Friday, July 30, 2010

Birds Nest licence extension


The news that the Birds Nest pub has applied for a late-hours music extension was raised at last night's residents' and tenants' association meeting.  Noise and other forms of disturbance have in the past affected Crossfields residents, particularly Frankham House residents.  The fact that each weekend seems to bring a new layer of broken glass to the Ha'penny Hatch may also be due to carousers returning to Greenwich from the Birds Nest but, to be honest, I've never witnessed this ever-popular form of late-night sport being played.

Anyhow, here are the details of the licence application, followed by how residents may lodge objections.

 The Birds Nest has applied for an extension as follows:

Thursday from 23:00 to midnight
Friday & Saturday from 01:00 to 02:00
And to have live music Thursday & Friday 20:00-midnight, Saturday 14;00-midnight and Sunday 14:00-22:30.

Representations have to be made before 6 August to Laurence House or to licensing@lewisham.gov.uk and must be related to one or more of these licensing considerations:

Prevention of Public Nuisance
Protection of children from harm
Public Safety
Prevention of Crime and Disorder

Any representations made become a matter for public record, need to have a name and an address, and will be available to the applicant, ie the Birds Nest.  In the words of Kim Giddings, Principle Licensing Officer:

''I would also advise that should you make a representation, a copy of your objection will be sent to the applicant.  You will also be advised that should the application be determined by the licensing committee of the council at a public meeting your letter would form part of agenda papers for the meeting. You will have the opportunity to address the committee on this matter. These documents are available to the press and the public.''

Cycle Path: Funded or Not?

Conflicting reports about whether this project will be given go ahead this year..

Design for London say No. (But it is now "On everyone's radar" which I think means "they want it to happen")

Lewisham says Maybe. (They will decided which projects  will go ahead in September.)

They are having a meeting on Thursday to discuss all the proposals that Lewisham has on the table. So maybe after that we will get a clearer answer?

Martin Hodge, Lewishams "Public Realm Programme Manager", has agreed that this project needs to be fully discussed at this meeting. So maybe we could give him some fuel for this discussion?

The TRA are sending a letter demanding that a proper degree of real consultation is essential.

And I still have questions I'd like answered...

1) Does the brief to WWM include the commitment to explore options other than the proposal that destroys the Community garden?

2) Will a proper comprehensive consultation about this matter be carried out?

3) If a decision is being made about whether funding for this proposal is approved in September will that allow for any changes in the plans that will be more acceptable to the Crossfields Community?

Any other suggestion?

Martin Hodge:
020 8314 7585
martin.hodge@lewisham.gov.uk

Richa Mukhia: Design for London:
07939 203606
Richa.Mukhia@designforlondon.gov.uk

Arthur: WWM Architects:
020 7613 3113
mail@wwmarchitects.co.uk


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Greening the Estate: Something More Positive from WWM!

 (click on map to see larger version)

This is the map that Arthur from WWM Architects produced after the Estate Walkabout regarding the application for funds to "Green the Estate" with his version of ideas for various areas and the improvements that could be done.

Very sneaky to put on it  "WWM to look at options regarding re-location." of the garden marked as 10) on the map. As far as I am concerned the option is to relocate the path NOT the garden.

Anyhow that aside...

Surely we can come up with a more cohesive, comprehensive and interesting set of proposals for these spaces?

The more engaging and involving our ideas are the more likely the funding is to be forthcoming.

I shall be canvassing for suggestions at the TRA meeting this evening... and any ideas are more than welcome here...

We have to do it quick though... the window for funding is apparentely small.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Inadequate Response from WWM Architects

Well after two weeks and 4 ignored emails I had to phone Stephen Witherford (one of the "W"s at WWM Architects)  regarding his terse response to my report of the Estate Walkabout regarding plans to build a cycle/foot path destroying the Garden by the Railway Arches  (see this post)

I was told he was in a meeting until two and that he would call me some time after that.

No call came but I did receive an email...

My mail to him first:

Stephen:

I have consistently been told that the proposals regarding the cycle/foot path are in the very early stages and nothing is set in stone as yet. Is this indeed the case?

Your statement seems to imply that no change has happened in your position as a result of suggestions which Arthur brought back from the Walkabout?

Could you acknowledge whether routes more considerate of the wishes of the residents of the Crossfield Estate will or will not, be considered at all?

Can you tell us what suggestions have made that you have considered?

Is the position in this email likely to change when Arthur returns from his holiday?

As I tried to explain to Arthur surely a scheme that preserves a much loved community resource would look better on your web site than one that destroys one! Why not make this a triumph for community involvement and design compromise for the benefit of the community?

I am glad you are in support of replacing the garden with a suitable replacement on the estate. Though hopefully this will not be necessary.  I appreciate your position re funding of course. What I really meant was to ensure that it would be included in any plans that did destroy the garden. I am also given a glimmer of hope by the phrase "should this be required".

