Wild swimming comes to Lewisham

Our new Lewisham Mayor has pulled a rabbit out of the hat in first weeks in post.

Beckenham Place Park will receive £440,000 of funding from the Mayor of London to create a wild swimming pool, as part of a major development project, which will be overseen by Brockley Councillor Sophie McGeevor. Lewisham Council explains:

The award is part of the mayor of London’s push to make London the world’s first National Park City. Beckenham Place Park was one of six winning projects to get a share of the £2m funding pot from the mayor’s Greener City Fund.

We will use the funding to:
  • plant thousands of new trees
  • support the restoration of the park’s Georgian lake, which will create a new wildlife habitat and be used for open water swimming
It's great to see such an ambitious and imaginative project in the borough. More please.

Budgie, regard!

Labour chooses Daby to fight Lewisham East election

Lewisham East has dodged a Momentum bullet. Janet Daby - the sensible, moderate, serious candidate on the Labour shortlist for the upcoming by-election - has been selected as their prospective MP.

Daby likes talking about housing, health and education rather than lurking in chatrooms muttering about Zionists. Her analysis of political problems extends beyond personal anecdote and posture. She cares about Lewisham more than she does about re-writing Venezuelan history. Needless to say, she was a local choice rather than a national plant.

Given Labour is a shoo-in in this election, this is an important outcome and a signal that Labour's Lewisham grassroots are resilient.

Full list of candidates coming up.

New timetable and more trains for Crofton Park

New trains come into service soon
A completely new timetable will apply to Crofton Park trains from Sunday, May 20th.

And since there is nothing harder and more confusing than trying to write about train timetables for a service you don't use, the Cinderella Line campaign for better rail services through Crofton Park has summarised it instead. They say:

Thanks to everyone, from 21st May we will be enjoying our well-deserved 4 trains an hour on the Cinderella Line, doubling current capacity and giving us vital new services across London.

Here are the key changes:

Our core service

4 trains an hour all day every day Monday – Saturday. Sunday will initially have 2 trains an hour increasing to 4 once Network Rail have completed some engineering works that will allow Thameslink to run the full service on Sundays too.

You can read more about the engineering works here.

Two of our services will terminate at Blackfriars and two will go beyond to Kentish Town, linking us up to Farringdon for Crossrail and Kings Cross St Pancras.

Weekday mornings into London

On weekday mornings we will have 4 trains an hour and Crofton Park and Bellingham will also have some direct services to London Victoria:

The 4 Thameslink services will be spaced at 10 and 20 minute gaps. This is to pave the way for eventually increasing our service to 6 trains an hour and we're going to be pushing for this to happen.

Just imagine: a train every 10 minutes!

But there is a catch if you want to go to Victoria

From Crofton Park there are currently three direct services to London Victoria on weekday mornings departing at 7:36, 8:23 and 8:43. In the new timetable from May, these times have been amended to depart at 7:46, 8:15 and 9:21, so our third service will be more than 30 minutes after it currently is.

We have raised this with Southeastern Railway and the reason for this is that under the new timetable with all of our core services through Blackfriars, it is not currently possible to have a train that stops at Crofton Park at around 8:45 to Victoria as this could cause a knock-on delay to other services.

And the new services won't be fully operational straight away

From 11th June the initial phasing will be complete and our services will run as planned. During the phasing in period, some of our services will either start from Blackfriars or Terminate there, but after 11th June they will run the full length of the route.

For the full rundown of changes, click here.

Waiting in the wings for the show to begin

Labour, as expected, has chosen an all-female, all-BAME shortlist for the Lewisham East by-election. They are: Janet Daby, Brenda Dacres, Sakina Sheikh and Claudia Webbe.

Daby and Dacres have years of local service with the Council under their belts. The Labour leadership and Lewisham Momentum prefer Webbe and Sheikh.

Islington Councillor, friend of Jez and NEC member Claudia Webbe has attracted criticism for her previous defence of Ken Livingstone's antisemitism and her appearances on Iranian and Russian state TV. On the other hand, she is related to Simon Webbe, singer of No Worries, one of the most perfect pop songs of all time.

Worth noting that there are nominally other contenders from other parties involved in this election. More on them soon.

Brockley Max 2018 - June 1-9

Not long now until the Brockey Max festival. The full programme is now available to download. Organiser Moira writes:

Brockley Max 2018 features an amazing mix of art, music, comedy, film and photography events alongside the hugely popular Opening Night, Brockleywood Nights and Art In The Park.

We also have our very own radio station. Brockley Max FM will be broadcasting live from The Fox & Firkin during festival week. And once again we’re delighted that the Brockley Street Art Festival is happening alongside us.

