The Lewisham Mayoral Elections: Simon Nundy

This Q&A is part of Brockley Central's virtual hustings. The Conservative Party candidate for Mayor, Simon Nundy, answers our questions. Click for answers from Cllr Dean Walton and Sir Steve Bullock.

1.How will you improve Lewisham's local high streets – in particular, Brockley Cross, Lewisham Way, Brockley Road and Ladywell Road?

I have proposed a package of measures designed to give local businesses the support they deserve and also encourage investment into the borough from people looking to set up or expand. This will not only provide much needed local employment but also better services and greater community cohesion.

Part of this strategy is a programme of low cost improvements to Lewisham’s streets and public spaces to create a safer and more attractive environment for those that live and work in the borough.

2. Will you ensure that plans for the part-pedestrianisation of Coulgate Street happen and in what time frame?

This is just the sort of initiative I had in mind in my first answer and whilst there is obviously a need to plan and consult further this seems one of those rare situations where there need not be any losers. I would be happy to support this proposal and provide the political backing required to push past all the usual bureaucratic obstacles.

3. There have been a number of problems with Lewisham Council contractors employed to maintain our streets and other public spaces (notably works to Brockley Common), including delays, poor quality work and poor quality materials being used. What will you do to improve performance?

I intend to review all current procurement procedures to ensure that we not only get value for money but also monitor standards and keep disruption to a minimum. I have already consulted with Wandsworth Council on this and was impressed with the way they deal with external contractors and the way in which they consult widely with local businesses and community leaders.

4. The Council has created a new Conservation Area in Ladywell. How can the Council better enforce the rules in Lewisham's conservation areas, including the high street businesses that ignore current guidelines on shop fronts?

Guidelines on shop fronts are just the sort of thing that help change the feel and mood of a street and, whilst I can understand a degree of resistance from the local businesses that have to pay for them, it is nevertheless necessary to enforce these rules fairly and consistently if they are to make an impact.

5. Do you support the current plans for the redevelopment of Lewisham Gateway and Convoys Wharf and - if so - what will you do to ensure that the projects are delivered as soon as possible?

I have greater misgivings about Lewisham Gateway than I do Convoys Wharf but in both cases I would need to establish what my legal options were before looking at any possible changes to the current plans. I am not convinced that the height and density of Lewisham Gateway is appropriate and I am sure that the implications for traffic flow have been conveniently ignored. I suspect that Lewisham Gateway will probably stall at some point, meaning we’ll need a plan B.

Generally I tend towards low rise mixed development and am concerned that there has not been sufficient work done on the implications of both schemes for local infrastructure – both transport links and public services such as schools and hospitals.

6. Does Lewisham Council need to make budget cuts in the next two years and - if so - how much needs to be cut and what specific cuts would you make?

I’ve had as good a look at the books as is possible from the outside and am convinced there are millions to be saved without effecting front line services. Having consulted more efficiently run councils like Wandsworth and Bromley I believe it possible to cut council tax by 5% and still pay off debt and improve services. Less than 10% of expenditure is covered by council tax so a 1% efficiency saving goes a long way. Lewisham fails to collect £6.5 million in council tax each year, spends £27 million a year on agency staff, spends 25% of the education budget on admin and pays over £28 million in interest every year. I’m sure that those examples are only the tip of the iceberg.

7. How can Lewisham Council increase the number of places at secondary school level and reduce the number of children having to leave the borough to get an education?

At primary school level we need more places urgently including additional special needs places. I would make this a priority and also take advantage of the necessary expansion to provide more special needs places in the borough. At secondary level the problem is more a lack of quality places. I intend to work closely with school Governors to make sure failing schools get the leadership they need whilst giving greater autonomy and control of budgets to those that know what they are doing.

8. What should happen to Gordonbrock School now that the decant and rebuild has been delayed by at least 6 months?

As with Lewisham Gateway I would need to check the legal position but I am told that the objection was a technical one and that funding will still be available. Whilst I have some sympathy with the Brockley Society objections I believe that the education of the pupils at Gordonbrock is paramount and that a quick solution is required which may mean going ahead with the original rebuild as soon as legally possible.

