Saturday, 29 December 2012

Join the campaign against the Silvertown Tunnel

The Kidbrooke Kite is launching a campaign alongside Darryl at 853 against plans by Boris Johnson and Greenwich Council to build a new road tunnel between the peninsula and Silvertown.

We believe that these plans would encourage more traffic into the area and increase dangerous vehicle emissions.

Pollution on the approach roads to the Blackwall Tunnel is already breaking government targets, and the two lane section of the A2/A102 at Kidbrooke already struggles to cope with current traffic.

Building what would effectively be a third Blackwall Tunnel might reduce congestion at the crossing in the short term.

But it would also increase tailbacks on the approach roads to that crossing, especially at the narrow section by Kidbrooke.

A lot of work is going into making Kidbrooke a new "village" in London, with outdoor spaces and schools still being created.

The station is being upgraded and the council has previously backed proposals to extend other forms of public transport to the area.

It seems madness to undermine all of that with plans that would simply increase car use and air pollution in the area.

The Silvertown Tunnel has an estimated cost of £600 million. 

The cost to Kidbrooke and the wider borough could be much greater.


Follow the campaign on Twitter @nosilvertowntnl

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Olympic torch comes to Kidbrooke

The Olmpic flame came to Kidbrooke Green this morning.


The crowds were pretty deep on Rochester Way, and we were lucky enough to see the changeover.






Unfortunately I'm not sure which torchbearer took over here. Anyone know him?



Thursday, 21 June 2012

Kidbrooke Village to lose two bus routes


Kidbrooke Village is to lose it's two circuitous bus routes later this year when they are re-routed through Kidbrooke Park Road.

Thanks to Darryl for pointing me in the direction of this TfL consultation which proposes scrapping the 178 and B16 routes through Tudway Road, Moorehead Way and Weigall Road and running them through Kidbrooke Park Road instead.

The changes will mean walks of up to 14 minutes for some Kidbrooke residents with two schools in the area no longer being served directly by the routes.

The remaining shops in Telemann Square, and even Berkeley Home's own sales centre will also be cut off by the changes.

According to TfL:

"As part of the Masterplan for Kidbrooke Village a new road layout will be introduced. It has been designed so that buses would run directly along Kidbrooke Park Road, with improved walking links from bus stops to other parts of the Village."

But until that time, we'll just have to wander through a building site instead.

You can take part in TfL's consultation over here.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Ferrier Library to be demolished in September


Ferrier Library will be demolished in September and all of it's staff and books will be transferred to existing libraries in the borough, Greenwich Council have admitted.

Demolition work on the block containing the Ferrier library, doctors surgery and chemist will commence at the end of the summer.

The council has drawn up no plans to replace the library.

The admission came after this blog submitted a Freedom of Information request and after our repeated inquiries about the fate of Kidbrooke's only library were ignored.

Council leader Chris Roberts had previously told residents that "there will be no cuts to our library service in Greenwich" and that "all our libraries will remain open."

Just last month the council's newspaper claimed that "all libraries in Greenwich will be kept open."

Ferrier library staff had expected that they would have to close last year but have been awarded repeated "stays of execution" by Greenwich council.

The council have still not published an exact date when Kidbrooke residents will no longer be able to use our library.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Chain restaurant hell at Greenwich Pier

There's nothing that says "Welcome to Royal Greenwich, World Heritage Site" quite like a giant gold Frankie and Benny's chain restaurant.


Plonked in between the Royal Naval College, the newly-restored Cutty Sark, and the Greewich Pier it's hard to think of a worse place the council could have allowed this.

Spot the iconic structure
The pictures I took don't quite do justice to how out of place these building are, especially when compared to the excellent neighbouring Greenwich visitor centre and cafe/bar. [better angle here]

Frank Dowling and the Inc Group monopolise much of the rest of the town and we could really have done with some good new independent restaurants here.

Unfortunately we won't get them.

Soon Frankie and Bennys will be joined on the pier by the fourth Nandos in the borough and (just what Greenwich needs) yet another overpriced burger chain.


Of course there's nothing wrong with these kinds of restaurants if they're in the right places, say a retail park or an out of town shopping centre.

