LIB DEMS CALL FOR IMPROVED SAFETY MEASURE

Redbridge Cllr Gwyneth Deakins with London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon outside the Assembly Building

CAMPAIGNERS have submitted a petition they hope will address “critical” safety issues at one of London’s most notorious traffic hotspots.

Roding ward Cllr Gwyneth Deakins met with her Liberal Democrat colleague Caroline Pidgeon at City Hall on July 26 to hand over her petition to improve safety measures at Charlie Brown’s Roundabout in South Woodford.

As chairman of the London Assembly’s transport committee, Cllr Deakins is hopeful Ms Pidgeon’s input will finally mean better safety at the notorious A406/M11 junction, which has seen resident complaints for over 20 years.

She said:

The 1970s infrastructure of the junction just isn’t good enough – it can’t cope with the volume and speed of 21st century traffic.

There are accidents there all the time and every time I see a cyclist cross it fills me with complete dread.

Transport for London say they are going to do something, but when we were in the same position eight years ago, the then-Mayor Boris Johnson dropped the plans.

The petition, which has collected over 500 signatures online and by post, calls for more pedestrian and cycling crossings and possible changes in traffic signalling.

Cllr Deakins added that the planned expansion of Nightingale Primary School in Ashbourne Avenue and numerous housing estates due to be built in South Woodford as part of the Redbridge Local Plan make swift action “critically important”.

More and more kids have to use Charlie Brown’s to get to schools like Oakdale, Beal, Woodbridge and Nightingale, so no action is putting their safety at risk.

The W14 also regularly drops families and elderly people off at the junction, who if they chose not to get a connecting bus, are left to fend for themselves crossing the road.

And with all the housing developments proposed for South Woodford in the Local Plan, it’s critically important improved safety measures are implemented as soon as possible.

Redbridge Council supported Cllr Deakins’ motion to commit to improving connectivity between proposed housing developments near the roundabout as part of the its 2015-2030.

London Assembly member for Havering and Redbridge Keith Prince said he was happy to back the petition.

As Assembly Member and deputy Chairman of the Transport Committee at City Hall I am happy to take up this issue.

I use the junction on a regular basis so I know it can be a bit of a nightmare for pedestrians, and it’s not much fun for drivers and cyclists either, as it’s so hazardous.

I agree that something needs to be done.

The petition, which can be viewed online, will be formally handed to London Mayor Sadiq Khan next month.

His office has been contacted for comment.

OLYMPIC PARK PLANNING APPLICATIONS UPDATE

 This is an update on the Olympic Legacy item

27 Aug 2016

In one month exactly the committee in charge of reviewing the Concrete Batching applications is scheduled to convene and make its decision, which is likely to affect tens of thousands of East London residents.

The plans have generated a massive and highly justified public uproar: nearly 10,000 citizens have signed this petition, and Objection Letters are pouring in to the LLDC website from developers, borough representatives and members of the public alike.

We’ve also submitted this week our own *OFFICIAL* Objection Document – in the name of everyone affected and everyone that have signed this petition. It is a 40-page long review of all of the projects’ momentous documentation. Our objection document summarizes and pinpoints all the many procedural improprieties, data omissions, implausible assumptions and shabby ‘survey’ work that was handed in to the LLDC by the applicants.

Read our objection, and see for yourself just what a mockery the applicants have made of the application process: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/opcrd/objection.pdf

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (who’s office has informed us that he “doesn’t have the authority to get involved”), was elected on a wave of big promises about ‘Clean air for Londoners’, and the need to clean and strengthen the weaker boroughs, more affected by pollution than other. So we thought he might want to see this video, shot yesterday afternoon – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlSdvBm7MKk (also at www.opcrd.org)

This is not a massive fire or the aftermath of an explosion – it’s simply a gigantic dust cloud spreading across Newham, carrying huge amounts of harmful particulate matter (PM. This concrete batching plant in this video is located less than 50 meters from where the additional 3 (!!!) are planned to be located…

Now is NOT a time to become complacent about this – share, engage and support, or these plans WILL become reality in exactly 1 month!

PROTECT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH POST BREXIT

PROTECT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PETITION

Finding a cure to cancer. Saving the planet from climate change. Sending Tim Peake to space. All of these depend on European funding and co-operation.

But Brexit will seriously endanger cross-European science co-operation – a disaster for British science, and a disaster for so many of the projects that will bring us a better future.

Sign the petition ▶

The Liberal Democrats are fighting back with a petition to save our science research from the blow of Brexit, by campaigning for guarantees to continued European funding and co-operation.

But, we don’t have long to get as many signatures as possible before our scientists take our petition to David Davis.

Sign the petition ▶

If we succeed, British scientists will stay at the front of international spaceflight, combating climate change and curing cancer.

OLYMPIC PARK – SO MUCH FOR LEGACY!!

Last year a planning application was submitted for the creation of London’s largest concrete and asphalt factory – right at the centre of the Olympic Park, and in the middle of a dense residential area.

