Fresh Start

The Fresh Start Lewisham Needs - A Manifesto to Change Lewisham

 

Ross Archer for Lewisham Mayor

Dear Resident,

Lewisham has been controlled by Labour for over forty years and local residents are fed up with failing local services and increased local costs for them. It’s time Lewisham had a fresh start.

Whether it’s the axing of weekly bin collections, closing local youth clubs, stopping free swimming for under 16s, only building 6 new Council homes in 10 years from 2005-2015, the most failing secondary schools in London or handling a botched Compulsory Purchase Order for land around Millwall F.C., local residents feel let down and not listened to.

The Labour-dominated Council have racked up massive debts and have overspent to the tune of £13 million for the fourth year in a row. On top of this they have put Council tax up by 4.2% this year and are now asking Lewisham residents to pay the highest council tax in Inner London.

Labour in Lewisham are no longer putting the community first and are instead focused on their own internal political battles. The Labour party is complacent and arrogant in Lewisham and is putting politics before local people.

It’s time for a change. It’s time for a fresh start.

In last year’s general election, the Conservative vote share across Lewisham increased and the Conservatives are the only credible alternative to Labour in Lewisham.

We want to see a better and brighter future for Lewisham.

I have lived in South East London all my life. Originally growing up on a council estate in Bermondsey, before moving to Sydenham when I was seven. I have lived, worked, studied and volunteered in Lewisham. This borough means a lot to me and it hurts me to see the way the Labour party treat local residents’ concerns and issues with complacency.

It was a Lewisham school, Elliot Bank in Forest Hill, that finally taught me to read at the age of eight after I was failed by the worst primary school in the UK in Bermondsey. Education is vital and we need to make sure the next generation has a better start than those generations that have gone before it. That is why Lewisham Conservatives are committed to taking Lewisham’s secondary schools from the worst in London to among the best by 2022.

We want a council that listens to local people, cares about the things that they care about, and that works to achieve a better Lewisham for everyone.

At the moment this is not happening, and we want to change that.

In this manifesto we set out how we would work with you to make Lewisham’s education the best in London, build more council homes, more genuinely affordable homes, create a better local environment, support local business and invest in frontline services and give our borough the fresh start it deserves.

I know that together we can give Lewisham the fresh start it needs and deserves.

 

Ross Archer

Conservative Candidate for Lewisham Mayor

 

 

Our Key Pledges

 

  • Funding 10 new Police community support officers over four years.
  • Re-open the Millwall CPO inquiry to answer the real and remaining questions of what went on. Release all evidence from the Dyson inquiry.
  • Ensure no Millwall CPO takes place.
  • Re-introduce weekly bin collections.
  • Freeze Council tax for the first two years.
  • Ensure all Lewisham school students are going to a OFSTED rated good or outstanding school by 2022.
  • Investing at least an extra £750,000 in youth services across Lewisham to re-open youth clubs closed by the Labour Council.
  • Build 3,000 new homes a year in Lewisham. Build 1,000 new council homes over four years. Build 4,000 new affordable homes over four years
  • Campaign to re-zone Grove Park, Lower Sydenham and Beckenham Hill Stations to Zone Three, saving local commuters over £400 a year.
  • Guarantee that 60% of waste in our borough will be recycled, unlike Labour.

 

Cutting the cost of politics and restoring democracy and transparency

 

  • Live stream council and committee meetings. 
  • Host bi-monthly ‘Meet the Mayor’ sessions to give residents the chance to directly challenge and question the mayor. These will be held in local community halls.
  •  All Councillors and Senior Offices will be forced to declare meetings with stakeholders, developers and suppliers online within two weeks of the meetings taking place. 

  •  Will keep local ward assemblies and ensure funding and support for local ward projects is continued.
  • Review the Mayoral System and seek efficiencies.
  • Request the Electoral Commission to host a boundary review with the aim to reduce the number of local politicians, using money saved to invest in local services such as youth facilities.
  • Halve the size of the cabinet.
  • Re-open the Millwall CPO inquiry to answer the real and remaining questions of what went on. Release all evidence from the Dyson inquiry.
  • 20% cut to Mayoral and Councillor Salaries and allowances.
  • Ensure no council officer can earn more than the PM such as the former Chief Executive and current Chief Executive.
  •  Publish a clear, publicly available set of guidelines for residents and developers over what consultation on developments is required. If these guidelines are not followed, the developer will be breaking contracts with the council and action will ensue.