I'm just not convinced that the middle of a world heritage site is one of those right places.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Riot police storm crowd in Kidbrooke

There were violent scenes in Tuffet Way recently as riot police stormed an angry crowd early one morning. The Kidbrooke Kite managed to take these exclusive pictures:



Actually Tuffet Way doesn't exist, nor does that white picket fence shown above. It's all just a set up for a new Guardian advert that was partly filmed in Hither Farm Road.



The Royal Naval College in Greenwich also features. You can watch the whole thing below:



*Boring disclaimer: Yes I have done some work for the Guardian in the past, but no they did not pay or otherwise encourage me to post this.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Kidbrooke Village: local facilities, not for local people

Our local library and shops are being demolished but don't worry about that, Kidbrooke Village will bring with it lots of brand new facilities like a swimming pool, gymnasium, business centre and even *gasp* a cinema:



New proposals submitted by Berkeley Homes would see these facilities on the western edge of the development by Weigall Road:


But before you buy your popcorn and get your bathing suits on, you better head down to the Berkeley Homes sales centre and get your chequebook out, because all of these new facilities will be private.

According to planning documents the "ancillary leisure facilities for residents within phase 2 of the Kidbrooke Village development" will include a

  • 24/7 Concierge Service 
  • Private Swimming Pool 
  • Private Gymnasium 
  • Private Cinema
  • Private Business Unit

Kidbrooke Village: "For local life", but not it would seem, for local people.

Photo by Darryl at http://853blog.com

Monday, 20 February 2012

A guide to the Kid Brooks

Most of the Kid Brooks were buried in concrete culverts as Kidbrooke and Blackheath were developed from farmland, but surprising amounts of it can still be found above ground.

Above is a map showing the course of the three Kid Brooks kindly provided by reader Andrew.

It's taken from the pamphlet Kidbrooke: Eight Hundred Years of a Farming Community, by Michael Egan.

So here's what we know so far about the brooks which gave Kidbrooke its name:

The Lower Kid Brook
The Lower Kid Brook
A small section of The Lower Kid Brook can still be found at the eastern end of Broad Walk running along the boundary of Greenwich Cemetry.

Egan's map suggests that this wasn't quite the original route of the LKB, rising as it did at the bottom of Shooters Hill.

However you can follow its course west along Broad Walk through a series of drains before it heads southwest by the Samuel Montagu Youth Centre.

The brook then crosses under Rochester Way (Kidbrooke Lane on the map) near the junctions of Briset Road and Wendover Road.

It continues underground along or close to Ridgebrook Road. Other road names here (Meerbrook, Tilbrook and Birdbrook) suggest proximity to the brook.

By Kidbrooke Park Road
It crosses under the Ferrier before emerging in Sutcliffe Park, thanks to the good work of The Quaggy Waterways Action Group.

The LKB then crosses west under Kidbrooke Park Road. This section appeared dry from the road, when I passed there a few weeks back (see picture right).

The brook then passes south of Weigall Road before joining the Quaggy River proper. Andrew has added this to the map in blue pen above.

Some confusion is caused here by another tributary seen clearly on Google Maps. Does anyone know whether this is another branch of the LKB? 

The Middle Kid Brook
MKB by Thomas Tallis
The Middle Kid Brook rises in Shooters Hill Road near the site of the old Brook Hospital.

However it doesn't emerge above ground until it reaches Kidbrooke Park Road by Thomas Tallis School, some distance west.

At Thomas Tallis the banks have been cleared as part of the development of the new school buildings.

Here the Brook runs out in the open along the boundary of the school site and Blackheath High School Sports Ground.

Ordnance Survey Map from 1914
It then runs underneath the railway line and skirts the Ferrier before emerging at the little-known pond by Casterbridge Road.

The brook then goes back into culverts and follows the route of Brook Way. A small section emerges above ground and can be seen from Parkgate on the Cator Estate. It then joins the Quaggy further West.

The Upper Kid Brook

As far as I'm aware, none of the Upper Kid Brook remains above ground. However, its course can be followed on the map above and a little extra information has been gathered by the excellent Edith's Streets website.

