Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Exciting projects for Ladywell

Last night’s well-attended Ladywell Assembly made further decisions on the £50k Mayor’s Fund so now all of it is allocated. The projects are:

· Ladywell Road Streetscape and Design Action Plan to investigate options for improvements (£10,000)
· Youth Activity and Coach Development Programme by Lewisham Community Sports for a one year scheme (£7,400)
· Youth Village project to offer recreational, social and educational activities for 13-19 year olds – seed funding for one year (£10,000)
· Hilly Fields (Francis Drake) Community Bowling Green to install a modern irrigation system for the green (£8,257)
· The Ahoy Centre working with the Ladywell Safer Neighbourhood Team for a project with young people that are at risk of offending, and a taster day at the sailing centre in Deptford for local young people (£3,090)
· Get the Message Mural Project to learn about painting murals as well as their public perception, and then create a mural in the local area (£4,965)
· AlertBox Scheme of local businesses on Ladywell Road working with the Safer Neighbourhood Team for an electronic neighbourhood watch scheme to reduce low-level crime and anti-social behaviour (£6,288)

These projects will now be submitted to Mayor & Cabinet in October and November for final approval. I think all of them will make lasting improvements in the area in their different ways and am really looking forward to seeing them happen.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Improvements in Ladywell - Assembly to decide on Tuesday

£50k of council funding (“Mayor’s Fund”) are available this year for improvements in Ladywell ward, and decisions about the projects this money should be spent on are made by the Ladywell Assembly. At its last meeting in June, the Assembly approved two proposals – an urban design streetscape project for Ladywell Road (£10k) and an activity and leadership scheme for young people (£7.4k). These proposals are going to be submitted to Mayor & Cabinet in October for final approval.

Over the summer, more work has been done on a range of other proposals for the remainder of the Mayor’s Fund (£32.6k), and these are going to be presented to the Assembly on 22 September for a decision on funding. There is going to be an opportunity to ask questions about the projects and activities before the vote. At the last Assembly lots of good and very searching questions were asked, and the proposers clearly felt that they were thoroughly “grilled” in the process. Hopefully the forthcoming Assembly will be equally engaged and informative – as there are more projects than funding is available, the Assembly will face some tough decisions. So please come along, join the debate and take part in the decision-making – it is open to anyone who lives, works or studies in the ward so it doesn’t matter whether you have attended previous assemblies or not. Please encourage young people to come as well as one of the priorities is youth provision.

The list of proposals includes different programmes of activities aimed at older teenagers, a safety scheme for local shops, cultural activities, a tree planting scheme and a graffiti workshop. All proposals approved by the Assembly will then be submitted to Mayor & Cabinet for final approval.

Proposals for the annual Locality Fund of £10,000 are still welcome. The criteria for the Locality Fund are more flexible as it does not have to be spent on the ward priorities. Please contact me for further information.

There will also be an opportunity to meet the new Sergeant of the local Safer Neighbourhood Team and some of his colleagues, and you can find out what’s happening locally from the community updates with news from local groups and anyone wishing to share information about the area.

The meeting is going to take place on Tuesday, 22 September from 7-9pm in the modern science block of Prendergast School on Adelaide Avenue, SE4 1JL.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ladywell Big Bulb Plant: Sunday 11th October

Ladywell Village Improvement Group (LVIG) are organising another planting session on Sunday 11th October. The aim is to perk up the planters (which are starting to look a bit sorry for themselves) and put some bulbs in them, so they look good over the Winter and in the Spring. LVIG have been given 250 free bulbs by the Big Bulb Plant (organised by the same people as were behind the Big Lunch).

At LVIG's meeting on Wednesday there was lots of discussion about possible streetscape improvements, as well as the planting day and plans for the Christmas market. Planning for the Christmas Market is still at fairly early stages, but the tentative date set is for 12th December.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lots happening locally this weekend

Just a quick post to flag up a few of the many events happening locally over the weekend.

1) London Open House: loads of buildings that aren't normally open to the public are open this weekend, including 13 in Lewisham. The one I'm particularly keen to go and visit is the self-build house on Walters Way, Honor Oak, which has been eco-retrofitted by the same builder who did my insulation. I've heard lots about it so I'm keen to see the finished product.

2) Lewisham Green Party Action Saturday: not quite so well known as Open House, but important to us, it mostly involves shoving lots of newsletters through doors, with a dash of door-knocking for those who are up for it, followed by food and frivolities in the evening. New volunteers always welcome; we've just taken delivery of our Autumn newsletter, which is to go out to homes across Lewisham Deptford constituency, and would welcome as much help as possible delivering them. Just turn up at 202 Malpas Road, SE4 1DH from 10am onwards.

3) Mike's 50th birthday party: this is invitation only, but I just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my fellow ward councillor.

