Wandsworth is ‘easy’ place to build skyscrapers

Wandsworth Guardian: An image of the plans for the Ram Brewery

From Wandsworth Guardian By Alex Rucki

Soaring skyscrapers are being given the green light in direct opposition of council policy, leading to accusationsWandsworth Council is putting developers needs ahead of residents.

Following the granting of permission for a 20-storey tower in Wandsworth Town last month, four times taller than the guidance maximum height for the area, Councillors Tony Belton and Peter Carpenter put forward a motion in a council meeting calling on the council to curb accepting applications in contravention of planning policies.

Read More Here:

http://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/11005832.Wandsworth_is__easy__place_to_build_skyscrapers/?ref=var_0

Councillor Tony Belton’s Latchmere May Newsletter (# 49)

Can local Councillors make a difference? Yes they can….

Justice for a rioter and his family?

By Cllr. Tony Belton 

I went to the Crown Court on 10 January to hear Daniel’s sentence – you will remember I was interested in his case following his involvement in the riots on August 8th in Clapham Junction. The headline is that he received 11 months, which Judge Darling said would mean that he would serve half that time in custody and the other half “free” on licence. The Judge also said that the 83 days he had been on conditional bail would be counted against the sentence leaving, according to my calculation, Daniel serving about a further 87 days in custody.

Judge Darling said in sentencing that this was the “most tragic” case he had come across in the whole riot aftermath. He accepted Daniel’s story about how he happened to be in Clapham Junction and that he arrived on the scene after Curry’s had been broken into. He acknowledged that Daniel was of good character (that is had no previous of any kind) indeed the Judge went on to say that Daniel was an exceptional young man with some level of educational achievement. Daniel was a Christian with both a capital and a lower case c, he said, working for the good of the community – the Judge said “an aid worker”, a helper, a doer with many good character references.

But in the aftermath of the riots despite all mitigation and against the PSR (Pre-Sentence Reports done by the Probation Service) recommendation, he, the Judge, had to take into account society’s concerns and fears about the events of August and that he had no choice but to impose some level of custodial sentence. (I should add that the Judge retired for 46 minutes to consider the sentence – he clearly did not do it lightly)

I have two comments: first that Wandsworth Council shows zero respect for the “family” if it pursues, as it intends to do, its policy of eviction with all the consequences that this will bring to bear on the mother and sister. I know the mother quite well and it is clear, and totally unsurprising, that she is under some considerable stress.

Secondly, that the establishment has got itself into a bit of a mess about sentencing in this situation. Whilst Daniel aged 18, with no previous record at all, got 11 months, a man aged 30, sentenced at the same time as Daniel with 11 previous convictions for 22 offences having served two separate terms of 6 and 7 years, got a custodial sentence of 20 months!

Read the update here:

http://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/9464713.Council_restarts_process_to_evict_family_of_teen_looter/?ref=mr

1,500 sign petition against riot-related council home evictions in Wandsworth

Re posted from Wandsworth Guardian

Hundreds of people are urging Wandsworth Council to rethink evicting families of suspected rioters.

More than 1,500 signed a petition against the authority’s stance after Maite de Calva, 43, became the first person to be handed an eviction notice from her council flat – a notice served in response to her son being charged with offences during the Battersea riots.

The petition reached the 1,500 mark today – the same day campaign group The Social Justice Collective arranged a 5pm to 8pm protest outside the Wandsworth home of council leader, Councillor Ravi Govindia. (The Petition has now over 2500 signatures – ed)

Ms de Calva, who lives in Battersea with her son Daniel Sartain-Clarke and her eight-year-old daughter, has received support from Latchmere ward councillor, Tony Belton, who branded the council’s actions “wrong, immoral, pointless and family destructive”.

Robert Davidson, a postgraduate student living in Wandsworth, launched the petition campaign this week on Change.org.

He said: “I’m as upset as anyone about the riots, but evicting vulnerable families from their homes will only deepen the social rift that led to the riots.

“I have friends that live in Clapham and Croydon and I heard the sirens screaming up and down Garratt Lane.

“I detest the rioting and looting that went on. Of course we need to punish criminals but I just don’t see why an eight-year-old child or a mum should be evicted from their home just because a young boy got caught up in some trouble.

“This kind of collective punishment is only going to make innocent people feel hated by society and is going to cause more problems in future.”

Read the whole article here:

http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/local/wandsworthnews/9204557.1_500_sign_petition_against_riot_related_council_home_evictions/

There is further comment from Tony Belton here:

http://www.labourlist.org/a-difficult-moral-dilemma