Friday, April 28, 2006

Latest on plans for 422, 108 and 129

The Council have sent their latest comments on the proposed changes to routes 108 and 422 and new route 129.

They are based on further consultation with Councillors, Officers, resident's groups, other organisations and local residents who reponded to the earlier consultation letter.

In brief, they now accept the comments of local residents that the original plans to re-route the 422 should be shelved and that it should continue as before to service Woolwich Road, Blackwall Lane, John Harrison Way (for the Millennium Primary School) and North Greenwich Station.

They continue to support the proposed diversion of route 108 to service Sainsburys, Filmworks, the Greenwich Millenium Village and North Greenwich Station. Some concerns have, however, been expressed by residents of East Greenwich that In order to serve the curent and future needs of the new housing developments along Woolwich Road. It is now recommended that London Buses monitor the situation, and if necessary provide increased frequencies on route 422 at peak hours between Woolwich Road, Blackwall Lane and North Greenwich. It is further suggested that the night service of 108 (N108) be run along the existing route of the 422 when the 422 is not running, and removing the loss of a cross-river bus service from Woolwich Road/Blackwall Lane residents, as well as removing some of the noise nuisance experienced by GMV residents close to the Southern Way busway.

There has been only limited support for the idea of running the 129 from Greenwich Town Centre to Charlton Station via Sainsburys and the Odeon as opposed to London Buses original proposal to terminate at North Greenwich Station. However, there has been concern from GMV residents over the increased number of buses that would be using the busway. The Council therefore suggest that there should be a survey of passenger destinations on the new 129 route and that consideration may then be given to seeking alternative destinations along Bugsby's Way.

Finally, once again, the Council note the failure of London Buses to provide data to justify any of the original route changes. While recognising that surveys require resourcing, in an area of rapid development, passenger origin and destination figures and the desire for completely new routes and limited stop services from areas in the south of the Borough to North Greenwich Station should have been explored more fully.

Westcombe Society AGM

Members are invited to attend the 2006 Westcombe Society Annual General Meeting, to be held on Saturday, 13th May 2006 in the Main Hall of Mycenae House, Mycenae Road, SE3.

The AGM commences at 12.00pm and light refreshments will be served.

If you are unable to attend the AGM and you have a question for the Society or would like to make a nomination to the Executive or Environment Committee, please contact Joanne Lucas on 020 8293 3429.

One of the main Agenda items will be the future of 'Westcombe Woodlands' (see comment elsewhere in this Blog).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Greenwich Park Licence Outcome

Greenwich Council's Licensing Committee recently received 28 letters of objection to an application by the Royal Park for an almost 'carte blanche' extension to their 'event's licence. This included quite strong objections from both the Friends of Greenwich Park and the Greenwich Society.

The Licensing Committee reached a decision on April 22nd which reflects a high degree of nimbyism, and which should be of particular concern to the residents of western side of the Westcombe Park area.

For reasons which are not clear, many residents at the western end of the park seemed to have received letters from the Council containing much more information than the notice attached to the Park railings, which was all many at the eastern end of the Park had to go on. This might explain the relative lack of objections from the Westcombe area, as may the fact that the eastern end suffered less from the problem with late-night film events in 2004. The decision effectively states:

1. Residents reside on three sides of the Park
2. Residents suffered noise nuisance when two outdoor films were shown in Greenwich Park in 2004
3 The Park accepts that the showing of both films caused a noise nuisance to residents.

It has nevertheless sought, and been granted permission to show seven (7), instead of two (2), films but in the area to the south of the Bandstand - more distant from the northern and western homes, but a clear threat to Westcombe Park residents.

A greater noise nuisance will thus be caused, but to a different group of residents, viz., those living in the Westcombe area. In the summer, residents of Vanbrugh Fields can hear the (unamplified) sound of bands playing at the Bandstand on a Sunday afternoon. That is not considered objectionable. However, highly amplfied sound until nearly midnight from film shows like those that caused so much nuisance in 2004 is a very different situation.

