On September 9th Lambeth council issued a press release headed: “Residents challenged to help make Lambeth even better”
The press release is about a report to next week’s council cabinet called “Future Lambeth”. The press release says “Future Lambeth” sets out targets for improvements in a wide range of areas, including education, employment, housing, health and community.
It actually relates more to the health of the borough – and appears to be a very good report. (Please see separate story – Emergency admissions decreasing says new health report).
It’s a refresh of their health and wellbeing strategy.
But, Lambeth being Lambeth, at various stages it continues to trot out some of the same old myths.
While some of the comments may relate to health and well-being they certainly don’t apply to other sectors such as libraries and the unnecessary demolition of six housing estates.
So we get the usual spin. In the main report:
1.2 Lambeth has a history of public, community and private sectors working together to improve and enrich the lives of the people of our borough.
1.3 We want our public services to continue to be leaders in their fields, working hand in hand with the diverse communities of the borough … This includes developing new ways of working that give more control to residents, building stronger communities in charge of their own destinies.(These lines are repeated in the appendix which follows.)
3 …. Housing: locally and nationally, the links between housing and health and wellbeing· are increasingly recognised. We want to focus on and strengthen those links, using housing as an example of how integration, early action and health and wellbeing in all policies can work together to make a real impact.
In the 35 page appendix Lambeth Health and Wellbeing strategy Refresh 2016 the report says:
Lambeth has a history of public, community and private sectors working together to improve and enrich the lives of the people of our borough.
We will take a transparent and evidence-based approach to making decisions and choices.
We also want to encourage organisations to collaborate to manage resources, and not work in isolation from one another.
Publish a Strategic Housing Market Assessment, projecting the housing requirements for different groups over the next 20 years
Carry out a Health Impact Assessment on the effect of the £500m capital investment programme in Lambeth’s council housing. (After the Homes for Lambeth scheme has gone ahead????.)
Under the heading “What we know – Lambeth strategies” there’s a brief resume (which News From Crystal Palace reproduces in full) of how Lambeth now sees Culture 2020:
“Culture 2020 is the first comprehensive cultural plan for Lambeth driven by the desire to enable people to be healthier for longer.
“Priority themes are: safe and interesting spaces: access to spaces including libraries and community buildings where you can learn, socialise and be enterprising; the great outdoors: activities in your local park and the chance to influence how it is managed; let’s get active: regular physical activity and sport, including local sport and leisure centres; be inspired: opportunities to participate in and enjoy theatre, performing arts and music; showing off: opportunities to enjoy art, or if you are an artist to show off your work in archives, museums and galleries; the bigger picture: cinemas in Lambeth’s five town centres and the chance to learn more about the art of cinema and filmmaking.” (Words in bold highlighted by News From Crystal Palace)
Under the heading “Priorities”
Housing: locally and nationally, the links between housing and health and wellbeing are increasingly recognised. We want to strengthen those links and consider how services and staff can better work together.
The role of citizens in the work of the strategy, and across health and wellbeing, is key. We maintain our commitment to the citizen involvement principles set out in our original strategy and plan to increase levels of involvement in the coming years. Across all priorities in the strategy, BOLD the importance of access to information – strategic, operational and community – has been identified as vital. This will also be developed as part of the strategy.
Under the heading Priority – Housing
Although a third of Lambeth’s properties are social housing, demand far exceeds supply, with 22,000 on the waiting list and less than 1,000 homes becoming available each year.
(In reality, latest figures:
Band A – Underoccupiers 1,315 .
Band A – Other Emergencies and Strategic Priorities 407 .
Band B 2,845 .
Band C1 1,298 .
Band C2 11,678 .
Band D 5627 .
*BAND A – EMERGENCIES AND STRATEGIC PRIORITIES Emergency transfers due to risk of violence Life threatening medical emergency Care leavers Decants of council tenants Where housing is required to prevent significant harm to a child To facilitate discharge of child from care To facilitate discharge from residential care or hospital council and housing association tenants downsizing Band A is divided into Level 1 and Level 2. Applicants will normally be placed in Level 2 but the council may at its discretion place exceptionally urgent cases in Level 1. BAND B – HIGH PRIORITY Severely overcrowded households (lacking two bedrooms) Those with an urgent medical need to move Those threatened with homeless who are working with us to prevent homelessness BAND C – MEDIUM PRIORITY Homeless households Those who are overcrowded (lacking one bedroom) and those sharing bathroom/kitchen facilities Those with a less urgent medical need Band C has two Levels. Statutory homeless households owed a full housing duty are in Level 1 of Band C. All others are in Level 2 of Band C. BAND D – LOW PRIORITY Band D consists of those not in other bands, including those who are adequately housed.
Further reading: ‘Think again’, MP tells Garden Bridge investors during Commons debate by Richard Waite Architects Journal 8 September 2016 (Amazing speech by Kate Hoey MP to Parliament. Unbelievable revelations. And not just because she praises by name FOUR journalists for their investigative skills – Editor).
Tenants who saved derelict Lambeth council homes face eviction by Peter Walker The Guardian 1 December 2013
Lambeth council’s £100M property sell-off includes short-life council homes by Tim Dickens Brixton Blog March 4, 2014
Council house evictions in Lambeth are symptom of ‘profit making culture,’ claims whistleblower by Rachel Blundy London Evening Standard 1 July 2014
Social Housing rap (Cressingham Gardens) By Tom Wall Inside Housing 23 August 2016