Catford’s Road Realignment moves forward

Major changes to the South Circular in Catford, which will improve the quality of life for people who live and work in the area, have been agreed at a meeting of Lewisham Council’s Mayor and Cabinet which was held on 19 July 2017.

From 2020/21 the South Circular will be moved to the south of Laurence House on Catford Road (through the car and lorry park). The gyratory will also be removed to create a simpler road layout at the junction of the A21 and A205.

The benefits of moving the South Circular include:

  • Wider pavements and new road crossings to create safer space for people to walk around the town centre.
  • Safer spaces for cyclists with a fully segregated cycleway on the South Circular road and new cycle lanes on A21.
  • Major improvements to Catford town centre with the creation of new pedestrianised public spaces and business space. 
  • A simplified junction for cars and buses with two way traffic reinstated on the A205 and the A21.

The decision to change layout of the South Circular means the start of a major programme of development in Catford which will create new homes, new jobs and new open spaces.
Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said:

‘Moving the South Circular road will transform Catford and make the town centre a better place to live, work and visit. Our decision ends 50 years of uncertainty over the route of the South Circular road and the benefits will be felt for generations. The simplified road layout will make it easier for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to travel by removing the gyratory.

‘The future for Catford is bright with hundreds of new homes being built, new businesses opening every month and major improvements planned for the shopping centre alongside the improvements to the route of the South Circular road.’

People who live and work in Catford are invited to have their say about the area and the changes they would like to see. Their comments will help Lewisham Council develop a plan to improve the town centre in 2018.

Lewisham Recycling & Waste Services are changing

Background
Although ‘recycling’ is cited as the key activity in relation to sustainable waste management, Lewisham operates within a broader regulatory framework. The Waste Hierarchy (shown in this diagram) dictates how we should structure our services and focus attention on those activities at the top of the diagram, with the least amount of waste going for disposal at the bottom of the pyramid.
 
 

 
The Government has stretching recycling targets to recycle and compost 50% by 2020.  Further, there is an increasing requirement to improve the quality as well as the quantity of recycling, and this is partly being facilitated through the Waste Regulations 2012. From 1st January 2015, this piece of legislation required local authorities to separately collect paper, glass, plastics and metal unless it is not necessary to do so, or it is technically, environmentally or economically impractical to do so.
 
Resulting from a number of drivers (listed below under ‘Why are we doing this)’ the Council modelled a number of potential service scenarios and the option approved at Mayor & Cabinet in February 2016 were:
 
o Introduction of a subscription garden waste service;
o Introduction of a weekly food waste service;
o Reduction in the collection frequency of residual waste to fortnightly, and;
o Keeping the recycling collections comingled and weekly.
The introduction of the garden waste service was implemented 2016.
 
 
What are the changes?
 
Lewisham currently provide a weekly collection of the 180ltr black refuse bin and the green 240ltr recycling bin. A garden waste collection service is provided on a weekly basis to residents that have subscribed to the service.
 
The new service will take effect on the 2nd October to Lewisham residents that currently have a wheeled bin collection, except high density red routes. Properties will receive a 23 litre outside food bin and a smaller 5 litre indoor kitchen caddy. An initial supply of biodegradable liners will be provided. Thereafter residents will need to purchase liners from supermarkets. The following items can be disposed of in the food caddy:
 
 Meat and fish – raw and cooked including bones
 Fruit and vegetables – raw and cooked
 All dairy products such as eggs and cheese
 Bread, cakes and pastries
 Rice, pasta and beans
 Uneaten food from your plates and dishes
 Tea bags and coffee grounds
 Nut shells
 
The 180ltr Black refuse bin will be collected fortnightly. The Green recycling bin will remain the same with a weekly collection and for residents that have subscribed to the garden waste collection service their brown bin will continue to be collected weekly.
 
Under exceptional circumstances we may consider replacing a standard 180ltr black wheelie bin for a larger 240ltr wheelie bin.
 
Why are we doing this?
 
