Manor Avenue Nursery - The BrocSoc verdict

The Brockley Society will be taking a delegation to the Lewisham Planning Meeting on Thursday 16 April at 7.30pm to campaign against the proposed nursery in Manor Avenue.

They write:

The first item is an application for a nursery in Manor Avenue where the private social club has been for many years. Following a long investigation and several meetings, Brockley Society and many local residents are opposing this application for a number of reasons, including the traffic and parking problems that this substantial nursery would cause in an already very congested avenue. Some of the other reasons are listed below. This is a campaign to 'Save the Avenue' and has nothing to do with opposition to children or nurseries as such.

Here are the reasons we oppose this application which runs contrary to the preservation and enhancement of the conservation area, based on Lewisham Council's guidelines for development [As the list is very long, BC has selected what we regard as the strongest of their arguments - there is a bit of double counting in their list of objections, where they at once object to the plans as a loss of housing and a loss of community leisure space]:

Parking

Dropping off and picking up children will cause traffic congestion, particularly in the narrow 'shoulders' of the street; which also has inadequate spare parking capacity due to the number of dwellings versus the car usage, and may be a traffic hazard. The council's own policy dictates that 'Where appropriate one off-street parking space should be provided for every two members of staff.' That's nine spaces.

Residential Buildings

There is a general shortage of housing in the borough. It is important not to lose homes to other uses. 60 Manor Avenue has let part of the house as 5 bedsits, and should be retained in residential use. 'In order to minimise the loss of residential accommodation the Council will look favourably on schemes which retain part of the house in residential use.' Added to which, policy also states, the applicant must 'demonstrate that this is the only suitable building for it.'

145 comments:

Comment said...

I love children, but there really should not be a nursery at that spot. Just turn into a residence for people to live.

Put the nursey in Upper Brockley Road where Moore's was.

Headhunter said...

I'm going to the council meeting about this as it realy is a ridiculous proposal for Manor Ave. No matter what the applicant funded traffic survey says, my day to day experiences along Manor Ave already show that there is too much traffic and very little parking even for the existing number of residents. I also think that once this 150 odd is in place traffic will back up along Manor Ave during the morning rush hour as the stretch between Geoffrey and Ashby Rds is already a little bit of a traffic rat run as people try to avoid the same stretch of Wickham or Malpas Rds. With many cars sat outside the nursery as kids are dropped off, complete blockages will occur.

This proposal essentially means there will be a large commercial establishment slap in the middle of a quiet residential street. a 150 place nursery is massive! It certainly won't go unnoticed in its impact.

Headhunter said...

I also doubt that it will be of use to residents in the immediate locality. Manor Ave and surrounding streets are mainly made up of 1 and 2 bed flats with very few families with nursery age kids, so I very much doubt that children attending the nursery will be walked there, I'm sure they will be dropped off by car as they'll be coming from at least half a mile away.

The Cat Man said...

I fear with Brockley's greater accessibility and increasingly better reputation we are turning into a typical zone 2 hub in London. This has good things, but attracts not so nice things such as greater commercial activity on what was quiet residential streets.

Another sign is traffic noise, has anyone noticed that streets at nighttime are getting busier with mopeds/lorries etc.. rushing by your windows?

Tamsin said...

Where did the 150 places come from - I thought the figures bandied about before were either 66 or 84 (or something like that)...

Headhunter said...

Oops, perhaps I inflated the number a little! I think that the total tally was over 100 people though with kids and staff.... wasn't it? But then again, the numbers are hazy as apparently there are different numbers quoted in different parts of the application...

Brockley Nick said...

@HH: "Manor Ave and surrounding streets are mainly made up of 1 and 2 bed flats with very few families with nursery age kids, so I very much doubt that children attending the nursery will be walked there.."

Where do you get the data about families from please? Or are you just guessing, extrapolating from the fact that you are a childless bloke living in a flat in Manor Avenue, assuming that most people around you are similar? ;)

If you want a place in Myatt Gardens nursery school, which is very close to the proposed site, you have to live within about 200 metres to have a good chance, as it is so heavily oversubscribed by local families.

Tamsin said...

Do they have snow on their boots?

100 in total is more like it - 60 to 80 children is 20 to 25 staff. Although my recollection from the earlier discussion and a long-ago look at the application was that the figures they give for staffing are the absolute minimum - for a good service they really need more to properly cover time out during the day, report writing etc.

Comment said...

Well the road humps have slowed things down a bit...
Brockley needs someone/organisation Bxag?? to speak for it, so that we get the change we want not simply what opportunists want.

Setting priorities and aspirations is a good start.

Brockley Nick said...

@Comment - isn't it a little odd to call for a group to speak on behalf of the Brockley Community, in response to a thread in which BrocSoc speak out on an issue in their capacity as a representative group for the area?

The area already has BrocSoc, BXAG, Brockley MAX, Safer Neighbourhood Groups, Local Assemblies and neigbouring groups such as LVIG and THS.

Comment said...

Not really, because despite the existence of these groups something is still lacking. You want a unified voice. That most if not everyone respects.

Headhunter said...

"@HH: "Manor Ave and surrounding streets are mainly made up of 1 and 2 bed flats with very few families with nursery age kids, so I very much doubt that children attending the nursery will be walked there.."

Where do you get the data about families from please? Or are you just guessing, extrapolating from the fact that you are a childless bloke living in a flat in Manor Avenue, assuming that most people around you are similar? ;)

If you want a place in Myatt Gardens nursery school, which is very close to the proposed site, you have to live within about 200 metres to have a good chance, as it is so heavily oversubscribed by local families."

It's not based on statistics, but I see very few kids out and about on Manor Ave. There are some but people with young kids as a percentage of the total population on Manor Ave (and across the conservation area?) must be pretty low. I deliver the Broc Soc magazine along part of Manor Ave so I go right up to people's front doors and judging by the average number of doorbells (3-4) on each building, most of them are split into 1 and 2 bed flats. Also judging by what's available on estate agents websites - you very rarely see whole houses on sale, it's usually flats with share of garden.

My impression is that families most often seem to live in the smaller 3 bed houses outside the conservation area on the west side etc.

This view of the local population was also in one of the emails going around about the nursery that I have received. Not sure if whoever said it has stats though.

As a young father, is you experience that the conservation area is stuffed full of young families then?

Anonymous said...

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/councilanddemocracy/councilmeetings/planningcommitteec/meetings/planning%20committee%20c%20-%2016%20april%202009.htm

Anonymous said...

These sorts of facilities are of course needed, but it would be wonderful if the council recognised that they could cause problems and to ensure traffic wardens, or people like them, kept an eye on them.

I have become a SE4er purely because I was a refugee from a terrible situation across town, where I lived opposite a school. The school and the kids were fine, but just in the last year or so the behaviour of parents degenerated to the extent life in our building became intolerable. People are just getting less patient, and with the inevitable traffic snarl on a fairly busy road anyway at morning drop off time, they would go NUTS - for a solid half hour every morning all you could hear was horns blasting as parents and other drivers battled eachother for drop-off spots and right of way. A year ago it would be one or two horn-fights a morning, within 12 months it was constant. People are getting more thick. The Moronic Inferno is at full blast, as Saul Bellow or whoever that was said.

Three separate households in my building alone up and left as a direct result - if you work nightshift the situation was unbearable. Problem is councillors often seem to leave in blissful pockets of places and "new" problems like this don't ever seem to have affected them, so they never consider it.