 

Housing:

 

  • Cancel the Millwall CPO and Beckenham Place Park development.
  • Create a Lewisham First Time Buyers Scheme for existing Lewisham residents.
  • Introduce a landlord licensing scheme for public and private landlords.
  • Introduce a local tenants’ forum for both social and private tenants.
  • Ensure minimum specifications for safety and security that cover electrics and physical security on all rented properties in Lewisham and new builds.
  • Introduce an Empty Homes Levy, which will be 3x the council tax on empty second homes and properties where non-residents hold the property for investment opportunities – money raised will be used to reduce homelessness
  • Bring Lewisham Homes in house so there is more accountability for their decisions and service.
  • Implement a range of local plans put together by residents to ensure developments are shaped by the community and not developers.
  • Ensure all new major developments are forced to accurately and in a timely fashion consult all residents, local business and concerned stakeholders before a planning decision can be granted.
  • Build 3,000 new homes a year in Lewisham.
  • Build 1,000 new council homes over four years. Build 4,000 new affordable homes over four years
  • Look into creating a Lewisham house building not-for-profit to drive up house building and new social and affordable home building.
  • Ensure empty Council and other social homes and brought back into use within 3 months. Explore options to bring private empty homes back into use within 3 months.
  • Ensure that 40% of new homes on major developments of over 100 homes are genuinely affordable.
  • Ensure 50% of new homes built are reserved for existing Lewisham residents.
  • Ensure 10% of new homes built go to local key workers such as teachers, nurses, fire fighters and police officers.

 

Ending Homelessness:

 

  • One person sleeping rough is too many, I will aim to eradicate homelessness in Lewisham by 2022 
  • Work with local shops to find new initiatives and schemes to help collect and make food available for those who are genuinely homeless and/or living in shelters.
  • Build at least two new homeless shelters in Lewisham.
  • Lewisham has too many empty buildings: I'll work with the community and charities to open more safe hostels for homeless people to stay with expert support to help people get back on their feet.  

 

Transport

 

  • Campaign to secure the Bakerloo Line extension to our borough covering New Cross, Lewisham, Catford and Lower Sydenham.
  • Campaign to re-zone Grove Park, Lower Sydenham and Beckenham Hill Stations to Zone Three, saving local commuters over £400 a year.
  • Explore options for DLR to be extended further South in the borough.
  • Help night time workers by ensuring more night buses and 24 hour train services run in the borough.
  • Campaign for London Overground Services throughout Lewisham to operate 24 hours on the weekend by 2022.
  • Campaign to bring the London Victoria to London Bridge (Southern Rail) train service under Transport for London’s control.
  • Demand an end to trains running fast through Lewisham stations from Southern and Southeastern whenever there are delays or service disruptions. 
  • Campaign for longer trains serving Cannon Street and Charing Cross from Lewisham stations.
  • I will set up a Lewisham wide commuter forum to allow residents to hold public transport providers to account.
  • I will set up a pothole response unit to fix all pot holes within 48 hours of them being reported.
  • Buses - Lobby for more bus routes across Lewisham, particularly connecting the South of the borough with East, West and North. 
  • Ensure only the greenest buses are used on Lewisham’s roads.
  • Ensure Lewisham's roads are the safest in London. 
  • Ensure Lewisham has more cycle lanes and train stations have spaces for cycles to be stored. 
  • Campaign against Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) introduction in its current form.
  • Review the 20 MPH local speed limit to ensure these are located in the most appropriate locations.
  • Ensure more pelican and zebra crossings are put in Lewisham’s busiest and most dangerous roads.
  • Ensure 50% of schools in Lewisham have a Gold Sustainable Travel Accredited and Recognised status

 

Education

 

  • Ensure all Lewisham school students are going to a OFSTED rated good or outstanding school by 2022.
  • Create an Education Improvement Unit where local teachers, parents, youth workers and other education stakeholders meet to discuss school improvements and local education policy.
  • Ensuring the majority of parents get their first two choices for secondary schools – a target of 95% getting their first two choices will be introduced.

