Agenda item

Petitions, PNQs and Deputations

No public notice questions were received.

 

Petitions will be presented at the meeting by Councillors.

 

The deadline for the receipt of requests for a deputation is 5pm

18 January 2019. Email: wchandai@lambeth.gov.uk

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

To suspend Committee Rules and Procedure 10.3, to allow three deputations (instead of two):

 

Yvonne Ellis on Sexual Abuse awareness in the community, addressed Council and noted the following points:

·         She was a Lambeth resident and founder of Daughter Arise which supported survivors of sexual abuse. In 2010, she set up the Daughter Arise organisation to support sexual abuse survivors.

·         Over the last eight years, as a volunteer, she had seen how sexual abuse had negatively affected lives. People suffering from sexual abuse did not want to talk about sexual abuse because of its ugly nature. Most people suffered in isolation and silence because they felt shame and suffered from a fear of people finding out about their experience. Such experiences affected people’s mental health, self-esteem and confidence. 

·         The issue affected many communities and the situation was not improving and she wanted to seek a partnership with the Council to support residents as sexual abuse had an impact in all aspects of life.

·         She wanted to work in partnership with the Council to raise awareness of the issues and to challenge sexual abuse. More awareness was needed to be raised so that people were aware of the services available to them.

·         There was a requirement for such a service and more could be done to better advertise the services so people were aware of the services when they needed to use them.

 

 

The Cabinet Member for Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Community Safety, Councillor Mohammed Seedat, responded and made the following points:

·         He thanked Ms Ellis for her heartfelt reminder of the issues survivors had to face on a regular basis. He could not imagine the difficulty that survivors go through especially considering a large number of the population had to live abuse in reality and online and lived in fear of themselves.

·         Often survivors of sexual violence felt like the incident from which they suffered was their fault and it was important to be clear that it was not.  The Gaia Centre was a service that the Council was proud of (and in which the Council had invested £6.5 million since 2012) and a service which was helping at least 1600 women every year but this was not enough.

·         The problem in relation to sexual abuse was far greater. At least 5,500 reports were made to the Police in relation to violence against women and at least a third of those related to sexual violence. 

·         It was important that the borough had champions and the Gaia Centre wanted to empower women so that they could remain champions. It was also important that men were aware of the issues.

·         There should never be taboos regarding the subject of sexual abuse, including social or cultural ones. There were other related problems in the community such as forced marriage, genital mutilation, “honour” based violence or sexual abuse. These issues needed to be dealt with and the Council would continue to work with its partners to resolve this issue.

·         Lambeth, the community and Daughter Arise would continue to work together.

·         The Mayor noted his thanks to Ms Ellis and all her work to raise sexual abuse awareness.

 

ii.  Laura Swaffield and Unison Members on funding for libraries in the Medium Term Financial Strategy, made the following points:

 

·         Between 1985-2015, the Council closed a third of the borough’s libraries and reduced funding by three quarters. Since 2015, the Council had ruined four of the remaining ten libraries by reducing staff and making them smaller.

·         The remaining six proper libraries suffered from high demand, were overrun and people had to be turned away. This reduction in service had not saved money but had cost more money than the previous service.

·         The Council’s policy impact assessment stated that should such a reduction occur, then it would disadvantage those the Council considered as priority such as older people, young people, disabled, poor, those needing help with IT and English language. Libraries had been observed for a week to see how they worked and it was clear that they did not work.

·         The waste had been calculated at about £8 million and rising. Over £3 million had been spent on one of the properties to invest into a gym, which was not needed, and £3.5 million in another property (West Norwood Library) to open a cinema. Both the businesses had the properties rent free for five years. More cuts were also expected to be made.

·         Running a library only cost £120,000. For this, a frontline service would be provided, residents would have a safe place to go, staff would be trained to provide other services, Programme and Events were also provided, including those involving members of the black and LGBT community amongst others. These events brought people together and met people’s real needs with little funding required. Staff were not asking for more money but simply to stop sabotaging the resource.

 

The Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, Councillor Sonia Winifred responded and stated that:

·         Libraries were an important subject to her and a matter close to her heart. She had worked in libraries for over 20 years. Sharing that history brought herself and library staff together. Many years ago she had the opportunity to start working in a library it did give her the opportunity to work in a library and realise the efficient librarian service see what library service looks like.

·         It was important to be able to share the training that library staff had with members of the public. Equality and diversity was at the forefront of the provision of the services provided. 130 public libraries had closed in the UK in the past year, but none in Lambeth.

·         The Council had worked to improve libraries in the backdrop of funding pressures and had been successful. The libraries had been kept open and some have been refurbished including Brixton, Streatham, Upper Norwood and Clapham and had improved the offer available to individuals online. In relation to diversity, over 2000 people attended the last Black History Month event.

 

The Mayor noted his thanks to Ms Swaffield for her deputation.

 

iii.  From Tamora Langley on making Milkwood Road safe for Jessop Primary School pupils, children using Milkwood community park and local residents and to introduce traffic calming and a crossing, noted the following points:

 

·         The walk to school with both her daughters was scary as Milkwood Road was known as a risky area for pedestrians. The road was useful to drivers who enjoyed driving fast as it was a wide and straight road. Although there was the speed limit of 20mph in the area, the speed watch system had found cars in the area to run at 40mph. The average speed in the area was 30mph.

·         The positive speed indicators for road safety did not appear to be making enough of a difference. The area was a tricky area even for an adult to across the road, including one parent whose child had been hit by a car. Most times it was not clear which way the traffic would be approaching.

·         The school considered one part of the road unsafe to use as an exit.  The issue regarding Milkwood Road had been raised in the past. A petition had been placed online which had raised 351 signatures. Some of these signatures have to be taken out as they were not local. Initial measures to assist in the area was welcome as it would help with cars swerving around, however, the area was still not safe for children walking to school.

 

The Cabinet Member for Clean Air and Environment, Councillor Claire Holland responded:

·         This was an issue that residents, teachers and parents had worried about for a long time and had been something the Councillor Jim Dickson and Councillor Pauline George had raised with her. Road safety was a top priority and the Council had signed up to the London Mayor’s Vision Zero programme.

·         One accident was one too many and she was sorry about the incident involving a child. The Council was determined to implement road safety on a borough wide basis.  She had gone to Milkwood Road and was aware that the area could feel hostile because of cars and speed in which they travelled.

·         One previous attempt to deal with the issue had been objected to by emergency services due to the negative impact it could cause to them. The ability for emergency services to adequately do their job was important but the Council could not negate its responsibility to the community. Plans were underway to draft appropriate measures and this would be consulted with residents.

·         Officers would place temporary measures such as signage. She was happy to visit and examine the area further. One idea being explored involved closing the street for specific time periods, specifically the beginning and the end of the school day. It was important to find a solution to the issue and make roads safer. 

 

Petitions

The Mayor noted that he had received an additional petition relating to Fern Lodge since the last meeting of the Council.

 

Council received five petitions:

i. From Councillor Jim Dickson, with 351 signatures relating to residents living in Milkwood Road who would like to see improved traffic calming, new pelican crossing and an improved enforcement for the 20mph limit.

ii. From Councillor Jon Davies, with 15 signatures from residents who did not want their cul-de-sac to be turned into pedestrian route.

Iii. From Councillor Ibrahim Dogus, with 700 signatures for not cutting trees down outside Bayliss Road

iv. From Councillor Ibrahim Dogus, with 250 signatures for residents against the new entrance to Southwark Station.

v. From Councillor Marianna Masters, with 205 signatures for safer traffic in Valley Road.