Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A little competition for Easter...

So, to test your local knowledge, I've dug this old video up from YouTube. (I remember seeing it once on TV years ago but that was, judging by the date, before I had broadband. Thinking about local appearances on TV jogged my memory) The Streets' video below was filmed entirely (or almost entirely) in Deptford and Greenwich. It might have streets you know, think you know, or know you know but just can't place them.

The aim: let's see how many filmed streets we can name.

How to play: watch the film, and as soon as you see a street that hasn't yet been named, note the time on the recording and post a comment. You can name just one street per post (you can't make consecutive posts – but you can post your second street up as soon as another player has posted up a name).

So, for example, using the image on the clip before you play it, you would post Crane Street SE10, 00:00 and possibly cite the Yacht pub to substantiate your claim.

To stop Anon walking away with the prize* – a right answer to posts with nicknames or google profiles will earn you 10 points. Anon will only get 1 point.

The winner will be the person with the most points at the end of April.

*Prizes will be 100% virtual – the simple glow of satisfaction for being King or Queen of the Streets and knowing that you know the area better than anyone else, should be reward enough...and it might help you get a job as a local minicab driver...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Streets or places named so far:
Deptford Church Street, SE8
Deptford High Street,
Watergate Street
Coffey Street
Lassell Street, SE10
Ballast Quay,
Caradoc Street
Pelton Road
King William Lane
Old Woolwich Road
Woodlands Street
Hoskins Street
Orlop Street
Trafalgar Road
Trenchard Street
Riverside Walk

Leaderboard - view scores here

Tiger Aspects in the high street

Psst...A little bird who nests in the high street told me yesterday that Tiger Aspects – the production company that has been filming 'Good News' up at the Rivoli and is responsible for a huge amount of telly output these days – will be in the high street next week working on a new production called The Garden...

Apparently they spent little more than two hours in the high street on Bank Holiday Monday, and moved to The Laban the next day. Seen here on Tuesday 6th, late afternoon and evening....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Put a little step into your spring

The Creekside Centre, with the assistance of Lewisham Council have put a series of local walks together under the heading ''Rivers and People Project'' from April to June.  It looks a very varied choice so there should be something there for everyone.  And - take a deep breath of fresh air - they're free!  A couple of them need to be booked in advance - these are specified in the calender - but otherwise just turn up and go.  The walks will be added to the blog Calendar.

View the list of walks here

The Bill (again)...Don't Panic!

The annual Leaseholder bills have arrived. In the famous words of Lance-Corporal Jack Jones from Dad's Army, Don't Panic!

DON'T PANIC is also a famous phrase from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur C. Clarke said Douglas Adams' use of the phrase was perhaps the best advice that could be given to humanity...

Watergate Stairs on The Bill

The location folk at the Bill, ITV1, seem to get lured into our part of the world from time to time. October before last they filmed on the estate, nicking a chappie outside Browne House.

And they also seem to be attracted to that part of the river down by the west side of the O2.  I should say this in the past tense because since its relaunch the programme has been axed - the current series is the last one.  This disappearance will be felt by a number of actors on Crossfields who have played parts in the show over the years.

Last week (25 March) they wandered down to the Watergate Stairs and the now three-quarter gutted Borthwick and Payne river frontage - having just about pulled the lot down, they now seem to have put the project on hold. The boarded-in passageway at the end Watergate Street down to the stairs is actually quite spooky these days.  Here are a handful of screengrabs from the episode. 

   Finally, in a universe parallel to Church Street, this is what policing might be like...

