Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Update 7th August: very pleased to read in Friday's SLP that thanks to donations from the council, Brockley Society, Brockley Police and Community Advice Centre and a personal donation from the Mayor, the children from St Andrew's Youth Club will be going on holiday afterall.
Ideally, we'd like to go for somewhere with some green credentials, ie selling some organic/locally-produced beer, fairtrade tea & coffee and perhaps some good food. Any suggestions? I think I need to spend more time researching suitable venues ;).
Monday, July 30, 2007
We support in principle the regeneration of Lewisham Town Centre to improve the pedestrian links from the rail station to the town centre; to make the river more accessible and a key feature in the town centre; and to provide high-density housing given that good public transport links make this a suitable site for accommodating Lewisham’s growing population. We believe that making Lewisham a more attractive shopping venue will help encourage more people to shop locally and reduce the number of journeys to other town centres and out of town shopping centres. We also welcome plans to improve bus facilities to help accommodate the expected increase in bus usage. However, we have a number of serious concerns about the current proposals that need to be addressed:-
- We are concerned that currently only 20% of housing is proposed to be affordable, way below the Mayor of London’s overall target of 50% and Lewisham’s target of 35%. We call for the level of affordable housing to be significantly increased and with an appropriate mix of social housing and intermediate housing in line with the policies on affordable housing within the London Plan.
- The plans need to ensure the provision of safe cycle routes around the Gateway. We also call for an increase in the level of non-residential and residential cycle parking and are concerned that the Supplementary Transport Assessment is underestimating the number of cycle trips in its predictions.
- Given the air quality monitoring reports and future air quality projections for the site a development with extensive car parking provision will merely add to traffic problems and exacerbate the already poor air quality in the area. We therefore call for a significant reduction in the 500 private parking spaces, given the location next to Lewisham’s main public transport interchange. We would welcome a car-free development, but plans for a car-club, car sharing, cycle user facilities and a green travel plan must be required as a planning condition.
- We call for exemplary standards in sustainable design and construction. Ideally, we wish to see such a landmark development be a zero carbon development but at the very least the Mayor’s London Plan policy of at least 10% on-site renewables (due to be increased to 20%) must be delivered.
- We support high density housing on this site in principle but this is subject to being convinced by full daylight, shadowing and wind reports and the buildings being of high quality and sustainable design. Planting and other mitigation measures such as terracing to deal with excessive windiness must be required in the Confluence Park. We also require further clarification about whether the proposed level of housing density can all be accommodated given the range of different facilities planned for this site.
- We support proposals to remove parts of the rivers from concrete channels and place them in a natural setting but we share the concerns of the Quaggy Waterways Action Group that the opportunities for improving riverside access have not been maximised and the plans need to be modified to improve upon this. It is important that there is no overall loss of public open space, and specifically that levels of accessible green space should at least be comparable to existing levels.
- We support improved shopping facilities but do not wish to see Lewisham just becoming more of a “clone town” and therefore wish to see start-up premises for small businesses included in the overall plans. We want to see planning conditions used to ensure a diversity of retail outlets.
- We are very concerned by the loss of the children’s play area in the Shopping Centre. We support the Mayor of London’s demand that provision in the Gateway needs to be made for children’s play space but believe indoor as well as outdoor play facilities are required.
Cllr Darren Johnson
Cllr Sue Luxton
Cllr Ute Michel
Cllr Romayne Phoenix
Cllr Mike Keogh
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Introducing, Alys the Rolypig compost bin:
What do you think?!
Rolypig's website says the composter "turns a chore into a pleasure with its simple operation and attractive appearance. Never again will you dump green waste in the dustbin to be expensively transported to the landfill site [incinerator, in Lewisham's case] . . . Just think how much fossil fuel energy is wasted in this way to bury a potentially useful garden fertilizer. . . Every time you roll your Rolypig onto its next flat side, you aerate all the contents automatically, simple, no complicated mechanism."
The price quoted on the Rolypig website is rather steep, but perhaps if the council went the 'whole hog' (sorry) and bulk ordered one for every school, we could get a special deal. Sounds like an excellent way to get children (and adults) converted to the joys of composting! So how about it, Nigel, can we have our very own Lewisham waste-eating urban farms please?!
Friday, July 13, 2007
Come and meet the Lewisham Oxfam Campaigns group and Oxfam's Activist Support Team Leader Adam Askew
71 Ladywell Road, SE13.
There was general enthusiasm for starting up a Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries group, although a wide range of views were expressed on how the cemeteries should be maintained. A wide range of interests and connections brought people to the meeting - some were interested in the historical importance of the cemeteries, others in the wildlife, some in photographing the memorials, some in the Commonwealth war graves and some in particular in the graves of loved ones.
