I wrote to my local councillors earlier in the week with the following issue. I live on the boundary of several boroughs, and currently regularly cycle along Beulah Hill which is managed by Croydon Council. Given that I'm not a Croydon resident, but I regularly use the road it is something that I would like to see improved but am at a bit of a loss how to go about trying to get improvements there.
With this in mind I asked what thoughts my councillors may have with roads that are in Wandsworth, but fall outside of my local ward. I'm a Wandsworth resident, and I don't live my life based on nominal political boundaries.
One of my local councillors, Cllr Leonie Cooper also happens to be the Labour lead on transport issues. Her response is depressing, but not all together surprising:
Council is not changing its methods around consultation / the need for those that live locally to be involved in any requests for change. It would be quite a change of policy to introduce the involvement of people who pass through an area, perhaps being there for a few minutes, compared to involving people who live there all the time.
In terms of numbers required to support a petition, it is not only the numbers in favour, but where the Council itself consults it is also the percentage of those who are in favour of the change. The Council will always carry out its own consultation to follow up a petition - once it has decided that this is the correct response to the initiating petition.
It appears the public health/safety issues, that the council has a statutory responsibility to consider is lost upon their most senior Labour councillor responsible for transport. It is also not surprising that Labour hasn't made any significant further progress with regards to 20mph.
7 years after they claim they campaigned for it in Furzedown we have finally seen it start to be rolled out. If they really believed in it, then in my view, they would be actively lobbying and campaigning for it as they think that it would benefit the whole community.
Instead, they take the conservative approach of being happy to support the local community where local campaigners have got such a groundswell of opinion behind them that few disagree. Little wonder that problems drag on for so long in Tooting as Labour are as small c conservative as their Conservative counterparts they are supposed to be in opposition to.
Take another 'community campaign' which is nominally Labour led, for Tooting Bec Athletics Track. Labour's position is no different from the Conservatives, but the Labour team are quite happy to claim that they aren't the nasty Tories. Labour's campaign is based on an option in a paper that went to the Tory group. Given the financial cuts that are coming from central government, I can't help but think that a similar paper would have been presented to the Labour group if they were the dominant party.
Labour or Conservative in Wandsworth & Tooting is there any real difference between the two? Supported by my Lib Dem colleagues we've run a host of local petitions to try to make the roads safer, yet it seems that without any Lib Dems being elected locally we'll have a while yet to wait.