Good afternoon everybody.
I am the Mayor of Lambeth Councillor Ibrahim Dogus and it is a very great pleasure to welcome you to the new Clapham Park community centre to thank the outgoing team of councillors Lib Peck, Diana Morris and Jane Edbrooke and welcome Thornton’s two new councillors Nanda Manley-Browne and Stephen Donnelly, both elected this year, to join Ed Davie who continues to be your councillor having been first elected in 2010.
Democracy is a wonderful and precious thing. But with three elections in this ward in just five months, two local by-elections and the European Parliament election, I imagine some of you thought it was possible to have too much of a good thing. So I want to thank local campaigners from all parties for your hard work, and residents for taking the trouble of reading all of the leaflets they delivered through your door and most importantly for voting, however you voted. In the April by-election the winning margin was just 19 votes so it shows your vote, your voice really does matter and we should all do what we can to encourage people to register to vote and take part in our democratic life which many people round the world are denied.
It is very appropriate for this celebration to be in this wonderful new community facility because it really symbolises what can be achieved when effective councillors like Lib, Diana, Jane and Ed work together with residents and partners.
All of them have worked hard over the years and in Lib’s case, nearly decades, to bring about improvements to Clapham Park, the wider ward of Thornton and Lambeth.
Thanks to their hard work and those of residents and partners over 1,000 social homes on Clapham Park Estate, more than half of the total, are now either brand new or completely refurbished. In addition the brand new Maytree Children’s Centre and Nursery has just opened a few hundred metres down the road and of course we now have this wonderful community centre.
A community is obviously much more than bricks and mortar and this team of councillors also successfully campaigned for Metropolitan, the housing association developing the estate, to quadruple the number of local jobs being created to over 60 a year. Metropolitan have agreed with Lambeth Council to creating a further 600 jobs, over 200 proper apprenticeships and over £2 million in training for local people in the coming years. That would not have happened without hardworking local representatives.
Beyond Clapham Park this team have ensured all of the council estates in the ward have benefitted from the Lambeth Housing Standard investment, brought the Our Streets programme to the ward introducing more traffic calming, planters and trees, improved the sports pitches at Agnes Riley Gardens, got lots of new secure cycle storage and after many, many years of work had the 255 bus re-routed through the ward.
One British Army veteran on Radbourne Road said the 255 bus change had transformed his life saving him £50 a month in taxis fares when he did his shopping.
They were also instrumental in expanding and improving Telferscot, Henry Cavendish and Glenbrook primary schools and bringing the Michael Tippett College for learning disabled adults to the Weir Estate which has also benefitted from the Weir Link community centre.
At a Lambeth Council level all of them have played a major role with Lib as leader of the council, Diana chair of the planning committee and Jane holding various cabinet briefs. During the most challenging decade in local government history with huge cuts from central government they have all worked to make Lambeth Council as efficient and effective as possible.
As local councillors they have also helped hundreds if not thousands of individuals and families get new or improved homes, find school places, get jobs, training, grants, benefits and a hundred other things which have made lives better and in some cases maybe even saved them.
Diana is now enjoying a well deserved retirement though she continues to volunteer locally, Lib is Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s first director of the Violence Reduction Unit and Jane is playing an important role at the Big Lottery Fund distributing money to good causes.
Ed, Stephen and Nanda will now do their best to continue their work with all of our support and I ask everyone to help them as they begin as a new team. I wish them the very best of luck and I thank Lib, Diana and Jane for their service to this area and Lambeth and wish them the very best in their new endeavours.