Southgate Library- REOPEN!

I am very happy to see the council listen to the residents concerns here, and decide to reopen Southgate Library.

Conservatives were the first to raise concerns at Enfield Councils decision to close our library, and I am happy to see it will be renovated and have full time staff. See the email below sent to me, which outlines its plans in the future.

 

Dear Councillor Ioannou,

Please see a combination of Property and Library officer replies to your MEQ:-

1-Why was this decision taken?

In 2016 an informal, reciprocal agreement was made for Barnet & Southgate College to use the space in the original Southgate library building for their office use, in return for Enfield Council’s Southgate Library Service being located within the College’s student study area. The College has now requested that the Library Service vacate the student study area so they can expand provisions for their students, in time for the new term in September. In return, they are vacating the original library building, freeing it up again for Enfield Council’s use.

The move is expected to bring a new lease of life for Southgate Library. The revived offering will provide an exciting hub for the Southgate community with many prospects being considered for the new space including class visits and Toddler Times. We are investigating partnership opportunities and delivering exciting events. Equally the building will become an important provision for young people. We are expanding PC provision as know this is important to Southgate Library customers. We hope to be able to confirm a number of new activities in the near future.

Southgate Library will be moving in the weekend of 17-18 August, and will open the doors to its new home on Monday 19 August.

2-Was there ever a plan to sell the land to Southgate College?

The college have expressed interest in a joint discussion regarding the future of the site but there are no plans to sell it to them.

3-Will it be renovated to a decent standard?

Improvements to the building are currently being carried out to ensure that it is fit for purpose.

4-Will there be any extra facilities alongside the library it’s self?

As mentioned, many prospects are being considered for the new space including class visits and Toddler Times. We are investigating partnership opportunities and delivering exciting events. Equally the building will become an important provision for young people. We are expanding PC provision as know this is important to Southgate Library customers. We hope to be able to confirm a number of new activities in the near future.

5-Approximate cost of reopening?

The £82,000 expenditure will be funded within existing capital budgets, half by the Corporate Property Investment Programme (CPIP 2019-20 allocation)  and half by the Libraries Capital Programme  (CO10134).

6-Approximate numbs if staff?

The library staffing will remain the same at 1 FTE plus possible volunteer and partner support

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WALKER PRIMARY SCHOOL 20MPH SPEED LIMIT

WALKER PRIMARY SCHOOL 20MPH SPEED LIMIT

It has been a long enough wait, but the result for Walker School is a great achievement. Now both pupils and parents can cross the road without the fear of 40mph speeding vehicles, and safety will be increased despite the lollipop lady sadly leaving Walker School soon.

Walker Primary School is one of the very few schools in the Borough not in a 20 mph zone and we are keen to rectify the situation with an effective scheme that is nevertheless sympathetic to its location in the conservation area.

Our proposals are shown on the attached plan and comprise the following key elements:

  • Introducing a 20mph speed limit immediately outside and on the approaches to the school, including associated zone entry/exit signs.
  • Constructing four asphalt sinusoidal road humps to help make the scheme self-enforcing.
  • Rationalising the existing signs, removing unnecessary signs and reducing the size of others where possible.
  • Replacing the existing anti-skid surfacing on the approaches to the crossing and refreshing the road markings.

 

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WALKER SCHOOL REBUILD- SUCCESS

Modern teaching facilities will replace “crumbling” classrooms at an Enfield primary school after plans for a new building were approved.

Walker Primary School has been given the green light to build new facilities – including a new IT centre – at its site in Waterfall Road, Southgate.

Plans for the new building were deferred in December last year after concerns were raised that the design could harm the surrounding conservation area.

Planning officer Kevin Tohill told a planning committee meeting on Tuesday (April 23) that the designs had been amended and the building would make “a more positive contribution to the conservation area”.

Cllr Stephanos Ioannou, Conservative member for Southgate and a school governor at Walker, spoke in support of the plans.

He said: “When a school such as Walker has a waiting list of 79 for the reception class, it is fair to say there is considerable demand from local families for this school.