Special thanks should go to local resident Jeff Hart, who shared with the group his extensive experience in setting up Friends of Nunhead Cemetery and gave us lots of useful advice and food for thought.
A follow-up meeting has been arranged for Wednesday 8th August, 7.30pm, this time in the Brockley Grove depot, next door to the cemetery. The aim of this meeting will be to decide what people want the group to achieve, how to set it up and hopefully people will start work to move things forward.
I've got the minutes to type up over the weekend and will try to post them here. Hopefully a couple of people (our 'IT sub-committee') are setting up a FOBLC blog and an e-mail list very soon.
There are a number of issues with introducing a third bin that need to be considered, not least space in people's front gardens/on the pavement, as well as the extra lorries on the roads to collect the waste, but hopefully in the longer-term the black bins can be replaced with smaller bins, as is already happening in parts of the borough. We need to look at ways of dramatically increasing the borough's recycling rate as well as reducing the overall volume of waste produced, and introducing a green waste collection service is one way of doing this. Some residents have apparently complained that they don't like the colour of the new bins - guess you can't please everybody all of the time :)
Before the winners were announced, there was a brilliant and exceedingly loud workshop by Big Beat, a group who make music using percussion instruments made from junk. The councillors and officers present loved it and thought it would be a good to have a session before/after full council meetings, and the children seemed to enjoy it to.
Anyway, congratulations to all the schools who took part and won awards, though special mentions should go to St Stephen's CE and Stillness Infants, who scooped the top two prizes. In addition to recycling, the schools were involved with all sorts of projects including wildlife ponds, composting, reducing waste, freecycling, litter picks and litter surveys, collecting unwanted items to donate to charity, to designing 'rubbish monsters'. Very inspiring. I hope they go home and nag their families to do the same.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
The following premise has applied for a NEW / VARIATION Premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003.
300 Brockley Road
Applied for live music Friday –Saturday 19:00 – 23:00 & sale of alcohol Monday – Saturday 12:00 – 23:00 & Sunday 13:00 – 20:00.
Prevention of Crime and Disorder.
1. Protection of Children from Harm
2. Public Safety
3. Prevention of Public Nuisance
Any representations should reach licensing by 9th August 2007.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Following the Mayor's decision to build the new secondary school at Lewisham Bridge, instead of at Ladywell Leisure Centre, the council applied to the secretary of state for education for exemption from competition rules, ie permission to go ahead and build a community school instead of having to organise a competition allowing any organisation who wanted to bid to run the school as an academy, foundation school or similar. Unfortunately, the secretary of state has turned down that request. A report going to Mayor & Cabinet tonight outlines various options for the Mayor, including asking for permission for Lewisham to take part in the competition process for a new school (yes, that's right, ask for permission to build our own school in the borough), persuading Leathersellers (who run Prendergast School) to ask for exemption from the competition process allowing them to open a foundation school or going ahead with a full competition process in which any interested organisation could bid to run the new school (ie as an academy and anyone from McDonalds to a religious group could decide to bid for this).
I strongly believe the council should stand its ground and seek permission to bid for a community school. I'm not convinced the council should have to ask permission from the government for this at all, but that is how things stand (ironic in the same week when the government announced pilots to devolve more decision-making powers to local communities). There has been cross-party consensus within Lewisham Council on the desire for a new community school, not an academy or foundation school and I hope this continues to be the case. I believe a community school would best serve the needs of local people and I am concerned that an academy would be less accountable to local residents and the local authority.
Update (11.15pm): the Mayor approved the recommendations he was given in the report, which means that the council will see if Leathersellers get exemption from the competition process and then go for a foundation school. I would like to have seen the Mayor fight for what I thought was the consensus within the council and seek permission to bid for a community school as Haringey recently successfully did and won. Very disappointing.
Work is about to begin on enhancing and improving the north end of Ladywell Fields. Over the next few weeks, areas of the park will be fenced off and works machinery will be delivered.
The work to be carried out will include:
1. Making the park more attractive by:
planting a greater diversity of trees and riverside plants
creating an additional stream through the centre of the park with surrounding trees
creating open spaces at entrances so they are more welcoming.
2. Improving access by:
creating a new accessible path to Ladywell station
creating wheelchair/buggy access to the new stream
reducing the slope of the path along the northern river bank
The tennis courts, children’s playground and skateboard park will remain open throughout the course of the works.
The regeneration of the park is being carried out through the QUERCUS Project and will cost £460,000 with most funding being provided by EU LIFE, the European Commission’s environmental fund.
