Category Archives: politics

Bookshop on the Heath selling up

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Massively sad to hear that yet another independent shop in the village is selling up. The Bookshop on the Heath is a fantastic place. I really hope they find a buyer to continue the shop as a going concern.

Their press release is below. If anyone has any good examples of how local communities have managed to stem the exit of local businesses from their high streets, please place them in the comments.

Richard and Jasmine Platt, founding owners of the Bookshop on the Heath Ltd in Blackheath, South East London, have announced that they are selling the business in order to pursue other interests in the leisure industry.
During the past ten years, the business has won awards for excellent customer service and it has been independently rated as one of the country’s finest bookshops. From day one, it has posted excellent year-on-year profits.
There has been a bookshop in this location since 1949, making it one of the longest continually running bookshops in South London. The bookshop has become a real fixture in Blackheath Village and it has generated a tremendous local goodwill. More recently it was the setting for part of an episode of the BBC1 drama “Spooks”.
Richard says, “After a very happy and successful ten years here, we feel that the time has come for us to step back and pass on the legacy and reputation of the business to someone else. We hope that they can now also realise their dream like I did ten years ago by taking over and further developing a super little shop in a marvellous trading position. It would be lovely to think that the long tradition of bookselling could be continued by someone who shares our passion for offering fine books, maps & posters with friendly, personal service. Trade has been exceptionally good and there is also the opportunity for the new owner to develop web sales and sales of new books (children’s in particular) – areas which we have barely touched upon.”
The bookshop continues to open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and by appointment at all other times. If you are searching for a quantity of specific quality stock or you are interested in buying the whole of this successful and profitable turn-key business, please contact Richard Platt for more details on 01526 352267 or email richard@bookshopontheheath.co.uk

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Blackheath’s LibDem councillor defects to Labour

Amanada de Rky defects from LibDems to Labour in Blackheath
Amanda De Ryk, formerly the LibDem councillor for the Blackheath ward has resigned from the LibDems to join Labour. Press release is here, and her (very quiet) twitter account is @AmandadeRyk.

Lewisham council’s website listing local councillors hasn’t reflected the changes yet.

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Eliot Pitstopped

Just got an email from the office of Sir Steve (Lewisham’s mayor). Looks like they won’t be building a children’s play area in Eliot Pits after all:

The Preliminary Ecological Appraisal report recently undertaken by The Ecology Consultancy for Eliot Pits has now been received.
The Council’s Ecological Regeneration Manager has reviewed the report and given that the proposal will likely have “significant ecological impact” has recommended that this option is not pursued.
I imagine that further details will be available soon, but given your concerns I am sending you this information at the earliest opportunity following Sir Steve’s request that you are kept fully updated.

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Eliot pits – playground proposed

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There’s a plan afoot to build a playground on Eliot Pits. (Eliot Pits is not a kid that went to the same school as you). It’s that really picturesque valley from where you can look down across the whole of London, on the edge of the Heath. It’s also been left relatively unchanged and wild for centuries.

The funding has come from a strange place. Boris has proposed a quite sensible idea to increase the number of “pocket parks” in urban areas, so that more people can enjoy green spaces. Which is a great idea! The problem is that this is already a green space, and it is being seen by some as a way to sneak development into this area by the back door.

A website opposed to the proposals has been created.

There’s a petition to stop building on the site.

And a campaign leaflet.

It seems like this should be a core issue for the Blackheath Society over the next few months…

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Lewishambles

Jeremy Hunt by The Department for Culture, Media and Sport on Flickr
Jeremy Hunt’s plans for Lewisham Hospital:
A&E to be downgraded to a non-admitting Urgent Care Centre.
Maternity unit to be downgraded by 90% to a midwife-led birthing centre.

Read the full paper here.

You can watch the video of Jeremy Hunt’s performance in the House of Commons today

On youtube here

here.  You’ll need Silverlight installed, and you need to scroll to 11:33.  You’ll be able to see the outrage of many London MPs at what is being pushed through.

James Cleverly’s astonishingly ill-judged tweet (Conservative member of the London Assembly):

Heidi Alexander, before the announcement:

But it’s not over. As the Lewisham Lib Dems put it:

To which Darryl1974 suggested

And Heidi Alexander suggested the same thing on her blog:

“There is also a big legal question about whether the Secretary of State has the power to axe vital services at Lewisham based on the administration process that has taken place.

I know that Lewisham Council have threatened the Secretary of State with judicial review proceedings.

It seems to me that this decision could still be challenged in the courts and I will be seeking an urgent update from Lewisham Council about their plans.”

And a statement from Mayor Bullock today:
“I do not believe that the TSA had the statutory power to make recommendations about Lewisham Hospital and the Secretary of State therefore has no power to implement them.

“I will be talking to our lawyers and we will also of course need to talk to our colleagues at Lewisham Hospital in order to fully understand the implications of Mr Hunt’s statement.”

Good to see the Evening Standard informing and educating the metropolis:

So what to do? Suggestions below please.

Title of this blog pinched from KierShiels:

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Lewisham Hospital update

So the consultation results are in.  Apparently it’s a great idea to close Lewisham A&E and maternity wards.  I’m sure that’s what you all sent to the consultation.

