A site for residents of Prince's Ward, SE11, in the London Borough of Lambeth. Check for updates from your Labour Action Team's campaigning, local information, and meetings.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Funding the Northern Line Extension

After years of consultations and negotiations there is now agreement between the Government, Mayor of London, Lambeth Council and Wandsworth Council on how the Northern Line Extension should be funded, and we are near the point when Transport for London will start the planning process for the Northern Line Extension.

When the Northern Line Extension was first identified as the preferred transport solution, we as councillors shared the concern of residents that Lambeth shouldn't be paying for it at the expense of Lambeth residents. We have negotiated down Lambeth's contribution to the NLE from 62% to 15% of the monies due from the private developers. This is a huge win for Lambeth and one your Labour councillors have pushed for from the start.

More detail is outlined below but the next step for us all is to work out how we as a community decide how the remaining developer money is used to support the needs of existing communities alongside measures to mitigate the various developments.

Funding the Northern Line Extension

  • The Government will set up an Enterprise Zone – where business rates from the new businesses created as part of the Vauxhall- Nine Elms- Battersea developments will be collected over the next 25 years to pay for the NLE. The only sites in Lambeth in the Enterprise Zone will be the Wandsworth Road Sainsbury’s site and the Vauxhall Square site (immediately south of Vauxhall Cross, bordered by Parry Street, Wandsworth Road and Bondway). All the other sites in the EZ will be in Wandsworth.
  • Funding from the private developers will also contribute to the NLE. This is currently collected through Section 106, in the future this will be collected through the Community Infrastructure Levy. Current estimated development income for Lambeth Council will total £46m, of which the GLA is seeking agreement that £7.3m be allocated to contribute towards the cost of the NLE. This is just 15% of the income we will collect from developers. The rest will be used to pay for the other infrastructure needed in Vauxhall, such as sorting out the Vauxhall Cross gyratory, improved public space and school places. By contrast, the developers of Battersea Power Station will contribute £203m to the NLE.
  • The Government in underwriting the cost of the project, and the risk will lie with the Greater London Authority. Neither Lambeth nor Wandsworth will shoulder any risk. TfL has also committed to taking all of the risk on any increase in costs that may occur in relation to other transport infrastructure over and above what is already planned.

Lambeth Cabinet on 4 March

A paper is being heard by the Cabinet on 4 March. The recommendations are:
  •  that the noise level resulting from trains does not exceed 35dB (fast) and that mitigation measures are explored to reduce the noise level as far as  possible below that level 
  • that the Council is satisfied that all other impacts of the NLE are minimised  and that this is clearly set out and demonstrated by the documents included in the Transport Works Act Order submission
  • that the shafts and any associated buildings at Kennington Green and Kennington Park are designed to the highest standard, to be determined by the Council, and that mitigation measures to minimise the impacts of noise and air pollution are provided 
  • that the proposed station at Nine Elms and the public realm surrounding it are designed to the highest quality, to be determined by the Council
  • agreement between the Council and TfL on a satisfactory package of other strategic transport improvements, including improved/new bus services, that ensures the NLE is part of an overall strategic transport solution for the VNEB Opportunity Area 
  • that the transformational change to the public realm and the bus station be progressed leading to the creation of a new district centre and the removal of the Vauxhall Gyratory wherever possible and to the satisfaction of the Council.
  • That the Enterprise Zone as it relates to Lambeth is limited to the developments know as Vauxhall Square (Planning Ref 11/04428/FUL) and the redevelopment of the existing Sainsbury store  on Wandsworth Road, (Planning Ref 11/02326OUT), as defined by the relevant planning permissions that the Planning Application Committee have approved, subject to S106 Agreements.
  • That all efforts be made to reduce the potential infrastructure funding gap by working with existing strategic partners who have a responsibility to provide infrastructure for the new population.

