Tag Archives: council

Christmas tree recycling 2014

Close Enough by flickr user Greenzowie
Just like last year, Greenwich council will collect your tree if you leave it out with your rubbish. Lewisham council want you to trudge over to your nearest park with your tree.

Greenwich Council:

If you would like us to collect your real Christmas tree you must remember to remove all decorations then leave it next to your green-top bin on your normal collection day. Make sure you leave your tree where it can be easily seen by the collection team.

Lewisham Council:

Take it to one of these designated places, or pay £15 to have the council collect it from your door. Note that the pins on the map are VERY approximate – please correct them if they’re in the wrong places.

As I said last year, I cannot understand why two councils differ so much over such a simple thing. We need a randomised controlled trial to work out the optimum way to dispose of Christmas trees. Hope Greenwich wins…

Photo: Close Enough by flickr user Greenzowie.

UPDATE: As James points out, anywhere to the right of this line is Greenwich, so perhaps we will see more Christmas trees next to the bins on the right hand side of this line…
Greenwich Lewisham boundary in Blackheath via OpenStreetMap

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Lewisham Mayor’s office responds about Eliot Pits

Got a very rapid response from the Mayor’s office. See below:

Dear Blackheath Bugle,

I am writing to you on behalf of Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, to acknowledge receipt of your email received 28th May 2013.

Having looked into this matter at Sir Steve’s request, the proposal for Eliot Pits to be considered as a suitable place to install children’s play facilities was first suggested at a Blackheath Ward assembly by local ward councillors as a key ward priority to meet a lack of an accessible children’s play area. By way of background, the criteria set out for the selection of sites for a children’s play space were that the site should be publically accessible and within the boundary of the Blackheath Ward. Any structures should not impact on the vista of the Heath, not be sited too close to residential properties and any facility should not have a detrimental affect on the ecology of the green space. Ward Councillors discussed various options within the Blackheath ward with parks officers, the Blackheath Society and the Local Assembly and it was decided that Eliot Pits was an option to put forward to the next stage. Options for sites on the more open sections of the Heath were rejected due to the impact on vista. I am also advised that during these meetings no suitable alternative had been suggested by members of the wider public.

That said, I would like to clarify that discussions into this suggestion are at a very early stage. The feasibility process has only recently started and nothing will be done until a phase 1 ecological survey is carried out by an independent consultant. Should the findings and recommendations in the survey conclude that the process can continue without detriment to the ecology of the area, the Council will commission landscape architects to begin the feasibility stage leading to outline design proposals. At this stage officers would carry out in-depth consultation with local residents, the Blackheath Society, the Safer Neighbourhood Team for Blackheath, the Blackheath Ward Assembly and other interested parties in addition to the relevant council officers. Following this, officers will ask the architects to complete the brief and then decide on particular proposals prior to seeking all necessary approvals and consents (Ministerial consent will be required for the permanent erection of the play equipment on the common). As part of the Ministerial consent process, there will be an opportunity for consultees to write to the Planning Inspectorate with any views on the proposal.

I trust that this is helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Williams
Office of Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham

Sounds like a level-headed response to me. Would be good to see the initial proposals as a public document. As a side-note, it might be worth also following David Notton who has been tweeting his ecological examinations of the pits:

I wonder whether having an active and responsive residents group in Blackheath in some way acts to the detriment of less wealthy parts of Lewisham in this instance. Because the Blackheath Society is so good at spotting potential sources of funding, it inevitably means that it will put in bids for funding more expertly than say a group based around a more deprived housing estate in another part of Lewisham. This isn’t a criticism of the Blackheath Society, just an observation.

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Blackheath Big Screen starts tonight

Big screen on the heath, by twitter user @Brightstar24
UPDATE: Photo above submitted by twitter user Brightstar24
The Olympics opening ceremony is going to be screened on Blackheath tonight from 7.30pm. There’s a map here.

