Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kathy Crossan RIP

Last Wednesday 20 August, long-time Wilshaw House resident Kathy Crossan died rather unexpectedly in hospital. One of her oldest friends Colin Bodiam (Bo), has sent us these details of Kath's funeral.

An announcement for friends of Kathy Crossan:

"Kathy's funeral will take place at Hither Green Crematorium at 12:45pm on September 3rd. The car will leave at 12:15 at the bottom of St. John's Vale if anyone would like to follow. Everyone is invited to The Wickham Arms up the road from Deptford from 2pm onwards to celebrate her life. Family flowers only but you are invited to make a donation to the Celia Hammond Animal Trust because Kathy loved cats."

A brief tribute from Crosswhatfields: In her younger years, Kathy worked for The Combination at The Albany Empire, where she was Publicity Officer until 1986. We've dug out a favourite photo of Kath walking through the door into her office on a Monday morning after a Hip-Hop weekender. The glass in the door had been smashed in after a bit of a rush on the box office!

Kathy will be remembered for her cheerfulness and kindness, and the encouragement and support she gave to both young and older artists and fellow workers at the Albany during its highly successful and exciting years in both the old building on Creek Road and the new one on Douglas Way. After a period of running a business in Greece, Kath returned to London to work as a secretary and live quietly with her partner, Nicholas.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Recycling on Crossfields

This has been the general state of our recycling bins on a Sunday before Lewisham Council's recycling team come to collect at midday on a Monday. Full to the brim and spilling out. These three are positioned at the main entrance to the estate and look extremely unsightly. They are also seen by members of the public who regularly pass through the estate.

Back in July, we had a chat with one of our caretakers, after the recycling team had failed to empty one of these bins. They won't empty any bins which have been contaminated with food, and won't take black plastic refuse bags (which are likely to have food in them).

There was obviously the need to re-educate everyone on what not to put in the bins. The vinyl stickers on the side of the bins do not tell people what cannot be put in the bins. The large upright sign says 'no plastic bags, garden waste, trade waste or general household waste', but it doesn't specifically say 'no food'. And there hasn't been an up-to-date leaflet through the door for nearly two years despite new people moving into the estate over that time.

Our caretaker said that he'd asked for two more recycling bins because there just weren't enough. On average, one bin is shared with 37 households. Although flat dwellers pay the same amount in Council Tax for the service as houses, they cannot control what their neighbours put in the bins. If a bin is not emptied because of one neighbour's ignorance, there are even less bins available for the following week.

The leaflet that never got delivered
He was particularly concerned because he'd been told that the Council's Refuse & Recycling Team intended to lock the bin lids in the near future and this would result in people leaving plastic bags of stuff by them rather than inside them. He said there had been a leaflet warning of the plan to lock the the bin lids sent to every home quite recently.

If there was, we hadn't received it. We later discovered that there had been a leaflet sent out recently but we only knew one person in Castell House who had received it. From a quick email poll of a few residents in different blocks, we discovered that hardly anyone had got the leaflet. Something was seriously wrong with the Council's distribution contractors. The recycling leaflets most likely ended up in the recycling bins!

The caretaker had also requested extra litter bins (which are emptied by Lewisham Council's Sweeping team) because they have to clear up a lot of litter that doesn't get binned. This is actually the Sweeping Team's job but they're only about once a week. These bins also have to cater for the public passing through, not just the estate's residents. But so far his requests had fallen on deaf ears.

So we got in touch with Lewisham Homes at the end of July. We wrote to top management, and asked for: two more recycling bins; a leaflet distributed to every household saying what can and can't be put in the bins; new vinyl stickers that include what can't be put in the bins; plus more litter bins; and an explanation for why the caretaker's requests have not been heeded.

Management passed our email to Estate Services who then passed it directly to Lewisham Council's Refuse & Recycling Team. We thought this response was rather passing the buck, since Estate Services manage the caretakers who have to go round cleaning up after the Council's Refuse & Recycling Team, plus their previous requests for more bins would have gone to their managers in Estate Services.

Click to enlarge
So we persisted with Estate Services but also rang the Council Refuse Team about the leaflets that had seemingly not found their way through most people's letterboxes. "What leaflets?" they said. "Give us your address so that we can send you one". No, we said, you have to leaflet everyone on the estate. "We'll call you back" they said, but didn't.

However, Lewisham Homes' Estate Services got back in touch within a couple of days to sort it all out, and two weeks later they reported back with the news that they had organised for more bins, stickers and the possibility of new leaflets, which would this time be delivered by the caretakers (for extra cash) to ensure they were actually delivered.

