Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No surgery on 26 December

The surgery at St Andrew's Church which would be scheduled to take place on 26 December (the fourth Saturday of the month) is not going to take place. The next surgery is on 9 January at Hilly Fields Medical Centre on Ladywell Road, the next surgery at St Andrew's is on 23 January, both from 11am - 12noon.

In case of emergencies over the festive period please call the council's switchboard on 020 8314 6000.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hilly Fields Playground Plans - update

Rachel from Hilly Fields Users’ Group has posted an update on their website about how plans for the playground are progressing, and reports that if all goes well work should start on site at the end of January.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Transition Brockley - end of year update

I've just received the following end of year report from Transition Brockley. It's pretty impressive to see what they've already done in the first 8 months. Local people just getting on with things and preparing their community for a low carbon future, without waiting for politicians to get their act together.

After the depressing news from Copenhagen this weekend, in which the US and its cohorts effectively condemned the world to catastrophic climate change, there's a stark contrast and it's a small light in what otherwise makes for a rather gloomy state of global affairs right now!

End of year update for Transition Brockley/Lewisham.

We had our first meeting in April of this year and can report that we have:

* FILM SHOWINGS: hosted a couple of film events at St.Andrews Church in Brockley and Manor House Library in Lee showing the Power of Community and A Farm for the Future as well as couple of short films about Transition Towns Totnes and Brockley to highlight the importance of moving away from reliance on fossil fuels and how urban sustainable food-growing is possible;

* VISIONING: had people contributing many ideas about how they envision a future low-carbon and community friendly Brockley at film showings and the Flux event (see below);

* REDUCING CARBON FOOTPRINT: discussed our own small steps to reduce our carbon footprint and build our resilience to peak oil. Assisted by the 3 Tonne Handbook and the 10-10 campaign;

* COMMUNITY VEGETABLE PLOT: helped with the setting up of a vegetable garden at St Saviour's Church, one of the 2012 community food growing spaces to be created by the year 2012 under the Capital Growth scheme;

* FRENDSBURY GARDENS: supported this community garden with their successful application for funding to continue to be able to provide the facilities for giving courses in all aspects of sustainable growing and to increase its wildlife habitat;

* FLUX: held a very successful awareness raising and fun evening at the Brockley Social Club with a magician, live band, DJs, swopshop, wheel of fortune and other visioning activities on a transition theme. It was a real community event with all ages enjoying the fun! We look forward to the next one....;

* THE WAVE: taken part as TT Brockley / Lewisham (with banner!) in the Wave, climate change march on Saturday 5th December; and

* ORCHARD: supported an initiative of local Brockley residents with plans for an orchard in an overgrown plot behind their flats. The ground has been cleared, soil has been taken for testing, and, together with the London Orchard Project, they will be planting trees in the spring.


* 9carrots: Various local businesses have joined the 9carrots scheme, whereby they pledge to put aside 10% of the money they take from 9carrots customers for an upgrade to make their business more energy efficient. The scheme really NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT, so do tell your friends and if you can, go along and spend with them and say you would like a 9carrots voucher. This will help them to achieve their target and also support our local businesses. Signed up so far are:

* The Shop On The Hill, 7a Harefield Road
* The Broca Food Market, 209-211 Mantle Road
* Mr Lawrence Wine Bar, 391 Brockley Road
* Royal Tandoori, 387 Brockley Road
* EXP Chinese Experience, 390 Brockley Road

If you know of any businesses who would like to join the scheme, feel free to sign them up (contact us for details).

* GLOBAL ACTION PLAN: We organised for GAP (an independent charity which advises business on energy saving measures) to visit a couple of local small businesses to discuss how they might make energy savings, and help them survive the current economic downturn. The visits were welcomed and the businesses have asked GAP to return to work with them in the new year.

* BEEKEEPING: With the invaluable help of our local beekeeper, Camilla, we have sparked off a substantial increase in the number of beehives being set up in the area, following two 'veils-on' sessions with buzzing bees and a film showing of The Mysterious Bee. There has been a huge interest in beekeeping in response to the worrying decline of the rural bee and the (by contrast) fortunate good health of the urban bee.

* PERMACULTURE COURSES: Courses (for individuals) in sustainable growing using permaculture principles are planned for the spring and being organised with Frendsbury Gardens. Negotiations are also under way for permaculture courses to be held for Lewisham's Envirowork, and Glendale, the council's parks and gardens maintenance team, have expressed interest.

* SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES ACT: The proposal Transition Brockley submitted to increase the Government fund for grants towards renewable energy installations (the Low Carbon Building Programme) has been shortlisted by the LGA for review by the Secretary of State, who will decide whether to recommend this proposal for acceptance by the Government.

