London SE1 community website

Community Council Mergers good or bad idea??

Join in these discussions today! Log in or register.
Pages:  Previous1 2 3 Next
Current: 2 of 3
Tuesday 31 January 2012 2.12pm
Speaking as the resident SE16 interloper I'm inclined to support merging Bermondsey and Rotherhithe - SE16 is a fairly natural unit, it reduces administrative costs, and I'm pretty much on the border between the two anyway.

I can see a strong case for devolving ward issues to individual Councillors, in that sense it's a shame London has the three-councillors-per-ward setup. Larger Councils and smaller wards (with one member each) would to my mind be more effective and efficient.

As far as 'how big you make your local forum' goes in principle, it varies all over the country, and I'm not sure there's a single right answer. Clearly though, the line that it results in "residents from elsewhere having a say over your decisions" is a bit of a red herring. So it does, just as you have a say over theirs. If that is, in and of itself, a trump argument, then why a "Borough and Bankside" forum in the first place? Why not one each for "Borough" and "Bankside". Or four, or eight.

I might declare my flat an independent country. It's certainly sad times for the Lib Dems if the former experts at identifying and campaigning on hot button local issues are reduced to "we should charge for school dinners so that we can pay for more meetings".
Tuesday 31 January 2012 2.23pm
beingjdc wrote:
Speaking as the resident SE16 interloper I'm inclined to support merging Bermondsey and Rotherhithe - SE16 is a fairly natural unit, it reduces administrative costs, and I'm pretty much on the border between the two anyway.
About two-thirds of the current Bermondsey Community Council area is in SE1, though. Bermondsey CC stretches as far west as the top end of Borough High Street and London Bridge; a world away from South Dock, 2.5 miles away at the eastern side of the Rotherhithe CC area.

And if meetings for the combined Bermondsey/Rotherhithe area are held at Canada Water Library (which seems likely), are residents at the western end of Riverside and Grange wards going to travel two tube stops to attend their 'local' meeting?

That's not to say that there aren't some potential gains from the new arrangements: as has been pointed out, Borough & Bankside and Walworth have the Elephant as a significant issue in common - and Bermondsey and Rotherhithe CCs both take an interest in, for example, Southwark Park, which falls within the Rotherhithe boundaries at present.

Editor of the London SE1 website.
Subscribe to our SE1 Direct weekly newsletter.
Tuesday 31 January 2012 2.47pm
James Hatts wrote:
Borough & Bankside and Walworth have the Elephant as a significant issue in common

Yet E&C has its own thicket of development agendas, consultation processes and so on. There seems little prospect of a sprawling community council, especially one with diluted powers, being able to intervene there in any effective way.

Failing that, it would literally become (wait for the klaxons, QI fans) the Elephant In The Room!-\
Tuesday 31 January 2012 2.59pm
Yeah, fair point - I tend to start considering it SE16 from East of Tower Bridge Road, though I know that's not strictly accurate.

West of that appears to me to be Borough, though I know the Bermondsey Street lot are keen to define themselves as "Bermondsey". Once there's a Bermondsey Street Parish Council the problem of the "Riverside Spur" becomes less relevant, I imagine.

But then that's our end of the borough all over. Surrey Quays station and shopping centre are in Rotherhithe Ward, and while the postal address of South Bermondsey Station is in South Bermondsey ward, the station is in Livesey.

It could be made logical, but there's a sense in not cutting wards in half (hence smaller wards would help), and as a general rule merging stuff is a better way of saving money than reorganising it completely, so...
Tuesday 28 February 2012 11.28am
The Democracy Commission report has finally been put on the council website:
http://moderngov.southwarksites.com/eCSDDisplay.aspx?NAME=SD672&ID=672&sch=doc

Editor of the London SE1 website.
Subscribe to our SE1 Direct weekly newsletter.
Tuesday 28 February 2012 1.03pm
I attend Bermondsey CC, but as I have children I often have to leave by 9 oclock which is normally the break time, so I do not always hear what I want to, and I am never the only person to leave at that time. If we have a merger then I doubt the meetings will finish before midnight, how many people will be able to attend and stay till the end.