Our future services need to reflect and respond to present and future waste regulations as well as our citizen’s interest in recycling. As such there are a number of drivers for change, which are detail below
 
Improved Environmental Performance Lewisham’s recycling rate is one of the lowest in the country and by changing the services that are offered could have a significant impact on reducing waste in the first instance, increasing the amount that is recycled or composted and reducing the carbon footprint of waste and recycling collected and disposed of.
 
There are a number of benefits to recycling more than we currently do, including reducing the amount of waste sent to incineration, conserving natural resources such as wood, water and minerals, and preventing pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials. Lewisham does have a good range of materials that can be recycled, however, not all residents are using the services to their full potential. There could also be significant gains both in performance and environmental impact on collecting food waste. By the very nature of collecting food waste people often see how much is being wasted and change their habits to reduce their waste accordingly. Further, collecting food waste produces biogas providing a source of renewable energy that is carbon neutral and a fertiliser rich in nitrogen.
 
Financial – The financial drivers are around the need to make savings in the current budget climate, whilst at the same time running effective and efficient services.
 
Reductions in government funding, combined with increased costs of collection and disposal and a volatile recyclable market has significantly increased pressure on waste budgets in recent years.
 
 
Legislation –   There are two key regulations in the Waste (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012, as detailed below:
 
Regulation 12 – places an ongoing requirement for local authorities to apply the waste hierarchy;
 
Regulation 13 – from 1 January 2015, waste collection authorities must collect waste paper, metal, plastic and glass separately and imposes a duty on waste collection authorities, from that date, when making arrangements for the collection of such waste, to ensure that those arrangements are by way of separate collection. These duties apply where separate collection is necessary (the Necessity Test) to ensure that waste undergoes recovery operations in accordance with the directive and to facilitate or improve recovery; and where it is technically, environmentally and economically practicable (The TEEP Test).
 
Future waste planning- The SELCHP Energy from Waste (EfW) contract ends in early 2024. The contract prices for EfW tend to be much higher than other forms of waste treatment and with a growing population potentially producing more waste and recycling, it is necessary to explore all options for managing waste and recycling effectively and efficiently.
 
The new services will contribute towards delivering the council’s corporate and sustainable community priorities, especially in respect of ‘clean, green and liveable’ and ‘inspiring efficiency, effectiveness and equity’
 
Who will be affected?
 
The service will be provided to 80,000 kerbside properties who currently receive a wheeled bin collection service. Some parts of the borough will be kept on a weekly refuse service following a review of the streets in the borough and their eligibility for fortnightly refuse.
 
How will residents know about the changes?
 
A comprehensive communication strategy is in place with available resources for communication, community engagement and monitoring activities.
 
• The Lewisham website will be updated informing resident of the change in service plus pop up boxes on all pages.
• Posters will be displayed around the borough on JC Decaux boards, surgeries and libraries.
• Social media will be used to advertise and inform residents of the changes on a weekly basis.
• Information will be published in the Lewisham Life magazine and the press.
• Enewsletters will be sent to over 35,000 residents at different times during the implementation process.
• A letter will be sent to all kerbside properties.
• Postcards will be handed out at the Reuse & Recycling centre.
• Road Shows will be held during September at Deptford, Lewisham, Catford and Sydenham
• Bin tags will be used to inform residents in advance of the start date
• Waste Advisers will engage with residents
• Leaflets to all kerbside properties

Fire safety in Lewisham schools in light of the Grenfell Tower fire

The tragic consequences of the Grenfell Tower fire have raised concerns about fire safety for everyone. Therefore we have set out the work we are doing to ensure our schools are safe below:
External cladding review
Although the London Fire Brigade have yet to confirm what caused the fire at Grenfell Tower to spread so quickly, it would appear that the composition of the external cladding and its installation played a significant role. Therefore we have been working with our colleagues in the School Capital Delivery team, our Employers Agents/Architects and the Local Education Partners to undertake an urgent review of our recently built or refurbished schools to;

  • Identify all school buildings where external cladding is installed,
  • Establish what external cladding materials have been used
  • Carry out a technical desktop review of this information with particular regard to fire
    risk and to advise us on the next steps, including whether intrusive tests are required (i.e. do we need to take off a panel(s) and have further tests completed and do we think any materials require to be replaced

In relation to our PFI facility managed schools the respective SPVs have confirmed that they are content with the initial reviews undertaken, with regards to the extent and nature of any cladding used.