9. How will you reduce crime and anti-social behaviour (including littering, flytipping and dog-fouling) in the borough?

I have proposed a Mayoral Crime Liaison Office that answers directly to the Mayor and is responsible for ensuring maximum co-operation between police, estate managers, schools, and other relevant bodies. This would include looking at schemes such as neighbourhood watch and other community initiatives.

I also believe that my plans to tackle truancy and illiteracy early will have a knock on effect over time as we see a reduction in the number of children dropping out of the system at a young age and drifting into crime.

10. As a result of various stock transfers, an ALMO and a PFI contract, Lewisham's social housing is fragmented between a lot of different landlords. This places a massive burden on the council in terms of ensuring consistent service provision and neighbourhood engagement. What will you do as Mayor to deliver on this?'

First of all we need to address the chronic state of those properties still under direct control of the borough through Lewisham Homes.

Secondly we need to monitor the standards of the myriad of ALMO’s and housing associations, although to be fair they are doing a much better job than the council have done in the past and should be congratulated on their progress so far.

We also need to tackle issues such as empty properties and sub letting and ensure that estates are cleaner and more pleasant places to live which will in turn help reduce anti-social behaviour, vandalism and crime.

Read more about our positive plans for change in The Lewisham Gazette or visit:
www.nundy4mayor.com

49 comments:

Monkeyboy said...

Jesus, Bullock dosn't seem such a bad option now.

Brockley Kate said...

I have a follow-up question for Mr Nundy or any other Conservative types who may be reading:

How can you justify the fundamentally misleading Mayoral voting statistics which you cite in your section of the Mayoral election booklet?
You infer that the Conservatives garnered the second-highest proportion of votes in the last Mayoral election, but fail to make clear that this was the LONDON Mayoral election, not the last election for LEWISHAM Mayor (in which the Lib Dems came second and the Tories were nowhere near).
Don't you think this is fundamentally dishonest and shows contempt for your electorate?

BrockleyBiker said...

I'd like an answer to that to. It seems awfully misleading and dishonest.

Brockley Nick said...

What do people think about his policies?

Anonymous said...

@Brockley Kate - Yes! took the words right out of my mouth, I know statistics can (and are) misrepresented by all parties to make their point - but what they've done is lie!

@Mr Nundy, you say that Lewisham 'spends 25% of the education budget on admin' - do you actually believe that this is the case? Do you think that all the people employed by Lewisham in the Education dept spend their days doing 'admin'? Ridiculous statement!
- You state in your election address that Lewisham has the 3rd highest violent crime rate in London - this is also a lie! (just checked March 2010 and we're 6th, not great obviously, but not 3rd)
- I'll give your canvassers credit for attempting to hand out your rag at the TH farmers market though! I saw 3 people take one, 2 of which were promptly returned when they realised what it was!

Brockley Nick said...

Serenity now!

Please keep it civil everyone, it's been a very well-behaved hustings so-far.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brockley Kate said...

I think it's fair enough to ask, in a reasonable manner, for political candidates to account for the assertions in their electoral materials.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - Please feel free to make your point again in a more civil manner.

Brockley Nick said...

@BK - did I say it wasn't?

Anonymous said...

pouts that the mean man wouldn't let me say nasty things about the party that stole my milk :(

Brockley Nick said...

Next time I see you I will buy you a milk to make it up to you.

Jim Jepps said...

I'm very concerned about the 'savings' you think you can make in the council budget.

Could you give examples, from your detailed investigation, of who you are intending to lay off, and what services you are intending to restrict or withdraw.

It can't all be paper clips in the education admin budget can it?

Anonymous said...

well, maybe? I used at least 3 paperclips this morning. Bad me!

name said...

Tories? Sorry but no thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'll be glad when all the Elections are done and dusted.

Anonymous said...

@ Brockley kate, Brockley biker.

There must've been a collective double take across the borough when people read the mayoral election booklet.

