Tim Shand departure sparks Ladywell election

Healy: I went out and got him a leash you know, one of those clothes line runners for the backyard. He's got plenty of room out there to dig. The kid's really blossomed. Now I can take him to ball games, movies--you know, happy stuff.
Mary: That sounds like fun.
Healy: Yeah, it's fun for them, but it's heaven for me. (Getting emotional) Those goofy bastards are just about the best thing I have in this crazy old world. Ooh, hey, I gotta run.
- There's Something About Mary

Tim Shand, Labour Councillor for Ladywell ward, has announced that he is to resign from Lewisham Council to work for Sonke Gender Justice Network based in Cape Town, South Africa.

At the time of his election in May, many questioned his commitment to the ward, given his low-profile campaign and the fact that he'd also stood as Labour's Parliamentary candidate for Guildford. Hopefully the election that his departure prompts will produce a Councillor who is fully focused on local issues, which is what Councillors are for. The fact that the only policy matter referenced in the Labour statement is an irrelevant bit of point scoring about the national government picture does not augur well.

A Lewisham Labour statement confirms:

Tim said, “It has been a heart-wrenching decision to stand down but to go and work in some of the poorest communities in the world on big problems like HIV and sexual violence is something that I could not refuse. I’ve got absolute faith that my fellow Councillors and the Mayor have what it takes to stand up to this government’s attack on our borough’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Councillor Alan Hall, Chair, Lewisham Labour said, “We are sad to lose Tim but he has made a hard and honest decision to stand down due to his work commitments in the developing communities of South Africa.

We will fight this by election to win. It is a chance for the people of Ladywell to not only elect a new Councillor but to say no to this Tory-Liberal government’s programme of ideological cuts.”

The statement also says that:

The resignation was tendered on Friday 24th November [presumably, they mean September] to the Chief Executive of Lewisham Council.

Labour will be selecting a candidate for the by-election on 30/09/10.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is Cllr. Alan Hall a 'f'ing idiot', the Mayor was elected on the promise he'd make £60m of cuts no matter who formed the government.

Anonymous said...

Rather than idiot, I'd say he's just a liar. I say just, even though that's worse. At least idiots tend to have the best intentions.

Anonymous said...

Was never convinced Tim was serious about looking after the Ladywell ward, one only needs to look at past movements.

mintness said...

The first of many. Plenty of "accidental" councillors to get rid of yet.

Tressilliana said...

I hope it will be a long time before our council elections coincide again with the General Election. It was so obvious as the results came in that people who voted Labour in the GE just carried on voting Labour locally without regard for who they were voting for. We lost three committed, genuinely local councillors and got - what? I would be absolutely over the moon if we got one of our Green councillors back again. You can count on my vote if you stand, Sue!

Tressilliana said...

I see that Joan Ruddock cast only one vote in the leadership election and that was for Ed Miliband.

Louise Chittock said...

Looking forward to this by-election. The results in May were a fluke by-product of the general election and left the people of Ladywell with 'representatives' who do not know the area and were not even expecting to get elected. Now we can hopefully elect a local person who will work hard to represent local residents. Which is exactly what the three councillors who lost their seats in May were doing, as far as I could see.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the lure of the Rand was greater.

Brockley Nick said...

The lure of the Rand? At a gender justice charity? Do you think that's likely?

Anonymous said...

Not all Charity workers do it for nothing.

Brockley Nick said...

Sure... but you're talking as though it's a rebel cricket tour in the 80s. It's one guy giving up career here to go and pursue another vocation there. I'll bet the new gig doesn't pay as well - not that there would be anything wrong with that.

Or do you think it's one of those six-figure salary posts that SA gender justice charities are famous for?

Tamsin said...

Local and general elections coinciding is something that one needs to be wary of if the moves go ahead to go for fixed term parliaments. If it's on a five year cycle they will coincide once every twenty years which is fair enough - but there maybe the notion of making the cycles co-incide in the interests of economy.