Dead Man Running

On 7 April at 7pm there will be a screening of the film Dead Man Running at the Albany, plus 2 shorts (Top Girl and We're Not Blood), hosted by Urban Screen.  Tickets are £5 and are available from here.  You've got 24 hours and one chance to raise £100,000, owed to a gangland shark.  Rent days in Deptford are going to seem like a walk in the park after this.....
Tamer Hassan and Ashley Walters (bad bwoy Asher D from So Solid Crew and rather good in the Beeb drama Hustle) will be making a special appearance to take the Question and Answer session

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Greenwich meanderings...champagne and beaches

Following Marmoset's post, I thought I would trek along to the newly opened Discover Greenwich Centre and have a look for myself. The exhibition is beautifully done with lots of interactive things for both adults and kids. The new Old Brewery Restaurant & Bar (the Cafebeeria, as Marmoset calls it) was also impressive with, as far as I could tell, an exceptionally reasonably priced menu (sandwiches, hot meals and salads all under a fiver) and there is a large outdoor (beer) garden. A nice spot to take visitors, methinks, although you would of course be sharing it with the tourist multitude over the summer.

Walking back along the river I was pleased to see the tide was going out and nipped down onto the beach for a spot of beachcombing. I garnered quite a hoard of treasure. If the tide is out this is a great place to come in clement weather. It is quiet and soothing with just the sound of the water lapping on pebbles and the occasional ferry or cruiser passing (although today I had a strange combination of Amerie and Led Zeppelin IV on the ipod – there's no accounting for taste). It is possible to walk all the way to Deptford Beach from here, returning home via the steps in Watergate Street, but this should only be attempted when the tide is going out, and with full knowledge of the tide time tables (see the Port of London Authority website), since there are many inlets where you might easily find yourself trapped by a fast incoming tide. Not funny.

Back on the tow path heading home, I noticed that the hoardings had been removed from the river-facing side of Wood Wharf. This new apartment block has been there quite a while now and the river access has always been boarded up. I haven't been down here for some time, so I was pleased to see that the desperately required infrastructure for all the new housing going up locally was finally taking shape, with the addition of a spanking new Champagne Bar, stretching the entire length of Wood Wharf.

According to the website, RB@G is a "sophisticated rendezvous with a modern energetic feel", with "a spacious outdoor terrace for alfresco dining", "stunning views" and an "exclusive VIP Lounge". Monday night is Student Night (student ID required), Tuesday is Poker Evening (yikes), Wednesday is Salsa Night (with classes), Thursday is Ladies Night (2-for-1 cocktails), Friday is a DJ Soul night (80s & 90s tunes) and Sunday'tribute bands'....

Oh well, I suppose it could be a great addition to local night life if your wallet is full...though no doubt the nouveau riche from Eltham will soon colonise it as they do with every other promising new bar in Greenwich, and turn it into a hell hole.

Postscript: it turns out the River Bar is not news at all, and a quick search of the Greenwich Phantom explains why I thought the place hadn't opened yet: it has been open and has had to close. The Phantom posted last week on a meeting that was being held between the residents (both local and above the bar) and the bar owners. Says the Phantom "The beef with the River Bar is, I understand, that instead of the lovely, loungey riverside restaurant that we were all so excited about this time last year, it's turned into a very noisy nightclub that doesn't even have a kitchen..."

Plus ca change...  

A new café at the end the road

I didn't know about this until until I walked past it this afternoon.  Where Costcutter was before it crossed the road, on Creek Road, there is a new ''Nio'' coffee shop being fitted out.  I didn't see any date for the opening, only the ''coming soon'' notice, and with a quick peek through the door where I could vaguely make out a food cabinet or a serving counter that had just been installed.  So students over the road, will they have enough money to spend on coffee to keep this place alive until the Theatro block opens?  There aren't many passers-by at the present.

Leaseholders' overcharged £160 each for Communal Lighting

In January 2010, leaseholders received their Actual Statements for the previous year's charges which must be paid in April 2010. These were over 4 months late. Leasehold Services told me that the reason for the delay was because they had been double-checking the Communal Lighting charges.

It soon became apparent that these particular charges may not have been checked at all, let alone twice. Individual leaseholders in two blocks were to be charged 900% more than had been estimated. Was their lighting any brighter than the rest of the estate's? Read more on the Leaseholder's Page.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ha'penny Hatch

While I was out last night trying to get the security walkabout bods onto the bridge (but they didn't actually cross the bridge - maybe they didn't have their passports) I failed to get them to see the home- or studio-made periscope that was put up a while ago - because, whether this was the intention or not,  it perfectly illustrates the bad sightlines as you approach the bridge from Norman Road.  Incidentally, I've no idea who put this up.  Does anybody know?

