Ty Goddard

The executive member for learning and support on Lambeth Council responds to an article by Deborah Orr, who criticised the ethics of Lambeth's regeneration plans
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The Independent Online

I am pleased that Deborah Orr reads Lambeth council's residents' newspaper, New Lambeth ("London's regeneration game", 15 September).

I am pleased that Deborah Orr reads Lambeth council's residents' newspaper, New Lambeth ("London's regeneration game", 15 September).

She should not, however, be sad or puzzled that New Lambeth did not announce the imminent closure of the one o'clock clubs in the borough. There is a simple explanation for it. The one o'clock clubs are not earmarked for closure; they are, instead, being reviewed by the council's education department to ensure that they are well run and well used.

Which leads me to respond to Ms Orr's criticism of Project Vauxhall, which is a community- led £440m regeneration opportunity. Unlike traditional redevelopment projects, the key decisions have been taken not by the local council or the Government but by a project board consisting of local citizens. It included the first major scheme of new council-housing starts in inner London for some 20 years, the rebuilding of a nursery and the replacement of an adventure play area.

The fact that some residents are not happy with some elements of the initiative is to be expected. However, Lambeth council has been committed to ensuring that residents have all the information they need to make a good decision, and it is, of course, entirely their decision.

I will finish with a response to Deborah Orr's reference to the council tax, which pays for the services about which she expresses concern. Lambeth's council tax is one of the very lowest in the country, which is a solid achievement when compared with just a few short years ago, when it was among the country's highest.

We would welcome any approach by Ms Orr to share her concerns directly with the council and work with us for the benefit of the borough.

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