Friday, July 29, 2011

All weeds are wild flowers...

853 Blog reports that Greenwich council has sacked its green contractor for failing to deal with the weeds growing in the (soon-to-be) Royal Borough's pavements. We've got a fair few ourselves.

Whilst their team of cowboy lawnmowers have made fairly regular appearances, Glendales seem to be a bit short in the weeding and planting department.
We are told that the little squares of ground which were bizarrely concreted over recently (after the 6th June walkabout by Lewisham Homes management) are now being re-instated as a result of residents' complaints and possibly our Concrete Jungle post also on 1st July.* Hopefully the guerrilla planting that is taking place around the estate – in lieu of any maintenance and planting by Glendales – can now continue in these beds as well.

The new plants look great, as do the window boxes (since Crossfields Greenspaces' plant and soil giveaway on 16th July). However, be prepared to defend your window boxes when and if Lewisham Homes get round to implementing a Zero Tolerance policy to items outside flats in communal walkways.

CEO Andrew Potter told us on the recent walkabout that London's Fire Chief has ordered that all boroughs have the choice to either monitor and educate their residents about not leaving fire hazards in the walkways, or introduce a ban on all items. If the circumstances surrounding a fire were found to involve balcony obstructions, boroughs stand to face a hefty fine – therefore Mr Potter favoured a zero tolerance policy as his cheapest and safest option. He said he was aware that it would be a highly unpopular move, and the issue is to be debated by the board. The ban on outdoor items would include all flower pots and possibly even window boxes.

Caretaking Manager Mike Smith, attending last night's TRA meeting, said there are regular Fire Safety inspections of communal walkways, and levels of priority reached before action is taken. Serious obstructions result in a warning, and non-compliance results in the householder's belongings being removed and stored. (See May's post about the last half-arsed attempt to do this). The meeting argued that since there is already a process in place for monitoring Fire Safety obstructions, there was no need for the introduction of a zero tolerance policy.

We also argued that growing flowers, shrubs, herbs and vegetables on our balcony walkways contributed positively to both our own and our neighbours' mental health and well-being.

Here's some examples:

*Leaseholders: look out for being billed in 2012 for both concreting over and removal of concrete.

The bins, the bins! Letters in the bin! No bins! etc

I'll assume everyone living on Crossfields got the letter about bin cleaning from Lewisham Homes on Wednesday, or was it only a few of us – like the letter about clearing balconies that only went to parts of Holden and Frankham...

Or the letter from Thames Water/Thames Tunnel about the bore holes that were driven into Farrer House lawn today that no one got (the bloke on site said Lewisham Homes were tasked with sending out the letter)...

Or the letter from Morrison's/Southern Gas telling us in advance about the road closure that also went to no one so that no one knew about the three week no-go zone....

Or the letters that no one got about the scaffolding that was going up outside their windows and staying there for a couple of months for apparently no reason...

According to Mike Smith, Lewisham Homes Caretaking Manager, who attended the TRA meeting Thursday evening, this is a job for the caretakers. "It's part of their job description," he said, beaming. Delivering letters. Sounds like a job for a distribution company to me.

So are the caretakers sitting on over a thousand odd undelivered letters, or are the originals hiding on someone's desk uncopied? Did the utility companies in question never give them the letters to copy and distribute? Was it just that no one thought to tell us? We'll never know.

Rather than waste all that paper delivering (or not) letters to individual households, a simple solution would be to re-instate the NOTICEBOARDS at the foot of each stairwell and put the information there for all to see.

Anyway, to the big news that we actually received:

"As part of our continuing drive to improve the standard of cleanliness on your estate, we have appointed a contractor to clean the Rubbish Chute, Bins and Bin Chamber to your block.

The cleaning will be carried out on 1st August – 5th August between 9am and 4pm. 

Please do not use the chutes while cleaning is in progress."

Wow, that's great, we've only been waiting five (+?) years...

But oh, right, it takes a week to clean my bin? Hottest week of the year coming up, loads of rubbish piling up? Good timing! Excuse me, but can your contractors SYSTEM HYGIENIC not provide you with a schedule of cleaning? Have they not done this sort of thing before and not know how long it takes?  How about a day each? How's about you do my block on Monday and you schedule the other blocks accordingly, then I can use the chute on Tuesday to Friday? What is wrong with you people that you can't arrange a piss up in a brewery?