Benefits for Lambeth

  • 3,500 new homes and 8,000 new jobs created in Lambeth. Many thousands more jobs on the Wandsworth side available for Lambeth residents to apply for.
  • A new tube station at Nine Elms which will dramatically improve transport connections around Wandsworth Road.
  • Pressure taken off Vauxhall tube station, as passengers in Nine Elms and Battersea will not add to the demands on Vauxhall and the Victoria line.
  • A fast, direct new tube connection from Kennington to the jobs, shops and services being developed at Battersea Power Station.
  • As new buildings are erected, developers will have to pay £46m to Lambeth. Only £7.3m of that extra money will go to the Northern line. The rest will go to other projects in Lambeth, such as the sorting out the Vauxhall Gyratory System.
  • With all the new businesses in the area Lambeth will get more income from the business rates. Lambeth will keep all this extra money.
  • Only Sainsbury’s on Wandsworth Road and the Vauxhall Square development will be in the new Enterprise Zone, meaning Lambeth will give 70% of the extra business rates to Government.

Lambeth’s Overview & Scrutiny committee on 20 March

The committee that Stephen and Mark are both members of will consider the regeneration of Vauxhall and the Northern Line Extension. It is a public meeting so you are welcome to attend. We will also be holding the meeting at the Wheatsheaf Hall, South Lambeth Road, SW8 2UP, in order to hopefully make it easier for those residents most affected to get to.

Our view

Transport experts believe that the Northern Line Extension is the best way to improve transport links and regenerate the Vauxhall- Nine Elms- Battersea riverfront. No other transport solution will provide the capacity that will be needed to make the area a success.

It will cost money, but we think out of a budget of £1bn, asking Lambeth to pay £7.3m from the money developers give us and 70% of the extra business rates that businesses give us on only two sites is a great deal!

Some groups who are against the Northern line Extension will tell you that this money could be better spent on Lambeth residents and not on the Northern Line Extension. But just think about this for a minute. Without the Northern Line Extension, Battersea Power Station would not be developed. A lot of other sites in the area would not be developed, as transport will be overwhelmed. We would not get the all of the £46m from developers in Vauxhall, as there would not be a comprehensive transport solution to support all of the planned development. We would not get all of the extra business rates from the new businesses. We would not get all of the 3,500 new homes and 8,000 new jobs.

So being against the Northern Line Extension does not mean saving Lambeth £7.3m. It means costing us millions of pounds, thousands of homes, thousands of jobs and a once in a lifetime opportunity to redevelop Vauxhall- Nine Elms- Battersea.

More road changes around Lambeth

Gas main replacement work is going to result in part of Lambeth High Street being closed for up to three months. The section between Black Prince Road and Whitgift Street will be affected.

The section of Newport Street between Old Paradise Street and Whitgift Street continues to be closed because of building work.

That means traffic will have to go via Lambeth High Street, Whitgift Street and Newport Street to travel north/south.

Officers have also informed us that the developer of 20 Albert Embankment (Hampton House) has applied to vary the kerbline of the pavement and permanently 'stop up' part of the wide pavement there, in order for the building there to be constructed. The plan below shows how the pavement will be squared off and narrowed to accommodate the new buildings.

Lambeth Living information cafe

North Lambeth Information Cafe for residents of Lambeth Living estates

Saturday 2 March, 11am to 3pm

Pedlars Acre Hall, 91 Kennington Lane, SE11 4HQ

Join Lambeth Living for a cuppa and tell them how you feel about services they provide.

You can also:

Have your dog micro chipped for free between 12 and 3pm

Get job applications, CV writing and interview technique advice from the Human resources team

Find out about benefit changes and mutual exchange, rent, repairs and the Lambeth Housing Standard

Talk with Community Safety and Tenancy enforcement teams about anti-social behaviour

Get fire safety advice

Pedlars Acre Hall is behind the North Area office; dog chipping will be taking place in the North Area office reception area.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Get advice on benefit cuts - now

Lots of changes are happening to benefits this year - can you explain what it’s all about?

The Government passed a law in March 2012 (the Welfare Reform Act) introducing major changes to the welfare benefits system in England. The changes include a cut to a number of benefits and changes to the way benefits are calculated and paid. It means some of the most vulnerable residents in Lambeth losing hundreds of pounds a year. Up to 1 in 6 Lambeth residents will be affected by cuts to benefits this year.