Because I, like you two, thought the same as you, as did my flatmate, probably wouldn't have noticed if it weren't for the pretty bar charts contradicting each other.

But to be fair to numpty I mean nundy he's a weasley policitician: and they're naturally dishonest by nature or should I say spinners of half truths? Not quite sure.

I wonder what other misinformation he is churning out.

However, I'd be surprised if many people notice because either they are illiterate or uninterested.

As abhorrent as they are I think the most effective double page spread was the BNP's. They targeted their audience perfectly - to the point, touch a nerve, not too many syllables so the ignorant and stupid can understand the message. Plus the photo captured the party perfectly - human equivalent of a sour faced british bulldog chewing a wasp - wouldn't like to bump in to her on a sunny day let alone at night.

Anonymous said...

What's all this about? Is there an election or something?

Danja said...

I found it most amusing that rag claimed on different pages that crime was both up under Labour/Brown and down under Tory/Boris.

Brockley Nick said...

@Jim Jepps - FYI your own Mayoral candidate answered that savings could be made and did not identify what those were, beyond energy efficiency.

NXG_Resident said...

"Lewisham fails to collect £6.5 million in council tax each year, spends £27 million a year on agency staff, spends 25% of the education budget on admin and pays over £28 million in interest every year."

If this is true...most interesting...

Anonymous said...

Err.....Lewisham Homes itself is an ALMO and NOT as you suggest, the councils own housing management arm. LEWISHAM COUNCIL DOES NOT DIRECTLY MANAGE ANY STOCK...just one of your many errors....like the voting stats you refer to. Amateur!

Jim Jepps said...

@Brockley Nick I was disappointed by the tone of your response to a straight foirward and polite question.

Nundy said "I’ve had as good a look at the books as is possible from the outside and am convinced there are millions to be saved without effecting front line services. Having consulted more efficiently run councils like Wandsworth and Bromley I believe it possible to cut council tax by 5% and still pay off debt and improve services. "

He clearly has a plan on how we are going to save these millions and I'd like to know if this plan involves redundancies - which seems inevitable with this amount of money - and if so, who.

It seems to me that's a reasonable question to ask - I'm not making a party political point, I want to know what Nundy is planning as he is at pains to point out he's been pouring over the books.

I'm sure there are savings that can be made, but Dean like most of the other candidates, is not promising to cut council tax nor is he promising to make massive cuts.

Surely there is a difference between using money wisely and significant cuts.

Monkeyboy said...

" £27 million a year on agency staff," the question should be are they value for money. Every organisation I've ever worked for employs agency staff. The 27m stat alone tells us nothing

Brockley Nick said...

@Jim - I'm not sure what tone you read my comment in, but I too was making a straight forward point, which is that both candidates believe that there are potential savings which can be made, without undermining front-line services.

Neither identifies their preferred efficiency savings in any detail, but provides a few hints about where they think they might lie. There were word limits on the answers, so to expect detailed breakdowns of savings is probably not fair, although I'd encourage all candidates to revisit the site to address questions.

love detective said...

"Err.....Lewisham Homes itself is an ALMO and NOT as you suggest, the councils own housing management arm"

don't want to stick up for the tory, but while it may be an ALMO in name, the suggestion that lewisham homes is not contolled by the council is daft - it has the power to appoint a majority of the board for example

love detective said...

"However, I'd be surprised if many people notice because either they are illiterate.......ignorant......"

given that you either couldn't read the title of the graph (2008 election) - which would make you illiterate, or you weren't aware that there wasn't a mayoral election in lewisham in 2008 which would make you ignorant - i'm not sure if you're best placed to assess the illiteraticy & ignorancy levels of others

Anonymous said...

He has nun-a-dy answers

Tamsin said...

