TfL have published the results of their consultation on the extension to the Bakerloo line - initially to Lewisham but including a possible extension to Beckenham Junction and Hayes.
There was 87% support for the overall plan, and 82% support for further extension to Hayes and Beckenham Junction. However, because of the state of TfL's finances at the moment the scheme won't go ahead without an undertaking from the Government to support the project. TfL are clear that their immediate priority is to deliver the extension to Lewisham, so the chances of the extension to Hayes is unlikely to materialise for another decade if at all.
The road approaching Poverest Primary School has been closed to traffic during school opening and closing times since September - has the new scheme been a success or failure?
The road is Tillingbourne Green, Orpington. It’s one of six roads Bromley Council designated this year as School Streets where restrictions on motorised traffic apply at school drop-off and pick-up times. A narrow one-way street with a pavement to only one side, Tillingbourne Green can be risky for parents and young children to walk safely while maintaining social-distancing. Feedback from parents and staff suggests most have welcomed the scheme. However, despite the school’s best efforts with limited resources, the scheme remains poorly enforced, spoiling what would have otherwise been an excellent step forward.
There are road signs at the side of the road showing no entry between 8:30 and 9:30 am, and between 2:10 and 3:30 pm. Enforcement is left to a teacher or parent volunteer. Sadly this is not enough to stop the small number of drivers who do still drive up the road - meaning that the street is no safer than it was before.
A senior member of the school management said the school had asked Bromley Council at the beginning of Term, to assign a Lollipop Man/Lady at the entrance of Tillingbourne Green to help with enforcement. The school had also asked if the Council could have traffic wardens to prioritise patrolling the area during school-run hours. Now it’s nearly the end of term but we understand the Council has still not replied to the school’s requests.
Local parent Rick Das said, “I welcome the introduction of the school street scheme - I feel that all the children are safer if the street is closed during school drop off and pick up times. It’s been well received by parents as well as local residents, and should deliver a safer route to school for children who walk at least part of the way or cycle.”
But it needs to be enforced - local traffic wardens recently promised to visit schools as part of their enforcement of the new anti-idling rules so we urge Bromley Council to ask that they pay particular attention to Poverest school to help the school enforce the ban on vehicular traffic.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for more support for people who provide care for relatives or loved ones.
Over 4,000 people across Bromley act as unpaid carers and rely on the Carer’s Allowance to support them. Lib Dem leader Ed Davey MP - who was an unpaid carer for his mother when he was younger - believes it is time these carers were given a £1000 cash boost to support them.
Ed Davey said: "Many carers are facing extreme financial hardship, often relying on foodbanks to feed themselves and the people they care for."
Local Lib Dem campaigner Dave Marshall added: "Unpaid carers in Bromley are doing a remarkable and job in very difficult circumstances.
“The Liberal Democrats are determined to stand up for carers and fight to get them the support they deserve.”
Back the Lib Dem campaign to stand up for carers - sign our online petition here.
Tory MP for Beckenham, Bob Stewart, has been named as one of 5 MPs who wrote positive character references for the jailed former MP Charlie Elphicke to persuade the Judge to give him a reduced sentence. As a result he has been referred to the Parliamentary Standards Committee.
Elphicke was sentenced in September to two years in prison after being found guilty of three counts of sexual assault against two women. Stewart wrote on House of Commons notepaper asking that Elphicke's sentence should be reduced because of his hard work as an MP - with Stewart dismissing the crime as "folly".
Beckenham Lib Dem Campaigner Chloe-Jane Ross has criticised Stewart's intervention. "I am disgusted that Beckenham MP Bob Stewart has written to encourage a lighter sentence for sexual offender Elphicke, who was described by the judge as a ‘sexual predator’. And to use the word “folly” to describe Elphike’s actions which saw him convicted, is a disgrace. This is not the certainly not conduct I expect or want from my Member of Parliament and I am sure many people across the Beckenham constituency agree."
Bob Stewart was one of 5 MPs rebuked by senior judges for seeking to exert “improper” influence before Elphicke was sentenced. The MPs have been referred to the parliamentary commissioner for standards by the Labour MP Helen Hayes after they wrote to senior judges before the hearing and expressed concern that “matters of principle” should first be considered by senior figures of the judiciary and parliament.
The Bromley Liberal Democrats call on Tory MPs Bob Stewart, Bob Neill and Gareth Bacon to vote in favour of safe and legal routes to sanctuary for vulnerable refugees.