I would fear the worst if I lived on Manor Ave - and I hope the planners do consider that if they put in a something like this nursery, there will be consequences that will need to be managed - they can't just hope for the best.

Comment said...

This is the thing, it's not the children who will cause issues it's the stressed mums and dads as the rush from one diary point to the next.

And let's be honest it's the pushy middle class type parents who are the worst, their sense of entitlement knows barely any bounds.

"I had to use the 4 x 4 today because the bugaboo squeaks when it folds down."

The Cat Man said...

There are a large number of properties converted into flats west side too.

There are indeed intact houses, but gradually more and more are being turned into flats.

My house will always remain a house, but I don't have kids :o)

Anonymous said...

NIMBYISMS ABOUND

dribbler said...

Oh bejesus different classes behave differently when driving do they?

Besides, lower class scum are just as susceptible to cantankerous behaviour as anyone else, its just they stole their 4x4 and picked their buggy up at a boot sale. But each to their own.

Brockley Nick said...

@HH - In my experience, schools and nurseries in this area operate waiting lists for local people, which suggests a shortage of capacity. The fact that they want to open this facility suggests they think the area needs one too - so I think the "lack of demand" issue is a total red-herring.

Even Broc Soc agrees with the principle of building one locally.

As others have pointed out before, there are other nurseries that operate in the area without having caused any major problems.

I agree that there will be some "out-of-towners" who will use it, though I think the extent is a little overstated by some who criticise these plans.

The "out of towners" parking problem is a much wider issue that the area suffers from. The solution is to put up with it or introduce better parking regulations and enforcement (I have never seen a traffic warden in Brockley) - not to prevent decent facilities for children and families being built.

If you object on grounds of limited parking, then you are basically saying that you want some other road to put up with extra cars. I'd be interested to know which other nearby roads people suggest.

The only real issue I can see with this proposal is the narrowness of this particular road, which cauase congestion and reduced sight-lines and should be a concern for planners.

Tamsin said...

While declaring my emotional investment in Oak Hill can I reiterate the concerns I raised when this was previously discussed -
Even more so now as the recession bites is another nursery in fact needed? Early Bloomers has vacancies and there are others around, and I believe that child-minders as an alterntive being trained and supported through the Children's Centre programmes.
If opening another nursery means they all struggle for economic viability this would severely impact on the quality of the care provided. Counter-intuitively perhaps, I feel that day care is not necessarily a case where it is axiomatic that competition results in a better service. Yes there has to be an element of choice or people will get away with bad practice (until Ofsted catches up with them) but if supply outstrips demand standards will fall (you won't immediately close if the cash flow dips into the red, just get by with poorer quality food and not employing the agency staff you really should do for cover) - bad for the businesses, the staff (overworked), the parents (who might not really know anything is wrong) and, most of all, the children.

liz said...

So tamsin you think that being protectionist and preventing competition will improve standards of care on offer?

I think you'll find it works the other way around. You can't just protect businesses because someone else might come along and do it better and by offering the customer what they want.

And early bloomers? the warehouse place on Brockley Cross? Where's the parking there? How's the congestion at Brockley Cross in the mornings.

Headhunter said...

Yes, one of the people emailing me about these poposals has said that he called a few local nurseries and a couple of them had vacancies, so I'm not sure whether it's true that there is sufficient demand locally. Also, if the council gives the go-ahead for the nursery on Manor Ave, they will have to change the class (or whatever that's called), from residential use to commercial. If the nursery then fails in a couple of years, this would mean 60 Manor Ave could be sold to be used for some other type of commercial activity in that category. Not ideal for a residential street.

Comment said...

Another place for the nursery is by the station, the old Speedicabs building, why place a busy nursery slap bang in the middle of a narrow residential road.

To Dribbler I love the way that you complain about class stereotyping by engaging in class sterotyping.

Difference between me and you is that mind is light hearted self parody whereas you sound like a spiteful, misanthrope.

compromise is my middle name said...

HH

I think you will find that the property having operated as a private membersclub has had a commercial use class for many years....

More generally would it work better if the buidling was partly residential and partly commercial? The rear extension could be the nursery with walk in access via the mews and a drop off point in Ashby Road which never seems so busy and the front reconverted in a house.

The developer would have to improve the mews but I see no harm in that.

Anonymous said...

Where's JPM? He understands this issue better than most.

Tamsin said...

@ Liz. I am not saying that being protectionist will improve standards, I am just wondering whether opening a new nursery when it is possible that demand will actually be falling is necessarily a good idea. The new business will struggle and it will cause existing ones to struggle also - and the point I am making is that when daycare provision is in difficulties it is almost inevitable that some compromises on quality will be made - hopefully only on the peripherals rather than the love and attention given to the children. You budget on a certain level of occupancy and if you do not achieve that some costs have to be cut.

Early Bloomers is on Brockley Cross (a complete change around in management and outlook from the Brockley Cross Day Nursery) and I believe quite a lot of children are dropped off on foot as their parents use the station. And there is anyway some off street parking, if you look, behind the building.

Headhunter said...

I haven't got all the facts, as you say, JPM is our man. However I definitely received an email saying that the provision of a nursery means that the building will have to have its use class changing which will put it in the same category as larger commercial/light industrial buildings which does not sound suitable for a residential road.

Tamsin said...

Did JPM get such a mauling last time that he is wisely keeping chup now.

Headhunter said...

Oh dear, the Chinese spammers have found Brockley...

Comment said...

I think JPM was somewhat stung by some of the criticism

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Just to clarify on planning Use Classes define certain type of use mainly commercial that is allowed in a property.

The Building currently will have a A4 permission - Drinking Establishment and it will need to apply for a D1 - Non Residential Institutional to become a nusery.

Incidentally a A4 can become an A2 which includes Bookies without needing permission...

And Comment I love Children too.........but I couldn't eat a whole one.

Sorry couldn't resist

Brockley Nick said...

So TM, the upshot of that is that change of use is actually likely to offer greater protection to those worried about it being converted in to another type of commercial premises?

If they wanted to convert it in to a care home, would they need to re-apply?

Headhunter said...

That's it TM, I coudn't remember the specific classes. D1 class encompasses nurseries/crèches, museums, public halls, churches/places of worship or education and training centres.

Comment said...

A2's, D1's? How about some much needed homes.

Will the people of Manor Avenue be bullied or threatened into not opposing this inappropiately sited nursery OR Else they'll have a bookies or lapdancing club?

Brockley Nick said...

@comment - please let's try and avoid the inflammatory prose which dragged this debate so badly off tangent last time.

The point I think TM was making was that the concern expressed by HH - that a nursery could be a trojan horse for some other type of commercial operation - was not really a risk, as it would not receive the same classification as a shop, pub, etc. Unless anyone's worried about it becoming a museum or a place of worship?

Whether it should become housing instead is a separate issue.

Danja said...

They can limit the use to a nursery only (and that link to the planning officer's recommendations indicates that they intend to) - that means people can't switch within D1.

The doc also sets out the officer's view that the current use of social club is 'sui generis' i.e. doesn't fall within any of the use classes - so any change of use at all needs pp.

tyrwhitt michael said...

Nick

I not sure I follow your point entirely, but as an existing A4 use, the property could change without permission to
A1 - Shops
A2 - Financial services including Bookies
A3 - Restaurant & Cafes

It can't however go to A5 - Takeaways without a further application and permission.

