Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trees for Deptford Broadway

As the news goes round about the TfL consultation on their long overdue proposals for junction improvements at Deptford Broadway (see previous post), the idea of bringing trees into the equation has surfaced and is gathering wide support.

A local architect has unearthed early drawings for the Seager Distillery development which were submitted to Lewisham Planning in its initial stages some years ago. This visual was used to sell the scheme to the Planners and shows trees planted in the central reservation.

The scheme was later "value engineered" by a different architect to create a cheaper-to-build version of the development, and any mitigation to locals such as trees on the north side of the development was lost – perhaps in favour of the new ball courts and improvements to Brookmill Park on the south side. It may even have been difficult at the time to get TfL on board.

The idea has already found traction with up-and-coming Deptford MP Vicky Foxcroft and the Brockley Society (who have a 'tree group' with experience of getting funding for new trees).

Such an idea would probably have to go through Planning, but if TfL are looking at improvements here, then they need to be brought on board because it is their land. One of their proposed improvements is to remove the brick walls on the central reservations on the A2 and Deptford Church Street, so how much harder is it to put in some trees while they're at it? (See the proposals here).

If you think it's a great idea, and you haven't yet completed TfL's online survey, do so now and add to the comments section that you'd like to see some trees on this busy junction (as well as pedestrian signals on every crossing) and why not trees on Deptford Church Street's central reservation too? The consultation ends 12 December.


And look out for further news of how you might support what may become a worthwhile campaign...

Friday, November 14, 2014

Good riddance to the worst scaffolding firm in the world!

On Tuesday this week, 1st Scaffolding returned to the estate to "strike" the scaffolding they began putting up at Wilshaw House on 18th August but never completed because they were 'sacked' three weeks in. During those first three weeks they made as much noise as it is possible to make on a building site (which we are not). As we reported almost a month ago, they were given the push when MITIE, who had employed them, 'discovered' the firm was not licensed. Apparently, Ist Scaffolding have enjoyed a long term relationship with MITIE but no one has ever actually checked their credentials. How many other estates have had to endure their behaviour?

A dispute followed, with residents kept in the dark about what was happening. At the end of October, Lewisham Homes' newly and specially appointed Major Works Project Manager informed a small  TRA meeting (and no one else) that the preference was for Ist Scaffolding to return to finish the job rather than take it down. This would mean that the other (much quieter and more professional) scaffolding firms that have since been employed on other blocks would not have to rebuild it. It would be quicker to finish what had been started than to have it taken down and rebuilt. But this was not to be.

Having had unalarmed half-finished scaffolding up on their block for the past THREE MONTHS with no work actually taking place on it, Wilshaw residents will now have a brief respite before another company begins building platforms around them again – with a further predicted EIGHT months to be spent in the dark. In the intervening period, scaffolding on seven out of Crossfields' nine blocks has been completed. Wilshaw was supposed to be the first, but now they will be the last.

If that was not bad enough, Ist Scaffolding's return on Tuesday at 8.15am meant more intolerable noise for residents as the men shouted their way through the dismantling job, led by their foreman – the loudest of them all. They banged and clanged as they literally threw pipes and planks to the ground. Complaints fell on deaf ears. The MITIE Resident Liaison Officer did not consider the noise a problem and was only concerned to know if the men were swearing or not. He has obviously never read Lewisham Council's Guidelines on Best Practice. Never mind that these cowboys were laughing like hyenas (the foreman especially), removing their hard hats (daring the rest of the crew to throw poles at them), singing pop tunes loudly and badly, and generally taking the piss.

Despite the complaints, 1st Scaffolding continued in the same vein the following day, from early in the morning till around 3pm. No attempt was made to shut them up, and they could be heard from the main road.

On Thursday morning, there was quiet, with no shouting and no pole clanging. One might have assumed they had finished the job. But no, the foreman and a much smaller crew were on site again to take down the last bits of scaffold. However, this time they were being watched by four or five management types. It seems that finally someone at Lewisham Homes or MITIE had taken notice, and it was great to see the gobby-mouthed foreman going about his work quietly, lifting poles and planks without banging them, and with his mouth clamped firmly shut for once.

Unfortunately, they have left all their poles and planks piled up all around Wilshaw House – the recently dismantled ones are now added to the ones that never got put up that have been taking up valuable parking space for months. When they come back to pick it up, no doubt they will use their loud fume-emitting unsilenced diesel HGV with the engine powered hoist – because they are too lazy to lift the stuff themselves or use pulleys like the other scaffolding companies. Strange that the other companies do not have to leave their stuff here overnight like this lot. In most cases, they bring what they need, use it, then bring more.

