Local Politics

The Association

The Redriff Residents Association, or more often just “The Association” (and never “the residents association”, for some reason) is one of two local organisations that exist to help organise and represent residents on the estate.  Which group one belongs to (or, for the less involved, simply turns to in time of need) can be a divisive matter on the estate, as it isn’t uncommon to find the two groups lobbying at cross purposes.  The Association dates back to 1954, and is by far the older of the two organisations. In broad terms, the Association’s members tend to lobby to preserve and protect the buildings and character of the Estate, and to resist major redevelopments or cultural change.

Membership in the Association requires an individual to be nominated by two members in good standing – this is usually trivially easy for anyone who is interested in joining to accomplish – the only major disqualifying factor wold usually be being known to be active on The Committee.  Election to the 13-seat Association Board, however, is a more challenging matter, and requires a two thirds majority of all current members to to vote in favour, and campaigning can become quite intense when a Board member dies or gives up their seat.

The current head of the board is one Samuel Rafferty, formerly owner of Rafferty and Sons scrap dealers, now comfortably retired.  Rafferty is well like in the community and is generally seen as a reasonable and level-headed man who genuinely loves his community.

The Committee

The Redriff Residents Committee and Community Action Group (generally known as The Committee) is the other lobbying body among the residents of the estate.  Founded in the early 90s, the Committee tends to a more progressive outlook, seeking to encourage investment and new business within the estate, something that often brings its members into conflict with The Association.

Joining the Committee is a moderately rigorous process, requiring a proposal, a second, and the prospective candidate to give a speech outlining their reason to want to join followed by a short debate during which the candidate may not speak, followed by a majority vote of those members present on the night.  However, once a member has joined, the Committee is largely non-hierarchical, organising itself around a number of sub-committees based on the issues that individual members feel most strongly about.  In so far as the Committee has leaders of any sort, at present it could probably said to be George and Sue Martin, a brother and sister in their mid 30s who moved to the estate about ten years ago, and who have a history in community activism both on and off the estate.

The Council

Southwark Council is the political body directly responsible for the Redriff Estate, and the area sees a reasonable level of funding and local amenities – Redriff residents complain that a lot of the council’s investment tends to be in areas like Borough that attract more tourist interested, and the dispute about poor public transport provision in the area as been going on for decades to little great effect.

The current councillors for the Estate are Khalid Knight, Amy Stannard and Dawn Gibson.  There’s been a suggestion in the past that Cllr Stannard, as head of the council’s Disciplinary and Investigation committee, might have misused their position and conducted over-broad investigations of other councillors, and an investigation into this is ongoing.

The Town Hall

The old town hall was destroyed by bombing in the second world war – a great loss as the building also contained a library, and small museum with a lot of local historical information, all now lost. A new, purely functional set of administrative buildings has been build on the old site.

All that remained of the old town hall were 13 pillars, each a caryatid figure on a stone column. Two of these have been moved into the King’s Stairs park, and various others have been subsequently been worked into the architecture of various buildings on the estate or used as display pieces elsewhere on the estate – two either side of the entrances to each of the Red Rose Towers, one inside the Terriss Theatre, one at the main entrance to the Printworks, one near the entrance to the Redriff Tunnel. The remaining two are in storage, awaiting future construction projects.