Agenda item

Questions from Councillors

Minutes:

1.         Councillor Jonathan Bartley to Councillor Jack Hopkins, Leader of the Council:

Supplementary question

·           Councillor Bartley asked for council tenants’ reassurance that the ban on evictions would extend past the Council’s policy stated date of 24 August 2020.

Supplementary answer

·           Councillor Hopkins responded that the eviction policy was announced prior to the Government’s plans, and the Council, Labour party and LGA were pressing Parliament to extend, but there would be no Lambeth council tenant evictions during the pandemic.

 

2.         Councillor Tim Briggs to Councillor Jacqui Dyer, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Skills and Community Safety:

Supplementary question

·           Councillor Briggs asked that Councillor Dyer apologise to the police, the Council, and Black Lives Matter (BLM) as the BLM policy clearly called for the abolition of police and asked for the clarity on whether the Council was in agreement with the aims of the BLM movement.

Supplementary answer

·           Councillor Dyer noted that the BLM’s stated objectives in the USA and UK were different, especially with regards to policing.  The Council would continue to work with the police and on its commitment to the goals of Black Thrive and BLM.  These goals included tackling systemic racism in society and working with the police to improve their practices, for the benefit of 30% of Lambeth’s population.

 

3.         Councillor Jess Leigh to Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite, Deputy Leader (Housing and Homelessness):

Supplementary question

·           Councillor Leigh asked how many tenants and residents in Tenant and Resident Associations (TRA) were reflective of the borough’s population and how the Council would ensure this and the TRA’s reach could be improved.

Supplementary answer

·           Councillor Brathwaite stated her belief that TRAs should reflect the communities they represented, which was a recommendation of Lambeth’s Equality Commission and an over-arching Lambeth Plan ambition.  The Council appreciated the TRA’s work, but noted it was often disempowering being represented by people from a dissimilar background.  The diversity of TRAs had improved however, with 46% BAME members compared to 34% under the old Housing Forums, although not all TRAs were as diverse as possible.  She concluded by noting she would personally drive efforts to encourage diversity and asked colleagues to encourage those under-represented to become active members.

 

4.         Councillor Martin Tiedemann to Councillor Jim Dickson and Danny Adilypour, Cabinet Members for Health and Adult Social Care:

Supplementary question

·           Councillor Tiedemann asked for details on the outbreak control plan to minimise second wave of Covid-19, especially for BAME and migrant communities.

Supplementary answer

·           Councillors Jim Dickson thanked Councillor Tiedemann for his continued championship of the often-under-represented Latin American community.  Lambeth’s Outbreak Control Plan had been signed off by the 02 July 2020 Health and Wellbeing Board which would help prevent and alleviate future outbreaks and reduce transmission rates.  Lambeth had one of the lowest transmission rates in London and in the wider country, but the key to future response was communication and the Council would continue to ensure that all communities were reached and had the latest messages.

 

5.         Councillor Jon Davies to Councillor Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Planning, Investment and New Homes:

Supplementary question

·           Councillor Davies noted that whilst Homes for Lambeth (HfL) consultations had gone well, there were concerns about transparency, and asked whether some methods of consultation, such as the use of modern technology adopted during the Covid-19 period, would continue as it appeared to have encouraged participation.

Supplementary answer

·           Councillor Bennett responded that the HfL programme included many small site projects across the borough, including 200 homes for council residents.  It was noted that Lambeth had over 2,000 homeless families requiring temporary accommodation and Covid-19 was expected to cause further hardships.  Meetings were now held virtually and had seen an increase in participation and diversity especially from young people and BAME groups.  It was incumbent on the Council to use every resource to hear from as many people as possible, with newer forms of communication to continue alongside post and through freephone services.

 

6.         Councillor Pauline George to Councillor Ed Davie, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People:

Supplementary question

·           Councillor George asked what activities were being held over the summer holidays to engage Lambeth’s youth and prevent street roaming.

Supplementary answer

·           Councillor Davie paid tribute to Councillor George for her activity in supporting young people and stop them being victims of youth violence, and for volunteering as an intensive care nurse during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Lambeth had a comprehensive summer programme for its youth, and was available on the Council’s website via a new children and young people webpage.  This also included a special programme to help unlock those who did not regularly engage.

 

7.         Councillor Malcolm Clark to Councillor Jacqui Dyer, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Skills, and Community Safety:

Supplementary question

·           Councillor Clark noted that he had sent a letter to the Cabinet Member regarding anti-social behaviour (ASB) in Streatham Green, and asked for reassurance that ASB was being taken seriously and enquired as to the methods to do so to change ASB behaviours.

Supplementary answer

·           Councillor Dyer would ensure ASB reporting mechanisms worked as Lambeth emerged from lockdown, noting that ASB manifested in different ways and required a mixture of robust responses.  Both herself and the previous Cabinet Member focused on improving Streatham Green, and community safety was at the forefront of these concerns.  Councillor Dyer concluded by noting she was willing to discuss these issues with residents and other interested parties.

 

8.         Councillor Annie Gallop to Councillor Jacqui Dyer, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Skills, and Community Safety:

Supplementary response

·           Councillor Gallop noted her optimism on community developments increasing safety.

 

9.         Councillor Pete Elliott to Councillor Claire Holland, Deputy Leader (Sustainable Transport, Environment and Clean Air):

Supplementary question

·           Councillor Elliott asked if the Council could commit to all new homes being built to London Housing Standard (LHS).

Supplementary answer

·           Councillor Holland responded that the Council’s HfL business plan was a robust piece of work and would be delivered to the highest housing standards as required by law, the Local Plan and Government business regulations.  These sustainable and future-proof homes were delivered in concert with a broad range of groups with housing expertise; however, central Government needed to provide a more flexible legal framework for housing decisions to be taken on a local level. 

 

10.      Councillor Jane Pickard to Councillor Jenny Brathwaite, Deputy Leader (Housing and Homelessness):

Supplementary question

·           Councillor Pickard noted that the Council was reviewing the Fern Lodge parking and design improvements and asked how much was being spent on environmental improvements, whether residents’ suggestions would be incorporated, and when works were likely to start.

Supplementary answer

·           Councillor Brathwaite confirmed that £336,256 was earmarked for environmental improvements and would include residents’ suggestions on improved pedestrian safety, disabled parking bays, secure cycling facilities, upgraded green spaces and better recycling facilities.  It was expected that works would start by the end of the year.

 

 

 

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