What are the main changes?

The six main changes this year are:

1. A new cap on Housing Benefit is being introduced later in the year – 667 households in Lambeth will be affected (mostly families) with an average shortfall of £94 per week.

2. Housing Benefit criteria for people living in social housing is being changed in relation to the number of bedrooms that will be paid for in a property. 4000 households in Lambeth will be affected.

3. Council Tax Benefit is being abolished and councils are taking on the job of helping residents meet their council tax costs by setting up local schemes. With substantially less funding from Government to run them the change will mean reductions in financial support for 20,758 Lambeth households.

4. Disability Living Allowance is being replaced by a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment - 9,000 people in Lambeth will be affected.

5. Community care grants and crisis loans are stopping and councils will instead have to provide emergency support for residents. A new Lambeth scheme is being set up.

6. A new monthly benefit called Universal Credit is being introduced which replaces several existing means-tested benefits.

Why are these changes happening now?

The Government’s stated ambition is to “make work pay” and create a benefits system that reflects that. But they also want to drastically reduce the cost of benefits to the public purse to tackle the deficit and these changes have taken billions out of the benefits system.

What do these changes mean for Lambeth?

They will have a significant and largely negative impact on Lambeth residents and leave some of the poorest and most vulnerable with less support. The combined cut in funding to the council and Lambeth residents due to the benefit changes is estimated at about £10 million per year. The council expects to lose between £2.5 million and £3.5 million for lost rent linked to the changes to housing benefit rules.

What is the council doing about it?

We have already put in place a package of new short term mitigation projects totalling over £1 million and expect more intervention and support will be needed in the coming months. We’ve created a fair discount system for council tax so we can continue to help pensioners, many disabled people, war widows and widowers, carers and families to pay their council tax and we are freezing council tax for the next two years to reduce the financial burden on our residents.

What should residents affected by these changes do?

That depends on their specific circumstances and which changes affect them. However there are three common messages which we want to get across to residents:
• Get to grips with your personal finances - encouraging residents to open a bank account and set up direct debits for all regular payments will help prevent debt, arrears and homelessness.
• Try and get work or increase your hours - most working age claimants will see a drop in their income so getting a job or increasing working hours is the best option to cope with a loss in income. But there are also other things to consider such as taking in a lodger to help share living costs, asking others in the household to make a bigger contribution and looking at whether it’s possible to move to a smaller or cheaper home. For more information on jobs, apprenticeships and training visit www.lambeth.gov.uk/morejobs
• Get help and advice now and make sure you are claiming all you are entitled to - it’s really important to get advice from experts who can make sure that residents are claiming everything they are entitled to and supporting people early on will prevent crisis situations such as bad debt, arrears and people losing their homes.

Is it just the council that’s helping residents?

No not at all. We are highly dependent on our voluntary sector and advice network that are out in the community helping people everyday. The range of advice available covers legal, benefits check, housing needs and employment advice. We are all working together with the same objective: to make sure residents are protected as much as we can from the Government’s benefit cuts. If you’d like more information about support and advice go to www.lambeth.gov.uk/benefitchanges

Detail on the changes

1. Benefits cap

What is the benefits cap?

The Government is placing a limit on the total amount of benefits a household can receive - £500 a week for childless couples and families and £350 a week for single adults. In Lambeth, the average loss to household benefit income is an average of £94 per week with some families losing as much as £650 per week. Those affected have been contacted directly by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the council is also making contact with them to offer help.

How many people in Lambeth will be affected by the benefit cap?

According to government data, this measure is expected to affect about 650 Lambethhouseholds, most of them families.

What happens if a family is currently getting more than this new limit?

In the short-term, if a household is above this limit, a deduction will be taken from housing benefit payments. In the longer term the limit will be enforced through the new Universal Credit system (from October 2013).

