To @kat.standlake.point : (I have grouped some points together - hope ok)
• better management of public money - more transparency, more accountability, more value for money spendings, strong preventative system for any spendings and overspendings manipulations, price / contract manipulations, financial fraud. I want to see that every penny of public money is cared for and wisely effectively spent.
• Lewisham budget currently has 30% debt A third of your council tax in Lewisham is being spent on repaying debts it has to be dealt with, no debts.
Are there particular things you have in mind where the council has spent unwisely? I agree budgets need to be managed responsibly… perhaps an OBR equivalent could be developed for local government (now there’s me suggesting a national level policy). Do you feel that Freedom of Information has improved transparency? I notice that the FoI request regarding Lewisham council’s debts in 2015 took over 4 months to come through. Not easily repeated. I think something noticeable on the doorstep so far in this campaign is that not many people seem to be aware of the debt that Lewisham council is in. It should be said that many councils are in debt though, of all hues. We do live in complex economic times and debt is a thorny issue –sorry for being trite!
• Lewisham is overcrowded. I dont want to see more housing built inside Lewisham, but effective out-of-area rehousing.
• more housing regeneration in Lewisham, there are lots of horrible looking buildings that have to be taken down and replaced with new ones, private mega-landlords have to be obliged to renew/redecorate the outside buildings to make them look decent.
More housing will be a pledge in the Conservative mayoral manifesto as I imagine it will be in the other main parties’. Actually building the houses is another matter though so you might get your wish! But we do need more housing up and down the country as I’m sure you’d agree. If England were its own nation it would be the most densely populated (macro) nation in Europe and the south east is particularly crowded. I personally think that central government needs to take control over large scale housing projects to ensure some clout in getting them built (like they did with the London Docklands Development Corporation). I think councils are struggling with having the power and bandwidth to get more built. Ross Archer, Conservative mayoral candidate, is pledging to build more affordable homes in the borough; details to follow in manifesto (I hope!). It will be interesting to see though if any national policies emerge over the coming months that might alter the relationship between local councils, planning and house building.
• more green spaces and strong protection for the existing ones.
Yep, all for green spaces. Are you suggesting the creation of new green spaces? Are you aware of any instances in the borough where existing green spaces are under threat?
• more cleaner streets, more cleaners, less cars, better public transport system, if there are sufficient buses, they are clean and not overcrowded, if they run on time, i dont see why people have to take their cars, it is cars that cause traffic (and pollution) in the moring at Catford bridge and at every school, not buses, no trams, no trains.
I mentioned in the response to Chris that one of the priorities of the Conservatives in Lewisham is keeping the borough tidy. The vast majority of residents are proud to live in Lewisham and want don’t want their community treated carelessly. Ross Archer is proposing a zero tolerance approach to fly tipping, rubbish dumping and littering. It is a problem that residents frequently mention on the doorstep. Full details of what this will mean will be written into the manifesto; I imagine it will involve some stronger sanctions. The point on cars – I draw your attention to my very scientific study described above! Would be good to have fewer cars on the roads. To that end we need to work on developing feasible altenatives to driving. I understand that with the help of central government there are now 5000 extra seats (68 extra carriages) on the Southeastern network during morning and evening peak. Ross Archer is also campaigning for Grove Park, Lower Sydenham and Beckenham Hill stations to be Zone 3 rather than 4 to reduce costs/incentivise more rail use.
• large lewisham medical walk-in only centre for non life threatening emergency, non ongoing health issues. To get to see GP for chest infection to get antibiotics, you need to wait 2 weeks (available appointment) or to go to Lewisham Hospital; to wait for a deep wound to be stitched up you need 4 hrs in Lewisham Hospital - simple procedure that easily can be done by a nurse at the local medical centre. It will reduce queues at the Hospital and local medical centres.
There is an Urgent Care Centre, next to A&E, at Lewisham Hospital which deal with non-urgent and minor conditions. The advice is still to see your GP first though if it is non-urgent or an ongoing illness/injury. However, if you cannot wait see your GP then you can go to the UCC. My understanding is that you’ll usually be seen more quickly at the UCC than in A&E but waiting times depend on demand on the day. Have you used the Urgent Care Centre at all? I can’t say I have but, anecdotally, when I worked in Lewisham hospital it seemed to serve a steady stream of people.
• tackle wellfare fraud, people have to work to pay their bills, wellfare support for those who really need it, who works, pay their taxes. Stop encouraging wellfare abuse. Instead all that money waste, better provide a very cheap loans and mortgages for people to get their own homes or partial subsidiary system when local government helps to pay off the morgage so people arent left homeless. People dont need a lot to be happy - own home, affordable healthy food, good medical system to stay healthy and good lifetime education to stay relevant for the employment market.
Some broad points which might be difficult for local councillors to resolve… Interesting idea of local government subsidising mortgages although I suppose this happens already through the right to buy scheme? Are you suggesting local government helps subsidise people in private housing? I feel this might be duplicating nationwide subdsidy schemes (largely for 1st time buyers) and I don’t know how cash strapped councils would find the money for this…
Thanks again for the points. Let me know your thoughts on the above or any other issues that arise!