Friday, November 28, 2008

Endangered Species: TV Repair People

Just had someone come to repair my TV. Embarrassingly, although the TV hadn't worked in weeks and weeks for me, when he arrived the damn thing worked and the only problem was with the remote. So I felt a bit stupid, but we did have an interesting conversation about how his trade was all but being wiped out by TV manufacturers making their TVs a) with built-in obsolescence b) using circuit boards that were soldered together in such a way that they couldn't be repaired in a workshop and c) the fact that it is cheaper to buy a new TV than the spare parts to repairs it.

Crazy economics, which we all end up bearing the brunt of a) when we have to buy a new TV 6 months after the guarantee goes on the existing one and b) when the Council has to use taxpayers money to dispose of the thousands of TVs that are thrown away when they could/should be repaired. The TV repair person meanwhile goes out of business and shiploads of Western countries' TVs get shipped off to some developing country to deal with.

The chirpily-named European WEE directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive) was supposed to address this, and maybe it will, but I don't think we are quite there yet. There still doesn't seem to be enough of a financial incentive for manufacturers to make electrical goods that are both built to last and repairable.

Meanwhile, if anyone wants their TV repaired, I can pass on the details of the repairman I used, who lives locally.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ladywell Christmas Market: Saturday 13th December

Final preparations are now underway for Ladywell's (first ever?) Christmas Market. The event is being organised by Ladywell Village Improvement Group in partnership with City and Country Farmers Market, the people who organise the monthly market on Hilly Fields. So, instead of going up the hill to the market on 13th December, go to Railway Terrace (Ladywell Train Station) for a festive market, with a number of arts and crafts stalls as well as festive food, a school choir, and the switching on of the Christmas lights.

Ladywell Village Improvement Group still have a few stalls available for any local artists, craftspeople and traders who want to take part in this community event. Please contact Sophie Elder if you or any of your family or friends might be interested in having a stall, and she will send you details of how to book.

I'm really pleased this event is going ahead and I know loads of work has been put in by members of LVIG to make it happen.

Licensing Application: The Rose Corner 255A Algernon Rd London SE13 7AG

The florist on Algernon Road has applied for a license to sell alcohol.

Please be advised that the following premise has applied for a NEW / VARIATION Premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003.

The Rose Corner
255A Algernon Road
SE13 7AG

Applied for sale of alcohol off the premises Monday – Saturday 09:00 – 17:30.

Any representations should be sent to the Licensing Team by 15th December 2008:
Licensing team
Laurence House, 2nd Floor Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, Catford SE6 4RU
Tel: 020 8314 6400

Monday, November 24, 2008

Next Meeting of Hilly Fields Users' Group: 2nd December, 7.30pm

Rachel from Hilly Fields Park Users Group has sent the agenda for their next meeting. Unfortunately it clashes both with Ladywell Society and a Council overview & scrutiny meeting, so not sure if I will make it, but they would welcome a few more people getting involved:

Tuesday 2nd December 2008
7.30pm, in the Park Keeper’s Offi ce by toilet block at top of the hill

1. Introduction
2. Apologies
3. Minutes of last meeting
4. Maintenance and Repairs
  • Tennis Courts
  • Playground
  • Park furniture/Notice boards
  • Footpaths
  • Trees
  • Grass/meadow
  • Boundary Planting/Hedging
5. Bird Champion
6. Development Issues
  • Management Plan
  • Kyrle Memorial Garden
  • Playground update
  • Changing Places Grant: incl requirements for group
  • Bowling Green
7. Envirowork/Bothy Update
8. Lewisham Community Sports
9. Website Progress
10. Cafe
11. Dogs
12. Eastern Road Gate
13. Any Other Business
14. Date of next meeting

ALL WELCOME come and get involved

Monday, November 17, 2008

E.ON: No New Coal

Someone e-mailed me this, and while I don't normally copy and past things wholesale into my blog posts, in this case I thought I would make an exception! I'm not generally a big fan of bombing either, but google-bombing sounds like fun!

Power company E.ON is hoping to build the first new coal-fired power station in the UK for a generation on the site of its present station at Kingsnorth in Kent. At a time of climate crisis, it's an obscenity.

