Tag Archives: heath

Kidbrooke Village and other madness

A selection of interesting links for you today:

* The Kidbrooke Kite spots more completely mental descriptions of Kidbrooke Village, “Black Heath” (wherever that is)… See for yourself here (warning, it’s a horrible PDF).

* The Blackheath Society is reasonably keen on the proposed big screen on the heath:

The Blackheath Society supports this event in principle and will play an active role in ensuring that there is a full and proper event management and acoustic plan in place. In addition the Society will lobby for the full reinstatement of the Heath and act to ensure that the Heath is protected, as far as possible, from this intense period of usage. In consultation with LBL, the Society has already recommended that more information be made available to those living within the immediate vicinity of the event.

See The Olympic Washerwoman’s Bottom if you missed this the first time around.

* Kettling 2.0: The Olympic State of Exception and TSG Action Figures – Fantastic article about what the Olympics means for London. Did you know that during the Olympics, there’s a plan to allow the police to search your home without a warrant? Nice. And a great photo at the top of the post.

* Finally, hopelessly-unaffordable-but-still-rather-nice: photos of an unrestored 1960s Eric Lyons-designed Span House. A snip at £500k. Lovely wood finishings.

5 Comments

Filed under blackheath

Drummer on the heath again

Drummer on Blackheath by Twitter user @spannarama
In what is becoming a regular appearance at weekends, the drummer was back on the heath again today (thanks for the photo from Twitter user @spannarama

44 Comments

Filed under blackheath, photography

Ouch…

Michelle O’Brien writes:

Pop fans have got themselves an annual festival on Blackheath starting in 2012 and Blackheath Society has got itself a hefty legal costs bill totalling £79,800 after its mammoth bid to stop the planned event was thrown out by court order.

“We are obviously pleased,” said a delighted NIMBY Events Ltd. director Tom Wates after Bromley Magistrates on Friday (July 22) ruled against the Society following the country’s reported longest ever running appeal hearing under licensing procedure. The appeal hearings started March 3.

“We are looking forward to the two-day OnBlackheath festival going ahead in September next year,” Mr. Wates said. “We have no hard feelings about Blackheath Society. We will continue to work with them and other community groups.”

The Society’s Chairman, Mr. Howard Shields, told reporters after the court ruling was announced: “Obviously we are disappointed – and surprised – at the Magistrates’ decision.”

Asked about reports that younger people living in the area mostly support the planned festival and see the Society as speaking only for Blackheath’s older and wealthier residents, Mr. Shields said: “We do agree that we must try harder to get our message over. We have got a communications challenge.”

The Society’s appeal was against a ruling by Lewisham Council’s licensing sub-committee giving the go-ahead for NIMBY to stage the OnBlackheath festival starting this year and continuing in perpetuity, with sale of alcohol.

But Mr. Wates and his co-directors had to cancel this year’s festival plans because of the time the overall appeal hearing has taken. The organisers aim to attract audiences of 25,000 on each of the festival’s two days, charging £45 per ticket per day.

The ruling by the two Magistrates (Mr. Roger Mills and Dr. Patrick Davies)hearing the appeal was scathing about Lewisham Council’s failure to publicise widely enough the original application to stage OnBlackheath.

“It should be the goal of any local authority to conduct its affairs in an open and transparent manner,” the ruling said. “In the weeks leading up to the original hearing by … Lewisham’s licensing sub-committee, in October 2010, there seems little evidence of this.

“This is evidenced by the large number of local residents (from both Greenwich and Lewisham) who were totally unaware of the (NIMBY) application until it was too late to make representations.

“The scale of the proposed event, coupled with the possible impact on the local community, both negative and positive, should, in our view, have caused Lewisham to widely publicise the application.”

The Magistrates’ ruling was equally scathing over the Council’s failure to notify Greenwich Council of the festival application.

“No formal notification was given to the London Borough of Greenwich. This we find astonishing, because a major event, attracting up to 50,000 people over two days, was being planned on a site just meters away from the mutual boundary of Greenwich and Lewisham.