Indeed the votes in may were on the simple party line and not on local issues or local personalities at all. How else can Lewisham Council lose its Conservative, Lib-dem, Green and Socialist Alternative councillors all in one go...

Sue said...

@Tressilliana and others: thanks for your kind comments. The Green candidate will be selected at a special meeting on Thursday evening and we'll announce who it is shortly after. I've decided not to put myself forward this time as I'm rather enjoying life as a non-cllr. I know of at least 2 excellent candidates planning on throwing their hat in the ring, and look forward to getting out and campaigning on their behalf.

Sue said...

Nick - I agree that Tim probably isn't moving for financial reasons, but when two of the Lib Dems cllrs in Downham resigned last year under very similar circumstances (albeit having served as cllrs for a number of years first), Labour put out a particularly vitriolic leaflet characterising the Lib Dems as "rats leaving a sinking ship" and accusing the outgoing councillors (one of whom had been unemployed for a number of months before accepting a politically restricted post) of going off "to spend more time with his money".

Somehow, I suspect Labour won't be producing a leaflet admitting they are rats leaving a sinking ship and that Shand is going off "to spend more time with his money" as they characterised the Downham Lib Dems.

I think we could also do with a touch more openness from Tim about when and why he applied for this job - I understand he was offered it at the end of June/beginning of July - did he really stand for election as a local councillor while at almost the same time applying for jobs on another continent?

If you stand for election as a councillor, you should be committing to serving that area for the 4-year term, not immediately applying for jobs abroad, and triggering a by-election that will cost local taxpayers in the region of 10k.

Brockley Nick said...

I agree with all that.

Pete said...

Sue; I'm gutted you're not standing as I think you were an excellent councillor who worked really hard for the local community. If you choose Ute please make a point on your leaflets of saying what the local green party councillors achieved before. I think positive campaigning will be more effective than the negative campaigning that so many political parties resort to!

I don't think Tim ever expected to get in based on his timing of applying for that job. If he did then I think its a disgrace based on the costs to local tax payers.

drakefell debaser said...

If what Sue suggests is true then I think Mr Shand should pay for the by-election out of his own pocket to prevent this sort of thing in the future.

Mr Shand's determination to represent Ladywell is highlighted on his twitter feed - tim4guildford - which details his election campaign tweets, it is ALL about Guildford so I very much doubt this decision was as hard and honest as made out.

Brockley Nick said...

I thought they laid it on a bit thick in the release about how worthy his new job was, hence the introductory quote.

Brockley Nick said...

But I still don't think we need any extra "punishments" for this kind of decision. People are allowed to move on and the public can opt to "punish" his party (that nominated him in the first place) at the ballot box, if they so wish.

Personally, all I want to know is what candidates are going to do about local issues.

David said...

On a point of information:
Mayor Steve & Labour councillors were not elected on a promise of making £60M cuts regardless of who formed the govt. Steve asked officers before the election to prepare for a possible Tory govt which is where the £60M come from, had Labour been as successful nationally as it was in Lewisham the cuts locally would be in the £30-£35M region. People should be aware this is a false & deliberately misleading position that the local Lib Dems seem very keen on at the moment.

If you look closely at the differences between the local and general election results there was a huge amount of split voting, which betrays the second comment that people "accidentally" voted for Labour in the council election. For example, if Lewisham East's seven wards had voted the same way they voted for Heidi, they would not have any non-labour councillors. It also sounds like commentators are saying it was a shame that huge number of people voted in May because they voted incorrectly.

Cllr Alan Hall has spent the best part of the last 20 years of his life working extremely hard to improve housing for people from ordinary families in the local area. Criticise his politics but rude, offensive and unfair comments about his motives are badly judged.

max said...

That's sooooo rich!

If the Labour Party had the balls to detail what they would have cut now you could say what you just said.
Labour was in government and had the opportunity of a spending review before elections - you kicked it in the long grass.
If George Osbourne is now free to propose what he's proposing is because Labour abdicated its responsibility.

Moreover, it's a 'local' by-election that's coming along so you'd be best advised to speak about local issues, otherwise you sound just like Cllr Alan Hall and his platitudes.