What support is available for people affected and will they have to move out of the

We’ve set up a dedicated team (call 020 7926 3191) to advise and support Lambeth families who will see their income drop because of the benefits cap. Support is available in finding alternative accommodation in London and further afield, gaining employment or taking up benefits that families are entitled to that might make them exempt from the cap.

2. Housing Benefit criteria in social housing

Is it true that Housing Benefit will be cut if you have a spare bedroom?

In most cases, yes. This change is sometimes referred to as the bedroom tax because it’s a new rule which means Housing Benefit will pay for only for the number of bedrooms a household needs. Housing Benefit will be restricted to allow for one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions:
• Children under 16 of the same gender will be expected to share
• Children under 10 will be expected to share regardless of gender
• A disabled tenant or partner requiring a non-resident overnight carer will be allowed an extra room for use by this carer

Who does it affect?

It affects people of working age in council (Lambeth Living) and housing association homes. If accommodation is larger than needed (as defined by these new rules) tenants will receive less money each week and will be responsible for paying the difference between their rent and the amount of housing benefit they get. Most tenants with at least one spare room will be affected.

How much will Housing Benefit be reduced by?

• 14 per cent for 1 extra bedroom
• 25 per cent for 2 or more extra bedrooms
The average reduction will be £20 per week. People of pension age will not be affected by these changes.

What can tenants do to prevent having their housing benefit reduced?

It’s worthwhile tenants looking into different housing options including downsizing, mutual exchange or getting a lodger. However the reality is there are very few suitable properties that people can move to so not everyone affected will be able to downsize to a smaller place in borough. Gaining employment or asking family members within and outside the household to help make up the shortfall are also options.

What support is available for people affected?

We’ve set up a dedicated team within Lambeth Living (call 020 7926 1952/1953) to advise and support Lambeth families who will see their income drop because of the size criteria. We’ve also funded a local provider to set up a pilot lodgings service to provide options for people with spare rooms to take in a lodger if they wish to make up the income lost as a result of the size criteria.

3. Abolishing Council Tax Benefit (CTB)

What’s happening to Council Tax Benefit?

The Government has abolished the national scheme of CTB and councils have to replace it with their own local council tax discount scheme. This is called Council Tax Support (CTS) and it will help people on low incomes to pay their council tax bills.

When will this local scheme start?

Following consultation with residents we’ve now agreed our own local scheme and it will be in place by April 2013, which means everyone will be assessed for support based on new eligibility from then onwards.

Will it essentially be the same but administered locally by the council?

No. The scheme will help less people because the money given to us by Government for council tax support has been significantly reduced. In Lambeth we have about £2.4 million per year less to help residents meet the costs of their council tax.

What does it mean?

Some people will pay more towards their council tax. The average reduction in support for those who are not protected from these changes is 16 per cent so, on a council tax bill of £900 per year, this means the person claiming council tax support would have to pay approximately £150 per year of their bill themselves.

4. Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Why is DLA changing?

DLA is being replaced by a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for people aged 16 to 64 (from June 2013). DWP have said they expect to save 20 per cent on the overall budget by making this change and this has led many organisations to believe that the main intention behind PIP is to save money. The new assessment process is stricter and more medicalised.

If you already receive DLA will you just be transferred automatically on to PIP?

No. People currently receiving DLA will not automatically be entitled to PIP. Everyone will need to make a new claim for PIP and it will be based on how your health or disability affects your ability to live independently. See the latest on the timetable for changes at www.lambeth.gov.uk/benefitchanges

5. Changes to emergency fund access

What’s happening to the social fund?

From April 2013 the DWP’s discretionary Social Fund will cease to exist. Among other support this currently provides short term crisis loans and community care grants for people moving into the community; for example, from care or prison. Funding to support crisis loans and community care grants will move to the council for us to create our own local schemes to support people who are most in need. However, the amount transferred is less than is currently spent by the DWP and we expect that demand for support will increase because of all the other benefit cuts. The DWP will still help with people who need an advance on
benefits payment and are also still offering budgeting loans until Universal Credit comes in.

How many people have received these loans and grants in Lambeth?