And here's a slightly older illustration of the bridge plus hatch, looking south:

And here's a rarity - the footbridge in its raised position - well, just about anyway - I saw it up but by the time I'd found my camera it was almost back to horizontal:

Mostly up

And mostly down...

In all the time the bridge has been open to the public I have never ever seen a cyclist dismount - because there are ''cyclists dismount'' signs.  Cyclists dismount?  No, they don't.  I've seen bikeability courses where police or CPO uniformed cyclists have led children over it.  In fact, the only time I have ever seen any dismounting of any kind was when a police horse refused to cross it - the rider had to dismount and lead it gently across.

And while talking about the Hatch, Greenwich Council recently conducted a consultation about turning Norman Road into a two-lane part of a one-way system.  And, guess what, for the public maps, they used one that did not feature the bridge.  It seems to have mysteriously disappeared from the maps the council deigned to share with the public.  So the public couldn't see how cycle access to Greenwich High Road would be removed because they had already hidden the fact that there was a route in existence.  And then, one of the proposals was to put in a cycle contra-flow lane along Greenwich High Road which started at a point where cyclists wouldn't be able to reach it if the one-way proposal was adopted.

Leasehold Improvement Group

Tonight, dear reader, I had the dubious and perverse pleasure of attending a Leasehold Improvement Group (LIG for short but no ligging to be had) at the Civic Suite in Catford, one of those things you see advertised in Home magazine that makes you feel a little sick before you throw it straight into the recycling bin.

Usually this is attended by the TRA's Repairs representative, Raphael, but he asked me to go on his behalf because he was away. He thought it would be an important meeting. I've never been to one of these things, the logic being why should I give my unpaid time to attend a meeting run by people who are paid by me only to have them tell me that they can't run their astonishingly badly run business better unless I pay them more.

The meeting was attended by a small number of leaseholders from all over the borough who all share similar problems. Tonight's agenda was pest control, caretaking, estate inspections and communal repairs (there is a different focus at each meeting) and the set up was Lewisham Homes at top table where they could spread their papers, and us 'on the floor' (admittedly in very comfortable chairs). No round table as befits a democratic forum. This set up is bizarre: the party under scrutiny to be tried and tested (Lewisham Homes: "How are we doing?") sits as judge and jury. The power play is such that if a leaseholder brings up a problem that everyone shares but refers specifically by example to their own local experience, they get a classic response which must have been learned by watching David Dimbleby on Question Time: "we can't go into specifics here about your particular, yes, you at the back there"...

I hope to post in more detail in due course about the interesting, dare I say, promising, new proposal I heard at the meeting tonight, and another recent development – the Mayor and Cabinet's hearing of the Scrutiny Committee's Review of the Council's Obligations to Leaseholders that finally took place on Wednesday night (which you can be pretty damn sure I didn't attend, but Cllr Padmore has kindly obliged by sending the papers). Tonight's meeting was indeed an important meeting since it contained a nugget of good news in it – a breakthrough at least for Raphael, who has been attending these things for ages, campaigning tirelessly (and yes, sending everyone to sleep at TRA meetings). He may just have finally achieved one of his goals to get some accountability in how leaseholders pay for communal repairs. One day at a time, sweet Jesus.

Postscript: my record of this meeting now posted on the Leaseholder Page (click here).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

RSVP Event 31st March 2010

RSVP is a networking website for creative types in Deptford (tomorrow the world), which runs quarterly networking events. At this March event they will be launching their new website (where you can post a profile of yourself, your work or your business – including local designers, film-makers, crafts people, architects, visual artists, illustrators, animators, experimenters etc). P&B Cultural Showcase, 'an online spotlight for creative talent in Deptford, New Cross and Greenwich' will also be launching their seasonal selection of the best in the area.

Wednesday 31 March 2010, 6-9pm
Bearspace, 152 Deptford High Street SE8 3PQ.