Highlights this year include:

- Eyeball Pleasers - an eccentric collection of work at the Lewisham ArtHouse
- Jerk n Jam - Jerk cooking and good music at Jam Circus
- Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes - performed by local theatre group Join the Dots
- Whisky & Wax Featuring Beatnik - hip hop and electronica at Brickfields
- Kumo and Sweet Machine - like Jean Michelle Jarre playing a theramin inside The Honor Oak pub

The traditional opening night party is on June 1, on Foxberry Road.

"Bookies' favourite" won't run for Lewisham East seat

Phyll Opuku-Gyimah, the candidate widely touted to win the Labour nomination for the Lewisham East by-election, has issued a statement on Twitter saying that she will not stand. She will thus become the only person in London not running in this race.

The UK Black Pride organiser had been flirting heavily with the idea on Twitter and in interviews, and was tipped as the one that Corbynistas would anoint, but she has pulled out at the last minute, citing personal reasons. The list of candidates currently in the running can be found here.

- Lewisham Momentum is hosting a meeting with candidates tonight at the Rivoli tonight, but has no-platformed Joe Dromey on account of his genitalia.

- Labour's National Executive Committee is reported to have delayed the selection meeting until next Saturday, in response to complaints from local party members that the process was being railroaded by the national leadership.

Patchwork Royal Wedding

Windsor’s local homeless charity, SHOC, has partnered with Brockley-based Patchworkit to create an alternative wedding gift list for people who want to mark the Royal Wedding by supporting those in need.

You can donate a toaster, towels or a range of other gifts by clicking here.

Lewisham East - Labour's runners and riders in a very short race

Who are the many and who are the few? That question is set to be put to the test in the forthcoming Lewisham East byelection, which has been triggered by Heidi Alexander's resignation. The Guardian reports:

"Labour party members in... Lewisham East are protesting furiously that the byelection caused by the resignation of the MP Heidi Alexander is likely to be held in just five weeks’ time.

"They accuse the party’s national executive of rushing through the process to prevent the local party having a voice, with the candidate to be shortlisted and selected in just six days.

"The Lewisham East CLP chair, Ian McKenzie, emailed members calling on them to protest against the speed of the process.

"The national executive committee (NEC) always selects byelection candidates, but Lewisham East is a plum seat with a solid 21,000 majority.

"Several people have already let it be known they are interested, but there are indications that Labour HQ would like to see an all-female shortlist and is likely to favour at least a majority of BAME candidates in a constituency where nearly half the voters are minority ethnic."

So are the many the local party members who represent the grassroots of the party, or does the Labour leadership, with a huge national mandate represent the interests of the many against a few local refuseniks who can't get with the glorious programme? Reducing complicated issues down to trite oppositional catchphrases is harder than it looks.

Anyway, let's have a look at the candidates who somebody somewhere will choose from to install in power in a borough where 70% of the residents voted Remain:

Kevin Bonavia - Blackheath Councillor and Spurs fan? Uh oh. Running on a strongly pro-immigration platform following his work with refugees in Lewisham. Pledges to work to mitigate the worst effects of Brexit, which is to say he supports the Labour Party's pro-Brexit stance.

Brenda Dacres - the New Cross Councillor is a familiar face in local politics. Her candidacy declaration included a personal connection to every wicked Tory injustice meted out since 2010. Follows the Corbynista line on Brexit, which is to say she is pro.

Joe Dromey - A job with the Moral Maze's favourite think-tank the IPPR, a solid track record as a Councillor and a tendency to say sensible things in a moderate tone on Twitter give him impeccable centrist dad credentials. Good luck with that... 'Passionately pro-European' (hint hint), but nominally supports Labour's pro-Brexit stance.

Sakina Sheikh - Inspired by Corbyn to join the party two years ago and only elected as a Lewisham Councillor a few days ago.  Together with our new Lewisham Mayor and Telegraph Hill Councillor Paul Bell, she recently shared a platform with a local Islamist imam Shakeel Begg, who in 2016 was found by a high court judge to “clearly promote and encourage violence in support of Islam and espouse a series of extremist Islamic positions.” Her statement does not mention the EU at all and she has ducked repeated questions put to her about Brexit on Twitter. Reportedly the Corbynista candidate of choice.

Claudia Webbe - Former Chair of the Met Police's anti-gang crime initiative Operation Trident, her statement is admirably detailed and definitively socialist. Says she is proud to call Corbyn a personal friend. Pro-Brexit.

So there you have it. Five candidates so-far, all toeing the pro-Brexit party line. A reminder of two things: Firstly, if you want to be the next MP for Lewisham East you'd better tailor your manifesto for the ears of the national leadership rather than the local electorate. And secondly, the Labour Party is a pro-Brexit party.

The Huffington Post reports that Labour is contemplating selecting candidates based on an all-women, all-BAME shortlist, which would have the fortuitous consequence of weeding out the centrist candidates.

Phyll Opuku-Gyimah, the co-founder of UK Black Pride, is also expected formally to enter the race shortly.

UPDATE

Whitefoot Councillor and Lewisham Deputy Mayor Janet Daby has declared her candidacy.

