London Living Wage: not a priority for the Conservatives in Wandsworth

Author: Cyril Richert

Battersea Hustings, March 2022 – Credit: Wandsworth Citizens

It’s time for the audience to ask questions during the  hustings organised in Battersea for the local election. A person stood up and suddenly several other individuals got up too.

“Hi, I’m Jess. I’m 18 and I go to a local secondary school. I’m standing with other local voters who, like me, care about fair pay. I know what it’s like to be in a family on the minimum wage, and it doesn’t cover the essential costs like rent and bills – which are now rising. The Real Living Wage –  £11.05 per hour – is already paid by 23 out of 33 London Councils and would make a massive difference to low-paid workers locally. Will you and your party commit to Wandsworth Council becoming an accredited Living Wage employer if you’re elected this May, setting an example to local employers and making sure all workers providing services to the council – including those who are subcontracted – get a Real Living Wage?”

This action was part of a global campaign organised by Wandsworth Citizens, a local alliance made up of faith communities, schools and community groups in the borough. This group is linked to Citizens UK, a national organisation which has launched the Living Wage campaign (LLW) in 2001 and since then has won over £1.3 billion of additional wages, lifting over 260,000 people out of working poverty. Continue reading

New approach to planning? My ass!

Author: Cyril Richert

After 1 hour of thirty six minutes of debates at the last meeting of the year a few days ago, Councillor Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council, gave his view on planning reforms:

“New approach to planning? My ass!”

One can hear giggles on the Tory bench.

Continue reading

With climate change, are we taking enough notice of flooding zones?

Author: Cyril Richert

flood-20210726

Part of July saw heavy rain in London, and images of flash flooding made the news headlines. According to BBC news, parts of south-west London including Barnes, Raynes Park and Richmond had been affected.

Two weeks later, the flood become suddenly a main concern in Battersea as areas of Clapham Junction were flooded, such as St Johns Road and Falcon Road (both roads covering the Falconbrook stream running underneath, ironically). Continue reading

Ward boundary changes: final recommendation published for Wandsworth

Author: Cyril Richert

The Local Government Boundary Commission has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for Wandsworth Council. You will notice little changes from our previous interim report. The Boundary Commission purpose was to take into account the population change in most of the areas of the borough, especially with the huge increase created by the ongoing redevelopment in Nine Elms. The conclusion highlight two major changes: most of the wards have changed shape (the exception being West Hill which remains the same) and sometime names; and the number of councillors (currently 60) should be reduced at 58, with 14 three-councillor wards and 8 two-councillor wards across the borough.

A mix of Labour and Tory proposals for Clapham Junction

As we can see with the comparison below, the Boundary Commission final proposal is a mix between the Tory and Labour proposals (with a pinch of salt from CJAG, as you will see in our next section below). Continue reading

Winterville keen to return to Clapham Common in 2020, on Wandsworth side

Author:  Susan Lofthouse

Winterville has always proved controversial. There were frequent complaints about the noise and intrusion, and there was a sigh of relief when Lambeth Council decided it was not going to agree to its return in 2019.

As a consequence, last year was Winterville free, and Lambeth were able to carry out £200,000 of works to restore the damage caused by this, and other equally excessive commercial events. Continue reading

Bad journalism with the BBC

Author: Cyril Richert

On the last days of 2019, BBC News published an article on a main train station transformation project in Paris: Gare du Nord: Why Europe’s busiest station needs a makeover fast. This is a project that we have mentioned in October on CJAG’s website (here) and that we are therefore familiar with. After a (rather) balanced presentation of the opinions of different parties, the problem comes with the conclusion of the article:

“But truth be told, opponents of Stationord are fighting a losing battle.

Paris’s other big stations – Montparnasse, Saint-Lazare, Austerlitz – have already had their commercial makeover. Why would the Gare du Nord be any different?”

Continue reading

Clapham Junction is losing its DIY stores!

Author: David Curran

file-49

In the 1980s, Clapham Junction emerged as a profitable spot for DIY traders. Close to the city centre and full of nice-but-tired (and, at the time, just about ‘affordable’) housing, the DIY stores realised there was a huge appetite for property renovations and that they were on to a good thing.  Over the years a big B&Q, as well as two separate branches of Homebase, sprung up along the York Road, as well as a pair of Travis Perkins branches on Battersea Park Road and Lombard Road serving the more serious builders. Over the last three decades  lot of the materials that went in to renovating, upgrading and extending the houses of Clapham Junction (as well as the wider catchment north of the river) came from these big box stores.

But that’s come full circle now, and the DIY stores that did so much to feed the regeneration of the houses of Clapham Junction are themselves getting priced out of the area.

Continue reading