RSVP is the brainchild of talented local design agency Raw Nerve (based in Faircharm) and the event is sponsored by South London Business, London Development Agency and Creative Process. P&B Cultural Showcase is sponsored Castle (currently developing the historically controversial Paynes and Borthwick Wharf down by the river at the bottom of Watergate Street, now known of course in estate agents' lingo as West Greenwich – north Deptford or down by the river behind the Dog'n'Bell to the rest of us)... (under reconstruction at time of posting)

A new blog venture....

I've just added a calendar page to the blog.  Though it seems to be working at the moment, it is still very much a learning curve, so please bear with us.  I hope to put all the Resident and Tenants meetings onto the calendar, as well as post up local gigs and art exhibitions that we've been told about.

If you wish to publicise a local event - whether it's a gig, an exhibition or an upcoming jazz tap-dance spectacular in the High Street, send the details to and I'll put them onto the calendar.  (You can toggle between agenda, week, or month views and by clicking into the event marked it will open up the location details.  Also, if you're a google calendar user, you can add the calendar to your own - it's open for public viewing.)

Provisionally, tenants' and residents' stuff will be listed in red, art-related stuff will be in amber, gigs will be in blue, and public holidays will get the green light treatment that they deserve.  The colours may change, though.  In fact I'm almost sure they will.

So, tell us what's happening and we'll endeavour like Trevor to put the event up.  And then - here comes the really hard part -  you have to remember the page is there. 

Deptford Last Friday

Every last Friday of the month, many of the art galleries and venues in Deptford stay open late. Check out which are open this Friday at Deptford Art Map.

Deptford Jobcentre

I spoke to someone last Tuesday in the Deptford Jobcentre about the proposed closure.  Before the recession kicked in, the proposal was to close the office and send claimants to Rushey Green or Forest Hill and I hadn't heard anything since.  Well, the story on the inside was that this is not going to happen.  No, instead they're taking over the upstairs.  Jobcentre+stairs.  I think I've now figured out what the ''plus'' bit might have been about.

Apparently the Jobcentre is already using part of the 1st floor for training.  The part to the right as you go in, where there's an interview room and the finance office, will be closed (and will presumably revert to shop use).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Estate Walkabout Thursday 25 March + TRA Meeting

Lewisham Homes will be conducting an estate walkabout at 6.30pm to review security issues on the estate (meet at Cremer/Castell entrance).
See previous posting on this here.

TRA Meeting: 7.30pm Thursday 25 March 2010 
at The Pink Palace, 50 Frankham House

On the Agenda:
  • ASB
  • Estate Security
  • Environmental Health
  • Leasehold Issues
  • AOB 
All welcome...if you've got any particular issues to raise but are unable to attend, please post a comment below.

Late opening at APT : Friday 26 March

Prognostic Bridewell
Work by Damian Le Bas, Delaine Le Bas, Wayne Lucas, Tim Spooner and Jacqueline Utley.
The show continues from Thursday until Sunday 12-5pm.
Performance and Event: Friday, 7-10pm
Performances by Tim Spooner at 8pm and Delaine Le Bas at 9pm.

APT Gallery, 6 Creekside, Deptford, London SE8 4SA

Shedload of Love at The Wickham Arms

More good times in Brockley: this Sunday...Shedload of Love, a local band that grew out of Crossfields..."Al Green, J J Cale and Tony Joe White hang out in Neil Young's barn...sounds like a steam train crossing a lazy river." The Wickham Arms is at 69 Upper Brockley Road.

Good Times at the Rivoli Ballroom

Many of us have had amazing nights at the Rivoli Ballroom in Brockley...and now you may have seen the Channel 5 advert for Good Times, the new Justin Lee Collins show that will soon be going out on Monday evenings. The Brockley Central blog posted on the weekend that the production team were looking for audience members for a recording with Florence and The Machine (a Brockley gal) on Monday 22nd...Sorry! Too late now!