Perhaps Ist Scaffolding are exceptionally cheap – this could be why they were MITIE's firm of choice to work here. We were told a few months ago by Leasehold Services that there is a set fee for the scaffolding – so MITIE were possibly making a dirty fat profit out of Ist Scaffolding, and the more professional firms now being used are eating into their dirty fat profits. MITIE's role is to outsource, to sub-contract, and they can't even get that right. But do MITIE get thrown off the job? No. They are "partners" with Lewisham Homes. More on that another time...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

TFL Consultation: Deptford Broadway junction improvements

For 30 years or more, locals have been risking their lives to cross the road at Deptford Broadway – because one of the busiest junctions in London has never had signalled pedestrian crossings.

Hopefully, that is now about to change, with proposed junction improvements now in consultation. The objective of Transport for London's proposed scheme is "to improve crossing facilities at the junction, enabling people to cross the road easily and safely". Hallelulah! Why has it taken this long?!!!!

The Consultation opened yesterday and runs until 12 December. You can state your views by completing the online survey.

Read the proposals here. There are several points relating to parking restrictions and cycle paths, but the main improvement is this:

•    New signalised pedestrian crossing facilities on the north, west and south sides of the junction. A signalised crossing on the east side was considered, but rejected on the grounds of junction capacity and low pedestrian flows.

We think that they should have signals for pedestrians on ALL the crossings!

Cyclists may also have comments to make. And one local has pointed out that a tree-lined central reservation was promised as part of the Seager Distillery redevelopment. Whatever happened to that?

(Click on the image above to enlarge)

Consultation on changes to Bronze Street and Creekside as part of new 'Quietway' Cycle Path

Lewisham Council is consulting on the Lewisham part of the Waterloo to Greenwich Quietway. We know this because Lewisham Homes sent us a text.

No one however – not even Lewisham Homes – was consulted on the changes that have already been made to part of the route through Crossfields (see our previous post), so we're lucky to be hearing about these other plans now. However, 'consultation' ends on November 7th.

The section of Quietway that Lewisham Traffic and Parking have drawn up draft plans for involve some 'interventions' on the route between Surrey Canal Road and Creekside, as well as repairing or upgrading the road surfaces and improving lighting. For more info on the proposals see here.

At our end of the route, the intention is to close Bronze Street off from Deptford Church Street as shown in this diagram, plus repaving the 'footways' and resurfacing the road and raising the entry to the road at the Creekside end. Residents of Finch & Congers Houses who drive will still have access to their carpark area, but will no longer be able to exit the estate onto Church Street.

You are invited to comment on the plans by emailing traffic@lewisham.gov.uk.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Changes to Southeastern train services from Deptford

If you're a commuter you are probably now familiar with the planned changes to Southeastern train services into town. Occasional users may still be in the dark. Although local bloggers (Deptford Dame, 853, West Greenwich and others) have been talking about it for some time now, it can't do much harm to reiterate the changes here.

The first impact will be the loss of services to the centre of town (Charing Cross) in January 2015 – either directly or by changing at London Bridge (because Charing Cross trains will not stop at London Bridge). The second major change will be in August 2016 with the loss of any access to London Bridge (and thus to all other places, such as Gatwick) until 'early' 2018.
12 January 2015 onwards (forever)
•    Southeastern services from New Cross, St. Johns, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park stations will no longer operate to and from Charing Cross or Waterloo East, and will instead operate to and from Cannon Street. These diverted services will still call at London Bridge

12 January 2015 to August 2016
•    Southeastern services to and from Charing Cross will not call at London Bridge
•    Southeastern services to and from Cannon Street will continue to call at London Bridge

August 2016 to early 2018 
•    Southeastern services to and from Charing Cross resume calling at London Bridge BUT
•    Southeastern services to and from Cannon Street will not call at London Bridge. Some diversions will take place between Charing Cross and Cannon Street

•    Southeastern services to and from Cannon Street will resume calling at London Bridge

For a full list of services affected by Network Rail's rebuilding of London Bridge (as a result of the Thameslink programme) go to this Transport for London page.

Update 28 Oct:  

There is a campaign to reduce the disruption – see GLUG (Greenwich Line Users Group). Contact them via greenwichline@outlook.com.

Thanks to From the Murky Depths for further clarification on the decimation of our services:
A big issue is 4 trains cut in the evening peak (4-7pm) to Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park. Three are at the busiest time of 5:30 - 6:30pm. This is around 38 carriages in total, and 30 alone from 5:30-6:30pm.

They say they will extend other services to make it up but the numbers don't seem to add up to maintain capacity at the busiest times. Other trains are already around 8 carriages long, with some 10, and trains cannot be longer than 10 as Woolwich Dockyard along the line has short platforms, and no mitigating action has been taken about it.