21 November 2007

£10,000 - Have Your Say

Over the last few weeks Brockley residents and community groups have been coming up with ideas on how to spend £10,000 set aside for projects in our neighbourhood.

Those ideas will be presented at a local meeting, where you are invited to ask questions and have your say on where the money should go.

Your local ward councillors will be there to:

• Discuss the spending ideas and hear your views
• Answer questions about other issues in your area
• Deal with any individual casework afterwards

The time
Tue 27 November 2007, 8pm
The place
George Lewis Room
St John’s Church
Lewisham Way, London SE8 4EA

In addition to the public meeting we're hoping that Brockley Nick will be able to host an on-line poll for us on the brockley central blog. Check it out in a day or so!



10 November 2007

Mayor's Budget Summit

I went to an all-party summit hosted by the Mayor on the budget today. This year's budget will be dominated by the financial pressures within Adult Social Care.

The summit started with a presentation from the Director of Resources explaining how the Comprehensive Spending Review might impact on Lewisham - generally not likely to be good. She spent much time explaining that Lewisham will be 'on the floor' - by which she meant that the central government funding will be tight for Lewisham - perhaps inflation plus a bit. So the chances of more for recyling & waste services in Lewisham seem slim.

The flexibility that Whitehall is planning to offer local councils through removing some of the ringfencing from £5bn worth of grants appears to be rapidly evaporating and further Lewisham will be amongst the 30-odd councils not covered by these grants!

So what might happen...

The Mayor set out his funding priorities as being:

* Adult Social Care
* Tackling Crime & Anti-social behaviour
* Services for Young People
* Enhancing sustainability

He also set out a range of plans by which he is considering cuts/budget savings/efficiencies he proposes to permit the funding of the above priority areas...that is he proposes a wholescale transfer of funding from existing services to the above areas. The cuts packages will need to examined in detail to see whether these are palatable. Needless to say as it covers £10M worth of proposals it is likely to be challenging and there will always be scope for opposition to these. Nevertheless the priorities set out by the Mayor are also important. No doubt the papers will be full of the impact on these services in due course.

He also alluded to the self-imposed cap on Council Tax of 2.5% - perhaps this is up for discussion too?

1 November 2007

'No' to Brockley Road Betting Shop

Lewisham's Licensing Committee rejected the application for a betting shop licence at the 'Homeview' video shop on the corner of Brockley Road & Adelaide Avenue at its meeting this evening.

The applicants were clearly shocked by the decision as despite their thorough preparation it was clear that they had expected the new gambling laws to mean that the committee should have nodded the application through.

However, taking on board the concerns of residents in relation to vulnerable people, the committee took the surprise decision to reject the application outright with no scope for there to be any conditions attached that could overcome these concerns.

There will inevitably be an appeal - and certainly the committee will have been made aware of this. However, one of the committee members explained to me the act & guidance refers to 'vulnerable' people without providing any suitable means of identifying who these are. Clearly, as the applicants in appealing will need to address why the committee was wrong to highlight 'vulnerable' people in its decision, there may be scope for this decision to set legal precedents and much needed detail to the Gambling Act.

Of course as this issue progresses through the courts there is always the consideration that the political choices made in 'liberalising' gambling in this country could now be reviewed - in much the same way as super casino for Manchester was shelved right at the start of Gordon Brown's appointment as Prime Minister. Certainly Lewisham Councillors need to think if there is anyway in which they influence this.

Cllr Michel for Ladywell was there representing the views of the Green Party Councillors and supporting local residents all the way. Well done Ute. Well done residents.