The UKB rises east of the A2 near the Hervey Road sports field and roughly follows the course of Westbrook Road and Kidbrooke Gardens before heading southwest by the Paragon on Blackheath.

It then follows a route just north of or even along the course of the railway line before filling what was once the pond which gave Pond Road it's name.

From here it heads West through Blackheath to the Quaggy, although unfortunately I've yet to discover the exact course it takes.

So, an incomplete guide, but the best I can do for now. If you can help fill in any of the missing parts, then please do let me know by email or in the comments.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Greetings from Royal Kidbrooke


These aren't just poorly maintained litter-strewn streets. They're *royal* poorly maintained litter-strewn streets.

Sure there's no money to keep the local secondary school open or rebuild the library they're demolishing, but don't worry about that.

Just head down to Woolwich tonight for a "specially commissioned film exploring Greenwich's royal connections" and a stirring speech from our dear Royal council leader. 

Plus some fireworks.

Alternatively head over to Eltham tomorrow where a man dressed as Greenwich's most famous wife-killing maniac will lead a special jig.

Plus some more fireworks.

And if all that's not enough, you can march down to Greenwich on Sunday to join a "Grand Parade" through town.

Oh and watch a few more fireworks.

Alternatively you can sit at home and wait for the Queen to turn up in about two months time to look at a ship.

Presumably there will be some more fireworks then.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Greenwich Council refuses to say when Ferrier Library will close


Greenwich Council have refused to say when the Ferrier Library will close down, despite demolition teams working metres away.

Staff say they have not been told when they will have to move out and Greenwich Council have also refused to tell Kidbrooke Kite the date.

It had been expected that the library would close before Christmas but staff have repeatedly been given "stays of execution" by the council.

They have also not been told of any plans for new library facilities in Kidbrooke Village, if indeed any such plans exist.

This week we asked the council if they did have any plans to replace the library facilities that they are demolishing. Again, we didn't get a reply.

Last year the council boasted that "There will be no cuts to the library service in Greenwich" with leader Chris Roberts telling the public that "all our libraries will remain open."

They later admitted that this wasn't true but said that it didn't matter because Kidbrooke's only library was "a bloody awful place."

So "bloody awful" in fact that they can't even be bothered to say when it will be demolished.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

New cash machine on Kidbrooke Parade

A new free to use cash machine was today installed outside the Kidbrooke Parade Post Office on Rochester Way.



As you can see the Post Office owners are quite excited about it, as indeed are we at the Kidbrooke Kite.


Gone now is our long trek to the petrol station at the northern end of Kidbrooke Park Road just to avoid debit card charges on a newspaper.

I'm not sure why it's taken almost two years for it to be installed, but here it is.

So that's a decent cafe and a cash machine. All we need now is a pub and Kidbrooke's pretty much sorted.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Boris Bikes in Kidbrooke Village? Not likely

Thanks to one kite-eyed reader for spotting this new attraction advertised by Berkeley Homes on the Kidbrooke Village hoardings:


That's right. Apparently we're all going to get "Boris Bikes" in the area once the village centre is built.

How terribly exciting:


Except of course we're not. 

The Mayor of London currently has no plans to extend the scheme any further into SE London and is instead pushing it further into his heartlands in the West.

Of course there's always the possibility that at some point we may get the cycle hire scheme here in Kidbrooke, but for now at least it's just another figment of Berkeley Homes' imagination.

The reality is that despite Kidbrooke Village being sold for it's transport links to central London, our infrastructure is actually pretty mediocre. 

Transport accessibility in Kidbrooke is currently ranked poor to moderate and even with the planned rebuild of the station, the extra 2900 homes in the area is really going to test it to the limit.

And as for those Boris Bikes? Well, don't hold your breath.

Friday, 13 January 2012

TfL block new pedestrian crossings on Kidbrooke Park Road

Transport for London are trying to block plans for new pedestrian crossings on Kidbrooke Park Road because they would slow traffic.


The two new "staggered" crossings would cross Kidbrooke Road at it's northern end where the road currently divides the development in two.

