Thursday, June 17, 2010

Free food?! Foraging Walk and other events this weekend

There's lots going on this weekend, including of course Hilly Fields Fayre on Saturday (midday onwards) and the Friends of Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries workday on Sunday (meet 10am by the old chapel).

Food Foraging Walk
Also, this Saturday, local Green and wild food afficionado Darren Flint is leading a food foraging walk between Deptford and New Cross. The plan is to gather wild plants (responsibly and carefully, under guidance from Darren as to what is ok to pick) and then go back to Darren's kitchen to prepare salad, soup, fritters and drinks using what's been gathered.

If you'd like to attend, e-mail Darren Flint today to book your place. Gather at the gates of the Laban centre on the corner of Creekside and Berthon St at 11am on Saturday (19th June). The walk is free, although donations to Lewisham Green Party are welcome.

I've always wanted to find out a bit more about this so will definitely be popping along before Hilly Fields Fayre.

Sponsored Walks
This week is Refugee Week and Sunday is World Refugee Day. AFRIL (Action for Refugees in Lewisham) is organising a sponsored walk to raise funds. They have a 5 mile walk "starting and ending at Hilly Fields and taking in the beautiful local sights of Blackheath, Greenwich Park and Lewisham Bus Garage" or a "a 1 mile circuit around Hilly Fields for smaller legs and families"! 10am -2pm on Sunday 20th June. For a fundraising pack or further information please contact Vanessa .

Another sponsored walk happening on Sunday, albeit a substantially longer one, is being under taken by local (Honor Oak) resident Norma Hibbert, who is walking from London to Brighton. Norma is one of the regular volunteers at Frendsbury Gardens and also won the 2010 'Love Lewisham Community Champion' award, in recognition of her hard work on the project. This is an annual walk she and a small group of friends make in memory of her son, Jonathan, and to raise money for the charity set up in his honour, which supports scholarships for Jamaican students. You can find out more information, and donate online at the Jonathan Hibbert Foundation website.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Free Composting Workshops at Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

The Council's waste team is organising several free workshops on home composting:

Sun 27 June 10.30am - 12
Sat 17 July 11am - 12.30
Wed 11 August 6.30am - 8

The sessions will all take place at Devonshire Road Nature Reserve (which, if you haven't ever been there, is in itself well worth a visit).

To book your place (spaces are limited), e-mail the aptly-named Kristina Binns, with the title "YES for composting workshop", stating which day you will be attending and how many people will be attending.

Local Peace Events

A few peace events coming up which may be of interest (via Lewisham & Greenwich CND):
  • The next Lewisham and Greenwich CND business meeting is on Tuesday 15th June in Mr Laurence's Wine Bar, 391 Brockley Road, London SE4 2PH at 7pm.
  • On Wednesday 16th June, at St. John's Church, Lewisham Way, SE8 4EA, South East London Palestine Solidarity Campaign is holding its AGM at 7pm with a report on the Gaza Flotilla at 7.30 pm. There will be an eye witness account from Alex Lort-Phillips who was on the Mavi Marmara. Frank Barat from the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will provide further information on the siege and the occupation. All are welcome to both the AGM and report on the Gaza Flotilla.
  • On Tuesday 15th June, at Mr Laurence's Wine bar from 6pm until 7pm, there will be an organization meeting for the Hiroshima Day commemoration on Tuesday 3rd August in Charlton House at which an atom bomb survivor (Hibakusha) will speak. This will be the 65th anniversary of the dropping of the bomb, and probably our last opportunity to hear about the effects of an atom bomb from somebody who was there.

    The Charlton House Hiroshima day commemoration will continue with an evening of music and poetry organised in collaboration with The One World Club - a club of musicians and poets which meets at the Mitre in Greenwich every Thursday evening - see . If you would like to help organize this event, please come at 6pm.
  • Lewisham United Nations Association AGM: the Lewisham branch of the United Nations Association will hold its AGM on Thursday 17th June 2010 at 7,30pm in the Civic Suite of Lewisham Town Hall.

    Immediately following the brief AGM, Lord Hannay, Chair of UNA-UK will speak on "A nuclear free world and how to achieve it". The event will be chaired by Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham. The evening will will conclude with music by the Lewisham choir with a conscience, The Strawberry thieves, and a light supper.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Hilly Fields Midsummer Fayre, Saturday 19th June, 12-5pm

Sad that Brockley Max is finished for another year? Fear not, there's another community bash coming up on 19th June in the shape of Broc Soc's Midsummer Fayre on Hilly Fields. Details below, see you there!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Planning Application submitted for 46 Ladywell Road

I'm pleased that the new owners of the former Nightwatch shop at 46 Ladywell Road have wasted no time in submitting a planning application:

"The construction of a two-storey rear extension in connection with the alteration and conversion of the rear part of the basement, ground and upper floors of 46 Ladywell SE13 to provide 2 one-bedroom self-contained maisonettes, together with the installation of a new shop front incorporating a separate entrance to the flats above and roof lights the front roof slope."