Anonymous said...

Is this 'steve', 'heidi' and 'alan' putting up a glove puppet?

David said...

On a national level all of the parties were evasive over what they would cut so very happy to accept all the flack that goes with that as long as you are happy to apply that to the others.

I am certain Labour will be running a positive, local campiagn about how we can best champion issues like improving the village and access to Lewisham station, easing the concerns about local services from the Loampit Vale development, trying to get all our homes up to decent home standard, amongst others.

Hopefully the Greens will select someone like Charlotte or Ute and we can have a really good, open contest between two friendly, hard working teams.

PS: I am not a cipher for the local Labour leadership, just someone fed up seeing people print little more than abuse about some very decent people. I think that there are many good topics to debate, and you can argue many different ways about the decisions the council make; assuming that my friends are all scoundrels does a disservice to all of us, whatever our political beliefs.

Geoffrey said...

Having been elected to represent Ladywell, despite also being the Parliamentary candidate for Guildford (no chance there anyway) Tim Shand did appear to take his role seriously. Perhaps he's "just" a serious and contentious person. Hopefully Labour will select someone we all know, and who lives in Ladywell.

max said...

Yes, they were all just as evasive, but take a look at this.

(Thanks to Jimjay for the link)

Anonymous said...

@ David

Fact in November/December LAST
Cllr Alan Hall has spent the best part of the last 20 years of his life working extremely hard to improve housing for people from ordinary families in the local area.


Criticise his politics but rude, offensive and unfair comments about his motives are badly judged.


What's unfair? 'F'ng idiot' came from the fair lips of our elected Mayor regarding people who disregard the facts when it comes to the £60m cuts he was elected to make.

The Mayor wrote a report for the PREVIOUS government advicing councils how to make cuts err effiencies.

Where did the Mayor say if Labour win he won't be making cuts of £60m?

As for Cllr Hall and housing, is he going to fully accept the blame for the extremely costly Brockley PFI?

Does he get praise for the crap housing crap service that could only be improved by transferring stock social houing organisations?

Oh praise for the complete failure by the Council and Lewisham Homes to unlock the funds promised in 2006 (see manifesto) to make their properties decent to live in.

Oh if Cllr Hall has been on the council for 20 years then he'd know all about the £14m loan from a private individual that grew to a £28m debt due to a failure pay back any of the loan for properties in Blackheath.

Well there's £28m of savings that could have been made without anyone suffering.

Anonymous said...

On a national level all of the parties were evasive over what they would cut so very happy to accept all the flack that goes with that as long as you are happy to apply that to the others.

But the Mayor conjured up from thin air the figure of £60m...rollseyes.

Back to Tim Shand...like others I find the timing odd. Being kind within two months of being elected he was applying for a position abroad?

Clearly it can honestly be said a vote for Tim Shand was not only a wasted vote but a costly one.

Anonymous said...

@ Geoffrey

My info is that the Labour Party is desperately looking round for someone to control the other 2 Ladywell councillors.

lb said...

"My info is that the Labour Party is desperately looking round for someone to control the other 2 Ladywell councillors."

And where did you get this "info" from? Did the Anonymous Fairy leave it under your pillow?

Anonymous said...

@David

But this a council that has a record of closing down debate. Shuffling councillors round the wards hoping people won't notice they were the ones who kept stum on major issues like the new secondary school and closure of Ladywell Leisure Centre.

Those councillors don't realise we have an ELECTED mayor in Lewisham and they can freely and openly disagree and distance themselves from the Mayor's decisions.

As the Mayor can and has distanced himself from councillor's decisions.

Back to decent homes...from memory in 2000 Lewisham Residents voted by about 80% to reject the transfer of management away from the council.

Clearly some discussion took place and the goverment came back with a scheme that led to local transfers and PFI's taking the housing away from the council.

There was also the ALMO where hundreds of pounds would be made available to make homes decent to live in by 2010.

The catch was Lewisham's Housing service needed to meet a certain standard.