The former social worker's platform is the most locally-relevant, including references to the Bakerloo Line and problems with gang violence. A good and considered local politician. She makes no reference to Brexit or related issues at all.

UPDATE

Another one to add to the list. Rachel Onikosi is a former Lewisham Councillor who ducks any reference to Brexit in her declaration. Instead, her florid note majors on things like mental health, mean tweets and 'the stigma' of maternity leave.

From this plethora of options, will any pro-Remain candidate emerge?

UPDATE

Down goes Lady Phyll, who's dropped out amid media reports of anti-semitic social media posts.

UPDATE

Tom Willetts has entered the race. He is a governor of Trinity Lewisham school and a Catford resident. His declaration majors on issues affecting young black people in the borough. Describes himself as a socialist who wants radical change. Opposes 'hard Brexit', which is to say will support the party line in favour of Brexit.

Climb St Peter's on June 2nd

On Saturday, June 2nd, you will have a rare chance to climb St Peter's Church tower. The Wickham Road temple is hosting an open day as part of the Brockley Max Festival. They write:

Have you ever wondered what’s behind the big red doors of St Peter’s? Come join our Open Day to explore this beautiful church and learn more about its place in local history.

St Peter’s Open Day is on Saturday 2nd June from 12-5pm as part of the Brockley Max Festival.

We welcome everyone to come and enjoy its stained glass windows and mosaics and take a tour, including climbing to the top of the clock tower for spectacular views of Brockley and the city.

Guided tours of church will be taking place at 12:15, 13:30, 14:45 and 16:00. Each tour is limited to fifteen people. If you’d like to book your place on a tour, you can register your interest here.

Fortress Ashby Mews

The gates go in
Recently, a metal gate appeared without warning across the northern entrance to Ashby Mews.

This entrance to the mews has been cursed by constant fly-tipping over the years and the gates are a defense measure installed by residents.

I bow to no-one in my hatred for rubbish and fly-tipping and I can imagine how infuriating it must be to live with it year-after-year. Just walking past it regularly made me angry. I have also been on the receiving end of residents' exasperation - despite living nearby, I was once challenged while on a walk to state my business by one neighbour who suspected me of being a fly-tipper (though where about my person he thought I was stashing my load was unclear).

But Brockley's mews are a community asset and this was done without public consultation, nor reference to the Brockley Society, who are guardians of the conservation area. Some residents with rear-garden access to the mews say they were unaware of the plans. Rumours abound about when and how often pedestrian access will be available.

Restricting pedestrian access is a draconian measure to combat rubbish usually dumped by the van-load. It runs contrary to the communitarian spirit of Brockley or the stated intentions of the developers who have built homes in the mews. The gates are divisive in more ways than one: From the moment they were thrown up, I received emails from concerned locals who wished not to be named for fear of being dragged into a spat.

The Council and the police should have acted long ago to deal seriously with fly-tipping at this spot. There should have been a plan of action that dealt with the problem and stopped residents feeling the need to take matters into their own hands. But the plan should have been developed with the community. It’s a shame to have shut them out.

Heidi Alexander quits MP role to be London Deputy Mayor

Heidi Alexander is standing down as a Lewisham MP in order to replace Val Shawcross as Mayor Khan's Deputy Mayor, responsible for transport across the capital.

I have lost enough Twitter followers by dwelling on the internal Labour party politics that contributed to this decision and there will be plenty of time to revisit that topic as the race to replace her begins in earnest, so let us focus on the positives.

Heidi Alexander is a capable politician who cares about our borough. Her appointment ought to ensure that the Bakerloo line extension to New Cross and Lewisham goes ahead without any hiccups. She might also encourage TfL to give greater consideration to cyclists in Lewisham, extending the bike hire docks to our borough.

Anyone in City Hall with an affinity for South East London's challenges and potential is good news.

The Dengest Lunch

One needn't be a clean-eating obsessive to worry about local fast-food outlets targeting our kids so flagrantly.

One minute to midnight

Who watches the Watchmen?
The results of the Lewisham Council elections are in. The only non-Labour candidate, Brockley's Green Councillor Coughlin, is gone.

Voters of Lewisham: What is the point of this?

Bye Bullock, Enter Egan

The people of Lewisham have chosen Damien Egan as their new Mayor.

Our first ever directly elected Mayor, Steve Bullock, stood down after 16 years of sterling service to make way for a new candidate. Voters duly installed the next Labour candidate. The full results are as follows:

Councillor Damien Egan - Labour Party - 39951 votes (54%)
Ross Kenneth Archer - The Conservative Party - 9790 votes (13%)
Councillor John Leo Coughlin - Green Party - 7649 votes (10%)
Chris Maines - Liberal Democrats - 6065 (8%)
Duwayne Brooks - Independent - 5480 (7%)
John Nicholas Hamilton - People Before Profit - 4193 (6%)
Will Donnelly - Democrats and Veterans - 445 (1%)

The election produced a surprisingly high turnout (37%), given that the result was a certainty, with the Council chamber a sea of red.