Here’s a quick Google Map showing the location:

Technically the event is called “Lewisham Big Screen”, but it seems to be a bit of a misnomer to me…

Below is a re-post of the info from Lewisham council about the event. If anyone has any photos of the screens being prepared, please email me.

The timetable for the Olympics “big screen” on Blackheath has been released:

27 July 7.30pm-12.30am
London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

The Lewisham Big Screen will show live coverage of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
27 July – 12 August
Live coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games

Watch live coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games on a big screen on Blackheath
28 July 12 noon-7pm
Lewisham Live

Music, dance and song from Lewisham’s talented young people
29 July 12 noon-10.30pm
Sing Out!

A day of song and music from choirs around the borough – and the BBC Singers
30 July 6-11pm
Blackheath Halls presents The Icarus Club

The Icarus Club – promoting and encouraging singer/songwriters and instrumentalists
31 July 2-4pm
21st Century Tea Dance

Positive Ageing Council and the Young Mayor present the 21st Century Tea Dance
1 August 1-5pm
PING! workshops

Music and sport – a London 2012 combination
2 August
Mayor’s Quiz Night

Quiz night in aid of the Mayor’s chosen charity – The Lavender Trust
4 August 12 noon-10.30pm
Super Saturday

Super Saturday – stalls, performers, entertainment galore
7 August
Big Dance

8 August 7-9.30pm
The Big Conversation

Join the Big Conversation – and find out what’s important to you
9 August 1-5pm
Southern Exposure PG Fim Marathon

26 films from 26 young directors
10 August 12 noon-10.30pm
Speakeasy

A day of stories, performance poets, readings and verse
11 August From 12 noon
Showtime

A day of street performances
12 August 7.30-10.30pm
London 2012 Closing Ceremony

See also: https://blackheathbugle.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/the-greatest-hyperbole-on-earth/

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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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Filed under blackheath, fucking missiles, politics

Missile questions for our MPs

UPDATE: The response to this post from Heidi Alexander MP can be read here.

So we are to have missiles in our beautiful shared garden.

Clive Efford (Labour, MP for Eltham) criticised the Defence Minister for placing missiles in Olxeas Wood. But what about the ones planned on Blackheath?

Heidi Alexander (Labour, MP for Lewisham East) tweeted the following today:

MoD were looking at Blackheath suitability for potential olympic missile defence site last week. No decision yet taken. link
Have asked MoD for face to face briefing. link
I know it sounds surreal but sadly true. Nothing has been decided yet though. link
MoD describe it as some form of ground based air defence system. That’s all I know at the moment. link

Lewisham East Constituency

A commenter on my facebook page suggested the possible location of the missiles:

“The radar trial took place on Thursday just north east of the army cadet centre. the launcher was sans missile ( thank goodness)” — John Morris

As can just about be seen on the Ordnance Survey Election Maps, if the missile site is located north-east of the Territorial Army Barracks, this places it firmly in Heidi’s constituency.

However, assuming it is a Rapier missile, it has a range of 500m (seems very short to me?), meaning that it could also potentially kill people in the neighbouring “Greenwich and Woolwich Borough” constituency, the MP of which is Nick Raynsford (Labour).

I’d dearly love to attend the assembly meeting tomorrow, but I’m unlikely to be able to make it. If Heidi Alexander is at the assembly on Tuesday, here are some questions, you might like to consider asking:

* Who owns the land that the missiles will be placed on?
* Were any special orders required to place the missiles on the land?
* Who owns the missiles?
* Is there any way that you could have prevented this from happening?
* When did you first hear about it, and how was it presented to you?
* Do you think it is an appropriate course of action, taken by a supposedly sovereign nation, during peace time?

Guardian 13th Nov 2011: US officials worried about security at London 2012 Olympics

Washington’s need for reassurance is exasperating British officials and anti-terrorism officials, who have privately raised concerns about the meddling, as well as the size of the US “footprint” in the UK during the games next year.

BBC News 14th Nov 2011: Ground-to-air missiles ‘may protect’ London 2012 games

Mr Hammond was asked by his predecessor to confirm whether there would be a “full range of multilayered defence and deterrents” in place for the 2012 Games including surface-to-air missiles.