They've been the targets of all kinds of action, from last summer's Camp for Climate Action, to a series of smaller action on April 1st (Fossil Fools Day), to a wave of recruitment fair actions, with more action coming up at the end of this month.

One easy, comfy action can happen from this computer you're looking at. The tactic is called google-bombing.

The more links to a site, the higher it climbs in Google rankings. So, if enough people make the word 'Eon' link to the No New Coal site, pretty soon it'll top the list of anyone searching for Eon. (This tactic was successfully used a few years ago to make 'swivel-eyed loons' link to UKIP).

Two weeks ago wasn't in the top 50 sites when searching for Eon. As I write this it's already number 13.

So a simple online action can help us get our electronic placards in their face without getting out on the cold winter streets.

If you have a website, blog, myspace, bebo, forum account, etc then please place a link to

Ideally you write 'eon' and place a hyperlink to from that text.

Anyone can do this! Blog comments/forums are easiest. Good websites are most effective.

If you're wondering what else to write, you could copy or edit this.

To get a top 10 google ranking probably won't be to hard, but to pip E.ON to the top will require a lot of effort so tell your friends, consider putting this simple action in your newsletters, spread the word online...


* 1. It works best if you mention Eon several times in an article. The correct poncy spelling is E.ON so include that a few times too, but most people will probably just search for Eon.

* 2. If you are posting the link in a blog post then put Eon in the title and the tags.

* 3.The more important the site the more kick gets from the link.

* 4. If you are really determined then consider setting up a fake site like the EON Corporate Social Responsibility blog that way you can link loads of times to from a site that is very relevent!

* 5. Why not take this is seriously as a real world action and forward it to people with green blogs/campaign groups etc?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ladywell Village Improvement Group Meeting next Wednesday (19th Nov)

Just a quick link to the Ladywell Village Improvement Group's blog, which has details of their meeting this coming Wednesday, 19th November, 7.30pm, at St Mary's Centre, Ladywell Road. Items on the agenda include the Ladywell Christmas Market, which is hopefully happening outside the station on 12th December, details of the streetscape report their members have put together, with views on how to improve Ladywell Road, and they also have Malcolm Smith, Executive Director of Regeneration at Lewisham Council coming along.

Ask Joan Ruddock MP to oppose Heathrow Expansion

The Campaign for Better Transport are one of a large number of organisations campaigning against the expansion of Heathrow Airport. They are asking people to write to their MP urging them to sign an early day motion against Heathrow Expansion. Joan Ruddock hasn't signed it yet, and I don't expect she will, as a minister, but I'm sure it won't hurt for local residents concerned about climate change, air pollution and noise pollution to make their views known to her.

Sarah in Palestine

Sarah, a friend who lives and works in Lewisham and who I know through Lewisham Oxfam Campaigns, is currently in Palestine - part holiday, part study and volunteering. She is writing a blog which can be found here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ladywell Lodge Saved from UPVC Attack!

The picture above is of Ladywell Lodge, Dressington Avenue, one of the remaining buildings from the Ladywell Infirmary, part of the Bermondsey Workhouse which occupied a large swathe of land in Ladywell at the beginning of the last century ( the whole area where Dressington Avenue, Slagrove Place etc are now). It's Council-owned and comes under the Brockley PFI housing area (part of it is residential and the rest is Abbey Manor College).

It's not in a conservation area and so, in accordance with the terms of their contract, Regenter B3 applied to replace the existing wooden sash windows with UPVC ones. Residents, Ladywell Society and Ute and I all objected on the grounds that it was a historically and architecturally important local building and that the UPVC windows would be out of keeping.

I'm delighted to have learnt today that Lewisham Planning agreed with us and have turned the application down on the following grounds:

"the windows proposed, by reason of their material, would be inappropriate to the appearance of the building and would fail to respect the period and architectural characteristics of the building, contrary to Policies URB 3 Urban Design and URB 6 Alterations and Extensions in the adopted Unitary Development Plan (July 2004)".

Personally, I think the building may be a candidate for listing by English Heritage, though I imagine it has been altered quite significantly inside.

So another small victory in the ongoing battle led by Ladywell Society and leaseholders against UPVCisation of Ladywell by Lewisham Council. The leaseholders I've had contact with in the building are delighted. The downside is that the work that will now be carried out to these properties as part of the Brockley PFI Decent Homes programme will not achieve as high standards of thermal efficiency as other properties in the PFI area.