 

Helping Young People

 

  • Investing at least an extra £750,000 in youth services across Lewisham to re-open youth clubs closed by the Labour Council.
  • Introducing a Child Online Safety Strategy.
  • Ensure local youth groups are financially supported to remain open.
  • Re-introduce free swimming for under 16s. Support concessions discounts for swimming in the borough.

 

 

Environment & Keeping the Borough Tidy

 

  • Zero tolerance approach to fly-tipping. Fly-tipping taskforce to remove fly-tipping within 24 hours of it being reported and prosecute perpetrators.
  • Re-introduce weekly bin collections.
  • Introduce free monthly garden waste collections in each ward.
  • Introduce more book banks, rag banks and recycle points across the borough, working with local charities to increase their fundraising.
  • Introduce Town Wardens to reduce littering, spitting and rubbish dumping in our streets.
  • More public recycle and general waste bins will be introduced.
  • I will guarantee that 60% of waste in our borough will be recycled, unlike Labour.

 

Improving Air Quality

 

  • All new major developments will have to produce an air quality impact assessment before planning permission is granted.
  • Lobby for the Mayor of London to extend the bus emission to include all of Lewisham.
  • Plant at least 3,000 more trees along busy roads to reduce noise pollution and Co2 emissions.
  • Ensure only the cleanest buses operate in Lewisham. 
  • Install 250 electric car charging points across Lewisham over four years.

 

 

Tackling Crime

 

  • Campaigning against London Labour’s Police Station Closures at Catford and Deptford and to campaign for new police stations in our borough. Look at options for the Town Hall to fund new and additional police counters across Lewisham.
  • Lobbying the Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to keep our dedicated Borough Police Commander.
  • Creating a Mayoral Crime Prevention Unit, which would meet monthly, where key stakeholders such as the Police, local youth services, schools, youth clubs and organisations, Neighbourhood Watches, and community leaders can meet to share intelligence and concerns.
  • I will fund 10 new Police community support officers over the four years.

 

 

Supporting Businesses and Local Shops and Employment

 

  • New ‘non-chain’ shops opening across the borough will be given a 100% discount on business rates for their first year of trading – this will help reduce empty shops on high streets and rows of betting shops.
  • I will limit the amount of betting and loan shops that can open and operate on high streets, controlling the number of betting shops, casinos, pawn shops and pay day loan shops.
  • I will host regular Mayoral job fairs throughout the year for some of the biggest local employers to showcase their vacancies and apprenticeships and also offer career advice and interview guidance to local people.
  • I will open 3 Council Drop-In Centres for people to get assistance with writing/submitting CVs and applications, interview preparation, key computer skills – this service will be offered to any Lewisham resident, not just young people.
  • I will work with leading internet providers and the Government to secure investment in super-fast broadband across Lewisham – Lewisham will go from the slowest Broadband area in South East London to the fastest.
  • Bring forward redevelopment proposals for Lewisham Town Centre to make Lewisham the best shopping and retail destination in South East London.
  • We will explore a local currency to encourage and incentivise people to spend locally and build brand Lewisham and support local shops and businesses.

 

 

Tax and Spending

  • Increasing Council support for those genuinely unable to pay Council Tax rather than relying on court orders to ensure a more moral and effective way of improving council tax collection rates. Increase referrals to budgeting advice for residents at risk.
  • Freezing Council Tax for the first two years.
  • Scrapping Council vanity projects such as Lewisham Life, political advisors and reduce political communication spending.
  • Lewisham’s council’s deficit and debt will be lower after four years than is currently.
  • Review Lewisham’s council contracts with suppliers and procurement deals to find at least 10% savings overall

 

 

Helping Older People

  • Create more seats in public places.
  • Keep community centres open and ensure they are age and disability friendly.
  • Increase number of public toilets in main high streets and encourage local shops to sign up to community toilet schemes.
  • Continue to increase funding year on year on social care.

 

Misc

  • Creating a Council App for accessing local services.
  • Ensure all of Lewisham parks have green flag status and that Lewisham has the best parks and public spaces in London.
  • Ensure at least one Cinema is opened in the borough by 2020. 
  • Improving street lighting across the borough.
  • Improve local pavements and roads and ensure potholes and uneven pavements are fixed within 48 hours and two weeks respectively, of being reported.

 

 

People

Ross Archer

Ross Archer is the Conservative Candidate for Mayor of Lewisham ahead of next election in May 2018.