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Letters of the week (24/12/2015)

“Writing’s on the wall for playgrounds”

In the words of Sam Smith ‘The writing’s on the wall”.

Due to Tory austerity cuts Southwark council have decided to slash a further 73% from Youth Services and as a result the Play Service will go. This small council department has run and maintained the borough’s adventure playgrounds, along with many other play schemes, for the last 30 years.

Originally local community groups, using volunteer labour and scavenged materials, set up adventure playgrounds on waste land or bomb sites and these grew into local landmarks that provided amazing spaces for kids to play on. Over the years they either got built on or Southwark took them over and ran them with a small staff team.

Generations of kids have grown up loving these playgrounds for their mad structures and swings; exciting environments without the usual rules and regulations and safer than the street. Now the Parks Department will take them over and, facing their own cuts, I can’t imagine they  have the will or the means to keep them going in their present form.

Battersea adventure playground in Wandsworth used to be seen as the best in London until Wandsworth shut it down. It is now a ‘Go-Ape’ theme park and crazy golf course where a family of four have to pay over £100 to get in. So that, or more ‘affordable’ flats, is what will become of the last wild and free play spaces for children in Southwark? Or, you could email your local councillor and tell them what you think.

Shaun Packham, SE16

“Ideas on how to save”

Southwark is not London’s worst council. But, I live in Southwark and I am worried where savings in the order of £100 million will be found.

Here are some ideas.

Contractors/ Building/ Construction:  Save millions. Ask for commitments to support arts and welfare and libraries and transportation. Incompetent repairs, inadequate build and poor boring service and delivery gets treated with zero tolerance. Can’t deliver for taxpayers? Change the contractor.

Pavements: Save £20 million. Everywhere else in the world people clear and repair the pavement in front of their shops and residences. Mending pavements isn’t complex or expensive. And sweeping leaves and litter is the rock foundation of citizenship.

Recycling: Save £11 million. Charge £100 a year for each pair of half sized blue and green bins. Waste costs money. Spearhead a movement to make manufacturers pay for their packaging. Organic waste can go to power generators.

Parks and Cemeteries: Save £10 and more million.  20 pint sized city trees provide the oxygen one human needs each year. Parks and cemeteries are where we keep trees. They keep us alive and healthy. To pay for their management hire them out for celebrations and school trips and nature classrooms and therapy.

Sourcing material: Buy local, save and build UK industry.  Chinese Granite curb stones who thought they were a great idea? Why not source to universities and find some amazing UK new products.

And then there’s the inevitable accounting errors on any business books. How much are they?

Get rid of waste and fraud and inefficiencies, source innovatively and locally and please don’t touch Children’s Services or schools and clubs and libraries.

Abby Taubin, SE22


“Thank you to all who have supported me”

Through your paper, I write to thank all those who have supported me before, during and after the general election, and who have sent messages, letters, emails and cards after the election and the announcement in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and for Christmas and 2016.

I apologise if I have not replied personally to everybody, though I have tried to!

To all residents of Bermondsey and the rest of Southwark I send special best wishes for a blessed Christmas and for a more peaceful world in 2016, and special thanks at the end of another momentous year to Southwark News, which plays such a good and important role in the life of our borough.

Simon Hughes


“Bakerloo decision is no surprise”

In spite of the  majority of respondents being in favour of the Bakerloo Line extension from the Elephant and Castle going via Camberwell  it is no surprise  that their preferred option is via the Old Kent Road as it has always been the option they prefer.

They also say that it will be at least 2030 before any extension is completed, as they will build the Northern line branch to Battersea first and undertake an upgrade on the existing Bakerloo line before extending it.

In the meantime the already overcrowded Bank branch of the Northern line will get more overcrowded at rush hour than it  alreedy is now.

It seems to me they want us all to ride bicycles in the heavily polluted Central London air which will laed to mre pollution cased health problems.

Have they all lost their senses?

Ken Hayes, SE1

“Does anyone know the Watsons?”

Does anyone have knowledge of the Watson family who lived at 10 Burton House, Brief Street, London SE5?

Robert Alfred Watson died in 1947, his widow Edith Mary, nee Waters, died January 1990 still at that address.

Wish to contact their daughter Carole Ann born during the War known to be at that address in 1964.

Jill Rowland,

London, W14 8EA



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