Tuesday, August 28, 2007

£10,000 for Ladywell ward - how should it be spent?

Once again, every ward in Lewisham – including Ladywell – has been allocated £10,000 to spend on community projects that benefit the local neighbourhood, make a visible difference and have a long-lasting, positive effect. We want to hear suggestions from as many residents and local groups as possible. So please contact us using the details below to tell us your ideas.
The £10,000 can pay for one project or several smaller ones. Examples of possible projects might be:
  • Hanging baskets / street planters / street trees
  • Youth project
  • Park benches
  • A community art project
  • A local event (eg a football tournament or an outing)
  • Equipment for community use / solar panel for a local school
Last year’s Fund paid for street planters along Loampit Hill and on Algernon Road, playground equipment at Gordonbrock Primary School, a pool table for groups at Crofton Park Baptist Church, a contribution to Brockley Max Festival, bird/bat boxes for Hilly Fields and for this year’s Christmas tree and additional Christmas lights in Ladywell village.
If you have an idea for an activity or project you would like to receive funding for, please answer the questions below and send them in writing, by email or by phone to Cllr Ute Michel by Monday, 1 October 2007.
We plan to present and discuss the proposals at a public ward meeting on Thursday,
25 October 2007, 7.30-9.30pm at St Andrew’s Centre at the corner of Brockley Rd/Wickham Rd before a decision is made.
Suggestions Form:
  1. Please describe the activity or project you would like the £10,000 or part of this amount to be spent on:
  2. How do you think this would benefit the local community?
  3. Where would this project or activity take place? When would this project or activity take place?
  4. If you know how much money this would cost, please tell us here:
  5. And now please tell us any other information about why your idea should be funded:
  6. Please provide us with your contact details: NAME ADDRESS EMAIL TELEPHONE
Send your suggestions back to us either by email to cllr_ute.michel@lewisham.gov.uk, by phone: call Councillor Ute Michel on 020 8691 5212 or by posting it to:
Ladywell ward councillors
c/o Councillor Ute Michel
Lewisham Town Hall
We look forward to hearing from you.

Real Nappies for London Update

The Real Nappies for London scheme (RNfL) which was officially launched in June is now getting off the ground in Lewisham. A part-time officer to promote and administer the Real Nappies scheme has been appointed and it should be launched locally soon. In the meantime, parents in the borough with children in cloth nappies can claim their £30 voucher. Details here (the site also has lots of useful information on real nappies, including nappy exchanges etc).

Lewisham joined the scheme as a result of a Green budget amendment. Previous posts on nappies here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Green Man Fayre 27th August, One Tree Hill Allotments

Just found out about another event happening this Monday that sounds great:
Green Man Fayre at One Tree Hill allotments, Honor Oak Park, 12-6pm. £2 per person, under 8s free.
This is part of the South London Permaculture Project which is based at One Tree Hill allotments. Sounds like there is lots going on, including Green Crafts, Metal Forging, bread baking & outdoor cooking, wood turning, yurts, face-painting and story-telling, tours and talks, apple pressing (bring your own apples for juice), cob building (wear old clothes, it will be messy!) bee keeping and lots of permaculture stuff.
For more info contact Merlyn on 0845 458 1734.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Slagrove Summer Scheme - A triumph!

Yesterday I went to the Slagrove Summer Scheme BBQ & Fun Day 2007, which was to mark the end of the 4-week Slagrove Summer Scheme. There was a showcase performance to demonstrate some of the skills the young people had acquired over the month, which included a steel drum band ('the Slagrovers'), a samba band, drama and singing.

Over 120 young people from the local area have taken part in the programme of events, which included, dance, drama and music workshops, day trips, football and art projects, amongst many other things. I particularly like the big 'Slagrove SE13' mosaic they had made, which I hope will be displayed somewhere prominently in Slagrove Place soon. All the young people and parents I spoke to were full of praise for the scheme and hoping that the scheme would be repeated next year.