Of course I do not see aggression in yr stance. You have your rationales and reason for the position that you take of course. As I said to Arthur and Richa I am all for co-operation and compromise...and hope that you are too.

I could explain to you how significant this garden has been to me personally in helping restore my mental and physical health after various long standing illness. I'm sure you would acknowledge the great benefits of gardening such as this.

I am very proud of the huge amount of time and effort I have put into this garden, bringing a corner of the estate previousley used for drug injecting and as a toilet back into cultivation. Making it a safer place where people want to be, and a place where children can  play I would love to be able to continue with my 5 year plan for its improvement into an important resource that we are planning on developing for the wider good of the community.

I mention all this because I'm sure the human aspects of the decisions that you make might sometimes become a little abstract and distant to you.

Perhaps you could return the favour by placing a fair record of my position on YOUR web site!

Maybe you would be interested in coming to visit the Estate to discuss alternative plans and explain WMM's  position personally to the Tenants and Residents Association?

Thank you very much for your time and consideration in this matter. Hope to hear from you soon.

John Rhodes.


And his reply...

Dear John
I am sorry that I missed your call earlier today, I was out at a meeting.
Apologies for not responding to your request regarding your invitation to attend the TRA meeting on Thursday. I am unable to attend the meeting because I shall be away on holiday from Thursday.
The last couple of weeks leading up to this break have been particularly pressured as I am currently covering for other staff in the office who are on holiday at the moment. This will unfortunately be the case throughout the summer as this is a small practice.
If the Deptford project can secure funding and is able to progress, I hope to have the opportunity to meet with you and other residents, to discuss in more detail your proposals for the open spaces on the estate.
Best regards
Stephen
Witherford Watson Mann Architects 
1 Coate Street

London E2 9AG
 
Which I consider to be a shockingly inadequate response.

It does not address any of the concerns I raised and does nothing to allay my fears that they are treating this as something that will inevitably happen.

Should I be surprised that I'm treated in a way that I feel is dismissive and deliberately ignores the central thrust of my questions? I'm certainly very dissapointed and wonder if this is how WMM intend to continue? 

But as my Mum always says "You can't make things go away by ignoring them!
I shall hold fire until after the TRA meeting on Thursday to see what suggestions are made there...

I shall certainly have a list of questions that WWM will HAVE to answer :O)

Petition to consult the community before Tidemill Primary School is converted to an Academy


Frankham House resident and Tidemill parent Leila has posted the following petition and would like you to sign it. 

"It is proposed that Tidemill Primary School, Deptford, London is converted into an Academy. To consult with and inform parents, it has been suggested that over the summer holiday a random selection of 5 parents from each year followed by a one hour meeting by the Board of Governors is adequate.

This petition is for a full and unbiased consultation with all parents and the local community before this important and far reaching change is pushed through."


To sign the petition go here



Further information from Leila:

The new government plans to make us pay for the crisis brought about by the greed of the banks. A major part of this plan is to slash public services – and this means private investors taking over our schools and running them for profit.

Tidemill Primary School headmaster Mark Elms is proposing that the school become an academy this September 2010. 

Parents and the community in Deptford need to be informed and consulted about these proposals being rushed through.

Emotions run high whenever our children’s education is involved. For me, it is all the more personal as I have been an educator for the last 25 years and I am passionate about education and the transformative outcomes.
Of course we should explore new ideas, but let us support them with our eyes fully open.

 This new proposal is far reaching and may contribute to a major lack of state (and therefore accessible) primary education in this area, but, as with many developments in the area, a decision may be taken without full presentation or representation.

•    The governors have registered an online interest in Tidemill becoming an academy.
•    On the 7th July, the school provided a questionnaire to ask parents to tick if they required information about academy status.
•    A cut and paste letter, complete with FAQs which are selectively edited segments from the government website, was given to children on the 19th July to hand to their parents. The school stated that the governors have begun a period of consultation to gather views of parents and staff to span the next two months (i.e. during summer holidays).
•    On the 8th September at 8am to 9am (1 hour only) a meeting is arranged for parents to share their views, after which the governors go into a meeting to finalise their decision about academy status.
•    In the July newsletter Mark Elms states that they are planning to canvas five parents from each class (“randomly selected”) to run through questions on how they “feel about the Academy issue”. 
•    Parents with questions are invited to email businessmanager@tidemill.lewisham.sch.uk during the holiday break.


Leila Galloway

www.antiacademies.org.uk/Home

 
 

Choice cuts

Right, we all know that a climate of budget butchery is in the air.  Lewisham has joined in the fray by setting up a consultation page on its website.  It's an online survey which they estimate will take 20 minutes to complete and which will remain open until 7 October.  In essence, it's a series of questions about which parts of the council's services should get the chop and which parts should be kept as ''free'' services, paid for on demand, or ''big societised'' - by which I mean hived off to the voluntary sector or left for individuals to assume greater responsibilities. 