But the crossings, which are described as a "fundamental" part of plans for Kidbrooke Village go against the Mayor's policy of "smoothing the traffic flow."

TfL are currently in the process of removing pedestrian crossings in other parts of London, and have told Greenwich Council that:

"given the current policies on ‘smoothing traffic flow’, further justification is required for the installation of any new signals on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN)."
adding that:

"the proposed crossing arrangement remains something that TfL is unable to support at present"

Links between the two halves of the Ferrier Estate and the wider area have always been bad, a fact that contributed to the sense of isolation many on the estate felt.


Developers have sought to fix this problem with the new estate but are running up against resistance from Transport for London.

In order to appease their objections, they are now proposing a widening of Kidbrooke Park Road.

According to Greenwich Council:

"It is the intention that traffic will be regularly stopped by the pedestrians crossing. Due to the intentional creation of this conflict for road space, the junctions require additional traffic lanes (where vehicles first move away from a stationary start) in order to achieve satisfactory levels of operation required by TfL."

Developers would also raise the Village Centre up to the level of Kidbrooke Park Road, which currently runs on a kind of ridge above much of the development.



However, without the new crossings, Kidbrooke Park Road will continue to be a formidable divide running through the centre of the community.

So what do you think? Should the new crossings be allowed or should motorists continue to take priority on Kidbrooke Park Road?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Berkeley Homes' top imaginary local attractions

I understand that Kidbrooke Village developers Berkeley Homes are none too impressed with this website, nor I suspect with the prominence that Google gives us.

Perhaps with this in mind they have launched their own local publication: the Kidbrooke Village Post:


Inside, amidst gushing praise for the development from new residents and themselves, you can read about top local attractions, such as the world famous Greenwich Park:



Except that isn't Greenwich Park is it? As anyone who already lives in the area could tell them. 

Oh wait they've changed the picture in the latest edition. But where's this?


That doesn't look like anywhere in Greenwich Park to me either. Still, pictures of Greenwich Park must be pretty hard to track down. What about other local attractions? 

How about Blackheath? A popular green space, ideal for walking, relaxing and er, watching fireworks from an imaginary Berkeley-built townscape...



Or if you don't fancy Blackheath, why not give "Black Heath" a try wherever that might be:



Kidbrooke Village claims to be "For London." Unfortunately Berkeley Homes doesn't seem to have even the most basic knowledge of it.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Southeastern accused of "rip-off" parking at Kidbrooke Station

Southeastern have been accused of a rip-off after they hiked parking charges at Kidbrooke Station by almost 30%.

From today one-day parking tickets will rise from £3.50 to £4.50.

Off-peak tickets will rise 40% to £3.50, whilst the cost of a yearly season ticket will rise to £637

Trade union TSSA today accused Southeastern of bringing in a "backdoor" fare increase on top of six percent rises in rail fares.

General secretary Manuel Cortes said today:

"Car parking increases of almost 30% simply cannot be justified when inflation is 5% and wages are only rising by 2%. They are squeezing the squeezed middle until the pips squeak."

I would have contacted Southeastern for a comment about their rises but unfortunately "Southeastern doesn't respond to blogs etc".

However, a spokesperson for the firm told LBC that: 

"A small number [of car park prices] have gone up but none more than 50p a day," 

This is categorically untrue as these screengrabs of the old and new prices at Kidbrooke shows:

Kidbrooke Station parking charges 2011

Kidbrooke Station parking charges 2012

It's one thing to raise the cost of parking by 30% in just one year. It's another thing to then lie about it.

Kidbrooke "village" rises to 15 storeys

Berkeley Homes have been accused of repeating the mistakes of the Ferrier Estate, after they raised the height of towers in Kidbrooke's new 'village centre' to 15 storeys, six storeys higher than originally planned.


The high rise towers will be three storeys higher than the supposedly inappropriate 12-storey towers they are replacing.

The total number of properties has also risen dramatically to 4800, which is 400 more than was originally agreed and almost 3000 more than was in the original Ferrier Estate.

