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Clean up Kennington!

For many years, Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes and Lib Dem Councillors have been campaigning for improvements in the Kennington area, particularly around the tube station.

This area can all too often seem forgotten as it sits on the boundary between Lambeth and Southwark, with Transport for London in charge of Kennington Park Road.

For many people this area is the gateway to Southwark, and yet the environment around the tube station is not welcoming enough.

Your Lib Dem Team have launched a five point action plan calling for:

  1. Improvements to the pavements;
  2. More secure cycle parking
  3. Better street lights
  4. Improvements to the road surface for all road users particularly cyclists; and
  5. Kennington Tube Station to be re-zoned from Zone 2 to a boundary 1/2 station.

Save Walworth's garden

Newington Lib Dem Focus Team, working with local residents, is campaigning to transform the old police station garden, on the Walworth Road, into a community garden or park.

After years of standing empty, the old police station on Carter Place off the Walworth Road has been turned into flats. But the front garden area has now been sold to another company who want to build shops and flats on this open space.

Lib Dem Councillors and local residents put in strong objections and just before Christmas the plans were thrown out by Southwark Council. However, we fear that further applications will be submitted to build on the garden.

Boris says No to Brentfield bus petitioners

Caroline Pidgeon AM has joined Liberal Democrat councillors in Brent in expressing deep disappointment at the news that Boris Johnson has refused to act to provide more buses in the Brentfield Road area.

A huge petition from local residents was submitted to the Mayor by Liberal Democrats at a formal Question Time session last month.

Brentfield Road runs between Brent Park Tesco and Harlesden Station and is also home to the prestigious Neasden Temple, but is currently served by only two buses, the 206 and the PR2.

Transport for London also admitted recently that the frequency of buses on the PR2 route had deteriorated significantly in recent months.

Nevertheless, Mayor Boris Johnson replied to the Liberal Democrat-organised petition with a letter concluding: “TfL consider that Brentfield Road is adequately served by these routes and there are no plans at present to provide further bus services here.”

Lib Dem assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, the Chair of the Assembly's Transport Committee, said:
"There is clearly a huge demand for a bus in the Brentfield Road area and it is very disappointing that the Mayor refuses to listen to local people."

Lib Dems call for FCC to be stripped of its franchise

First Capital Connect admitted last week that the Thameslink service has been “appalling” and “totally inadequate” at a meeting with Chris Nicholson, the Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Streatham and GLA Transport Committee chair, Caroline Pidgeon.

Chris Nicholson asked for the meeting as disruptions on First Capital Connect’s service worsened over the last months. First Capital Connect’s Larry Heyman apologised for the reduced timetable, the inability of trains to run in the snow and incorrect information provided to customers. He acknowledged that some train motors struggled to cope with the snow and said that these would be replaced by next month.

Figures released today showed that just 62.8% of Thameslink trains ran less than 5 mins late in the period between 13 December 2009 to 9 January 2010. In the same period, 11.7% of all services were cancelled.
FCC trains were running late again today on the Bedford to Brighton line and some consisted of just four carriages instead of the normal eight. Other trains stopped short of their advertised destination or did not stop at all stops.

Lib Dems call for First Capital Connect to improve or lose franchise

Caroline Pidgeon has joined Streatham Liberal Democrats in calling for First Capital Connect (FCC) to improve its service for users of Thameslink from Streatham and Tulse Hill stations or lose its franchise. Their call comes in the light of continued cancellation of trains, delays and timetable restrictions which have been going on for months but have worsened since Christmas.

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Streatham Chris Nicholson said,
"The service being provided is completely unacceptable. It is particularly difficult for commuters have to wait ages for trains or buses in this freezing weather. Caroline Pidgeon and I are seeking an urgent meeting with First Capital Connect. Unless we get satisfactory answers to what is being done to restore a full service I will be asking the Department for Transport to consider stripping FCC of its franchise."

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat Chair of the Greater London Assembly Transport Committee added,
"I am getting reports all along the Thameslink line of the hardship that this is causing commuters. First Capital Connect must improve, and improve quickly!"

Better shelter needed at South Bermondsey station

Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat MP for North Southwark and Bermondsey, and Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member, felt the cold on Monday morning at South Bermondsey station. After being contacted by a local resident, Simon and Caroline visited the station to discuss the wet and windy conditions with commuters.

Simon commented “all those who use South Bermondsey station will know that it is extremely exposed. The current shelter is very small and inadequate. Recently, two of the roof panels have blown off. People waiting on the platforms face cold winds, particularly with the recent weather which we have been having. People are often forced to wait on the stairs as there is nowhere else to wait. This is completely unsatisfactory and dangerous.

Simon is raising the matter with Southern Railways who have recently been able to fund the repainting of the station in their colours, but have done nothing to improve comfort for their passengers.

Campaigning to make Hither Green station fully accessible

Lewisham Liberal Democrats brought Caroline Pidgeon AM, the London Assembly Transport Committee Chair, to Hither Green station to see the problems passengers face in accessing the station.

Local campaigners are calling for the closed-up ramps at Hither Green Station to be re-opened to ease access to and from the station. Currently only one ramp is open to passengers using the station. Re-opening the ramps would allow direct access to the platforms, and avoid the current need to use bridges to get to and from the station.

Caroline Pidgeon said:
"Re-opening the closed ramps would massively improve access to this station for those with mobility problems, pushchairs or luggage. I have just launched a five point plan to improve train stations across the capital, and better accessibility is one of my priorities."

School bus victory in Chessington and Hook

Families across Chessington and Hook are celebrating the success of a three year campaign for a new school bus to take local pupils to Hinchley Wood School. This will reduce traffic on the road and provide a quicker, safer route to school for many local children.

Transport for London confirmed just before Christmas their proposal to extend a journey on the current 467 bus route to and from Hinchley Wood School at school times. Subject to consultation with stakeholders (including the local authority, London TravelWatch and the police) the new service will be introduced from Monday 22nd February 2010.

Disabled people should not be second class citizens on Ilford buses

The Mayor of London will soon be hearing about access problems facing wheelchair users on Ilford buses following a recent visit to Ilford by Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson and Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee.

On Wednesday (16th December) Caroline took up an invitation from Councillor Shoaib Patel to visit Ilford and find out at first hand some of the specific problems facing wheelchair users in using local buses, with a detailed briefing provided to her by wheelchair user Max Reid.

The issues raised with Caroline Pidgeon and Councillor Patel included ramps frequently not working or being too steep and also the lack of space on some buses for wheelchair users. Caroline Pidgeon and Councillor Patel also heard about the unhelpful attitude of some drivers towards disabled bus passengers.

Following the visit Caroline Pidgeon has promised to raise all the issues raised in Ilford with Boris Johnson through a series of written questions at the next Mayor’s Question Time in January.

The Mayor just doesn't understand bus travel

The Mayor of London has rejected the proposal of a One Hour Bus Ticket despite recent unanimous support for the proposal from the London Assembly.

In response to a letter from Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson and Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, the Mayor has stated that he has “no plans to introduce such a scheme”.

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