Catford is changing!

Team Catford asked Theresa what she’d like from a shopping centre.

What do you think?

Tell us what you want at our next consultation event at Little Nan’s Catford on Weds 27th, 1-5pm #CatfordConversation — at Little Nan’s Broadway Theatre Saloon

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Back the bid for #Lewisham to be Borough of Culture #LoveItLewisham

Lewisham is amazing – from the beautiful to the bustling, cool and vibrant – it’s a borough enriched by the world. Hundreds of artists, creatives and cultural leaders thrive here. Together, we are ready to be the Mayor of London’s Borough of Culture.

Renowned cultural and creative organisations and community groups, from the wondrous Horniman Museum to the transformative Albany, internationally acclaimed Heart n Soul and stereotype-smashing Entelechy Arts, extraordinary Yellow Earth Theatre and vibrant IRIE! Dance Theatre are all backing Lewisham’s bid. So, why not join them?

We want to involve you in our bid, whether you visit our wonderful parks, prosper in the creative industries we host, or because you are active in your community but mostly because what we all do is joyful and life-affirming. What’s your culture and where do you find it?

Lewisham is ready but we need you……tell us about your favourite places, best finds, or your Lewisham secret. How would you like to be involved? We are Lewisham and this is our time to be the London Borough of Culture.

http://loveitlewisham.co.uk/tell-us-your-ideas/

Lewisham Mayor’s Award

The Mayor’s Award is a new scheme that has been set up to recognise people, community projects and businesses who volunteer in their spare time in Lewisham.

If you know an unsung hero or organisation who are making Lewisham a better place to live, please take a few minutes to nominate them.

To nominate click here by 29th September

Supersets coming to #Catford

Have you backed the crowdfunding campaign to get a new business and community facilities into #Catford?

Watch video: https://vimeo.com/234304149

Donate here: https://www.spacehive.com/creative-community-space-for-catford

Supersets have been chosen by Lewisham Council as the preferred tenant to take over the derelict Thomas Lane Depot in Catford. We want to turn the space into a contemporary creative hub with our state-of-the-art scenery construction workshop at its core.

They are looking to create spaces that are of benefit to the wider Catford community, including: a community beach, a community mural, and a drive-in movie night.

Supersets also want to provide evening classes, apprenticeships and other training opportunities from our workshop space.

Supersets is a truly local business and we passionately believe in collaborating with and supporting the local community. This is why we want to ensure that our workshop can provide something for everybody; from open-air film screening and a skate park, to apprenticeships and educational partnerships, we want to place our workshop at the heart of Catford.

What we’ll deliver:

• Restore the derelict building

• Paint a series of community murals

• Create a skate ramp

• Offer creative workspace to the community

• Offer training and education opportunities

• Create a community beach

• Create drive-in cinema

Why it’s a great idea:

On the Catford “Commonplace Map”, the the most frequent comments about Thomas Lane were: ‘run down’, ‘dull/boring’, ‘feels unsafe’.

We believe that our project could change all of this.

We want to create a space that the community can be proud of.

By opening up the depot as a busy working building, and with the introduction of our training programmes and community initiatives, we will create a sense of community in the area and also help improve perceived safety.

When we put out a survey to Lewisham residents, it showed that 98% of them would like to see an increase in community based initiatives in Catford, and that over 96% think that is is important for local businesses to offer training and skills development.

There is clearly local appetite for what we are offering, and we have many of the skills needed to get this project off the ground within our workshop, but an injection of funding will be invaluable in helping us to reach our goals and create all of these initiatives.

Steps to get it done:

• Begin building restoration

• Purchase training equipment

• Recruit apprentices and trainees

• Build community beach

• Build skate ramp

• Establish drive-in cinema

• Paint murals

Catford’s Road Realignment moves forward

Major changes to the South Circular in Catford, which will improve the quality of life for people who live and work in the area, have been agreed at a meeting of Lewisham Council’s Mayor and Cabinet which was held on 19 July 2017.

From 2020/21 the South Circular will be moved to the south of Laurence House on Catford Road (through the car and lorry park). The gyratory will also be removed to create a simpler road layout at the junction of the A21 and A205.

The benefits of moving the South Circular include:

  • Wider pavements and new road crossings to create safer space for people to walk around the town centre.
  • Safer spaces for cyclists with a fully segregated cycleway on the South Circular road and new cycle lanes on A21.
  • Major improvements to Catford town centre with the creation of new pedestrianised public spaces and business space. 
  • A simplified junction for cars and buses with two way traffic reinstated on the A205 and the A21.

The decision to change layout of the South Circular means the start of a major programme of development in Catford which will create new homes, new jobs and new open spaces.
Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said:

‘Moving the South Circular road will transform Catford and make the town centre a better place to live, work and visit. Our decision ends 50 years of uncertainty over the route of the South Circular road and the benefits will be felt for generations. The simplified road layout will make it easier for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to travel by removing the gyratory.