The enduring appeal of People Before Profit is interesting, given that many of their supporters were thought to have been hoovered up by Corbyn-era Labour. Perhaps it shows the power of leafleting at local train stations. And the LibDems still cannot catch a break, despite having once been the main source of local opposition.

Brockley's Green Councillor Leo Coughlin gained a creditable third place finish.

Congratulations to Egan. And good luck.

Murder at the Movies, May 16

Harriet writes:

Calling all armchair detectives – an immersive murder mystery cinema event is coming to New Cross in May! Learn from literature’s master of mystery at this film screening with a twist where the audience will have their own murder mystery to solve.

On 16th May, the Amersham Arms in New Cross will be transformed into a 1930s cinema. The audience will step back in time to the closing night of the ‘Amersham Picture House’ which is soon to be bulldozed to make way for luxury flats. The owner of the cinema has invited a host of colourful characters for one last ‘hurrah!’ before the cinema shuts its doors for good, but there’s more to this party than meets the eye…

The audience will watch the Christie Classic, Murder on the Orient Express (1974), play games and solve puzzles to uncover the clues to a murder mystery that unfolds as the night goes on. 1930’s outfits are highly encouraged and there will be a prop-box on the night to help you get into character!

Organiser Harriet from Child.org said “This will be a great chance for people who saw the recent Murder on the Orient Express film to experience the original in a wholly different setting. I hope the audience will really step into the story – I can’t wait to see everyone’s fancy dress!”

Popcorn and drinks from the bar will also be available. This is an over-18s only event and tickets are only available in advance online at: http://bit.ly/murderatthemovies

There’s a limited number of early bird tickets, so get them before they’re gone! All proceeds from the event will go to Child.org

Model Market 2018 - Returns Friday

O happy day: Summer is here, Model Market has returned.

The Lewisham food and booze experience re-opens tomorrow night, and this year's line-up includes What the Fattoush (vegan), Pocho (sliders and tacos) and Mama's Jerk (barbecue).

Opens 5pm Friday and runs every weekend throughout the summer. Go.

Reports: Heidi Alexander City Hall move could trigger Lewisham by-election

Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander is reported to be considering a move to City Hall, which would trigger a local by-election. Guido Fawkes summarises:

"Last night the Guardian reported that Labour MP Heidi Alexander is “seriously considering” quitting the Commons for a job at City Hall. This morning the Corbynista site Skwawkbox (health warnings apply) say she is to step down. Labour’s press office say they aren’t commenting and that Guido should speak to Heidi. Calls to her mobile, Westminster and constituency office phones are going unanswered. By-election?"

The Guardian's original report noted:

Since quitting the shadow cabinet in protest at Corbyn’s leadership in July 2016, Alexander has come under pressure from pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum, including some local activists who are also members of the far left Alliance for Workers’ Liberty. 

 The influx of new members has sometimes represented a direct challenge, with local members vocally objecting to her decision to quit the shadow cabinet. 

Momentum’s position is stronger in the neighbouring constituency of Lewisham Deptford; however, the campaign group last week launched a Lewisham East left caucus, to “help comrades build a strong left in the remaining stronghold of the Labour right in Lewisham”.

Strong and stable: A cartoon review of the year with Martin Rowson

On April 30th at the Fox & Firkin pub, the Brockley Max arts festival (taking place June 1-9) will be throwing a fundraiser with support from Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson. Organiser Moira writes:

Martin Rowson, longstanding Ladywell resident & multiple award-winning cartoonist for The Guardian, will be looking back over the last turbulent twelve months in politics and much else in another fully illustrated, ranty & sweary fundraiser for the Brockley Max festival.

In a year where it feels the world has turned upside down, Martin will give his take on the continuing saga of Brexit and the incompetence of our political parties through his cartoons. Be prepared to be shocked, enlightened and thoroughly entertained!

Join us for this rare opportunity for an informal and intimate discussion, followed by a Q&A, with one of the UK’s most distinct political commentators.

There will be opportunity to purchase copies Martin’s new books, including his graphic novel adaption of The Communist Manifesto, and his collection of “silent” [wordless] comics, “The Pen Is Mightier Than The Word”.

Tickets are £10 + booking fee from here:  All ticket sales to go towards funding this year’s festival. Over 18 years only.

Click here for more

Lewisham still seeking home for £6m housing budget

The local elections are coming soon and despite Labour's looming clean-sweep of Lewisham, candidates are dutifully going through the motions, with housing top of the agenda. Mayoral favourite, Damien Egan, made social housing central to his bid to win the party nomination.