Previous posts on Ladywell Fields and the Quercus project.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Please convey my thanks to the councillors of Lewisham for their support in our campaign to defend Post Office services. The council add their name to hundreds of others, including MPs and the Mayor of London who are supporting our campaign and the provision of local services.
The Communication Workers Union is very keen to meet with the Mayor of Lewisham, along with other stakeholders, to discuss the proposal privatisation OF Forest Hill and Lewisham Crown Offices to WH Smith.
To this end, I have copied this letter to Mr John Denton, Regional Secretary, London, and Graham Henson, Territory Counters Representative, Eastern Region, who will be in touch with the Mayor’s office in due course to make the appropriate arrangements.
As you may be aware, we are currently in dispute with POL due to plans to cut our members’ pay and privatise 85 Crown Post Offices with the loss of up to 1500 jobs nationally. As part of this dispute, we have launched a boycott of WH Smith and are calling on all supporters of Post Office services to support us in our endeavours. I have enclosed a copy of the leaflet we have been distributing for the aforementioned purpose.
If you would like further information about our boycott campaign, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Acting Assistant Secretary
This is an open day to introduce the new management team to residents, explain the refurbishment programme, choices for kitchens, bathrooms etc.
Higgins (the contractor carrying out the refurbishments to bring all properties up to decent home standards) will also have their Community Action team there who will be talking to anyone interested in employment opportunities.
Previous post on Brockley PFI.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
1. Please can you confirm whether the plans are for the pool to be in the basement or on the first floor.
The new pool has not yet been designed. However, the brief includes a requirement that it should be at ground floor with level access.
2 Will it have windows?
The brief requires that the pool should be glazed in accordance with standards for pools regarding water surface glare. The solution will therefore be similar to Downham Lifestyles and other modern pools. The purpose of the Allies and Morrison report was to provide a diagram of how the site could be arranged and an indication of the capacity of the site. It was intended as a technical document for use by architects when they come to the final design. They were also asked to produce an indicative sketch and, unfortunately, it is this sketch that has been misinterpreted as a "design". If we do proceed with this site then the final design is unlikely to look anything like the A&M sketch, especially in view of the negative feedback.
3. Health spa - please can you provide more details of the spec. for this. ie will there be a replacement for the much loved Turkish baths, as well as a sauna, steam room etc?
The brief for the health spa is 3 treatment rooms, a steam room and a Sauna as well as a reception area. It must be DDA compliant.
4. A number of residents have expressed concern over the loss of diving facilities. Please can you outline the reasons behind this.
Diving and swimming in a shared pool creates a conflict of uses. This results in management and supervision problems. A shallower pool is safer for swimmers and provides better visibility for lifeguards. The limited demand for diving facilities suggests that it can be dealt with on a sub regional rather than local basis and this requirement is met at Crystal Palace.
5. Please can you provide a more detailed breakdown of the costs given in the table on p5 of the report to Mayor & Cabinet on 16 May 2007 – what does refurbishment include? Can you confirm that the cost of asbestos removal has been subtracted from this, for example? Does it include any new provision/buildings at Ladywell, or purely refurbishing the existing facilities?
The cost estimate provided in the M&C report was based on a cost study carried out in 2000 and that would address the key condition and suitability work required, at the time the estimated cost was £9.5m. In 2002 the Centre was closed following the identification of asbestos in the ceiling areas. The work then undertaken involved the removal of asbestos from the ceilings, public areas and ductwork and other work to the plant including concrete repairs. The site re-opened in 2004. This work was sufficient to deal with risks related to asbestos but did little to address the refurbishment needs of the building.
6. At the Overview & Scrutiny business panel mtg to consider the Loampit Vale report, the officer said that the new pool will be a zero carbon building. Can you confirm that this will indeed be the case and if so, how will that be achieved?
The brief for the new pool, along with the proposed adjoining residential development, is an aim to have zero carbon emissions. This would be achieved by a combination of low energy demand design (insulation, ventilation, etc) and a single energy source that exploits the balanced energy demands between the pool and the housing. If the energy is generated on site then the fuel source would need to be bio diesel and / or woodchips. Electricity generation would from a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) boiler or wind turbines or solar panels. If it is decided to proceed with a new pool at Loampit Vale this will be reported on in more detail when considering the developer submissions. It is difficult to provide figures prior to this more detailed report but it is an issue that will be addressed.
7. The M&C report says that there will be 250 spectator seats alongside the new pool. How does this compare with the provision at the existing pool?
The existing pool has 520 seats. The new pool brief is for 250 seats is the result of the leisure needs report.
