Consultation round-up

Big Budget Challenge (until 22 Oct 2014)

There’s one big consultation central to the next four years of life in Lewisham borough, and that’s the council’s Big Budget Challenge – a chance to influence decision-making around cuts by actually trying things out in an interactive tool and seeing what the effect is on the council’s budget – and its services.

It’s not unique to Lewisham – for instance, here’s Bexley’s (recently ended) – but the figures here are particularly eye-watering. According to the tool, government cuts in council funding are such that to keep spending at current levels, Council Tax would have to rise next year by 103% – and that’s 103 percentage points more than were pledged in Steve Bullock’s manifesto, not to mention 101.1 percentage points more than the maximum legally permissible rise without an expensive referendum that no council has yet dared trigger.

The council will combine feedback from this tool with feedback gathered from residents at local assemblies (Lewisham Central’s is on 2 October) to determine how best to swing the axe so kindly delegated to councils by the government. Have a go now, if you can face it.

Brockley Corridor, Crofton Park etc (until 3 Oct 2014)

Straying a little from my Lewisham patch, but hey, can anyone think of any Brockley blogs? (Yes, I do know really.) The so-called “Brockley Corridor” is best thought of (to my bus-oriented mind, at least) as the bit of the 171 and 172 bus routes after they leave New Cross heading south.

Lewisham Council have obtained funding from TfL to make various ‘public realm’ improvements along this route, and we’re all invited to peruse a 9MB PDF and then answer a survey about it.

I don’t know the area that well myself but the principles of the plans look pretty reasonable on first skim – wider pavements, simpler crossings etc. should all help move the balance towards a better environment for pedestrians, hopefully!

East London river crossings (until 18 Sep 2014)

Finally, and most urgently, TfL’s mammoth consultation about river crossings from Woolwich to Belvedere shuts in two days. Again, not immediately in Lewisham, but anyone who’s tried to catch a bus through Lewisham town centre on a busy day during the Gateway roadworks will appreciate that the last thing we should be doing is trying to encourage more people into their cars, anywhere in the city, and certainly not in our south-eastern corner.

Also, TfL appear worryingly keen to scrap the free Woolwich Ferry, a lovely SE London institution – don’t miss your chance to object to this!

The No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign has written an excellent guide to responding to this consultation, so rather than repeat their advice here I shall just encourage you to follow this, and to do so quickly as you’ve only got two days left!

P.S. Barking to Thamesmead Overground extension: a river crossing to get behind? (until 19 Oct 2014)

As an addendum to the final consultation above, this petition sprang up today and makes a lot of sense.

TfL are currently consulting on the extension of the Overground’s Gospel Oak to Barking line to Barking Riverside, but why stop there? With all the talk in the previously mentioned consultation of the supposed need for river crossings joining east and south-east London, why not continue this line over (or under) the river and provide Thamesmead with a railway link?

If you agree, sign the petition and why not feed into the consultation as well?

Lewisham Gateway: changes bed in

Saturday’s big changes to bus routes terminating at Lewisham station certainly caused consternation for unsuspecting passengers – Clay Harris reports:

Mind you, according to a comment left on my original post today, it wasn’t just the bus passengers who didn’t know the changes were coming at the weekend:

I’m a bus driver terminating at Lewisham and we found out at the weekend. No proper documentation given to us, just notices on our information board.

Neighbouring MP Heidi Alexander seems to have kicked things into life on the communications front – after sharing my blog post, she tweeted this:

Today, Lewisham Council responded:

Great news, and sure enough their page has been updated and is a lot clearer and more current than before. Let’s hope the developers follow suit: at time of writing they still haven’t tweeted anything for 319 days…

On the ground

Alighting point - bus stop E

On Monday morning I popped down to bus stop E opposite the police station (complete with new ‘Alighting point’ strip on its flag) to see how the first morning’s commuters were reacting to a change most wouldn’t have been expecting – but, honestly, I didn’t have time to hang around because it took so long to get there via four pedestrian crossings that I had to hurry back to the station again (via a different four pedestrian crossings, for variety) to catch my train to work.