In May 2006 The Mayor stood on the promise to deliver housing decent to live in by 2010, within weeks of his re-election he announced oooh he wouldn't be delivering homes decent to live in before 2012.

The houising service in Lewisham failed to get 2 stars so it didn't matter anyway.

I think it was last year the PREVIOUS government announced even if Lewisham obtained 2 stars the funds to make homes in Lewisham decent to live in would be delayed.

That's the £120m-£200m, The Mayor, his Cabinet and aligned Councillors who said for years was waiting to be spent was suddenly not available.

I wonder why that was...you do the sums.

Anonymous said...

No fairies were involved or pillow talk.

My source is extremely reliable if misguided.

Anonymous said...

Cllr. Hall must be praised for being part of a council that re-introduced Bed & Breakfast accommodation for the homeless (Top Ten 10 London).

At least they faired better than 517 who were "Duty owed but no accommodation provided", the highest number in London.

Also didn't the housing waiting list and overcrowding figures for Lewisham steadily increase doing the recent 'boom' years...no doubt without Cllr Hall it would have been far worse?

Anonymous said...

From the pen of The Mayor in a letter accompanying the report what he wrote with Richard Leese in Feb 2010 for the PREVIOUS government..

"Our strong message in this report is that councils need to be taking action immediately.

Making these decisions now will make the difference in the coming months."

lb said...

"My source is extremely reliable if misguided"

Sorry, we need better than that, I think.

Your posts are full of insinuation and speculation, but very little else.

Anonymous said...

UPDATE:

Lewisham Homes has finally achieved 2 star status which means the funding for making homes decent has been unlocked...errr no.

It's being reported the almost £154m grant is now in doubt, the same as it was under the PREVIOUS government ie no decision would have been made before a spending review.

Anonymous said...

@lb

Sorry, we need better than that, I think.

Your posts are full of insinuation and speculation, but very little else.


IF what you write is correct then it suggests your response is itself pure speculation.

'Speculation' about the departure of Tim Shand was placed on this website at the beginning of August.

Last week someone 'insinuated' there would a by-election in Ladywell, I read today a by-election is due in November.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - someone didn't insinuate that there would be a by-election, they stated it.

To the various seemingly well-informed anons on this thread, why don't you email me what you know with relevant sources (particularly the housing stuff, which is a much bigger topic) and I can then post it as a full article, rather than as the fag-ends of a not-entirely-relevant thread.

Anonymous said...

What does the council fund?

I would have thought Town Centre Manager's would have been funded by Lewisham Council, but according to Cllr Alan Hall that's not the case.

The Mercury reports Cllr Hall telling them Town Centre Manager's had previously paid for by the Government.

"The council feels that they do play an important role."

But not important enough to have been paid for locally.

Anonymous said...

@Nick
I was being cheeky about one of my own messages.

The housing stuff is in the public domain.

I am a Londoner and recently went up north to a significantly busy city and was surprised how well maintained the public spaces are kept.

This was a city with numerous clubs and bars.

The biggest impact was the lack of noise, ie emergency vehicle two tones blaring out every few minutes.

I get back to Lewisham and within a couple of minutes I'm passed by a police car lights flashing and two tone blaring.

I walk down a residential road to hear music blasting out of a house.

Walking through a park, a male emerges from some bushes shaking his privates back into place.

I thought why does Lewisham have such a culture, what benefits are provided by living in a borough with the highest Band D council tax in London?

shaking dogger said...

"Walking through a park, a male emerges from some bushes shaking his privates back into place."



damn, spotted

Brockley Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brockley Nick said...

I like Manchester, I work for Manchester City FC and go up there a lot. But I am always struck by how deserted the streets of Manchester are, even in much of the centre. You could say the same for most major UK cities other than London.

Give me music blaring from someone's window and the odd siren or two, any day of the week - neither of which are the Council's responsibility in any case.

I totally agree with you about the quality of the public realm in Lewisham, however, and devote much of this blog to that issue. You don't need to go north to see an alternative, cross the border to Southwark, where the park paths are smooth, where the street furniture is classy and where the pavements don't trip you up.

