Campaigning articles

Government cuts threaten Freedom Pass

Caroline Pidgeon joined Tom Brake MP and Lewisham Lib Dem councillor Chris Maines to highlight the threat that the Government's cuts pose to the future of London's Freedom Pass.

This cut would be a hit of £1.8 million on the council tax payers of Lewisham, according to Liberal Democrat Cllr Chris Maines.

“The Government are moving resources away from London and they are planning a cut that would effectively mean that cross borough travel on buses in London would not be funded.

“This would be a double whammy for Lewisham residents who were promised by Tory Mayor Boris Johnston that he would allow the freedom pass to used before 9.30am on local trains. A promise not yet kept.

Fighting overdevelopment at the Old Police Station Garden on Walworth Road

Caroline Pidgeon and Jelil Ladipo, Newington Lib Dem councillors, joined Canon Grahame Shaw from St Paul's Lorrimore local square, along with many local residents, to protest against overdevelopment of the Old Police Station Garden on Walworth Road.

“This is an overdevelopment of this site. Ideally we would like it to become a small community green space – much needed in this busy part of Walworth. The planning application is simply a bad design and far too big for this site, ignoring the historic design on many local buildings including the old police station. I hope the Council will reject it” commented Caroline.

Campaigning with Ed Davey and Chris Nicholson in Streatham

Caroline joined Ed Davey MP and Chris Nicholson, the Lib Dems Parliamentary Campaigner for Streatham, out and about in Streatham on Saturday 10th October.

"Local residents were telling us how unhappy they are with the poor housing services they are receiving in Lambeth" commented Caroline Pidgeon AM.

Chris Nicholson and the local Lib Dems are working tirelessly for Streatham residents all year round.

Lib Dems oppose doubling flights from City Airport

Leyton & Wanstead Liberal Democrats last Friday hosted a public meeting about the expansion at which London LibDem MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford and London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon spoke and a debate was held. Campaign groups 'Fight the Flights' and the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN) were also represented.

Newham Council recently agreed a more than doubling of flights from London City Airport from the current level of 73,000 flights a year. They are permitting 120,000 by the end of this year and 170,000 by the end of 2010. It is in fact believed (by Fight the Flights) that a further bid for 217,000 flights is contemplated, which would be a tripling of present capacity.

Streatham Police Station closure plans to be dropped

Local residents and Streatham Liberal Democrats are celebrating the news that the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) is planning to drop its plans to close Streatham Police station.

A panel of the MPA was set up last year to reconsider the controversial plans to close police stations across London following vocal protests from residents and Liberal Democrats across the capital. In Streatham local Liberal Democrats led by Parliamentary Spokesman Chris Nicholson collected a petition of more than 2000 signatures opposing the closure. The petition was presented to a meeting of the MPA last year which as a result decided to set up the panel to reconsider the plans. It is understood that the panel is now recommending that the MPA proceeds with the proposals in a few Boroughs where there was support for the plans but will drop the plans for Lambeth.

Transport campaigns in Forest Hill

On Friday 4th September Caroline visited Forest Hill with local Lib Dem Councillors John Russell and Alex Feakes to look at a number of transport issues.

Talking to local residents and members of the Forest Hill Society, Caroline heard about several key transport issues, several of which Caroline has tabled questions to the Mayor about:

1. The proposed reduction in train services from Forest Hill at peak times and in evenings and weekends to Charing Cross;

2. The dangerous junction of Forest Hill Road and Sydenham Rise;

3. The virtually invisible bus stops on Sydenham Rise due to overgrown trees, bushes and no dedicated bus space to pull in by the kerb; and

4. Issues of visitor traffic around the Horniman Museum, congesting local streets.

Graffiti problems at St John's station

Caroline visited St John’s station in Lewisham to witness the huge amount of graffiti that appears all over the station and on surrounding walls.

“There needs to be a simple way to report such graffiti and other environmental nuisance at stations and other transport areas as there are so many train companies and public bodies involved it is difficult to work out who is responsible. I have called on the Mayor of London to look at introducing such a website or web pages” commented Caroline. (See Caroline's question to Boris Johnson here.)

Fury at plan to close station exit

Southeastern Trains' plan to close the Tesco side exit from platform 4 at Lewisham Station has been met with fury by local residents. The rail operator intends to divert passengers down a new staircase or lift and under the railway to the entrance of Lewisham DLR Station. It is a detour which will add at least four minutes to journey times.

Caroline visited the exit at rush hour with local councillors and Lewisham Deptford Lib Dem Campaigner Tam Langley, to see the number of people using the exit.

“Southeastern trains need to reconsider this decision and ensure that all entrances to the station can be used” commented Caroline Pidgeon AM.

New train secretly axed

Caroline recently visited Lewisham with Lib Dem Campaigner Tam Langley and local councillors to look at the wider impact on train services of the East London Line Extension and proposals to delete the South London Line.

As part of the deal to secure the East London Line Extension, Transport for London and the Government agreed behind closed doors to scrap the promised Bellingham to Victoria service. This was being introduced to mitigate the impact of the planned closure of the South London Line which runs on a loop form Victoria to London Bridge. The planned service would have been four trains and hour from Bellingham to Victoria via Crofton Park, and provided a lifeline for Lewisham residents.

The Lib Dem Prospective MP for Lewisham Deptford Tam Langley, said, "TfL are supposed to announce any change of plans for this new service publicly, but they seem to just hope local people won't notice. We hope they will reconsider”.


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