The scheme was organised by the recently formed Slagrove Partnership, which involves L&Q, Family Mosaic & Elevate (part of Pinnacle Housing) who all own or manage properties within the local area. Further support was provided by Lewisham Council ASB/Community Safety Team, Youth Service, Extended Services and the Safer Neighbourhood Team.

From what I understand, the housing associations provided most of the funding, while the council supported the scheme by providing youth workers. The PCSOs from the Safer Neighbourhood team were also involved and said that they thought Slagrove Place had been a noticeably calmer, happier area this summer as a result of the scheme. I thought it was a great example of partnership working and a wonderfully positive (indirect) outcome of our Ladywell Ward Forum and subsequent meetings on Youth Provision last December, which representatives of some of the housing associations attended.

Well done to all concerned, but particularly to the hard work put in by Gill Wills and team from Extended Services, Thomas Joseph in Youth Service, Sonia Meggie and her team from L&Q, Ken Drysdale from Family Mosaic and Rebecca Potter from Elevate for making this happen.

There will be another meeting with Slagrove Partnership and residents in the next week or so to discuss what the next step should be. There seems to be some interest in restarting a residents' association in Slagrove Place, which would be good and there are also ongoing discussions about whether the two portakabins provided for the summer scheme could be used more permanently for year-round youth work, after-school clubs etc.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lewisham Country Fayre

Another event on 23rd September that sounds good, details below from the council's press office:

Lewisham Country Fayre
Cornmill Gardens is Lewisham’s newest open space. Situated just off Loampit Vale, it provides access to the River Ravensbourne, which has been released from its concrete walls. To celebrate the opening, Lewisham will be holding it’s first Country Fayre on Sunday 23 September 2007 from 12-6pm The park will be filled with international music, a vintage fair, a trash art installation, arts and crafts available to make and buy, and a market of local traders. Children will enjoy the animal area where they will see a range of different animals from Polly’s Pets Farm and Berkeley Owls.

There will also be horticulture and craft competitions for all green fingered and artistic members of the Lewisham community. The non-specialist, light hearted categories to enter are:

  • Best drawing with a Harvest theme
  • Best hand knitted item
  • Best flower arrangement
  • Best photograph of rural Lewisham
  • Funniest shaped vegetable
  • Best cake
  • Best jam

In addition to the fun and games that can be enjoyed at this glittering weekend, there will also be bags of information about council services including housing, adult and community services, community safety, and the regeneration of Lewisham Town Centre.For more information or to enter an exhibit please contact Deborah Efemini, Lewisham Town Centre manager on 020 8297 5635 or at lewishamcountryfayre@lewisham.gov.uk

St Andrew's Church 125th Anniversary Flower Festival

Just received an e-mail from Rev Barry Carter at St Andrew's Church on Brockley Road about their forthcoming flower festival to celebrate the church's 125th anniversary:
This year St Andrew's is celebrating its 125th Anniversary with a Flower Festival. The theme of the Festival is 'Then and Now' and will run from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd September with a Service of Celebration on Sunday morning at 11 am. Alongside the Flower Festival, we hope to mount an exhibition of the history of the Church and its surrounding community and visitors will also be able to tour St Andrew's Community Centre and see examples of its work, especially with children and young people.

The Flower Festival and exhibitions will be open at the following times:
Friday 21st September 11am - 7 pm
Saturday 22nd September 11 am - 5 pm
Sunday 23rd September 10 am - 2 pm
Service of Celebration Sunday 23rd September at 11 am

London Assembly Campaign Launch

Today was the official launch of my campaign as Green Party candidate for Greenwich & Lewisham London Assembly constituency. The weather wasn't exactly on our side (someone joked that there was a good reason us Greens these days talk about climate change rather than global warming!), but nevertheless we did our launch on Ha'Penny Hatch Bridge, on the border between Greenwich & Lewisham. I was the Green Party candidate last time round and very much relish the opportunity to do it again, with a little more experience under my belt than last time round. With me in the photo above are Darren Johnson (Brockley councillor and London Assembly member) and Sian Berry, who is the Green Party candidate for Mayor of London.