So the first order of business for the new administration to consider ought to be the borough's £6m cash pile from developers, which is meant to be spent on providing affordable housing, but which has not yet been committed. The Huffington Post reports:

Councils across the UK are hoarding hundreds of millions of pounds set aside for affordable homes, HuffPost UK can reveal.

Data obtained by this website shows more than £375 million is sitting in councils’ bank accounts instead of being used to tackle the housing crisis. Two-thirds of that cash - £235 million - is being held by just 14 councils.

One housing campaigning group labeled the findings as “staggering”, while the National Housing Federation called it “deeply concerning”.

The money comes from a piece of planning law called Section 106 Agreements, which allows councils to get money from developers in exchange for granting planning permission for projects.

The cash has to be used for specific tasks, such as affordable housing, highways repairs and even public art.

Reacting to the discovery, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid MP said: “Section 106 payments help deliver the vital infrastructure required for councils to build the homes that this country needs.

“We expect councils to use funding from developers in line with the priorities agreed in their local plans.”

HuffPost UK asked every council in England and Wales to reveal how much they had received in Section 106 monies since 2013/14, how much they had spent and how much was unallocated.

Lewisham is among the top 14 councils hoarding money for affordable housing, with £16.3 million unspent, of which £6 million is uncommitted.

For the full article, click here. Thank you to Jenny for the spot.

Ladywell Fields river clean-up this weekend

Rob writes:

As it’s going to be a wonderful weekend you might want to publicise the Ladywell Fields river clean-up on Sunday, 22 April.

I have been to probably 20 of these over the years and I can honestly say they are great fun - an opportunity to do some useful volunteer work whilst enjoying a different view of the world wading along the River Ravensbourne and enjoying Ladywell Fields in all its Springtime beauty.

Lewisham house prices defy London downturn

For more than a decade, Lewisham house prices have been rising faster than the London average as inner city living has become more fashionable and improved transport links have attracted people priced-out elsewhere. The result is that, from a low base, Lewisham has moved up the league table of London boroughs in terms of average prices.

So one might of assumed that Lewisham would be among the fastest-fallers as London prices have started to fall in the last year. But new data from the ONS shows that in 2017, Lewisham house prices continued to rise at one of the fastest rates in the capital as the most expensive boroughs dipped.

The ONS found that between February 2017 and February 2018 the price of the average Lewisham home rose 2.7% to £414,516.

Speculative hotspots like Westminster (-2.4%), Hammersmith & Fulham (-5%) and Tower Hamlets (-7.9%) have taken a hammering, while more affordable outer boroughs such as Barking & Dagenham (4.4%) and Redbridge (8.9%) have shot up. Lewisham remains in the top ten fastest risers.

Thanks to Monkeyboy for sharing the data.

Brockley Open Studios, June 30th - July 2nd

Printmaker Maria Munroe is one of this year's participating artists
The organisers of the Brockley Open Studios festival have announced the 2018 line-up of participating artists - 36 in total. They say:

A great variety of artists has signed up and you can expect to see artworks including paintings, prints wood work, textiles, ceramics, fire etching and many more.

This year, we are also offering workshops and activities provided by Caravan Arts and Aurora Options for you and your family to get involved.

For the full roster, click here.

Lewisham Place: Like Lewisham Shopping Centre, only slightly more lime green

The future of Lewisham Shopping Centre has been the subject of feverish speculation over the years: Would it be completely rebuilt? Submerged below ground? Turned into a gastrodome? Appended with a cinema?

The answer is none of these things. Instead, they're adding some green signs. Fromthemurkydepths reports:

Lewisham Shopping Centre owners Landsec have just gained approval from Lewisham Council for a series of upgrades.

The focus is mainly on improving the six entrances to the site, which itself appears to be renamed as “Lewisham Place”. The centre first opened in 1977 and has undergone internal refurbishment in recent years.

The planning application states: 

"The design for the six entrances is in line with the principles intended for the rest of the Shopping Centre which include the use if timber, natural stone and stainless steel as materials and shades of green and grey for the colour palette and graphics with the intention to brighten up and refresh the space."

The entrance closest to Lewisham station and new builds at Lewisham Gateway is to be upgraded. A new green wall is apparent above the canopy.

For the full, uninspiring story, click here. Thanks to Miles for the heads-up.

Knock-back for block plot on Lewisham High Street

BCer Ed writes:

A few weeks ago I was shocked and appalled to find my favourite go-to spot for giant pots of honey, enormous tubs of humus and unlimited plates of baklava was no more. The Turkish Supermarket on Lewisham High Street simply closed overnight.

This site has actually been targeted for major redevelopment, with the latest proposal recently knocked-back by Lewisham Council.

A couple of years ago planning permission was originally granted for a 4/5 storey block of 22 flats and 195 sq m of street-level commercial space at 223-225 Lewisham High Street – that’s where the hole in the street is now. But planning permission for a much bigger development, stretching from 223-229 Lewisham High Street has now been knocked back.

