Yule Log

Date for your diaries: The Ladywell Christmas Market will be returning on December 6th. Details for how to apply for a stall on the Ladywell and Lewisham forum.

Glass Mill pools temporarily closed

The unofficial Twitter feed for Lewisham's Glass Mill Leisure Centre, run by an admirably obsessive critic of the centre, tipped us off that the pools are now shut due to a failure with the heating system (on Sunday, when we went down there, they were still inviting people to swim in icy water at their own peril). A statement issued by the centre says:

"Due to a mechanical failure all pools at Glass Mill Leisure centre are currently closed until further notice. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause you. We will update here with an estimated opening time as soon as engineers have assessed the situation."

Aussie rules Peckham

If you can’t make a girl come why even bother? That always seemed to me to be like writing questions in a letter.
- Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

A Peckham-based Aussie Rules team is looking for players. Marianna writes:

The South East London Giants are an Australian Rules Football ("AFL") team whose home ground is Peckham Rye Common.  The club has been running for 2 years very successfully with its biggest achievements being the running of a London wide pre-season cup on Peckham Rye, playing in the social league 2014 Grand Final and winning 2014 Club of the Year in only its second year as an established club. The club is now looking to expand on its success by introducing a women's competition and setting up a women's team to compete in the 2015 season.

Australian Rules Football is played on an oval ground with an oval ball (similar to rugby) and has 18 people per team. South East London Giants are looking for women with any level of experience (never seen the game to people that may know and have played the game) to give this unique sport a go. We have a great team on hand to help people learn the rules of the game and develop the relevant skills so people shouldn't worry too much about not knowing the sport.  The club is not about winning it's about giving it a go, having a good time and meeting new people.

We are looking to start pre season training in February 2015 with the aim of playing our first game in April 2015.  If anyone is interested in giving this fun game and different way of keeping fit a go they can contact me either by e-mail (mbellizia@hotmail.com) or phone (07742802536).

If people want to see what the South East London Giants are about they can look at our club website www.londongiants.com

Three more residential developments planned for Ashby Mews

Top to bottom: 111, 143, 153-155 UBR
Three proposals have been submitted to turn garages on Ashby Mews into residential properties.

Buildings to the rear of 111 Upper Brockley Road, 143 Upper Brockley Road and 153-155 Upper Brockley Road.

Each of the projects is a modernist rebuild of dilapidated storage areas, with access from the mews.

Objectors to the development on the Manor Avenue side of the mews complained before it was approved that it would set a precedent for further development. They were right.

However, these three developments are fairly modest and could help to civilise a stretch of mews which remains a dumping ground, despite new gates being installed in an effort to curb anti-social behaviour.

The closing date to comment on these planning applications is October 27th.

Coulgate Street update

Liam posted an update to the Coulgate Street consultation story, which deserves its own thread. The plans to improve Coulgate Street that have been put forward by the Council feature a number of measures to tidy the street up, but stop short of the more ambitious schemes many people had been hoping for, with no shared surface element.

Liam responded to the consultation and updates us. He says:

I asked three questions.

1. Why are you not pedestrianising Coulgate Street?
2. Where are all the cars that normally park on Coulgate Street going to park?
3. Can we have easier access for prams etc?

Here is the Council officer's response:

We are still open to ideas regarding the use of Coulgate Street. "Pedestrianisation" means different things to different people but any scheme that we implement will have to allow for some vehicle access to and from Coulgate Street. Apart from Coulgate Street's residents, business premises, including Network Rail and London Overground, need vehicle access for deliveries and maintenance purposes. The Council also needs to be able to collect the refuse each week. We also have to consider those disabled people who need to be able to reach the station's entrance with a minimum of inconvenience. Having said that, I am sure that we will be able to come to some compromise that will satisfy most, if not all, of Brockley's residents.