This development would have a dramatic impact on the local area and residents, creating 3 concrete batching plants and an Asphalt production plant adjacent to a heavily used green space.

The proposed plants, which will be next door to London Athletics and the new UCL East campus, are to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with an estimated 900 heavy vehicles coming and going daily.

This will create an industrial blight on the area by introducing significant air, dust and noise pollution to what is otherwise a fast regenerating part of the city.

The planning applications have been submitted as four (4) wholly independent operations, without consideration given to their cumulative effects on an area now defined by new residential communities, pedestrian and cycling routes, recreational zones and athletics venues. There is a serious risk that hazardous chemical dust from concrete and asphalt manufacturing activities and associated vehicle fumes will raise air pollution to dangerous levels, resulting in asthma and other respiratory issues for the populations of Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

The full applications can be found on LLDC’s planning website at http://planningregister.londonlegacy.co.uk/swift/apas/run/wphappcriteria.display : PA Refs: 15/00368/FUL / 15/00400/FUL / 15/00414/FUL / 16/00194/SCRES].

The proposal is scheduled for review before the London Legacy Development Corporation’s (LLDC) planning committee as early as September 27th 2016. The LLDC was given special powers and a remit directly from the Mayor’s office to manage the Olympic Park area regeneration beyond 2012.

The LLDC is not directly accountable to local residents in the same way that the councils of Newham, Tower Hamlets or Hackney are. Consequently, the decision making of the LLDC will not always be in the interests of local residents. And it is the LLDC alone that has the final decision on whether this concrete batching development goes ahead.

The proposal of the concrete works is completely incompatible with the Mayor’s office ‘Clean Air for London Policy‘ or the current direction of residential and other developments planned for the area.

In order to protect the integrity and future development of the community, it is of paramount importance that a concerted effort be made by local residents and businesses to oppose this planning proposal NOW.

Please sign the petition today.

HALE END LIBRARY THREATENED WITH DESTRUCTION

Hale End Library threatened with demolition and more flats in its place

Issue number 133 of the Hale End and Highams Park ward FOCUS Newsletter leads with the news that Hale End Library is threatened with destruction by Waltham Forest’s Labour-controlled Council.

Local residents have been shocked to learn that the Council is planning to demolish Hale End library to use for housing.  The Council wants to make the library smaller by moving it to rented units from Tesco’s.

The Council’s usual response when they want to close a library is to say it is too large and is not well used by local people.  The same excuse was said when they closed the very popular Harrow Green Library in Leytonstone.  Residents are angry that their local library, the last civic building in Highams Park, is likely to be turned into a block of flats.  Residents are angry and have already set up a petition online.

Focus says:  Thousands was spent some years ago refurbishing Hale End library and to knock it down would be an act of vandalism.  If you agree with us please sign the petition. You can sign the residents’ online petition.

CHILCOT REPORT – Proud of my party for leading the way

Today is a day for reflection, as we consider the consequences of the fateful decision to go to war in Iraq.

Our first thoughts need to be with the families across the world who have grieved loved ones, experienced life-changing injuries, and witnessed destruction and despair often beyond description.

There is no justice that can compensate their loss, and today we have learned from the Chilcot Report what we all knew already in our hearts – it did not have to be this way.

Lib Dems were united in our opposition to war

For many members in my local party, the Iraq war was a genuine turning point.

Many others chose to join the Liberal Democrats when they saw Charles Kennedy step up to the challenge, in difficult times, and provide the strong, principled leadership our country so desperately needed.

In 2003, every Liberal Democrat MP voted AGAINST going to war in Iraq.

It was the right thing to do, and that has been proven again today. Sir John Chilcot’s report has shown that this was a war of choice, that options for a peaceful resolution still existed, and that our Prime Minister wilfully mislead parliament and the British people to march us into a war he had already decided to launch.

I was proud to see our leader Charles Kennedy refuse to compromise, despite enormous pressure and abuse pouring in from all sides, on the Liberal Democrats’ commitment to internationalism and respect for international law.

Charles Kennedy and Lynne Featherstone (Lib Dem MPs at the time) opposing the war

You can see Charles’ speeches below, he was a real example of principled leadership in a time of crisis. It is not just Liberal Democrats who are missing Charles today. Our whole country is all the poorer without him.

Finally, while Chilcot gives us the chance to reflect on past mistakes, we still have a duty to oppose the mistakes that our leaders are making today!

Right now, Britain risks cutting herself off from our most valuable allies and trading partners, putting millions of jobs at risk and doing massive harm to our economy. I’m proud of Tim Farron for showing equal determination and leadership to fight Brexit and put Britain back where we belong, at the heart of an open, tolerant, free, and prosperous Europe.

If you agreed with us in 2003, if you agree with us now in 2016 – it is time to join the party that is proudly and passionately fighting for the better future we all believe in.

P.S. You can see some great videos of Charles Kennedy’s speeches on Iraq in Parliament and at the anti-way rally in Hyde Park here (via Lib Dem Voice)

LONDON LIB DEMS CAMPAIGN FOR HALF PRICE FARES BEFORE 7.30AM

Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor calling for half price fares

Half Price Fares before 7.30am – join the campaign

Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor, Caroline Pidgeon, and London North East Lib Dem candidate Terry Stacy have set out plans for half price fares for journeys that start by 7:30am.