Nowhere, of course, is to be found an option to trim the fat off the administrative costs that the council incurs, nor is there a question about whether council executive pay should be reduced in line with the expectations of a smaller council and general austerity in the public sector.  I read this part of the survey introduction:

Remember, this is not the only way to get involved. You can also comment on our forum, attend your local assembly or come and speak to us when we take the debate out onto the streets.

So I looked for the forum to see what other residents had had to say on the subject.  But I couldn't find the forum.  So I did a search....
 Many thanks to CarolineLD, who's just very kindly posted up the address for the forum.  This is where it's hidden




Monday, July 26, 2010

Crossfields TRA Meeting Thursday 29th July & Crossfields Festival

There will be a TRA meeting this Thursday at the Pink Palace (50 Frankham House) at 7.30pm.

On the agenda....

CROSSFIELDS FESTIVAL
Hopefully going ahead on SUNDAY 5th SEPTEMBER (as usual, the first Sunday in September) SUNDAY 12th SEPTEMBER. Ideas for this would be MOST WELCOME - such as stalls and if you or your band would like to play at the festival. Contact Hugh if you want to run a stall or perform. Offers of help on the day to set up stage and stalls would also be most appreciated.

CYCLE PATH & ESTATE GARDENS
John will be reporting on recent developments around the Cycle Path and the Greening of the Estate (see his posts here and here).

DEPTFORD X 2010
As part of this year's Deptford X (September 24th – October 3rd), Crossfields residents will be able to take part in a project with the appointed RESIDENT ARTIST, Leila Galloway from Frankham House. Leila won this opportunity in an open submission in partnership with Sophie Hope (there will also be 'Resident Artist' projects in three or four other locations in Deptford). 

CREEKSIDE CENTRE
If there's time, we will also be canvasing on how Crossfields residents might like to make use of Creekside Centre. Michele from Holden House would like to know if you're interested in attending activities there such as barbeques, music, film screenings, games, exhibitions, competitions, and children's activities such as puppet shows and art workshops. Or perhaps using the building for a weekly youth club or as a clubroom, or for classes in art/yoga/fitness etc...

Hope to see you on Thursday. We shall also endeavour to keep you up to day on all these subjects on this blog.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Greening the Estate: Meeting with Greenwich CoOperative Development.

I'm arranging a meeting with Claire from Greenwich CoOperative Development

It will be about ideas for greening the Estate that she brought up in the Walkaround reported in this post with the aim of reporting back to the Tenents Association in the September meeting.

I shall bring this up at the Tenents Association on Thursday to see who wants to come along.

If anyone else would like to attend please let me know when you are free

Contact me here

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A chance to live in the heart of Greenwich cultural quarter....

Thanks to Darryl over at 853 for spotting this.  Theatro, the new development on Creek Road near Deptford Church Street is having an open weekend on Saturday and Sunday, 24th & 25th.  If you contact Union Developments - ''We're more (dishonest) than just a pretty fa├žade'' - reserve an apartment on their open day then for a year they will pay your:
• Mortgage (interest only)
• Service charge
• Ground rent and utility bills

Among the attractions that this [yawn]''state of the art''[/yawn] apartment block offers is  a chance to live ''in the heart of Greenwich cultural quarter''  which is all the more remarkable for being in SE8 and only 60 metres from Deptford Church Street. And if by ''cultural quarter'' they mean Rose Bruford Drama College that inspired the Theatro name, or the Laban or the scores of artists working on Creekside, then it has nothing at all to do with Greenwich. Or are we to understand that Greenwich is so starved of a cultural quarter that they have to steal Deptford's?

And, miracle of marketing miracles, you'll only be ''Located moments from Greenwich town centre.''   Time travel is clearly so much easier for estate agents. 

Though curiously, if you look at the transport links bit, copied below, you'll learn that Deptford Station (not listed by name but as Deptford High Street) takes 10 minutes to walk to.  Greenwich Station, however, is only 6 minutes walk.  Why would it take 10 minutes to walk under half a kilometre when it only takes 6 minutes to walk over a kilometre?  Could it be that they don't want people to know that the nearest station is Deptford?  We'll have to brush up on our quantum mechanics before we can fully understand the relativism of space and time in Estate Agents minds...

Docklands Light Railway
Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich (5 minutes walk)
Greenwich (6 minutes walk)
Deptford Bridge (4 minutes walk)
Railway Stations
Greenwich Railway Station (7 minutes walk)
Maze Hill Railway Station (15 minutes walk)
Deptford High Street (10 minutes walk)
 Green route to Deptford Station (450m), blue route to Greenwich (1106m).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Watering





Half six comedy nurtures a soak. Spirits raised by laughter and the things that depend.

