Labour boycotts search for new council Wandsworth Chief Executive over ‘stitch up’

Wandsworth Labour will not support the job search for Wandsworth’s new £250,000 chief executive, accusing the Conservative majority of an “unfair and disrespectful” stitch up.

Simon Hogg, Wandsworth Labour leader said: “The chief executive is the most important job in the council. Sadly, Wandsworth Conservatives are trying to stitch up the selection of our new council boss.

“Labour is being offered only one place out of eight on the panel to select the new chief executive.

“Wandsworth Labour won the popular vote at the last election and we have nearly half the councillors. There’s every chance we’ll take control of the council in two years at the next election. So we need a chief executive both Labour and Conservative can have confidence in.

“It’s unfair and disrespectful to shut Labour councillors out of the process in this way and we won’t be taking part unless we’re treated as equal partners.

“It’s a shame, but the reality is now that this process will simply be looking for an interim chief executive to serve for a year or 18 months. Top candidates won’t apply unless the appointment has the backing of both major parties.

“Councillor Govindia, the Conservative leader, has stopped listening to local people and lost the confidence of councillors. The only people we’ve seen him sit down and listen to are property developers and lobbyists.

“He should reach out and agree to work together on the big challenges that face the council.”

Tell us your environmental priorities & help solve the climate emergency


Wandsworth’s Labour councillors (pictured above) were proud to support a motion to declare a Climate Emergency in Wandsworth – the motion was passed unanimously in July.

All councillors committed to make the council carbon neutral by 2030 – and to oppose the expansion of Heathrow airport.

We are now asking you for input to go into the council’s action plan which will be published in November. This is crucial as its here through each committee that we really make change happen and hold the council to account.

Please complete this short online survey to let us know your environmental priorities (downloadable Word document version here). The deadline is 11th October.

If you would like to get in touch with our Labour Environment Speaker Paula Walker to discuss further, please email

Wandsworth Labour submits new ward plan to boundary review

Wandsworth Labour’s proposal for new ward boundaries for the borough

Wandsworth is a great place to live. Its strong, diverse communities represent the best of modern London.

Wandsworth’s council wards were last changed in 2002. The Labour Party in Wandsworth welcomes the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s review of Wandsworth’s wards and notes its recommendation that there should be a reduction from 60 councillors to 58 for future elections.

Our submission sets out the thinking of the Wandsworth Labour Group of councillors and how our proposed new wards meets the criteria set out in law. Download the Wandsworth Labour submission to the boundary review.

Boundaries matter: in the 2018 elections Labour won more votes than any other party – but the Conservatives got a seven-seat majority on the council.

Our boundary proposals are based on fairness and common sense.

To ensure fairness, each new ward is within 5% of the target size so that every voter has the same representation. The wards are based on the public’s common sense view of the community they live in. Places that go with the grain of everyday experience, such as Balham, Tooting Broadway, Southfields, Battersea Park and Nine Elms.

To set ward boundaries, we’ve used existing landmarks such as railway lines, main roads, our green open spaces and the river Wandle. Every effort has been made to respect conservation areas, residents’ associations and parishes where possible.

Three-councillor wards are the default, to reflect the strong preference of local people and current councillors to have a team of three people representing each ward. Two-councillor wards are used where there is a clear case they give better representation.

We’ve used our knowledge from working in the community in every part of the borough to inform our proposals. Thank you to the many local people who have already shaped this plan.

We’re publishing this document publicly to encourage debate and engagement.

You can have your say now on the Boundary Commission website, deadline is August 5:

‘We must reduce carbon emissions and poverty at the same time’

Councillor Fleur Anderson Climate Emergency Speech, Wandsworth council, 17th July 2019

I fully support declaring a climate emergency, I welcome the petition and thank everyone who signed it, and thank and everyone who is here today to support this declaration and the action that must follow. Because this is the challenge – from now on we need to all agree that there can be no more ‘business as usual’.

The International Panel on Climate Change has told us that have just 11 years to make a radical shift in our carbon use. Quite simply we must stop taking fossil fuels out of the ground and burning them off.

Climate change and rising temperatures are a global emergency. For millions of people, it’s a stark and desperate choice: starvation or migration.