4) Folkus Festival, Saturday 19th Septmber, 12pm-12am, Sanford Housing Co-op, Sanford Walk New Cross SE146NB. "BANDS, ART, FILM, PERFORMANCE, COMMUNITY, DISCUSSIONS. Some of you will know about Sanford Housing Co-Op…a little oasis in New Cross with a newly built, award-winning bikeshed/recycle-stage made from railway sleepers, beautiful gardens and communal housing for urban nomads of all descriptions.

This year sees the return of the Sanford annual celebration. For the last 30 years Sanford has staged a free, inclusive community event that is renowned for promoting great music and art as well as co-operative/sustainable living. "

(Incidentally, there was also a great write up in today's Guardian on the work Sanford Housing Co-op have done to reduce their carbon emissions.)

5) Lewisham Country Fayre: Sunday 20th September. For the third year running, this popular event is taking place in Cornmill Gardens, from 12-6pm.

6) Also on Sunday, but a bit further afield in Herne Hill, the Urban Green Fair is taking place in Burgess Park, 11am-7pm. There are usually a huge range of stalls, talks and events showcasing the best in green business, community groups etc, and entirely powered by the wind and sun. Transition Lewisham are having a stall there, and a couple of people who were involved in Brockley Max are also attending, with a view to organising a Lewisham Sustainability Fair in the Spring.

7) And finally, on Sunday, Lewisham Green Party members are likely to be humiliated by the superior forces of Greenwich Green Party's 'petanque' team, in Twinkle Park in Deptford. If you know your boules, please do come and join us, meeting at 4pm in the Dog and Bell!

UPDATE: I forgot the big central London bike ride formerly known as Freewheel, now rather crassly named after its sponsor. Anyway, still a good event regardless of the sponsor. This Sunday, details here. There is a feeder ride leaving Ladywell Fields at 10.15am I believe.

Road Resurfacing Programme: Brookbank Road is top of the list (hurray!)

Highways have now posted up onto the Council's website their proposed resurfacing programme for the remainder of this municipal year. Phase 1, which included Eastern Road, has now been completed, and top of the list for phase 2, is Brookbank Road. This is good news as Brookbank Road has been in an appalling condition for a number of months now, as residents are all too aware (it deteriorated after the bad weather back in January). As councillors we can and do flag up residents' concerns about the state of roads, but the decision is ultimately taken by the Mayor, based on highways officers' advice, which in turn is based on a condition survey they carry out of the roads each year.

Hilly Fields Crescent, a section of Ladywell Road and parts of Harefield Road and Tressillian Road are also on the list. Unfortunately, the lower part of Tressillian Road, leading down to St Margaret's Road, is not on the list, although it has been in a terrible state for a number of years now. I suspect this is because it is not on the 484 bus route, which a number of the other roads being resurfaced are, which bumps it up the priority list.

Not as many roads on the list as I would like to have seen, but quite a chunk of them are around Brockley and Ladywell, and highways officers are well aware of the poor state of a lot of the roads in the conservation area.

Recent Mayor & Cabinet Decisions pertinent to Ladywell and Brockley

There were a number of decisions taken at Wednesday's Mayor & Cabinet meeting that I thought worth drawing to local residents' attention.

Streetscape improvements on cards for Brockley and Ladywell?
Item 6 of the agenda was about proposals for Lewisham's Local Implementation Plan (LIP), which is the plan for how to spend money allocated from Transport for London (TfL) within the borough.

I'm pleased that the proposals include funding ear-marked both for Ladywell Road and Brockley Road. The Ladywell proposals include the long overdue 'toucan' crossing on the east side of Ladywell Bridge, to make it easier for cyclists to get onto the Waterlink Way path (Lewisham Cyclists and local residents have been calling for this for years) as well as (hopefully) the chance to get the bigger streetscape improvements on Ladywell Road that Ladywell Society and more recently Ladywell Village Improvement Group (LVIG) have been calling for.

I know that representatives from LVIG have already had early discussions with highways with a view to ensuring that this is a community led project, rather than a highways consultation imposed from above, and we will be keeping a watching brief to ensure that remains the case. You may recall that the last Ladywell ward assembly allocated £10k of its money to fund urban design work to develop plans to improve Ladywell Road, so we now need to work with highways officers and LVIG to see how that can best be spent.

The proposals for Brockley include works around Brockley Cross area and the station, but also Brockley Road itself from Brockley Cross to Adelaide Avenue, though it's not clear exactly what shape these works will take yet, and whether it will just be the roads, or also the pavements and wider streetscape issues that get addressed. As a Ladywell ward councillor, I'm particularly interested in the stretch of Brockley Road from the junction with Wickham Road to Adelaide Avenue, but I suspect my colleagues in Brockley will be keeping a close eye on proposals for Brockley Cross and Coulgate Street.

You can read the report in full here (p9-12 have the Brockley and Ladywell details). Also worth noting are the significant sums involved in repairing and maintaining Victorian bridges within the borough, including a massive £500k to re-waterproof Ladywell bridge.

