£20Million to move #Catford’s South Circular to rejuvenate town centre & build new homes in Lewisham

We have been awarded £20million by the Government to build new homes in Catford and Lewisham town centres.

The £20 million grant was awarded by the Housing Infrastructure Fund  on 1 February. We will use it to:

  • move the South Circular in Catford, which will provide more land for housing and transform the town centre with new homes, new jobs and new open spaces
  • fund new affordable homes in Lewisham town centre.

James-J Walsh, Local Councilor, said: ‘We have achieved a significant milestone in the development and regeneration for Rushey Green, Catford. For decades the ambition has been to remove the South Circular from dividing the town centre in two and rejuvenate the civic heart of the Borough; we’ve progressed more in the last four year’s of this administration towards that goal, than the last four decades’.

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Cllr Damien Egan selected to be next Lewisham Labour Mayoral Candidate

CONGRATULATIONS to Cllr Damien Egan, who won the Labour nomination to be the next Labour Mayoral Candidate for Lewisham.

The campaign saw five sterling party activists and councillors set out their vision for a Labour Party in Lewisham.

Key topics of discussion were, continued local authority austerity, health and social care, housing and education of Lewisham’s young.

With the selection process now over, as a party we need to build towards the May 2018 election – setting out why the Labour Party is the best choice for Lewisham.

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

Fighting racism, xenophobia and bigotry: that’s a “Peace of Cake”…

All faiths mosaic built by Lewishams Community

All faiths mosaic built by Lewishams Community


This morning I had the pleasure of sharing a good old cuppa and a piece of cake at a pan-community peace event in Catford. 


Like most brilliant ideas the concept is simple – get our communities together to bust myths and stereotypes, and build a proper community, all through the medium of shared experiences and cake!

PEACE OF CAKE EVENT – Goldsmiths Community Centre

As a born’n’bred Lewisham lad, I’ve grown up in and around diversity my whole life – I believe I’ve become a richer person from it, and I know Lewisham has too. From those vital migrant workers that keep our NHS and Lewisham Hospital going, to the work of our faith communities: Masjids and Synagogues; Churches and Meeting Houses, that have provided our young with youth groups to play in, community actions to improve our ‘health and wellbeing’, and worked tirelessly to build a united and tolerant community for us to live in. We are also blessed with scores of excellent community groups that ensure those of us either: smaller in number; or less likely to have a say, have an equal voice at the table – Lewisham’s Disability Coalition, Lewisham’s LGBT+ group, Association for Refugees in Lewisham (AfRIL), and Lewisham’s Pensioners Forum, to name but a few from a near endless list.

For those of you that know me in the slightest, you’ll know I’ve always had a strong sense of justice, and fighting inequality is something I’ve been passionate about for most of my life. I’ve never liked bullies, I certainly am not going to allow them to divide our community. The best way for us to beat these ‘bullies’ is to stand united, and don’t let complacency aide them – we are the majority.

Get involved:

Adversity brings the best out in our community time and time again and there’s loads of ways that you can show your support of a multicultural diverse community:

Talk about it: let people know that we’re better for it, the strange irony of the rise in intolerance is that’s it’s coming from those communities where diversity is often lacking. Communities like Lewisham’s that have been multicultural for decades, seen a high libel of migrants join our communities aren’t so much bothered by it, because we’ve been exposed, our presumptions confounded and crucially we’ve all lived and benefitted from it. From the fun and spectacle of things like Nottinghill Carnival to the everyday: our children being best friends, our colleagues at work coming from diverse 

Sign the Pledge: I’m proud to have got Lewisham Council to talk and do something around the rise of racism, xenophobia and bigotry, you can add your voice too. Click here to sign the pledge.

Get involved: with Hope not Hate’s More in Common campaign in Lewisham. The country was rocked and saddened by the assassination of Jo Cox MP, no more so than her Labour Party colleagues, but out of adversity comes hope, and as part of Jo’s Legacy Hope not Hate are delivering a local task forces to deliver community action activities. You can get involved in Lewisham’s here.

Host a ‘Peace of Cake’ event of your own!

The “Peace of Cake” team are keen for more community coffee mornings to be organised, so much so they’ll be producing a “How to” guide shortly on how to get a good community conversation going. To find out more visit here.

Rushey Green Assembly & Christmas Lights with some very special guests – Saturday 6th December #Catford Broadway

I am delighted to invite you to the next Rushey Green Local Assembly meeting.

Local funding: have your say!
We’re giving away up to £15,000 supporting great local projects and ideas, but we want your help to choose our final projects.

Applicants will be on hand to tell you about the proposed projects, and how they can benefit your community.
Show us your ward hotspots?

Rushey Green Hotspots

What are the hotspots in your ward for things such as flytipping, litter and fouling or antisocial behaviour and crime? How about places in need of beautifying and developing?

Community Treasures

We also want to know what’s GREAT about Rushey Green: the places you love, use and want to shout about. This is an interactive session so get ready to move around and get involved – light Christmas refreshments are provided to keep you going.

