Estate, is due  to receive £233 million in Decent Homes programme funding; Lambeth’s other ALMO, United Residents  Housing,  is due to receive £25 million.

This funding is desperately needed so that Lambeth’s homes can be made safe, warm and secure. It will pay for new roofs, new boilers, new windows, new kitchens and new  bathrooms that are desperately needed by residents.

In its 13 years in government, Labour invested billions of pounds into improving the quality of social housing. 1.4 million homes have been improved in council stock alone, and £33bn was invested in bringing social housing up to a decent standard, including the  provision of new windows, heating, kitchens, and bathrooms. Around 300,000 homes nationally remain in line for these improvements under Labour’s Decent Homes programme — the future of which is now subject to the coalition’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

The Lambeth Living ALMO was established in 2008 in order to achieve a 2 – star service to obtain eligibility for Decent Homes programme funding, needed to bring all of the 33,000 homes in Lambeth’s housing stock  up to a ‘decent’ standard. There is now real concern that the new Government may not honour this capital commitment.

Earlier this year, Mr Umunna asked the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government a  Parliamentary Question about the future of the Decent Homes programme and what eligibility criteria would apply to proposals for the funding.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local  Government, Andrew Stunnell, a Liberal Democrat, answered that the criteria for the allocation of the funding would be dependent on the overall funding available to the Decent Homes programme, following the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review in October.

Mr Umunna said:

“Estates like Valley Road are a perfect example of the investment still needed to bring homes up to an acceptable standard. My constituents deserve warm, safe, decent homes in which to live and raise their  families and without the vital decent homes funding this simply isn’t attainable. Residents have already waited too long for the homes they deserve and it  is simply not acceptable that this money may now be withdrawn.”

Rt Hon John Healey, Shadow Minister for Housing , said:

“Labour believes that everyone has the right to a secure, affordable, decent home in a safe neighbourhood. I saw in my visit with Chuka Umunna to the Valley Road estate the important work that’s still needed to bring all homes in Lambeth up to a decent standard.

“It is vital that the new Government honour our Labour Government’s commitment to completing the decent
homes programme, both to fix residents’ broken central heating systems and rotting window frames, and to create hundreds of jobs in south London.”

School buildings update – Dunraven project given all clear

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

The Department for Education has announced that Dunraven’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project will take place as planned.

Last month, the Liberal Democrat – Conservative government announced sweeping cuts to the BSF programme affecting three schools in the Streatham constituency: La Retraite, Bishop Thomas Grant and Dunraven.

Following this announcement, Chuka tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament protesting against the BSF cuts which has been signed by 30 MPs, spoke up for our local school building projects in Parliament and set up an online petition against the cuts which now has over 400 signatures.

As a ‘sample’ school, Dunraven’s project faced a review but will now go ahead. Chuka will continue to pressure the government to reverse its decision on La Retraite and Bishop Thomas Grant schools’ essential projects.

The Save Streatham’s School Building Projects petition can be signed here.