Lib Dem plans would offer half price fares on Underground, Overground and TFL Rail Services for people travelling by 7.30am. This plan builds on the Liberal Democrats pioneering work developing a one hour bus ticket.

Terry Stacy said:

This would help some of Waltham Forest’s lowest paid workers who often have to work unsocial hours. A half price fare scheme would also help to tackle overcrowding by encouraging home people to start their journeys earlier in the morning.

CAROLINE PIDGEON’S MANIFESTO FOR MAYOR OF LONDON

Caroline Pidgeon in discussion with the current Mayor, Boris Johnson

Caroline says:

London is a great global City. We must strengthen and enhance its place as the capital city of the UK at the heart of Europe.

But London also needs to work for everyone –not just the lucky few who can afford to isolate themselves from the problems facing most Londoners: a crisis in housing, cuts in community policing, crowded and expensive public transport which is ill suited to London’s dynamic economy and flexible working, overcrowded schools and poor childcare for working parents, and dangerously polluted air.

The Liberal Democrats have a positive and ambitious vision for a better London. Radical and realistic, a Liberal London would be fairer and greener, made possible because it is safer.

From cutting crime to keeping fares low, enabling world class education and better childcare for all our children, and building thousands of new homes, the Liberal Democrats have real solutions to the capital’s biggest challenges.

I am the ONLY Mayoral candidate with the experience of working in City Hall to improve the lives of ALL Londoners. Whilst the other candidates talk of their ideas for London, only I have fully worked out plans and the experience actually to make them happen.

This manifesto sets out our plans for London. We’ve based it on what Londoners say matters to them. But it’s not exhaustive – so please continue the conversation and let me know what you think.

It is time for a change. It is time for a Liberal London that works for everyone.

Caroline Pidgeon AM

Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London

You can see the full text of the Manifesto here: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/ldlondon/pages/863/attachments/original/1461068787/Manifesto_Easy_Read.pdf?1461068787

NETWORK RAIL PRESS RELEASE: GOSPEL OAK – BARKING LINE

Drop-in sessions at stations from Gospel Oak to Barking ahead of eight month phased closure

  • Network Rail and Transport for London will be holding drop-in sessions at stations to answer questions
  • Work to install new infrastructure will require a phased programme of closures from June this year
  • Journeys on the route to be improved and capacity doubled with new four-carriage electric trains from early 2018

Customers and local residents are being reminded that major upgrade work to the London Overground route between Gospel Oak and Barking will start from June 2016 as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan. An eight month closure of the railway is needed to carry out this vital work.

Ahead of the closure, staff will be holding a series of drop-in sessions from Monday 18 April to Thursday 5 May. Staff will be at a different station every evening peak (16:00-19:00) to meet passengers, answer questions and explain the works and what benefits they will bring, as well as details of alternative travel arrangements.

Network Rail is delivering the project, which is funded by the Department for Transport and Transport for London (TfL). The project will see TfL introduce new four-carriage electric trains to replace the existing two-carriage diesel trains from January 2018, helping to meet growing passenger demand.

Network Rail will be carrying out major work to electrify the line in two phases. From Saturday 4 June to Sunday 25 September 2016 there will be no service between South Tottenham and Barking. Trains will run on weekdays between Gospel Oak and South Tottenham, however not at weekends. TfL will be providing rail replacement buses which will operate along the route.

From Monday 26 September to February 2017, a full closure from Gospel Oak to Barking is required.

Network Rail’s route managing director, Richard Schofield, said:

We know this is a big change for people as we carry out the improvements and that’s why we wanted to get out and have staff at every station to meet passengers and local residents and answer any questions they may have. We’ll also explain the complexity of the work and the need for an eight month closure.

This investment will transform the service on this route, doubling capacity with cleaner, quieter electric trains and is a key element of our wider Railway Upgrade Plan.

Mike Stubbs, TfL’s Director of London Overground, said:

This work will allow us to run new longer walk-through trains on the line from January 2018, doubling capacity along the route. We recognise that there will be disruption to customers while the upgrade work is carried out and I’d like to thank them for their patience in advance. We will continue to work closely with Network Rail to see if the timescales they set out can be reduced.

In addition to these drop-in sessions TfL will provide detailed station specific advice to help get customers around throughout the closure. Information will be made available via email alerts, Twitter @LDNOverground, posters and announcements in stations.

In order to electrify the railway, overhead wires and structures to support them need to be installed as well as the construction of three new switching stations. To make room for this new infrastructure, four sections of the track will be lowered, four bridges will be rebuilt and a further six modernised. TfL will also be lengthening platforms and enhancing stations to accommodate the longer trains. Network Rail has already started work on the foundations for the structures that will carry the overhead wires.

From February 2017 onwards further works to have the line ready for electric trains will take place during evenings and weekends only and will be completed by the end of June 2017.