The proposals have been objected to by local amenity groups with one local resident telling the council:

"The increase in the maximum height of the development from 9 to 15 storeys and increasing the number of residential units... represents a major departure from the agreed masterplan. These substantial changes vastly increase the height and density of the development and will have a detrimental social impact. This is a clear case of seeking to overdevelop the site and repeat the errors enshrined in the previous development."

The height of buildings outside of the 'village' hub has also been increased in order to squeeze in an extra 400 properties. 

The original plan only envisaged buildings of up to 3-storeys on the fringes of the estate.




Despite these objections from locals, Berkeley Homes and Greenwich Council are pushing ahead with their plans stating that "It is considered that the height of the proposal is acceptable for this site."

So what do you think? 

Are these high rises suitable in what is essentially a suburban location? Will they spoil or improve the local skyline? And will they contribute to the new 'villagey' atmosphere we've heard so much about?

Please let us know in the comments or by email.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Free women's football training in Kidbrooke

The Mayor of London is sponsoring free football and fitness training at the London Phoenix Football Club in Kidbrooke.

For the next ten weeks any woman over 16 interested in playing can take part in free professional training at the John Roan Playing Fields on Kidbrooke Park Road.

The sessions are part of the Mayor's "Freesport" initiative which forms part of London's Olympic legacy.

Sessions take place every Tuesday at 7.30. You can contact Rachel for more details on 07763 807 776 or at lplfc_marketing@yahoo.co.uk

Friday, 6 January 2012

Stephen Lawrence: Memories of the Brook Estate

This is a guest post by Lee Cox who grew up on the Brook Estate, Eltham which alongside the neighbouring Progress Estate was home to the racist gang which killed Stephen Lawrence.

Despite this week's convictions, and two decades passing, these estates have struggled to overcome the reputation that follows them in newspaper headlines to this day. Here Lee Cox shares his own rather different memories of growing up on the estate at the time:

Memories of the Brook Estate by Lee Cox


I grew up in a family of four brothers, and for 21 years, always lived in the same street, on the now infamous "Brook Estate."

So to the memories, which can be funny things, often romanticised, sometimes chronologically askew, but all very personal, and these, are mine of those years.

It was a council estate, and for all of my childhood my parents rented the accommodation, and with many other occupants were working class people (I always struggle nowadays to know if we should or shouldn't categorise by class, but these are memories so I'll stick with it.) Mrs Thatchers right to buy initiative changed that in the eighties.

Dad, after living a 'jack of all trades' existence, became, through the guidance and support of mum and his friends who helped him attain the profession through city and guilds classed at night school, a plumber, in the employ of the local authority. 

Mum did what many wives did and, still do, working one or more jobs in the evenings, to help swell the coffers and fund the ever rising cost of feeding 4 "growing lads".

We were all taken to the local toddler group, all went to the nearby primary school, and would play on the green (although of course "no ball games allowed") next to our end of terrace house.

We were close to our immediate neighbours, played in each others gardens with their children, and there were various street party's to celebrate the Queens jubilee and the wedding of Charles and Diana.

There were the run of the mill events, minor burglaries, accidents in the two uprights of the ladder configuration of roads that comprised the estate. 

The estate was a rat run for traffic on the Rochester Way/A2, so these accidents and other pressures brought to bear the relief road being built in 1988), yet we always felt safe in our surroundings.

In addition to school, we were encouraged by our parents to try various other activities, these included the local youth club, boys brigade and most extensively and life affirming, the Scout Association, which I personally was involved with from the age of 8 until I was 25.

None of this was easy for my parents, to either support financially or logistically, but ways were found, clothes were handed down etc etc.

We were always aware of the 'bad boys' and 'street rakers' that lived on or near the estate, but frankly this was never an overbearing problem for us or our parents as they always knew where we were and what we were doing, and more importantly, they were interested in these details. 

The estate was populated by families from a range of ethnicities. I never felt an overbearing sense of racial tension, this wasn't the 60's, I have always felt that I live in a multi cultural society and the Brook Estate epitomised this. At no time did I perceive a large presence of police, it was normal to see them on the street from time to time of course.