I would think there is an awful lot of room for savings in the Council admin. systems - the amount of mail they shunt out which is one or two sheets in a large envelope - nearly double the postage and two or three times the paper for starters. The way all council buildings are permanently dreadfully overheated. The agency staff - e.g. (if I recall correctly)an Early Years QTS for well over 12 months because they could not get their act together to appoint. The external consultants sometimes (not always I agree) brought in to "manage" council events at £1000s a time, when it should be something more council staff do as part of their normal day's work. The food that gets offered to you at every council event when coffee or biscuits would do. (Admittedly this feeds into the local economy and several caterers might go out of business if it changes, but it is indicative of a generally extravagent attitude that offends my voluntary sector outlook where every penny counts.)

I think Nundy did quite a good job at the BXAG hustings - certainly in talking about the need for local business to be encouraged.

Anonymous said...

Brockley Kate's point is important. To infer on your webiste that the London Mayoral election result was the Lewisham election result was pure dishonesty Mr Nundy.

Anonymous said...

imply, guys, imply.

Anonymous said...

Can people not look beyond the fact that he is a tory and look at what he is saying - he supports local business, local improvements (e.g. pedestrianisation of coulgate street), supports sensitive development, lower council taxes and more efficient use of resources - I mean if Lewisham is paying £28m in interest then that is a ludicrous waste of money - think what could be done with that!

Anonymous said...

I just wish that a Conservative candidate would make more of an effort to canvas in Telegraph Hill. I know there are not many Tory supporters like me living in the area, but I get the impression that they have decided they have no chance so they have given up.

Tamsin said...

The Ward councillor candidates were out and about at the last Farmers Market (and one of them is a parent at Oak Hill Nursery). Simon Nundy was at the BXAG hustings just over the border in St Peter's Church on Monday and we've just had Gemma Townsend's leaflet through our door.

She has been around and about locally for a while - attending the Stop Fuel Poverty meeting in St. Andrew's this time last year, for example.

Anonymous said...

love detective
I'm well aware that the lewisham mayoral elections weren't held in 2008.

I am able to read the title (2008 Mayoral election: how Lewisham voted), and was able to deduce that the chart refers to the London mayoral elections.

Had he been clear about what election he was referring to then I would not have to had explain to a couple of neighbours who assumed that conservatives came second in the previous Lewisham local election and it ticks me off. That my neighbours would be none the wise had I not corrected them.

It was a cynical ploy to exploit and mislead those who aren't as literate or smart as you are.

Monkeyboy said...

I've decided, some kind of proportional representation needs to happen. Go Cleggy my son, make it well hung - even though I'm not entierly convinced by your Party

(but not with the Tory's please, thanks)

The Cat Man said...

hung is good!

Anonymous said...

hung is good but anything more than 8 makes my eyes water

helptotellthetruth said...

As always another load of broken promises,Oh dear

Anonymous said...

I just want someone to tell me who is most likely to oust Bullock.

I don't care who they are or what their policies are.

love detective said...

Al Swearengen

helptopreventkneejerkreactions said...

As always another load of broken promises,Oh dear

Actually, you have to break them first in order for them to be classified as broken. To do that Mr Nundy needs to be mayor.

mintness said...

To Anon - in light of the national, mood, I'd say the most efficient vote to oust Bullock is Lib Dem 1, Green 2. Should be a pretty safe bet.

Tamsin said...

Do it the other way round, perhaps? I think Dean has the concern and humility to make a better Mayor.

mintness said...

That's as well, I suppose, yep - same end result since Bullock won't break the 50% barrier anyway.

Tressilliana said...

That's the conclusion I was coming to. Just make sure neither vote is for Bullock and I think one should be for the LibDems, as they seem best placed to bring the Bullock years to an overdue end. I posted about what I understand to be the mechanics of this on the hustings thread.

Tamsin said...

Which are the parties that promise to do away with the Mayor and cabinet system? I know John Hamilton does. Is it in the Green or Liberal local pledges too?

Chris Maines said...

Can I reiterate to Tamsin that I will be campaigning to abolish the directly elected mayor.

Lewisham Lib Dems are totally opposed to the system that vests some power in the hands of one person.

love detective said...

why no mention of this in the election material out of interest?

Latest Tweets

Brockley Central Label Cloud

Click one of the labels below to see all posts on that subject. The bigger the label, the more posts there are!