See 1st July post about caretaking and bins...The actual problem has been reported for years and was last mentioned at the estate walkabout on 6th June 2011. Congratulations, Lewisham Homes, for finally understanding one of the problems about cleanliness and Decent Homes. Way to go! Or rather, quite a way to go yet, but B+ for progress...Or perhaps you just realised there's a saving to be made on the cost of Raid fly spray and rat poison.

Meanwhile, there are still no bins in the Nature Park – a suggestion for the Residents Led Initiative from a Crossfields tenant that turned into a nightmare of paperwork for the tenant and involved at least five council officers. Originally estimated at around £250 the costs became ten times as much when Glendales got involved, resulting in no bins. See "Don't Get Involved"....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Cross Free Festival

Friday 29th July 2011, 4-7pm and Saturday 30th July 2011, 12.30-7pm

A MADCAP Coalition, in collaboration with Milton Court TRA, Irie! dance theatre, Farassi Organisation and Millwall Community Scheme will be delivering a festival in Fordham Park on Saturday 30th July.

The festival will be proceeded by open participative workshops in Carnival Arts, Samba percussion, and dance on Friday 29th at 4pm, and a community music jam at 7pm. The three workshops will be repeated on Saturday morning at 10.30 am, finishing at 12pm.

The festival kicks off on Saturday at 12.30 with a procession around the Milton Court Estate, and activities in Fordham Park will start at 2pm and go on until 7pm.

The event will consist of a mini food-festival, arts & crafts, storytelling and puppet show, sideshow games, "The Deptford Olympics", clowns, face-painting, competitions and a myriad of music and dance performances.

Deptford Launch #2 – Deptford Project Garden

Tuesday afternoon saw the launch of Deptford Project: An Urban Harvest in the Deptford Project yard behind the railway carriage. This 'community' garden, designed by Alex Bell, is sponsored by Greenwich Community Development Agency  and Cathedral plc, and was created for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2011. It has now been relocated back in Deptford for a short period.

Schools and volunteers from the Greenwich area helped to grow plants for the garden and to create the painted CD-box sculptures. The aim is to raise awareness of growing food in an urban environment.
Rosie Boycott, aka London's "food tzar" and chair of the London Food Board (and pictured below with Claire Pritchard of GCDA), was invited to cut the ribbon.

Hospitality included music from local blues guitarist Steve Morrison and seasonal food grown and made in the area such as smoked salmon hand prepared, cured and smoked by the 'Little Greenwich Smokery', cheese from the Greenwich Cheeseboard, free range Kent eggs, handmade chutneys from 'Potters of Brockley', and ham and humus prepared by Greenwich Kitchen (a GCDA training project). 

Guests at the opening mostly included those involved in the Cathedral development  – so there were a lot of suits. A model of the development was on show along with drawings and a booklet called Public Property (a paeon to public private partnership – the new PPI?).

Apparently there will be allotments on the top of the Richard Rogers building. No kidding.

Meanwhile, the garden's designer Alex Bell writes about his garden on a BBC gardening blog: "Urban food production provides an excellent means of involving groups such as women, ethnic minorities and older adults in socially productive activity. It also provided a valuable means of expression of local or ethnic activity, for example, growing culturally significant produce...

"Food growing provides communities with opportunities for community cohesion, community capital, access to healthier food, gentle exercise, community learning and often leading to happier, safer communities. Our sponsors (GCDA) have also developed growing projects in partnership with supported accommodation, schools, children centres, day centres, MIND, Age Concern and Older Peoples Services working with adults with learning difficulties and recently with centres for higher education."

See also:

Deptford Launch #1 – High...Low

Monday evening saw the launch of High...Low, the light sculpture by Shona Kitchen & Dominic Robson which we reported was installed back in November. Apparently the makers have been ironing out some problems since then, but it is now fully operational.

We found out at the launch, which was attended by Joan Ruddock MP, that the structure houses 165 low power 1 watt LED spotlights which are synchronised using a micro-controller and a database of predicted tide times. A small solar power unit which feeds into the national grid has been installed on the roof of Faircharm to offset the power consumed by the artwork.

More details at

Beck's Fusion at SLAM LAST Friday

The South London Art Map's LAST Friday is tomorrow 29th July, 6.30-8.30pm. Galleries will be open late in Deptford, Peckham and Bankside, and all participating venues will have FREE Beck's 'Fusion' (Beck's with a hint of orange zest) for one night only.