If granted D1 permission it can't then change without another application however D1 covers a multitude of uses but all non residential.

A further application would therefore be needed to change a residential care home which is Use Class C2.

Simply really.

Danja said...

Place of worship is a reasonable concern given the massive pressure there is for such premises, and the parking and noise issues they raise. As far as those concerns go, you'd be much better off with a nursery next door.

welcome to 2009 said...

interesting stuff danja.
Headhunter it sounds like you need to take with a pinch of salt any emails you get from people who are campaigning against the nursery. It's fair enough if people don't want it on their road, I probably wouldn't want one on mine, but they should stick to facts to argue their case.

As for nurseries having places, of course some do, some of the time, for some children. But there's no doubt that places are in short supply. and not just in brockley.

Brockley Nick said...

@TM - thanks, Danja's cleared the matter up anyway. If it gets permission it will not be able to change its use in any way. So this is a non-issue.

Comment said...

Nick I was only asking a question, because I don't understand planning issues.

Headhunter said...

Exactly, so if the nursery fails and if they do not specify that within the D1 category that this site can only be used as a nursery without further application 60 Manor Ave could be turned into any number of inappropriate operations. Just as I do not want a nursery I would prefer there wasn't a training centre, place of worship or public hall there, any of these will put pressure on Manor Ave, a quiet residential road.

Perhaps we could see 60 Manor Ave could be used for something imaginative, say, gasp, Residential use. Apparently there is a homes shortage in Lewisham.

Danja said...

At the risk of careering off topic, I had to go to the industrial estate off Ilderton road a few weeks back to buy something. It was a real eye-opener. God is an even bigger industry than I realised. All those tithes. At a minimum 20% of the units must be churches, and it seemed more like 50%.

Headhunter said...

welcome to 2009/Nick - Danja says that it looks like they intend to restrict the D1 class, but this is not a foregone conclusion, they still may leave it open so the emails I have received are accurate and this is NOT a non issue.

Anyway Nick, you were against this proposal when it first came up - you seem to have changed your point of view!

tyrwhitt michael said...

Didn't realise it had been declared Sui Generis which blows a lot of my earlier comments out of the water.

Nick I've sent you a idiot's guide to use Classes that my company produces. Should give you some good bedtime reading.

You are right that I was concerned that an unexpected use can arise when just granting a general class. Class A2 for example to the former Homeview shop.

Danja said...

They will almost certainly restrict the use by condition if they grant it, HH (which is most likely, given the officer's favourable recommendations).

There's a risk on appeal, I suppose, but the council are very aware of the problem with churches in inappropriate locations (residential and employment land). A fair proportion of their enforcement work seems to be chasing churches out of unauthorised premises.

Headhunter said...

Exactly Danja, and did you see some of the congestion caused? I occasionally cycle up Old Kent Rd on Sunday mornings and there is 1 place of worship in particular which causes quite a big build up of traffic at chucking out time, the cars and taxis are literally double and triple parked outside, picking people up.

OKR is a wide road and can deal with it, but it would be a nightmare along Manor Ave on that corner

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Here is a link to said idiot's guide to Use Classes if any of you are interested.

Happy reading

http://www.gvagrimley.co.uk/PreBuilt/PDR/other/GVAGUseClassOrder.pdf

Brockley Nick said...

Hh, old kent road anecdotes aside, are we now agreed (given danja's clear explanation and the supporting info he has provided) that the risk of it opening as anything other than a nursery (or being converted) is very low, in the event of permission being granted?

Danja - yes, depressing isn't it.

Comment - no worries, I just want to keep the debate civil this time.

Headhunter said...

Nick - Certainly, if what Danja says is defintely the case then that's reassuring.... Still don't think a nursery there is a good idea though.

Anonymous said...

Editor, WOuld it be possible to put a note on the face of the blog with details for this meeting? I for one would like to attend but have no idea where these events take place. thanks

Tamsin said...

Civic Suite in the Catford Town Hall (not the purply pink Lawrence House with the library on the ground floor but the big building opposite). 7.30pm. If you are coming straight from London Catford of Catford Bridge railway stations then turn left and you can't miss it about two or three minutes walk down the road. Usually in committee rooms 1 or 2, maybe in the main chamber but the board behind the reception desk will say. Only one person may speak on behalf of all objectors - so you have to co-ordinate.

Headhunter said...

There's already a large contingent going to the meeting and I think they have already got a speaker. I will probably go along, if only to add numbers to the "concerned residents" team...

Comment said...

I think birth rates data for Lewisham would help shed light on driver for nurseries. I am sorry to be localist. If is local people who have kids, it's more understandable than people driving in from far and wide to take advantage of the lower zone 2 fare tarrif.

Nick I would hope that this probing is not viewed as inflammatory prose. I do think we as a community need to examine what is going on and talk about things even if they might brush on delicate areas.

Lou Baker said...

@Tamsin

You really don't need to worry about the economic viability of nurseries. Waiting lists, even for the bad ones, are several months long.

And I'm tell you this as someone trying to get his little girl into a nursery. I'll be lucky if we get a place this year.

That sort of under supply doesn't drive up standards as even the poor nurseries don't have any incentive to improve. There will always be parents desperate enough to find any place they can get.

Oh, and although I don't live on Manor Avenue, I live on another residential road right opposition a nursery. And guess what? Traffic isn't an issue.

And it isn't an issue because nurseries are not like schools. Parents don't all drop their kids off at the same time and they don't all collect them at the same time.

Yes, there are always extra cars around from 8-9.30 and from 4-6pm but there simply isn't a massive rush like the chaos some people here are predicting.

Tamsin said...

I'm not saying that under supply improves standards. I agree, quite the opposite, desperate or undiscerning parents was why the Brockley Cross Day Nursery lasted for years until it was effectively forced to close by Ofsted. However my view is that the opposite - contrary to what one might think - is not necessarily true. The business is not a very flexible one and over supply would lead to the all round quality of service being cut.

On a practical side - a few months back Early Bloomers was advertising vacancies, and have you considered a child-minder - in many ways more flexible?

Monkeyboy said...

are your kids able to hold a paintbrush? I've got a spare room needs doing, you get a day off, I get a room decorated and the little ones learn a trade.

Comment said...

"There will always be parents desperate enough to find any place they can get."

I hear what parents who need a nursery are saying but their desperation is not going to change the spatial difficulties that situating a busy nursery on a narrow road like Manor Avenue will pose.

This is a governmental planning issue.
The government says single mothers must work (because if you look after your own child that's not work but if someone else does it, it is) ok, but where is the childcare provision and planning? I despair at the lack of joined up thinking. It's like that HIP idea they don't appear to think things through throughly enough.

Lou Baker said...

@ comment

There are a shortage of nurseries because all over London well-meaning but ultimately wrong NIMBYs are objecting to nurseries being established because of 'spatial issues' or other spurious arguments.

Fact: traffic will not be an issue. And it won't be an issue because nurseries are not like schools. Even if it is 80 kids they won't all be there everyday. They won't all be coming by car and those that do won't be arriving or leaving at the same time.

So it boils down to a sad simple fact. Lots of people just don't want kids nearby.

tyrwhitt michael said...

I wish they would convert no8 Tyrwhitt Road into a nursery. It couldn't be any worse than it looks now.

Hopefully they could use the shop on the corner of Tyrwhitt as an annex.

tyrwhitt michael said...