8. How will the pool be financed? Receipts from the sale of Aragon Tower, Loampit Vale developers contributions, the sale of Ladywell Leisure Centre site? Can you confirm how much you estimate the new pool will cost the borough, where this money will come from and what any leftover money from the Aragon Tower sale and the anticipated sale of the Ladywell site will be used for? Could the developers subsidising the pool mean that we ultimately get a lower percentage of affordable housing in the development?
The new pool will be funded from a combination of an allocation in the capital programme (part of the Aragon receipt) and the developer's own funds. It would form part of the developers payment for the Council's land. There remains an aim to achieve a level of affordable housing in accordance with the UDP (35%). Details of this are commercially sensitive and if we proceed with a new pool this will be reported to the Mayor on part 2 of the agenda. Any capital surplus will go back into the capital programme.
9. I have assured residents that all views will be noted in the report that the goes to M&C, and that the consultants are recording all comments, including those who ask for refurbishment. Please can you confirm that this is still the case.
The report to M&C on the consultation will include feedback from consultees who expressed the view that Ladywell should be refurbished. The results of the Consultation are likely to be reported to Mayor & Cabinet on 17 July 2007.
I asked one more question that I expect will take a bit longer to respond to:
Residents are unconvinced when I suggest that in this case a new build could be more energy efficient than refurbishment. It would be v useful if you could provide further information about the approximate annual carbon emissions and energy usage at Ladywell and how the new pool would compare to this (including construction – ie carbon used in concrete production, construction transport costs etc). What will the payback period be before the new pool becomes 'greener' than keeping the existing one?
Thanks for the comments on my previous post on this topic, I suspect this may prompt more. I'm a bit tired to comment in much more detail now, but I am increasingly inclined to support the proposals for a new pool at Loampit.
Monday, July 02, 2007
A number of residents have contacted me about this, to express concern that there is no 'third option' of refurbishing the pool on the consultation. I have already conveyed local residents' frustration at the lack of a 'refurbishment' option in the consultation to the officer leading on the consultation. He contacted the consultants carrying out the surveys and confirmed that they are "capturing the views of those people who favour the refurbishment option" and has assured me that all views will be included in the report to the Mayor on 11 July 2007. The reason they are only consulting on the two options, is because following officer advice on the cost-effectiveness of refurbishment versus rebuild, the Mayor & Cabinet ruled out the refurbishment option at their meeting on 16th Mayor. The full report prepared for that meeting can be found here.
A meaningful consultation needs to note the views of all residents, yet it would be similarly meaningless to offer residents the option of a refurbishment if the Mayor has already ruled it out on cost grounds.
I have asked for further breakdown of their cost estimates. If it would indeed be cheaper (including running costs) to build a new pool, rather than refurbishing a 30 year old pool and there would be no gap in provision, then this may make sense for the borough.
The Save Ladywell Pool campaign have their own suggestions on how to fill in the consultation.
What facilities will the Loampit pool have?
There seems to be some uncertainty amongst residents (and to an extent councillors!) about what facilities the new Loampit pool would have.
In brief, it will have:
- 8 lane 25 metre competition pool
- 20 metre teaching pool with moveable floor
- Dance, exercise and aerobics studio
- 100 station fitness suite
- Health spa
The new pool will be 8 x 25m lanes, rather than the current 6 x 33m lanes. ie the same swimming space, if not v slightly more than the existing pool at Ladywell. This is so that it will meet Amateur Swimming Association and Sport England competition standards and would be available for County level competition. Sounds reasonable to me. The 33 metre 6 lane pool at Ladywell cannot currently be used for such competitions, having a non standard length.
I have asked for further information from officers on a number of points, including:
- What facilities will be provided in the health spa, and whether this includes a replacement for the much-loved Turkish baths.
- Further details on why there are no plans for diving facilities at the new pool.
- Windows: my understanding following a conversation with the Mayor is that the new pool will be built on the ground floor and will have windows providing natural light, but again, I've asked for further assurance on this point.
- Funding: I have also asked for further clarification on the funding of the new pool and how any surplus receipts from the sale of the Ladywell site will be spent. Some of the money from the sale of Aragon Tower on the Pepys estate was apparently put aside for a new leisure centre, and the argument for selling the Ladywell site is to pay for the new pool, yet it is also possible that the developers will foot a large part of the bill for the new pool (financed by the flats above it), so I am waiting for further information on this. What I wouldn't want is a trade-off which meant very little affordable housing in the flats above, because of the cost of the pool.