When I worked for Water Aid visited communities in Bangladesh where it’s beyond an emergency. Rising sea levels have made all of their agriculture land and their water saline. They cannot grow food and have very little drinking water, and whole coastal communities are trapped in poverty.

And it affects us in Wandsworth too – an increasing globally unequal world will be less safe, and the air pollution that comes with carbon emissions is damaging our health.

Declaring this emergency has some important red lines:

1. We must reduce carbon emissions and poverty at the same time

Our climate action must not be a luxury that residents can’t afford. Ways in which we can make life easier for families with already over-stretched budgets as well as reducing our carbon footprint should be the priority.

2. The Heathrow expansion will undermine all of our efforts and we must win the battle to stop it.

Heathrow’s 3rd runway will increase CO2 emissions from air travel from 37 to 43 million tonnes per annum. By comparison, according to the strategy paper Wandsworth’s carbon footprint (excluding schools and transport) is 26,576 tonnes.

260,000 extra flights – deliberately routed over our green spaces. Parking for 46,000 extra cars. It’s going to be a massive political battle to stop and Wandsworth must be leading the way

3. We have to be far more ambitious about cycling – with a revolution in two keys areas – storage and safety. We need cycle parking on every street, safe joined-up routes across the borough. The strategy has a very welcome aim, that: ‘Wandsworth will be an easy place to use, own and store a bicycle’. Although Wandsworth’s own cycling strategy has a more ambitious vision: A borough where people increasingly choose to cycle and where cycling is championed as a great way to travel.

4. Smart and bold timetabling to reach the two keys dates of net zero carbon by 2030 and zero carbon by 2050 is key. The last 20% of carbon reduction will be the hardest and plan for this from the start. Friends of the Earth have called this front-loading. It means no complacency or time to waste and many things happening in parallel not one project after the other.

5. Involving local people – the section on governance in the strategy is welcome. The involvement of the public needs to be formalised and the role of the Wandsworth Environment Forum isn’t mentioned but should be vital. We need regular public meetings at times in the decision making cycle when they can influence, and we need to build in ways to be open to great ideas and more public scrutiny that we’re used to.

6. We should have Environmental Impact Assessments for all new policies and programmes – alongside Equality Impact Assessments – would enable joined-up strategy and analyse all programme according to their carbon use and how much this is being reduced.

7. We must only use off-setting as a last resort. Where we can’t reduce our carbon we will off-set, but we should never start using this as the go-to answer to our carbon problems. Fossil fuel needs to stay in the ground and not be used.

It’s very important to be supporting this declaration and call to radical action together. But this is the easy part. What we do now and whether it’s enough and fast enough is down to us – lets put aside ‘business as usual’ and embrace radical action for making Wandsworth a better place for everyone right now, for the sake of communities around the world and for the sake of generations to come.

12,000 people signed the climate change petition – now it’s time for action

Letter from councillor Simon Hogg, Wandsworth Labour leader, to the 12,000 residents who signed this climate change petition 


Thank you very much for joining more than 12,000 local people who signed the climate change petition.

It’s fantastic that so many people have got involved in this campaign. It has been particularly inspiring to see so many children passionate about this crucial issue. All real change comes from the grass roots.

We need urgent action on climate change. We can’t carry on down the path we are on without causing irreparable damage to the planet.

Wandsworth Labour believes the environment is the bedrock of our economy, our security and our wellbeing. It is not something separate from us – it is the food we eat and the place we live.

Only through collective action based on justice and solidarity can dangerous climate change be stopped.

We welcome the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which describes with high confidence the enormous harm that a 2 degree average rise global temperature will cause, compared to a 1.5 degree rise.

The IPCC report also confirms that with immediate and ambitious action from government and local authorities between now and 2030 it may still be possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

We believe Wandsworth Council must play its part. The council will need to work with partners across the borough to become carbon neutral and end our contribution to Britain’s carbon footprint. Citizens, businesses, schools and charities all have a part to play.

Crucially, politicians need to work together on this challenge. An issue of this scale needs long-term commitment.

Labour and Conservative councillors will come together to debate climate change at our next council meeting in July. This is a long-term issue that will require real change and significant new thinking. I’m hopeful the council will agree a comprehensive long-term plan this year.