Whilst on the subject has anyone had a look at or got any comment on the brain and head injury rehabilitation centre (I kid you not) proposed for 1-3 Ashby Road. It's just around the corner from the proposed Manor Avenue Nursery.

Looks better than the previous proposals for this site but will it remain as a medical facility?


The proposal no is DC/09/71245/X

Comment said...

If someone was drawing up plans for the ideal location for a nursery would a road like Manor Avenue be at the top of the list? If so? Why?

It is not a spurious spatial issue. The road is narrow and very heavily parked that is a known.
How this nursery will impact uponthe residents of Manor Avenue is the unknown in this.

Anonymous said...

come on are we really objecting to a rehabilitation centre for brain injuries? A bit like banning army amputees from the local pool 'cos it scares the kids.

Comment said...

Let's not mix issues. What we all want is good quality buildings in Lewisham in general and the conservation area in particular.

There are objections to the Manor Avenue nursery because of use and objections to the council proposal for Ashby Road is because of appearance. I don't know whether it was down to poor rendering or what but the building looks like a pair of sheds.

I understand that people will cry Nimby fine but frankly I don't want poorly planned nor poorly designed buildings in my borough period much less my neighbourhood.
Because it creates resentment, unhappiness and has a negative impact on people's spirits.

Cav said...

I wish I could have made the meeting tonight - living on Manor Avenue and trying to park is a nightmare. 25 staff + parents will be impossible in the real world. The only way this can work is if the conservation area adopts resident parking bays. I used to live in Finchley and this worked well.

It would also cut down the number of cabs and white vans that use Manor Avenue as a parking place between jobs.

Even Network Rail have started parking giant trucks in Manor Avenue...!

bloke said...

here ya go

Tressilliana said...

I don't have any views on the nursery one way or the other, as my children are way beyond that age and I don't live on Manor Avenue - but I would just like to point out that one and two-bedroom flats are often all parents with children can afford, especially in times of negative equity when some will find themselves stuck there because they can't afford to pay off the balance of the loan if they move. This was something I saw a lot when my children were tiny in the early 90s.

[puts tin hat on] Do parents really prefer day nurseries to childminders or nannies? When my daughter was born I gave up my job, partly because there would have been so little money left over after paying for childcare etc that it hardly seemed worth it - but if I had gone back to work I would much have preferred her to be looked after in our own home or someone else's by an individual we got to know over a long period, rather than by a shifting team of nursery nurses.

Tamsin said...

Tressiliana, let me come and join you under your tin hat. Even a top quality nursery is only third best after the child being looked after by its own parent(s) or by a good child-minder. I opted for a child minder myself. The government's policies are cock-eyed and as said in an earlier post, no joined up thinking. Childcare is one of the worst paid sectors but what the government wants to do is to force mothers back into work - even low paid jobs - and have their children looked after by even lower paid workers. (They then, of course, have better employment stats., fewer welfare payments and more tax income - but, of course, that is not the reasoning behind it....)
The policy functions only because child care, like nursing, is a vocation not a job and most of the workers love what they do - and hate the paperwork the government is also imposing on them. A phrase I love that the manager of Sydenham Pre-school came out with when talking about why people worked in the sector rather than being better paid filling shelves in Sainsburys - "You can have more fun with a three-year old than you can with a tin of peas".
The government funding for 12 1/2 hours - soon to be 15 hours - a week is also a nonsense and administrative nightmare. A much better route would be on the one hand more generous and much simpler working families tax credit (it is ridiculous that any element of the necessary child care is paid for out of taxed income) for those who need day care to support full time work. On the other hand - where the 12 or 15 hours is effectively respite for non-working parents - much better supported sessional care and supported play enviroments - music, baby gym, art start sessions - where parent and child both come along. (Anyone read Elaine Morgan - and her ideal of child-raising being a job to be taken seriously, and drawing a fantasy parallel with the mother commuting to a purpose built centre, etc.?)
End of rant - and apologies for being off the immediate topic.
What happened at yesterday's meeting anyway?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'd prefer to have a nursery system of various carers. You have no real idea about a single person caring for your child. I'm often amazed by the way people go with their "gut" instinct when assessing childcare, as if there aren't plenty of charming total weirdos around.


(sorry if this cares anyone, I jsut find our level of investiagtion and supervision of these people a bit overly trusting.)

Tressilliana said...

Bowing out after this - but I went with my gut instinct over my children's father...

Comment said...

Just looked at that link from the Times

Yes turning your home into a nursery could be a real money spinner

" can earn £15,000 a year or more by establishing a purpose-built nursery in the grounds of your house,"


"As home-run businesses go, nurseries are considered relatively secure."...
"In the current economic climate professional mothers are reluctant to risk getting off the career ladder to look after their babies and toddlers.

It does add the odd chastening remark. "However, running a nursery is not an easy route to riches." But there are compensations as the source adds
You are there to see babies take their first steps and to see toddlers starting to draw and to develop their personalities” she says.

Headhunter said...

I have to say, the new proposed mental health unit on Ashby Rd looks much better than the old proposal. the new proposal looks like it would fit in a lot better, however it's hard to get an accurate idea of what it will end up like without seeing an actual coloured image. The previous proposal, which was rejected was on a ridiculous scale for the area. It would actually be quite nice I suppose, to put that patch of land to use rather than have the semi derelict building that is currently there. What does everyone else think? I might actually NOT object to this one!

Anonymous said...

Parking just isn't an issue. Most people push their babies/toddlers to nurseries. Look at Early Bloomers Nursery opposite the Tea Factory. It's on a busy main road and there is not a single parking space or even the opportunity to park illegally or unload. Literally nowhere to park, yet it still it manages to operate.

Anonymous said...

The conservation area actually needs a decent nursery. Some of the others are fairly shoddy. I have stories of parents who had to take their kids out of certain unnamed nurseries in the C area because of issues around neglect and negligence. One parent suspected their child's nappy wasn't being changed all day and so marked the nappy with pen. The same nappy came back at the end of day.

Comment said...

Well the management should be changed in addition to the nappies.

Anonymous said...

agreed.

Headhunter said...

What makes you think that a nursery on Manor Ave would be any different? Just because the road is pretty doesn't mean the nappies and staff will be...

Anonymous said...

Strange comment. Lets at least give them the benefit of the doubt before they've started. No reason to think that just because all the other nurseries are bit crap that they will be also.

Comment said...

Did anyone manage to attend the meeting last night? Strange not to hear anything about it?

Tamsin said...

Well, to be balanced, the people planning to open the nursery in Manor Avenue (and yet again - did anyone reading this blog go - what did happen!?) have a reasonable track record as a local-ish company with a nursery in, for example, Nunhead.
Bad practice can arise with any member of staff, pemanent of agency, the bench-mark is how the management lead and how complaints are dealt with.

Private James Frazer said...

Did the Manor Ave Dads Army win the day?

Brockley Nick said...

Claire from broc soc has emailed to tell me that the matter has been deferred, to give the council longer to consider the objections.

Comment said...

How about the Ashby Road site as a location for the nursery. It's being remodelled so this could be done along lines that would be good for a nursery plus it will have 2 parking spaces. Its in the heart of the conservation area, so it'll likely to be warmly and grately received.

http://i41.tinypic.com/2m68wn5.png

Simon said...

I was at the meeting as i live directly across from no. 60.

The architect for the applicants' spoke on behalf of the nursery. At one point in his speech he actually quoted this blogsite to the panel and seemed to suggest they look at it to gauge the high level of support for the nursery.