* TRANSITION SYDENHAM: Alona from our group has started up a Transition Sydenham initiative with a meeting at the end of November. This group will focus on two garden-related topics: a) twinning underused gardens with gardeners who want a growing space, and b) community gardens for growing food. A meeting in January 2010 will plan in more detail what the group can do and the next steps to take.

Let us know if we've missed anything. We look forward to seeing you in the new year.

As we'd like to support local venues, our NEXT MEETING will be at the recently opened Orchard bar/kitchen, 5 Harefield Road, Brockley at 8.00pm, Thursday 21 January.

Happy Christmas!

Alex, Alona, Fran, Katie

If you aren't already on the Transition Lewisham e-mail list, you can sign up here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Should Ladywell have a conservation area?

Lewisham Planning Department is consulting residents in Ladywell about whether or not a Ladywell Conservation Area should be introduced. The area between the leisure centre and the railway bridge is already part of St Mary's Conservation area, and the area from halfway up Adelaide Avenue comes under Brockley Conservation area, but the main streets in Ladywell, such as Algernon Road, Algiers Road, Veda Road, Embleton Road, Ermine Road and Ladywell Road are not currently in a conservation area. It is this area that is currently being consulted.

One of the main differences between living in a conservation area or not is that planning regulations for conservation areas are stricter, and you need permission for certain changes to your home that you might not need outside it, such as replacing windows and the intention behind this is to preserve the aesthetic and architectural character of the area.

I've included below a bit more information from officers about the proposals and you can also find the documents on the Council's website.

The proposals are supported by a conservation area appraisal that sets out the special interest of the area and explains why it may warrant designation, including recommendations for the future management of the area. These proposals are out to public consultation from now until 27 January 2010. Residents, businesses and stakeholders in the area should all have been sent an explanatory leaflet and a questionnaire asking for their views.

Officers will be available to explain the proposals on Saturday, 9th January between 12.00noon and 3pm at the Foyer of the Lewisham Library, 199-201 Lewisham High Street, Lewisham.

Background to the conservation area review:
Local Planning Authorities are required to identify from time to time which parts of their areas are of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.

Unitary development plan policy URB 15 says that the Council will periodically review its conservation areas programme, designate new Conservation Areas and extend existing ones as appropriate, and formulate and publish special guidance for their preservation, protection or enhancement.

The new Ladywell Conservation Area:
The core of the proposed Ladywell Conservation Area contains a late Victorian residential suburb which was developed by the local builder Samuel J. Jerrard. Through the 1880s and 1890s he built up long stretches of Vicars Hill and the newly laid out streets Algernon Road, Algiers Road, Ermine and Embleton Road. His houses are highly distinctive as a group and his development survives nearly complete. The conservation area also encompasses some good later infill development of the late 19th and early 20th century and the commercial core of Ladywell along Ladywell Road, which contains some of the oldest houses and pubs of the area.

Much of the special character of the proposed Ladywell Conservation Area lies in the historic detail of its buildings. The survey of the area has identified the incremental loss of architectural details and inappropriate alterations as a cause of the area’s loss of historic character. If designation as a Conservation Area is considered it is recommended to make an Article 4(2) direction at the same time to cover all the residential properties. This will mean that planning permission will be required before changes are made to features such as windows, doors, porches, rooflights, brickwork, front gardens and boundary walls.

We would be interested to hear local residents views on these proposals. To make sure your views count, do remember to return the form you get through your door, or you can complete the online version here.

Copenhagen - 1 day left to get the deal

Just got the latest e-mail update from Franny Armstrong and the Age of Stupid team. They are in Copenhagen and running a nightly TV show (The Stupid Show) for the duration of the talks. She sends pretty bleak news:

"With just one day to go here in Copenhagen, the deal is on target to commit us all to a 3.9 degree temperature rise, which would equate to something like:
- Africa uninhabitable
- Southern Europe a desert
- Australian agricultural system wiped out
- All coral reefs gone
- Most forests gone

The world leaders are now starting to arrive - 120 of them are expected, which would be their biggest-ever get-together - and have certainly got their work cut out if they're going to shift things to the extent that's needed to avoid disaster."

We need to commit to no more than a 2 degree temperature rise, and developing countries, including a number of small island nations most vulnerable to sea level rises, are calling for 1.5 degrees. It's primarily the developed countries that have created the CO2 and burned up the planet's resources, yet it will be the poorest countries that pay the highest price and suffer the harshest effects of climate change.

The widget above should provide updates on how the negotiations are progressing and the Green Party website is also being regularly updated with news. If you're aren't one of the 11m who has already signed Avaaz's petition to world leaders calling for a strong climate deal, then you can still do so here - I think they must have handed the first 11m or so in and started again, as it's now at 240,000.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Don't forget the Christmas Markets tomorrow!