“The chairman of … Greenwich’s licensing committee and their officers only became aware of the proceedings at a late stage. They too were denied the opportunity to make representations…

“In short, we feel that Lewisham, through its Licensing sub-committee, has not acted in an appropriate manner and has not had the interests of some of its residents at heart.”

But the Magistrates said that despite their criticisms of Lewisham Council “we do not find that the decision of the licensing sub-committee was wrong and in fact we consider that it was correct and therefore the (Society’s) appeal is dismissed.”

The Magistrates said although it would be impossible to eliminate all noise from the festival to surrounding areas they were confident it could be managed so as not to undermine the licensing objectives.

The resolution to launch the appeal was the unanimous but sole decision of the Society’s 13-member management committee. The committee did not
consult the Society’s membership comprising some 980 households before launching the legal appeal.

The Society, which bills itself “the Guardians of the Heath”, has asked its rank-and-file members to dig into their pockets and purses over and above the £15 average they pay in annual membership fees to help fund the cost of the appeal.

NIMBY’s barrister, Mr. Simon Taylor, told the court: “This appeal from day one had little or no merit.” He said it had achieved nothing from the point of view of Blackheath residents.

“There is not one single argument that the appellant has raised that you (the Magistrates) have not rejected,” he said. He accused the Society of intransigence and “of wasting everybody’s time and costs.”

He said the society was very well funded with assets of £400,000 while
Mr. Wates and his fellow NIMBY directors were “three family men who have had to dip into savings to fund this appeal.”

Mr. Taylor condemned the Society’s “foolishness” in doggedly ploughing on “regardless to the end” with its appeal instead of dropping it. “It’s my submission that the Blackheath Society from day one did not act logically in lodging this appeal,” he told the court.

Lewisham Council’s barrister, Mr. Edmund Walters, told the court: “It was not clear how many members of the Society were actually behind the appeal.” “On every legal point the Society has lost,” he added.

The Society’s barrister, Ms. Sarah LeFevre, agreed “the appeal was dismissed in every aspect” by the Magistrates. But she told the court: “It’s not fair to categorise this Society as a dog in the manger … We do say we had reasonable grounds for appeal.” Blackheath Society had done little to protract the proceedings, she said.

The appeal has occupied a total of seven days of hearings since the court proceedings started March 3. The appeal hearing was originally expected to last only two days. It has heard evidence from 16 witnesses called by the Society, two called by NIMBY and four called by Lewisham Cuncil

“Yes, it’s not a poor Society,” Ms. LeFevre told the court. But she said most of the registered charity’s £400,000 was in the form of property bequests.

Ordering costs against Blackheath Society, the Magistrates awarded £41,000 to NIMBY and £10,800 to Lewisham Council. With the Society’s own legal costs amounting to £28,000 this brings the total the Society has to pay in costs resulting from its appeal to £79,800.

“OUCH?” asked a reporter of Mr. John Hine, one of the Society’s management committee, who was in court.

“OUCH!” he agreed, adding: “We need younger members.”

Update:

Blackheath Society in a statement to its members after Friday’s court ruling acknowledged: “The total costs, including our own costs, that will have to be met (by the Society) is a very substantial sum, some £80,000.” It would be funded from Society reserves, the statement said.

NIMBY’s legal team had asked the Magistrates to order the Society to pay the full £140,000 costs incurred by NIMBY and Lewisham Council during the appeal. But the Magistrates declined to do this, saying the Society’s appeal had been “properly brought” and that Parliament had intended residents to have a say in the licensing process.

“This was reflected in their (the Magistrates’) order that the Society should pay less than 50% of the costs that NIMBY and Lewisham had claimed,” the Society’s statement said.

33 Comments

Filed under blackheath

Lunar Picnic on the Heath

Supermoon over Blackheath, taken by twitter user howierayner
UPDATE: Map and more info in this post.
Flamsteed (the amateur astronomers club, based at Greenwich observatory) wrote:

On 15 June,from 9pm onwards,we will be having a picnic on Blackheath with @ROGAstronomers to view the lunar eclipse. All welcome. #eclipsnic

According to @TimandraHarknes The total lunar eclipse is on 15th June, and starts when the moon rises at 2112 untill late. It should be in a South-East to South direction.

