Fire safety in Lewisham schools in light of the Grenfell Tower fire

The tragic consequences of the Grenfell Tower fire have raised concerns about fire safety for everyone. Therefore we have set out the work we are doing to ensure our schools are safe below:
External cladding review
Although the London Fire Brigade have yet to confirm what caused the fire at Grenfell Tower to spread so quickly, it would appear that the composition of the external cladding and its installation played a significant role. Therefore we have been working with our colleagues in the School Capital Delivery team, our Employers Agents/Architects and the Local Education Partners to undertake an urgent review of our recently built or refurbished schools to;

  • Identify all school buildings where external cladding is installed,
  • Establish what external cladding materials have been used
  • Carry out a technical desktop review of this information with particular regard to fire
    risk and to advise us on the next steps, including whether intrusive tests are required (i.e. do we need to take off a panel(s) and have further tests completed and do we think any materials require to be replaced

In relation to our PFI facility managed schools the respective SPVs have confirmed that they are content with the initial reviews undertaken, with regards to the extent and nature of any cladding used.

Existing wood cladding

Some schools have raised concerns with their existing timber cladding, it is well documented that the surface spread of flame across timber is negligible along as the subsequent treatment to this cladding has not raised its flammability. Therefore schools need to ensure that water based paints with a Class ‘O’ surface spread are used, if the timber is a natural finish then a treatment with a clear finish of fire retardant will suffice.

Fire risk procedures
All schools in Lewisham have automatic fire detection within their fire alarms and carry out regular fire drills. In response to recent events many have confirmed to the authority that the buildings are evacuated and all pupils, staff and visitors have assembled in a place of safety within accepted time frames.
All maintained schools have the responsibility to have fire risk assessments in place which are school-led. These are live documents and are linked to the fire evacuation strategy (covering identification of key escape routes, action on discovering a fire, action on hearing the fire alarm, calling the fire brigade, personal emergency evacuation plans, places of assembly and roll call, fire wardens/marshals, firefighting equipment provided, training required, liaison with emergency services etc). I would strongly recommend that your fire risk assessments are reviewed and any actions within the action plan are addressed without any undue delay. Please ensure your staff are familiar with the fire risk assessments, your school fire strategy and staff training up to date.

Building height

We have a few school buildings of more than three storeys with cladding in Lewisham and we are working with technical advisers to review those buildings that are constructed with external cladding systems as stated above.
Fire safety escape routes
School buildings are provided with fire compartments to limit the spread of fire and to provide safe routes to evacuate the building. Well maintained and functioning fire doors are vital to ensure there are safe escape routes and are inherent within the fire compartmentalisation.
Fire alarms & sprinklers
All schools within this authority have automatic fire detection that will detect a fire and smoke and will sound the fire alarm. Sprinklers are provided in new schools where the risk warrants this, however sprinklers are not lifesaving but will limit property damage, the reason for this is that sprinklers provided in schools are not fast reacting and that they will only operate after the fire alarm has activated, by this time occupants should be out of the school.

🍻 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

£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


Road Resurfacing in #RusheyGreen, #Catford

Your Rushey Green Councillors have been asked to nominate up to 3 roads maintained by Lewisham Council in the Ward for resurfacing works.

Road within the red-border of the ward can be nominated, accept for the roads highlighted in red – with are Transport for London maintained routes.

We’ve got until Friday 10th February to get our responses back – so the best way is to tweet me @jamesjwalsh or email me: cllr_james-j.walsh@lewisham.gov.uk

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. 

My address to #Lewisham’s #HMD2017, @HolocaustUK

Retard.

Gypo .

Gay.

Bitch.

Jew.

…Words. 

We tell kids, ‘Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names will never hurt you‘. 

Sorry mum, Sorry dad — you were wrong, in fact this couldn’t be further from the truth. Words have power. They do hurt. 

They may not leave physical marks; but can leave scars much, much deeper. Their effects — are pernicious, with the ability to affect not just the one individual they’re aimed at, but they also have the power to polarise, 

objectify

 deny our differences 

… and even humanity.

We say things, in the playground, 

online, 

down the pub.

Thoughtless little comments,

– condemnations.

‘… it’s just banter though, innit’.

We need to be mindful, because what we choose to say and do, not only has power in that moment, but leaves a fingerprint on society, that adds — or diminishes. Words, are how we communicate and develop ideals as both individuals, and society.

The taking of power from one person, or people – all too often starts with words… then rapidly escalates: 

a shove, a push, a punch… 

a beating…

a murder…

a war….

genocide?

When we start, or let oppressive words and phrases slip unchecked and unchallenged in to the mainstream, it’s a first step – “chav”, “nasty little woman”, “extremist” — down a dark path.

“Locker room banter”, as one man recently called it, might seemingly get you ahead, but comes from pushing down on those around you, creating a culture of oppression and tyranny. But know this —

Donald,

its unsustainable. Good people exist everywhere, and we are the majority:

– good people when they realise what is going on, stand up for those who are being down trodden, and oppressed, 

– good people, and great leaders, don’t seek to oppress, they seek to raise others up, to enthuse, to inspire, to bring people together so we can collectively come up with solutions to humanities challenges.

We all have choices, we all have power. We can use our words, our actions, our power, to build a better world:

— a world where all its people can live side by side, ‘celebrating difference’

— a world where we commemorate lives lost in the atrocities of genocides, not by being passive observers in fine surroundings, 

but by honouring that memory, That loss, Through defending the good, by learning from the past, and by ensuring whenever we see oppression, we challenge it, and speak out.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Delivery may vary from text



 


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.