Horizontal sun making rainbows of daydreams. Golden thoughts of everything, and nothing, my salve.

Water charmed bugs make Bobby appear. Knowing my whistle. Stealing worms from my fingers.

Shiny eyes understand. The lively and living, the kids in the ball court.

Then quiet as they're called for their beds.


.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Deptford Prison - Stolen Identity

My niece texted me this evening: "Deptford was featured in 'Identity'! (well the prison was ;) )"...
It was 10pm and I'd just finished work and hadn't seen the programme. I texted back "Deptford doesn't have a prison." "Oh ha, ha," she texted back, "they got that wrong then..."

As it turns out I had unwittingly recorded the episode on series link so was able to watch this pile of shite when I got home. I'd watched the first two in the series and had decided that the presence of Aiden Gillen was completely ruined by the presence of Keeley Hawes, not to mention a terrible script. Now I had to watch it cos it had a Deptford reference in it – a fictional prison by all accounts.

The reference came halfway through. There's no Deptford scenes, just a visit to a character banged up in a studio set, then later at the end, a reflective scene where the narrative, such as it is, revisits the jail, establishing the scene with a fictional sign (see above) and then we see a prison officer querying the identity of our hero. Bloom, or is it Shea?  The central conceit of this cop drama about an over-resourced team investigating identity fraud is that one of the team is an ex-undercover cop who is still playing with his identity...

We Deptfordians are used to some degree of misrepresentation, and the presence of helicopters sweeping round every night between 10 and 11pm certainly contributes to a feeling of being locked up for the night in a police state, but REALLY!

Unless you count the gigantic Lewisham Police station (is it really a prison as well?), our nearest jail is BELMARSH and it's quite some distance away in Thamesmead. However, the fact that my niece lives in Swindon (most terribly slandered itself, of course) and has never been to Deptford, so was willing to believe we had our very own prison, well, it makes me wanna SHOUT.

But curfew has begun so I can't. (Unfortunately those chavs partying on the ground floor round the corner have got some deal going with the guards so they're probably gonna shout all night)...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wall Demolished


Not sure what exactely happened but by the look of it a vehicle crashed into the wall on Church Street at the south end of the estate. Knocking a huge hole in the wall and filling one of the estate gardens with rubble. Lets hope no one was hurt...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Day out at the Urban Orchard


As part of the walkabout regarding the Greening of the Estate we were invited to see the latest project by Architects WWM:

The Union Street Urban Orchard

This is an urban orchard and community garden and home to the LivingARK, a zero-carbon pod which is inhabited during the period of the project to showcase sustainable ways of living. The site also hosts The Nest, a pavilion created by the Finnish Institute, the Identikit by Thomas Kendal and Tamsin Hanke and a skip turned table tennis table created by Oliver Bishop-Young.

I'll be going along at some point so if anyone else wants to come? If we can get a few people together WMM said they would be very happy to show us round and discus any ideas that it brings up for the project to "Green Crossfields".

It is running until the 19th September.

Just let me know if you are interested by mailing me through here

Underneath the Arches

Well we have a stretch of historic railway arches going through our estate. Part of the first urban passenger railway in the world and, when it was built in 1836, the most massive brick structure on the planet.




Now wouldnt it be lovely if we could celebrate this fact AND make the estate a safer and more attractive place?

So why not follow the lead of this example from Bankside?

A low cost, easy maintenance LED lighting installation:

Perhaps a good solution to concerns about security along the arches. making that area of the estate a lot less threatening as well as much more attractive. And a way to celebrate a great piece of our local history.


Perhaps this suggestion could be made to the architects trying to push a foot/cycle path through the estate?

See the Bankside Arches here

And a bit of railway history here
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

Bilbao - Deptford - via Heathrow

Coming back from northern Spain after only a week away, I was verging on depressed at the thought of returning. However, settling down in my seat, I noticed a famous person shuffling down the airplane aisle and whispered to my sister in the seat in front of me, "Hey, Paul Weller's new album sales can't be doing too well if he's flying economy"...A big bloke had just sat down next to my sister and heard me. He turned round and said "Paul's a Man of the People...and I'm the bass guitarist...and he's the drummer" (as he indicated the young bearded bloke who was sitting down next to me). Ooops.

Weller sat with his girlfriend a couple of rows behind, and most of the aisle seats in the middle of the plane were taken up with his band and crew. I told the drummer how I used to be a drummer too, but he wasn't in the mood for small talk. He was heading back to Liverpool, so this was the start of quite a long journey.

We knew they were in town because we'd seen the posters in the streets of Bilbao when we'd come to the city to go to the Guggenheim – there was a three day music festival that also featured Pearl Jam, Gomez, Manic Street Preachers, Faith No More, Alice in Chains and Skunk Anansie (and certain artists who are more popular in Europe than they are here), but it was Weller's pic on the posters.