Recycling Bin at Ladywell Station

I noticed en route back from the Climate Camp the other day that the recycling bin at Ladywell Station was jammed with paper and other rubbish, and that there was no general rubbish bin nearby. A blue rubbish bin has now been placed next to the recycling bin (thanks Sam for acting speedily on that) and officers are going to monitor the situation to see if a second paper bin is required, or if this will solve the problem.

(another possible contender for not exactly the most exciting blog post in the world, but there you go.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ladywell Planning Applications

There have been a number of planning applications submitted recently in Ladywell ward. These can all be viewed by going to the planning website and selecting 'Ladywell' in the drop-down menu for 'ward'. Amongst others, the following have been submitted:

DC/07/66231/FT: 105 Ladywell Road, London, SE13 7JA, The change of use of 105 Ladywell Road SE13 to Use Class A3 (Hot Food Take Away), together with the installation of an extract duct.

DC/07/66345/FT and DC/07/66080/FT : changes to the shopfront and signage at the chemist at 285-287 Brockley Road.

DC/07/65834/X The construction of a three storey, 2 bedroom ecohouse at Garage adjacent to, 10 Malyons Road SE13.

Any comments should be sent to planning, quoting the application number you are writing in connection with.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Armed only with Peer-reviewed Science

I went to the Camp for Climate Action yesterday and was pretty impressed. I took part in a march through the village of Sipson, one of the villages that would be flattened to make way for the proposed third runway at Heathrow and there was clear support for the protest from local residents, many of whom took part in the march.

In a photoshoot designed to take a swipe at all those suggesting the protestors were a bunch of ill-informed hippies hell-bent on violence, we stood behind a banner stating "we are armed . . . only with peer-reviewed science" and holding up copies of the Tyndall report on climate change.

I didn't take part in any of the non-violent direct action (NVDA), it all looked a bit scary to me with far too many mounted police and riot shields, and I had a wedding party to get back to in the evening, but I have admiration for those who did.

Interesting for me as a Lewisham councillor, was the number of Lewisham Council black wheelie bins in evidence around the site. They were being used very effectively to seperate reyclables from compost, whereas normally anything in the black wheelie bins is incinerated at SELCHP. Some of the bins were being used in the compost toilets.

A badly-researched article in The Times last week suggested that Lewisham Council had donated the wheelie bins to the camp. The council hastily denied this and there is apparently an internal investigation going on as to where the bins might have come from.

I like to think that Lewisham is a hot-bed of enviromental activism and these wheelie bins were simply 'borrowed' for a few days from the homes of climate campers who will be returning them clean and empty in a few days time. Time will tell. Maybe a bit of waste has even been diverted from the incinerator in the meantime?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Why I'll be taking part in the protests against airport expansion tomorrow