Existing wood cladding

Some schools have raised concerns with their existing timber cladding, it is well documented that the surface spread of flame across timber is negligible along as the subsequent treatment to this cladding has not raised its flammability. Therefore schools need to ensure that water based paints with a Class ‘O’ surface spread are used, if the timber is a natural finish then a treatment with a clear finish of fire retardant will suffice.

Fire risk procedures
All schools in Lewisham have automatic fire detection within their fire alarms and carry out regular fire drills. In response to recent events many have confirmed to the authority that the buildings are evacuated and all pupils, staff and visitors have assembled in a place of safety within accepted time frames.
All maintained schools have the responsibility to have fire risk assessments in place which are school-led. These are live documents and are linked to the fire evacuation strategy (covering identification of key escape routes, action on discovering a fire, action on hearing the fire alarm, calling the fire brigade, personal emergency evacuation plans, places of assembly and roll call, fire wardens/marshals, firefighting equipment provided, training required, liaison with emergency services etc). I would strongly recommend that your fire risk assessments are reviewed and any actions within the action plan are addressed without any undue delay. Please ensure your staff are familiar with the fire risk assessments, your school fire strategy and staff training up to date.

Building height

We have a few school buildings of more than three storeys with cladding in Lewisham and we are working with technical advisers to review those buildings that are constructed with external cladding systems as stated above.
Fire safety escape routes
School buildings are provided with fire compartments to limit the spread of fire and to provide safe routes to evacuate the building. Well maintained and functioning fire doors are vital to ensure there are safe escape routes and are inherent within the fire compartmentalisation.
Fire alarms & sprinklers
All schools within this authority have automatic fire detection that will detect a fire and smoke and will sound the fire alarm. Sprinklers are provided in new schools where the risk warrants this, however sprinklers are not lifesaving but will limit property damage, the reason for this is that sprinklers provided in schools are not fast reacting and that they will only operate after the fire alarm has activated, by this time occupants should be out of the school.

Cladding to be removed from first two buildings in Lewisham

Lewisham Council and Lewisham Homes have ordered the removal of cladding from two buildings in New Cross following advice from the London Fire Brigade.
The two buildings are:

· 1–48 Hatfield Close, SE14

· 49–96 Hatfield Close, SE14

Contact details for affected residents

Lewisham Homes has written to all affected residents who live in the buildings about the cladding removal work and has a dedicated team to answer questions by phone: 0800 028 2 028 and email: housingmanagement@lewishamhomes.org.uk

Additional fire safety measures

Additional fire safety measures are being introduced to the properties this week, including a 24-hour fire warden service.

Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham said, ‘Following the results of government fire safety tests, we have ordered the removal of external cladding from two buildings in New Cross. I am satisfied, on the advice of Lewisham Homes and London Fire Brigade, that that there is no need to evacuate any buildings. This will be done with the minimum of inconvenience to residents. Safety is our top priority and we are considering extending Lewisham Home’s sprinkler programme to include our tower blocks, guided by advice from the London Fire Brigade.” 

Andrew Potter, Chief Executive at Lewisham Homes said: “We are working closely with the London Fire Brigade to ensure residents are safe in their homes and will put 24 hour fire safety patrols into each of the buildings. While this important work takes place to remove cladding we will work hard to minimise the impact on the lives of people who live in the affected buildings.”

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR RESIDENTS IN THE AFFECTED PROPERTIES

 What should residents in the affected properties do?  

Lewisham Homes are working with the London Fire Brigade to ensure residents are safe in their homes. 24 hour fire patrols safety wardens will be deployed in each of the properties. If you live in one of the buildings where cladding is being removed and have a question please contact the call: 0800 028 2 028 or email: housingmanagement@lewishamhomes.org.uk

Lewisham Homes has written to every resident in the affected buildings to share fire safety advice and to invite them to a public meeting where they ask questions about the cladding removal cladding.