The 'After Party' in Deptford will be going on at the Old Police Station from 8.30pm.

Meanwhile, Utrophia are now ensconced in the old Job Centre office building and will be open 7 – 11pm. We wonder what they've done with the space. Don't know if they'll have any free Becks though!

Our readers write...

We got this email and picture from San yesterday.

hi x?fields,        Was walking down the High Street yesterday, when suddenly I had to cross the road 'cos the pavement was blocked off... we've already heard that Urtrophia have been gifted the place next door, but what's going on in the old Job Centre, anyone know? Is it:
a) Tescos Expensive (TM)
b) Another much needed betting opportunity
c) A pop-up, bleeding-edge Art Hub & Organic Coffee Regeneration Experience, hosted by Brass Neck in association with Cathedral/Galliard/Galliford Try.


       - best,
There may be an option d).  Readers may have spotted that the first thing that happens when an Olympic site or event is being built is the sudden appearance of hoardings. It may turn out to be the site of the Olympic Urban Parcours events.  In this event, teams compete against each other to gain the upper hand for control of a building.

Alternatively, we suspect it may be the first stage in this development in which they build one café and get one free next door.

See here for an earlier post on the subject.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crossfields to be twinned with Entre deux Merdes

It appears that Crossfields is about to be surrounded by stink pipes.  Thames Tunnel are planning one to the west, just over the Ha'penny Hatch, and one to the east, on the green alongside St Paul's church.

While I don't have the proposed plans for the heavy plant and stink pipe planned for the east, I do have an image for their ''preferred site'' to the west.

Where the Hatch meets Norman Road, and resembling an 8 metre-high roofless hen coop, this is what they want to build on the grounds of the Grade II listed building.  They want to put it there because it's further away from local dwellings than the Greenwich foreshore site.  And they couldn't have all that building work going on in a world heritage site, could they?  (Locals will be aware how the Greenwich foreshore currently resembles a where-itage site.)  And, of course, living here we're not local residents, are we...

As for the Deptford side of things, this is the proposed site:

According to Thames Turdway, this location is not their ''preferred choice.''  They'd rather it was as the Borthwick Wharf, but they can't easily get there along Glaisher Street because it's a private road.  The fact that nobody in their right minds would try to get to Borthwick Wharf via Glaisher Road is probably irrelevant.  What is essentially a riverside problem (storm discharges into the Thames) can't be put on the riverside because there is money on the riverside, so let's surround Crossfields with it instead.  There'll be heavy plant coming in and out and we won't be left in peace with our stink pipes for 7 years.  

If you think this plan stinks, Liberty Mosse, a local resident, has written to us to let us know that there's a public meeting next Tuesday:

I am a Deptford resident and, like many of my neighbours, am extremely concerned about the proposed use of the green land between Crossfield St, Coffey St and Deptford Church St (bordering St Joseph's and St Paul's) as a Thames Tunnel sewage work site.
As such we have organised a meeting with two representatives from Thames Tunnel to come and speak with interested local residents and businesses about the plans. It will be possible to ask questions and voice concerns. The meeting will take place on Tuesday the 9th of August at 7.30pm in the Salvation Army on Mary Ann Gardens.
Would it be possible to let people know about this on your blog?
Many thanks,
Liberty Mosse.

 And Councillor Alam Smith has also written to us to let us know that there will be a gathering by St Pauls at 11am next Saturday.

As part of plans for a London 'super sewer', Thames Water are proposing major tunnelling works at a site in Deptford adjacent to the historic St. Paul's Church and 2 primary schools.

The works will last 7 years and will involve noisy machinery and constant service by Heavy Goods Vehicles. It will also take away one of the only green spaces in the area. We will be left with a 15 foot high sewer vent on the site with all that entails.

The government has announced that the whole 'super sewer' will be subject to a single planning consent, circumventing local planning rules.

We can see the arguments for a super sewer but this is a completely unsuitable area for works of this kind. Other options are available so for the sake of the schoolchildren, the users of Deptford High Street, local residents and churchgoers, we are urging Thames Water and the government minister responsible to think again and STOP THE STINK.
We will be gathering on the steps of St Pauls Church at 11 am on Saturday 30th July to show the strength of feeling in the area.
As Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Regeneration I am leading for Lewisham on this project and strongly oppose this site. I will be there on Saturday and I would urge as many residents from Crossfields as possible to turn up.

