And so following my previous post we turn to the elections that will arguably have a greater impact on day to day life in Camberwell over the next four years: the elections to Southwark and Lambeth borough councils. Although life in Britain is much more centralised than many places across Europe the local borough council still does have considerable power over things like development, licensing, regeneration and lots of other things that can have an impact on our community.
The current situation
Let us just remind ourselves of the position at the last elections in 2006: in Southwark Labour won 28 seats, the Liberal Democrats 28, the Conservatives 6 and the Greens 1. The Lib Dems, not having an overall majority formed a coalition administration with the Conservatives to rule Southwark continuing the arrangement first established in 2002. Looking at the map on the Southwark website Camberwell falls in four Southwark wards — Camberwell Green, South Camberwell, Brunswick Park and Faraday. All of these wards returned three Labour Councillors apart from South Camberwell which returned two Labour Councillors and one Green Councillor.
The fact that none of these Councillors were in the ruling Lib Dem/ Con group has I believe (and it is my personal opinion) not been to Camberwell’s advantage over the past eight years as it seems other parts of the borough have received greater council investment/ attention.
The elections in Lambeth in 2006 resulted in a Labour administration taking over from a Lib Dem/Con coalition — Labour won 39 seats, the Liberal Democrats 17, the Conservatives 6 and the Greens 1. Since then Labour have lost one seat to the Lib Dems in a byelection. The map of Lambeth shows that three wards — Coldharbour, Herne Hill and Vassall contains parts of Camberwell and at the last election all elected three Labour Councillors apart from Herne Hill where one Green Councillor was elected, the Lib Dems won a seat at a byelection in 2008 in Vassall Ward.
The administration in Lambeth does not really recognise that parts of Camberwell fall in the borough even though Camberwell’s biggest employer (Kings College Hospital) is in Lambeth. This has not wholly been to Camberwell’s disadvantage as we are considered to be ‘North Brixton’ or ‘East Brixton’ and have therefore received spending on investment and regeneration aimed at that part of the borough. I think the area around Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, Myatts Fields and Ruskin Park is now looking better than it did four years ago and has obviously received investment.