Email from our local MP Heidi Alexander (emphasis mine):

Dear Sir/Madam
Thank you again for signing the petition to save Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and maternity department, which I presented to No. 10 just before Christmas. Over 35,000 people have now signed the petition, and together we are sending a loud and clear message that we strongly oppose the plans for closure.
Despite this, we learnt this week that the Special Administrator appointed to the South London Healthcare Trust has formally recommended to Government that both A&E and maternity services at Lewisham should close. He proposes to replace them with an urgent care centre and a midwife-led birthing unit.
Many people – including me – feel badly let down by the so-called consultation process that has taken place. It is sheer madness to be shutting down services at a solvent, successful hospital in order to deal with financial problems elsewhere. I am also extremely concerned about the inadequate services that will be left for South East London – just this week the two closest maternity units, at Queen Elizabeth, Woolwich and Kings, had to turn away pregnant women in labour as they were at capacity.
But this is not a done deal, and together we must keep up the fight.
The Health Secretary is currently considering these proposals, and will be announcing his decision on 1st February. Along with my parliamentary colleagues Dame Joan Ruddock and Jim Dowd, I will be doing all that I can to convince the Health Secretary of the case against these proposals. But we need your help.
Between now and 1st February, please do all that you can to help the campaign. If you have 5 minutes or 5 days, there are lots of ways you can get involved. At the bottom of this email, there are specific contacts and things you can do to help – for example, leafleting, making placards or being a steward at campaign events.
If you can only spare a little time, please do the following:

  1. Protest against the proposals. The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign have organised a second peaceful demonstration on Saturday 26th January. Assemble at Lewisham Roundabout (by the station) at 12, before we march past the hospital to Mountsfield Park for a rally, music and giant petition. I will be speaking at the rally.
  2. Let the Secretary of State know what you think by sending your views directly to him. Email Jeremy Hunt on mb-sofs@dh.gsi.gov.uk or write to him at Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, Department for Health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS
  3. Forward this email on to your friends. Spread the word about the campaign! This does not only affect the people of Lewisham, and Mr Hunt needs to know that people across South East London are not prepared to accept these recommendations and have their services and their safety compromised.

The campaign to Save Lewisham Hospital is far from over. We must be prepared to step up and make our voices heard. I hope we can count upon your support.
Best wishes
Heidi Alexander MP

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Blackheath’s library: Lowest number of visits in Lewisham


The graph above shows the number of people who visited Lewisham’s various libraries in 2012. The green line at the bottom is the Blackheath community library.

Let’s zoom in a bit, and just look at the community libraries:

So of all the community libraries in Lewisham, ours gets the fewest visits (and the fewest items issued too incidentally).

But maybe the old library was never very popular either, right? Except that here are the two months of visitors data just before it closed. Look how they compare to the same two months in 2012 for the new library:

For every one person that walks into the current library, more than five people walked into the old one in 2011.

The old library which is now a private school.

I hope the Labour councillors and MP are proud of this achievement. Bravo.

Issue Data from google doc here.
Visitor data from google doc here.
See previous post on this subject Ex-libraries from 2011

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Filed under age exchange, blackheath, lewisham, library, politics

Election day – don’t forget to vote!

Polling Station, Blackheath, St Michael's Church, London, SE3
It’s election day. The polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm. However you choose to vote, please don’t forget!

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Why I’m voting for Ken

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newt
Every day through London, I take the train and the tube. I see almost everyone reading free papers – The Metro or the Evening Standard. And almost every day I look over their shoulders and spot a pro-Boris or anti-Ken story.

The London Mayor’s main role is effectively that of a transport tzar. I’ve never seen Boris on public transport. That is to say, I’ve seen him on TV on public transport… But I’ve never actually seen him using it to get from A to B on his own, when a camera wasn’t on him. Maybe he does, maybe our paths never cross. But I’ve seen Ken. On his own. With an umbrella on the tube. More than once.

This reason, coupled with the price-rises for the poorest attitude of Boris, makes me think that Ken can’t be a worse option. Plus I feel sorry for him over the alliterative bicycles.

So I’m voting Ken. And this blog is the tiny mouthpiece I have to tell you about it, as I’m not an oligarch, and can’t afford to own a free newspaper. I can take some small comfort from the fact that a few thousand people will read this as a counterbalance, even though I’m still not sure why you’re all here. Thanks.

PS – Some reasons to vote Boris here.

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GBAD and other acronyms

Response from Heidi Alexander to the Blackheath Missile Crisis:

Dear Blackheath Bugle,

Heidi has asked me to paste below a briefing note which I hope will answer the questions you raised in your blog post. She won’t be able to be at the Blackheath Assembly tonight because of votes in Parliament on the Health and Social Care Bill but Kevin Bonavia will have copies of the briefing to distribute this evening.

If anybody has any comments or questions about the briefing note it would be really helpful if they could be sent direct to Heidi with their postal address included.

Jamie Milne – Office Manager

London 2012 – Possible Military Defence Arrangements – Blackheath

I am sorry not to be able to attend the Blackheath Local Assembly this evening. The House of Commons is debating the Health & Social Care Bill this afternoon and I need to be present in Parliament to express my opposition to the Government’s proposals at the vote.

I know that many people have questions about the recent news that the Ministry of Defence (the MoD) are considering the use of Blackheath as part of their air security plan for the Olympics. They are exploring using Blackheath as a location for a Ground Based Air Defence System (GBAD). Continue reading

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