“This new building will be vital in securing the future of all the parties involved in Walker School.

“Should this go ahead, pupils will arrive at a school with new frontage, new model classrooms and a sensible sized hall for P.E. lessons”

“And, of course, extending the vegetable patch so that the next generation can learn about sustainable living.

“Most important is that the redevelopment plans incorporate an ICT (information communications technology) suite so pupils can gain knowledge of a key sector in our economy.”

Cllr Ioannou said the school was in such a state that teachers had to place buckets around corridors to catch water falling from leaking roofs and the headteacher had had to mop up a flooded classroom.

He said it was no exaggeration to say the school was “literally crumbling” and even the parents of some current pupils had been taught in temporary cabins while they were at Walker.

Cllr George Savva, Labour member for Haselbury, said: “This is a state-of-the-art school that will cater for the needs of children, families and the community for children to be educated in a proper manner.

“Children learn better if they are in a good environment.

“The head is there to run the school and not to mop up.”

The committee voted unanimously to approve the plans.

To see the full article click on this link.

 

Walker Primary School (Photo: Google Maps)

SAVE SOUTHGATE POLICE STATION

I fought long and hard before my election, both as a candidate and as someone who cares about policing in our borough, to keep Southgate police station open. Here you can see the letter I sent to the Borough Commander and the response I received.

INITIAL EMAIL:

To be delivered to the Borough Commanders Office….
Dear Borough Commander for Enfield & Haringey,

May I first say thank you for attending our community event at the British Legion, Southgate, on the 24th May. It is important people from all ranks in our public services show a presence at these events, and form a bond with residents and community leaders. I hope this wont be the last we see of you in our area.

This letter I am writing to you however is regarding the current situation at Southgate police station and its immediate future.

I would like to put the case why Southgate police station should remain open:

Southgate police station is not simply an added extra in our parade of shops. Businesses, both big and small, require the station to ensure order, and make sure that should theft or disorder take place we have the knowingness our police station will come out, and deal with the situations as they come. Having gone from door to door and shop to shop along the months of campaigning, I have heard stories from local business owners and customers about the increasing theft and disorder along our high street.
In one example, a gang of seven youths entered a well-known family shop on the high street and in broad daylight took produce and walked out. The shop owner expressed to me that because there are so many of them at that time, and no police presence, he felt there was no point in even calling the police as they’d be ‘long gone’. After encouraging him to send video footage of the theft to police, the local force unfortunately did not find the culprits.
We have a total of seven banks on our road, pubs, coffee shops and restaurants… a relatively good mix. But such a high street, particularly with such a volume of banks, should be better policed as the risk will surely be increased in future.

Following from the example I have given, this leads to another problem, that given the volume of youths passing through the area and studying in Southgate, shouldn’t we better the policing presence to protect our young members of society?
We have in total six primary schools and a secondary school in the area, followed by a renowned College. The current lack of policing means that we have increased crime against youth, and already residents have come to me with their stories. You will remember when I mentioned the time a young boy was taken at knife point to the Santander opposite the Tube, and forced to withdraw all his cash. This is unacceptable, and the Met should have more community volunteers on the beat, provided with a station open 24/7 so that people can seek refuge.

In addition to the above, residents on Queen Elizabeth Drive, Oakwood Park Road, Chelmsford Road and Wynchgate predominantly have come forward to express their fear as burglaries and theft on residential property increases. In speaking to residents, you will find the unease that a closure of the station brings…A reduced police presence with fewer patrols, the safety at night around Southgate Tube Station, the unease of literally walking down the street.

When the station closes for good, the response times from Edmonton will surely not be good enough for Southgate residents. How can you therefore reassure us that the police presence in the ward will not be affected, and that crime rates will improve in future?

In being pragmatic, I would like to ask for a PLAN B

Given that it may be a ‘done-deal’ in that the Mayor, and the Metropolitan Police, have decided that the planned closure will be going ahead, I will like to offer my views as to how we can keep a presence in the area.
Southgate is also home to the Southgate Fire Brigade service. This building is ideally located at the heart of the ward, next door also to Southgate Tube Station and opposite Southgate College.

