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Welcome to the website of Lambeth Liberal Democrats

Welcome to our website. Here you can find news, views and contact information for Liberal Democrat Councillors in Lambeth

Latest News

  • Article: Feb 12, 2015

    So Labour-run Lambeth Council has just announced that it is now preparing to sell-off the Minet and Waterloo libraries?

    What's new?

    And it is also proposing to stop funding the Durning, Carnegie and Upper Norwood libraries - which will probably have the same result.

    Already there is outrage that such a calamity could be inflicted on local people and already
    Lambeth Labour has its stock defensive response in place - it's all the fault of Government budget cuts.

    Funny that. Because some of us remember that these self-same Labour Lambeth library closure plans have been kicking around since at least the late 1990s. Same libraries, same Labour-run council, same Labour cuts, same Labour closures.

    One big difference back then, though, and right up to 2010 - we had a Labour Government in power. Odd that.

    So before everyone starts manning the streets to protest in response to Labour's carefully orchestrated dog-whistles, perhaps it is worth reflecting that however important libraries are to community cohesion - and Liberal Democrats have always been powerful advocates of local libraries - the plain facts are that out of the 32 London Boroughs the Labour-run Lambeth libraries are among the worst.

    That's not just our view but that of the Institute for Public Finance Association (CIPFA) whose latest statistics show Lambeth libraries as having the lowest number of active borrowers and visits, the lowest number of book issues and the lowest number of books in stock. In stark contrast, the CIPFA also found that Lambeth has the highest cost per library visitor.

    Hardly surprising when Labour councillors pushed to have a new library in Clapham built by a private developer on Council land but hadn't factored-in any running costs - which eventually turned out to be the highest in the borough. Chaos just heaped on muddle.

    In fact the only period in recent years when this dismal downward spiral was checked and book stocks and book loans actually increased was when the Liberal Democrat-led coalition was running things for just four years down in Lambeth Town Hall.

    Reel back to those pre-Millenium days, though, and what do we find? Exactly the same situation. So why is it that Labour seems so utterly inept at running libraries in Lambeth that they now want to hand this decades-long political hot potato over to the community to run and solve for them?

    And why is yet another expensive 'consultation' being launched rather than just knuckling down and getting on with the job as so many local authorities do successfully up and down the country?

    You might even wonder, then, what is the point of having the best part of sixty smiley-faced Labour councillors all happily drawing a basic salary of £10,597 and goodness knows how many others on a cabinet salary of £28,518 on top of that?

    Try asking one of them in Gipsy Hill, Vassall, Waterloo, Herne Hill and Princes wards next time they call at your door?

  • Article: Jan 14, 2015

    Research by the Waterloo Community Development Group suggests that the steady erosion of office and other employment generating space through conversion to residential use has resulted in the dramatic loss of up to 12,000 jobs over the past decade.

    Despite being given a dispensation by central government from new national rules which make conversion from commercial to residential easier, it appears the Council hasn't been using the exemption for which they lobbied. It has meanwhile ignored its own planning policies in this connection.

  • Comment Logo
    Article: Dec 5, 2014

    It really beggar's belief just how badly Labour politicians have treated Streatham residents by failing to argue a case for a tube extension.

    With 29,000 people travelling by bus to Brixton every morning from the south of the Borough, the improvements to journey times, congestion and air quality which could be achieved by a tube extension to Streatham are obvious.

    Yet Lambeth's Labour Council remains horizontal in complacency. In recent Council papers, they called their Lambeth Transport Plan, formed in 2011, "a comprehensive piece of work". Yet its words on a Streatham tube, "Lambeth will continue to lobby for improved underground links for the South of the borough as there would be a huge benefit to the Streatham/Norwood areas if this could be achieved" have proved hollow. It is difficult to know how they could "continue" to do something they never even started.

    Instead of backing a Streatham tube, Labour councillors voted specifically to endorse a Northern Line extension - mainly supported by Tory-controlled Wandsworth - to the new millionaire's quarter being built in Battersea. They did so despite express warnings from officials that "the extension…would preclude any alternative extension of the Northern Line to areas such as Brixton and/or Streatham."

    By contrast neighbouring Southwark and Lewisham have successfully lobbied for an extension to the Bakerloo Line to benefit their Boroughs. Not so the 59 Labour councillors on Lambeth Council. Has any one of them made a concerted effort for Streatham? Has the local Labour MP for Streatham lifted a finger?

    To add insult to injury, there's now there's chaos at Brixton Tube. 27.2 million entries and exits each year (based on 2013 figures) cause crowding and queues at the best of times and the situation is worse still while the station's creaking escalators are replaced between now and next summer. Travellers are being told to go elsewhere to relieve the crush. Clearly, a choice of stations going south of Brixton would relieve much of the pressure.