Here is a video from JLC's site on the making of the advert for the show. Personally I'm not a big fan of JLC, but it's interesting to see backstage at the Rivoli...

Discover Greenwich (and a brewery within stumbling distance...)

I went along to the newly-opened Discover Greenwich centre, which replaces the old tourist information place in the Old Naval College grounds on Tuesday.
Though I went there to look at the exhibition - which is actually pretty well done, albeit in a series of short 2-minute snapshots of local history - I ended up being more fascinated by the ''Old Brewery'' which adjoins it.  Meantime Brewery, whose main outlet is the Greenwich Union in Royal Hill, have installed their micro-brewery in an adjoining space.  While the copper vats look magnificent I can't help thinking that you can't get an atmosphere less conducive to beer drinking.

My reflex reaction is that places like this should smell of freshly-brewed coffee rather than beer.  It's going to be intriguing to see how ''The Old Brewery'' (how old is it, open one-and-a-half days?) develops. If there were ever such a thing as a cafébeeria, this has to be it.  Meantime's  bottled beers have always impressed me - way better than their draught beers, but that of course is a personal opinion -  and I'd heartily recommend anyone to buy a selection of them and try them out at leisure.  There will apparently be new-old beers coming on line - their Hospital Porter, based on what old Greenwich pensioners would have drunk, sounds like it's going to be interesting. ''Barman, I'd like a porter to get me home!''

Greenwich Park Olympics get green light

Bollocks. Just read 853's blog (not bollocks to the blog, just the decision). But that's just my opinion.

If you're only just catching up, lots of people didn't want this, most of Labour-run Greenwich Council did, the local consultation was hopeless, but apparently it was going to happen anyway...Now, possibly, after a lot of protest, with some modifications...

Postscript: For a heartfelt comment on this go to the Greenwich Phantom's post from yesterday.

New developments: Greenwich High Road part 2

Further to my post on Greenwich High Road last week, the Deptford Dame has commented to say she has just done some serious digging on the subject. Thanks, Dame, that's a great bit of research and the first time I've seen any pictures...At the risk of sending readers away from our own pages, you can see the Dame's post here where she has put up some pix of the development (which I am tempted to steal and post here – but I feel much too indebted to her to do that whoever the hell she is).

As one of the Dame's readers has commented, it all looks horribly bland, but I am relieved that the looming monster I can currently see from my window is not going to get much taller.

Whilst the Dame was making investigations of her own, I was having a word with Friends of the Creek Chair, Julian Kingston, who said:

"Mainly I see it as a battle lost. Friends of the Creek's only use now is to hold up (our campaign against this development) as an example of how vile all the upcoming developments have the potential to be when you strip away the developer bullshit. There is an ever-stronger argument for councillors on the planning committees to have some sort of training rather than just being bought and paid for. And, more importantly, a complete rethink of how the public have an input. 

"The Sustainable Communities Act already gives the powers to do this but the councils hate it as it started life as a private members bill sponsored by C.A.M.R.A. of all people ! As a result they're chucking up smoke and mirrors frantically whilst their chums in this rotten government table amendment after amendment to remove any balls it might have had."

I was intrigued that Julian mentioned CAMRA. I'd been doing some digging myself, looking at Jack Petchey who now has a 45% holding in Galliard Homes, responsible for many of the developments round here. Last year Petchey sold his overseas property investment portfolio in order to "make the most of opportunities in the UK" (cheap property prices in the recession) and bought into Galliard. Petchey's 'overseas property' business was in Timeshares. You probably don't remember John 'Goldfinger' Palmer, billionnaire timeshare fraudster, 105th on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2001 when he was arrested for timeshare fraud in Tenerife. (I won't say 'google him' cos Google is so useless these days, his story has been buried and it's not even clear if he's still in jail after being rearrested in 2007 after going free after the first conviction in 2001). Petchey has never been charged with fraud – he is a much lauded public benefactor, especially in youth sponsorship. I have had to stick his nasty logo on many a project I've worked with. If you Google him, you are blinded by his laundering of profits, oops, sorry, good deeds.

