Love Ladywell

Last October, we aged several years in a matter of days as Brockley Central was besieged by angry people, irate that we - and many readers - had the temerity to question the wisdom of their plan to use the Brockley Ward Localities Fund to pay for free mobile phones for young volunteers with the Love Lewisham programme.

The Localities Fund is £10,000 of public money allocated to each ward, ring fenced by the Council to be spent on good causes chosen by local people. The debate made a powerful case for representative democracy. Or benign dictatorship. Or even malevolent dictatorship.

Cllr Dean Walton made the pioneering decision to use this website as a vehicle to canvass a wider set of opinion than is possible via the traditional channels. It worked. Too well for some. The final decision on how to divide the money was made at a local meeting, but even so, some people didn't feel their ideas should have to be exposed to public scrutiny and a few days of furious debate (and attempts to have the article pulled from the site) followed.

We're not sure if Cllr Walton will go as far as to actively encourage the discussion again, but we certainly plan to canvass people's views this year and send them to him ahead of the decision. Meanwhile, the Ladywell Village Improvement Group is trying to encourage a similar debate about how to spend Ladywell's pot of money. Last year's cash went on projects including the new table tennis table in Hilly Fields and they are looking for new ideas ahead of the Ladywell Assembly on October 8th.

So if you have an idea, let them have it. And not the way the Love Lewisham Lobby let us have it last year.