In Wandsworth, Labour and Conservatives co-operate on several climate change initiatives at present. We have been united in our strong opposition to a third runway at Heathrow – and are working together on plans to decarbonise the council’s pension investments.

Nationally, the Labour Party proposes a green industrial revolution to make our cities liveable, our natural spaces rich and alive – and our own lives satisfying and secure.

Labour’s 2017 manifesto pledged that 60 per cent of the UK’s energy will come from low-carbon or renewable sources by 2030. Last year we committed to a target of net zero emissions before 2050. We will ban fracking and insulate four million homes.

Labour believes there is an environment and climate emergency.

In London, Sadiq Khan has taken tough action on air quality and set out ambitious plans to make London the greenest global city. His plans will make our city a greener, cleaner and healthier place by targeting London’s toxic air, increasing its green cover and making London a zero-carbon city by 2050.

Strong environmental policy is a matter of justice – and ensuring that communities can breathe clean air, drink clean water, afford a good diet and enjoy our green spaces.

Labour’s policies will tackle climate change, improve our environment, and build a sustainable economy.

I’d like to thank you again for signing the petition. I hope you can make it to the Town Hall for the climate change debate on July 17.

Best wishes

Simon Hogg
Leader, Wandsworth Labour


One year on: Windrush victim support and championing local boxing

It’s been a year since 26 Wandsworth Labour councillors were elected. Each day this week we hear their stories of how they have made life a little better for local people

Part 6:  Windrush victim support and championing local boxing


Councillor Claire Gilbert (Roehampton and Putney Heath ward) campaigns for Windrush victims

A windrush victim came to our surgery in Roehampton last year seeking help after having lost her job 10 years ago, with no income or access to financial support from the state since then due to the hostile environment.

Unfortunately she was let down by her local MP when she first raised this issue many years ago.

Together we challenged her treatment, and have now got her British Citizenship and then her British Passport – so she can now visit her family in Germany and Jamaica without the fear of not being allowed back into the UK. We went to the Citizenship ceremony together with her family and it was a very special occasion, although bittersweet.

This lovely and brave woman still suffers severe financial hardship due to her treatment. We made a claim for compensation under the Windrush Hardship scheme, and have written many letters to the Government – but we have been turned down for any financial help.


Councillor Sue McKinney (Roehampton and Putney Heath ward) supports local boxing

One of my favourite things has been supporting Roehampton and Putney Boxing Club whom I have supported over the 5 years.

They were really struggling so I introduced them to the Royal Marines in Southfields.  Since then and with the help of a bit of cross-party work, they have gone from strength to strength. They are also going to be a Mayor’s charity this year.

“A special blessing goes out to Sue for introducing us to people we would not think of getting in touch with or have the time to reach out to.” Karen Horsford, Founder, coach and match maker, Putney and Roehampton Boxing Club.



One year on: Sprinklers & finding a safe home for a new baby

It’s been a year since 26 Wandsworth Labour councillors were elected. Each day this week we hear their stories of how they have made life a little better for local people

Part 5: Sprinklers, finding a safe home for a new baby and activities for local children

Councillor Angela Ireland (West Hill ward) supports leaseholders

Following the catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2016, Wandsworth Council decided to retrofit sprinklers in all rooms of the hundred tall blocks across the borough. This decision was very unpopular with many residents who were unhappy that they were not consulted and felt that other fire safety measures, particularly in common areas, would be more effective.

The Council has said that it will consider recommendations from the Grenfell Inquiry when deciding whether to go ahead. However, instead of waiting for the findings and listening to residents’ views, the council brought a case to the First Tier Tribunal to decide whether leaseholders will have to accept and pay for the works. The council refused to share the legal advice to support their decision, until directed to do so by the Tribunal.

There are ten affected blocks in West Hill, and we are representing several residents at the tribunal and submitted a response on their behalf it on behalf including an application to extend the deadline by six months to September 2019 which was successful.


Councillor Graeme Henderson (Earlsfield ward) helps a mother find a safe place for her new baby

I have had to deal with a number of deeply troubling housing cases in my first year as an Earlsfield Councillor, but one stood out as being both the most appalling and yet, in some ways, ultimately satisfying.

I received an email from a local resident shortly after Christmas complaining about damp in their privately rented room. Little did I expect the full extent of the problem, I have never seen a more unsuitable place for humans to live.  I would not have housed an animal in these conditions.

