Mayor Bullock has released a statement in response to last night's demonstrations:
On 29 November Lewisham Council met to consider a package of savings which had been proposed by the Mayor and agreed by the Labour Group. The measures in this package concentrated on making cuts to "back office" services and increasing efficiency. I firmly believe that if a Labour Government had been returned in May we would have been able to balance the budget with relatively little impact on the service areas we consider to be a priority. The fact that this Tory/Lib Government is forcing us to make half of the 28% cuts this year means that we will forced to continue to make cuts that will generate these kinds of protests.
At the meeting of the Mayor and Cabinet the previous week a minority of members of the public attempted to stop the meeting taking place. During the following days this group made threats via social media to disrupt the council meeting with the intention of stopping the meeting continuing. They encouraged members of the public to bring paint, flour and shoes to throw from the public gallery. Peaceful protest and the right of residents to raise issues they are concerned with must be protected, however it is being undermined by these attempts to prevent meetings taking place
It is clear that there was an organised attempt to prevent a democratic meeting taking place. The Labour Party must always support the democratic process and anyone who believes that direct action to subvert democracy is appropriate has no place in our Party. I have made clear that I will not make decisions on the basis of who shouts the loudest. Those people who will be most affected do not always have the ability to make their voices heard and I have a duty to make sure that their needs are taken fully into account as we make the difficult choices.
The Coalition will announce the funding allocation for London boroughs in the next few days. If this is as bad as feared it will force Labour councils to take even more difficult measures early next year. The Government has the legal power to force councils to balance their books even if the majority of members of that council believe that the funding is inadequate to deliver the services the borough needs. It is easy for other parties to either vote against or abstain from voting on these proposals, but no other party in Lewisham has come up with a fully costed budget alternative detailing how we should make these cuts.
When the Government makes its announcement we will expose the real threat that it contains and look to our parliamentary colleagues to challenge the government by every means at their disposal.
Mayor Bullock has released a statement in response to last night's demonstrations:
Posted by Nick Barron on 30.11.10
We're currently 8,000 miles away from the centre of the action, but Sue Luxton reports that Lewisham Town Hall was been beseiged by "very angry locals" protesting the scale of public sector cuts last night as the first tranche of Lewisham Council's package of cuts was approved.
Police horses and dogs were deployed while police in riot gear forcibly ejected a number of protestors from the offices and a smoke grenade was deployed by an excitable demonstrator.
Londonist confirms the final vote as being 36 Labour councillors for, 3 Tories and Green against, 11 Lib Dem abstain.
Website Historypin is all about digging out those old photos and letting them be appreciated by others, while at the same time helping to tell the story of your local area for generations to come. The short video tour on YouTube describes it all perfectly.
The site lets you search by location and/or time period via a timeline, and the site cleverly layers photos on top of Google Street View images, creating the effect of holding up an old photo in front of the view today - a technique recently made cool by the Flickr group 'Looking into the past'. The feature is still in its infancy though, so don't get too critical of the exact placement of some of our images.
By far the most popular use of History Pin so far is capturing major historic events, most notably images of the war. What Brockley Central has attempted, in our modest and eclectic contribution to date, is to not just show Brockley in a bygone era, but also document the more recent history of the area - those small events that may at the time get our attention but are soon forgotten. The loss of the Elephant House, the old public toilets that once stood where the common is. Okay, there is a certain coincidence that these happen to be the photos we had to hand, but a time will come when they tell their own story.
Someone called Rebekkah has been busy in Ladywell, but Brockley Central currently has a monopoly on the SE4 area. We're hoping you can change that - it's a strangely satisfying experience, documenting the date and exact location. Maybe we'll revisit the topic in a few years time to see what has changed.
The Comerford Road postcard that turned up on eBay, now preserved for ever on Historypin (hope you don't mind, b.)
Overlooking Stanley (the Falkland Islands’ capital and the southernmost capital city in the world) Tumbledown rises above a ruggedly beautiful landscape of soft peat, punctured by jagged rock and covered in a blanket of coarse grassy bristles.