How can I reduce the risk of a fire in my property? 

Please follow the London Fire Brigade advice and install a smoke alarm, try and keep to one plug per socket and don’t leave your mobile phone charging overnight, especially on your bed or under your pillow.

What action has been taken in Lewisham on fire safety since Grenfell Tower fire?

Every Lewisham Home building has been risk assessed by a specialist contractor and as an extra precaution extra fire-safety inspections have been carried out. Lewisham Homes has also written to every resident with safety advice and staff have visited tower blocks to meet residents and answer their questions.  

Are the buildings where cladding is being removed safe to live in? 

Yes. On the advice of London Fire Brigade and Lewisham Homes there is no need to evacuate any buildings while the external cladding from two buildings is removed. We are working closely with Lewisham Homes and the London Fire Brigade to ensure residents are safe in their homes and will put 24 hour fire safety patrols into each of the buildings.

Grenfall Tower Tragedy

The tragic events of last Wednesday morning at Grenfall Tower couldn’t fail to move you, and my thoughts and best wishes are with both the victims, and the families of those who were hurt or killed in this national tragedy. Our thanks should also be given to those emergency services and volunteers who witnessed first hand this terrible story unfold, I hope they get all the aftercare and support they need.

As a local councillor, I and the rest of my colleagues in Lewisham Labour Group, are clear that we want to ensure the safety of our residents, either directly in Lewisham Homes or in partner Registered Social Landlords. Sir Steve Bullock – Mayor of Lewisham has been quick to task the relevant Executive Officers to move forward to ensure that we’re doing everything possible to mitigate risks. A letter detailing this actions is laid out below.


I and other councillors will be meeting with key Lewisham Council staff tonight to discuss further our response and to review any learning, as well as consider our political response — the UK needs to ensure that it upholds the highest standards of health and safety and in particular fire safety; there are going to be some serious questions from the public enquiry.

Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn wrote to the Prime Minister Theresa May last week setting out his and the Parliamentary Labour Party initial questions about the Public Enquiry, support for families, and outlining the Labour Party’s gratitude to those Emergency Services who dealt with the aftermath.

How Lewisham is helping

Lewisham Council also hasn’t been inwards looking during this horrific incident, we sent a number of officers to Kensington and Chelsea to help their staff in running rest centres and supporting residents made homeless by the fire, and stand ready to offer further support along with our fellow boroughs across London. 

How you can help

Lewisham Council are also encouraging those residents who want to help to donate to the Grenfell Tower Appeal set up by the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation.

https://thekandcfoundation.com/donate/
https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/kandcfoundation/grenfell-tower

🍻 The Catford Beer Festival 🍻

A joint endeavour between the Catford Bridge Tavern, Lewisham Council and SE London CAMRA, will be held at the Catford Bridge Tavern from 23 to 25 June.

Cask ale is at the heart of every Beer festival, and there will be plenty to try however, we also will be celebrating great beer in other forms, and so the festival will be a real mixture of cask, keg, bottled and canned beers, with an emphasis on local breweries. The beer list is still a work in progress, but we are proud to be showcasing offerings from the following:

🍺 Bexley | Bianca Road | Brew Buddies | Brockley | Bullfinch | Canopy | Clarkshaws | Hop Stuff | Ignition | Kent | Kissingate | Old Kent Road | Orbit| Southwark | Three Sods | Villages

🍎 Cider fans will also be well catered for, with ten or more real ciders on offer, including a number from South London producers rarely available elsewhere.

🍴 Food will be available each day 

🎤 We also have entertainment on hand – 

Champion Hillbillies will be playing from 8pm on Friday 23rd; 

Saturday night will feature a DJ with psych vs soul vinyl set and,

Sunday a live band

🛒 Limited edition festival glasses and t-shirts will be available to purchase.

🕰We’re open each day from 12 to 11pm and look forward to seeing you there.

