Category Archives: greenwich

John Lewis Music Festival plans for Blackheath

UPDATE: OnBlackheath have decided to postpone the event, and are now thinking of September 2014 as the likely date. See post here.

The plan to host a music festival on the Heath has reappeared. OnBlackheath have applied to host a festival in September, sponsored by John Lewis.

See the email sent by the Blackheath Society earlier today:

We have received confirmation that OnBlackheath (previously NIMBY) has applied, at this late stage, to Lewisham Council for permission to hold a two day pop festival on the Heath on September 7th/8th. The event is apparently to be sponsored by John Lewis and called “John Lewis on Blackheath”. Little further information is currently available.

Members will recall that the Society lost its appeal against the granting of the Premises Licence for this event (in perpetuity) in 2011. However, we are fortunate that this current application takes place in the context of an Events Policy for the Heath agreed as a result of the earlier controversy, and with procedures well defined. Any such application has to be considered by the Blackheath Joint Working Party, and a detailed Event Management Plan has to be submitted and agreed before Lewisham issue any final permission.

We expect to play a full part in this process, and will keep members fully informed. The issues which caused serious concern last time will be re-examined in this exercise.

Members views and feedback are always welcome, at any stage.

Please play nicely in the comments…

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Filed under blackheath, blackheath common, festival, greenwich, lewisham, planning

Torches on the heath for the Queen’s Jubilee


Local councillor Kevin Bonvia has emailed to say that plans are afoot in Lewisham to host two beacons in honour of the Queen’s Diamond jubilee. One is likely to be on the heath. See the PDF file here, and google map above, based on the grid coordinates TQ39501 76629 in the doc. More info on Liz’s homepage.

There’s also an excellent article here, with a foreword by Jeremy Hunt, explaining exactly how best to light a fire. Which could come in handy if the government’s austerity measures get any worse.

In the course of 2012, I’m also hopeful that our local councils (Lewisham and Greenwich) will manage to cook up a few high profile schemes that don’t involve the Olympics or the Monarchy, and will have a legacy longer than that of a few weeks.

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Blackheath Assembly

The Blackheath assembly meeting took place tonight.

Age Exchange and the Library

First up was Sir Ian Mills, asking everyone to please use the Bakehouse Library. Apparently it has lots of kids using it, but not enough adults. £800,000 of development work is due to take place by 2015, including grand plans to turn the two upper floors of the Reminisence Centre into a kind of community centre. The Bugle sat on his hands and didn’t ask anything impertinent about local council’s obligations being overtaken by charities – I hear it’s all the vogue these days.

One of the questions – why isn’t there a big notice in the window of the centre, encouraging people to please use the tiny library out the back for god’s sake? (I may be paraphrasing)…

Olympics Transport Issues

Then onto Olympics, where a nice lady called Emma told us that we would all be consulted, and that our feedback was essential, but that she couldn’t really confirm anything very much, as she wasn’t a technician, and that all the important people were at Greenwich council for a planning meeting that was unfortunately scheduled to coincide with the assembly.

Lots of questions about parking and permits during the Olympics – many from Kevin Bonavia, who made sure to turn to the audience whenever asking a question… He’ll go far I’m sure. Emma smiled, nodded, and apologised through them all. She couldn’t specify a month by when we could be certain about the parking situation.

There will be bus stop closures on Ha Ha Road.

“Will there be parking on the heath?”. Yes there will, but only on one day (July 30th), and only by coaches picking up olympic believers from Blue Water, and depositing them on Prince Charles Road. But the coaches will be on matting, so the grass will be ok.

Originally LOCOG had promised that there would be no parking at all on the heath.

There will also be a bike rack and taxi rank in Talbot Place.

A question about this: “If I’m a resident, can I still park outside my house?”. No blooming idea. Come along to the informal chit chat at the Clarendon Hotel on 3rd & 4th February, where all will be revealed.

One Talbot Place resident was particularly cross about the impact that the taxi rank and bike racks would have on disabled people in the area. “I’ll feed that back”.

“What will happen to the DLR? Will it be able to cope?” “TfL have done lots of lovely modelling. There are some very colourful models on their website”.

Blackheath Live Site

Then it was Liz Dart – Community Engagement officer from Lewisham Council, who was up to talk about the plans for the Olympics Live Site (the big screen planned to go in front of Taste of Rat).

Liz last addressed the Assembly back when Blackheath still had a proper library, but I digress… We were about to be PowerPointed, but Lewisham council make all their staff use secure USB sticks, which never work, as anyone who has attempted to use one in a Windows machine can attest.