‘The future for Catford is bright with hundreds of new homes being built, new businesses opening every month and major improvements planned for the shopping centre alongside the improvements to the route of the South Circular road.’

People who live and work in Catford are invited to have their say about the area and the changes they would like to see. Their comments will help Lewisham Council develop a plan to improve the town centre in 2018.

Grenfall Tower Tragedy

The tragic events of last Wednesday morning at Grenfall Tower couldn’t fail to move you, and my thoughts and best wishes are with both the victims, and the families of those who were hurt or killed in this national tragedy. Our thanks should also be given to those emergency services and volunteers who witnessed first hand this terrible story unfold, I hope they get all the aftercare and support they need.

As a local councillor, I and the rest of my colleagues in Lewisham Labour Group, are clear that we want to ensure the safety of our residents, either directly in Lewisham Homes or in partner Registered Social Landlords. Sir Steve Bullock – Mayor of Lewisham has been quick to task the relevant Executive Officers to move forward to ensure that we’re doing everything possible to mitigate risks. A letter detailing this actions is laid out below.


I and other councillors will be meeting with key Lewisham Council staff tonight to discuss further our response and to review any learning, as well as consider our political response — the UK needs to ensure that it upholds the highest standards of health and safety and in particular fire safety; there are going to be some serious questions from the public enquiry.

Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn wrote to the Prime Minister Theresa May last week setting out his and the Parliamentary Labour Party initial questions about the Public Enquiry, support for families, and outlining the Labour Party’s gratitude to those Emergency Services who dealt with the aftermath.

How Lewisham is helping

Lewisham Council also hasn’t been inwards looking during this horrific incident, we sent a number of officers to Kensington and Chelsea to help their staff in running rest centres and supporting residents made homeless by the fire, and stand ready to offer further support along with our fellow boroughs across London. 

How you can help

Lewisham Council are also encouraging those residents who want to help to donate to the Grenfell Tower Appeal set up by the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation.

https://thekandcfoundation.com/donate/
https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/kandcfoundation/grenfell-tower

🍻 The Catford Beer Festival 🍻

A joint endeavour between the Catford Bridge Tavern, Lewisham Council and SE London CAMRA, will be held at the Catford Bridge Tavern from 23 to 25 June.

Cask ale is at the heart of every Beer festival, and there will be plenty to try however, we also will be celebrating great beer in other forms, and so the festival will be a real mixture of cask, keg, bottled and canned beers, with an emphasis on local breweries. The beer list is still a work in progress, but we are proud to be showcasing offerings from the following:

🍺 Bexley | Bianca Road | Brew Buddies | Brockley | Bullfinch | Canopy | Clarkshaws | Hop Stuff | Ignition | Kent | Kissingate | Old Kent Road | Orbit| Southwark | Three Sods | Villages

🍎 Cider fans will also be well catered for, with ten or more real ciders on offer, including a number from South London producers rarely available elsewhere.

🍴 Food will be available each day 

🎤 We also have entertainment on hand – 

Champion Hillbillies will be playing from 8pm on Friday 23rd; 

Saturday night will feature a DJ with psych vs soul vinyl set and,

Sunday a live band

🛒 Limited edition festival glasses and t-shirts will be available to purchase.

🕰We’re open each day from 12 to 11pm and look forward to seeing you there.

🚓🚑🚒 If you work for any of the Emergency Services (w/ID) then the Catford Beer Festival Team want to offer you  Free Beer as a little ‘thank you’ for looking after us all. More info http://www.twitter.com/CatfordBeerFest

Briefing for Forest Hill School

The following is the briefing provided to me by the Mayor of Lewisham’s Office.
The Issue

Following the appointment of a new Head Teacher and a new chair of Governors this academic year a serious overspend was identified. If no action had been taken this would have escalated and given the school even more serious problems in the future. The Council has provided advice and a loan to the school so that changes can be made over a five year period. The school has already carried out a re-organisation of non teaching staff and the current dispute solely involves teachers. The dispute is between the Trade Unions and the management of the school not the council and has involved a number of days of strike action. The NUT is in dispute about changes to teacher’s workload and a single compulsory redundancy. The NASUWT was also in dispute about the workload changes but have accepted the concessions offered to all teaching staff and have now withdrawn their strike action.

Overall, this is a complex issue and it is not possible to provide detailed information about all aspects of it in a short briefing like this. What is provided is a Q&A covering some of the issues that might be raised. 

Tory Government planned cuts to London schools funding

The Tory Government is changing the way schools are financed from 2019. As a result Lewisham schools will lose 3% of their funding and across London 70% of schools will lose money. Labour Councils in London have worked together to oppose this and gained some concessions as the original losses proposed by Government were even larger.

A National Audit Office report showed that the cost pressures facing schools over the next three years amount to an 8% increase arising from pay awards, the Apprenticeship Levy, teachers’ pension Increase and inflation. The Tory Government is telling schools to meet these costs through efficiency savings.