There's also a Stop the Stink facebook group as well....Say Boo to Poo

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Crossfields blog reader Marianne happened to be in Camden on Sunday and sent us these pictures to share with other readers.

And then there are the videos we have chosen...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bats over Faircharm

Pardon the poor photograph - fortunately I have no aspirations to be a photographer - but after watching a solitary bat flying around for about 5 minutes or so outside my Crossfields balcony on Friday it occurred to me that I might be able to get a picture of it.

It's pretty inconclusive but between the white bank of cloud and the pumping station behind Faircharm you should be able to see it in flight.  (I also did a bit of videogling but I'll first need to figure out how to edit and upload the short sequence I managed to take.) 

It is actually the first time I've seen a bat in Deptford and I've no idea what species it was - as you can see from the light it was before sunset.  At about 8:15 pm, I guess it was out for an early breakfast.  It was hunting insects in a fairly compact area over Creekside, the front of the Creekside Centre and over the northern parts of the Faircharm estate.

Has anyone else seen bats on Crossfields?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Silent Cinema in the Deptford Project yard

UPDATE: FREE 'COMMUNITY' SCREENING for GREASE on Saturday 30th July. RSVP to get your free tickets here.

Don wireless headphones and watch these classic movies on the Deptford Project's full-size outdoor cinema screen. Seating is on recycled pallets with cushions under a large parachute canopy. We understand there will be popcorn and refreshments.

Doors open at 7pm, film starts 9pm. Tickets are £10. Bookings and more details here.

Coming up:
Americana Weekend
Thursday 28 July: Easy Rider
Friday 29 July: Pretty in Pink
Saturday 30 July: Grease
Weepy Weekend
Thursday 11 August: Terms of Endearment
Friday 12 August: Brokeback Mountain
Saturday 13 August: Beaches
Black & White Classics (start at 8.45pm)
Thursday 18 August: The General with Tom Baker & Laurence Elliot Potter on accordian and piano
Friday 19 August: Nosferatu with live piano performance
Saturday 20 August: Metropolis with 30 minutes extra remastered footage and a brand new score written by Paul Hines and performed by Serum Electronique

Joan speaks for Deptford

Yesterday, Joan Ruddock MP spoke to a rather empty house (no guesses as to why it was less than full apart from it's holiday time) to propose legislation to tighten planning permission restrictions for high street betting shops. Worth ten minutes of your time – check it out at the Beeb's Democracy Live.

As pointed out by recent Crossfields commenter Charlz, she was opposed by some Tory called Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury) who said the betting industry contributes greatly to the racing industry, seemingly forgetting that the racing levy only just survived an onslaught from the betting industry to ditch it, and continues to suffer less funding from said industry because most of the betting companies' increasing online activities are based offshore – which is why the levy was increased in February by .75% to 10.75% and the threshold reduced, which the betting industry was not pleased about at all.

Everything else Robertson said can be completely disproved with convincing statistics from highly credible sources and studies, including the government's own Gambling Prevalence Surveys. The man is an ass. Fortunately the 'ayes' went in Joan's favour, which means we may hear more again of this in the autumn.

Congratulations, Joan, and thanks.

Meanwhile, the Deptford Dame has posted about a campaign called Living Streets: the local joke. This is worth looking at, but misses the point a bit, seemingly misunderstanding how planning regarding betting shops works, despite a great cartoon. However, as the Dame says, use it to make your views known.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

News Corp to profit from Convoy's Wharf - don't miss the exhibition 23 July

Hutchison Whampoa and the development team for Convoys Wharf invite you to a public exhibition of their proposals to "regenerate this key Deptford site".

The Red Room, ground floor at The Albany
Saturday 23 July, 10am-5pm

On the table: 3,500 new homes, 120,000sqft of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, a 300-room hotel, a new primary school, 550,000sqft of employment and wharf uses and 100,000sqft of arts and cultural uses. The amended outline planning application is due for re-submission to Lewisham's Planning Dept in the next two weeks and the exhibition will provide info on the final proposals.

See our last post about the development and the developer's dodgy background helping the Burmese military dictatorship, or check the Deptford Dame's post from July 2010 on the previously revised proposals.

Although most people think the land was sold by News International in 2005 to the Chinese conglomerate, in fact Rupert Murdoch's empire still has a big role in the development. A Sustainability Statement planning document submitted in 2010 is authored by "Convoys Investment S.a.r.l - News International Limited". Each page of the document is titled Convoys Investment S.a.r.l and News International Limited. Hutchison Whampoa Property.