Youth Provision and 'Myplace' Funding
In another item on the Mayor & Cabinet agenda, which is disappointing for Ladywell (but positive for Sydenham) is the decision to focus the Council's bid for 'Myplace' funding for a youth centre in Sydenham Wells Park, rather than the project they had previously considered to bring Ladywell Playtower back into use. The report states:

"The proposed site for a Myplace application was identified through an analysis of current youth service provision, levels of deprivation, teenage pregnancy rates, anti-social behaviour and crime hotspots, and ongoing engagement with young people and key stakeholders.
6.2 Based on this, two sites came to the fore for potential development: the Playtower site in Ladywell and Wells Park Youth Hall in Sydenham. An exploration of these options concluded that a redevelopment of the Ladywell Playtower as a youth centre would not align with cross-Council strategies, and as a Grade II listed building, would prove too costly to refurbish."

The question now of course remains what will happen to Ladywell Playtower, when, and will some kind of community use be retained?

Gordonbrock Primary Rebuild
This was in the confidential part of the meeting as it was dealing with contracts and commercially sensitive data, so I can't say too much, but plans are proceeding with the proposed rebuild, with a view to decanting the school, and starting works in January, assuming all planning permissions and the decant site are ready by then. Part of the reasoning behind the rebuild is to increase it from 2.5 form entry to 3 form entry. My understanding is that one of the existing Victorian buildings will be incorporated into the new design.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Brockley Mess - new cafe opened today on Brockley Road

I'm writing this from inside Brockley Mess - the new cafe that has opened today on Brockley Road, in what used to be Moonbow Jakes. I'm really impressed with what they've done with the place - it used to be rather dark and dingy (which suited Moonbows, as it was more of an evening, live music kind of place), but now it's all light and airy, with great colourful tiles and wallpaper, and some huge old black and white photos on the wall (one is of Brockley County School, what is now Prendergast Hilly Fields and the other is of South East London Technical College - Lewisham College as now is).

Brockley Mess is run by the people behind Royal Teas in Greenwich and there is definitely more of an emphasis on food and the day time trade than Moonbows (they're currently only planning to open until 7pm, but might open later at the weekend if demand is there). There are not one but SIX types of cake, all baked on the premises, including a delicious gluten-free and vegan orange one which I tried. They also do a wide range of all day breakfasts, platters to share and even cream teas!

Oh and they have wi-fi (hence I'm writing this now).

I don't normally do quite such shameless plugs for businesses on this blog, but when Moonbows closed it left a gaping hole on this stretch of Brockley Road so I'm really delighted that we've now got a worthy replacement and I wish Brockley Mess every success.

PS: A big thank you to Lewisham town centre manager Liz Bannister who I believe played a role in this all happening.
PPS:It also looks like something will be opening soon in the former Brockley Kitchen site, which will hopefully be one less empty shop a bit further up the road too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Introducing Charlotte . . .

I'm not long back from a well-attended local party meeting where we selected the first of our council candidates for the May 2010 elections. Here in Ladywell, Mike is standing down, sadly, but Ute and I are standing again.

I'm delighted to introduce Charlotte Dingle as our third candidate for Ladywell. Charlotte lives in the ward and has been an active local Green Party member for some time. In her day job she is the editor of a magazine for lesbian and bisexual women and her hobbies include morris dancing, drawing and playing the guitar. She also has a keen interest in animal rights. If elected, I suspect she may well be Lewisham's first vegan, morris-dancing councillor!

Anyway, you should hopefully see lots more of Charlotte and the rest of our Ladywell team as we try to get out and speak to as many residents as possible over the next few months (it's no mean feat trying to speak to 10,000 people, as well as juggle ongoing council responsibilities). Charlotte will also be posting on this blog too.

Mike will of course be continuing to play a full and active role as Ladywell councillor until next May (and almost certainly long after that through his involvement with many local community groups). Hopefully we will still be able to bend his ear for expert advice on all things ecology-related and I'm sure he will still regularly be seen cleaning off graffiti in and around the ward.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Reminder: Councillor Surgery this Saturday in NEW VENUE

Just a quick reminder, further to my post back in July, that our regular surgery on the 2nd Saturday of the month will, from this Saturday be in Hilly Fields Medical Centre rather than the Old Bothy on Hilly Fields. We are hoping that this will be more comfortable and accessible for residents (and us!) over the colder months.

So, 11am-midday, 2nd Saturday of the month, Ladywell Ward Councillors' Surgery, Hilly Fields Medical Centre, 172 Adelaide Avenue, SE4 1JN. Just ask at the main reception and they will direct you, We will probably be in room 6 just around the corner from reception.

Our other surgery, at St Andrew's Church, on the 4th Saturday of the month, remains unaffected.

Do come along if you have any queries about Council services that you would like to raise with us. Alternatively, you can as always e-mail or call us (contact details in the top right-hand box on this page - hover the cursor over our names for e-mail addresses).