View the agenda on the Rushey Green web page
http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/getinvolved/localassemblies/rushey-green/Pages/default.aspx
Saturday 6 December 2014
2.30pm-4.30pm
Civic Suite, Rooms 1 and 2, Catford, SE6 4RU

At this meeting:
Straight after the assembly meeting we will be inviting you to join us at the Catford Christmas Tree Lighting Event

Catford Christmas extravaganza
The Rushey Green Assembly, Barratt London and L&Q are inviting you to attend the:
Catford Christmas tree lighting event
4.30pm,
6 December 2014
Catford Broadway (opposite Costa Coffee)

Assembly members have the chance to be entered into the prize draw to win a free family Pantomime ticket staring Richard Blackwood, courtesy of the Broadway Theatre @BroadwayCatford

Find out more about the Tree Lighting event
http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/events/Pages/Event-info.aspx?eventid=4482&recurrenceid=06%2f12%2f2014+16%3a30%3a00&source=%2finmyarea%2fevents%2fPages%2fEvents-in-Catford.aspx

The assembly is your chance to:
● discuss and share what matters to you
● work with your councillors and others to shape the future of your neighbourhood
● find out what is happening in your ward
● consider how funding available to your ward is spent.

Partnerships against crime

Lewisham Council’s Multi-Agency Operation on Catford Broadway

Following concerns I have raised on behalf of local residence about the The Broadway in Catford I’m pleased to announce Council Officers organised a targeted multi-agency operation to clean up the main market street in our Ward, this work formed part of a day of action across the borough.

Officers from the Police, UK Border Agency, Council Crime Reduction Service, Environmental Enforcement, Food Safety, Trading Standards and Parking, visited the Broadway from 9:30am to undertake visits to premises and deal with any ‘on the street issues’ as they were identified. There was a very strong visible presence on the Broadway which was recognised by the local businesses and visitors to the area.

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Thameslink Programme

Major changes to your train services across London and the south east from December

Network Rail is delivering the £6.5bn Thameslink Programme, sponsored by Government, which will transform north south travel through London when it is completed in 2018. As part of the programme they are entirely rebuilding London Bridge rail station and completely realigning the tracks in the approach to the station to reduce delays.

From 20 December and throughout next year, journeys to or from London will change as they work to improve the railway continues. These changes include:

  • 20 December 2014 to 4 January 2015
    • No Southern or Thameslink trains will stop at London Bridge
    • There will also be changes to other services, including Southern and Gatwick Express services to Victoria and London Overground and Underground
  • 22 to 24 December
    • During the morning peak, some trains to Charing Cross will not call at London Bridge
  • 5 January 2015 to January 2018
    • No Bedford to Brighton Thameslink trains will call at London Bridge station for the entire period
    • A service will run every 30 mins between Brighton and London Bridge in the off-peak until approx 20.00 and a very limited service will run at  peak times
  • 12 January 2015 to August 2016
    • Southeastern trains to Charing Cross will not stop at London Bridge for 20 months
    • Some Southeastern stations will have all trains diverted to Cannon Street, with no trains calling at Charing Cross or Waterloo East

Passengers can find out how their journeys will be affected by checking our service information page.

There are alternative routes into London
The impacts on journeys will depend on the particular services you currently use. Some passengers will be required to make a different journey choice from their home station, to change onto a different National Rail service outside London or as a last resort use London Underground or buses to reach their destination.

TfL are strongly advising passengers to follow their travel advice to avoid crowding and possible delays or being charged extra.

Timetables and routing advice are available from your relevant train operator’s website:

Thames Water Freebies

BRILLIANT Freebies from Thames Water

Thames Water are giving away a range of freebies from shower heads to garden hoses, and all of which help us save water.

There are eight great freebies that you can order for free from Thames Water all designed to help us be more water efficient.

To get your Freebie just visit: http://freebies.thameswater.co.uk

Catford Cinema Club Logo

“Gordons Alive!” – Catford Cinema Club is a go!

Catford Cinema Club Logo

The pilot Catford Cinema Club was an unmitigated success, attracting over 150 people to come out onto the Catford Broadway and reclaim its use as a refreshed facility in our public realm. The project was a trial ahead of a hopeful bid to run more film and food based activities in and around the Catford centre in 2015.

Sign up to mailing list here

Catford Society is hoping to enhance the unfair image of Catford and Rushey Green that we often get saddled with, and this kind of activity and its associated formal and informal media coverage, can really help with that perception, whilst offering a free community focused activity that deals with the issue that we one of only two London Boroughs without a Cinema.

To find out more follow @CatfordCinema on twitter

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Barratt Homes confirmed as Catford Dog Track Developer with 1/5th affordable housing

The former Catford Stadium is to be turned into more than 500 homes, the Mayor of London has announced.

The original planning application approval proved to be ugly controversial because of the design and density of the build – splitting the vote of the council.

The historic greyhound track in south London closed in 2003 after years of falling attendances.

Boris Johnson said the £117m redevelopment, by Barratt Homes, would create more than 1,000 jobs, on the assumption of two jobs for each home.

He said 113 of the 589 properties would be for “affordable rent”, and 60 would be earmarked for shared ownership.

Mr Johnson said there was “unprecedented demand” for housing
The 4.7 hectare site was owned by leisure group Wembley when it was a greyhound track, before being acquired by English Partnerships in 2004. It was destroyed by fire the following year.

The land was transferred to the Greater London Authority last year under the Localism Act.

Mr Johnson said London’s “unbeatable allure” meant “unprecedented demand for housing”.

He added: “The transformation of Catford Dogs, which for the last decade has been left empty and unused, will not only bring hundreds of new homes to the heart of London, but will feed into the wider regeneration of Catford Town Centre.”

The mayor said the redevelopment would make the area “an even better place to live” and inject new jobs and growth “into one of the capital’s key opportunity areas”.

Catford Stadium was founded in 1932 and attracted large crowds until the legalisation of betting shops in 1961, which hit attendances at tracks throughout the country.

Work on the development is expected to start by early 2014 and be completed by 2017.