A planning application was submitted in July last year for 691 sq m of commercial space and 51 flats over 5-8 floors – but it was refused at the end of October 2017. These pictures show what they were hoping to build.
In her refusal letter, Emma Talbot, head of planning, gave three reasons why Lewisham Council had refused planning permission:

1. The size of the development would fail to provide a high quality design.

2. The proposed flats would provide “A poor standard of accommodation that would fail to provide long term sustainable housing”.

3. The development as a whole was over-development, with an unsatisfactory “compromised internal layout”.

In short – loads of poky flats.

Since that decision was made the site at 223-225 Lewisham High Street has been cleared, although no building work is taking place there yet. The TFC supermarket at 226-229 Lewisham High Street is still standing, for now.

I have not been able to find another re-submitted planning application for the whole site, so - big leap - I presume it is going through the usual scaling-down hoops before being resubmitted. (I am an amateur when it comes to planning applications - perhaps someone else can tell us more?)

It is worth noting that barely 30m away, on the other side of the street, there is a development of 40-odd flats with a now-empty ground floor. It used to be a Tesco, but it’s been sitting empty for at least a year, if not more.

A block further south is the highly regarded and award-winning Place Ladywell – a well thought-out scheme of social-housing flats, as anyone who lives there, or has walked around them on Open House Weekend, will know. The cafe is nice too and has become something of a community hub – as was the planning intention.

It is clear that getting the planning mix right is crucial for Lewisham, especially in the town centre. What’s more, the success of Place Ladywell proves that planning actually works. When done well it can and does revitalise areas that need it.

Well done to Lewisham Planning for knocking this development back – lets hope, and lobby for, something better and more appropriate for this corner of Lewisham High Street.

Comedy Into Brockley

Comedy Into Brockley is a new local comedy night produced by home brewing kings Water Into Beer and hosted by Kiwi comic Jez Brown.

The performances kick-off on April 21st and each is recorded as a podcast.

Homes proposed between Algernon and Embleton Roads

The proposed new homes and walkway
BCer Joe is unhappy with Lewisham Homes' plans for new homes across the back gardens between Algernon and Embleton roads in Ladywell. He writes:

"The plans build over the social housing garden contrary to the local plan [there is a strip of garden between the garages which will now be built on], they also provide less social housing than would be provided by building larger houses along the roads.

"The plans will block out the view of the sky in the back gardens they are building across and create a narrow alleyway between the roads in an area Regenter (who manage the existing flats) say is already bad for antisocial behaviour.

"The connection is no benefit to the community given that Ellerdale street already joins the roads a few meters away. Currently, the plans are set to be decided by officials rather than the planning committee despite having such an impact on neighbouring flats and houses.

You can view the application here.

Buro, Brockley Cross

Buro is a new co-working desk and studio space has opened in SE4.

The workspace is managed by the owners of the property, who themselves are self-employed South London professionals. Phil Fisk is an award-winning photographer who studied at Goldsmiths and never left the area, and his partner Sarah Greene an Events Director who made the move south of the river 15 years ago. They say:

“Our businesses needed a flexible office space for desks, a studio & meeting room with excellent local amenities and first-rate transport links: Dragonfly Place in Brockley fitted the bill perfectly. We are overwhelmed by the enthusiastic reception our new business has received locally”.

"Buro’s interior has been completely refitted and designed bespoke as a desk-sharing space for the contemporary working environment. Re-cycled materials have been used as much as possible: made to measure desks have been re-purposed from school chemistry lab desks, upcycled lamps come from Bambino in Crystal Palace. Buro caters to individuals, as well as small groups and the facilities will develop with the requirements of the users due to the adaptability of the working space."

Buro desks cost £250 inclusive of VAT, per month (£208.33 + VAT) which includes all utilities and Fibre Optic BT Infinity. Buro users benefit from discounts from other businesses operating in Dragonfly Place and Brockley.

For more details, click here.

Classic motorbikes in Greenwich, May 3

St Johns resident Will is organising this motorbike event. He says:

"I am running this event at Greenwich Market with my company, Urban Rider. My business is a specialist retailer of the world's finest motorcycle gear and we have partnered with Italian helmet manufacturer AGV in taking over Greenwich Market for an evening to celebrate motorcycle racing icons of the 1960s and 70s.

"It should be quite a spectacle and we would love local residents to attend, it is a unique opportunity to see some original race bikes and modern custom motorcycles. Even the Norton from the latest James Bond film, machine guns and all!"

The New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festival 2018

The New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festival (NXDfff) returns for its seventh year this spring with 33 free film events, 3 bike powered screenings, 9 new venues, Q&A sessions, DJs and docs. Something for every member of the community.

Launch night is at Peckham's Brick Brewery with Get Out, a late license bar, street food and music.

This year the festival features three outdoor bike powered screenings, including Sing at Pepys Park, Nacho Libre at Telegraph Hill Upper Park and Pirates of the Carribean at Folkestone Gardens.