Meanwhile the bass guitarist was quite chatty and told my sister that they'd just played one night in Bilbao, had stayed in a very nice hotel, thankyou (not a budget Travelodge / Mercure / Ibis), then he settled down to read Defence of the Realm: an authorised history of M15...

Here's Weller and "she changed my life" girlfriend (left wife and two kids for backing singer earlier this year) marching along the walking escalator...(click on the picture if you want an enlargement to see how fashionably short his trousers are)...


Here's the group queuing up at EU Passport Control...terrible picture, don't know where the drummer is, but the bass player's the bloke in the striped jumper, behind an almost white haired Weller. We were all through in five minutes and never saw the band again since they'd only stayed one night and didn't have bags to collect (except for a couple of grumbling crew members picking up precious sound gear).


And here's about a thousand people from all over the world who've just arrived at Heathrow who don't have EU passports, queuing for hours in the "All Other Passports" line to get in, surrounded by signs saying "The Fastest Way to Central London"...probably the worst entry to a country I've ever seen. Anyone frail or in poor health would chance dying in that queue. This picture shows just a third of the queue. I was told by a small security guy not to take pictures. Signs said to switch off mobiles. If there was any time you'd want to use your mobile, this would be it.

Deptford - Bilbao - via Heathrow

Last week I was lucky enough to take my annual week's holiday, this time to northern Spain. We flew Vueling from Heathrow. Imagine my surprise when I settled into my seat and had a look at Vueling's rather nicely designed inflight magazine...JULY issue...page 9...only the second article at the front...

EL TREN QUE TRANSFORMO UN BARRIO

DEPTFORD TRAINS ITS SIGHTS ON URBAN RENEWAL
texto Marcus Hirst  fotos Richard Learoyd

Cuando la constructora Cathedral Group se hizo con un patio ferroviario abandonado en el barrio londinense de Deptford, lo normal hubiera sido dejarlo cerrado durante la tramitacion de los permisos para edificar...

OK, that's enuf Spanish...fortunately the magazine provided a translation...(and two pages of pictures of the train carriage on Deptford High Street) as follows:

When property developer Cathedral Group acquired an abandoned train yard in Deptford, the standard procedure in this case would have been to boarder (sic) it up until you receive planning permission to build. This being a long and arduous process, the team in charge of the residential project, designed by Richard Rodgers, thought it would be much more productive to use the space during that time. A cultural hub was created on the land and renamed The Deptford Project. The first step has been to reconvert (sic) an old train carriage into a cafe. The remaining space is being used to hold open air cinema screenings, creative markets and artistic installations.

For years, Deptford has suffered from under-investment and marginalisation but this could be about to change. An array of projects, like this one, are in the works to give the neighbourhood a face lift.  "Deptford is an interesting place. It's one train stop away from the financial heart of London but it often feels like it's on another planet. There are no big chain stores here. Prices are reasonable. We have two artistic universities in the area, small galleries and a vibrant music scene."

Will Deptford join the long list of London areas that have been gentrified? Evans* doesn't see it that way. "I don't like that word because it has negative connotations and is not what we are trying to do. This area needs investment and the Council is playing a part in that. It's about accelerating the process of making this a better place to live. When the building is finished there will be a public square and a cafe left for the residents of Deptford to enjoy."

*explica Martyn Evans, responsable de comunicacion de Deptford Project (not included in the translation).

Well, I didn't know Rogers had designed the flats that will go up next to the station that was supposed to have started work this month. And I've never heard of there being any cinema screenings in the station yard...but the rest is more or less true. A grand PR job, n'est ce pas?

Vueling flies to 20 Spanish locations plus Marrakesh, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, seven Italian locations, Malta, Athens, six locations in Eastern Europe, two Russian, plus Istanbul, Tel Aviv and Aman. That's one helluva tourist trail...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fire at 'SE8'

Last night at around 1.30am I heard sirens. This went on till 2.15am and I wondered what it was. It seemed to be coming from the Deptford DLR area, although when I went outside to investigate it seemed to be coming from Creek Road. I'd heard what sounded like a gunshot at around 10pm, and then three more bangs that sounded more like fireworks at around 1am....so I was a little worried at what I might find in the news in the morning...

It turned out to be a fire on the seventh floor of Alaska House, one of the blocks in the development next to Deptford Bridge DLR. Apparently, fire crews from Greenwich, Lewisham, Deptford, Forest Hill, New Cross and Lee Green, and later relief crews from East Greenwich and Woolwich battled with the flames until 6am.