🚓🚑🚒 If you work for any of the Emergency Services (w/ID) then the Catford Beer Festival Team want to offer you  Free Beer as a little ‘thank you’ for looking after us all. More info http://www.twitter.com/CatfordBeerFest

Heidi Alexander – Labour’s Candidate for Lewisham East

PROUD to nominate Heidi Alexander for re-election as The Labour Party Candidate for Lewisham East🌹
Truly a candidate that has dedicated years to #Lewisham & #Catford

For her full election Pledges see www.heidialexander.org.uk

Vote Heidi Alexander ✅ #GE2017 on June 8th 2017

Briefing for Forest Hill School

The following is the briefing provided to me by the Mayor of Lewisham’s Office.
The Issue

Following the appointment of a new Head Teacher and a new chair of Governors this academic year a serious overspend was identified. If no action had been taken this would have escalated and given the school even more serious problems in the future. The Council has provided advice and a loan to the school so that changes can be made over a five year period. The school has already carried out a re-organisation of non teaching staff and the current dispute solely involves teachers. The dispute is between the Trade Unions and the management of the school not the council and has involved a number of days of strike action. The NUT is in dispute about changes to teacher’s workload and a single compulsory redundancy. The NASUWT was also in dispute about the workload changes but have accepted the concessions offered to all teaching staff and have now withdrawn their strike action.

Overall, this is a complex issue and it is not possible to provide detailed information about all aspects of it in a short briefing like this. What is provided is a Q&A covering some of the issues that might be raised. 

Tory Government planned cuts to London schools funding

The Tory Government is changing the way schools are financed from 2019. As a result Lewisham schools will lose 3% of their funding and across London 70% of schools will lose money. Labour Councils in London have worked together to oppose this and gained some concessions as the original losses proposed by Government were even larger.

A National Audit Office report showed that the cost pressures facing schools over the next three years amount to an 8% increase arising from pay awards, the Apprenticeship Levy, teachers’ pension Increase and inflation. The Tory Government is telling schools to meet these costs through efficiency savings.

Labour opposes these cuts but they are increasing the pressure on schools to eliminate any deficits now.

Q&A

Why doesn’t Lewisham Council make up the deficit?

Since 1988 the financial control of schools has been the responsibility of Governing Bodies and the amount of funding the schools receive from the Government is largely determined by the number of pupils. When a school gets into difficulties Councils can make loans to help manage the reduction in spending over five years for secondary schools and Lewisham has done this for Forest Hill.

Why isn’t Lewisham paying redundancy costs?

Other schools in Lewisham which have made staff redundant have met their own redundancy costs and this is the case in other London boroughs. The NUT is challenging this nationally and other Councils are facing the same issue. If Councils were forced to pay there is no funding available to meet these costs and cuts would have to be made in other services or money clawed back from other schools.

Why doesn’t the Council allow the school to pay back the deficit over a longer period?

The arrangements for how this is done are made by the Schools Forum which has representatives from schools on it not the Council. They have set 5 years as the maximum. But this will be monitored closely and reviewed annually so further assistance can be given if necessary.

Isn’t the deficit caused by the PFI?

All schools have to spend some of their funding on running their buildings and this cost between 9% and 10% in most cases. The Forest Hill PFI cost 10.2% but in future this will be limited to 10% so that school is in the same position as those without a PFI.

What other changes has Forest Hill made to save money?

19 non teaching staff have been made redundant and there have been changes to the schools management structure.

Why are teachers at Forest Hill being asked to work longer?

The statutory maximum amount of time teachers can spend in the classroom is 90%. Teachers at Forest Hill currently spend 77% of their time with pupils and it is proposed to move this to 88%. Other Lewisham schools and schools in other boroughs are also reviewing their arrangements

Financial Wellbeing of Staff

In July 2016 a YouGov Shelter report found that more than one in three (37%) of UK households were teetering on the brink of homelessness, unable to pay more than a month’s rent or mortgage if they lost their income. 

Between 2008 and 2014 cost of living went up 28% whilst salary grew by just 9%. 

The Bank Workers Charity has produced a new report that highlights how £120bn of productivity is lost per year because of it and the actions employers can take to reduce the financial cost and negative impacts on our staff.


Full report:

‪http://thewellbeingpulse.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Employee-financial-wellbeing-Time-to-do-more.pdf