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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Anonymous said...

Independent, open and democratic local voice?


citizen said...

Good for them, power to the people not Steve Bullock.

Seb Blatter said...

whatever the rights and wrongs of the Community Council, how an area is divded up is always going to be a bit blured. Post Codes are just as much an administrative convinience as wards? No better or worse but not fundamentally different. Also all groups have a collective aim, whether or not they intend to, thats why groups form and stay together. They may not start out with a particular political flavour but they tend to develop one. Again, not necessarily an issue but it will represent the feeling of the group itself, that MAY represent the views of SE14 itself but depends on the participation. The fact that you say "...avoid making mistakes such as closing the library or allowing another Sainsbury's...." has already set a tone.

It will be a lobby group in the same way as the BrocSoc, Brockley Cross Action Group etc, etc.... All fine and healthy, and all equally valid. As are the local Councilors, love 'em or loath 'em, we voted for 'em.

I'm stating the bleeding obvious I know. Hope it works out and adds something but lets not use this as an alternative to lobbying our councilors to do their job.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone bothered to read James Holland's blog?

Loks like a receipe for thugs to impose their minority views on others.

Why do people like him assume people acting as a group will reject capitalism, or be supportive of those who conducted violence at the TUC rally.

Of elections....

Elections treat people as if they’re stupid, like all we can handle is a choice once every few years between 2 or 3 very similar and massively simplified packages of options.

He talks of concensus rather than compromise.

Anonymous said...

do you have a link to the blog, anon?

Lou Baker said...

Sounds like a pointless waste of time.

This 'campaigner' certainly doesn't speak for me when he rallies against big companies and in favour of massive subsidies to support superfluous libraries.

Maybe the lefties will feel better when they congregate in lefty central (Goldsmiths) to bemoan success and argue in favour of their failed Marxist dream.

Incidentally, I got a Socialist Party leaflet through the door yesterday. It made me remember how satisfying it was when those ideological Neanderthals lost out in Telegraph Hill ward at the last elections. It also made me shudder to think just how many people in this area are intellectually challenged enough to have supported them in the first place.

Citizen said...

Get on board or get left behind.

Citizen 2 said...

See ya *waves*

Insider said...

James Holland and his ilk are supremely irritating, bombarding local people/organisations, somehow assuming that their jaundiced view of democracy will be widely shared. It isn't! The public sector, especially local authorities (and, dare I say, the NHS too) have become bloated over the Labour years and too great a burden on taxpayers rich and poor. Councils need to focus on core/priority needs within their community and some services will inevitably be less of a priority than others. Why weep for New Cross Library? - there are others a short bus ride away. I hate the term but can't help saying it - GET REAL! If you don't like what's happening, see if you can take over the Council and take-on the Government - I guarantee you won't win!

Tamsin said...

Pity it clashes with the Friends of Telegraph Hill Park AGM - wont know which way to turn when I go out of the door on Monday evening.

Tend to agree with the earlier post, though, that SE14 is as much of a non-connected bunch of communities as the Ward(s) - if not more so. What have the one to two thousand households in the new(ish) privately owned and rented developments where the Den used to be got in common with the Telegraph Hill or Hatcham Park Conservation Areas, the Wildgoose where they are waiting to pull the council blocks down or Besson Street where they already have and are replacing them with Housing Assocation builds or with Goldsmiths and its student community?

Where single issues arise there are always have been groups of people who get vocal with the council. Such matters as Sainsbury's (where and how it was built) and the libraries being shut (like St. Catherine's Library in the 1990s) don't go by without local concerns being voiced.

On the other hand, what has been missing since it was set up around 1990 is a Broc.Soc. equivalent for the Hatcham Park Conservation Area, the automatic seat on LPAC and the FOCAS groups (which do liaise with the Council officers) has been vacant from the beginning.

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