This is remarkable. There is nothing wrong with sites like this as they provide an excellent platform for discussion. However, it should be noted that most people post ananymously or by pseudonym on this particular blogsite. nobody really knows who you are or why you are posting.

So that's a really reliable indicator of support or opposition to the application then isn't it.

It gets people discussing things sure. But when people start making statements about nursery spaces being available or not nearby or what their opinion of the designated planning use for a building is they should really get their facts straight or not bother atall. Or bother indeed as their needs may be....

Who knows i may not even be the person i say i am? for all you know my initials could actually be JM, who's absence from last nights meeting went strangely unexplained. Wierder things have happened. Although in this case i doubt it very much.

ps. please note and to save any further confusion on this thread that JM (above) is not a reference to a certain JPM whom i imagine some of you are aware of. I believe he was indeed present at the civic suite.

Comment said...

I think people are savvy enough to guage the appropiate weight they should give to an opinion on a website.

For instance looking at your post;
I find it garbled, confused and indeed confusing, so you won't be surprised that in terms of weight it's pretty featherweight to me.

Monkeyboy said...

Gosh, the comments are turning snide again. I suggest a group hug, see you in The Barge in about 20 minutes.

Anonymous said...

I google this by accident as I was reading this blog after what that chap alerted me to

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article1723195.ece

Sorry it's so long. It does seem some persons posting here are not all they seem - and you should 'zoom' in on them.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Greg said...

http://tinyurl.com/crxu44

Tina said...

"Did the Manor Ave Dads Army win the day?"

Is it any wonder that a few of the people who could have kept us informed about the issue no longer post on this site? I've read this thread and the other one and it does appear as if it has been hijacked, probably by agents acting on behalf of the vendors or the applicant. (I worked for a firm that did just that.) They must think we were born yesterday. Simon, perhaps you could let us know how it progresses? I certainly wouldn't want 64 kids next to me! The three I've got's quite enough. Maybe you could bash them down to more realistic figures.

Monkeyboy said...

If it's been hijacked they need to find another firm. The tone of the thread is pretty negative.

I've not got an opinion, don't have kids, don't live in that area....I am not a plant from BIG NURSERY.

Brockley Nick said...

Quite, Monkeyboy.

Tina, I think that accusation's unfounded - I don't see any evidence of co-ordinated campaign on this website in favour of the nursery, although Simon and others came on to this thread in opposition to the plans immediately after the application meeting.

BrocSoc have kept us up to date by emailing me direct - news which I have passed on.

Anonymous said...

"Tina, I think that accusation's unfounded - I don't see any evidence of co-ordinated campaign on this website in favour of the nursery, although Simon and others came on to this thread in opposition to the plans immediately after the application meeting."

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

However, your response speaks volumes. You are actually saying Simon responded 'immediately after the application meeting'- due to a a 'co-ordinated campaign' against the nursery. Shocking. And yet Simon responded, late in the day, after most posts had been posted. Not very co-ordinated or secretive. In fact the first post on the subject was on the 15th April, and those that commented from that date were yourself and those for and againt. You no doubt being for.
Monkeyboy, I did not guage from tina's post that she was having a go at regular posters.

Monkeyboy said...

This thread has been taken over by Sciencetologists. OK there isn't ACTUALLY any evidence that it has but is JUST THE POINT!!!

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" You see?

...now I've gone and confused myself.

Anonymous said...

So what was the outcome of the Planning meeting then?

Was a vote taken?

Were objectors heard?

Grateful of news

Brockley Nick said...

Anon - if people are going to make accusations it would be helpful if there was some sort of evidence. In this case, not only can I see no evidence of any conspiracy, I can't even see these pro-nursery messages which people are claiming to be planted.
You misunderstand the point I was making about simon and as for my supposedly pro stance, I have now posted two articles highlighting the objections to the proposals.

Please can we stick to the merits of the arguments without accusing those who take a different view of skulduggery.

Anonymous said...

Monkeyboy, my head aches - it's too hot for philosophy! though your point is well made, as usual.


I actually think a good supply of nurseries is a good thing for an area as it attracts double income couples with young children and that's exactly what you want for vibrancy, growth of the area, facilities etc and spending power to support local suppliers, cafes, bookshops etc.

the thing is that, in common with most people, I must admit I'd rather not have cohorts of ch playing right next to me as I try to paint/work/garden etc. Conclusion: I think i need to practise what I preach probably.

Enjoy the sun everyone.

Anonymous said...

'...although Simon and others came on to this thread in opposition to the plans immediately after the application meeting.'

My you stand on shifting sands.

'If you want a place in Myatt Gardens nursery school, which is very close to the proposed site, you have to live within about 200 metres to have a good chance, as it is so heavily oversubscribed by local families.'

Not true... Myatt takes families from a large catchment in the nursery. Its the primary school that shortens the catchment, not the nursery.

"In my experience, schools and nurseries in this area operate waiting lists for local people, which suggests a shortage of capacity."

The waiting lists are for September intakes. Early Bloomers and the Tyrwhitt Road nursery have places, as do the others but it depends on the child's age. Children come and go all the time.

"The fact that they want to open this facility suggests they think the area needs one too - so I think the "lack of demand" issue is a total red-herring."

As did a bookmaker recently and a guy running a strip club, so what? Or they think that they can grab business from an established nursery, or they haven't done their research, or... you don't care.

"Even Broc Soc agrees with the principle of building one locally."

But not a large one. And not in a quiet residential street. Brocsoc cares about the neighbours y'see.

"As others have pointed out before, there are other nurseries that operate in the area without having caused any major problems."

One is for 12 children. Where larger nurseries usually operate then its in a detached house, with a large garden - or in areas away from neighbours.

"I agree that there will be some "out-of-towners" who will use it, though I think the extent is a little overstated by some who criticise these plans."

And no doubt you researched this? (No you didn't.)

"The "out of towners" parking problem is a much wider issue that the area suffers from. The solution is to put up with it or introduce better parking regulations and enforcement (I have never seen a traffic warden in Brockley) - not to prevent decent facilities for children and families being built."

CPZeds are tax by the backdoor. That'll come soon enough.

"If you object on grounds of limited parking, then you are basically saying that you want some other road to put up with extra cars. I'd be interested to know which other nearby roads people suggest."

Sorry, can't see your logic. If you object on limited parking then the application will be turned down due to 'limited parking'. How does a non-existent business push traffic 'to nearby roads'. Presumably you live in one and that's your concern.

Are you a parent with a nursery and parking problem?

Greg said...

Where does Brocsoc say that it:
".....agrees with the principle of building one locally."?

Comment said...

I suspect that it was the previous thread on the nursery where JPM was vocal and was rounded up by others supporting the nursery that some of the later comments are referring to.

Greg said...

Thanks, I'll look that up.

I did go to the meeting as an undecided, but the behaviour of the councillor officers swayed me.

Their research seemed biased, and they were not at all impressive.

A neigbour spoke and he lives right next door to the planned nursery. Hard to tell him there's a shortgage of space. But what annoyed me most was a group of people sitting at the back and smirking and heckling while the objectors were speaking. They were mebers of the club.

Another objector got up and revealed that out of the thirty odd letters written in to the council, five were in support. And four of those five were club members. He slaughtered the officers. Then, farce of farces, one of the officers said a support letter had 'just come in' - it was from another member of the club living in Upper brockley road!