FREE local outdoor events this Saturday

Saturday 17th July, 11am – 3pm
BROCKLEY WORLD FOOD FESTIVAL
Friendly Gardens (off Friendly Street, SE8 4QH (Deptford in other words)
A chance for local people to come and try some free food from the different cultures and nations represented in Brockley, with entertainment from local dance and music groups, information stalls, bouncy castle and Playbus. Organised by Brockley Local Assembly (Lewisham Council).

Saturday 17th July, 1pm-6pm
MUSICAL NOTES
Twinkle Park, Borthwick Street, SE8 
You'll have already seen the posters on the bin chamber doors for this event organised by Twinkle Park Trust and Greenwich Council's Parkfest 2010. Pond dip to live music, bring a picnic and rug and play Petanque*...Jazz, Steel Band, African Drums all down near the river via Watergate Street. www.parksfest.org
*Boules to you and me...

Council's plans to cut £2.75m in services and spend zillions on Catford redevelopment

What is going on?

On Wednesday evening protesters attended the Mayor and Cabinet meeting at Lewisham Town Hall. Campaigners protesting over cuts to their jobs and services were branded "fucking idiots" and told to "get real" by Mayor Steve Bullock, who went on to approve £2.75m in cuts, with further cuts to come that would include closure of five libraries and an early learning centre...See report by Mark Chandler in NewShopper.

Meanwhile, Lewisham just spent £11.5m buying Catford shopping centre in order to redevelop the area around Rushey Green. Phase two of the plans includes knocking down Lewisham Town Hall (including the wonderful 60s Civic Suite and Council Chambers) and Laurence House...Michael Stringer reports in the South London Press: "A timescale for the town hall demolition and the development of a new "public services hub" has not been given at this stage...How the council plans to finance the scheme is currently blocked from public viewing." See South London Press.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Cross assembly

''Your local assembly, your say.''

This will be held on Wednesday 21 July 2010 from 7:30 - 9:30pm at Deptford Green School, Amersham Vale, New Cross, SE14 2LQ. (refreshments from 7:15pm). Here's the inside of the leaflet that arrived in an estate letter box.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tidemillionaire?

Head Teacher Mark Elms cycling in to meet the waiting press pack on Frankham Boulevard

It looks like Mark Elms, head teacher at Tidemill Primary School, has come in for a bit of unwelcome notoriety in today's media.  The BBC website announces ''Union 'outraged' at head teacher £200,000 pay package  and the Guardian kicks off with ''Union 'outraged' at primary school head's £231,400 salary''   Behind the headlines, of course, there's a slightly different story - the inflated pay package includes backpay for work Mark has done working, not as a primary head teacher at a 400 pupil school, but for the extra work and responsibility of overseeing the ''turning around'' of a number of schools (hazy memory but I think it was 10) in Croydon.  And the reason he got that extra responsibility was because of his work turning an underachieving Tidemill into what Ofsted now judge  to be an  ''outstanding'' school with some of the highest ''value-added'' teaching in the country.

While many might consider the wage rates as unworldly, it may be worthwhile listening to the parents testimonies at the school gates on the BBC link and then reflecting on the fact that if Tidemill had remained a quietly ineffective average-achieving school this story would not have appeared at all.

(Check the sidebar for other blogs, such as 853 and Brockley Central who have also covered this story.)

UPDATE 16:40: The BBC has now changed tack a little, well, a good bit more than a little now that an education reporter has looked into things  - see  ''Why head teacher Mark Elms earned £200,000

Monday, July 12, 2010

ESTATE WALKAROUND: Cycle Path and Greening the Estate



Attending:
Richa Mukhia: Design for London
Sue Lawes: Secretary of Crossfields TRA
Ruth: Chair of Crossfields Allotments Commitee
Other individuals from the Estate