- Energy-saving/carbon-emissions for rebuild vs refurbishment. I've asked for further clarification on the energy-saving/carbon-emissions argument behind building the new pool - how much more energy efficient will it be versus the energy costs involved in building it - how long will it take for it to start 'saving' energy and carbon emissions compared to Ladywell, once construction was taken into account. At a recent meeting I attended, the officer present told me the new building would be zero carbon, but I am awaiting further details on how this will be achieved, if it is in fact the case. Normally, it is considered greener to refurbish buildings than rebuild, but the huge energy use of swimming pools, particularly those built 30-odd years ago, mean that this might not be the case in this instance.
I'll post any response I get to the above points (assuming it's not confidential).
When we were elected last year, we stood on a platform of opposing the closure of Ladywell Pool until a replacement with equal or better facilities had been built and that remains the case now. We were delighted the Mayor agreed not to build the new school there and not to demolish the pool before a replacement was ready. I'll reserve my final opinion on refurbishment vs new pool at Loampit until I have answers to the points I raised above, but at the moment, I do think that building a new pool at Loampit Vale could be the better long-term option, in terms of financial cost, energy savings and provision. I don't think building a new pool at the Ladywell Leisure Centre with a minimum 2- year gap in swimming provision would be a good idea (look how long Downham had to wait for their new pool). Loampit Vale will be a bit further for those of us close to the current site, but perfectably walkable/cyclable and with better public transport links than the current site (ie DLR and train as well as being served by buses) for more residents of the borough.
5 July 2007 – 8-10pm
@ Elastic Productions
286 Brockley Road, SE4 2RA
(Across the road from Moonbow Jakes)
Come and enjoy an evening of South London shorts at Brockley’s only open air Summer screening! See a variety of film styles right in the centre of this buzzing neighbourhood. In conjunction with Elastic Productions and Moonbow Jakes a great (and Free) time will be had by all.
Please email Declan for info and to reserve a place… or just turn up!
TASTER AFTERNOON ~ SATURDAY 14TH JULY ~ 2 to 6PM SUNFLOWER CENTRE
Choose from the following:
David Canevaro will be offering 15 minute taster sessions in the new pilates equipment studio on the top floor of the Centre.
One to Ones (up to two per person)
Rieko Oshima-Barclay; 20 minute aromatherapy massage - body, or facial (face, neck and shoulders).
Isabel Sheridan; 30 minute massage therapy taster.
Sophie Evans; 20 minute aromatherapy sessions.
Nicky Jarrett; 30 minute Reiki taster sessions.
Eileen Reynolds and Rupert Lander; 15 minute mini consultations to discuss your health issue with one of our acupuncturists.
Tania Pearce will be doing a talk and short practical on Hypnobirthing.
Sophie Evans will also be running a 45 minute demonstration of baby massage, for babies over one month and under a year old.
Ella Titman will be holding yoga sessions to talk about what yoga is about and what it can do for you; some practice will be included. These sessions will be suitable for beginners as well as those who have done yoga already.
1-1's & pilates £10, group tasters £5 each. To book call 020 8694 2714. For more info on any of the therapies, go to www.thesunflowercentre.co.uk
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Last year's Ladywell fund was spent on new playground equipment for Gordonbrock Primary, street planters for Loampit Vale, additional Christmas lights, a Christmas tree and street planters around the Ladywell Road/Algernon Road junction, a pool table for the youth club at Crofton Baptist Church and bat and bird boxes for Hilly Fields.
I'll be posting more info on this soon, but in the meantime, if you have any thoughts on how the £10,000 for 2007/8 should be spent, please leave a comment.
First stop was to see the Brockley Murals in Prendergast school, which are considered to be a supreme example of 1930s neo-romanticism, apparently. The more you look at them, the more details you spot in them. Well worth a visit.
Then I popped to see Maria Strutz on Montague Avenue - lots of bears, goddesses and labyrinths. Then (after dully delivering newsletters to Comerford Rd, Howson Rd and Kneller Rd), I got to what is (by my unscientific reckoning) the second most artistic road in Ladywell ward - Braxfield Rd, where there were four artists taking part in Brockley Open Studios - Marisa Renzullo, Benjamin Glean, Elizabeth Nicholson and Caroline Underwood.
Brockley apparently has the highest concentration of artists anywhere in Europe after Montmartre. 39 artists have taken part in Brockley Open Studios this year, including an incredible 7 artists along Tyrwhitt Rd and 8 on Manor Avenue, arguably the epi-centre of all things artistic in Brockley. The last chance to get to see their work is tomorrow (Monday 2nd July) from 5pm-8pm!
BTW, if anyone would like to help deliver any of the remaining Green News, please drop me a line. All offers of help gratefully received.
(I wonder if anyone's ever investigated how many musicians live in and around Brockley, I'm sure there's loads of them too, I know a harpist, 2 composers and a trumpet player for starters!)