Oddly, the nursery people did not say what you appear to be saying when they were at the committee. (I wish I'd taped it.) 'There is a shortage of spaces.' They said that their businesses (they have three elsewhere)run at 'an 18% absentee rate,' and that 'this would mean less traffic.'

So, if it runs at that rate, the Times article actually suggested it was more like 25% but for different reasons, then this means nursery places in the borough are in fact available.

The game, as they say, is up.

Still... it will be interesting to see how it transpires as some pople clealry want to shaft Manor Avenue.

Anonymous said...

Could someone get round to JPM's gaff and knock on his door - this site needs a bit of lively debate!

Brockley Nick said...

Anon - I don't understand the shifting sands point, I was and remain neutral on the topic, I have simply tried to point out what I believe to be the strong and weak arguments against the proposal and I have requested that the debate remains civilised, without people making unproven accusations about eachother.

I have neither a parking nor a nursery problem (if I did, I'd be happy to admit as much) but there you go again, trying to ascribe hidden motives to people rather than accepting that they might simply take a different view from you.

Greg - as per the article above, Broc Soc's position is that their opposition is purely based on the location of the proposed nursery, not on the principle of creating a nursery in the area:

"This is a campaign to 'Save the Avenue' and has nothing to do with opposition to children or nurseries as such."

So it does not oppose a nursery in principle. Perhaps "agrees" is a degree too strong, happy to clarify to eliminate further confusion. But the point stands - the objection is based on the exact specification and location proposed, not on the principle that having one.

With regards to the fact that the sellers stand to profit from running down a community resource and claiming it as their own, I agree that it is disgusting and I was more than happy to help JPM publicise this issue - you can read the article that this site published (I am not aware that the issue got covered anywhere else...). But whether it gets sold for housing or a nursery, they still stand to profit.

Comment said...

Who benefits from the decision to go ahead with the nursery?the members of the club, local (hopefully) parents.

The nature of this club has been discussed on this site before and well... see for yourself

Who loses?The residents of Manor Avenue, The Brockley Society, The conservation area.

What about the council, do they get to fulfil local priorities? Will any nursery especially a large one acrue section 106 receipts or business rates, that could sway the decision?

I don't live on Manor Avenue but I stand with the residents there because this sets a precendent for bad planning decisions. Because if this happens to Manor Avenue it can happen to any of our roads.

Anonymous said...

"However, in this case, we believe the protestors have a point. Manor Avenue is ludicrously clogged with parked cars already and the roads surrounding the station are also increasingly jammed. They are right to raise concerns about the extra demand for parking likely to be created by the centre's 18 full-time staff and non-resident parents who may drive to Brockley in search of a nursery in zone 2."

ORIGINAL THREAD BLURB

Comment said...

Ashby Road, site the nursery there.

welcome to 2009 said...

Greg and others no one wants to "shaft" Manor Road or anywhere else around here. It's one of the loveliest streets in Brockley and something we can all be proud of. I've read a thousand times on this blog how nice it is.

But this is a public building that has been rotting for many years and now someone has along with a proposal to create jobs and nursery place options locally and there are obviously pros and cons to the idea.

But all the anti-nursery campaigners who come on here and take it personally and pick fights with everyone who dares to suggest that it might be quite a useful resource give the campaign a bad name.

Like Nick, I'm a neutral, but the more aggressive you get, the less sympathetic I get.

Brockley Nick said...

Anon, yes.

It's called a balanced argument. I can see potential problems and potential benefits. I think the anti campaign have some good points. As I have always said.

Greg said...

Welcome 2009... I'm not certain why (or with whom) you suggest that I have been aggressive. I looked at the issues only, and corrected some errors and assumptions, and informe you about the meeting.

I still can't find any support from Brockley Society (in the form mentioned), and wonder why the assertions made by the nursery group are taken as gospel where anyone against appears to be a 'child hater'.

Comment said...

"But all the anti-nursery campaigners who come on here and take it personally and pick fights with everyone who dares to suggest that it might be quite a useful resource give the campaign a bad name."

They are fighting for the peace and enjoyment of their homes. If you were in that situation wouldn't you be passionate. Let's be honest it probably will affect the price of their homes nurseries don't add value generally and in a falling market that can cause anxiety.

Look at the situation mercernarily the nursery owners will make money, as per the earlier Times article, the members of the club will make loads of cash too, meanwhile the residents, get noise, disturbance, parking issues and likely lower property values.

Anonymous said...

@Nick

I would hardly call 'even Broc Soc agrees with the principle of building one locally.' (Untrue)

'As others have pointed out before, there are other nurseries that operate in the area without having caused any major problems.'(Who?)

'so I think the "lack of demand" issue is a total red-herring.' (18% absentee rate as Greg said, and supplied by the nursery people.)

'I agree that there will be some "out-of-towners" who will use it, though I think the extent is a little overstated by some who criticise these plans.'

'It's called a balanced argument.'

No, it's not shifting sands... but concrete.

welcome to 2009 said...

Greg it was the comment about people wanting to shaft your road - that's fairly aggressive but actually it's the anonymous ones I have the biggest issues with. But yes some of your comments have been very helpful thanks (I think the brocsoc issue has been cleared up so I don't think you need to carry on nitpicking though).

Comment, yes of course I understand that, but you can be passionate without being aggressive and all those reasons are what we call nimby ones - not to say they're not valid but they have to be weighed against social need. As for property prices, the place is currently a seedy boozer - I'd rather live next to a nursery

liz said...

Anonymous you're being silly now.

Greg said...

One of the questions that kept ringing in my ears as I listened to one of the objectors speak to the council members about 64 children, 18 to 24 staff, next door to another neighbour. He said: 'Before you make a decision, visit the site, visit the neighbours, ask yourselves this question: How could I put up with that?'

That must have had an impression because they did not make a decision, and will now visit the site. The council officers who were trying to shove it through and the council lawyers looked ashen-faced, as did the developers. It was clear to the councillors that it was not as simple as some here appear to suggest.

welcome to 2009 said...

Greg that's really interesting and I'm sure it was a powerful argument, well done to that person.

But the only people here I see trying to simplify things are those who say anyone who thinks it's anything other than a terrible idea is working in secret for the nursery.

That's what I'm saying and I think what nick's gettin at

westsider said...

As the tag suggests I don't have any interest in this issue. But greg, I have to pull you up on your grasp of stats.

The fact that the nursery itself might have a vacancy rate like they say has nothing to do with the number of vacancies in the area.

Sounds like good biz sense to me to build something bigger than you might need, to allow you to grow.

That said they're probably being deliberately pessimistic so's not to make the impact for residents sound so bad.

Comment said...

And this is the thing is about all semi detached houses I've been in the attached side carries a lot of noise. One baby can be loud enough, is soundproofing part of the proposal.

As for the place currently being a boozer, well whatever it is it's a quiet one. I feel sorry that the people of Manor Avenue have this hanging over them. It should be clear that this sort of development is inappropiate in that space and area.

I think it so clear cut to the people that live or know that area that another response seems perverse.

Greg said...

2009, the neighbours who spoke were not mine. But I should correct you, I don't live in Manor Avenue.

As for the 'stats' that westsider attributed to me, these were not mine but the nursery group's itself.

They did state that nurseries in general ran on an 18% absentee rate. This was qualified by the speaker in the pink shirt, an objector, who said that an article in the Times claimed that it was 25%, but for different reasons, and that meant places were available. Apparently he had contacted several nurseries as well.