A quick reminder about the Ladywell and Brockley Christmas markets tomorrow. The Ladywell one is outside Ladywell Station from 10am-4pm, while the Brockley one is on Coulgate Street from 12-6pm. Lots of food and crafts stalls, including my neighbour Eleanor's deli stall, which is part of her ongoing market research before (hopefully) setting up a shop in Ladywell. According to flyers in Ladywell Chippy, a new boutique/gift shop is also opening at 89 Ladywell Road tomorrow, though it looked some way from being ready when I walked passed earlier.

And don't forget that after the market the festive fun continues with LVIG's fundraising gig in Ladywell Tavern from 7pm onwards.

In other news:
  • The surplus railguards on Ladywell Road and Algernon Road have been removed today/yesterday. Hurray! Ladywell Road and Algernon Road are already looking better. We may need a couple more bike racks now though, eg outside the pub.
  • EDF Energy are cutting power to half the businesses on Ladywell Road this Sunday, in order to connect the new Oyster card machines at Ladywell Station. Despite having planned this work since the end of October when they applied to the Council for a street works permit, they only saw fit to notify their business customers on Ladywell Road earlier this week. They've indicated that the work should be completed by around 10am - if it's not, businesses face losing a day's trade on one of the busiest days of the year. If you're planning to go and buy your Christmas tree from Ladywell DIY on Sunday morning- take some cash as their credit card machine won't be working until the power is restored.

Ladywell ward councillors' advice surgery - tomorrow at 11am

Our next councillors' surgery is taking place tomorrow, 11am-12pm, at Hilly Fields Medical Centre, Adelaide Avenue. Do pop along if you've got any queries/problems about council-related services that you want to raise with us.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Planning Applications: Foxborough Gardens, Algernon Road, Kneller Road

3 new planning applications in the ward that I thought worth flagging up.

1) DC/09/71852/X: The provision of children's play equipment on the communal open space at 105-151 and 153-199 Foxborough Gardens SE4.

2) DC/09/72886/X: The continued use of land adjacent to 48 Kneller Road SE4, as storage land, for the parking of motorhome vehicles thereon as a security measure.

3) DC/09/72782/X: Redevelopment of land to the rear of 6-24 Algernon Road SE13, involving the demolition of existing buildings; the erection of 3 buildings between 2 and 4 storeys in height and accommodating 34 residential units; the provision of access and car parking, landscaping, amenity space and play space; and the erection of retaining walls.

The first is an application to build a new play area on the green in front of the tower blocks in Foxborough Gardens. This is one of the projects which was awarded funding as part of the Playbuilder scheme and which I blogged on back in February.

The second application for Kneller Road is something that was flagged up to me by Kneller Road residents concerned about on street parking and noise disturbance.

The third application is probably the largest housing development to come up in the ward in recent years, and is for housing on the mews to the rear of Algernon Road, where Mersh Brothers MOT Centre is currently.

If you click on the links above, it should take you to the application details online. Any comments should be sent to Lewisham Planning, 5th Floor Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, London, SE6 4SW, or they can be e-mailed to planning@lewisham.gov.uk. Don't forget to include the address and application number with your comments.

Foxberry Court bins - sorted!

We've been picking up a few extra bits and pieces of casework recently, while out speaking to residents. In Foxberry Road, residents complained that because the bins in Foxberry Court did not have lids, the rubbish was blowing down the road and foxes etc were getting into the bins. Happily, this was an easy one to solve and our waste officers acting promptly to get new lids fitted on the bins - thanks Paddy! If only all casework was resolved this easily . . .

The number to call to request new bin lids, report lost bins, fly-tipping, graffiti, or for pretty much anything else to do with the Council's Environment services is 020 8314 7171.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Wave - Act fast and fair on CO2 cuts

There was a big turnout for 'The Wave', the climate change protest in central London today, including lots of people from Lewisham. The protests were called as part of the build up to the Copenhagen talks on climate change and designed to send a clear message to world leaders that we want a fair deal for all, and legally-binding targets for cuts in carbon emissions.

Pictured above are Charlotte Dingle and Jim Jepps, Green Party candidates for Ladywell and Crofton Park respectively.

I marched with my sister and nephew who travelled up from Suffolk for the day, with lots of others from Suffolk Wildlife Trust. It was my 6 year-old nephew's first protest, and he was most impressed with all the planes overhead in London as he sees more tractors than planes back home! Hmm, he was, however, wearing his 'Keep the planet cool' t-shirt a certain aunty bought him!
There was also a fair-sized contingent from Transition Brockley

There's a handy guide to the Copenhagen talks and what campaigners want from them on the Green Party's website.

Left: Charlotte, me and Ute in parliament square at the end of the march.