From DWP data for 2010-11, we know that 8,900 grants and loans were given out to residents in Lambeth at a total value of £2.1 million.

Is Lambeth Council setting up a replacement scheme?

Yes. We’ve now agreed a new local scheme called the Emergency Support Scheme and it will start from April 2013.

Will you be providing the same kind of support?

No. Because the Government has cut funding to this budget (we will have about 24 per cent less for 2013-14 compared to 2010-11) there will now only be a small facility to provide cash grants and most needs will be met by offering ‘in-kind’ support (including second hand furniture and white goods, travel tickets and direct fuel payments to suppliers) or loans offered by the Credit Union on our behalf. Access to support will be for residents on certain meanstested benefits only.

What if a resident needs an emergency loan?

Crisis loans will be part of the support available. They are to cover immediate, very short term needs only. However, we’ve decided that applicants that meet the criteria will be referred to our local credit union – London Mutual - who will administer the loan. As a condition of the loan applicants will have to open a credit union account and pay their benefits into it so that loan repayments can be taken automatically. The interest is 2 per cent per month. For example - a £150 loan paid back over 9 months will see £15 of interest payable.

6. Universal Credit

I’ve heard about Universal Credit – what is it?

It is the name given to a new benefit that is being introduced later this year (October). It replaces several existing means-tested benefits such as income support, housing benefit and tax credits and will be paid monthly, in arrears, directly into a bank account. The aim is to simplify the system, give people more responsibility for managing their money and treat the benefit payment more like a typical monthly salary.

Giving people a monthly lump sum is a big responsibility for some people, will they cope?

For some very vulnerable people the housing element of the Universal Credit can be paid directly to landlords so their rent gets paid. However the group of people eligible for this is very small and there are others who will not be used to managing their money who will have to manage monthly payments and try and find a way to budget so that they pay their rent and their bills.

Won’t this mean more people getting into debt?

This is a concern. The best options are to encourage people to set up bank accounts and direct debits for their main outgoings – especially rent - to ensure they don’t get into debt or into rent arrears.

When is it being introduced?

Gradually from October 2013 and DWP expect all working age claimants to have moved onto Universal Credit by October 2017. The Government’s aspiration is for Universal Credit to become an online claim system for all (digital by default) allowing quicker processing of payments. However, there is concern about this ambitious timescale to get the IT system working in time as well as how people without access to a computer or able to use one will cope.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Nando's for Vauxhall

Nando's have submitted licensing and planning applications to turn the empty arch next to the pedestrian foot tunnel at Vauxhall station into a restaurant.

The planning applications are:

12/04676/FUL - Alterations to the rear and side elevations to install two louvred vents and an extract duct, the installation of a louvred vent within the fenestration to the front elevation and the installation of two safety barriers adjacent to side elevation.

12/04678/FUL - Installation of a new shopfront and a retractable shutter.

12/04679/ADV - Display of 2 no. fascia signs, 2 no. projecting signs and and 1 no. menu box.

To view full details visit the planning database and search using the reference numbers.

The licensing application is:

Premises Address: Nando's - Arch 56 South Lambeth Road

Activities/times requested:

Late Night Refreshment
Monday - Sunday   23:00  - 00:00
From the end of permitted hours on New Year's Eve until 0200 hours on New Year's Day

Supply of Alcohol
Monday - Sunday   11:00  - 00:00
From the end of permitted hours on New Year's Eve until 0200 hours on New Year's Day

Opening Hours (Non-standard & Seasonal)
From the end of permitted hours on New Year's Eve until 0200 hours on New Year's Day

Deadline for representations: 14 March 2013

Read our guide to licensing before sending representations to licensing@lambeth.gov.uk

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Licensing: 24 hours for Texaco garage?

The Texaco Garage on Kennington Road (in front of Brittany Point and Prichard House) has applied for a 24 hour alcohol licence.

Premises Address: Kennington Service Station - Petrol Station, 212 Kennington Road, London

Proposed extension of hours –
Supply of Alcohol
Monday - Sunday   00:00  - 00:00

Removal of the following condition –
Restriction in hours for the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises.