Has the Metropolitan Police considered sharing the resources for this building, and providing a future base for Southgate police and some of its offices at the fire service station?

Given that we understand the drain on Met resources, can we explore a potential partnership to utilise the fire station for both services? This idea has already been mentioned at Essex County Council, and has received some credit. If not the fire station, can the ward police explore a permeant base in a public building so that residents are aware where to find them?
Given the length of this email, I hope to simplify it better for you in a point by point, question by question list of what this letter seeks to achieve:

Q) Will the Metropolitan Police service look to re-open and make Southgate Police station fully functioning once more, for the benefit of residents, shop owners, schools, commuters, and frankly anyone who passes, lives or works in Southgate?

Q) Will the Metropolitan Police commit to keeping (at the very least) same or improving the level of police officers on the beat here in Southgate?

Q) Will the Metropolitan Police commit to working with Councillors, community groups, schooling institutions and businesses to ensure awareness of local crime, but in particular to make sure young individuals are aware of the causes and consequences of crime, and how they can prevent it?

Q) Will the Metropolitan Police look into sharing services with other public sector units such as the fire service in Southgate, to ensure we maintain some presence and a base that the community rely on?

Q) Will the Metropolitan Police give myself, community groups and residents an update as to the destiny of the station. Wil the station be sold off? Will it retain some community purpose? When can we expect it to be sold if the case. The quicker this issue is solved, the better the clarity for everyone.

Q) Will the Metropolitan Police look to better police presence in crime hotspots such as Southgate Tube Station to divert crime in future?

I hope to hear from you soon with answers to these questions, for the benefit to our community.
I kindly ask if you can email me your response at: cllr.stephanos.ioannou@Enfield.gov.uk

Kind Regards,
Cllr. Stephanos Ioannou,
Councillor for Southgate ward, London Borough of Enfield

Response:

Dear Councillor Ioannou,

Many thanks for your letter of 4th June 2018 to Chief Superintendent Helen Millichap who has asked me to respond on her behalf. I am the lead for Neighbourhood Policing for Enfield and Haringey boroughs and I oversee a broad portfolio including local ward-based policing and community, schools and youth engagement.

You may be aware that the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) carried out a public consultation last year on the MOPAC and Metropolitan Police Service’s Public Access Strategy, which recommended that each borough should maintain one 24/7 police station front counter. This strategy was ratified following the consultation and from mid-December 2017 each of the 32 London boroughs has adopted this approach, with Enfield’s front counter remaining at Edmonton Police Station. I have attached a link to the MOPAC website where full details can be found: https://www.london.gov.uk/mopac-publications/public-access-strategy

It is important to note though that the strategy is about far more than front counters, and reaffirms the Met’s commitment to visible and responsive policing at a local level. Every ward in London now has two PCs and a PCSO, overseen by a PoliceSergeant, dedicated to tackling the issues most important to local residents and building relationships with the community. You can find details of the Southgate Safer Neighbourhoods Team, along with details of the most reported crimes and crime prevention advice relevant to the ward here: Southgate | The Met. On this website (www.met.police.uk), in addition to finding out information about local policing, members of the public can report crime, seek advice and access a number of policing services.

Southgate Police Station, which as you know is not open to the public, currently houses a small number of officers working in local wards and this building will be released by the Met at a point to be determined, probably over the next two to three years. However, it is important to note that savings made from disposing of expensive to run buildings are being invested in front line policing: all officers are now equipped with tablets or laptops to enable them to complete reports whilst out in the community without having to repeatedly return to a police building; and increased numbers of officers are to be deployed in vitally important schools and youth engagement work. We are also committed to maintaining visibility and accessibility of local officers through weekly community contact sessions which are advertised on the website and elsewhere and we welcome suggestion as to where and when these sessions might take place. Enfield’s response teams, the officers who respond to emergency calls, have for some years operated from a site in the east of the borough and, as they are deployed across the borough in fast response vehicles, building closures will have no impact on the speed with which police attend urgent calls from the public. This model of response policing is in use across London.