Background:
WWM Architects have been commissioned to work on plans for the East West Cycle route by Design for London. This is part of a wider plan to develop walking and cycle routes between areas of Deptford and its surrounds.
They are also interested in plans to increase the use of and amenity of green spaces on Crossfields Estate. As well as including ideas for such development into their plans they have suggested the involvement of Greenwich Co Operative Development Association in helping to develop, fund and implement these schemes.
Proposals for East West Cycle/walking route:
Our initial position was to suggest that a route outside the Estate would be preferable to creating a new right of way. This suggestion was not met with much enthusiasm, in fact after it was raised the conversation continued as if it had not been made and we moved on to alternative ideas for routes that do go through the estate.
It was agreed that alternative routes that avoided destruction of the garden were in fact achievable. The most likely solution was the positioning of the cycle path on the basketball court side of the railway arches for at least some of its route.
It was noted that this has the advantage of the path not passing directly past the windows on the ground floor of Brown House. The only possible objection raised to this was the fact that there would not be a straight "sight line" from the station in Deptford to the Hapenny Hatch Bridge! It was however agreed that this was not a good enough reason to destroy a community garden.
Widening of the path,. improvements to lighting, changes in planting and the very selective removal of some ill, stressed or weak trees would, it was suggested, make the area feel lighter and less threatening. Replanting other trees with less light excluding properties, were suggested as ways to make the path feel and be as safe as possible.
We also discussed who would be responsible for the upkeep of these areas as this has been an ongoing concern. It was agreed that a map supplied by Lewisham which showed all the areas of the estate taken care of by Glendales and all areas taken care of by People on the estate would be essential.
However when asked what the proposals would included if the garden WAS destroyed...
no definitive response was forth coming. It would be hoped that any plans by the Architects would guarantee funding for the replacement of the garden on the estate. All that seems to have been mentioned so far is a woolly promise of some "land" somewhere unspecified.
It looks though as if they would expect us to arrange for funding etc of any replacement gardens/allotments on the estate ourselves. Perhaps the Architects could confirm exactly what they plan in this respect?
"Greening" Crossfields Estate
Claire from Greenwich CoOperative Development Group was interested in helping us to set up a properly constituted "Crossfields Green Spaces Association" which would enable us to apply for funding for projects on the Estate.
Areas of particular interest identified for development:
  1. Sue Godfrey Community Garden (including possible extension to include area behind the sheds adjacent to Church Street.) We need to consult with all interested parties. Particularly Sues family who have been involved in the running of the garden. We would also have to find out what the status of the garden is with Lewisham. There was someone being paid to take care of the garden. It would appear that this is no longer happening.
  1. Areas surrounded by Red railings throughout the estate:Claire said she could see no problem greening these areas as we wanted.
  1. Areas within the U shaped blocks. Any suggestions for what might happen here?
  1. And particularly the area next to the fantastic new BMX track at the Birds Nest end of the estate. This was identified as a potentially very exciting opportunity for development of a Green Space:
Ideas mentioned included for this area:
  • New Allotment / gardens.
  • Smaller mini allotments for people who don't want to take on larger allotments:
  • Community gardening:
We need to find out what people on the estate really want from this area. The more imaginative and involving the better:
  • Perhaps "Climate Change Gardens" Showcasing plants and techniques of water collection and recycling. where the allotments are fed by water capturing systems.
  • Community food growing projects.
  • Children's Gardens.
Any have other ideas anyone?
It would be great if this could act as a catalyst for a wide degree of community involvement.
As well as being a vital place for the Estate to enjoy.
A vibrant and enthusiastic group of gardens, green spaces and gardeners could provide education and involvement for as wide a range as possible of adults and children from the estate and surrounding schools/ colleges and other community organizations.
Perhaps the next step would be to invite Claire along formally to the next TRA meeting so we can start to decided on our possible next moves.
We have the opportunity to do some very exciting and wonderful things that will make Crossfields an even better place to live.

RESPONSE FROM WWM ARCHITECTS

Before publishing this I sent this to all involved for any comments and clarifications:
I received the following reply from the Architects WMM:
Not good news I'm afraid.

Dear John
Thank you for your notes recording your position on last Thursday's walk around the estate. I am sorry that I was unable to join you all on the walk. Arthur is on holiday this week and next, so I have chosen to respond as clearly as I can to two of the points you have raised;
1. It is our view, as the architects advising the client group on improvements to Deptford's public spaces and the legibility of the routes that link them, that locating the public footpath consistently along the southern side of the viaduct between Deptford Station and Halfpenny Bridge would be the most effective position. This would enable the route to be followed from the entrance/exit of Deptford Station, be clearly visible form Giffen Street and draws in the physical and visual presence of the viaduct to help define the route.
2. As architects, we do not 'guarantee' the funding of any of the possible aspects of the project being developed. We fully support the suitable relocation of the garden you have created, if this should be required, but it would not be fair to record that we guarantee the funding of this.
John, we are very committed to working with you to resolve the possible design works within and around Crossfields Estate, and we are working behind the scenes to help secure funding for the different aspects of the project. Please don't read my cautionary notes as aggressive, I would simply like you to place a fair record of our position on your blog.
Best regards
Stephen Witherford

And my reply... to which I am waiting for a response:

Stephen:


I have consistently been told that these proposals are in the very early stages and nothing is set in stone as yet. Is this indeed the case?

Your statement seems to imply that no change has happened in your position as a result of suggestions which Arthur brought back from the Walkabout?


Could you acknowledge whether routes more considerate of the wishes of the residents of the Crossfield Estate will or will not, be considered at all?

Can you tell us what suggestions have made that you have considered?
Is the position in this email likely to change when Arthur returns from his holiday?


As I tried to explain to Arthur surely a scheme that preserves a much loved community resource would look better on your web site than one that destroys one! Why not make this a triumph for community involvement and design compromise for the benefit of the community?

I am glad you are in support of replacing the garden with a suitable replacement on the estate. Though hopefully this will not be necessary. I appreciate your position re funding of course. What I really meant was to ensure that it would be included in any plans that did destroy the garden. I am also given a glimmer of hope by the phrase "should this be required".