But seriously, if you've got interesting data that deserves to be shared, please send it to me.

Anonymous said...

But it's not the 'odd siren or two' and are the sirens a sign of an effective police force or that crime is rampant in Lewisham?

You now have a culture where it is the norm to swarm Catford and Lewisham Town centre 5 days a week with law enforcers to merely to deal with....schoolchildren.

I attended a meeting the other week (the Mayor was present) where it was clear the authorities tolerance of anti-social behaviour in some areas was greater than others, because it is regarded as the norm.

As for streetscape I'm sorry but it's a joke in Lewisham. How long has that Sea Container been on Lewisham Way?

The streetscape is a local issue and with the same party in power for 40-50 years I'd thought it would have been resolved years ago.

But no, we have piece meal projects that may look good within themselves but is in conflict with previous work.

The various pedestrian lighting between Catford and Lewisham tells the story of different funding schemes over the years.

Much of government funding for Lewisham is because the borough is felt to be deprived. The £45m for New Cross was a result of competition between deprived areas.

But our politicians will sell it to us as a successful bid because the council has argued and proved how deprived the area is compared to others.

This is not a party issue but I ask myself with the same party in power for 40-50 years and presumably with exec council officers of their liking and the highest council tax in London, why are they regularly correcting their own past mistakes.

Anonymous said...

I guess Cllr Hall will blame the coalition government for the following.....

The Mercury reports Lewisham's mayor has pleaded for Government cash to solve a growing primary school places crisis.

Lewisham town hall fears it will have almost 700 more children applying for places at schools than there are is space for each year.


In June of this year the council made urgent planning applications to provide 'temporary' classrooms at numerous schools across the borough, some have still to be approved.

The Mayor says, "the situation in Lewisham is very serious", simple question...why?

For the education of Cllr Hall and his ilk...children usually attend primary school when aged 5.

Applications for this year would have been made a year ago in 2009. Those children would have been born 2005 and probably concieved in 2004.

It's not as though the Mayor wasn't aware of the baby 'bulge' as he quotes birth rates in The Mercury article.

What action did the PREVIOUS government take over the past 5 years to address the issue that required urgent planning applications after the May elections?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...shall we compare the record of school building under various governments? How much of the budget is local, how much is central government? Genuine question, I don't know the answer but the Torys were not know for their deep pockets where school building was concerned.

Of course some in the borough think that preserving building of dubious archetectural merit is where it's at.

Tressilliana said...

Lots of anons on this thread so I have no idea how many different people are involved.

However, going back to the issue of primary school places - it isn't that simple. You can't assume that every child born in Lewisham will need a primary place in the borough as they approach 5 years old, because on past form a lot of families move out of Lewisham before that point and a significant number of other families choose to send their children to private schools.

Lewisham has been caught out (and so have lots of other LEAs) because the recession has trapped a lot of families in Lewisham longer than they would otherwise have been here, and without the dosh to pay school fees. So all of a sudden the LEA is having to find lots more primary places than might have been expected.

Of course, an additional problem is that there have never (as a matter of policy over decades) been enough state school places in Inner London for all school-aged children. LEAs have always relied on families going private or sending their children to outer London schools.

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

The services you work in must be incredibly tough. I would argue that they need money invested in them, it's not just sepending money on those that The Mail may see as the 'undeserving poor'. It helps everyone via less crime, getting people into work etc.

Now there were always going to be cuts but will the LIB/con coalition spend money on those services? I really doubt that, those groups are the ones that the tories love to hate.

I'm actually less interested in party affiliations when it comes to local reps. Someone with the knowledge and inclination to roll their sleeves up for 'the greater good' is more relevent. Sounds like you do that in your day job so good luck.

Anonymous said...

...actually just read your post again. If anyone complains again about public sector workers being lazy and only in it for the perks I'll refer them to this.

I'd be quiet content if you were one of the alledged public sector high earners. Somehow I suspect you're not. You probably do more to improve the collective lot than any number of meedja luvvies.

ingrid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brockley Nick said...