She went through the plans, which looked the same as the ones which have been highlighted previously on this site. She mentioned some of the activities that will take place – tea dances, comedy nights, sports films. Some of these will be ticketed, and some will be free.

Zone 3 will contain a climbing wall, and a roller skating rink which sounds rather fun. It will be run by a company with an amusing name which sounded a lot like Bottom, but I’m sure it wasn’t. It wont’ be a fairground – there won’t be loud music, and no “callers” (not sure what they are).

The staff & contractors used will be the same teams that are used for Fireworks night.

Emergency services will be the same teams as usual, except for the police, who will be all centrally controlled from the Met, due to the Olympics.

Lot of questions about noise from the big screen. One very annoyed man pointed out that whilst the screen is facing away from the nearby homes, this means that the cheers from the crowds will be projected towards the homes. Also pointed out that it’s near a busy road.

The location was determined by the Locog events nearby. They don’t expect 5,000 people for the majority of the time. The deciding factor will be the weather, and how well Britain is doing in the Olympics.

“Will it be ticketed – isn’t it too many people?”. Fireworks attracts 100,000. It won’t be ticketed.

“What about the grass?”. It will be maintained by Glendale as usual.

Question about screen times, and adoloescents loitering, upsetting young families. Answer: 8am-11pm but only if there is interest. Alcohol won’t be served throughout these hours, but will probably be available from midday at weekends for example.

“What about seating? Can we bring our own?” No fixed seating will be provided at the site. There may be hay bales, or something of that nature. You can bring your own seat.

Apparently there will be a firework display this year, touch wood. The live site event isn’t expected to make a profit, and there are strict rules about commercial activity so close to an Olympic venue. Initially a school dinner provider wanted to try and break a world record at the site (for the most dinners served? Largest omellette? Can’t remember), but this level of sponsorship wouldn’t have been allowed.

The overall cost is thought to be around £150,000, but some income will be derived from attractions, partnerships, etc.

The licence decision for the live site is due to be decided at a council comittee next week. i got the feeling that they’re pretty sure it will be approved.

Localism – Pickles’ Grand Idea

Then it was onto Heidi Alexander talking about the Localism Bill.

I’m not going to even attempt to explain it all here. It looks bloody confusing to me, although she spoke well. Interesting points:

* Groups of 21 or more can form local forums, subject to local council approval
* These forums can declare “local assets”, such as pubs, churches, etc to be added to a special List.
* Anything on this list cannot be quickly sold or got rid of by the owner. They have additional obligations to discuss any sale with the council. Either an extra 6 weeks or 6 months delay is added, to prevent quick sales of local assets.

So this raises interesting questions: Who can form a Forum? Are there concerns about groups forming forums specifically to exclude other groups? The legal status of these forums appears murky as the legislation currently stands. Should the Blackheath Society form a forum? Should the Blackheath Assembly be a vehicle for a forum?

What would you like to see on a list of Blackheath Assets? One suggestion was that the station car park could be added to such a list, to prevent National Rail from screwing with it.

UPDATE: See the petition about the station car park.

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Filed under blackheath, events, greenwich, lewisham, Olympics, parking, planning

The Greenwich Park Encroachments, Part II

Interesting post here from The Greenwich Phantom. Seems my suggestion for tracking the fences with a GPS mapper may not have been totally paranoid, as LOCOG may already be fencing off areas that they promised not to touch.

Nothing on the NOGOE 2012 site about this yet, though…

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Filed under greenwich, Not Blackheath but nearby, Olympics

The Greenwich Park Encroachments…

If I had more time (which I don’t right now), I would take my GPS phone, and walk around all of the Olympic encroachments within Greenwich park. Trace a line exactly around the boundaries, and see that they match up exactly with what was promised. Trails is a good app to use for this. If anyone else has time, please send me the trails that you make! I can understand certain areas being fenced off, but is is really necessary to hang sheets over the fences to block the view?

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Filed under blackheath, greenwich, Not Blackheath but nearby, Olympics

They can’t both be right


Above is a map showing the location of all the Greenwich council-owned gritting bins. It’s a great idea, built and conceived by Greenwich.co.uk and Jo Brodie. The interesting thing is the lack of bins on the Lewisham side…

Why? Because…

“The Council has been advised against providing salt/grit bins. Our experience has been that bins are frequently vandalised and the salt and grit thrown into neighbouring gardens.” Lewisham Council’s website.