I am grateful for your helpful suggestions about co-locating local officers in the heart of Southgate with the London Fire Brigade. This is very much in line with the Public Access Strategy’s proposal for Safer Neighbourhood Teams whose wards are more than a mile from the nearest retained police station to work from Dedicated Ward Hubs shared with other service providers or partners. I will pass on your suggestion to the Southgate SNT to make enquiries as to whether this location may be viable. Other possible venues could be medical centres, libraries, council buildings or community centres. Whilst these hubs will not be accessible to the public, they will ensure that officers can spend the maximum time possible working in their communities and not spend time travelling.

We are absolutely committed to bearing down on violent crime and are doing a huge amount of work to prevent violence, including operations involving both uniformed and plain clothed officers around transport hubs and crime hotspots, and utilising the support of the Met’s central resources such as the newly formed Violent Crime Taskforce. Critically, this is underpinned by the work of our local SNTs and I will ask Sergeant Matt Bloomfield to make contact with you to discuss your thoughts on how best we can support community groups, residents and businesses in preventing crime in Southgate.

I hope this covers all the queries you raised. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss any of these points further.

Best wishes,
Nigel Brookes

Nigel Brookes
Superintendent, Lead for Neighbourhood Policing, Haringey & Enfield Boroughs, Metropolitan Police Service

NO CHANGES TO BUS ROUTES IN SOUTHGATE

Not an MEQ update, but this time just a bit of information regarding bus routes around Southgate. As you may be aware TFL launched plans last year to revise all existing bus routes in the London area.

Thankfully TFL have not planned any immediate changes to bus routes around Southgate, and you can check this from:https://TfL.gov.uk/modes/buses/bus-service-changes 

SOUTHGATE SANTANDER TO REMAIN OPEN

In response to a letter I sent back when I was a candidate last March 2018, I set out clearly my intention for Santander to keep its Southgate branch open to the wider Southgate population and businesses in the area, who use it for their banking services. 

Today I can confirm that Santander have announced that they will be keeping Southgate branch open but closing the Cockfosters branch. Although not happy for the residents in Cockfosters, this is a decent result for the people of Southgate who rely on this branch in differing ways. 

You can on this link see which branches are planned for immediate closure in the foreseeable year, and which branches have therefore been saved from closure.

FIXING SOUTHGATE TUBE STATION- TFL RESPONSE

I promised to get TFL to give Southgate Tube Station the refurbishment it deserved. 

I am proud to say that already my pledge has been successful, and we have a result.

RESPONSE FROM TFL:

Ref: 12013625 

Dear Cllr Ioannou 

Thank you for your email of 15 June and subsequent telephone call.

I do not yet have details regarding all the concerns you have raised but I wanted to share the information that I do have with you.

Photo 1 – The shelter will be redecorated this financial year.  The wires were used to raise and lower the lights on pulleys so they are not live and there is no risk of electrocution.  I am still awaiting news on when the wires will be removed.

Photo 2 – The lighting column was last inspected in November 2017 and did not pose any immediate risk.  Further tests are planned shortly.

Photo 3 – The benches will be repainted when the shelter is redecorated.

Photo 4 – The bins will also be repainted.

Photos 5, 7 & 8 – Both units 4 and 6 are under offer. Number 1 Chase Side only became vacant in the last couple of weeks.  We recently let units 1 and 5 on the station and units 1 2 and 8 on the Parade.

Photo 6 – The art-décor blue panels will be repaired during the works.

Photo 9 – The sign to the High Street will be repaired.

Photo 10 – The roof will be repaired and the solar reflective coating will be renewed.

In addition funding is being made available to strip and redecorate the escalator incline barrel and the lower concourse area.

Thanks again for contacting us. If there is anything else we can help you with, please reply to this email. Alternatively, you can call us on 0343 222 1234 and we’ll be happy to help you.