Ingrid's comments have, regrettably, been deleted at her request. Hope to hear more from her soon though.

Anonymous said...

What did they say???????

Anonymous said...

@ Tressilliana

But it is that simple.....

When explaining the urgent requirement for new temporary classrooms officers refer only to 'Birth Rate'.

An interal analysis by 'Partnership For Schools' puts the surge in the birth rate as to why Lewisham face a rise of the school population of more than 20%.

In September Lewisham opened 18 new classrooms to cope with demand.

Yesterday planning applications for temporary classrooms at 2 more Lewisham primary schools was discussed. The schools took 30 extra pupils this year.

Quoting The Mayor from John Hugill's article in the Mercury....

"The birth rate in Lewisham is now around 4,800 a year and if 80 per cent of these children apply for a place in a Lewisham school, we will have 3,840 applications for 3,156 places each year. This situation is unacceptable."

With 18 new classes opened this year it's difficult to understand how this bulge that was 5 years in the making was missed.

A certain local polotician will probably accuse the coalition government of impregnating the women of Lewisham 5-6 years ago.

Martin said...

On the by-election, I think this is the first of many. Labour did better than they expected and quite a few of the new faces probably didn't expect to win. Particularly if they are young many will move on. Good luck to Tim Shand in his new job, but I can understand why people are miffed.
Given turnout will be much lower I expect the Greens to have more of a chance.

On schools - I think it's fair to say the council have been planning to do something about the rising birth rate, but probably not enough given, as Tressilliana says, the recession has meant more wealthy people having to slum it with the rest of us for a while.

I think some of the roots of the problem lie further back in time though and it was one of the themes present in Steve Bullock's first election campaign that he wanted to retain more middle class parents in Lewisham schools. My daughter's in year 5 and my partner's visited a few secondaries and was impressed by most, which I don't think was the case 10 years ago (though admittedly I only have anecddotal evidence). I think on Bullock's terms he has had some success - the schools are now better at getting good results. Whether that is how achievement should be measured is another matter.
The focus on secondaries, in part exacerbated by the loss of places that demolishing Telegraph Hill represented, meant that there was less on primaries.

The only options for the council are to build some new ones (unlikely) or expand existing ones. Lewisham is particularly stressed because of its primary schools tendency to catch fire, unfortunately, and mismanagement (e.g. Lewisham Bridge, delays to Gordonbrock rebuild). I understand that Monson are going to have to make their own arrangements after November when the next Lewisham Bridge decant starts; and year 6 of Stillness are in the site Gordonbrock is hopefully decanting to after Christmas.

So, yes, some of it is bad planning, but some of it really is beyond the council's immediate control.

Tressilliana said...

I think there's no doubt that the secondary schools have improved over the last ten years. My children are now 18 and 16 and when they were toddlers the stories I was hearing about the local secondary schools were, frankly, worrying. Even six years ago when we were looking at schools for my son, the picture was very mixed. Early days, but I think the federations are making a difference to the schools that were partnered with more 'successful' school (ie Malory, now Haberdashers' Aske's Knights, and Crofton, now Prendergast Ladywell Fields). Colfe's involvement with what was Catford is another interesting experiment. That one's now called Conisborough College for Business and Enterprise. Other name changes: St Joseph's is now St Matthew's and Northbrook is now Trinity.

It must have been a big boost to literacy that so many Lewisham students now have to master a much longer school name, especially the Aske's pupils with its complex punctuation...

Louise Chittock said...

Does anyone yet know who the selected candidates are for the by-election?

I think Sue posted earlier that the Greens were selecting on Thursday 30th?

Anonymous said...

Bizarre. I saw Shand's name on a local circular and was amazed. He was the head of the student union when I was at university in Glasgow. He was useless then too - let the university sell all the halls of residence - next year: cockroaches and collapsing floors.

Anonymous said...

Tressilliana, please contact me re Samantha Joseph

rosemarieleclerc(at)yahoo.com

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