I think this will be the first planning application along Ladywell Road since the Ladywell Conservation Area came into affect, so it will be interesting to see whether officers insist on a higher quality shop front than many of those currently visible on the road. From the design and access statement it certainly sounds promising, with a commitment to installing a timber-framed new shop front and slate roof. I'm also pleased that they haven't applied for change of use but are sticking with A1 retail - we really don't want to lose any more units along Ladywell Road to non-retail uses.

I think this offers great potential to improve Ladywell Road and finally get rid of one of our longstanding blights. Having spent 4 years as a local councillor pushing for enforcement action to be bring this property back into use, this is one planning application I'm tempted to write in to support, now I'm not on a committee and can speak my mind!

The planning application number is DC/10/74347/X and you can view the details online here. Any comments should be sent to


Another cracking Brockley Max Festival

I spent a pleasant few hours yesterday sitting in Hilly Fields, reading the paper and listening to the music at Brockley Max. There were loads of people there, in particular lots of families and children who'd be taking part in the arts & crafts events.

Brockley Max is now a firmly established part of the local calendar and I very much hope that the new councillors and the ward assembly continue to give it their support.

Many thanks to Moira, John, Gill and all those who helped with this year's festival.

Three local schools, three planning applications - have your say

Two schools in Ladywell ward, and two just outside it but attended by a lot of Ladywell children, have planning applications due to be submitted soon for refurbs or rebuilds - Gordonbrock Primary, Prendergast Hilly Fields, Lewisham Bridge and Brockley Primary School. Like most residents, I'm keen to see improvements made, and for the work to go ahead before the funding is lost, but am also keen to see good quality, sustainable buildings that will serve the local community for many years to come.

Gordonbrock Primary School
Following the legal action taken by Broc Soc and the consequent delay to the decant of the school, the Council plans to re-submit a planning application for the re-build of the school and is holding a public consultation event on its plans. Officers say that the scheme is based on the last planning application, but amended to reflect some of the comments made during the previous proposals.

The updated drawings along with members of the project team will be available at Gordonbrock school on Wednesday 9th June from 3:15pm to 7:30pm.

I haven't seen the revised plans, but from what officers said a few weeks back, I'm assuming the amendments to the plan include changes to the entrance area, so the Edwardian building isn't hidden behind the new building, and also to the materials proposed for the new building, rather than the white render previously proposed.

Prendergast Hilly Fields
I previously blogged about plans for the rebuild of the lower site of this school, and refurbishment of the listed building in the park. An application has been submitted to have temporary classrooms on Hilly Fields, on the flat patch of grass in between Prendergast School and the top of Eastern Road (see photos). You can view the application here.

I think it makes sense to make use of this space for the decant classrooms given it is there, rather than bussing students, provided the mature trees and the hedges around the edges are preserved, and the site restored to at least current condition (preferably better) after use.

Following a quick site visit with the chair of Friends of Hilly Fields yesterday, there are a few points that need clarifying, which we hope to raise with officers. We also thought that it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask for a small S106 commitment towards improvements to Hilly Fields, in exchange for a section of the park being effectively annexed for two years. One suggestion from the chair was for funding to be provided to resurface the section of road from the gate at the top of Eastern Road to the school, particularly given that heavy vehicles are likely to be using the road and exacerbating its already poor condition. She was also keen for a granite sett under the gates, to make the entrance to the park clearer and smarter. It doesn't seem like a big ask, given the likely disturbance to park users while the building work is underway.

Astonishingly, and despite me specifically asking officers to do so several months back, Friends of Hilly Fields have still not be formally consulted on these plans, either by the planning department or the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) team. I think the planning department's list of local groups to consult needs updating to include park users' groups and other more recently established groups.

Anyway, comments on the application should be sent to, with the planning application number (DC/10/74021/X) clearly marked.

Lewisham Bridge School
There was an initial, pre-planning consultation event a few weeks back, with new designs for the school, which incorporate the listed building, on show. I wasn't able to attend and can't find any online links to the plans. Has anyone seen them? What did you think? I'm particularly keen to see how much outside space is left with the revised plans. It would be really useful if the BSF team made these plans available online.

Ladywell celebrated the opening of two new playgrounds yesterday!

Yesterday I was really pleased to be able to attend the official openings of two new play areas in Ladywell ward. At 2pm, the Mayor opened the brilliant new play area on Hilly Fields. It was a beautiful day and the playground was packed with children and parents using the new equipment and taking part in the arts & crafts sessions laid on as part of Brockley Max. The water pump, sand and fortress are huge hits.