One of the Islands’ most famous landmarks, there are no signs to guide you from town or help you identify the right rocky outcrop (the Falkland Islands credit their tourists with a good amount of self-reliance); the road simply runs out and you start walking.
Four of us made the climb, but the wind was so strong that it was a solitary experience, conversation was impossible. So when we reached the top, we’d all enjoyed an hour of introspection, making the war memorial – a pile of stones supporting a cross and decorated with plaques – all the more moving.
We climbed down, returning to our Defender to find horses huddled round it, sheltering from the winds.
Posted by Nick Barron on 29.11.10
Stockpile Wenlock and Mandeville-branded waterbottles and emergency flares, Olympic gridlock is coming to Crofton Park... and the rest of Lewisham.
The Thameslink Programme is critical to addressing overcrowding on our Thameslink and Great Northern routes.
It has delivered new trains - almost 5,000 seats - and we will have the first 50% longer 12-carriage trains from December next year. A few months later we will open a fantastic new station at Blackfriars and new ticket hall at Farringdon.
The vital third and final stage of the programme will also go ahead, introducing a brand new fleet of replacement trains on the Thameslink route that will allow us to run a comprehensive 12-carriage service.
The reconstruction of London Bridge station and unravelling of the complex track layout in that vicinity will unblock one of our worst bottlenecks on the rail network.
Kelly's been in touch, because she's nominated her street, Barriedale, on the north Brockley / New Cross border, to be turned in to a Christmassy wonderland, by Sainsbury's.
She's asking for help from BC readers to support her bid. Sainsbury's says:
Like the idea of seeing Barriedale transformed into a Christmassy winter wonderland complete with festive food and drink? Then vote by visiting the competition website.
Voting takes one click, so to help Kelly, click here.
[Full disclosure, in our day job, we do some work for Sainsbury's, though completely unrelated to this initiative]
Posted by Nick Barron on 25.11.10
The dramatically-improved Evening Standard reports that SE4 and SE8 have some of London's slowest download speeds in what they describe as the capital's 'broadband postcode lottery'.
The study by Top10.com claims we have average speeds of 4.5 to 5 mb/sec compared with the top performing postcode, N18, with more than 21 mb/sec.
The report makes it all the more galling that BT's planned roll out of Infinity to the area, which was supposed to have happened by now, has slipped to September 2012. London's top-performing postcodes correlate to the areas where Infinity has been rolled-out,
The Brockley Cross Action Group are in overdrive today, providing us with this poster and the following update:
This is Brockley's fourth and quite possibly our biggest annual Christmas Market to date! At the time of writing we expect to have in excess of 36 stalls selling a wide variety of delicious foods, cakes, cards, arts and crafts, all kinds of wonderful things!
Meanwhile, if anyone who runs makes children's gifts or runs activities for kids wants to take a stall at the Ladywell Christmas Market, they should contact the organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org
It seems like mulching season starts earlier and earlier each year. Rupert of The Brockley Cross Action Group reports:
SUNDAY 28th NOVEMBER, 12.00 - 4.00pm: FINAL WEEDING & MULCHING OF THE BEDS, TO THEM TO BED FOR THE WINTER.
Network Rail, who are being very supportive of our work, have generously agreed to provide 20m3 of woodchip mulch free of charge so that we can do a final mulching of the beds for the year. This will help protect the herbaceous plants, enrich the soil and help keep the dreaded weeds down next year! But we will need a good turnout to get all this stuff shifted!
BXAG have 2 barrows but if anyone else can bring a barrow let me know! We will also do a good clear out and weeding of our much loved but neglected original community planting bed down by the platform. We have ignored this well established bed for most of the summer, as we have had to focus all our efforts on the new planting.
We need to put that right! As ever tools, gloves and free refreshments will of course be provided - when we're done we can pile into the Broca at 4.00 or earlier for warmth and coffee at 4.00. I believe it might be a classic winter's day on Sunday! (yes that is a euphemism for a cold day!).