NXDFF also has a pre-release screening of locally shot film, SINK, followed by a Q&A with writer/director Mark Gillis. Shot in New Cross, Deptford and Brockley, the film has attracted Mark Rylance as an Associate Producer.

The festival closes at Buster Mantis with a music themed documentary called Beats of the Antanov. The film depicts the Sudanese conflict in the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions, focusing in particular on the role of music in helping the affected communities to sustain themselves culturally and spiritually. Buster Mantis will host our last event and local DJ collective Bombotropics will provide global beats and melodies.

NXDfff is completely run by volunteers made up of local residents, students and community groups. NXDfff has a DIY ethos that encourages creative freedom: this year more than 30 people are curating film events with help and guidance from a core festival team.

For full details click here.

The Murder List


Brockley resident and NHS psychologist Chris Merritt has just published a crime novel called The Murder List, set partly in SE4. He explains:

"The main detective lives on Tressillian Road and there are a couple of scenes in Hilly Fields too. Other elements of the story are set around Crofton Park, Honor Oak and Deptford.

"It’s also been optioned for TV so we could be seeing some filming nearby in the future... Here is the book."

Parts and Labour Cycles

Rad Bikes has renamed itself Parts and Labour Cycles due to a trademark dispute.

You can now find the Lewisham Way bike maintenance shop online here.

The Crystal Palace Festival 2018, June 11-17

The Crystal Palace Festival returns in 2018 with headliners Stereo MCs and Polarbear.

One of the biggest free cultural events in south London, the arts and culture festival will take place across the Crystal Palace area from 11–17 June 2018 with the Crystal Palace park event taking place on 16 June 2018.

There were nearly 30,000 visitors to the 2017 event and organisers are expecting even bigger crowds on 16 June 2018 thanks to a line-up of music, spoken word, theatre, visual arts, family and community activities.

The week long festival includes mainly free events organised by local traders, pubs, community groups, schools and churches across 11–17 June 2018.

The festival’s outreach and participatory arts work has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England, Croydon Council and Bromley Council. Projects include an intergenerational dance piece that will culminate in a promenade performance in the park, and concerts by the London Mozart Players in local care homes, the park children’s farm and Crystal Palace railway station.

Full programme here.

Lewisham wins The World Cup of London Boroughs

"'With a mere ninety break-horse-power available, progress is too leisurely to be called fast, but on the motorway in fifth gear the Megane’s slow pace really becomes a pain. Uphill runs become power-sappingly mundane, while overtaking National Express coaches can become a long, drawn-out affair.' Not my words, Carol. The words of Top Gear magazine."
- I'm Alan Partridge

The wisdom of the crowd has been harnessed. The cow has been weighed. Lewisham has been deemed the best of all possible London neighbourhoods.

Tonight, Lewisham won the World Cup of London Boroughs in a grueling encounter with the overdogs of Lambeth. Lewisham won 56% of the nearly-12,000 votes cast.


This was the Twitter poll equivalent of England winning the World Cup by knocking out France (our neighbours Southwark in the first round), Argentina (the pampas of Camden), Germany (hipsters' favourite Hackney) Brazil (beloved by the chattering classes of Islington) and Italy (like Lambeth, littered with international icons) in the Final. An extraordinary achievement.
Of course, this was never really about which borough boasts the best nightlife, parks or attractions. But it was about which part of London could muster the most passion and enthusiasm from its residents. Lewisham owes its victory to the fact that its people simply wanted it more. And that's the best reason of all to win.

The greatest place to live in London is the place where the greatest number of people give a damn about their home.

Please be magnanimous in victory. They are hurting in Lambeth this evening.

Deptford Bites - New Saturday Market Launches April 7

Deptford Market Yard's food market has been a long-time coming but the team has finally announced a new regular Saturday event. They gush:

Deptford Market Yard is excited to announce a new weekly Saturday market ‘Deptford Bites’. Curated by London food event and market organisers Eat Me Drink Me, the weekly market will bring together the best produce and street food traders London has to offer, as well as a selection of craft stalls with a focus on South East London makers & designers.

The market will showcase street food sensations such as the flavour-punching Northern Thai food by KraPow LDN to the sophisticated Oyster Boys who will be serving freshly shucked oysters and made to order Bloody Mary’s from their retro food cart, guaranteed to get you back on your feet after one too many on a Friday night. After spending much of her childhood in Deptford, Zoe Adjonyoh from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen will also return with her out of this world Ghanaian creations. And finally, for your sweet fix, the market will welcome plant based, dairy free, Black Mylk Ice cream. Its ice cream is handcrafted using a blend of homemade cashew nut milk and coconut milk, with colours and flavours selected from seasonal ingredients – from Honeycomb and Pine nut and Miso Caramel & Pecan to Ceylon Cinnamon & Walnut, you will be spoiled for choice.