Foreign timeshare always looked like a dodgy proposal to me but it is not much different to being a leaseholder anywhere in the UK. In particular the Right To Buy given to council house tenants was sold in the same way as Time Share was sold to folk who wanted a guaranteed two weeks a year in the sun (ie Spain and Portugal) but couldn't afford to buy a property outright. They discovered sooner or later that their modest investment was going to cost them the same again in maintenance fees which would continue to increase beyond inflation anywhere except Zimbabwe.

For social housing leaseholders, the increase in maintenance fees was certainly not anticipated by the low income folk who took up the RTB, nor indeed, by the young first time buyers who have seen their service charges double in the past three years. Perhaps like the pensioners now held to ransom by major works charges, Petchey's Timeshare victims found that if they wanted out of escalating service charges, their only option was to release the property back to the management company (him) for nothing, which many of them did since the effort required to fight a legal battle was beyond them. The fact that a legal battle was quietly gathering force may have encouraged him to sell it off. Who knows, perhaps the new owners of Petchey's estates will finally capitulate, like the new owners of Thames Water did or had to (resulting in the renewal of our sewer pipes, after over 20 years of non-maintentance, but that's another subject)...

Now where is CAMRA in all this? Well it turns out timeshares ain't the only place Petchey has been making millions. In fact it was small fry. Apart from lending money to debt ridden football clubs with massive and severe penalty clauses that increased their debt, and God knows what else, he's been 'investing in pubs' in a big way. So has his not-so-new mate Galliard Homes' director Stephen Conway. Both have been buying up pubs and turning them into flats. When they're not doing that, they're taking advantage of the special tenant landlord relationship. CAMRA have been fighting back, not least because 39 pubs are closing down every week now.

It's quite a complicated subject but if you're interested go to CAMRA's site and download the campaign info. It's not a new story, but if you're new to it, get started with this from blogger JQP in his post 'Ties That Bind II' , written in July last year:

"In recent years the pub trade, for many of the major players, has not been about ale or lager. The game, which has attracted speculators such as Stephen Conway of Galliard Homes, and tycoons Jack Petchey and Robert Tchenguiz, was a lucrative property play, while the boom lasted, in which rents were unaffected by normal market forces and pub tenants were forced to pay ludicrous wholesale beer prices through the system known as “the tie”. — Private Eye, 1240

"The tie system is run to benefit the property speculator over the landlord in a cosy cartel of the kind one expects in a banana republic. Rents in the pub trade are not subject to market forces (we can’t have that when it might work in the favour of the employee, rather than the employer). They are set based on an assessment of potential turnover that is made by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, who have a department specifically for pubs. Until recently, this body was overseen by Rob May FRICS, who was also the national rent controller for … er … Enterprise Inns.
"New Labour encouraged, some might say over-inflated, both the property and City booms of the last 15 years, because they needed the money. They needed a very fluid, very active property market, and they encouraged it with tax breaks and other regulatory modifications designed to encourage business ownership of property as an asset (buy-to-let mortgages for example) as opposed to private ownership of property for personal residence and security...."

OK, that's one man's point of view, let's see what happens to this pub, possibly in one of the worst locations in Deptford you can imagine, but very close to Drake Apartments (2-bed £67K-£222K 30% share part buy/part rent with priority to keyworkers), the Galliard development on Evelyn Street (er...Greenwich SE8).

It's being marketed by Paramount Investments. I've lost the will to live to find out who they are.

Lord Clyde, Wotton Road. 3500sqft. £325,000 Freehold without planning permission.
Freehold public house for sale subject to occupational tenancy until 2014 at a current rent of £5,993pa. In addition the purchaser will have the benefit of substantial additional income from beer sales. The property represents excellent value for continued licensed use/owner occupation. There is also enormous potential for redevelopment (residential/commercial/mixed use) subject to gaining the appropriate Local Authority consents....Planning consent is not required for change to A1 (shops), A2 (financial and professional services) or A3 (restaurants and cafes).

