In a truly efficient manner, Lewisham Councillors steered themselves through the Annual General Meeting, followed by meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Planning A, Planning B and then Planning C committees, then the Licensing Committee, then finally an Emergency General Meeting (EGM).
The EGM had three substantive issues to consider:
(1) Members' Allowances - as predicted we voted unaminously to a freeze in allowances this year.
(2) Housing Rents - following additional money from Central Government it has been possible to reduce Lewisham's rents slightly. However because of the late notice of the additional cash it has resulted in a lot of unnessary work for Lewisham at an estimated cost of about £6,500. Given that we'd agreed to set the rents at full Council about a month ago we need to suspend standing orders to permit us to look at that decision again - we did and rents will not increase as much as previously expected.
(3) Motion on the Lewisham Bridge School
In November 2006, Cllrs Flood and Page, along with every other Councillor present at that meeting voted for the following motion:
“This Council wholeheartedly endorses the decision by Mayor and Cabinet to select Lewisham Bridge as its preferred site for the new school to create an all-through 3-16 integrated school. This Council therefore agrees to work constructively with Mayor and Cabinet to minimise the risks associated with this project and overcome any potential obstacles in order to ensure the new school is delivered by the target date of 2010.
This Council also wishes to congratulate the long standing and vigorous campaign run by the Save Ladywell Campaign and The School for New Cross/Local Education by Parents groups. In particular this council commends the significant roles played by both Max Calo and former Councillor Helen Le Fevre”.
In April 2009, Cllrs Flood and Page proposed the following motion:
“This council notes that:
• Planning permission for the new school has not been given.
• The Environment Agency states that without further surveys the “proposed development poses unacceptable risks to the environment and we would object to the application”.
• The designs for the new school do not meet government recommendations for the provision of facilities across these age groups.
• Children are being disrupted just as they take their SATs by being decanted to the Mornington Centre.
• Concerns of the parents and local community have been consistently ignored.
This meeting calls on:
• Lewisham council to stop the decant and any changes to this site so long as all these issues are outstanding. Including a guarantee that the existing Lewisham Bridge building will not be demolished over the Easter period.
• Lewisham council and The Leathersellers Company to meet with parents and respond to their concerns.”
Following the formal proposal of the motion it was decided that the business be 'Not Put' - this was passed and as a result there was no formal vote on the actual motion proposed by Cllrs Page & Flood.
PS I was re-elected as Chair of Planning A!