Of course I do not see aggression in yr stance. You have your rationales and reason for the position that you take of course. As I said to Arthur and Richa I am all for co-operation and compromise...and hope that you are too.

I could explain to you how significant this garden has been to me personally in helping restore my mental and physical health after various long standing illness. I'm sure you would acknowledge the great benefits of gardening such as this.

I am very proud of the huge amount of time and effort I have put into this garden, bringing a corner of the estate previousley used for drug injecting and as a toilet back into cultivation. Making it a safer place where people want to be, and a place where children can play I would love to be able to continue with my 5 year plan for its improvement into an important resource that we are planning on developing for the wider good of the community.

I mention all this because I'm sure the human aspects of the decisions that you make might sometimes become a little abstract and distant to you.

Perhaps you could return the favour by placing a fair record of my position on YOUR web site!

Maybe you would be interested in coming to visit the Estate to discuss alternative plans and explain WMM's position personally to the Tenants and Residents Association?

Thank you very much for your time and consideration in this matter. Hope to hear from you soon.


John Rhodes.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dire Straits documentary - photos, and ear-witness accounts from White Swan Hotel needed

This just arrived  in the crosswhatfields inbox:

URGENT  !
 
Im producing   a documentary on  Mark Knopfler for BBC4  TV.
 
Im keen to view any photos taken of Farrer  House and the Deptford locality in 1977/8/9 --IF  included and IF copyright cleared an appropriate fee would be paid.
 
also   did  you see or were you a member of the SULTANS OF SWING jazz band who regularly gigged at the White SwanPub BlackHeath road? 
 
please contact me on 077 88 515 497  i'll return your call straught away-
 
chris phipps 
 
If you have any contemporary photos of the Farrer or used to go up to the White Swan Hotel on Blackheath Road, give Chris Phipps a call.  (I only remember Rex playing at the Oxford Arms and the Fabulous Sprinklers playing at the White Swan so I'm not much use...)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Deptford we all know.

BBC Radio 4 kicked off ''The London Nobody Knows'' last night with a meal in Manze's pie shop in Deptford High Street.  It's just for a couple of minutes until historian and broadcaster Dan Cruickshank goes off to visit other ''unknown'' places in the East End, following in the footsteps of Geoffrey Fletcher who visited in the 60s.

If you, like me, were watching the Spain-Germany match when it was broadcast (8:45pm - 9:00pm, Wednesday, 7 July) you can catch up on the BBC iPlayer here

Friday, July 2, 2010

Crikey, People's Day is only a week away!


Lewisham People's Day has quietly been creeping up on us. You now only have 8 days to learn your Walking On Sunshine steps and get yourself down to Mountsfield Park in Catford. (Saturday, 10 July 2010, 12 to 8pm)

In a flurry of incomplete sentences, the Lewisham Arts Service describe it thus:

Ska Legend's The Beat and Katrina (formerly of Katrina and the Waves) head up a uniquely eclectic line-up of over 1000 local and international. Join in the Big Dance moves to Walking on Sunshine at the 4pm.
Further information 0208 318 3986. Free. Mountsfield Park.


The Lewisham Council Website is a little more helpful....

Lewisham’s longest running free community festival returns to Mountsfield Park, Catford for its 26th year on Saturday 10 July 2010, 12noon-8pm (last entry 6.30pm).
Ska legends The Beat head up a unique showcase of music, circus, magic, art, sport and spoken word from over a thousand performers on eight themed stages.
Plus a ferris wheel and funfair attractions, a craft market, real ale tavern and fabulous food.

Programme here

and

Clickable map here

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Greenwich Summer Sessions

With July only a few hours old, it's a good time to have a quick look at what's going on this month.  One of the events brought to Crosswhatfields' attention is the Greenwich Summer Sessions   which will be taking place outdoors in the Old Royal Naval College's grounds from 21 - 25 July.  Themed around ''Greenwich's unique history and heritage'' it's been subtitled ''Rebels, Royals, Rivers and Runners.''  (Cynics, however, may think that it's been loosely and lazily themed around the letter R.)  There will be 4 concerts, 3 in the early evening (doors open 6pm, on stage 7:30pm,and a Sunday afternoon performance (doors open 2pm, on stage 3pm): The Levellers on the 21st, The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra on the 22nd, Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra on the 23rd, and Athlete will be heading the line up for the 25th.  (Note: there will be no performance on the Saturday, 24th).

See the link above for details about pricing (there's a pretty complicated range of prices from over £200 for VIP packages down to half a week's dole money (!)* for the Levellers, with varying reductions for Greenwich residents) and for booking details.

*Acksherly, at £25 that's a slight exaggeration....evidently, the revolution will be priced at market rates.