A room the size of a modest bedroom with no permanent heating and one (broken) window was occupied by a couple, of whom the wife was due to give birth a week later. I could smell the mould as I entered the room! They had spent the whole of Christmas in these conditions.

I immediately involved Environmental Health who served a formal Notice on the landlord requiring a long list of repairs before the property could be re-let and arranged emergency accommodation for the couple. I spoke to them in the New Year.

They were so pleased to be in a warm and dry place. I also arranged for them to go on the Council Housing waiting list. The couple wrote to me telling me they “appreciate your help a lot. We will never forget this”, but it should not happen in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.  Why are landlords still able to rent slum property out?


Councillor Jeremy Ambache (Roehampton and Putney Heath ward) campaigns for activities for local children

There are a large number of children and families living in Roehampton. From our Councillor’s involvement with local people – and our surveys of local opinion – we are told by residents that children of all ages need more play facilities.

A local parent, Jane Smith, told us that ‘having a local parent and toddler facility provides a life line for me’.

So over the last year we have campaigned for and supported children’s groups and youth activities.

  • We are delighted that Chelsea football club provide after-school youth and football sessions
  • We have supported and encouraged Roehampton Club to provide tennis, squash and maths after school – it’s called ‘racquets cubed’.
  • We have campaigning for more facilities on Alton East Estate and the Council has agreed to upgrade a hard play sports area on Wand borough Drive near Witley Point.
  • We have been pressing the Council for 3 years to upgrade the Alton Activity Centre – this is at last now promised by the Council as part of the Alton Regeneration programme.
  • We have encouraged Eastwood Children’s centre to continue providing out-reach in the on the edge of Wandsworth for parents and young children.

There is more to do and we are developing the capacity of the voluntary sector to do this. This will support more activities for children of all ages. These facilities are important for youngsters growing up in Roehampton.

One year on: Loving local schools & cracking down on rat-running

It’s been a year since 26 Wandsworth Labour councillors were elected. Each day this week we hear their stories of how they have made life a little better for local people

Part 4: Loving our local schools, creating Parklife and cracking down on rat-running

Councillor Fleur Anderson (Bedford ward) is dedicated to local schools

Support for our wonderful local schools is a very rewarding part of being a councillor.

In times of school budget cuts, being able to advise and support parents and teacher to get funds from grants is important. I am pleased to have given encouragement, advice and support to two successful primary school projects during the last year both of which will improve our environment.

St Anselm’s School parents have have an award from the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund for a ‘green wall’ to cut pollution from the High Road to the playground and classrooms. Ravenstone School have won a Wandsworth Grant Fund to work with local community groups to transform some of their playground into a community garden.


Councillor Andy Gibbons (Graveney ward) creates Parklife in Graveney

Working with local residents, I have been able to secure £15,000 funding to consult about developing a small park near Gravenel Gardens on Mellison Road.

The scheme would aim to make the area greener and also to reduce the flow of traffic at the Sellincourt crossroads, enabling parents and children from the school to cross more safely.

The money comes from contributions paid by commercial developers as part of the local Community Infrastructure Levy. If this scheme is backed by residents it could lead to further schemes to green Graveney and cut traffic on residential streets.


Councillor Peter Carpenter (West Hill ward) deals with rat-running

Residents have been complaining for years about rat-running through West Hill Ward caused by the build up of traffic on the West Hill section of the A3 at peak times.

The long term solution would be to improve traffic flows on West Hill, but the A3 is a TfL road and it would require significant interventions, so no action is expected soon.

In the meantime, we persuaded the Council to conduct a detailed traffic survey of the area and come up with options to alleviate rat-running.  A series of interventions were discussed with Councillors in the Autumn of 2018 and an initial phase was agreed at Committee and was introduced for an experimental six-month period in March 2019.

Left turning traffic has been banned from entering Windlesham Grove between 7am and 10am, and during this time Inner Park Road ha been made one way Westbound.  This prevents traffic from the A3 and Wimbledon Parkside from rat-running through West Hill Ward during the morning peak.

If the trial proves successful we will be considering additional measures to further reduce rat-running.

