"The Big Society Bites Back"

MP 's latest newsletter celebrates local campaigners' achievements

Stories From Across London

Andy Slaughter

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Last week Shepherds Bush residents celebrated their recent success in stopping harmful redevelopment of the Green.  Despite hostile cross-examination from a QC - employed by the Council, using our taxes – they persuaded a Planning Inquiry to stop trees being cut down and part of the Green concreted over.

On Friday, mums from Cathnor Park SureStart are due in court to judicially review the Council’s decision to close their much-valued Children’s Centre, along with eight others.

The Goldhawk Road traders, whose shops are set to be demolished after 150 years to make way for high-rise luxury flats, are also going to court.  Meanwhile, West Ken and Gibbs Green Estate residents have set up a community trust.  They aim to be the first people to use Labour government legislation to take ownership of their 760 homes, preventing the Council and developer CapCo demolishing them simply to make money.

Save Our Skyline have another Council-sponsored developer on the retreat, with plans to ruin Furnivall Gardens and the Hammersmith Town Hall now under review. Parents from Addison and Lena Gardens primary schools, elderly residents of the Wormholt estate and the 22 charities facing eviction from Palingswick House are all running active campaigns against the ‘free schools’ imposed on local communities by the Government.  The Council’s attempt to auction off Shepherds Bush Village Hall, the Irish Centre and Sands End Centre are stalled while the Council is forced to negotiate with the current users.

When London Underground - with the support of the Council – announced last month that the Olympia branch line would not operate Monday to Friday, the My Olympia group was quickly set up and is forcing a rethink.

This is the Big Society Hammersmith & Fulham-style.  It is about local people using every means at their disposal to stand up for their neighbourhoods against big government and big business, against greedy developers and an arrogant Council that doesn’t listen.  I have been proud to support each one of these campaigns because they show what we can do when citizens act together in the interests of their communities.

You can read Andy's newsletter in its entirety along with updated news at his website.


July 8, 2011