Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Cross Assembly and the Mayor's Fund

The deadline for the New Cross Assembly Fund has been extended to 30th April at the request of those attending the assembly meeting on Tuesday 29th March (the previous deadline of 12th April was felt to be ridiculously short).

Funding of up to £7,500 is available (per project) for any project based in the ward or working with a group based in the ward. The project must meet the following strict priorities and refer to the New Cross Ward Action Plan (which is quite specific):

1. Reduce crime and antisocial behaviour
2. Improve community facilities and shops
3. Increase youth provision
4. Environmental, reducing litter/rubbish dumping

Any project applying will need to be set up with a constitution, insurance, public liability, Equal Ops, CRB checks etc etc, so this is not for those with bright ideas and no organisational back-up.

For more information contact Sam Dias, New Cross Assembly Co-ordinator: or call her on 020 8314 3386 or  07834 144937.


The assembly meeting was well attended, perhaps because more people had been leafleted than before (we have never been leafleted about it ever), or because many people in the far northwest of the borough are concerned about the new development at Surrey Canal (London Sporting Village) which includes the area around Millwall where 2700 posh flats are to be built. However this subject was not on the agenda.

On the packed agenda was the approval of the New Cross Ward Action Plan referred to above, none of which touches on the concerns local people have for new developments going up with vast amounts of residential space (mostly private) at a time when there are cuts in all areas of public spending on support infrastructure. It was agreed to add 'new developments' to the Action Plan in due course, since the Action Plan was 'ongoing'. In fact 45 of the 53 listed objectives in the Action Plan had a Time Frame that was "ongoing". Not much of an action plan then, with no urgent deadlines to reach, and the Assemblies are only quarterly. It does appear, however, that some of the items may be actioned through the projects who win the Mayor's Fund. In other words, the 'Action Plan' mainly exists to identify which local projects fullfil local needs. Ironically, none of these projects can expect 'ongoing' funding if they successfully deliver.

But firstly, the assembly was addressed by Gary Connors who announced the new Neighbourhood Community Safety Service which starts on April 4th. I could hardly comprehend what he said, and the Chair took only a couple of questions afterwards, so anxious was he to move on, that I cannot report very much. It appears that due to funding cuts, the new service will be amalgamated with the present Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) and comprise of three teams covering a different locality within the borough. As usual Deptford is poorly served, with the north Lewisham team being based just off the Old Kent Road.  The SNT teams are nowhere in Deptford either, though we do have a new police station right next to the old one, just about in Deptford, or the Deptford side of the New Cross railway tracks, though no one appears to be sure what goes on in there, or what part it plays in borough policing....

The new Neighbourhood Community Safety Service's work appears to mainly centre around antisocial behaviour, but of course this is of no use to Crossfielders as Lewisham Homes residents nor to anyone else in social housing in the borough or those managed by housing associations. Two wardens were awarded a big bunch of flowers, so I'm assuming they're being made redundant. The person sitting next to me seemed to think all the wardens were going and even though we hardly see them, we now may not see them at all. If anyone knows what the hell is going on please let us know. Perhaps more information will be made available soon as the new plan kicks in. The leaflet distributed on the night was clear as mud as regards PCSOs.

There was another presentation from Rob Jones from Transport for London to talk about the new London Overground extension, which includes a site for a future station at Surrey Canal Road, but not the construction (or funding) of the station – a topic of hot debate that is beyond the range of this blog (and the Chair didn't allow much debate), but significant in that Joan Ruddock campaigned so heavily for it and now the only chance of it getting built appears to part of a sweetner that allows a massive tower block of 2700 flats to go ahead at Surrey Canal.

The new Deptford station in which Joan was also involved as chair at meetings between developers and council and other stakeholders was obviously not on the New Cross Assembly agenda, even though any news on this would be gratefully received by the hundreds of Deptford residents living in New Cross Ward. More evidence that a New Cross Ward does not serve Deptford.

Other topics that might be of interest to this blog, such as the development at Convoy's Wharf must be, we are told, covered by the Evelyn Ward Assembly meeting – the next meeting being 7th May. Perhaps Deptford station is also in Evelyn Ward, or does it straddle the tracks where the two wards are divided and doesn't get discussed in either assemblies?

There was no time for the next agenda item from the Drug Action Team, and the meeting ended with an upbeat presentation from Ministry of Youth, a New Cross based youth project.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing about this Assembly meeting, apart from it only happening once in a blue moon, was that the leaflet seemed to promise attendance by our three ward councillors. Only Cllr Padmore was in attendance (as Chair), Cllr Madeleine Long was a no-show (has anyone ever seen her?), and there was a brief appearance by Cllr Paul Maslin towards the end (an important council meeting, Paul, or did you have to take the kids swimming?). If these meetings were more frequent that would be understandable. But they're not, and it's not good enough.

On the upside, it was an opportunity to meet other people from the area and find they have the same concerns that are continually not being addressed properly, and agree with them that they're not likely to be addressed here either.

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