Waterloo - local groups

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Saturday 3 March 2007 12.17pm
(another one from the Architecture student for her research project)

This is quoted from the WCDG Annual Report 2005/2006. I'd like to know if there are any comments from residents of Waterloo? (or anyone else)

Waterloo has had little effective strategic governance, but many effective local groups...who havent always agreed on things. (to put it mildly!)

Any comments on ineffective governance or effective but fragmented local groups?

Sunday 4 March 2007 7.35am
Interesting question. But perhaps there are as many views as groups...or even individuals.

Powerful, long established, and effective grups include South Bank Employers Group (think big landowners not employers), Waterloo Community Development Group, and Coin Street Community Builders who probably founded the first and, if the presentation at WCDG the other night is to be believed, grew out of the second.

This thread gives some background

but these strong lobbies, with others, have existed for perhaps 30 years, and through various disputes, internal splits and alliances. There are extra problems at the moment because of the ending of the £19 million SRB and a scramble for any other funding that is around. (This I understand is true of many SRBs, espcially those where a significant portion of the money was spent on community workers.)

The references to "community assets" and an audit of same (I think this came up at WCDG) may indicate a live issue. Founders Place is certainly one (it is about a planning aqpplication turned down on conservation area grounds, in case you find it difficult to folow the plot/thread)and there are two versions of the Paris Gardens ball court a year or two back. Lower Marsh and the pilot Business Improvement District was slow to get going. And this I am told is nothing new.

That said there have been real sucesses. London Eye, Hungerford Bridge, and potentially and after years of deadlock, Jubilee Gardens. (All that is needed is the money.) Also perhaps the wealth of community facilitiees either present or planned around Coin Street. (Old grouches like me might question why they are at the tip of a peninsular and in the corner of two boroughs, when residents of the big estates closer to Vauxhall, or those squeezed in around Waterloo, have so much less, but at least they have happened, which is not always the case with large projects in other parts of Lambeth.)

I also feel that there are two Waterloo communities. The "official" community, who are involved in groups etc, and then the people who live there and have ordinary lives, some of whom have been burnt by the ferocity of the politics and so leave well alone.

In terms of strategic governence, my impression has been that Lambeth (whether officer or Councillor) has tended to decide that it is all rather difficult, so is to be put on one side whilst they deal with more pressing problems elsewhere. SBEG, I think, do have a vision, or perhaps a collective agenda based on the priorities of their members. Coin Street Community Builders have been very sucessful in implementing their vision, but I understand that the waiting lists for flats in the various Coin Streeet cooperatives have closed.

I know people are trying, but it will be very hard for the community groups to agree a collective vision in the near future, though individual groups like WCDG may have one.

Instead, and unlike other parts of Lambeth, it appears that the GLA and London Development Agency are leading on the Waterloo development Framework. Not necessarily a bad thing as there are huge developmental pressures, and it is in everyone's interest, other than perhaps the short terms interests of house and office builders, that development is balanced by investment in community facities. But I don't know enough of the detail to have a personal view.

Good luck.

I would be interested to know what you thought of the WCDG meeting. And what you think once you have done more research.

Sunday 4 March 2007 1.41pm
Hi Sarah

Thanks for your response. The meeting the other day was highly valuable for me. And the chat I had with Michael Ball after that was very useful as well. I must admit being inexperienced on the matters raised at the meeting, I was incredibly impressed at the passion and wealth of information that the residents and representatives had of not just their local residential areas but also of the larger waterloo area. Also, the problem of information distribution or communication between the Lambeth rep and the residents was evident. Within the topic of conservation areas, I'm interested to develop an idea that perhaps not just an area is being preserved but perhaps a route, an interconnected path is improved as the experience of walking from one institution to another is just as important as being in that institution itself.

I also raised a question to Michael Ball as to his opinion of the new Town Square in the Waterloo Development Framework. I said that I felt the UDP was good to address the obvious physical complications surrounding the station in particular but there was an absence of a social or perhaps cultural dimension in the masterplan. My research at the moment attempts to target this issue, that social networking and cultural (or local) identity is evident in an area rich with an existing community network that could potentially be manifested in the urban scale-to exists within the public realm. I will push on and will let you know how to goes. I have 4 months to go before the end of this academic year.

Sunday 4 March 2007 7.28pm
CSCB do not have waiting lists. What they have are mailing lists and anyone can put their names down. When a property becomes vacant (and I understand the development on Broadwall has 3 at present) people on the mailing list are informed.
That's how it is supposed to work.
Because Coin Street is on the border of Southwark and Lambeth, there is a 50-50 split. Within this split, 50% are offered to the council applicants and the other 50% are offered to ‘direct applicants'. So, anyone can go down to CSCB at 99 Upper Ground and get an application form.
One of the big problems with Cooperatives is that the membership committees (who allocate the empty dwellings) can get a bit crooked, with friends and family being given preference.
What are Coin Street cooperatives supposed to be looking for in a potential tenant (rather then bloodlines or friendship)? Well, connection with the area would help. This can take the form of work, family, living in the area or all 3. Housing need is important as is co-operability. Co-op what! A willingness to take part in the running of the co-op. something more people promise then actually do.
Monday 5 March 2007 9.07am
Sorry, and point taken. Though I did hear this from a reasonably reliable source, though perhaps in the context of the initial Iroko allocations. The gentle point I was trying to make, and which you also appear to be making is that it is reasonably difficult to get allocated a Coin Street flat. Which leads us back to the initial question. Some groups in the area are organised and effective.

Though I did not specifically mention the Co-operatives, just CSCB, the fact that there are residents groups who work "cooperatively" may mean that they communicate their needs more effectively than, say, Council tenants who are allocated simply on housing need and the number of points they score. And though I dont have the numbers I suspect that this has resulted in a focus of both community services and SRB spend around Coin Street rather than, say, Hercules Road.

The fact is that with specialist funding stream, the money is often allocated on the basis of who is first off the mark and who can write the best funding application.

Well done to those who do, but I supect it has left a sense of have and have-nots within the community. Especially if the former are having to chase new funding streams, whilst the latter feel that it is their turn.

I am sure any such feelings will play themselves out in local politics Waterloo-style.
Tuesday 6 March 2007 9.33pm
Organisations like CSCB are able to hoover up public money in effective way because they have a slick operation. the politicians love them because they are all things to all men. Also, politicians like dealing with organisations.
So, yes, the Coin Street area becomes a black hole to public money for which the likes of Hercules Road cannot compete.

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