It can be downloaded from the developer's website here. However, if you go to the site via you'll find that clicking anywhere on the home page will get you an invite to the exhibition on Saturday and nowhere else on the site. We wonder why?

If you followed the Culture, Media & Sport's Select Committee's grilling of the Murdochs you'll have heard Rupert say many times that the News of the World was "small in the general frame of our company" and "one per cent of our business" and "it was such a tiny part of our business" etc. It is hardly a surprise then that they were happy to close down the newspaper, and that News Corp's shares continue to rise. Meanwhile, it appears the Royal Naval Dockyard of King Henry VIII is another small part of News Corp's business, and King Henry VIII must be rolling in his grave.

Back in 2005 when the deal was done, reported it thus:

HONG KONG (AFX) - Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd said a unit, which they control jointly, has entered into an agreement with News Property One Ltd to buy a 16-hectare property in London for 100 mln stg (£100m).

Cheung Kong company secretary Eirene Yeung and Hutchison Whampoa company secretary Edith Shih said in a joint announcement that the property, currently used for warehousing, is to be redeveloped for mixed residential and commercial use.

'The addition of the property to the landbank for development into residential and commercial properties is consistent with one of the core business strategies for both (Cheung Kong) and (Hutchison Whampoa),' they said.

Convoys Investment Sarl, which is held 50-50 by the two companies, also entered into a profit participation agreement with News Property which provides, among other things, for Convoys to pay News Property for any additional area 'over which planning permission comprising private residential housing is obtained.....' 

News Corp's relationship with Hutchison Whampoa is fairly old: in 1991, Hutchinson Whampoa co- owned and launched a satellite that broadcast STAR TV to 38 Asian countries (52% of the world's population) through a three-way joint venture between Hutchison (18%), News Corp (63%) and Li Ka Shing (head of Hutchison) (19%). In 1993, the Li family and Hutchison sold their interests in Star TV to News Corp for $525m.

Read more about the Hutchison Whampoa 'global powerhouse' here. You maybe surprised at the extent of their telecommunications empire (they own 3G among others), as well as their hold over the world's container ports, property, hotels, retail and manufacturing, energy and infrastructure etc, much of which is registered offshore of course. Curiously, the ageing Li Ka Shing continues to head up Hutchison and take big gambles although his son Victor is the heir apparent – sound a familiar story?

Oh well, let's hope the London Borough of Lewisham has got the best deal out of these old scoundrels as it can possibly get.

Road closure

Crossfields residents who drive – and businesses along Creekside – will have been affected by the road closure in Creekside that began on Monday July 11th.

Obviously now you know about it you can plan your exit and entry differently. But what you don't know is how long this will last. That'll be because Morrisons, working on behalf of Southern Gas, haven't told you.

Creekside Centre, the most directly affected by the closure, were given no warning that their gateway would be blocked. They tracked down someone in charge to find out what was going on, and spoke to (the aptly named) Mister Bater. The next day the following letter dropped through their letter box.

Dated simply "July 2011", it begins "Dear Occupier". That's us, isn't it? But no one on Crossfields has had this letter.

It goes on to explain that "due to leakage on the section of the main that is being replaced the (road) closure will now be implemented from Monday 11th July and is expected to last approximately 3 weeks."

Mr Bater's letter ends, "I would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience that may be caused by our work." Since no one has received this advance apology, perhaps he might also like to apologise belatedly.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Betting Shops: Joan's 10 Minute Rule Bill tomorrow

This blogger received news last week from Joan Ruddock's office that she will be presenting a new bill in the Commons tomorrow, as part of the ongoing campaign against betting shops. I was on holiday at the time, so here is the belated news:


Tuesday 19 July

Ten-minute Rule Motion


Joan Ruddock

That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require the Secretary of State to create a new planning use class for betting shops which would require the granting of planning permission; to provide that local planning authorities assess demand for betting shops when considering applications for premises in that planning use class and place a cap on the number of betting shops for which planning permission may be granted in any area; and for connected purposes.


Glad to hear Joan's contributing to the cause, but not entirely sure what a Ten Minute Rule Bill/Motion is, so went to the oracle...

The Ten Minute Rule, also known as Standing Order No. 23, is a procedure in the British Parliament for the introduction of Private Member's Bills in addition to the 20 per session normally permissible. It is one of the ways in which a bill may receive its first reading.