The new recycling bins have now arrived and been placed in more convenient places for those blocks which were previously not very well served. New leaflets are on order. More litter bins are due. Result.

The only query left is why the caretakers' requests were not taken up when they first voiced them months ago.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Yet another new drinking hole: Deptford Twinkle

Some enterprising souls are opening a pop-up bar today at the new Paynes & Borthwick development down on the river (Borthwick St). Named after the nearby park, it will be open this weekend and next (till 24th August) and serve cocktails, Brockley Brewery beer and "south east London charm".

It'll be open from 5pm-10.30pm Friday and 2pm-10.30pm on Saturday & Sunday, with a Happy Hour at 5pm-7pm every day. It's only temporary because this part of the building has now been sold to a Chinese restaurant owner.

As the Deptford Dame says in her recent post, best to dress warmly if you're planning to 'pop' down. More info on the Deptford Twinkle Facebook page.

And hopefully, the developer has mended the glass door which was shattered three weeks ago by some local scallywags who found some handy stones for target practice...



Thursday, August 14, 2014

New Creekside venue planned

This is 3 Creekside, the old Medina works. It's owned by John Cierach, who also owns the yard opposite behind the Birds Nest pub, and, more famously, the Big Red pizza restaurant and bar.

Having now rid himself of some troublesome tenants in the building (an evangelical church who refused to pay any rent) and tried, without much success, to rent the space as artists' studios, Mr Cierach has now lodged a Planning Application with Lewisham Council to turn the building into a new "cultural and creative hub for Deptford".

In order to carry out his plans, Cierach must apply for change of use – from 'light industrial' to 'sui generis'. This Latin term means "in a class of its own" and is used when no other, or no particular planning class applies. He intends the building to have a range of uses as follows:

The main area at the front of the building will provide space for live music, dance, theatre, cinema and DJs, and would also be available for photo shoots, product launches, wedding services and receptions. The yard area will have seating for food provided by street food vendors. Inside, a large bar will serve coffee, soft drinks and alcohol (including "botanical cocktails using herbs grown from our landscaped yard").

At the back of the building, bordering onto Crossfields, there will be a large gallery space. He also hopes to establish a micro brewery. The first floor does not require a change of planning class apparently. This area is to be rented out as music studios.

Outside of this application, Cierach also hopes in time to turn his scruffy yard at 2 Creekside into "a mini market of 2-storey steel containers" to house creative people who will make and sell things. The market could also include "flowers, bike repairs, street food and maybe organic foods".

It all sounds quite exciting, doesn't it! But there is a downside...

Although the Big Red has established itself over time as a popular venue, the late night activities on the weekends (often held in a container at the back) are not at all popular with some of its neighbours, with very loud music going on past 2am on a regular basis.

And whilst nothing in particular has been going on at Number 3 for a while, it has been used a few times this year already as an 'after party' rave venue, with loud music starting at 2am and going on till the morning. These events have caused many sleepless nights for both Wilshaw and Cremer House residents on Crossfields, and since the Noise Police clock off at 3am and generally take 45mins to respond, complaints on these occasions were unsuccessful. Ravers have spilled out into the garden area behind the building (which belongs to the Council) and used the open access to Crossfields as a rowdy short cut in and out of the venue. As one Crossfields resident puts it: "he hasn't got a very good track record of being a good neighbour!"

Listed in his application under "Important Dates" there is an item called "Latest Neighbourhood Consultation Date: Wed 30 July 2014". But there has been absolutely no consultation with anyone on Crossfields, and probably nowhere else either.

The application can be found on the Lewisham Planning Portal HERE.

The target date for a decision is Friday 19 September, so any objections should be lodged with Lewisham Planning by then. Email quoting the application number DC/14/87991 and include your name and address. An objection may not stop the venue becoming a reality, but may encourage the Planning Committee to apply enforceable conditions to reduce noise pollution when they grant the change of use.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Home Wanted for small friendly dog!

John writes: "Do you know of anybody who could offer a home to a sweet little terrier bitch? She has a friendly nature and seems to get on with other dogs and people of all ages. She is just over two years old and has been neutered.

Her present owner has just got a new job that will mean leaving the dog alone for long periods and with limited exercise. The dog is about the size of a standard Yorkie (6 kilos appx) but lighter in colour.

At present living on Crossfields, Deptford, I’m sure she would like a garden or at least an owner who would take her for regular walks. If you can help, please phone John on 020 8305 8880. Thank you."