Labour opposes these cuts but they are increasing the pressure on schools to eliminate any deficits now.

Q&A

Why doesn’t Lewisham Council make up the deficit?

Since 1988 the financial control of schools has been the responsibility of Governing Bodies and the amount of funding the schools receive from the Government is largely determined by the number of pupils. When a school gets into difficulties Councils can make loans to help manage the reduction in spending over five years for secondary schools and Lewisham has done this for Forest Hill.

Why isn’t Lewisham paying redundancy costs?

Other schools in Lewisham which have made staff redundant have met their own redundancy costs and this is the case in other London boroughs. The NUT is challenging this nationally and other Councils are facing the same issue. If Councils were forced to pay there is no funding available to meet these costs and cuts would have to be made in other services or money clawed back from other schools.

Why doesn’t the Council allow the school to pay back the deficit over a longer period?

The arrangements for how this is done are made by the Schools Forum which has representatives from schools on it not the Council. They have set 5 years as the maximum. But this will be monitored closely and reviewed annually so further assistance can be given if necessary.

Isn’t the deficit caused by the PFI?

All schools have to spend some of their funding on running their buildings and this cost between 9% and 10% in most cases. The Forest Hill PFI cost 10.2% but in future this will be limited to 10% so that school is in the same position as those without a PFI.

What other changes has Forest Hill made to save money?

19 non teaching staff have been made redundant and there have been changes to the schools management structure.

Why are teachers at Forest Hill being asked to work longer?

The statutory maximum amount of time teachers can spend in the classroom is 90%. Teachers at Forest Hill currently spend 77% of their time with pupils and it is proposed to move this to 88%. Other Lewisham schools and schools in other boroughs are also reviewing their arrangements

£40,000 to live alone in London, new research finds

The 2017 ‘Rent Affordability Index’ research, carried out by nested.com, shows that the average salary for a singleton to live alone in London has soared to more than £40,000/yr, and a family of four need an income of more than £75,000/yr

The research shows that London is the 11th most expensive city in the world to live in, based on a square footage alone, we however know utilities and goods and services tend to be much, much, higher in UK and London in particular.

The report continues to identify that an individual earning The London Living Wage of £9.75hr would need to work 12hrs, every day of the year to reach this income threshold. 

When looking at city comparators across the U.K.- London unsurprisingly takes the stop spot, but what is shocking is the difference between London’s first place (£39,876.84) and 2nd  (£20,737.20) places is £19,139.64, almost 50% variance. 

Update: some have written to say that they disagree with this average rents for their area. Consistently, but only anecdotally, said they’re higher, in London or otherwise. That aside, this blog is focussed more about the loss of the life stage of living by yourself, whether as a transition army between professional sharer and starting a family, but equally about the financial trap individuals, who may have had a relationship breakdown, but can not afford to live alone. This will disproportionately affect women, and those less economically active.

In January 2014, Land Registry figures showed average house prices across the whole of England and Wales were £168,536, but in London the average was £409,881 (143% higher than the England/Wales rate). This house price gap has been growing ever larger, with London experiencing 10.9% growth over the last year, compared to 4.2% across England and Wales.

The same picture is apparent in the private rented sector, with the the England rental rate runnings at £665 a month in January 2014, compared to £1,516 a month in London (128% higher than the England rate). The differential in local authority rented property is less exaggerated but still significant, with average rent across England running at £79 a week in 2012/13, compared to £99 in London (25% higher than the England average).

London Weighting is not the answerUnison’s Bargaining Support Unit undertook a review for 2013/14 into London Weighting across seven sectors, this ‘top up’ is pitiful compared to the cost differential.

But what can Lewisham do?

Next week I’ll be attending my new role on Lewisham’s Poverty Taskforce, alongside Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Trust for London, looking   This came off the back of work I undertook in my Lewisham Councillor Scrutiny role, 

The Committee will be pursuing the following issues:

  •  Tackling in-work poverty in the borough
  •  Tackling out-of-work poverty, namely for pensioners relying on state pensions
  •  Tackling poverty prevalent amongst young families struggling with a
    combination of housing and child care costs
  •  Ensuring residents are proactively informed about legislative changes that
    could impact both positively and negatively on their income and general
    financial welfare
  •  Staying up-to-date on legislative changes and advise on appropriate changes
    to the Council’s work accordingly.

2017 ‘Rent Affordability Index’

Table 1

Table 2


Lewisham’s Crime Survey

YOU can help make #Lewisham safer 
Visit: http://tinyurl.com/LewishamCrimeSurvey17

The Safer Lewisham Partnership wants to hear the views and experiences of crime and anti-social behaviour from communities right across Lewisham. The results of the Lewisham Crime Survey will be used by the partnership, which includes Lewisham Council, the police, probation and fire services, health, and voluntary groups, to help in setting its annual priorities and strategic action plan.