Any MP may introduce a bill under the Ten Minute Rule, although in practice it is only used by backbenchers. To qualify to introduce a bill under the Rule, the MP in question must be the first through the door to the Public Bill Office on the Tuesday or Wednesday morning fifteen working days (three weeks) prior to the date they wish to introduce their bill. Due to the popularity of the Rule and the difficulty in launching a Private Member's Bill by other means, MPs have been known to sleep outside the Public Bill Office in order to guarantee a slot.

Ten Minute Rule motions are held in the main Commons Chamber after question time, at around 12:30pm on most Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Whichever MP has reserved the slot presents their bill and is entitled to speak for 10 minutes to convince the house of its merit. After the 10 minutes have passed, another MP may speak for a further 10 minutes to oppose the bill. The Speaker then calls a voice vote to decide whether the bill should be allowed a second reading, which is when the bill is debated at a later date. The Speaker will divide the house for a recorded count of votes if there is some opposition. However, the majority of Ten Minute Rule motions are not objected to, and are allowed to proceed without any debate at this stage. This is because MPs have not yet had time to review the bill's content.

When a Ten Minute Rule motion passes, the bill is added to the register of parliamentary business. It is scheduled for debate along with the other Private Member's Bills, but at a lower priority. The MP presenting the bill must tell the Speaker the date for this second reading debate. The bill is generally printed and published shortly before the second reading.

Bills introduced under the Ten Minute Rule rarely progress much further, since the Government usually opposes Private Member's Bills in the later stages and, given their low priority in the schedule, there is often insufficient time for the debate to be completed. Most Ten Minute Rule introductions are instead used to stimulate publicity for a cause, especially as the debate follows the media-popular question time and is usually broadcast live on BBC Parliament, or to gauge the opinion of the house on an issue which may later be introduced in another bill.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Deptford goes messing about in the river

Because my flat overlooks the Creek - well, at least I can see it when the tide's in - I can assure you that it's very rare to see sailing vessels up the creek.  These 2 spent a tide or so moored/anchored off the Creekside Centre's ''beach'' in the middle of this week.

Lovely to see!  Let's face it, Deptford doesn't really look like an urban wasteland all the time, does it?  In fact, only locals might recognise it as Deptford from the Ha'penny Hatch alongside.  Please visit again!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A little moment of Crossfields history

A few months ago, ex-Crossfields tenant Ken Smith sent us some photos from around the time that the murals were being painted and Pink Palace was being pinkified.

There are a couple here and a few more on the photos page

I don't have exact dates but we think they must have been done about 25 years ago back in 1986.  If anybody can put a date to them or names to any of the faces please let us know.

Ken, who now lives in Bellingham, campaigns for fellow sufferers of Parkinson's disease, and has a YouTube page under the name of BellinghamKen

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

castell update

emergency- noun.

A sudden, urgent, usually unexpected occurrence or occasion requiring immediate action.

Just spoke to LH repairs again who, as well as denying I had ever contacted them regarding the leaky overflow pipe over a week ago, (and in fact going so far as to suggest that the first report was logged yesterday), have now said that as this is classed as an emergency someone will come and fix it on Monday.

As Crossfields residents will be all too aware barely a week goes by without npower knocking on our doors on a Sunday morning trying to convince us to switch to them. I can't wait for the next time they knock so I can tell them exactly why I won't be changing- and its the same reason I will no longer be buying anything from tesco- because by continuing to advertise in the news of the world they are tacitly endorsing the distress caused by journalists towards the families of murder victims. I'm also going to suggest to any pub/cafe manager I come across who stock it to cancel/change their subscription. We might not be able to enforce a public enquiry but we can make a start by making Deptford a notw free zone.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Window boxes!


Scaffolding has been up for a while now (over four weeks front and back of 1-20 Wilshaw and a bit less outside Castell) but no one knows what it's for. During all this time one workman has been spotted with one roof ridge tile.

