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Letters of the week (23/03/2016)

“On the picket line with our cleaners”

On Monday morning we joined cleaners on the picket line outside the Maudsley Hospital who were on strike over pay.

They currently receive £7.38 per hour which is more than £2 an hour less than the London Living Wage (LLW). The LLW is calculated by the Greater London Authority and is the amount needed to secure a basic standard of living in the capital. Despite 40% cuts to Southwark Council’s budget since 2010 we have made this a priority as we believe that all staff deserve a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. Not only is the LLW the morally right thing to do but it also makes financial sense for the council as an employer. This is because it improves services and reduces HR and training costs, as contractors are better able to recruit and retain staff. Paying poverty wages is a false economy. All nine local Camberwell Councillors have written to the chief executive and chair of the South London and Maudsley Mental Health Trust urging them to reconsider their position. We hope that they will listen to their staff and the local community.

Cllr Mark Williams  & Cllr Tom Flynn, Brunswick Park and  Camberwell Green

“We want our England back”

Goodbye to my England, so long old friend, your days are now numbered, brought to an end,

To be Scottish, Irish or Welsh is just fine, but to say you are English is way out of line,

The French and the Germans may call themsevles such, as may the Norwegians, the Swedes and the Dutch,

You can say you are Ruusian, or maybe a Dane, but don’t say you’re English ever again,

At the BBC, that word is taboo, in Brussels they’ve scrapped it, in Parliament too,

Even schools are affected, staff do as they are told, they must’nt teach children about the England of old,

Writers like Shakespeare, Milton and Shaw, people do not learn about them anymore,

Agincourt, Hastings, Arnhem and Mons, where England also lost hosts of her sons,

We are not Europeans, how can we be? Europe is miles away over the sea,

We’re English for England, so lets all be proud; stand up and be counted, shout out loud,

Lets tell our governmemt and Brussels too, we’re proud of our heritage and the red, white and blue,

Fly the flag of St George or the Union Jack, let the whole world know we want our England back,

Reg O’Donoghue, Walworth

“Negative campaign on Greendale”

I read your letter from Friends of Greendale last week, and was pretty much disgusted by just how disingenuous and negative this campaign is shaping up to be.

I have been heavily involved with the club for more than 20 years, and have seen this club through good and (very) bad times. This represents a solid grounding for our club, for years to come – and there are a number of inaccuracies that we can only see as deliberate, and misleading. We all know that Hadley came through when we were about to fold – but that isn’t the central point here. We are talking about the future, and this is a project that we at DHFC have worked quite closely with the developers on.

Forgive my ignorance, but in what way have the Friends of Greendale been good neighbours to DHFC? To date, DHFC (through Hadley) have paid for the works that they have wanted to see on site and perhaps it has been forgotten that when the site was purchased, and the lease passed over to the developers, one of the ways to increase income for the Dulwich Hamlet would have been more simply build more pitches on Greendale – something which was perfectly within the terms of the lease, and actually what Southwark intended when the original planning permission was granted. After all, Greendale was once just ILEA playing fields This was dismissed by Hadley, who were more than happy to work with the Friends group, despite the financial pressure placed on them. As far as we can see, this has been a one-way relationship which has not benefitted anyone but the Friends in the slightest.

There is also the point about a ‘stadium’ being built on Metropolitan Open Land. There is a club facility being built on land owned by the developer, NEXT TO the MOL, a pitch laid where one exists on it, and a green wall for the ground which never stands higher than 2.6 metres above the ground level. In what way will this impact on the openness of the land? Is there really no flexibility for something which is a) clearly needed, and b) looks to be a perfectly valid development, planning-wise? Even if there is a sporting provision built, why shouldn’t this take place? There are a number precedents of sporting facilities being built on MOL. This is a perfectly valid use. The club would never support residential development on MOL, and are very proud of the part that we have played in the ‘feel’ and ‘atmosphere’ that Dulwich has as a whole – but the idea that a sunken pitch where one stands already, with less and lower floodlights than those which exist there, represents any significant change seems myopic, self-serving and inflexible.

As far as it seems, from across the other side of the stadium wall, there is very little in Friends of Greendale’s approach to anything but the prevention of anyone using the fields for anything bar their dog walking and nature days. Why don’t they want to see any play provision for teenagers and young adults? Again – this is something which the neighbourhood needs and could be provided by the borough and the development as a whole. The whole thing seems as if it is based on a position of self-interest, and is miles away from what the club needs, the fans want and the neighbourhood as a whole requires.

Liam Hickey, Committee Member of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club


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