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

Heidi Alexander – Labour’s Candidate for Lewisham East

PROUD to nominate Heidi Alexander for re-election as The Labour Party Candidate for Lewisham East🌹
Truly a candidate that has dedicated years to #Lewisham & #Catford

For her full election Pledges see www.heidialexander.org.uk

Vote Heidi Alexander ✅ #GE2017 on June 8th 2017

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. 

REVIVE #Ladywell Playtower a building on @TheVicSoc ‘at risk’ Top 10!

I love quirky period buildings, ‘they just don’t build um the same anymore‘ and when I heard of the plight of Ladywell Playtower/Baths (a childhood haunt) last year, I asked Council questions, and followed up with meetings with Lewisham’s Deputy Mayor in October – I’m pleased the Council has responded, and renewed our search for a new custodian for this spectacular building.


The London Borough of Lewisham is excited to invite expressions of interest for the development and renewal of Ladywell Playtower.
This grade II listed building represents a fantastic opportunity to revive the character and significance of these historic public baths, and strengthen the character of the St Mary’s Conservation Area. Having been out of use for more than a decade this once important community facility now has an opportunity to serve the needs of the local area.

The site offers close proximity to Ladywell’s bustling village centre and well connected transport links, surrounded by rejuvenated public and open spaces. Nearby Lewisham centre is experiencing rapid change and investment, whilst Catford centre is earmarked for major regeneration works.

The double storey property originally comprised first and second class pool halls located at the front right and rear of the site, with adjoining two storey administration space, slipper baths and function rooms. The rear pool hall was badly damaged in a fire in 2005 but remains standing, and there is space for some car parking on site.

Ladywell Playtower sits adjacent to Ladywell Coroner’s Court and Mortuary, both of which are Grade II listed and have been identified by the Council for future development.

The Council will consider proposals from developers, investors, occupiers and consortia to bring the building back into viable use, subject to the necessary consents and requirements.

If this is something you’re interested in, get in touch here

Apply for Community Chest Funding

£100,000 Community Chest funding each year for projects that will make a difference to the lives of Phoenix residents
Do you have an idea for a project that will help our community? Then the Community Chest could make it a reality.

Applications for 2017 funding are now open! Access your application form on the community chest web page here. Don’t forget to carefully read the criteria before completing your form.

Who can bid?

Anyone is welcome to bid. That includes Phoenix residents, local businesses and voluntary organisations. All you need to do is demonstrate that Phoenix residents support your idea and that the project will benefit people in our area.

Types of grant – There are two different types of grants to choose from:

•Smaller grants – up to £2,500

•Large grants – from £2,500 to a maximum of £20,000

Who decides?

All bids are taken to an evaluation panel which will include Phoenix residents, young people, Board members and external representatives from the local Ward Assemblies and Voluntary Sector.

The panel decides which small grant applications will be funded.

Large grants are awarded subject to a two stage process. At stage 1, the evaluation panel will review and score all applications. The highest scoring projects will proceed to stage 2 where they can promote their projects to residents, before tenants vote for their favourite projects to determine who will receive a share of the funding.

Find out more about our Community Chest 2016-17 projects.

CAMPAIGNING in Rushey Green, #Catford for @LewishamLabour 

 Your local Labour Team wants you to join our winning team! Between now and May 2018 we need to make sure that we get out on the doorsteps and let Rushey Green Residents know why they are better with Labour.

Whether it’s delivering leaflets, door-knocking, phone banking or helping out on an election day, your time and energy will make a crucial difference this year, and give us a strong platform for next year’s Local Elections in 2018.

Will you lend a hand?

Campaigning Timetable
January
11.30-1300hrs Sun 15th January meeting Large Costa Rushey Green

1300-1430hr Sat 21st January meeting Small Costa Catford Broadway
February
1200-1330 Sun 5th February meeting Large Costa Rushey Green

1300-1430hr Sat 18th February meeting Small Costa Catford Broadway

March

1130-1300 Sun 5th March meeting Large Costa Rushey Green

1300-1430hr Sat 18th March meeting Small Costa Catford Broadway

Why is the Charing Cross-Hayes Train Line via #Catford / #Ladywell so bad? 

Ive been perplexed for a while… Why is the commute from Catford to Charing Cross so bad? …so I posed the following question to the operators:

The Hayes Line Service operated by South-Eastern, seems to be particularly susceptible to: cancellation, delays, technical failure, over- crowding, congestion, last minute platform changes (Waterloo East), inoperative on board announcement systems, & reductions in carriage numbers. Why is this? What performance measures are there of this services with regard to these issues and how well does the service fair against other routes.