One year on: Building communities and supporting local business 

It’s been a year since 26 Wandsworth Labour councillors were elected. Each day this week we hear their stories of how they have made life a little better for local people

Part 3: Building communities and supporting local business 

Cllr Hector Denfield (Bedford ward) helps residents set up their own Resident’s Association

Many residents got in touch with us about the same issues that were affecting the Larch Close estate in Balham. It quickly became apparent that these were repeating issues rather than isolated incidents, and what was needed was solutions to the causes and not just the symptoms.

To do this, the Bedford ward councillors assisted the residents of the estate to set up their own Residents Association, a formal body that is recognised and supported by the council. After several months of work and going through the official (and long!) process to get the association established, we are very proud to say that the first meeting of the association was held in February and the residents have formed their first executive committee.

The residents are running the association themselves and are empowered to undertake improvements to the estate. It also enhances the sense of community, as residents get to know their neighbours better and work together as a team.




Your Furzedown councillors, Leonie Cooper and Judi Gasser, breathe new life into Mitcham Lane shops

Our biggest success in Furzedown in 2018 was seeing the completion of the £400k road and shopfront improvement project in Mitcham Lane.

It was a long time coming – we began the project with a survey, a paper was submitted to Committee, an application for some TfL funding was successfully made and the Council allocated some funds too, we had a project group that managed the project for well over a year, which I attended throughout.

There was a big opening in June 2018, with a trail up and down, enticing people into all the shops.

During the project design, we persuaded the Council to add on the installation of Christmas lights and a Christmas tree pit, complete with the electrical wiring. Judi and Candida took the lead on organising fantastic Christmas events, with school choirs, when the tree was switched on and all the lights were light.

We have an amazing new piazza, a road that is much easier to cross, lovely new shop fronts – and a huge sign that says Furzedown.

It has really improved an area that was pretty run down – and new shops have opened!

One year on: Promoting active travel and creating a sense of place

It’s been a year since 26 Wandsworth Labour councillors were elected. Each day this week we hear their stories of how they have made life a little better for local people

Day 2: Promoting active travel and creating a sense of place

Councillor Simon Hogg (Latchmere ward) working to make our streets better for active travel

I’ve been a Wandsworth Labour councillor now for several years.  Working on behalf of local residents is as rewarding as ever.  Sometimes this is dealing with big issues, sometimes it’s fixing the things that we think we just need to put up with.

I heard from residents in Fownes Street that the walkway was uneven and people were tripping over. I took the issue up with the council and now there is nice even paving and a new hand-rail. Local people feel safer tell me that they feel safer.


Councillor Tony Belton (Latchmere ward) puts Falcon Grove back on the map

I’ve been a Labour councillor for over forty years and it’s a role that I’m still immensely proud of doing.  I want to use this story to remind residents that it’s their ideas that we want to hear.  It’s the things that you see as you are out and about that you think could be better.

Here is an example from a local resident, David Phillip de Micco, who was complaining that there was no street sign after recent redevelopment works.  I asked Wandsworth Council to fix this and David is delighted to have his neighbourhood back on the map.


Councillor Jo Rigby (Earlsfield ward) working to create low traffic neighbourhoods

As a brand new councillor, year one has been a real joy. I’ve made progress through campaigning on issues such as pushing Wandsworth to pay the real Living Wage.  I’ve learnt first hand how change can come while in opposition.  As a parent, I’m passionate about the environment and reducing pollution in Wandsworth.  I’m trying to persuade the Tories to allow people to open up Playing Out Streets to allow our children to experience playing on their streets.  I’m in that one for the long haul!

Recently, I contacted the Earlsfield Business Network with ideas for how to revitalise our high street.  The high street can be saved through making it a more enjoyable place for people to spend time.  Garratt Lane is too noisy and polluted through traffic to make it a destination place for locals and visitors.  I shared with Earlsfield Business Network my ideas for low traffic, removing parking to put parklets and holding a pop-up street market on Car Free Day to encourage people to explore local business.  It was a very uplifting meeting, and the ideas were positively received.  We are now approaching Wandsworth to try to make these happen.

I believe that the way we live can be better, healthier and safer.  So many residents are now asking for solutions to the rat running and speeding cars that they have been forced to live with.  I believe that change is coming and I will stay in this role to ensure that it comes sooner.