Lewisham Council has confirmed that a construction contract has been awarded to Willmott Dixon, a move which should allow work to get underway in January 2011, with a view to opening at the end of 2012, potentially ahead of the Loampit Vale centre.
From Friday, Brockley Central will be decamping to the Falkland Islands for a week.
Posted by Nick Barron on 23.11.10
Babur has scooped a well-deserved 4th place in the Independent's list of the 50 Best Curry Houses in the UK.
The Telegraph reports that Lord Maples, who was MP for Lewisham West in the 1980s, dismissed the borough of "three miles of concrete" with no sense of identity compared with the Stratford-Upon-Avon constituency he represented in the nineties and noughties.
The Brockley Flickr Group, responsible for all the photos you see when you click on the Photos tab above, will be holding their next meeting on November 23rd.
We will meet at The Orchard at 8pm for a drink and catch-up, then do a photo walk (route TBC) up to Crofton Park and end in Jam Circus for another drink or two. For people wanting to get involved before then, the current project is 'A Day in the Life' - a self-explanatory documentary project.
Good news for Brockley's carnivores: the very excellent Broca Food Market is selling fresh meat again after a maternity-based hiatus during the past six months or so.
Broca gets its regular meat from a single farm, Hampshire's Mill Farm Organic, which supplies a good range of beef, lamb and pork. Gloriously, at this time of year you can also pick up some excellent game, in this case supplied from Bank Farm in Kent.
Last night the new meat fridge, complete with Morley-esque branding, was bulging with wild duck, pigeon breasts and pheasants (trussed and barded for the oven). There was also some very tempting thickly-cut strips of pork belly, but Brockley Central can't promise they're still there...
New Cross food blogger Hollowlegs reports on Twitter that New Cross' Goldsmiths Tavern is about to undergo a makeover courtesy of Capital Pubs, owners of The Bishop in East Dulwich. Her intel is usually as reliable as her reviews.
The BBC reports that twelve people were rescued when fire broke out last night in a hostel on Lewisham Way, near the end of Malpas Road. No one was injured and the cause is currently unknown.
Civilization is sterilization
Miami blog Accidental Sexiness claims the filming at the Rivoli Ballroom earlier this month was for a new film starring Emma Watson, called My Week With Marilyn. Directed by Kenneth Brannagh, the film is due out next year.
As the Sword of Damocles hangs over five Lewisham Libraries by a single hair from Mayor Bullock's beard, it's worth remembering that there are two major library projects planned for nearby. Like modern leisure centres, they are attempting to create destinations with the scale and flexibility to appeal to a wide range of users and the capacity to generate significant commercial income streams.
- A state of the art library including children’s and youth library
- AccessPoint – one stop shop giving access to Council services
- Flexible spaces to hire out for events such as weddings, conferences and celebrations
- Flexible working spaces to hire out to the community voluntary sector and small starter businesses
Local singing coach Brenda Rattray is organising a community sing in St Andrew's church that will consist of four rehearsals and a community participatory performance on the 17th December. She says:
The Brockley Society has conducted a survey of residents whose properties back on to Brockley's mews, which suggests cautious support for improving the quality of the mews to reduce anti-social behaviour by local business and to encourage new types of use.
Posted by Nick Barron on 15.11.10
A year ago, we wrote our one and only comedy review, of Richard Herring's Hitler Moustache at the Amersham Arms.
- Simon King
- Cassandra Kyle
- Michael Thompson
- Heidi Vikleman
- Tim Feltham
- Aisla Garlick
- Jennifer Morriss
- Wayne Coleman
- Norman Hall
- Sarah McEvoy
- Cathy Duprey
- Helena Sivak
The Forest Hill Society have come up with a neat response to the number of empty shops on their main shopping streets - Pop-Up Forest Hill, an event on December 2nd, 6pm-9pm:
To coincide with Remembrance Day, here is a letter from a St Asaph's Road resident following a bombing raid in September 1940. The letter was found by Tressillian James on the BBC 's People's War website: