Tag Archives: westcombe

Half a million pounds to go green


As several people have pointed out, Greenwich Council are offering half a million pounds to five projects, including the Transition Westcombe Project. Now they have to decide how to bid for the money. I’m still not exactly sure how the Westcombe Park area is defined, but a good chunk of it seems to be Blackheath, so if you live nearby, why not suggest a few ideas.

My suggestion would be wind. Blackheath has a spectacular wind resource up on the heath. The problem would be how to use it without upsetting everyone. The climate camp really opened my eyes to how much wind was up there, and as frequent readers will know, I spent quite a bit of time up there, finding out what was going on.

The group who set up the wind turbines during the climate camp were called V3 Power, and whilst chatting to them, I learnt that they often hold workshops, to teach others how to build wind turbines. I wrote a transcription of the talk they gave during the climate camp. So I emailed them, and weeks later I received a message saying that they would be holding a Wind Turbine Workshop over a weekend in Shropshire, asking if I’d be interested.

Now, I figured that my craft skills pretty much ended aged 14 in a CDT class breaking a jigsaw on some MDF – not exactly impressive stuff. We never seemed to do anything more exciting than trying to build a clock at school. So this was well beyond anything I had any natural adaptation for. Windows Icon Mouse Pointer, yes. Angle Grinder, Set Square, Welder, Draw Knife, no.

But, I figured it would be interesting, and it’s always good to try new things. Plus it had the backing of Mrs Bugle. So off I went. The course was great – I’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in these things – it couldn’t have been more hands on, met some lovely people, and the constant patience and enthusiasm of all involved was totally uplifting.

There are loads of videos here, in no particular order.

Anyway, I think it’s a great idea – it’s a great skill to have. So if Transition Westcombe find themselves richer to the tune of half a million, I’d suggest some windmills on the heath. They were there in the past – they could come back again.

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No barrier to entry

So, looks like I’ve missed a lot since I went away to get married. Here’s a one of the more interesting Blackheath bits:

853blog had a great post criticising the weakness of local media in the SE, and Greenwich Time specifically. Also raises some very good points about the cost of entry into local societies, such as The Blackheath Society and The Westcombe Society. Whilst these groups have reasonably low membership fees (Blackheath’s is £15 per year – can’t find any record of Westcombe’s), it effectively acts as a barrier to entry for all local residents.

In some respects there are comparisons to be made between local papers and local residents societies. Both began in a similar time in history, when distribution and organisation of information was expensive, and had variable costs depending upon the number of users. The changes needed for the press to adapt to the information age have been endlessly written about, but maybe the same is true of local societies? There could be a case for making them entirely free – most of the infrastructure costs that they used to rely on are now available online next to nothing.

I don’t understand why they don’t open up their historical archives for everyone, not just subscribers, or a few people in a small room to admire. The Blackheath Society has a spectacular collection of historical photos, that should be made available to all. In this era, to restrict them to analogue only copies is backward at best, and runs the risk of alienating younger potential volunteers getting involved.

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