Paramount Investments have a nice essay about investing in pubs here..."Freehold pubs and hotels are now prime targets for the savvy property investor as buying a pub is likely to work out cheaper on a pounds per sq ft basis than buying a house in the same street." 
TOO RIGHT, mate!

Quick Julia, get in there! New art gallery! Shipwrights, anyone? Council???? Community leaders???!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Squeeze in the breeze

Here's a sneak preview of Squeeze's commemorative plaque unveiled today, courtesy of a brisk wind blowing up Royal Hill this afternoon.

And here's the the strategically-placed Creaky Shed van:

After a short speech and thank you (of which I didn't hear a word because the PA system was inside ?!), Chris Difford and Glen Tilbrook, plus new band members ready for their upcoming tour, posed beneath the plaque....

....before going inside to give a short acoustic performance to...ahem...invited guests. Marmoset, being a stand on the wall and watch from a distance kind of person, didn't feature amongst this élite but another of our contributors inveigled their way in....

Meanwhile local blogger 853 managed to get a nice video! Thanks 853!

NOTE: this was a pooled post by Marmoset and Sue.

Deptford Fun City

I just had a phone call from someone who had a phone call (and so on) but it turns out that Squeeze are to have a PRS plaque unveiled at the Greenwich Dance Hall to mark their first gig this afternoon at 2:30 pm.  As Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford were both on BBC Breakfast News this morning to announce their plans for the summer, there's a very good chance the both of them will be there.  I'll see whether I can get along with a camera.  Here's the news on their website

Ok, it's more of a Greenwich event than a Deptford event but as Squeeze associated themselves from the start with ''Deptford Fun City'' I think it's well within our scope...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Robin Hood tax

 A tiny tax on bankers that would give billions to tackle poverty and climate change,  here and abroad.

This tax on banks – not you or I – has the power to raise hundreds of billions every year. It could give a vital boost to the NHS, our schools, and the fight against child poverty in the UK – as well as tackling  poverty and climate change around the world.
Not complicated. Just brilliant. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Free Walks

Lewisham Council and the Creekside Education Trust have received funding to improve access to the river in Lewisham. As part of this there is a walk programme to explore and wade the river, there will also be training courses to help people identify wildlife around them.

There are two walks left in March see below. The programme for April to June will be available soon and posted here.

The Access to Nature officer is Chris McGaw he can be called on 07850 713 974 or emailed here.

Wed 24th March
12 noon – 2pm

Creekside low tide wade (meet at the Creekside Education Centre).

Sun 28th March
2 – 4pm

Waterlink Way walk from Ladywell Fields to Bell Green (meet by the cafe/rangers lodge – northern field).

If you are involved with a community group and would like a walk with a river theme for 10 to 25 people get in touch with Chris and he can organise a guide.

Petition: Protect our canals

A local water rat writes:
We had notice from the Inland Waterways that the government are looking to sell canals and other associated landholdings including reservoirs to make up a small shortfall in their budget – a mere 16 billion potatoes or was it chips? That was probably enough to get anyone to sign a petition and sure enuf, there is a petition on the 10 downing street website which can be found here. I've done it, it was relatively painless.

Fish and chips - if only

I heard a rumour that Top Girl is presently being refitted to become a fish and chip shop. How exciting, I thought, we could do with one of those a bit nearer than the Perfecto down the bottom of the high street (or Vesuvio's opposite but I'm not sure that counts) and the chippie on Greenwich High Road, but then I asked the turbaned gentleman who was coming out of the shop on Friday and he said no, it was to be a "coffee cafe, you know, tables and chairs at the front, internet at the back, and mobile phone card counter at the side"...
My dreams of a nice bit of crispy battered white fish were shattered...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Defend the Welfare State

A neighbour asked me to post this...seems like a worthy cause! More info at

Friday, March 19, 2010

Here come the rats

A Wilshaw House resident told me yesterday that he has mice in his kitchen (he is on the top floor!) and has seen rats round the bins on the ground floor. He believes this sudden increase in the rodent population is due to all the building work going on across the Creek with the Galliard Homes development. Apparently this is a well known problem that occurs near building sites, and especially around the preparations for the 2012 Olympics (which, let's face it, is the reason developers are taking over sites near us).