Brockley owes a huge debt of gratitude to Rachel Mooney, chair of the Friends of Hilly Fields, for all her work on the plans for this play area and driving the project forward. A landscape architect by trade, she knows her stuff and also put in many hours of tedious form-filling to various bodies to get all the funding together for the project.

Keith has some good photos of the opening over at Hilly Fields Birdwatch.

Just before 3pm I popped over to Foxborough Gardens. While the Mayor was watching Billy Jenkins perform over at Brockley Max, Cllr Susan Wise, cabinet member for customer services (which includes housing and the environment) was doing the honours and opening the new play area in Foxborough Gardens. This is a project I've been involved in and supported since residents first got in touch back in June 2008, so I was determined to be there, even if only as an ex-councillor!

I was asked to judge the competition to choose the name for the new play area. It was a tough call, but the play area is now 'Fox's Garden', as suggested by nine year old Leila.

As well as the new play area, the TRA was successful in making a bid to Capital Growth, for funding to help set up a gardening project for children on the estate. Last weekend I helped residents and children (aged from approx 2 years to pensioners) with their first planting day. The children enjoyed it, though one of them ran off in disgust when he found out he was digging in horse manure! At the end of the session the children all took away a sunflower seed they had planted in a pot and are having a competition to see whose grows the tallest. I was pleased to see yesterday that the runner beans were already climbing up the sticks, and the only signs of any damage were due to local wildlife and easily fixable.

I'm now looking forward to seeing the new adventure playground on Ladywell Fields opening soon too, which will provide a much needed base for some of the older children in the area, and hopefully help keep them occupied over the summer.

Reviewing local assemblies priorities: online survey

I meant to include this as part of my post yesterday but forgot.
At the meeting on Tuesday the ward assembly will be reviewing the current priorities. The priorities are the main concerns that effect those that live, work and learn in Ladywell and are likely to be the issues which are worked on over the coming year.

To help get feedback from as many local residents as possible, a short online survey has been set up about the current priorities and suggestions for new ones which can be accessed here.

The current priorities are:

1. Local shops
2. Playtower
3. Streetscape and environment
4. Lack of youth and community facilities
5. Anti social behaviour and crime

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Ladywell Ward Assembly, Tuesday 8th June

Update from ward assembly team and reminder about the Ladywell ward assembly this coming Tuesday.

Ladywell Local Assembly, Tuesday , 8 June 2010, 7 – 9 pm
Prendergast School Science Block, Adelaide Avenue SE4 1JL

What is happening on 8 June?
  • Streetscape Project feedback
  • Prendergast School Redevelopment
  • Elections to CG Group
  • Priority Feedback
  • Results of CG Elections
  • Community Updates
Elections to the Coordinating Group
The Ladywell Coordinating Group has been in place since the first Assembly and is due to be refreshed.

Being a coordinator is open to any assembly member. No past experience is required except for the expertise you bring as a community member. Being a volunteer on the coordinating group might involve helping to plan assembly meetings, helping design leaflets and flyers, suggesting how the assembly can reach out to all parts of the ward amongst different communities and contributing to the success of the Assembly Meetings.

Nominations and voting will take place at the Assembly on the 8 June so if you fancy becoming a member of the Coordinating Group come along and put yourself forward.

Project spotlight: Streetscape and Transport
As part of the Mayors fund £10,000 was approved for the commission of an urban designer to produce a design action plan for improving the streetscape for Ladywell neighbourhood shopping centre.

The project aims to achieve an action plan for improving the streetscape of Ladywell neighbourhood shopping centre which would be credible, achievable and have the backing of the local community as well as key stakeholders involved in the area.

The consultant involved in the project will be giving a presentation at the Assembly on the progress made so far and what happens next.

Easing back into things

OK, we've had a few weeks to lick our wounds, sulk, be a bit indignant and ponder what to do next, including with this blog. Of course we've also had a few weeks of going to the pub, cinema etc instead of having evening council meetings, which has been fun! We are keen to avoid turning this into a sad ex-cllrs' blog, simply sniping at the new cllrs from the sidelines, but we didn't want to stop writing about things we are passionate about either. We had over 20,000 hits on this blog last year, and clearly did have a reasonable-sized local readership, in addition to the Chinese/Korean spammers.

So, the aim is to keep the blog going, mostly about local stuff, but also occasionally to scrutinise what's happening at a borough level. We may also open it up to a few other local Greens to post here too. Do get in touch if you have an event coming up or issue that you want us to mention here. And if it does start turning into nothing more than bitter rants or pictures of our latest gardening or culinary exploits, we trust you will let us know!