I'm getting up unusually early for me on a Sunday tomorrow, as I'm making my way up to Heathrow to the Climate Camp protests. Yes, I know, I'm doing climate camp lite, and haven't done the whole week camping in the field thing, but I couldn't get the week off work and I'm still cleaning the mud off from the Big Green Gathering (and that wasn't very muddy, I'm just slow to clean my things). Anyway, why I'm going to the protest:
  1. I'm angry at the ridiculous, hysterical coverage the camp has received in certain sectors of the press.
  2. It needs to be big, otherwise the aforementioned press will deem the protest a 'failure'.
  3. Aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases.
  4. We need to reduce our carbon emissions to 90% by 2030 to prevent the worst of climate change.
  5. More runways equals more planes equals more pollution and carbon emissions, which is incompatible with the above.
  6. Airport expansion will increase the noise pollution and air pollution in London, not to mention destroying villages to build the runway, car parks, departure lounges etc.
  7. Far too much of this country is already concreted over for cars - we don't need to concrete over even more for runways.
  8. Our government talks green but seems to think we can carry on with business as usual with just a little bit of tinkering rounds the edges (eg we can just keep producing and consuming more but as long as we recycle we'll be ok).
  9. A sizeable chunk of the population also seems to think the above and a worrying number of people still question the scientific consensus about climate change (perhaps because it is easier to pretend nothing needs to change?).
  10. Because I am sick of people saying "there's no point in us doing anything if China and India don't do anything" (d'oh! never heard of contraction and convergence? why should we consume vastly more carbon per capita than the Chinese?).
  11. Reducing your carbon footprint isn't some lifestyle choice that you can adopt for a few months until the next fad comes along.
  12. I want to show some solidarity with the protestors.
  13. Lots of my friends and fellow Greens will be there and it will be nice to see them.
  14. I'm curious, it should be inspiring and empowering.
  15. We have a democratic right to protest and I intend to use it, however intimidating the policing may be.
  16. Should some opportunist read this and decide to write to the local paper and say that I was swanning off protesting in north London and neglecting the people of Ladywell, it will give me a great opportunity to write a response summarising the above. ;)
  17. Lots of other reasons that don't spring to mind right now.
PS: Good article in today's Independent by Johann Hari.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bring bike-hire revolution to London

I mentioned in a previous post back in April about a new bike hire scheme called Bicing that is being rolled out in Barcelona. I was delighted to learn that the Mayor of London is considering a similar scheme, possibly integrated with the Oyster card. Rumour has it that when Greens first started to push this one a year or so ago he was only lukewarm, but when it was quietly suggested that he might want to get it into his manifesto 'before Boris did' he was more receptive to the idea ;).

While I'm in a swiping mood, isn't the Tory London Assembly member Brian Coleman missing the point slightly in having a go at Blue Peter's Connie Huq for taking part in the launch of London Freewheel? No doubt Ken Livingstone did get political mileage out of the press launch, but surely this bike ride is something that should be attracting cross-party support, or is Brian Coleman scared it may make it more difficult to get around by taxi on that day?!

Anyway, enough sniping from me, press release from Green London Assembly member Jenny Jones below.

Bring bike-hire revolution to London

Welcoming the Mayor of London’s announcement that he is considering a plan to introduce a London version of the bike-hire scheme that is revolutionising public transport in Europe’s major cities, Jenny Jones, Green Party London Assembly Member, has called for the scheme to be in place as soon as possible.

“I have been working to get support for a London wide bike hire system for the last 12 months, and am delighted that the Mayor is now considering such a scheme. A London scheme could be self-financing, or even profitable. But to make sure it gets off the ground within the next year I will make it part of my budget negotiations with the Mayor. Cities like Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Vienna and Oslo have all recent! ly introduced bike hire schemes, and have had huge success, with millions of hire trips being made in the first few months.”

“Because bikes are often the quickest and most sustainable way to travel in cities, it makes perfect sense to provide them as a new form of public transport, integrated with the Oyster car system, especially when the bikes can be used as part of a longer journey by bus, tube or train. The more people that we can encourage to cycle this way, the more pressure there will be to provide better cycling facilities and infrastructure, paving the way towards truly making London a cycling city.”


  • Jenny is the Mayor’s Green Transport Advisor
  • In Paris, the Velib scheme started last month, and already offers 700 bike stations with 10,000 bikes. When the scheme is fully rolled out, it will offer a total of 1,451 bike stations (compared to 298 tube stations in Paris), with 20,000 bikes. Bikes are free for the first 30 minutes, then prices rise afterwards.
  • In Barcelona, the Bicing scheme was launched in March, and offers 100 bike stations (with 1,500) bikes across the centre of the city. In 6 months, the cycles have already been used 1,000,000 times.
  • In Berlin, cycles are activated with an Oyster-card equivalent, then may be left on any street corner within the city centre.
  • Schemes (often linked to outdoor advertising) are also running in Lyon, Rennes, Seville, Cordoba, ! Giron, Brussels, Vienna and Oslo, soon to be joined by Marseilles, Mulhouse and Besançon.
  • London already has one small scheme – the Oybike scheme – but this is small scale and the only bike stations are in Hammersmith and Fulham. A London-wide scheme, with TfL backing, would be more effective.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lewisham '77

It is thirty years to the day since Lewisham residents came out in force to try and stop the National Front from marching through the borough. Although the march took place, the NF members were vastly outnumbered by local residents and anti-racist campaigners.
The official council commemoration of the events of '77 took place today with the unveiling of a plaque in front of a tree in Cornmill Gardens, which I attended.

