Agenda item

Petitions and Deputations

Petitions will be presented at the meeting by Councillors.

 

The deadline for the receipt of requests for a deputation is 5.00pm on Friday 16 July 2021. Email: wchandai@lambeth.gov.uk

Minutes:

A deputation was made to Council opposing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

·           Angela McFarlane and Georgina Shelly stated that they were representing five petitions and noted that LTNs had been implemented without consultation and were responsible for causing long-term suffering for the community, including the most vulnerable. Emergency LTNs needed to be removed with immediate effect and proper consultation and establishing pollution and traffic baselines. In particular, residents had noted approximately 60% of objections stated that their mental health and 30% their physical health had been negatively affected. There were concerns over children’s health and safety near roads with increased traffic, and some residents were considering moving home.  One school run had increased from 5 to 15 minutes and to nearly an hour on the return journey, access to health services had become difficult and one A&E trip had taken over 30 minutes. Many feared walking in LTN streets after sunset, with one resident using door-to-door taxis after having been mugged. LTNs restricted safe access to people’s homes and there was increased pollution, traffic and noise on roads outside LTNs. Delivery drivers were forced to navigate around barriers and deliveries were difficult and the sudden implementation had negatively affected businesses.

·           The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport, Environment and Clean Air, Councillor Daniel Adilypour, responded that LTNs aimed to allow residents, the majority who neither owned nor had access to cars, to move around safely and affordably after public transport restrictions caused by Covid-19. Businesses and town centres needed to be accessible to the public. The Council wanted to avoid a car-led recovery once restrictions were lifted. The deputation was an example of the democratic processes that LTNs had gone through, with many improvements made to the LTN scheme as a result of ongoing resident feedback. There was an upcoming consultation where all residents could input and would be based on recently gathered data. However, it was noted that a small minority appeared to dislike the democratic process and that criminal vandalism of LTN sites and barriers had taken place.

 

A deputation was made to Council in favour of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods:

·      Andrew Hetherington and Katrina Wright stated their support for the LTN scheme with many residents reporting improvements to their lives as a result of the LTNs. In particular, it was noted that residents’ health had improved, with one child no longer needing an asthma inhaler since traffic reductions, and they felt safer at night as roads were quieter and more people were around. Residents were now cycling or walking instead using cars or public transport, children could cycle to school on their own and one resident had reconsidered their position on LTNs and now cycled his children to school. LTNs were helping address climate change issues and lower carbon footprints. LTN equipment vandalism was a concern, which was dangerous for all road users and particularly when close to schools.  Vehicles drove through filters quicker and more frequently after damage to camera equipment and illegal behaviour would increase when filters were not enforced. Robust vandal proof structures were needed and the Council needed to work with Police to ensure enforcement.

·      The Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport, Environment and Clean Air, Councillor Daniel Adilypour, responded that it was important to have a balanced debate on the issue. Enforcement against vandalism for LTN equipment was being accelerated and perpetrators would be prosecuted. The vandalism put residents’ lives at risk and there was no justification for planters being damaged, oil being thrown on the road, and members of staff and contractors threatened and prevented from doing their jobs. Residents would be engaged via consultation so that both sides of the issue could engage and have their views taken into consideration. The overwhelming majority of residents opposed vandalism and Council would seek to implement physical closures if this continued.

 

A deputation was made to Council regarding Temporary Accommodation:

·      Davida Dawkins stated that she would like an end to temporary accommodation in its current form and noted that the number of homeless households was too high. When an individual became homeless, they were sheltered in a home that was not safe and posed health risks, and then charged to live in a low-standard home. Lack of funds was not an acceptable excuse for poor provision of homes nor was it acceptable for children to live in such conditions, given the detrimental effect on young persons’ mental health. Residents in Denby Court had lived in insecurity and residents felt that they were viewed as sources of revenue. Residents in temporary accommodation often had long waits to receive secure homes, were downgraded on the housing priority banding, felt separated from society, and removed from support networks, schools and areas of familiarity.  They suffered from depression and instability, with a large percentage from black and ethnic minority communities. The Council was urged to stop charging rent and council tax for low-standard temporary accommodation, give homeless households a higher housing register priority and work to reduce inequality and contribute to a fairer society. 

·      The Deputy Leader of the Council (Planning, Investment and New Homes), Councillor Matthew Bennett, responded on behalf of Councillor Maria Kay, Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness. Homelessness was a crisis across the country and was being driven by the shortage of genuinely affordable homes. Some Lambeth councillors had experienced homelessness and all were familiar with the scale of the crisis, but it was disappointing to see the scale of homelessness in one of the world’s wealthiest cities. Councillors worked with residents to complete repairs and this support would continue, with 60% of Denby Court families living in temporary accommodation now having suitable alternative accommodation. Central Government benefit cuts, declining building of genuinely affordable homes and falling incomes had forced families out of the private rented sector. Temporary accommodation had risen from 2,700 families in January 2021 to 2,915 in July 2021, with ten more families made homeless every week. The Council was spending £10 million a year on temporary accommodation and trying to ensure support networks were maintained.  However, 85% of temporary accommodation was leased from private sector landlords, the number of people bidding for housing was three times the number available and 30,000 people were on the waiting list who had to be assessed by need, irrespective of their housing circumstances. The Council needed to build homes and Lambeth was committed to deliver and support residents.

 

Council received two petitions:

·           From Councillor Jane Pickard with 600 signatures. This was for a 20 MPH speed limit in Crowndale.

·           From Councillor Ben Kind with 25 signatures from Brixton Water Lane residents wished to secure the car park on the estate.