This isn't because it is impossible, or against planning law etc, but because it costs more and the limitations of the PFI contract as agreed between Lewisham and Regenter B3 mean that residents in Victorian properties in the conservation area and properties such as this are only getting their windows over-hauled and draught-proofed, not wooden framed double glazing as they could get. As in most cases they are solid brick walls, not cavity, they are also not getting wall insulation, so besides loft insulation, the improvements the Council is making to the thermal efficiency of these homes, is pretty minimal compared to others in the PFI programme.

It is shocking that in the 1500-page PFI contract, so little attention was paid to how to improve the thermal efficiency of the conservation area and Victorian properties, which form a significant part of the PFI area. I think the Council needs to look again at this, and consider whether it could installing wooden-framed double glazing or at the very least secondary glazing for these homes over the next few years, and, when homes are redecorated or relet, installing internal wall insulation to bring them up to reasonable standards of energy efficiency.

Better still, these issues need to be taken on board at a regional level, by the Mayor of London, and at a national level, by the Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Energy. By all means start with a programme to roll out free cavity wall and loft insulation to all those homes that can have it - it would achieve the biggest bang for your buck in the short term (Green Party policy, not yet government policy), but we also need to start thinking about the 40% or so of London homes that are solid wall Victorian properties - more of a challenge, but key to reducing London's carbon emissions. So if you happen to be reading this, Ed Milliband, I suspect the conservation area tenants in Brockley PFI would love to be in a pilot scheme for improving the thermal efficiency of Victorian Conservation Area Council housing . . .

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Missing Street Trees 2

This morning I met up with one of the borough's two tree officers for a walkabout around Abbotswell Road, Henryson Road, Elsiemaud Road and around there to look at where trees have been removed and whether they can be replanted. I went clutching my list of missing street trees, as collated during my leafletting a couple of weeks back.

Hopefully we should be getting some more trees in Abbotswell, Francemary and other streets that have had trees removed, but in most cases not until next year now. A few trees are being planted this year, including 4 very soon in Arthurdon Road, but there is likely to be more planting next year, once the survey is complete. Unfortunately we also discovered a tree on Henryson Road that needs to be removed fairly promptly as it could be in danger of falling (outside 28 Henryson Road).

The borough's arboricultural team have a new mapping system and over the past year, alongside their regular maintenence work, they have been surveying and mapping all the trees in the borough. There are all being prioritised 1,2 or 3 in terms of how urgently they need attention. They are also mapping missing street trees, potential sites for new trees and scanning for under-pavement wiring which influences where trees can be planted. It seems that most of the borough besides Ladywell has now been mapped and they hope to finish the process (including Ladywell) by the end of the year. They are dealing with the priority one trees first (in danger of falling etc), then will start to replant some of those that are missing, alongside doing regular maintenence on the existing trees.

They plan to move towards contractors removing, stump grinding and replanting trees all at once, rather than just removing the tree and possibly, maybe, coming back to replace it at some indefinite point in the future. They are also looking at planting a wider variety of species than the ubiquitous ornamental cherry trees. As well as being everywhere, not having a particularly high value in terms of biodiversity and having a relatively short lifespan, their roots also play havoc with pavements (as anyone who has ever walked along Chudleigh Road could verify).

I also asked about whether Lewisham would be getting any street trees from the Mayor of London's much hyped scheme, and it is likely that we will, but the borough doesn't get to choose where, although it is looking likely that they will be in the northern part of the borough (Deptford/New Cross).

Monday, November 03, 2008

Off-Licence Application on Loampit Hill

Licensing have received the following application for a NEW / VARIATION Premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003.

AJ Food
10 Loampit Hill
SE13 7SW

Applied for sale of Alcohol Off the premises Monday – Sunday 08:00 – 23:00

Any representations should reach the Licensing Team by 28th November 2008. E-mail: or post to: Licensing team, Laurence House, 2nd Floor Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, Catford SE6 4RU. Tel: 020 8314 6400

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Yellow Lines Consultation!

Lewisham Council is consulting on proposals to install yellow lines at various sites across Lewisham, including a number within Ladywell ward. A number of these proposals are in direct response to enquiries we have made on behalf of residents (eg St Margaret's Road) and I know that ARRA (Algernon Road Residents Association) have been concerned at the safety risks posed by parking on the junction with Ellerdale Street.