It had obviously been earmarked quite early on as a nursery. Another nursery group had been contacted by the estate agent back in summer 2008. But the lady felt that it was unsuitable because it was not a detached property, and because... she didn't want to upset the neighbours.

westsider said...

Yep greg I'm not arguing with the stats themselves but what they prove.

Just because there is a national surplus of places on average doesn't mean brockley has lots of places of good quality. And just because they are expecting spare places, doesn't mean there are spare places currently.

I trust the opinions of the parents on this blog who've all said pretty much the same thing: there ain't many good choices about. That's more reliable than the testimony of a protestor who's made a few hypothetical calls.

Anonymous said...

I think this nursery is going to go ahead, because everyone that claims to be neutral is saying the support it. But notice not because it's a good place to site a nursery but because they don't like the protestor's attitude.

This is very weird.

Comment said...

That was a comment from Comment.

Greg said...

Yes, I had noticed.

It does seem negative to suggest that an objector made 'hypothetical' calls.

The objector in the pink shirt certainly presented himself as a credible witness, which is more than can be said for the council officers. The nursery people did not take issue with the claim either, nor did any councillor to be fair. But I suspect that some do not want to accept what these objectors our saying, from what I have read here.

Jenny said...

The guy in the pink shirt was JPM. The other objector who spoke before him was the man whose life is about to be favoured by 64 children, 18 (24?) staff, and 64 parents. I'm sure he'd love to read many of the comments on this site. If he hasn't already, I shall let him know.

Anonymous said...

So JPM wears pink shirts? Had I known I wouldn't have slagged him off. That shows his feminine side! He's got my vote.

David said...

Lord, I've just realised who he is...? I had a totally different picture in my mind.

Anonymous said...

Thick set scouser, that's my mental image. "lets discuss this MAN TO MAN"

Pink shirts eh?

Anonymous said...

So did I. Didn't imagine someone so bookish.

Comment said...

Is he good looking? :)

Jenny said...

By 'bookish' I take it you mean because he was wearing glasses?

Perhaps a lot of you don't know (or give a damn) when the snow fell some time back he was walking along the road with two kids and a driver of a white van coming towards him smiled at his mate alongside, headed towards an icy puddle, and strafed JPM and the kids with dirty ice. JPM moved to protect them but made the mistake of turning to face the driver. His eyes were badly damaged by shards of ice which must have been travelling pretty fast. He had to go to hospital, and has worn the glasses ever since. The driver was never caught. JPM had been receiving threats through his letterbox for some time, which I don't think is coincidence.

So 'bookish' may be funny to you but it just makes you amongst a number of disgusting and selfish individuals who post here. Leave the man alone! He's moved on, you move on!

Brockley Nick said...

Thank you Jenny, I hope this encourages people not to be so quick to judge others.

As for the issue at hand, I hope that the eventual decision follows a proper review of the traffic and parking implications, the suitability (or otherwise) of a semi-detached property and the scope for converting other properties in the area that may have fewer potential pitfalls and which would allow this building to be returned to residential use.

Richard said...

Hello. My wife has alerted me to the fact that this site has currently turned towards a subject of our interest.

Firstly, I should let you know where we stand. We attended the meeting into the proposed nursery in Manor Avenue, where we live and have done so for some years now.

This site was given by the developer's agent at Committee as the reason why a nursery is need in Manor Avenue.

We are opposed to the nursery.

We realise that this may make us the NIMBY in your eyes but I would like to correct one or two of the assumptions circulating on this website.

Firstly that we somehow hate children. Secondly, although he poor man would be the last person to allow it, I would like to say a few words about the person that you call 'JPM'.

The first response I would like to make is that I find it hugely hurtful that concerns about a huge business operating in the street have caused such seething hatred, mostly aimed at one individual. However, I am pensioner, and I have done my bit as they say and i have not wanted to engage in this type of debate. I also don't know how to use this Internet very well. But I shall now have my say.

I have lived in the street for more years than Christendom can imagine, but have never known that a club existed in Manor Avenue. The first time I knew of this is when a man, the manager owner? i do not know stopped me in the street last year and invited me to drink there. I found the request rather strange, as I had never been invited before. I actually never knew that a club existed there. It was only six months later that I discovered that it was for sale. How could we not know of its existence?

I do not hate children, but I must admit, although being a grandfather, to not opening my door to newcomers. I know. I am sure that makes me a bad person in your eyes. But I am afraid to open my door at night and do not like to be disturbed by strangers.

That moves me to the second sermon I want to deliver, from a very lofty mount I'm sure you people will think. But it is this. If you people should ever find someone who comes to your street. He came to this street some years after ourselves. Usually before his arrival we did not mix as neighbours. Not solely the neighbours' fault but ours too. I must admit to being on the face of it a bit cautious as I was not used to such friendliness, but he soon won us over.

We had been targeted by a bad woman who attempted to steal money from us, and at our doorstep. She managed with a neighbour nearby. JPM waited and protected that women who was targeted by this individual. He eventually got her, and she was arrested. He does other things of which you are obviously not aware. or perhaps do not care. He shops for the older residents, and looks out for those who cannot care for themselves.

I could say more, but I'm sure you will get the nursery that you obviously want. We shall, after thirty years, move to the countryside where, perhaps I'm sure you will be relieved, all Tory voters should go. I hope you get the type of close-minded society that you deserve. And at least one individual lifted my household from.

Monkeyboy said...

This thread makes my eyes hurt. Is it too early to start arguing about the Christmas Market?

Comment said...

Richard, there are a lot of posts but it would be wise to read them before commenting as you may have gotten the wrong end of the stick.

In the previous thread on the subject of the nursery, something JPM said was miscontrued and a local online agitator stirred it up, so things became a bit nasty. I should have spoken up for JPM at the time.

Actually I have concerns about the way that G20 Professor Knight was treated in some threads here but that's for another time... I digress.

The best thing for Manor Avenue-ites should do it take pictures of their road and the cars, because a picture is a 1000 words.

Greg said...

Comment. Very strange you should mention 'a picture'?

A surveillance photo taken at height, and presented as evidence of available parking in Manor Avenue, was later found (but not picked up upon) to be between 5 and 20 years old!

How could residents know this? Well, the street were 'empty', which seemed a bit strange to 'pink shirt'; aka your Jpm.

The officer who presented had (really) the cheek to admit that the photo was 'at least two years old'.

However, a neighbour who had built an extention 15 years ago could not see it on the photograph! The photo, showing hardly any cars in the street was obviously an attempt to mislead council members into what it (mainly amateur) COUNCILLORS thought was a contemporary picture.

It was astonishing to see these officers squirm, but the Chair Woman picked up on it and the councillors (nods to 'em)requested more information. It's not the councillors who are to blame in this.

Tamsin said...

How awful for JPM - my every sympathy. Hope he is making a steady recovery.
On nursery vacancies, even those with full waiting lists have to budget for a certain level of vacancy because however much you plan children leave without notice and even with planning, when you have a big shift around following the school intakes as new babies come along you cannot have too many at once if they are to be settled in properly and happily.
On the photo - that sounds so typical of fudged information designed to confuddle the councillors. It seems, however, that they did not get away with it and the Councillors were fully clued up. I don't want to try to trawl through the Lewisham website, can anyone tell me which ones they were, as a matter of interest.

Greg said...

