Friday, June 26, 2009

Lewisham Greens call for tightening of licensing laws in proposals to Sustainable Communties Act

I've blogged before about the Sustainable Communities Act (Greens were active in lobbying for the bill before it came law, along with a host of NGOs, and pro-active in making sure Lewisham was one of the first local authorities in the country to sign up to the act). Over the past few weeks we've been mulling over possible proposals to submit under the act. The deadline for submissions to Lewisham Council (who appoint a Citizen's Panel to consider them) was today.

Ute worked with local residents who had been active in opposing the opening of the new betting shop on Brockley Road to look at loopholes in national gambling legislation and ways it could be strengthened to give local authorities greater control over the number of gambling premises opening in a particular area. The proposal was put before Ladywell Assembly on Tuesday and passed unanimously.

Meanwhile, spurred on by this, (although rather last minute) I contacted New Cross residents active in the campaign against the White Hart operating as a lap dancing club, to see if they were planning to submit any proposal under the act. We submitted a proposal today, based on suggestions made by OBJECT, with details of the local campaign as evidence of support. It was jointly submitted by members of the Stop the Strip campaign, myself and Ute, as well as the three councillors for Telegraph Hill ward (a rare but welcome example of a bit of cross party working between Greens, Socialists and Labour!). The gist of our proposal was a) to close the loop-holes that mean some sex establishments currently escape needing a licence and b) calling for applicants for new licences to give evidence of benefit to the local community from their proposal.

In addition, Transition Brockley have submitted a long list of proposals designed to help the local community become more resilient in the face of climate change and dwindling energy supplies, including proposals to support local food growing, small businesses and home insulation.

Now we need to wait and see how the process to decide which proposals Lewisham's Citizens Panel decides to submit to the Local Government Association, which proposals the LGA submits to the government, and if the government agrees to them or not!


Unknown said...

I'm glad to see that efforts are being made to prevent lap dancing in the area. Good work!

Shasha Khan said...

Good luck with your campaign on the betting shops. At least your council has 'opted in' to the Sustainable Communities Act. Out Tory council in Croydon has said they are, "thinking about it" and "likely to join". I fear they are passing the ball amongst their defenders until the 90 minutes (in this case July 31st) are up :-(