Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Busy busy

Busy couple of weeks, hence the lack of blogging on my part. Lots of meetings and casework, plus I've been trying to redecorate my mildew-ridden bathroom (have now given up and called in the experts - over a week without a bath in my flat, has, on the upside, meant that I have been using Ladywell Leisure Centre slightly more frequently than usual so I can shower!).

New School Site - Lewisham Bridge Primary School? D-Day 8th November
On Wednesday 11th October, Mike and I had a meeting with Sue Sarna, the headteacher at Lewisham Bridge Primary School, one of the three 'sites' being considered for the new secondary school (the others being Ladywell Leisure Centre and some land round the back of Lewisham Hospital). She is understandably concerned that by referring to it as a 'site', people are forgetting it is in fact a school of 300 odd pupils. While none of the proposed sites are perfect for the school (no rolling plain fields or site in Deptford or New Cross unfortunately), Lewisham Bridge looks the least worst option at the moment. Much will depend on how much of the land around the school, which hasn't yet been redeveloped, will be allocated to the school. Lewisham Bridge Primary School has quite a big site for a primary school, but it's difficult to see how a primary and secondary could be squeezed onto the existing site and leave enough space for playgrounds. Sue Sarna wasn't opposed to the idea of a rebuild, as the classrooms in the current Victorian building are rather small, but she doesn't want her school and all its history to be subsumed into a new 3-16 super school. Although the school is in Lewisham Central ward, it is very much a Ladywell issue, as many of its pupils live in Ladywell ward.

I await the Mayor's decision on November 8th with interest. We haven't taken a group stance on the Lewisham Bridge School site yet, but if it is chosen, I expect we will support the decision, with certain caveats and pledges to support the existing school and pupils during the transition, that the new school(s) would be community schools not academies, the need to use the adjoining land etc. If the Mayor does do a u-turn and the leisure centre gets a reprieve, it will be a significant victory for people power.

Last week I attended the inaugural meeting of Ladywell Pool Users Group, a large part of which was spent discussing plans for the new swimming pool and the Loampit Vale consultation. Concerns were raised over whether the new pool would have facilities to replace all those lost in the area over recent years, in particular the squash courts etc from Crofton Park Leisure Centre and the Turkish Baths and sauna from Ladywell Leisure Centre. If Lewisham Bridge is chosen as the site of the new school, potentially there could be a sports hall with shared use between the school and community.

I also attended the public meeting organised by the planning department on the Lewisham Gateway development. A lot of people at the meeting were sceptical about the scale of the scheme, in particular the size of the buildings, provisions for cyclists in the new road layout and the aesthetics of the buildings. I suspect the architects behind the scheme have gone away with considerable food for thought. The Green Party stance on the development is that we don't oppose high density development in that area in principle, as it is so close to the transport hub. However, the party does have concerns over the percentage of affordable housing proposed, cycling provision, the renewable energy targets, the number of proposed car parking spaces and the possible loss of green space, particularly along the river banks.

Last week I also had a meeting with Rev David Garlick, the vicar of St Mary's Church. Strictly speaking, St Mary's Centre is in Lewisham Central ward, but it is used by many Ladywell ward residents. He is keen to see a youth club started up there again, as is the council, apparently, so I'm hopeful we might get some progress there.

Talking of youth clubs etc, we have finally fixed a date for our first Ladywell Ward Forum, which will focus on youth provision:

Ladywell Ward Forum
Thursday 9th November
Crofton Park Baptist Church
Brockley Grove
7.00pm - 9.00pm

Hopefully, this will be a chance for local people, youth services, the Safer Neighbourhood Police team, faith groups and us to share ideas about what youth provision is needed in the area, and then work out what we can do. The PCSOs will also have the results of the surveys they have done with young people in the ward, asking them what they want. Ladywell, along with Catford South and Blackheath, has been recognised by the council as an area with a lack of youth provision and I am hopeful that there will be funds/grants available to get something started.

Other meetings last week: I went to the House of Lords for a meeting with the Green peer, Tim Beaumont, to discuss the Green Party's international policy, which is in urgent need of some updating. I've never done any national policy work before, and felt a little under-qualified alongside the others at the meeting, who all seemed to work for development NGOs or have loads of experience, but it was interesting, very plush surroundings, and I managed to resist the temptation to shout 'warmonger' or anything about veils when Jack Straw walked past.

I also went along to the consultation on the extension of St Mary's Conservation Area last week, which most people I've spoken to so far seem to be in favour of. I don't think all shopkeepers along Ladywell Road are aware of the consultation yet though, so I have asked for some more copies of the document to be sent to me to hand out.

Very busy surgery at the Old Bothy last week, with 9 people attending on various issues, followed by a very quiet street surgery this Saturday just gone, on Sandrock Rd, Undercliff Rd and Overcliff Rd. No one had put the flyer in their window for us to call, so we just reported the fly-tipping, pot holes and graffiti.

Oh, one more consultation coming up (seemingly endless round of them at the moment!): following on from the initial consulation which was carried out a couple of months ago, there will be an exhibition to show proposals for the Crofton Park / Ladywell South Exhibition 20mph schemes at the following times and locations:
Friday 2-8pm Sat - 10-2pm - 27 28 October (half term) Stillness School - Brockley Rise
Friday 2-8pm Sat - 10-2pm - 3 4 November Baptist Church - Brockley Grove

Reponses to the initial survey were as follows:
Over 10,000 leaflets were delivered to the area for the first stage consultation and over four hundred returned. 67% of responses experienced problems with vehicles travelling too fast. 58% of responses experienced problems from volume of traffic. 58% of responses experienced problems from volume of traffic. 40% said that vehicles used their road to avoid delays most of the delay and a further 31% in rush hour. 31% reported heavy vehicles using their road occasionally and 35% regularly.

Slightly quieter week this week (phew!), with any luck, just a training day on pensions (I'm on the pensions investment committee) and a possible meeting with the Ladywell Centre Users Committee.

Over and out.


Anonymous said...

As you mention there have been a number of consultations in the past week all interlinked with the Mayor's decision on November 8th.

Hopefully he isn't using the consultatons to get responses in the can and then announce a decision that would have produced a different response from the public.

The St. Mary's conservation document makes the area sound great, hopefully the physical changes described can happen.
I'd like to see the conservation expanded even further.

Matt Burge said...

'The Siberian Timebomb', the most important wake-up call since 'Silent Spring'. For more info on this BBC report track back to my blog or, go to www.environmentdebate.blogspot.com .


I've had an answer back from the Beeb.

The report will be repeated on BBC News 24 over the weekend at the following times;
On 28 October 2006 at 05:30, 14:30 and 21:30 and on 29 October at 03:30 and
14:30 GMT.

Please see if you can.