The New Cross Community Council

Following the closure of New Cross Library, local campaigner James Holland believes that the issue has shown the need to create a new group for "everyone who lives, works and studies in SE14 to come together to directly represent their interests themselves."

We asked James how this would differ from Lewisham Council's Local Assemblies and he said:

The local assemblies vary immensely accross the borough. In New Cross the Assembly is not really a democratic body. But however good or bad assemblies are, they are still an arm of the council, and therefore are not really open arenas for people to initiate and direct debate and decision making, especially if it's critical of the council.

They were imposed from the top and are a bureaucratic and expensive way to make the council look like it's
involving people. In fact the only power they actually have is on how to spend a tiny amount of money, however, even then these 'decisions' have the be approved by the Mayor.

The new community council will be completely different - run entirely by the people of the area it's most likely role will be to allow the community to represent it's interests to the council to help them to avoid making mistakes such as closing the library or allowing another Sainsbury's.

I hope the Mayor and Lewisham council recognise that such an independent, open and democratic local voice will help them to make better, more informed decisions similar to how we might hope the borough council might represent our interests to central government.

There is also the problem of the geographical areas covered by council wards which bear no resemblance to actual functioning communities - New Cross ward includes Deptford Station, but not Goldsmiths College which is why we're organising for anyone in the SE14 postcode - which covers an area most people would recognise as New Cross.

If you'd like to attend the meeting, here are the details:

Monday June 6th 7pm, Goldsmiths College, Main Building, Lewisham Way, Ground Floor room 143

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