He replied: “I can assure him that all necessary measures to ensure the security and safety of the London Olympic Games will be taken including – if the advice of the military is that it is required – appropriate ground-to-air defences.”

UPDATE: Reply from Councillor Chris Maines on my facebook page:

I can confirm that there will be an opportunity to ask questions at the Blackheath Assembly tonight – a senior police officer will be present. However, this is an MOD issue and they are a difficult organisation to engage in full consultation. Since my briefing last week I have raised question at cabinet committee level although it seems as a matter of national security it is difficult to get definative responses, Cllr Chris Maines – Chair, Blackheath Assembly

UPDATE:
BBC News article including quote from Heidi Alexander about the missiles
Olympics missile sites considered for Blackheath and Shooters Hill

On Facebook, Kevin Bonavia (local councillor) says that an MoD representative will attend the Assembly tonight.

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Selling our land

Both Greenwich and Lewisham councils are intent on selling as much of their council housing to private developers as possible. Above is a leaflet being handed out at Blackheath station by Lewisham People Before Profit.

They’re occupying five family homes that Lewisham council are attempting to dispose of. More info here: http://www.peoplebeforeprofit.org.uk/lewisham/lewisham-pbp-news/

The petition is here:
http://www.change.org/petitions/defend-lewishams-council-housing#sign

It’s not just Lewisham. Take a 178 bus through Kidbrooke, and you too can witness this happening in a real time Ballardian fever-dream. Council housing ripped down, next to NHS surgeries, and schools with children playing next to the rubble. Massive Berkley homes signs say “For London, for Everyone”.

The council flats were for everyone. We owned them. The luxury flats are not. The council are selling our land to developers. It’s short term profit for long term misery.

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Olympics sessions at Clarendon Hotel today

Don’t forget that the informal sessions about the Olympics parking arrangements are being held today (Friday 3rd Feb) and tomorrow at the Clarendon Hotel.  I’m hoping to go along tomorrow, but if you manage to get there before me, please drop a note into the comments, and don’t forget to go and admire the ugly statue…

Also, the licensing for the big screen live site was agreed in a council meeting on 1st Feb. A pedantic thought: if I don’t own a TV license, and I watch the Olympics on the screen, am I breaking the law, or are Lewisham council?

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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

2012 Organisers buy Blackheath?

I tweeted this story from The Telegraph yesterday, but I think it’s worth mentioning here, given that there is a local assembly tonight:

London 2012 Olympics: Games organisers purchase new Blackheath lease from Crown Estate for equestrian event

“London 2012 Olympic officials have purchased a Crown Estate lease on a pocket of land called Circus Field adjacent to the controversial Greenwich equestrian site after negotiations with three Government agencies.

But such is the confidential nature of the new agreement that the local Greenwich councillors will not be given a copy of the lease and the lease will not be registered with the Land Registry…. …it needs to be enclosed, which is forbidden by the relevant Metropolitan Commons Act of 1866 and the Supplemental Act for Blackheath of 1871.”

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Fourth attempt to turn Halifax into Betfred

Betfred are making a fourth (and hopefully final) attempt to turn Deptford’s old Nationwide Halifax Building Society into a betting shop. They’ve been turned down twice by Lewisham Council, and once by the Planning Inspectorate, but they only need to succeed once to permanently install yet another betting shop into their high street.

Over on The Deptford Dame, you can find out more info.

But you can stop it! Adding your comments isn’t hard:

Go to this link, scroll to the bottom and click “Comment on this case”. Fill in some details, and add some comments… Here are the objections from the Dame’s post:

I am objecting to this application because I feel we already have more than enough betting shops; not only does it reduce the diversity of the businesses on the high street, but this clustering encourages anti-social behaviour, street drinking and fights in a small, concentrated area, putting people off using the street at night and making them fear for their personal safety.

The deadline for objections is 17 February 2012. Please pass this on.

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Filed under Not Blackheath but nearby, planning