NASA Techy eclipse info here (PDF).

Photo shows a non-eclipsed Supermoon over Blackheath, taken by twitter user howierayner.

4 Comments

Filed under astronomy, blackheath

The Blackheath Festival organisers

853blog has an interview with the organisers of the proposed festival on the heath, now provisionally branded as “On Blackeath”. They have a website too, where you can sign up for more info, or send a comment. It’s good that they’re providing more info. I still wish it was a freebie though. Maybe I’ll take my mandolin and start an illegal rave down at the other end of the heath…

16 Comments

Filed under blackheath, events

Can I graze my sheep on the heath?

Marrow with feta and mint
A friend of mine really likes feta cheese. He lives in Blackheath. As a way of reducing costs in this age of austerity, someone suggested that a way to beat the supermarkets at their own game would be to buy a sheep, graze it on the heath every day, and return it to the back garden in the evening.

Is this possible? I had no idea, so I fired off an email to both Lewisham and Greenwich councils. Lewisham council got back to me very quickly, saying that it definitely isn’t legal. Here are the relevant bits of legislation, if you’re interested:

Metropolitan Commons Act 1866
Metropolitan Commons Supplemented act 1871 [Ch Ivii]

6. “except for those persons who now by law are entitled to do so, it shall not be lawful, without the consent of the board in writing, to turn out on the heath for grazing any cattle, sheep, or other animal”.

Existing bye laws London County Council 1932

25. No person shall turn out to graze or feed or allow or suffer to stray or remain any cattle, sheep, swine, horse, ass, mule, goose, duck, fowl, or other animal in any open space without right or without the consent of the council in writing under the hand of its Clerk.

Interestingly an additional bye-law on this subject is currently being drafted between Lewisham and Greenwich councils, with the Blackheath Joint Working Party, which includes the following clause:

Draft Byelaws
London Borough of Lewisham
Blackheath Open Space, London SE13

13. No persons shall without the consent of the council turn out or permit any animal for which he is responsible to graze in the ground.

Which is pretty specific, although I note with interest that no consideration is given to scavenging home-made robots. Which may have to be left for a post another day.

The photo (including feta) above shows a recipe for feta and stuffed marrow, from the wonderful Smallest Kitchen blog. The marrows are from the farmer’s market, and it is highly recommended.

6 Comments

Filed under blackheath, food, history

Pop Festival – the anti NIMBY nimby leaflet

Leaflet from the Blackheath Society - Two Day Pop Festival on Blackheath
Here’s the leaflet from the Blackheath Society about the proposed pop festival on the heath. I didn’t get one – maybe they were only distributed along the edges of the heath?

Text shown below – not because I necessarily agree with the sentiment!

TWO DAY POP FESTIVAL ON BLACKHEATH
SEPTEMBER 2011
A MESSAGE FROM THE BLACKHEATH SOCIETY

Are you aware that Lewisham Council has granted a licence for a company called NIMBY Events to put on a major Pop Festival on the Heath? It will be in the same location as the 2009 Climate Camp, but will occupy much more of the Heath. It has been fixed for 10/11th September 2011.

  • Major features [aside from loud music] include:
  • A start at midday each day and finish at 11.00 pm (10.30 pm on Sunday)
  • An audience of up to 25,000 on each day
  • Fully licensed bars until 30 minutes before the finish
  • Road closures
  • Licence granted in perpetuity

The Blackheath Society is concerned that the grant of this licence, with minimal conditions, will result in a major nuisance to local residents during the event as well as crime and disorder when the festival goers leave.

The Society is not against events on the Heath in principle, but expects them to be carefully planned and regulated. In this case, very little detail has been provided. If NIMBY is allowed to go ahead in this way, it will set a dangerous precedent.

We are therefore appealing the decision to the Magistrates Court in early March. This is a costly exercise, and we are looking for support beyond our existing membership.

lf you share our concern, and would like to support us or would like more information or give us your views – you can contact the Society on 020 8297 1937 (leave a message out of hours) or blackheath.soc@lineone.net Further details are also on our website: www.blackheath.org

8 Comments

Filed under blackheath, events