Monday, 9 December 2013

Nelson Mandela Road (to freedom)

Nothing quite sums up the epic struggle undertaken by Nelson Mandela like two wilted flowers wrapped in foil and sellotaped to a road sign...

Nelson Mandela Road is one of at least 25 roads in the UK named after the former South African president.

According to the BBC:

"In reality, most addresses with Mandela in the title are on new, showpiece housing developments. This guaranteed that they would meet no resistance from existing tenants, who did not always appreciate having their home address renamed to suit a political agenda."

The article details several examples of plans for other roads named after Mandela in the eighties that were fought off by local people.

So how do residents of Nelson Mandela Road feel about their street's namesake? I've heard complaints before that the name has held down house prices, compared to houses on neighbouring Hither Farm Road. 

This seems unlikely to me, but who knows? Perhaps it's the Only Fools and Horses connotation.

Or perhaps the name will even have the opposite effect following all the praise Mandela has received since his death.

Either way, what better way to show your respect for old Madiba, than to light a candle down on Nelson Mandela Road.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

New cafe opens in Kidbrooke Village

A new coffee shop has opened in Kidbrooke Village centre called 1st Coffee.

It's right next door to the new marketing suite and Sainsbury's.

They offer a good range of sandwiches, pastries and coffees and have lots of comfortable leather sofas and extra seating outside.

It's run by Niall who also owns the coffee kiosk at Kidbrooke Station.

Niall's a very friendly guy who is also very knowledgeable about developments in the village and happy to chat.

If you haven't popped in yet we suggest you give it a try.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Kidbrooke Village beginning to emerge

There's still a long way to go, but things have really started to move down in Kidbrooke Village.

A new Sainsbury's local opened up at the end of last year on Tudway Road. Here it is on it's opening day. The quietest supermarket in London:

The new 'village centre' is pleasant enough, if a little corporate for my taste:

Hopefully the new shop owners will be allowed to put their own signs up when they finally move in:

There's also a new playground which is welcome but where are the swings? Every playground needs swings:

The park land is quite nice as well, if a little bit TellyTubby-esque in places:

There's also lots of new man-made water features such as this waterfall off of Kidbrooke Park Road:

The strange thing about this is that there is actually a lost river round about here, but it flows in the opposite direction to the one they've created on top of it. 

I guess it looks better this way from the Marketing suite.

 There's another new pond near Sutcliffe Park:

Although for some inexplicable reason they've placed all the benches so that they face away from the pond:

Lovely view of the main road there.

One thing I don't like about the new 'village' is the attempts by Berkeley Homes to try and make the whole area an appendage to the more saleable parts of neighbouring Blackheath:
They've also named all the parkland as "Cator Park" after the exclusive gated Cator Estate in Blackheath:

Residents on the Cator Estate meanwhile have made it clear that want absolutely nothing to do with developments on the wrong side of the Great Wall of Blackheath.

Overall though, I'm fairly impressed with the new village so far.

The last remaining piece of the Ferrier is still hanging on at Telemann Square, (despite demolition being planned for last year) and the redevelopment of the station is well behind schedule (more of which another time) but things do seem to be moving in the right direction.

My only worry is that Berkeley Homes are trying to squeeze too many properties into too small a space, and what is now a pleasant environment will quickly become an overcrowded one.

Already, they've added extra floors to the tower blocks they're building, making the development even more high rise than the Ferrier was.

They're also cramming a lot more in, as you can see from this image on Berkeley Homes' website:

To me that looks like repeating the mistakes of the past. We shall see.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Greenwich Time bridges the gap between fact and fantasy

This week's edition of Greenwich Council's propaganda rag is out today and leads on the botched launch of their campaign to build two new Thames road crossings.

According to the council:

"The royal borough, working closely with Newham Council north of the river launched the campaign officially in front of the media and TV crews."

Except there wasn't a single TV crew at the launch, let alone multiple TV crews.

There were however a number of very real protestors, who funnily enough don't get a mention in the report.

It's a strange editorial process. Real protestors - ignored. Imaginary TV crews - included.

You can read our report of the launch here. The News Shopper's report quoting us is here.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Protesters hijack council's road-building campaign

Cllr Denise Hyland being questioned by The Kidbrooke Kite at North Woolwich
The launch of a campaign to build two new road crossings across the Thames was hijacked by environmental campaigners this morning.

Councillors from Greenwich and Newham met by the Northern side of the Woolwich Ferry to call for a new road bridge at Gallions Reach and a third Blackwall Tunnel at Silvertown.

However, they were interrupted by chants from environmental campaigners opposed to both crossings.

Last week The Kidbrooke Kite launched a separate campaign with Darryl at 853, to stop plans for a new tunnel at Silvertown.

I spoke to Greenwich Cllr Denise Hyland at the campaign launch this morning. 

She admitted that the council had not looked into the impact the tunnel would have on traffic and pollution levels on the A102 and A2 before launching the campaign.

She claimed that this was not a job for the council:

"This is TfL's job to do this not the Royal Borough of Greenwich. We are a stakeholder and we will hold TfL to account around traffic modelling, environmental impact and the like."

Despite today's protests, she told reporters that most local people support the tunnel:

"I talk to businesses all the time and businesses and cab firms are absolutely desperate for this... We speak we believe for the majority of residents and businesses in the borough and that's what we're elected to do and that is what we are doing, showing leadership."

She said that the Silvertown Tunnel would bring "prosperity" to the area:

"What we know, and I take you back into history, is that the Romans discovered that when you put a bridge across a river you get prosperity either side of that bridge and that is really important to us."

On the campaign to stop the tunnel she said:

"any dissenters from the Bridge the Gap campaign are perfectly entitled to their opinion I just don't happen to agree with them."

She also called for road tolls to be introduced on all river crossings in the area:

"I think it would be tolled because how else would you pay for the Silvertown Tunnel because everybody would head for that crossing instead of Dartford and Blackwall. It makes sense for all the crossings to be tolled."

Protestors at the campaign launch today included former Green Party Mayoral candidate Sian Berry.

Friends of the Earth London Campaigner Jenny Bates said after today's launch:

"New Thames road crossings would just add to traffic, congestion and exacerbate air pollution which is already a health hazard. The priority should be to make our streets safer to walk and cycle and provide better public transport - which would help free up space on existing river crossings."

Local campaigner Alan Haughton criticised Greenwich and Newham councils for launching a campaign for projects which would go before their own planning boards:

"Never before have we seen such arrogance and conflict of interest from Newham and Greenwich Councils. Using Council Taxpayers money to promote a building project that they haven't heard a single piece of evidence about nor consulted a single resident. It beggars belief that the planning application will then go before both of Councils planning boards. It's the death of the democratic process as we know it."

You can sign the petition against the Silvertown Tunnel here.

You can respond to TfL's consultation here.

You can contact the campaign against the Silvertown Tunnel here or via Twitter.

UPDATE: Campaign against Silvertown Tunnel gaining momentum reports the News Shopper.