Current Licensed Hours
Supply of Alcohol
Monday - Sunday   06:00  - 02:00

Deadline for representations: 8 March 2013

Vauxhall club Union has applied for a Sexual Entertainment venue licence. The other gay clubs in Vauxhall applied for these licences last year to regularise some of their entertainment after a change in the law. You can read the minutes of the committee meeting which made decisions about these licences, and the explanations from venues applying for these licences last year.

Premises Address: Union, Arch 66 Goding Street, London, SE11 5AW

Activities/times requested:

Sex Cinema
Monday - Sunday   00:00  - 00:00

Sexual Entertainment Venue
Monday - Sunday   00:00  - 00:00

Sex Shop
Monday - Sunday   00:00  - 00:00

Propose additional condition
We have a concern that the majority of the council’s standard SEV conditions do not apply as they are aimed at lap dancing clubs and therefore we propose that an additional condition which states “The SEV conditions only apply when SEV type activities are taking place.”

Deadline for representations: 10 March 2013.

Current licensing applications can be viewed on the Council's website.
Please read our guide to licensing before making a representation. 
If you'd like advice from your councillors, please don't hesitate to email us.

Update from Duchy Arms licensing review

On 24 January the Licensing Committee heard an application for a review of the Duchy Arms' licence, after noise complaints. Their original licence allowed them to open till 2am. The Committee imposed amendments and conditions to the licence, which are detailed below. These bring opening hours into line with other pubs close to Kennington Cross, and impose conditions to reduce noise disturbance to local residents. You can read the full minutes of the meeting here.


The following regulated entertainment is removed from the premises licence: Indoor Sporting Events, Provision of Facilities for Making Music, and Provision of Facilities for Dancing

The times the licence authorises the carrying out of licensable activities is amended as follows:

Films Monday-Sunday 0700-0000
Supply of Alcohol: Sunday-Wednesday 0700-0000; Thursday-Saturday 0700-0100
Live Music: Monday-Sunday 1100-0000 (unchanged)
Late Night Refreshment: Sunday-Wednesday 2300-0000 and Thursday-Saturday 2300-0100
Music and Dance of Similar Description: Monday-Sunday 0700-0000 (unchanged)
Recorded Music: Monday-Sunday 0700-0000


No deliveries are to be made to the premises before 7am and after 11pm

The handling of kegs, bottle disposal and similar items will not take place after 11pm, when the noise generated could cause a nuisance, particularly outside the building

All windows and external doors are to be kept closed at all times save for ingress and egress

The beer garden is not to be used for patrons after 10pm

No music is to be played in the beer garden

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Would you like to thank someone? Civic Awards 2013

Every day across Lambeth, people who care about their local community make a positive and selfless contribution to the lives of others.  These actions often go unrewarded.

Do you know someone who freely gives of their time, working individually or with others who deserves recognition?

Let Lambeth know by nominating them for a civic award.

The council would like to thank such people on behalf of those who live in our area.

£836k secured for the Durning Library

In case you missed it, just before Christmas Lambeth Council announced excellent news of significant investment into library buildings.

Durning Library is one of the biggest winners, with £836 000 allocated to pay for 'refurbishment to address essential health and safety improvements to the roof, brickwork, electrics and other repairs'.

The full details of the investment programme are here.

Unlike many other councils, Lambeth has committed to keeping open all 10 libraries in the borough, and investing in them to bring them into the 21st century.

In addition, we're working to turn our libraries into model 'cooperative' services. Today the Friends of the Durning Library and the library staff held an open day to show how local organisations can become more involved. To find out more, and to join the Friends, just pop into the library.

Pictured: Local councillors Steve, Lorna and Mark have always been completely committed to Durning Library, and fought hard to secure the recent investment
Promoted by David Amos and Joanne Simpson of Prince's Branch Labour Party (Vauxhall Constituency and Lambeth Borough) all at 264A Rosendale Road, SE24 9DL