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Hamilton Lodge set to become hostel 14 March 2015

Posted by George Crozier in Education, Housing, Lewisham Council.
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Disappointment at council failure to take opportunity to tackle school places shortage

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 Forest Hill FocusFlashback: In April 2014 Forest Hill Lib Dems urged the Council to consider using Hamilton Lodge for schooling

Lewisham Council intend to use Hamilton Lodge on Honor Oak Road as a homeless hostel. The council confirmed to us that they have purchased the property, which was previously a care home, and are currently going through the planning process to change the building’s use. They are initially proposing to use it as a hostel for five years, reviewing its future use after that period.

This has come as a disappointment to local residents who had seen the Lodge as a possible answer to our area’s shortage of primary school places. This summer some children again failed to get places in popular local schools like Fairlawn and Horniman and have ended up commuting over a mile to a school elsewhere in the borough.

“Despite warnings about rising pupil numbers the council failed to plan ahead and we have ended up with the current shortage of school places in Honor Oak and Forest Hill,” said Forest Hill campaigner Alex Feakes.

“Hamilton Lodge is one of a very small number of sites locally that are suitable for new schools or classrooms. It is a shame that the council have not given serious consideration to using the site for schooling.”

“The council need to explain how they will cope with growing demand for local school places, especially with new development taking place, for example at Tyson Road.”

Resurfacing of Dartmouth Road, #se23 13 March 2014

Posted by Alex Feakes in Forest Hill, Lewisham Council, Streets, Transport.
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Lewisham Council will be resurfacing Dartmouth Road, SE23 between Thursday 20th March and Wednesday 26th March (but no Saturday and Sunday).  The works will be carried out between 9pm and 5.30am, so there will be noise and traffic disruption for residents and businesses at night during that period.  The Council have asked that any parked cars be moved elsewhere before works start each evening.

For more details, please contact Bala Balaskanthan at LBL on 020 8314 2588.

Parking zones consultation 4 January 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Forest Hill, Lewisham Council, Streets, Uncategorized.
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This article appears in the December 2013 / January 2014 Forest Hill Focus

Following pressure from many local residents and your councillors, the council are intending to consult on introducing residents’ parking around Dartmouth Road and the Pools in the spring.

Councillor Philip Peake said: “The success of the new pools means that there has been more pressure for space on Dartmouth Road and side roads such as Thorpewood Avenue and Sydenham Park Road. Residents have been finding this difficult so the plan for the zone must help that situation while making sure that the shops on Dartmouth Road do not suffer. Free short term bays on Dartmouth Road should be kept and the period in the Perry Vale car park should be increased to two hours to match the one behind Sainsbury’s.”

The council will also be considering a zone around the Honor Oak Park shops and looking at the existing zone around Manor Mount for changes. If you have any views on parking in these areas please do let us know.

Paving over front gardens – Lewisham Council report back for @D_J_Greenwood 19 September 2013

Posted by Alex Feakes in Environment, Forest Hill, Lewisham Council, Planning.
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Question: What is the Council’s policy with regard to the paving over of front gardens and the consequent effect that the loss of green space has on amenity and local economy? (Thank you to @D_J_Greenwood for suggestion)

Answer: The Council’s ability to influence the paving over of front gardens is relatively limited. The paving over of front gardens of houses does not usually require planning permission. However, permission is required where the property is a flat or maisonette or where the “permitted development” right has been removed through what is termed an “article 4” direction.

For paving over of a front garden to a permeable (or porous) surfacing which allows water to drain through, such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn to drain naturally, planning permission is not required. However, where the surface to be covered is more then five square metres planning permission will co be needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not provide for the water to run to a permeable area.

Where planning permission is required, the main area of control would be within Conservation Areas where policy 36 of the Development Management Local Plan (Proposed Submission Version August 2013) applies. This states that the Council will encourage the reinstatement or require the retention of architectural and landscaping features such as front gardens.

Kirkdale #se26 20mph zone consultation 15 February 2012

Posted by Alex Feakes in Forest Hill, Lewisham Council, Streets, Sydenham.
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Lewisham council has recently conducted a residents’ consultation in the south Kirkdale area about introducing a 20mph zone to assist traffic calming.

The council report that they issued 693 questionnaires and received 100 replies, a response rate of 14%.  Only 62 respondents were in favour of the proposed traffic calming measures.

The highways team conclude: “it is felt that the numbers in support of the 20mph zone are not significant enough to justify its implementation.  Therefore that council will not be progressing with the proposal.”

Data Lewisham 7 February 2011

Posted by Alex Feakes in Lewisham Council.
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For the datageeks amongst you, Lewisham has recently published the latest in its monthly series of borough-wide public realm statistics.

You can see the trends in burglaries, house prices, children taken into care and unemployment rates, amongst other series.

Election result – thank you 17 May 2010

Posted by Philip in Lewisham Council.
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I’d like to thank everyone who voted Liberal Democrat in the local elections around Lewisham on 6th May.

We were obviously disappointed to not make more progress, but our result in these elections was better than the average across London. Alex was re-elected as councillor with a record vote, John Bowen gained the only Labour seat in London for us in Crofton Park ward (north-east Forest Hill) and we were less than 6% away from taking a council seat in Perry Vale ward (south-east Forest Hill).

Alex and I were relected here in Forest Hill ward (west Forest Hill) and will continue working for you all-year-round. Please do get in touch if you need any advice or assistance.

New LoveLewisham MMS and Text message service 9 April 2010

Posted by Philip in Environment, Lewisham Council.

Yippee! Just four short years after I first suggested it to Lewisham Council’s Head of Environment, the lovelewisham system now apparently has a MMS (multi-media message) phone number for easy submission of reports by people without iPhones or Windows Mobile phones.

The number is 07725 20 20 20 and you need to start the message with the letters LCS. I’ve not tried it myself yet, but let me know whether it works. Don’t forget to include the location in your message!

Climate Camp on Blackheath 27 August 2009

Posted by Philip in Lewisham Council, Police.
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A bit out of our area, I know, but I thought I’d go and take a look at the Climate Camp which has been set up in Blackheath over the past couple of days. (Actually not far from my 90-year-old granny’s flat. She thinks it adds a bit of excitement.)

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Blackheath’s Lib Dem councillors are understandably concerned about any negative impact on local residents and have issued a statement which Andrew Milton has reproduced on his blog. Meanwhile, Labour Mayor Sir Steve Bullock seems to have gone off the deep end, and has been pulled up by local blogger Blackheath Bugle who points out “the heath is a mess every sunny Saturday with people simply boozing, so it won’t make much difference.”

Yes, the camp is unlikely to make much difference as an individual event, but what Bullock misses – while ranting that his method of persuading people is the only one that will work – is that people react differently to different forms of communication. Some people will learn new facts and tools for dealing with climate change from the media reporting about Climate Camp. It will help bring the issue to the front of some other peoples’ minds. And maybe even some who go along to join in for the fun of it will get involved and become an environmental leader of the future.

Anyway, here’s hoping that the week goes off well. It’s looking that the police have learnt lessons from G20 and are taking a far more neighbourhood approach to this one, and it was good to see some very senior council officers there talking constructively to organisers. The atmosphere I got was good-natured and hard-working: the initial phase of setting up is pretty complete – they’ll be moving on to workshops and their own brand of info-tainment soon. Local residents have been invited to visit, and if many other people come from across London, the organisers might be unwittingly helping the capitalist economy of Blackheath Village.