Clearly they haven’t been advised by Greenwich Council, who seem to think that gritting bins are a great idea. Maybe when you step across the Great Wall of Blackheath, the locals are suddenly unable to resist flinging handfuls of gravel into gardens!

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141 Berkeley Homes on a football field: Lawsuit for Cator Estate

There’s a plan to replace a disused football field with a load of houses.  This greenfield site (i.e. open land that has never been built on before), needs access from Manor Way and Brooklands Park.  The developers “Derreb“, have filed a lawsuit against the Blackheath Cator Estate Residents, saying that they must allow access.  According to the Cator newsletter:

“The original conveyance of the Huntsman land contained a restrictive covenant restricting its use to that of a sports field, or “detached houses for use as private residence only, such buildings to be erected in such a position and in accordance with such plans and
elevations, including general layout and development plans as shall first be submitted to, and approved, at the Purchaser’s expense by the Vendor’s Surveyor.”

BCER has drawn the existence of this covenant to Derreb’s attention, including the fact that as purchaser of the roads from the John Cator Estate, it is now BCER’s surveyor from whom approval is required. Derreb have said they intend applying to the Lands Tribunal to have this restrictive covenantmodified or discharged.”

And according to the developers environmental report:

Provisional of 141 residential units including:
A range of houses and flat types from between 1 and 4 bedrooms

The newsletter says:

Derreb says it has submitted a revised planning application, and is holding two meetings to exhibit what it terms the ‘final plans’ at St Michael & All Angels Church Hall from 6pm to 9pm on 1 and 4 February.

Which is another Beware of the Leopard moment…

Planning laws in this country are a joke.  It is a battle of professionals against amateurs.  They are designed to allow large developers to bully local councils with lawsuits, and allow repeated re-applications, in such away that the developers have very little to lose,  and small groups cannot win.

the
original conveyance of the Huntsman land contained
a restrictive covenant restricting its use to that of a
sports field, or “detached houses for use as private
residence only, such buildings to be erected in such a
position and in accordance with such plans and
elevations, including general layout and development
plans as shall first be submitted to, and approved, at
the Purchaser’s expense by the Vendor’s Surveyor.”
BCER has drawn the existence of this covenant to
Derreb’s attention, including the fact that as
purchaser of the roads from the John Cator Estate, it
is now BCER’s surveyor from whom approval is
required. Derreb have said they intend applying to
the Lands Tribunal to have this restrictive covenant
modified or discharged.

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Blackheath, UK… plus one

Citizenship Ceremony at Greenwich Council Buildings

Here’s a little insight for you..  If your family were all born in the UK, there’s a fairly good chance that you’ll never get to go to one of these.  Roll up for the Blackheath Bugle’s review of the glorious, New Labour-inspired Citizenship Ceremony!

Actually, I shouldn’t be too cynical about it.  On the whole it was a really good experience.  Mrs Bugle is now a fully paid-up (and bloody hell, do I mean paid up… about £2000 all considered) citizen of Her Maj’s United Kingdom.

So.. How was it? Continue reading

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Mrs Bugle now slightly more “Mrs”

Greenwich Meridian by Flickr user Lady Madonna
I proposed to Mrs Bugle on the Meridian line at Greenwich Observatory yesterday. She said yes. Which was nice. Lots of people clapped. She started crying, but I’m assured that it was in a good way. This blog wouldn’t exist if she hadn’t started one first. And I love her. That is all. :)

Photo by Flickr user Lady Madonna.

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Podcasts to the stars

Greenwich Observatory by Flickr user Yersinia
Here’s a nice idea. The Greenwich Observatory has started making a series of podcasts, called On The Line. Each podcast is about an interesting part of an exhibit, or answers questions posed by visitors.

This one is a question and answer session about a board game created by Margaret Brian – a female amateur astronomer who taught at a girls school in Blackheath towards the end of the 1800s.

The quality isn’t bad – there is some nice sound design at the beginning (in mono oddly, given that the rest of the podcast is in stereo), but there are some funny sounding edits in the middle, and it could have been a bit longer… However, on the whole it is a lovely idea, and I hope they keep doing this.

The subject matter could be perfect for some amazing sounding podcasts: I want to hear the sound of The Leonids flying past me, pulsars flashing between my ears, and comets over my head, but until this happens,  I won’t be removing the Planetary Radio podcast from my iPod just yet.

Photo by Flickr user Yersinia.

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