Of course this is all part of a thinly-disguised plan by the Greens to ban cars from the borough by stealth, by gradually removing all parking spaces (joke). We have already got double yellow lines painted on the bend in Gillian Street and Marsala Road, but this is just the start! Seriously though, below are the proposals and the details of who to write to with any concerns.

ALGERNON ROAD, (a) west side, from a point 2 metres north of the south wall of No. 40 Ellerdale Street to a point 5 metres south of Ellerdale Street; and (b) east side, from a point 5 metres south of the north wall of No. 35 Ellerdale Street to a point 5 metres north of Ellerdale Street.
ARTHURDON ROAD, both sides, within 10 metres of Chudleigh Road.
BROOKBANK ROAD, south side, within 10 metres west and 5 metres east of Embleton Road
CHUDLEIGH ROAD, (a) north-west side, from a point 5 metres south-west of Gordonbrock Road to a point 2 metres north-east of the common boundary of Nos. 66 and 68 Chudleigh Road; and (b) south-east side, from the common boundary of Nos. 105 and 107 Chudleigh Road to a point 10 metres north-east of Dressington Avenue.
DRESSINGTON AVENUE, both sides, within 10 metres of Chudleigh Road.
ELLERDALE STREET, (a) north side, from the common boundary of Nos. 62 and 64 Ellerdale Street to the common boundary of Nos. 58 and 60 Ellerdale Street; (b) north side, from the common boundary of Nos. 40 and 42 Ellerdale Street to a point 10 metres east of Algernon Road; (c) south side, from the common boundary of Nos. 59 and 61 Ellerdale Street to the common boundary of Nos. 55 and 57 Ellerdale Street; and (d) south side, from the common boundary of Nos. 37 and 39 Ellerdale Street to the common boundary of Nos. 33 and 35 Ellerdale Street.
EMBLETON ROAD, (a) west side, within 5 metres of Brookbank Road; (b) west side, within 10 metres north and 5 metres south of Ellerdale Street; (c) east side, within 10 metres of Brookbank Road; (d) east side, within 5 metres north and 10 metres south of Ellerdale Street.
FOXBERRY ROAD, (a) north-east side, within 14 metres north-west and 6.5 metres south-east of Haxcourt Road; and (b) south-west side, within 6 metres north-west and 12.5 metres south-east of Howson Road.
GORDONBROCK ROAD, both sides, within 10 metres of Chudleigh Road.
HOWSON ROAD, (a) north-west side, within 11 metres of Foxberry Road; and (b) south-east side, within 12 metres of Foxberry Road.
MALYONS ROAD, east side, within 5 metres of each side of the access road leading to Keswick Court.
ST. MARGARET’S ROAD, all sides, within 6 metres west of the west boundary of No. 2 St. Margaret’s Road (on the west side of the road closure barrier).
SOMERSET GARDENS, (a) north-west side, from the common boundary of Nos. 2 and 3 Somerset Gardens to the common boundary of Nos. 3 and 4 Somerset Gardens; and (b) south-east side, from the common boundary of Nos. 2 and 3 Somerset Gardens to the common boundary of No. 18 and Nos. 19 to 30 Somerset Gardens.

Documents giving more detailed particulars of the order can be inspected between the hours of 10am. and 4pm. on Mondays to Fridays until the last day of a period of six weeks beginning with the date on which the order is made (22/10/08) or, as the case may be, the Council decides not to make the order, at the office of Lewisham Highways Development, Wearside Service Centre (Fleet Building 1st floor), Wearside Road, Ladywell, London, SE13.

If you have any enquiries about the order, please telephone the Council’s agents in this matter: Project Centre Limited on 0207 430 6903.

Any objection or other representation relating to the order must be made in writing and any objection must specify the grounds on which it is made. Any such objection or representation must be sent, quoting reference ‘PCL/TMO/HG’, to the Council’s agents in this matter, at the following address: Project Centre, Saffron Court, 14b St Cross Street, London EC1N 8XA, to arrive not later than 21 days from the latest date of publication of this notice (that is by 12th November 2008.) Any objection may be communicated to other persons who may be affected.

Could this be my most exciting blog post ever?!