I just feel that this present council does not want to be accountable to their residents and are making it harder for us to have our say. Another point is they have got rid of so many staff (and more cuts to come) that they just don't have enough staff to cope with running a council properly.
Thursday 15 March 2012 1.56pm
[i[/quote]]I just feel that this present council does not want to be accountable to their residents and are making it harder for us to have our say. Another point is they have got rid of so many staff (and more cuts to come) that they just don't have enough staff to cope with running a council properly.[/quote][/i]

When we are being forced by the Lib Dem / Tory Coalition to take 60 million out of our budget it is simply impossible to ring-fence our spending on Community Councils and say that they should not bear any burden in the budget cuts. We set the Democracy Commission the task of finding savings of 344,000 from Community Council budgets and I would happily have looked at any proposals which provided these savings.

Proposals from the Liberal Democrats came nowhere near this level of saving, and in any event their representatives then decided to stop attending the Democracy Commission meetings. It makes me think that they realised that these savings could not be made without a fundamental review of Community Council boundaries.

It is worth remembering that when the Lib Dems first proposed Community Councils in 2002 they proposed 7 areas only - and made no provision for a Bermondsey Community Council. It was only after Labour campaigned on this issue that they amended their views and included a Bermondsey CC area.

The current proposals involve mergers of CC areas in the North and South of the borough. It is not about a question of accountability - we have amended Council Assembly procedures so that we are far more accountable to the public as an Administration than the previous Lib Dem council who year after year amended the constitution so that it was harder for the public to address Council Assembly meetings and make their views known.

My colleagues and I will always attend Community Council meetings to be held accountable - but you will have to ask the Chairs of Bermondsey and Borough and Bankside Community Councils why they have not wanted us to attend their meetings in their areas over the past 12 months for that purpose.

And even with the loss of staff we are still able to run a council properly.

Of course, given the choice this Labour Administration would not be making the cuts that we are having to. I would far rather be in the luxurious position of the previous Council Leader who saw a 30% increase in council funding over his 8 years in office. But local Lib Dems will have to ask themselves why they are supporting a party and an MP who are propping up Tory public spending cuts time and again. It is simply not credible for both local councillors and Simon Hughes to criticise the spending decisions which we are taking without acknowledging the fact that responsibility for those spending cuts lies with central government. To adopt a position that we do not need to make any savings anywhere is incredible and juvenile politics.
Thursday 15 March 2012 7.13pm
Same old, same old... Every time there is a disagreement at the council level, it degenerate into a brawl about national politics that have little to do with Southwark. Does Cllr John truly believe that had there been a Labour PM he would not have had to make cuts? If so, then you are truly a party faithful.

More importantly, does Cllr John acknowledge that the ultimate accountability for an elected official is to face the voters who were affected by his or her decisions in a fair election?

I will always take the right to throw out of office an elected official by not voting for him or her at the next election over any amendment to council procedures or the promise that Cllr I do not know (and cannot vote for) will attend the meeting. I am sad to be losing that right for the sake of reinforcing Cllr John's grip over Southwark.

Labour did not win in all the wards. You will somehow have to accept it.
Zoe
Thursday 15 March 2012 10.10pm
Hi Cllr John,

Thank you for posting on the site, however I feel I must disagree with you. Clearly the council is being forced to make savings, and yes I agree, the Liberals shouldn't be in cahoots with the Tories to do this, I'm not impressed either.

However the savings being made are very small in the scale of things and you are removing a direct link between residents, officers and councillors. I'm a little surprised that a Labour administration would want to do this.

Having seen the proposal, I'm astounded that Dulwich is untouched by the changes, are they more important that us?

I strongly support community involvement and I try to be active locally, but I have to be honest and say that I am unlikely to attend a meeting that is held in Walworth and only meets 5 times a year, I would find it hard to motivate myself.

I think that I would rather you got rid of the community councils altogether, rather than pretend you have resident consultation which is a shadow of its former self. The council should want input from residents, not keep us at arms length.

I know hard decisions need to be made, but perhaps you could save money by making the CC's less bureaucratic and making us print our own paperwork for the meetings, etc.
Thursday 15 March 2012 11.15pm
PeterJohn, you represent in South Camberwell Ward SE5: are there any proposed changes for Camberwell Community Council?
Pages:  Previous1 2 3 Next
Current: 2 of 3

To post a message, please log in or register..
Keep up with SE1 news

We have three email newsletters for you to choose from:

We are part of
Independent Community News Network
Email newsletter

For the latest local news and events direct to your inbox every Monday, you need our weekly email newsletter SE1 Direct.

7,000+ locals read it every week. Can you afford to miss out?

Read the latest issue before signing up

Also on the forum
Views expressed in this discussion forum are those of the contributors and may not reflect the editorial policy of this website. Please read our terms and conditions