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Letters to the editor: Toby Eckersley, ‘golden goodbyes’, and dog mess

Cllr Eckersley: Defender of people’s rights

The sudden death of Toby Eckersley deprives our borough of a well known, experienced defender of people’s rights, needed now as much as ever, ‘Tributes paid to Charming Gent Toby’, Southwark News, May 3, 2018.

I am very sad personally as we have been fellow local campaigners for over forty years.

We met first in the mid 1970s when he supported the Peckham Action Group (PAG) campaign to stop the destruction of the north side of the historic Peckham High Street for the Council’s plan to replace it with a massive new town hall and four lane road. That was also when he was elected to the Council for the first time.

Just two weeks ago he demonstrated at the community organised hustings on planning and regeneration the depth of his understanding of the planning system and the negative effects it can have on people’s lives.

When we met at that event, we talked about the PAG campaign. We agreed that all the time since then we had shared a strong motivation in our community work to defend people’s rights against State power.

Toby’s commitment to helping people defend their rights was displayed over the decades, and most recently in the Aylesbury Estate CPOs. His contribution in the community has been invaluable and will be sorely missed.

Eileen Conn, Co-ordinator, Peckham Vision and Southwark Planning Network


11% of vote but no seat

When large numbers of people can vote for a party, and yet receive no representation on the council, something is drastically wrong.

The Green Party received more than 20,000 votes – 11% of the vote share. Under a proportional voting system, this would equate to six council seats. Our six councillors would be speaking up for council housing and genuinely affordable housing, holding the council to account on air pollution and fighting to reverse the youth service cuts implemented by the returning administration.

We will of course continue to do this from outside the chamber. But voices will continue to be unheard and ignored until England is allowed to follow the other home nations’ lead and implement proportional representation at the local level.

We call on members of the Labour and Conservative party to join the campaign for reform to the voting system.

Eleanor Margolies & Phil Vabulas

Co-Chairs, Southwark Green Party


Dogs ruining estate

In reference to ‘Fenced Out: Residents miffed as council puts up 10ft fence to stop dogs messing on grass’, Southwark News, 26 April, 2018.

My cousin lives on this estate in Borough with her young children and says the dog fouling on these two areas is horrendous, at times there are three or four dogs on there all doing their mess.

She dosn’t live on the ground floor, however, the smell and flies these piles of dog mess causes is that bad she is even unable to open her windows, or sit out, she is actually higher up,  the flies are swarming around. It must be terrible living further down.

Her children can’t play out on the grass either as they would get covered, it is actually a health hazard, the dogs are often off the leads they bark aggresifly and run up to her kids and this scares them, the owners just let them do it.

Lots of her neighbours have complained about this longstanding problem, they too feel like they are inprisoned not being allowed onto their grassed areas, it is totally out of bounds to them due to this problem.

Southwark Council did clearly listen to the many residents who have complained about this fouling  and tried to stop this filthy behaviour first by other means, as we see in the photo they put up “no dogs allowed” signs that are totally ignored, they sent out letters, this too was ignored and then put up the railings as a final attempt.  The relation with the council and residents is far from irretrivably broken, they are trying to help to allow all the residents to reclaim and enjoy their grassed areas.

When I have visited my cousin I notice these dogs run freely from one area to the other getting through the railing gaps.  These people should be considerate  it is not up to others to clean up their dogs mess, it is their responsibility, they wouldn’t like this faeces outside their own home!

It is the owners not the dogs that are to blame.

Mr M S Walker, via email


£17,000 is no small sum

In reference to your article ‘Over £17,000 to be paid out in golden goodbye to councillors’, Southwark News, April 19, 2018.

Seventeen thousand pounds may seem like a small sum of money to Peter John but to those having to use foodbanks it is a fortune beyond their comprehension. It could fund the food bill for 17 families for a year.

Definitely ‘small sum’ to a rich council leader and his cohorts, but not to the electorate and council tax payers who fund these exorbitant payments.

What makes these payments so obscene is the fact that the three councillors involved have not lost their posts, have not been made redundant, have not fought the election and lost, no, they have decided that the grass is greener elsewhere and have resigned voluntarily, but nonetheless they would ‘cop it and hop it’ at our expense.

They have all been involved in one way or another with the disastrous regeneration policy and its implementation.

The Heygate development would have been enough for them to be sacked without any compensation whatsoever if they had worked in private industry. They have overseen, along with Peter John, a relaxing of the 35% of affordable housing requirements from property developers.

They should hang their heads in shame. They are proving by the acceptance of the golden umbrella payments in their minds they come before the electorate and council tax payers who put them there in the first place.

Rusty, via email


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