Transpontine and friends have set up a blog, Lewisham '77, to share memories of the day and publicise other events planned.
I was only 3 years old when it all took place, and not living in Lewisham, but I am grateful to all those who stood their ground on that day and refused to let racists intimidate residents of the borough.

Lewisham Green Group LDF submission

Over the last few weeks I have been working with Dean and Mike to put together and submit a Green Group response to the public consulation on the Local Development Framework. It was a huge group of documents to digest and even though we restricted our response to certain key areas, it still ran to a fair few pages. Edited highlights of our response below, happy to send a full copy on request:

Housing and energy
  • 50% of new homes to be affordable housing, with developers obliged to open up their financial calculations to public scrutiny if they say they cannot afford to build 50% affordable homes for local people
  • New developments to be as close to zero-carbon as possible
  • Homes to reach ‘excellent’ instead of ‘very good’ energy efficiency standard – and targets to be set out as a guide to meeting government’s zero-carbon policy by 2016
  • Council to produce borough wind map so householders don’t waste money on wind turbines in unsuitable areas
  • Developers to use recycled construction materials and low-carbon materials

Business in our communities

  • Lewisham to be earmarked as a hub for the ecotech ‘green’ industries of the future, encouraging expertise, training and job creation in the borough through the establishment of a green business park or centre of excellence
  • Local parades and neighbourhood shopping areas recognised as vital community hubs and prioritised for help over ‘destination’ shopping and out-of-town shopping
  • Measures to stop multiple betting shops or other non-retail uses squeezing out vital shops and killing off local parades

Community composting / Waste

  • First choice for dealing with household waste would be neighbourhood re-use, recycling and community composting schemes like the popular Pepys estate project that turns local people’s kitchen waste into a valuable compost instead of sending it to a landfill site or to burn at the incinerator – such facilities would become commonplace in large developments
  • All homes to have dedicated space for recycling or composting

Biodiversity and natural assets

  • Trees felled as part of a development to be replaced and native hedgerows encouraged as boundaries and habitats
  • Lewisham from the air will become a patchwork of greenery and wildlife with 50% of new building roofspace as living roofs
  • Protection against building on backland, infill and garden sites
  • The council would use its compulsory purchase powers to buy land necessary to complete the Thames path and other river walks as close to the riverbanks as possible so our riverbanks are open to everyone to enjoy

Water / Floods

  • Developers would have to install water saving devices, water harvesting systems, living roofs, cisterns, water sinks and SUDS
  • Developers would have to build homes with safer power and water supplies in the case of flooding and design them to increase flood victims’ safety and comfort
  • Developers to underwrite flood insurance for 20 years from occupation
  • Local rivers would have naturalised flood defences and flood plains to lessen the danger from flash floods
  • A new rule discouraging the paving of gardens as driveways


  • The Council will actively support service improvements for orbital rail routes across south London
  • More home zones and 20mph zones identified to keep children safe
  • Easier for developers to build car-free developments
  • Active support for car clubs from council and developers
  • Cyclists’ needs prioritised and cycle improvements compulsory in new developments instead of token gestures

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Launch of Brockley Housing PFI

For all council tenants and leaseholders in the properties transferring to B3 (most council properties in Brockley and Ladywell wards and a couple of streets in Crofton Park). Hopefully you have already received an invitation through your door, but just in case:

Regenter B3 invites you to the launch of Brockley Housing PFI

Thursday August 16
2.30pm – 7.30pm
Drop in any time between times shown

St Andrew’s Community Centre
Brockley Road

Find out who Regenter B3 are and how the PFI affects you, including;
· Meet the team
· Meet your housing manager
· See an example kitchen and bathroom
· Meet the refurbishment team
· Ask questions
· Get involved with a Tenants Association
· Tell us what you think
· See the refurbishment program
· Ask about local community initiatives

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tetra Pak Recycling in Lewisham

I was pleased to learn today that special collection bins to recycle Tetra Paks are to be introduced to 5 sites in Lewisham.

Ruscombe Green blogged last year about a scheme whereby individuals could post their cartons back to Tetra Pak to recycle. More recently I found out about a scheme Tetra Pak are investing in to introduce recycling facilities into various local authorities . I contacted Lewisham's Strategic Waste & Environment Manager to ask if we could also apply for this, but she was already on the case!

The cartons can be recycled through special collection bins at 5 sites in the borough:- Sainsbury, New Cross Gate- Sainsbury, Forest Hill- Laurence House car park, Catford- Grove Park Bus Garage, Baring Road- Tesco, Lewisham. Hopefully a site a bit closer to Brockley or Ladywell will be added soon - by the existing recycling bins outside Brockley Sorting Office might be handy.

It's good that Tetra Pak are putting some money into this, and not before time. Perhaps it is a sign that the packaging industry as a whole is slowly waking up to its environmental responsibilities? A cynic would argue that it's great value PR for a highly profitable industry under increasing pressure to clean up its act.

It is probably still greener and less energy intensive to avoid Tetra Paks where possible, eg by getting your milk delivered in reusable glass bottles and getting bottles of Kent Apple Juice from Hilly Fields Farmers' Market as opposed to cartons of juice from the supermarket, but recycling Tetra Paks is still better than incincerating them, in my opinion (the more we can starve SELCHP, the better).

Further details, from the council's press release:
Each year, UK beverage carton manufacturers produce approximately 55,000 tonnes of paper-based cartons for milk, juice, sauces and other liquid foods/drinks. This equates to around 2.3kg of cartons per household which could be recycled instead of thrown in the rubbish bin. In response, Lewisham Council, in conjunction with Tetra Pak Ltd and the carton industry body ACE UK (Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment), has established carton collection points at key locations around the borough for residents to take their empty cartons to be recycled.

Once collected they can be taken away to be baled and transported to a recycling mill. They can be recycled into a number of different products, ranging from plasterboard liner to high-strength paper bags and envelopes.

Carton Recycling Process
Beverage cartons consist of up to three main materials:
Paperboard (typically 70-90%)
Low density polyethylene (typically 10-25%)
Aluminium foil (about 5%, only in long-life or aseptic packages)

The carton recycling process is essentially quite simple. Baled cartons are dropped into a pulper, similar to a giant domestic food mixer, filled with water and pulped for around 20 minutes. This delaminates the packaging, breaking down the package to produce a grey-brown slurry. The aluminium foil and polyethylene are separated from the fibre, which is recovered to make new paper products.

Wood fibres become shorter and lose some strength every time they are recycled, and can only be recycled about five times. This means that there always has to be an input of virgin material into the papermaking process to maintain quality.

The long, high-strength fibres of these cartons means there is a reduced need to buy virgin pulp. In the UK, the recovered fibre is used to manufacture new high-strength products such as paper carrier bags and envelopes.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

New Blog: Friends of Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries

Following our successful first meeting on 11th July, Patrick and Polly have set up a blog for the new group 'Friends of Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries'.

Please take a look, it's got lots of useful links, some great pictures from Polly, some history and info about famous people buried in the cemetery and details of the next meeting. Polly has also set up a flickr site with more photos.

Next meeting: Wednesday 8th August, 7.30pm, Brockley Grove Depot, ( on Brockley Grove, next to the cemeteries and opposite Crofton Baptist Church) All are welcome