Councillor Walsh, January 2017

Reply to Cllr Walsh’s Question Performance (delays and cancellations)
In brief, it’s fair to say that performance across all lines in the last quarter of 2017 has been nowhere near the standard we want to achieve or our passengers expect and the Hayes Line has been no exception.
Across all routes we have been affected by a series of infrastructure- related issues including signal and power circuit failure, landslips, weather and adhesion-related performance problems and over-running engineering works.
Over riding this are the on-going Thameslink related works at London Bridge we have reduced capacity at and on the approaches to the station by around 50%. This means that when things go wrong, our recovery options are limited meaning services have to be diverted to other London terminals.
However, while these issues are outside the train operator’s direct control a blame game is meaningless as passengers simply want a service they can rely upon and we and other train operators welcomed the Secretary of State’s announcement earlier this month requiring Network Rail to better integrate its operation with ours to improve efficiency.
A performance improvement plan is in place which from Southeastern’s side includes:
 Recruiting more conductors and onboard managers
 100 new drivers in training
 More resources at our control centre
 Focus on right time railway by eliminating the minutes lost that add up to
knock on delays
 Recruited more platform staff to help passengers
 Working with Network Rail to remove temporary speed restrictions
 Working with Brighton University on a live information flow to be fed
directly into our systems to provide more up to date information
 Educating passengers on the best course of action to take when a
passenger falls ill on the train
 Invested in fleet improvements by replacing components likely to fail

From Network Rail’s side:

From research it has undertaken, they have established that the first eight miles out of Cannon Street and Charing Cross heading out of London is where over 40% of all delays occur. Accordingly, Network Rail has begun a 12-18 month programme to renew, upgrade or enhance those track, electrification and signalling equipment assets which are the main causes of those delays.
Network Rail is also increasing coverage of their rapid response teams who in some cases are now able to call on dedicated BTP resources to allow the use emergency blue lights to get to sites quicker to fix infrastructure failures or respond to trespass, vandalism or fatality type incidents.
In addition, Network Rail have set up remote condition monitoring on all critical junctions in the London area so asset performance can be monitored in real time and proactive intervention measures can be undertaken before components fail. It is estimated that without the remote condition monitoring, 45% more failures to the infrastructure would occur.

Technical failure

This is one area we can claim some success. Due to changes in maintenance schedules and the introduction of diagnostic software ion trains (which allows engineers to identify and replace a part before it fails) unit reliability across our fleet of Class 456/466 networkers (the trains used on the Hayes Line and other metro routes) is the best it’s ever been.
However, I do not doubt your experience and if you could give me dates and times you travelled when services were delayed or cancelled due to train failure, I’ll investigate and give an explanation.

Congestion

Since we were first awarded the franchise in 2006, passenger numbers have increased by around 40%, the bulk of this growth being in peak commuter numbers. And it’s fair to say that growth on this scale was not predicted by the Department for Transport when it set our franchise specification in 2002/3. To meet the demand, we are operating around 300 additional services (and the same is true for other operators serving the London Bridge corridor and Victoria).
Unfortunately, the track and signalling capacity has not increased concomitantly. Trains are bunched very close together at intervals of just a few minutes and even a small delay to one train will have a domino effect on other lines and services as trains stack up behind one another waiting for a platform slot.
This explains why train punctuality is always better at weekends and Bank Holidays when fewer services operate and routes are clearer.
The position will improve once the Thameslink programme works are completed in 2018.

Over crowding/reductions in carriage numbers

As explained, passenger numbers have increased by around 40% over the past ten years. However, save for the high speed trains from Ashford serving St. Pancras, (which arguably are of no benefit to commuters travelling from the borough of Lewisham), we have had no new rolling stock. We have done everything possible to mitigate this. Thanks to revised maintenance techniques the engineering team has managed to put more trains in passenger service than ever before. And we match capacity with demand by taking units off the less busy trains and add them to the busier ones. There is no overall reduction in carriage numbers and all available units are in passenger service.
The need is for more rolling stock and around 18 months ago we put a business case to the Department for Transport for additional resources and we look forward to a positive decision. MPs in our franchise area, including Heidi Alexander have lobbied the DfT on our behalf and representations from other stakeholders including Lewisham Council would be very welcome. 

Inoperative on-board announcement systems

Before trains leave the depot in the morning all on board systems including the PA system operated from the driver cab will be tested to ensure they are in working order. Drivers are also required to make announcements and this is particularly true when services are delayed or disrupted. However, I’ll be honest and say that some drivers are better at this than others.
If you could let me have examples including dates and times where on- board train announcements were either non-existent or inadequate I will investigate.

Last minute platform changes, Waterloo East

As explained above due to our operating more peak services to meet growing passenger demand, routes to London terminals are increasingly busy. This is particularly true of services to Cannon Street and Charing Cross where, due to the Thameslink works, performance has been affected by the loss of half the capacity at London Bridge.
During peak periods trains are very tightly bunched and if one service is delayed this will have a knock-on impact on others meaning they lose their platform slot and have to be diverted to another. The control room will make long line announcements giving as much notice as possible to passengers, but I appreciate this is inconvenient to those so affected.

Full Papers here

NEW threat to Lewisham Hospital – Bosses say situation “Critical” and “not safe”… #NHS

Under Tory-leadership: Lewisham hospital in south London became so full on Monday it had run out of beds and in an email to staff it described the situations as “critical” and “not safe”. The hospital had nowhere to put the next patient brought in as an emergency by ambulance, it added:

Under guidance which NHS England issued to NHS acute trusts last October ahead of this winter, hospitals were told to declare what is called a black alert when they have become “unable to deliver comprehensive care [and] there is increased potential for patient care and safety to be compromised”.

The NHS document outlining the operational pressures escalation levels (Opel) system explains that Opel 4 means that “decisive action must be taken … to recover capacity and ensure patient safety” in the face of “rising system pressure”. That black alert is what most of the 23 trusts have gone onto this week, though some have described it as a “serious internal incident” or in similar terms.

Full Guardian article here