Certainly the pedestrian crossings nearest that stop were looking very well used in a stationwards direction:

Busy crossing

During Monday the old Lewisham Bus Station was sealed off with metal fencing. A mildly unfortunate side-effect of this is that the shortest walking route from the Southeastern railway station to the remaining bus stops (C and D) at the front of the DLR has been blocked off too – you’ll need to go around the other side of the DLR (or through it) instead.

Sealed-off Lewisham Bus Station and footpath

What goes around…

Meanwhile, Google have digitised an 1890s map of inner London and overlaid it on their usual maps system, complete with a transparency slider, which is an absolute delight to explore.

It reveals that, 120 years ago, Rennell Street cut right through from the High Street to Molesworth Street, and the site of the 1978-2014 Lewisham Bus Station was occupied by a mixture of housing and an open-air confluence of the Quaggy and Ravensbourne rivers. So in some ways Lewisham Gateway is history repeating itself – although sadly not to the extent of having trams trundling up the High Street and along Lewisham Road to my flat!

Lewisham Gateway in the 1890s

Lewisham Gateway in the 1890s

» Full Lewisham Gateway content archive

Lewisham Central Assembly, 6 Sep 2011

I’m experimenting with Storify as a simple way of preserving my live Twitter reporting of local events I’ve been to, on my blog.

Unlike Twitter (but like a blog post or other normal bit of writing), you can read the below in standard top-to-bottom order to follow last night as it unfolded.

Last night saw the latest Lewisham Central ward assembly meeting, including the latest chance for locals to vote on which community proposals should receive money from the assembly’s allocated fund from the Mayor of Lewisham.

First talk at #lewishamcentral assembly is about sport in the area – all facilities just outside this specific ward, but nearby nonetheless.
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September 6, 2011
Council are continuing free swimming for young people, and new leisure contract requires London Living Wage for all staff #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Loampit Vale leisure centre opens in 2013 (as, of course, does the currently shut Bus Stop F 😉 ) #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Wavelengths’ library facilities will move into Deptford Lounge; a fitness suite or something (I’m no expert) will replace. #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Onto 2012 talk now – lots of sporty spin-off stuff happening in the borough #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Torch relay route through borough being drafted atm. Good news! It *will* pass Lewisham Bus Station! 😉 #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Money’s coming from Olympics for “look and feel” – making the place look nice for the cameras, esp along relay route! #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
“Legacy” being defined (better than in Twenty Twelve 😉 ) – more sport participation, volunteering, local sport awareness… #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Community Safety update now from the local sergeant, first reading a statement from @ALewishamCop about the local riots #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Police confirm no EDL-related groups have entered Lewisham borough at any point. Some mistook anti-cuts protestors for EDL. #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Police: an EDLy group did march to Lewisham borough but “were stopped at the border & escorted back into Greenwich borough” #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
I do love the image of a border patrol to keep the undesirables of Greenwich borough out of paradisical Lewisham 🙂
The statement from @ALewishamCop touched on the misinformation spreading around social networks too, esp EDL march rumours. #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Police ‘normality’ will resume from approximately next week, apparently. Maybe don’t make too big a thing of that, eh? 🙂 #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Apparently 20-odd ppl came at 9am post-riot to help clean up but had nothing to do: cllr pays tribute to the cleaning staff #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Up next, groups seeking assembly funding will present their proposals, and then we’ll vote on who gets money. 8 proposals! #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
First, Mercator Estate October half-term programme; assembly gave money for a summer version last mtg, which was successful #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Next, Leadership, Citizenship & Community Cohesion Youth Project. Gives teenagers confidence & leadership qualifications. #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Third, Spot The Fun, a sports programme in local parks – Ladywell Fields, if they get the funding in this case. #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Fourth proposal is to bring to #lewishamcentral a Mobile DJ & MC Van, teaching presenting, lyrics and arts skills, with qualifications!
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September 6, 2011
Fifth, a Youth Village spanning #lewishamcentral, Ladywell & Rushey Grn, whose presenter’s brought lots of Youth with him, many on skates 🙂
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September 6, 2011
Sixth, a proposal for a weekly day-club for older people at St Swithun’s church hall, to reduce isolation/build community. #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
On a locationally related note, the seventh proposal is for acoustic improvements to St Swithun’s church hall to boost use. #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Final proposal is to put Heritage Interpretation Boards in St Mary’s churchyard. Church is oldest bldg in Lewisham borough! #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
If you wonder what a Heritage Interpretation Board is, presenter shows a pic of one elsewhere: http://t.co/dYRCcUG #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Voting now! We’re ranking the eight proposals in order but the count is not like AV, which the borough narrowly rejected 😉 #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
In fact, count method is a source of controversy, with the end result that all proposals must be ranked for a valid ballot! #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
(To expand on that outside the confines of 140 characters, having handed out papers that said to rank the proposals from 1 to 8 with 1 as best and 8 as worst, which many people had already been filling in by this point, an attempt was made to reverse the order, to make the count easier. Basically the count consisted of adding up the score and the lower the score the better, but this would only work if all ballots ranked all proposals (since blank amounts to ‘0’, which is better than ‘1’ in that counting method!). They instead wanted people to rank with 8 as best but it was too late and so they had instead to insist on fully ranked lists. Voting systems, eh! Don’t you just love them?)
Not sure about crowd of Youth Village youths who turned up to see presentations and vote, then left. Feels like cheating 🙂 #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Some new people have just been elected to the #lewishamcentral Assembly coordination group – all who volunteered, en masse 🙂
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September 6, 2011
Aha, the @LewishamLitFest update now, reminding those present to come to the events we voted to fund at the last #lewishamcentral assembly!
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September 6, 2011
If anyone in #lewishamcentral has any public transport gripe, however minor, let Cllr Stella Jeffrey know: transport liaison ctte imminent!
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September 6, 2011
AOB while we await vote results. Resident expresses concerns about planned expansion of the Tesco next to our flats. #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Cllr Jeffrey asks if the man’s fed his views into the Tesco consultation process. “No,” he admits. #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
Someone else claims that the best place to shop for groceries is Lewisham Market – much better value than Tesco, he says! #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011
#lewishamcentral vote results: No funding for DJ/MC van, Spot The Fun or Mercator Estate. Part-funding for leadership/citizenship project.>>
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September 6, 2011
<< #lewishamcentral vote winners: 1 elderly day club; 2 Youth Village; 3 St Swithun’s Hall acoustic improvement; 4 St Mary’s heritage boards
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September 6, 2011

The results were that the four numbered above won the most votes, in the order listed, so all received all the funding requested, then there was still a small amount of money left in the pot, so that went to the project that came fifth, which was the leadership/citizenship project.

That was the end of the money so the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-ranked proposals received nothing (and the order in which they came was not announced).

Surprised by some of those results, I must admit, and obviously sad for those who missed out. Meeting over; next on 29 Nov. #lewishamcentral
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September 6, 2011

And that’s it! I hope this format of coverage works for you, dear readers. You’ll have noticed traditional blogging doesn’t always work for me, but I do like a good live-tweet so expect similar future Storified tweet compilations when I go to local events. Such as, of course, the imminent Lewisham Literary Festival – see you there!

Lewisham cuts latest

Having received kind welcomes to the south-east London blogging world since my few posts a week or two ago, I’m rather busy at the moment and thus short of time to post anything new myself unfortunately.

Adam Bienkov, at Snipe‘s the Scoop, has just published this on the cuts passed today by Lewisham council, though, so I thought I’d flag it up.

The Scoop is shaping up to be a really good source of serious London journalism, with editors who mostly hail from SE13URE‘s corner of the city.