Tamsin. The Chair was a councillor Priddey. She was very fair but firm. She allowed more time for the challenges by both sides.

The only other councillor who did stand out was Councillor Luxton. She was very probing, and did not appear to like what she heard - at all. The officers didn't like her questionig mind either.

The others, three I believe, did not say very much. But the decision to place it on the back burner for further evidence and a site visit was unanimous.

I was surprised that an officer from Highways pulled a 'study' of traffic out that he claimed to have conducted 'over the past few days'. Of course the objectors had already spoken so could not challenge it, but it did seem that this last minute tabling of 'evidence' was most improper. But what did seem odd was that councillors did not pick up on it. Neither did the lawyers guiding them. Objectors had not seen the report, although they had requested it 'for weeks'.

Car parking spaces in the road would have been available because it was a holiday period. (Probably the reason why the Highways officer conducted his study then.)

This strongly indicates to me what the decision is inevitably going to be - unless the other councillors probe like the formidable Luxton and reign in their officers.

JPM stated that there had been attempts to smear the character of objectors. One gentleman, at N0 10, had written in to the Committee claiming that he had witnessed 'sickening and degrading bullying' by objectors at a previous meeting and aginst Zoom Nurseries. Only that gentleman, it was shown, had never been at the meeting.

Comment said...

Hmm, I think a range of images taken of the road showing road use would be very helpful in getting a sensible resolution.

I think there are perceptions of Manor Aveue and it's residents that may are not conversant with the facts.

patrick1971 said...

I'm really going to have to put my tin hat on for this one, but going back to Tamsin's point earlier:

"Anyone read Elaine Morgan - and her ideal of child-raising being a job to be taken seriously"Dare I say that it did indeed used to be considered as a job to be taken seriously; back in the day when married women were forced to resign from their paid jobs, as looking after a home & children were a full time job in themselves?

I'm NOT saying Tamsin is in favour of this, btw! The point I'm making is that the idea of raising children being seen as a "real job" is certainly not new, rather the idea of raising kids as something you can do on the side and have a career as well is the new one.

Anonymous said...

Very sorry indeed to hear of JPM's eye problem. He always strikes me as an eminently decent and reasonable man.

Tamsin said...

But even then it was not "real" work - and you were cast out into the cold, untrained, unsupported and expected to get on with it - and even more so in the 1950s and 60s with the old support networks breaking down, and increasing isolation - the point Elaine Morgan makes so tellingly. At the risk of boring you silly...

"By contrast [to an office worker's usual day], the job of child-rearing - an occupation equally essential to the economy - has remained to all intents and purposes a cottage industry. Suppose HE stayed at home in the apartment with his desk and telephone, and his wife left at 8.00am to do a hard day's child-rearing, and arived at a centre where just one local block of houses had been bulldozed to create a few acres of floor space with sandpits, and play areas, and a paddling pool, and sound-proofed sleeping cubicles, and a launderette for nappies, and a TV room for children's programmes, and a childrens's feeding room with high chairs, and a cafeteria for the mothers to take lunch on a shift system, and in lieu of typists a few specialists to mix the formulas and sterilize the bottles and clean up at the end of the day, the way offices get cleaned. She might then begin to feel her job was as important as his - whcih God knows it is - and needs at least as much special equipment, and benefits at least as much from regular contact with others employed on the same task. If she had a mind free to concentrate on it, she might even rediscover that this job is far more rewarding and creative than most, that young children are even more fascinating to watch than otters [reference back to Ring of Bright Water], and that a juvenile cluster is less clinging than an isolated tot, and that when her attention isn't on a thousand other things he doesn't have to kick up hell to get a piece of it.

Perhaps it was specal pleading to pick on an office worker. If he were an exective his wife would have a house in the suburbs and a rumpus room and daily help, and if he were a truck driver or a fctory worker his own conditions of work might be pretty intolerable. But sooner or later somebody has to THINK about his conditions. His union will come out on strike, or in the last resort he will vote with his feet and quit his post, or take a vow that at least his sons will never go in for a job like that, and in the end his employer will find 'you just can't get people to do it'. You have to introduce pithead baths, or more machinery, or shorter hours and longer vacations: otherwise you get a discontented work force and an inferior product.

Housewives and mothers seldom find it practicable to come out on strike. They have no union, anyway. But the rumblings of women's liberation [this was written in the early 1970s] are only one pointer to the fact that you already have a discontented work force. And if conditions continue to lag so far behind the industrial norm and the discomfort increases, you will find - some people believe that in the cities it is beginning to happen already - that you will end up with an inferior product. That's going to be a very bad day for everybody."

Reg said...

NURSERY REJECTED FOR MANOR AVENUE!

At the Lewisham Town Hall Civic Centre the planned nursery at 60 Manor Avenue rejected.

Chair of committee, Councillor John Francsois Paschoud (Labour), fought long and hard for conditions to be set that would allow the nursery to go ahead. He wanted a nursery at Manor Avenue.

He was challenged by Councillor Cathy Priddey (Lib Dem Party), and Councillor Sue Luxton (Green Party).

Priddey was not at all happy that relevant information was not forthcoming from developer Zoom Nurseries.

She challenged the Committee on decisions that would later impact on residents, which she did not feel 'at all happy with'.

Priddey also felt that the 'conditions' that chairman Paschoud was eager to enforce she was not at all happy to allow.

Councillor Priddey also felt that the nursery would impact on neighbours, and that this she also could not allow. Opposed to conditions, without scrutiny, she seemed out on a limb.

Councillor John Paschoud repeatedly attempted to push the decision towards a resolution that would allow a nursery. He repeatedly pushed for this. He could not be swayed. Or so it seemed.

It was pointed out by Councillor Cath Priddey that a nursery had recently been turned down at 42Beadnell Road, Forest Hill, and that this may be relevant.

Councillor Paschoud grinned. He then offered that this 'other' nursery was rejected and that it was 'near' where he used to live.

Councilor Priddey was later joined in the challenge by Councillor Sue Luxton (Green Party) who pressed hard for answers on several issues, as she has done since the application.

During the debate Luxton also expressed concerns that appeared to challenge Councillor Paschoud's interest in granting conditions for the nursery, getting rid of a cycle track and felling a perfectly long established tree she would not allow without challenge.

Paschoud was not pleased. After an embarassing promotion of the nursery by Paschoud, aided by one Councillor Muldoon (who did not speak until the end of the meeting and seemed somewhat 'numbstruck' through the session) members rejected the Zoom Nursery application

Anonymous said...

Are you all havin' a laugh. That's one of the quietest roads in terms of traffic in Brockley. People parking for two minutes to pick up their kids may cause minor inconvenience, but pleaaaaaasssssee. Personally I'd like to see nimby, sorry 'local' concerns addressed though. We need new plans for a youth bail hostel. No traffic problems with that one, eh?

willow said...

It's quiet and they'd like it to stay quiet. Stop being so mean spirited.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should close down that noisy nearby Primary School too. Demolish it, and plant a forest for all the nimbys to do their Tai Chi in.

I think objecting to someone trying to start a socially useful business helping working parents, on the grounds of minor traffic nuisance, is pretty mean spirited myself.

Tamsin said...

It's not two minutes to set down and pick up a child - more like ten. Although one would hope that a significant number would walk. But there are also 20+ staff coming and going as shifts change on a road where there is already solid parking, I understand, on both sides.
Bail hostel a much better idea. Fewer people all round.

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