Does Lewisham Council provide ANY services to its tax paying residents anymore? So dysfunctional
Local Services Provided by Lewisham Council
- waste collection
- social services
- street lighting
- local planning
To name a few.
Yes these are provided, but perhaps the question is qualitative whether than simply - do they provide, yes or no?
With housing I have concerns whether the council ever audits their properties to check whether the occupants are the same people to whom property has been allocated, or whether property is sub-let.
With waste collection, as stated in the original post, it seems unfortunate that in our Borough, which probably has a high level of DIY because residents cannot afford to pay tradesmen, the Council has decided to make disposal of DIY waste especially difficult.
On local planning, I know there are shortcomings because there are wheelie bins reducing the width of a narrow pavement in my street (supposedly a conservation area). The bins belong to a development which had planning approval but one condition was that a bin store was to be included. Clearly that did not happen, and the Council is apparently disinclined to take remedial action.
Does the Council provide leisure facilities? Yes the Council has provided a sports centre for Forest Hill, but the pool could have been twice the size, and an underground car park should have been included in the plan.
So it’s not usually a simple yes/no type of question, that will help us understand what is going on.
It fills me with dread and dispair anytime I have to have any dealings with any council, be-it Lewisham or anywhere else I’ve lived.
We, as tax payers, have slowly been worn down, learning to expect and accept the ordeal of mediocrity that we are met with, any time we have the misfortune of having to deal with these self-serving ‘organisations’!
Ok, someone please counter my rant of bitterness with a spirit lifting story about how the council has gone over & above the call of duty in providing a world class service.
Perhaps this helps to explain what’s going on.
That NewsShopper article certainly allows the Labour councillors to provide some rhetoric without any challenge from the journalist involved, or any other sources being interviewed.
If funds are tight, I’d like to know how Lewisham justify spending precious public money on:
- becoming a “Sanctuary Borough” (ie scrapping Home Office immigration officials and then providing public money to house and service potentially illegal immigrants)
- narrowing Dartmouth Road (£1M+)
- the ineffective 20mph borough wide limit (£1M+)
Lack of resources is certainly a big part of the story, but so is lack of resourcefulness.
One of the interesting things is that the Council apparently believes in the system of local government that we have. At the Lewisham Mayoral hustings, all candidates rejected the suggestion of a re-organization of government in London e.g. scrapping the local authorities and amalgamating into a centralized authority like the old London County Council. It is untenable for Lewisham Councillors and Mayor to be in favour of the status quo but complaining that they can’t make it work.
Lewisham residents pay more in council tax than residents of Westminster, City of London, Kensington, who all have better services. A London-wide authority would share resources and services, bring some equality.
Lewisham fails on its housing targets, which are largely out of their control and impossible to deliver. But throwing money in to a black hole at the expense of basic services is not the answer.
Rubbish collection is a disaster. Food waste strewn across the pavement and roads. Black bins over flowing everywhere. Fly tipping everywhere. Hard waste collection service is expensive and excludes basically everything. DIY waste has now been made harder to dispose of.
The prumary school catchment areas are tiny, which leads to a lot of stress and heartache. Secondary schools are only as good as the pupils that attend. Which is why the secondary schools are a disaster in most of London (again out of Lewishams control).
When I lived in Westminster Council they collected my bin every single day. That’s right, every single day. With an army of street cleaners working every day keeping the streets clean. I occasionally see one in Forest Hill town centre but that’s about it.
I’m not expecting the World from the dysfunctional council system that London has. Just do the basics please. Collect the rubbish, maintain public parks, keep the streets clean and enforce basic laws like people parking on the pavement. Then if they want to throw the rest of the money in to the housing black hole, be my guest.
I agree Lewisham council can be very rubbish but lets not compare apples and pears here do we need residential waste to be collected everyday? I assume the daily collections in Westminster were in high density areas with nowhere to store waste bins outside.
Housing, waste collection, education, social services, local planning, street lighting etc… without the generosity of those at the local council, we wouldn’t even understrand the very concepts that these words represent!!! It’s a wonder we can actually breathe without the administration of these poor, downtrodden saints!
Don’t make me laugh!!
You make a good point here. Both Westminster and the City of London raise huge amounts from business rates… over £2bn in Westminster alone which is a key factor in keeping council tax low for residents. And in order to maintain a daily waste service Westminster spends the highest percentage of its council tax revenue in London, over 35% with one of the lowest recycling rates in London. Apples and oranges.
On the recycling rate league table,
- Westminster (18.8%) is 344th out of 345.
- Lewisham (21.8%) is 340th out of 345.
They’re both awful… and practically equivalent.
Speaking as one who uses Dartmouth Road frequently (walking or driving), I think the money was well spent.
Users were asked whether they wanted two smaller pools or one big one, and chose the former - by a substantial majority , if I remember correctly.
All really good points Robin. In the case of Dartmouth Road and the Pools I gather there were public consultations which informed the final decisions.
Creating a Borough of Sanctuary in Lewisham was one of Damian Lewis’ manifesto commitments as it was for Lewisham Labour in 2018. There was also wide consultation within and support from the Borough businesses and community groups.
For the pools the decision to have two was I think based on history - the original baths had two pools. It also gives a space for small ones to learn to swim.
At the Lewisham Mayoral hustings, all candidates rejected the suggestion of a re-organization of government in London e.g. scrapping the local authorities and amalgamating into a centralized authority like the old London County Council. It is untenable for Lewisham Councillors and Mayor to be in favour of the status quo but complaining that they can’t make it work.
London County Council was never a sole centralised authority, there were always individual boroughs which did local roads, waste, recreation etc as there are now. LCC did London-wide stuff, which included cross-borough responsibilities and some of the parks, and probably transport (not something I deal with day to day, so I forget the exact details)