If we exclude parked vehicles from Coulgate Street then their owners will of course have to make alternative arrangements. Our thoughts on this are that Brockley's streets are already at or near capacity so there is very little spare, kerbside space for any vehicles that are displaced from Coulgate Street. It is likely therefore that, since the majority of these vehicles are owned by commuters, many will change their commuting routes. The only comprehensive solution to the problems created by commuter parking is permit-only parking, by way of a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). The Council intends to consult on a possible CPZ in Brockley during the Summer months of 2016.

Finally, yes we will be dropping kerbs at various locations to improve access for pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Silvertown Tunnel vision

This week, TfL launched a public consultation for the planned Silvertown tunnel, which would link Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks. The plan would reduce the strain on the Blackwall Tunnel, create a direct road link between two of London’s biggest development areas and provide an alternative option whenever the Blackwall Tunnel decides to have one of its little closures.

We’ve kept out of the Silvertown Tunnel debate until now, because the details of the plan hadn’t been released and because there are people we respect who have mounted a very credible campaign against it on the basis of the deleterious effect it would have on air quality in the area. But now, a consultation leaflet’s been shoved through our front doors, it’s time to wade in.  

Opponents are right to highlight the risk of increased air pollution as new capacity encourages more cars and lorries. Air pollution is already bad across London and the Blackwall Tunnel approach is among the capital’s worst hot spots. Air pollution kills thousands of Londoners a year and harms the health of many more. It is arguably the single biggest problem we need to fix. But the campaigners are still wrong to oppose Silvertown.

Back in 2008, when the Thames Gateway Bridge plan for Thamesmead was cancelled, BC argued that the pitiful number of river crossings in East London was the biggest brake on employment growth in the city and it was time to build not just one, but several river crossings here:

“South East London needs more cross-river journeys. It needs more business people jumping in taxis to get across the Thames. It needs more tourists strolling or catching a bus across the river from the north bank. It needs to be part of the same city as north east London. The fact that one of the key crossings is a ferry only strengthens the feeling that the two places are foreign countries to one another.” 

Now, six years and one cable car sop later, wellity, wellity, wellity – everyone’s talking about the urgent need for more crossings to cope with London's rapid growth. Prospective London Mayor Andrew Adonis and a new report called Linking London argue that East London needs four more links to boost the economy by up £1 billion annually. For its part, TfL promises a “package” of new crossings, “including improved connections for cars, public transport, pedestrians, cyclists and freight.” They say:

"We recently held a consultation on options for further river crossings in addition to the Silvertown Tunnel; at Woolwich, Gallions Reach and/or Belvedere.  The Department for Transport has also proposed building a new ‘Lower Thames Crossing’ to provide additional capacity at Dartford."
The planned new river crossings
And it's in this context that Silvertown deserves support. In the absence of other crossings, Silvertown would encourage too much traffic into Greenwich - forcing traffic that doesn't need or want to come in to inner London through Zone 2. But with a range of new options and smart traffic management, Silvertown will be a huge asset, massively reducing the congestion, which is the biggest cause of air pollution. Yes, new supply begets new demand, but proposed tolls at Blackwall and Silvertown, as well a bridge at Belvedere will deliver smoother traffic flow even as the number of journeys grows.

Instead of trying to stop the tunnel as a way to reduce air pollution, we should be campaigning for positive solutions - pushing for a 'Bridge and Tunnel and Ferry' strategy to stop the Peninsula being treated as a funnel - or maybe even lobbying for electric vehicle-only crossings. By the time any of this stuff gets built, we'll all have self-driving, fusion powered, hover cars.

You don't fix London by trying to halt - or worse, ignore - its growth, we have to find smart ways to manage the network. Let the call go out - four more crossings!

Hills & Parks & Resignation

Honor Oak deli Hills & Parks is up for sale. Reporting a turnover of a quarter of a million quid and seeking buyers willing to stump up £95,000, the sellers say:

The Deli has been established for over 3 years and is at the heart of a growing local high street. The business has a fantastic local following and trades daily with the knowledge its customers attach an immense amount of goodwill to the business. The business offers a wonderful and profitable catering service which has a grown with the reputation of the deli.

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