One feature of the application was rejected. Many residents (including the Friends and Greenwich Society) pointed out that the films were scheduled to end after the last train had left Maze Hill, creating a powerful incentive for the audience to try to come by car. The Committee therefore specified a 23.30 ending, which means people who run from the Bandstand area might just catch the last train.

There are 21 days (from 22 April) for appeals. Unfortunately, those who appeal against the decision might have to pay the Park Agency's costs if the appeal is unsuccessful, so it is not an option for individuals.

It seems that the seven film shows a year may be additional to the seven major events that are also permitted. A major event is defined as one with an audience of up to 20,000 - c.f. the O2 Dome Arena (23,000) and Charlton's Valley Stadium (27,000). The parking implications could therefore become overwhelming.

Any comments?

Local Elections 2006

United Nations Association (Blackheath & Greenwich Branch)


Question Time

Your chance to meet candidates standing in the Local Elections for the Lewisham ward of Blackheath & the Greenwich ward of Blackheath/Westcombe and to ask questions about issues that concern you.

The Old Bakehouse, Bennett Park, Blackheath (opposite the station)
Wednesday 26th April at 8.00 pm

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Planning Applications - April 2006

144 Humber Road 06/0661 /CP
Erection of a single storey rear extension

25 Ulundi Road 06/0713 /TC
Pear tree - thin by 25% and reduce all round by 1m. Sycamore - reduce all round by 2m, crown thin by 25% and trim back limbs to kerb edge. Magnolia - trim back limbs to balance

85 Maze Hill 06/0792 /F
Amendment to previously approved planing permission to replace roof of rear single storey extension

192 Westcombe Hill 06/0797 /F
Change of use of the first and second floors to two self-contained flats

75 Coleraine Road 06/0770 /TC
Sycamore tree in front garden - fell due to close proximity to wall and replace with suitable variety

27 Charlton Road 06/0847 /CP
Erection of a single storey rear and side infill extension

53 Ulundi Road 06/0834 /F
Erection of a single storey rear conservatory

Saturday, April 15, 2006

What Future for 'The Woodlands'?

The Woodlands, the wooded area on old quarries between Maze Hill and Vanbrugh Hill currently owned by BPT Woodlands Company is to benefit from £57,800 funding over the next 6 years from the developers of the Restell Close Nursing Homes site as a result of a Section 106 agreement between the developers and the Council. Following this long-delayed news, the Blackheath Preservation Trust are discussing with the Westcombe Society and others transferring ownership of the site to a separate and more locally based organisation. The Society has until mid-June to decide whether or not it has a serious interest in being part of this new organisation. The initial view of the Society’s Committee is that it should, but before making any commitment we must first take a view on the appropriate form of the organisation and the nature of the Society’s participation. This could be a very big commitment, and it will be a major topic for members at the Society’s AGM on 13 May 2006 at Mycenae House.

Since acquiring the site in 1980, the BPT has done only the minimum maintenance work to meet its public liability obligations. The new funding should provide for secure perimeter fencing and a more active approach to woodland management, as well as covering running costs (including insurance). Given the precipitous nature of parts of the site, a major issue for any new organisation will be that of access - and views have varied from locking the gate and throwing away the key, through various degrees of educational access, right the way through to its use for tennis courts and picnics! Both the level of woodland management and the extent of access will determine the need for additional funding (both during the first 6 years and beyond) and the ability to apply for such funding.

Because of the potential size of this project, the Society will be looking at possibilities of working in partnership with the Greenwich and Blackheath Societies, as well as seeking to involve the immediate neighbours of The Woodlands. The eventual organisation might take many forms – for example, it might be closely controlled by one or more of the three societies, or it may be that we simply facilitate the setting up of a completely separate and independent organisation. This might be some form of charitable trust, or a CIC (community interest company), a new type of limited company created in 2005 to facilitate social enterprise. There could also be an associated “Friends of The Woodlands”.

We need your views - so please offer your comments here, write to the Westcombe New - or (Society members) please come along to the AGM where there will be the opportunity to discuss the options.