    Having led the successful campaign to save the much-needed cross-London Thameslink overground service through Streatham station, Lib Dems are determined to see Streatham on the tube map. But Lambeth's Labour Council still refuses to commit to any work on the project. They even voted down a Lib Dem motion calling on Lambeth to investigate the case for Crossrail 2 to serve the Borough. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

  • Comment Logo
    Article: Oct 16, 2014

    Lambeth Labour has finally conceded defeat by announcing it is to scrap Lambeth Living, its costly ALMO (Arms Length Management Organisation)

    Born into this world in secret after the 2006 local elections this white elephant is finally to be put out of its misery following the June 2014 local elections, despite nery a word spoken in public about it by Labour during the campaign. New Cabinet Member Matthew Bennett strenuously denied that such a prospect was even remotely on the cards even as he took office.

    Liberal Democrats vehemently opposed the creation of the ALMO in the first place. Labour politicians then set up a dodgy poll of tenants and leaseholders promising a whole raft of improvements and cost savings. They also told tenants that voting for the ALMO would guarantee heaps of money from a friendly Labour Government that would transform their dire living conditions. Even this was not persuasive to perceptive residents, more of whom voted "No" and "Don't Know" to setting the organisation up than voted "Yes". Yet Labour ignored that verdict and ploughed on. In the event, not one penny of the promised funds arrived until the Labour Government was ejected from office.

    The best news for Labour was that the ALMO they'd created meant none of their raft of elected councillors nor their run of expensive cabinet members had any direct responsibility to their tenants - still less to leaseholders - for the catalogue of housing disasters that ensued.

    The management of leasehold properties has been a disaster, with millions being lost through mismanagement and homeowners forced to pay through the nose through overpriced contracts, while tenants have suffered misery from a failing repair service. Lambeth LIving's first chair was even forced to resign after being arrested on fraud allegations and later convicted.

    After the 2010 general election, the new Coalition Government announced that Lambeth was to be awarded £100 million, the highest amount of Decent Homes cash in the UK. And the Government has made hundreds of millions more available to Lambeth by reforming housing finance. Labour then cynically claimed credit for these funds - refused to Lambeth over a decade from their Labour colleagues in Westminster - at the same time as attacking the very government which made them available.

    Meanwhile, local Lib Dems rejoiced with tenants when decades of neglect came to an end with the funds from central government, and a programme of estate improvements began in earnest. Yet even this has proved too much for Lambeth Living with councillors finding their inbox full of cases where works have been botched by the organisation's expensive contractors.

  • Article: Jul 25, 2014

    Elderly and vulnerable residents in three Streatham Sheltered Housing schemes are celebrating victory having overturned plans by the Labour-run council to demolish their homes after a vigorous campaign supported by local Liberal Democrats.

    Labour planned to evict the residents and demolish three sheltered housing units in Streatham as part of its plans to increase Extra Care facilities in Lambeth. Residents were furious that their communities were being sacrificed to provide a model of care that they did not want or need. Now Labour's Cabinet Member Cllr Jim Dickson says that the homes will not only be saved but upgraded and improved.

  • Article: Jul 7, 2014

    A dangerous and confusing green traffic signal in Streatham has been eliminated by quick action from local Lib Dems.

    The errant green signal is situated at the end of Ambleside Avenue in St Leonard's ward where traffic is directed in three directions and into three lanes. Traffic can go right into the St Leonard's one way system, use the centre lane for a dog-leg straight ahead phase into Garrads Road, or use the left-hand lane to turn left towards Tooting.

  • Alex Davies
    Article: May 26, 2014

    We have now had the results of our local elections in Lambeth. It's been a bruising time for Liberal Democrats here and across inner London.

    On behalf of all our candidates, I want to thank everyone who gave their time and energy to our campaign, and the thousands of residents who supported us. In many of our wards we ran Labour close, but there just weren't enough votes for us to win this time.

    Whether in good or bad times, I am struck by the great group of people we have to work with. We have a rich range of characters - talented strategists, empathetic advocates, insatiable optimists and firm realists. We hold in common a strong sense of obligation to our communities, and an extraordinary dedication to our campaigns. Together we are a formidable team which can and will once again be a formidable force in local elections here.

    In the meantime, thank you again to everyone for their support and commitment to our cause. I look forward to better days ahead for our Borough and for our Party.

    With all best wishes,

    Alex Davies
    Leader of the Lambeth Lib Dem Councillors for 2014

  • One canopy being dismantled behind Sternhold Avenue
    Article: May 20, 2014

    The report Lambeth didn't want you to know about

    An anonymous leak of findings by a Government planning inspector has led to the sensational discovery that all three contentious sidings canopies at the Streatham Hill railway depot could have been dismantled if Lambeth Council had not caved in.

    In the course of a 2010 public inquiry into the development the Council did a deal with Southern Rail to remove enforcement action against the overbearing depot development if the railway company agreed to remove one canopy, the one nearest residents' homes in Sternhold Avenue, Streatham Hill. Some 100 properties are affected.

  • Lib Dem logo
    Article: May 9, 2014

    Lambeth Liberal Democrats have a launched their manifesto for the 2014 Borough elections, setting out five key priorities:

    1. Upgrade street cleaning and making streets safer

    2. Create local jobs and apprenticeships

    3. Scrap Lambeth Living and secure more affordable housing

    4. Set up a Ward Investment Fund to be spent by Community Councils

Caroline Pidgeon