Home > articles from April, 2013

New planning rules could cost councils hundreds of thousands of pounds

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Reforms to planning rules which make it easier for small-scale residential extensions could cost councils hundreds of thousands of pounds. London Assembly Member Steve O’Connell welcomes the new arrangements, which cuts red tape and helps families improve their homes, but warns tax payers should not foot the bill.

London Assembly member Steve O’Connell said: “Councils should be able to charge a fee to the applicant to cover their costs, especially if neighbours object and further work is needed by planning departments, otherwise these costs will fall on the general council tax payer. For example, even if the initial application is free but they should at least be able to charge if an impact assessment and decision is required. Ultimately, we must protect the tax payer from any further expense.”

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Time to end social tenancies in tower blocks

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Andrew Boff: Councils pushing families into high rises causes isolation and cripples communities

25th April 2013: London Assembly Member Andrew Boff will be calling for an end to councils housing families in tower blocks at today’s Housing and Regeneration Committee meeting.

Andrew will ask Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, Executive Head of Housing, London Councils and other committee guests to confirm the long term costs of housing tenants in tower blocks, as well as the impacts on quality of life, compared to low rise housing.

“In the 21st century, in a highly developed city such as London, it is nothing short of a scandal that some councils are still pushing families into tower blocks. Tower blocks fail to create strong communities, lead to isolation and a poor standard of living. Families with children need gardens and neighbours they can interact with. It is time for all London councils to commit to ending this practice once and for all.”

• The Housing and Regeneration Committee takes place at City Hall on Thursday 25th April at 10:00
• Andrew Boff is Housing spokesman for the GLA Conservatives and author of ‘Radically Normal: Olympic Park Housing’. The report can be accessed at: www.glaconservatives.co.uk/rn

Richard Tracey commends increased accessibility in South London’s rail infrastructure

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Richard Tracey Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth this Thursday attended the formal opening of Earlsfield station. Earlsfield station is part of Network Rail’s critical new moves to improve step-free access in South London. The station includes two new lifts as part of a £5.6 million scheme to improve the facilities and accessibility of the station.

Richard Tracey AM comments;

“This is a great improvement in accessibility at a key commuter station for the Capital. I hope it leads to more and more people finding it possible to use the rail network not just for their journeys to work but at other times too through step-free access elsewhere to other services.

“That’s important to help reduce congestion on the system and to ensure the best possible use of available capacity.”

London: One sex worker attacked every week yet two thirds won’t go to police

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ugly mugs

The first nine months of a database pilot shows London having the highest number of reported crimes against sex workers in the UK. The ‘Ugly Mugs’ scheme has seen 58 incidents since July 2012 – half of them (26) being rapes or sexual assaults. Yet, less than a third of the victims (18) have been willing to report it formally to police.

Andrew Boff, Leader of the GLA Conservatives, author of the Silence on Violence report, and national champion of the Ugly Mugs scheme said: “London is increasingly a safe place but it is unacceptable that sex workers see it as increasingly dangerous. The Ugly Mugs pilot shows that we’re talking serious crimes such as rape, violence, homophobic and racist hate crime, yet very few victims go to the police. The police must start regularly and formally engaging with sex workers to remedy this. There must be standard codes of police engagement with sex workers in place, and crimes against them should be termed as ‘hate crime’. Westminster Council’s report on sex workers details the cost benefits of improving sex workers’ safety – so those who oppose acting on this no longer have a leg to stand on.”

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Struck Out: Reforming London Underground’s Strike Laws

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struck out cover
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Struck Out Report

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“Police and TfL must urgently clamp down on dangerous driving as London’s buses hit 2 people a day”

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Roger Evans

Alarming figures reveal over 15 pedestrians and cyclists are hit by London’s buses every week.* London Assembly Member Roger Evans is urging the Met Police Commissioner to see what can be done to cut down on the number of road accidents.

Roger Evans said:

“These figures are shockingly high. Since 2007, TfL buses have hit just under 2 pedestrians on average every day, and one cyclist every other day. If any other organisation had a similar road safety record I think we would be asking many more tough questions. That’s why I am asking what more the police can do to reduce these accidents. We also need re-assurance on how they can work together with TfL to ensure their drivers are operating safely. No organisation or individual should feel invincible when driving dangerously, and we must allay any concerns Londoners have about the quality of driving on our roads.”

*Collision data provided by TfL shows: since 1 April 2007, there have been over 145,533 collisions involving TfL buses, of which 3591 have involved pedestrians and another 1219 have involved bicycles. That means that, since 1 April 2007, there has been an average of 1.6 bus-pedestrians collisions every day and a bus-cyclist collision every other day, an average of over 15 pedestrians or cyclists per week are involved in collisions with TfL buses.

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