The only recollection I have is of my eldest brother being stopped and searched on his way home one day, as he matched the description of someone who had burgled a house on the estate.

I think it's extremely sad that the events of 1993 occurred, and that only now any semblance of a resolution has happened. It’s my strong belief that the parental guidance, love and at I and my brothers received is the reason that we never brought any of the disappointment and dark clouds to their door that have surfaced in the press in recent weeks.

Follow Lee Cox @ http://twitter.com/jackcabnory

Would you like to contribute something to the Kidbrooke Kite? Please get in touch at the usual address.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Blackheath's Cator Estate faces wheel clamping ban


Residents of Blackheath's private Cator Estate are to be banned from clamping vehicles on their land.

In an attempt to outlaw "rogue clampers" the government's Protection of Freedoms bill will prohibit all but local councils from using wheel clamps.

Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone said of the ban last year: 

"By criminalising clamping and towing on private land this Government is committing rogue clampers to history and putting an end to intimidation and excessive charges once and for all."

As the above photo shows, people parking without a permit on the Cator Estate can expect to pay pretty steep charges to collect their vehicles.

The Cator Estate's management board have been lobbying the government for a special exemption from the bill but to no avail.

In a newsletter to residents sent late last year they state that:

"The government’s Protection of Freedoms Bill, currently going through the last stages of the legislative process in parliament, contains a clause that will ban wheel clamping on all private land. It gives no concessions for estates such as ours to derogate from the ban. The board, with the help of the Rev Adam Scott, has been lobbying our local MPs, and members of the House of Lords, to exclude estates such as ours from this provision. However, we are advised that the clause will remain in the Act which is likely to come into force early next year and the Board has therefore decided to implement the only available alternative to deter illegal parking on the estate."

The estate will now switch to handing out parking fines instead.

The new fines will come into effect in either late February or early March. It is not yet known at what level they will be set.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Feelings run high at scene of Stephen Lawrence's murder

I arrived at the scene to the sight of press photographers, bored looking police officers and a satellite truck:


These have become grimly familiar sights here on Well Hall Road ever since Stephen Lawrence was murdered 18 years ago, and they gathered there today for what may now thankfully be the last time.

I got out my camera to take some pictures but no sooner was it out, but an old slightly unhinged looking white guy came running over to me:

"Have you got any ID? What are you, press?"

Well local press of a kind yes. Why?

"Where's your ID?"

Who are you?

"I'm security for the family"

Which family?

"We don't know who you are with your hood up"

Well it is raining...

"You haven't got any ID? Where's your ID?"

He seemed angry but confused. Four police officers began to approach and then he was gone. Were the police about to join the interrogation?  No it was my new friend that interested them.

What had he been saying to me, they asked? Who was he?

To be honest I was hoping they could tell me. Apparently he'd been hanging around all day. He seemed harmless they said, but I wasn't so sure. I decided to leave.

With the conviction of Dobson and Norris, the satellite trucks will move away to some other tragic location in some other part of London.

But two decades later, feelings about Stephen Lawrence's murder still run high.

And here on Well Hall Road, it will take many more years for us all to move on.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Kidbrooke Nature Reserve: good news for newts

It's good news for Kidbrooke's newts who have been given a brand new pond to wallow in.


The new rainwater filled pond at Kidbrooke Nature Reserve on Rochester Way was excavated after a survey found evidence of Great Crested Newts, smooth newts and toads at the site.

However a number of invasive plants appear to have damaged the population and so a programme of renovation and a new pond were proposed.


Kidbrooke and the nearby Birdbrook Nature Reserves together form "London’s most important assemblage of amphibians" with a large population of wall lizard escapees at the latter site.

Originally the reserves were part of the historic Kidbrooke Marshes but the land was gradually sold off, first to the RAF and then for housing.

There is now no real migration between the two sites, although you will occasionally find the odd newt or lizard making a run for it on the footpath that links between them to the station.


Conservationists have suggested that the council restore a proper green link between the two, but there seems little sign of that just yet.

You can read more about their proposals for the site over here.

But unfortunately if you want to take a closer look at the reserve you'll have to do what I did and peer over the fence. It remains permanently closed to the public.