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Southwark announces details of community councils plan

Borough and Bankside is the suggested name for one of eight community councils in the plan to be put forward to Southwark's council assembly next month.

The recommendation, made by the council's Executive on Tuesday night, followed consultation with residents, the police, health organisations and other bodies. Results showed greatest support for the creation of eight areas with individual Bermondsey and Peckham councils which would be separated by the Old Kent Road.

The community councils plan was a manifesto commitment of Southwark's Lib-Dem led administration which took power in May, and follows the work of the area consultative forums established by the previous Labour administration in the borough.

Southwark Deputy Leader Cllr Caroline Pidgeon said: "We've listened to what people have said, but we are mindful that there is more consultation work to be done.

"We want people to get involved in their councils – the whole point is to engage local people in decisions that have a direct impact on their lives. We'll be asking people to name their area Community Councils and suggest appropriate places for them to meet for example."

Cllr Pidgeon added: "A lot of work has gone into building a solid foundation for our new
Community Councils – we intend to continue that good work and are committed to establishing a series of unique, decision-making councils that truly reflect the needs of people who live in particular areas of the borough."

The councils would be evaluated in September 2003 to check progress after the first six months of delegated power and to consider extending their role.

Council Assembly will consider the detailed proposals at its meeting on November 27. If it agrees the scheme, elected members will be trained in appropriate subjects such as licensing and planning law and a Community Council Manager will be appointed to co-ordinate the programme.

The councils are due to sit for the first time in April 2003.

Southwark's Executive agreed to establish locally-based decision making forums at its first meeting on June 18.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee came up with a series of recommendations following a three month inquiry into how community councils could run. The recommendations included giving councils five key powers, as we reported last week.

The proposed eight areas (with suggested names) are:

• Borough & Bankside (Cathedrals and Chaucer wards)
• Bermondsey (Grange, Riverside, South Bermondsey)
*otherhithe (Livesey (north of Old Kent Road), Rotherhithe, Surrey Docks wards)
• Walworth (East Walworth, Faraday, Newington wards)
• Peckham (Livesey (south of Old Kent Road), Peckham wards)
• Camberwell (Brunswick Park, Camberwell Green, S Camberwell wards)
• Nunhead & Peckham Rye (Nunhead, Peckham Rye, The Lane wards)
*Dulwich (College, East Dulwich, Village wards)

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