  • Wrap all waste food when using the chutes (Lewisham Homes has no contract in place to clean the bins, so it is up to us to not make it worse)
  • Place food and rubbish in sealed containers and clean under cookers, fridges and cupboards
  • Store pet food carefully and clean feeding bowls regularly
  • Seal holes into buildings – mice can get through the width of a ballpoint pen – and keep pipes and drains in good repair
That last one will be up to Lewisham Homes, so that's not gonna happen, then, is it?

Image © SE8Signs

Room with a view

Crossfields is now sandwiched between huge developments from north to south on Creekside. Here are some views from Crossfields today: from Holden to the north (Creekside Village), from Wilshaw to the south (Greenwich High Road), from Frankham to the south (Distillery, a third built). Six months ago, there was sky.

New developments: Greenwich High Road

This development is perhaps the most controversial of all. It is yet another Galliard Homes speculation. They already have Capital Quay, the Distillery and the new Drake Apartments on Evelyn Street. In fact it would appear they own half of Deptford. It is looming up at the bottom of our road and has already stolen the view for Crossfields residents overlooking Creekside. The problem with this one is that there are no details at all to view (unless you go to Greenwich Planning Office), so none of us know how big or how tall it is going to get.

There are no sickly over the top videos for this venture. Estate agents are selling or letting the flats with pictures of penthouse interiors or just views of Greenwich. It doesn't even have a name, but it is going up faster than a firework.

The boat dwellers living in the Creek and residents on the other side of Greenwich High Road have been battling this one for some time (along with the temporarily abandoned plans for Lewisham College). Friends of the Creek argue that the development completely overshadows the Creek which will have a profound effect on its wildlife. There are mooring issues, and last August, Galliard, in an attempt to sterilise the view for its investors, also persuaded the Port of London Authority to remove the Northern Star, the wooden wreck that had become a wonderful habitat for a variety of wildlife.

Frankham Street Mural

Following on at a tangent from the previous post, I thought it pertinent to comment on a recent addition to the High Street, which 'commemorates' the marine heritage of the area. This mural went up in June 2009 as part of a new parking zone in Frankham Street. Titled Royal George at Deptford it is taken from a painting by John Cleverley the Elder, an English marine artist who worked throughout his life in Deptford. Dated 1757 and showing the launch of HMS Cambridge, you can see the original in the National Maritime Museum. More info about the Royal Dockyards can be found at the National Maritime Museum website.

To echo Guru Red's comment on New Developments: Creekside Village ("Are these people on drugs or what?"), I present here the mural proposal (pic from Lewisham Council website), followed by pix I took today of the reality. As it goes about its daily business, far from the planner's dream, Deptford High Street cannot be tamed!

Dig up or concrete over?

I just received a an email about a No10 e-petition concerning a proposal to bring some of Deptford's maritime history back to the surface instead of simply letting it be built over.  I did read this a short while ago, Shipwright's Palace, about a similar (or it may even be a linked) proposal.

Anyhow, if you think Deptford's history would serve better as something to be seen, used, and developed around rather than built over, you might want to sign this petition

''We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to preserve,protect,and put back into use the historic naval dockyard facilities at the former Royal Dockyard site at Deptford.''

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New developments: Deptford Town Centre

If you, like me, never heard about the 'public consultation' over plans for Deptford High Street (one day in February when plans were on view in Giffin Street) you can view them on the Lewisham Council website here.
"New homes, new artists' units and gallery space, and new parking facilities will all strengthen the local economy, improve business opportunities, and build upon Deptford’s reputation for artistic excellence."

New developments: Capital Quay and The Distillery

New developments: Creekside Village

The promo video for Creekside Village is even more hilarious...

Go to: and click on 'The Creekside Village promotion film' bottom right. Stick it through to the end, where you get to see some rich people watching the Olympics Opening Night from their living room picture window...The last pic here shows Phase One of the project...what we're getting right now...