He was asked if he'd been detailed with clearing the gutters while he was up there – maybe pull out the tree that's growing up on Wilshaw, but alas no. A zoom lens reveals it may be a bird's nest, so probably best to leave, eh.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday on and around Creekside

Open Studios and new gallery show Invaluable at APT 12-6pm, Private View 6-8pm
Hand Made Food Pop Up Cafe and Licensed Bar in the yard.
Studios also open on Sunday 3 July, 12-7pm. Invaluable runs Thu-Sun 12-5pm till 31 July.
More info   6 Creekside

Core Gallery is showing A Theory of Everything, with an artists talk at 1pm. More info C101 Faircharm, 8-12 Creekside

Arthub Open Studios and show 12-5pm, 5-9 Creekside

Summer Festival at Twinkle Park, Borthwick Street 1-6pm
Jazz, African drums, pond dipping, cream teas and Pimms and more, plus Petanque Tournament (boules) in Charlotte Turner Gardens. Part of Greenwich Council's ParksFest 2011 (Check to see when other parks in Greenwich are participating).

Greenwich Festival continues – Les Girafes starts at 9pm in General Gordon Square, Woolwich.
(NB. There might be delays on the 180 bus)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Support your caretakers

Two weeks ago, Chief Executive of Lewisham Homes, Andrew Potter, left the comfort of his office for the wild north of Lewisham to join his managers on a walkabout of Crossfields to look at some unresolved issues that leaseholders and the TRA Repairs Rep have been complaining about for some time.

Apparently there will be some action points to come from this walkabout, but the only thing that seems to have happened so far, as is often the case with poor management, is pressure being brought to bear on the people lowest down to work harder to make those in charge look better.

Now one of our much loved caretakers wants to resign – he says he feels like he is chasing his tail to keep up with an ever-expanding job description, with little support or listening from above. The job is not made any easier by thoughtless and careless residents littering and making a mess, or by the council binmen leaving debris behind, and the council's sweepers appear to have such a job load that they never spend long enough here to make a difference.

Some residents are now writing to Lewisham Homes to show their appreciation of the caretakers, and in particular for Dev who looks after the south of the estate. They are under the impression that complaints have been made about the caretakers by other residents.

But there have been no complaints made to Lewisham Homes about the caretakers. There is, however, an ongoing complaint about the procedure the caretakers must follow for cleaning our stairs: washing rough surfaced stairs with a mop and one bucket of water (now increased to two), leaving behind bits of mop that have to be swept up the next day. And the caretakers' and TRA Rep's requests for a programme of deep cleaning repeatedly falls on deaf ears.

At the last estate inspection in March, the new inspector was visibly aghast at the very apparent neglect, much of which is attributable to the lack of sweeping and grounds maintenance – both council contracts, and nothing to do with the caretakers. She was astonished at the state of the stairs and could see it wasn't a problem to do with caretaking, but none of this appears in her report since the inspection is not designed to record long-term neglect. (Find Estate Inspection reports here).

Unfortunately, caretaking inspections are the only monitoring Lewisham Homes does – external repairs and work done by outside contractors are never checked. Management seem mainly concerned with cobwebs and balcony obstructions. We say thank God for cobwebs – it means there are some spiders to catch the flies that swarm in the stairwells, which is not the result of poor caretaking, but because there is still no contract in place to regularly deep clean the bins.

London 2012 - What's in it for you?

Radio London are broadcasting live from the Maritime Museum, Greenwich, on Friday 15th July, 9am–12noon.

Vanessa Feltz will be joined by a panel of experts and commentators and a representative from LOCOG to ask the question: London 2012 - what's in it for you?

The Beeb are inviting Londoners to be part of the live audience who will have the opportunity to raise issues and ask questions. If you want to take part, email, put Olympic Debate in the subject heading and give your contact details and address.

Concrete jungle

I'm told it was after there was an estate walkabout on June 6th with a certain Chief Executive that this happened:

I'm also told there was nothing discussed in the walkabout that had anything to do with the forlorn little boxed in areas where trees have been chopped down that suggested they might in the following few days be filled in with concrete by probably one of the most inept concrete filler-inners that ever worked for Lewisham (Homes)...

Some residents were very upset by this, especially the gardeners, who had been planning some guerilla planting, having waited in vain for the useless Glendales to do anything – planting not being Glendales' strong point. But with the loving care of residents we may have had some sweet little beds, possibly growing the sort of stuff that looks after itself and can survive the kids and weather. I'd be happy with some long grass rather than this merangue of sand and cement. Truly awful.

No one asked for this shoddy work, no one wants it. This is what happens to it after a year:

We'll probably have to live with the above since cars drive over it, but the little squares that were once tree beds should be got rid of as soon as possible. And nobody should pay for it being put there or being removed.