‘Deptford Bites’ will feature a mixture of permanent Saturday traders and a rotation of guest vendors. It will be a place to browse and buy artisanal fresh ingredients with everything from bread and cheese to olives and farm produce. And there’ll be a craft and design area where you can pick up unusual gifts, with a focus on makers and designers in the South East London area. The launch day market includes popups from perfumier Maya Njie, prints from Catford Creative and Deptford’s very own Stray East with their gorgeous homewares.

To mark the launch and celebrate the thriving local community, Grace Dent will be curating a series of talks covering subjects such as the changing face of Deptford and the rise of Veganism. Starring household names such as Jay Brave, Zoe Adjonyoh and Grace Dent herself as well as local London voices from the Deptford area including resident Adrian Luckie from Mama’s Jerk and Deptford Esquire’s Saima Arshad.

There will be live music every week and of course an opportunity to re-visit the excellent permanent Deptford Market Yard tenants; it’s the perfect place to grab some food and drink, stock up for the week and browse the craft stores on a sunny Saturday.

The World Cup of London Boroughs Final: Lewisham vs Lambeth

Going in one more round when you don't think you can - that's what makes all the difference in your life. This is it, one last push and bragging rights over all of London are ours for the next four years.

Lewisham was written off from the start. They said we were underdogs, has-beens, suburban no-hopers. Lambeth, pumped up on steroids and Russian money, promised to break us. But the moment of truth is here. No pain.

Please vote now.

Rebel Base

Mothers

Mothers is a new album from 'in analysis', a music project created by Brockley songwriter David Schweitzer. He explains:

We create songs based on stories contributed anonymously by members of the public.

In February 2017, we invited people to write about their mothers via an anonymous form on their website. We received a number of interesting, frank and heartfelt stories.

Using these contributions as raw material, in analysis wrote the eleven songs on this record, which are performed by the band and a number of guest vocalists.

The fact that you have no idea who wrote the stories – and know nothing about their age, gender or background – means you really have to focus on the key emotional ideas they communicate.

While the words have nearly always been changed to create the lyrics for the songs, we’ve tried to make sure the songs stay true to those central ideas.

We think that this has resulted in is a warm, honest, emotional and sometimes humorous set of songs. And while many of the stories are quite specific, we hope that the songs will resonate with a wide range of listeners.

You can listen to the record on Spotify, but we’ve also released a limited edition yellow vinyl record edition with lyrics and also lovely illustrations by Mary Richards (another local resident). These are £12 from our website or can be bought from the Gently or Gently Elephant shops in Brockley. Any money from sales goes to Mind and the Samaritans.

The World Cup of London Boroughs: Lewisham vs Islington

Twitter polls, bloody hell.

Lewisham is now through to the semi-finals of the World Cup of London Boroughs, having had the toughest route to the last four. In the first round, we squeaked past Southwark, then we trounced Camden (the borough I would most like to live in, if I couldn't live in Lewisham) and won comfortably against Hackney in the quarters.

Now, we face the fight of our lives against imperious Islington. With 19 hours to go and over 3,000 votes cast, Islington is edging it 51% vs 49%.

Victory for Lewisham would guarantee an all-South final, as Lambeth face Greenwich next.

Please cast your vote. After missing out on the Borough of Culture we need this.

The New Battle of Lewisham

This weekend, the Observer has been documenting the growing power of Momentum within the Labour Party, casting the spotlight on Lewisham, which has been a key battleground between traditional Labour activists and Momentum members.

The paper's political editor Heather Stewart follows Heidi Alexander MP on the campaign trail and examines attitudes towards Corbynism among local voters and members:

Alexander says Corbyn is “Marmite” in Lewisham East. “Even amongst Labour voters, the range of views in this constituency at the last election was [like] nothing I’ve ever experienced,” she says. “You had people who loved Jeremy, people voting for Labour despite Jeremy – and a whole load in the middle who just wanted to kick the Tories out.”

But there could hardly be a better illustration of the power shift under way than a public meeting later the same day in nearby New Cross, in the neighbouring constituency of Lewisham Deptford, where Vicky Foxcroft is the MP.

Labour’s candidate for the directly elected post of executive mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan, has come along to be grilled by members of the local Momentum group. Many of them backed an alternative candidate, Paul Bell – and are calling for the post to be abolished – but Egan is keen to win them over.

More than 40 people of a range of ages are perched on chairs in New Cross Learning, a former council library, now staffed largely by volunteers. Sharing the platform, and kicking off the discussion, is Jill Mountford – a combative and controversial local figure. As a prime mover in a group called the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL), she has been suspended from Labour, and remains outside the party...

For Alexander, in Lewisham East, the influx of new members has sometimes represented a direct challenge. She was the first member of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet to tender her resignation in the “coup” against him in 2016.

Afterwards, she endured a stormy CLP meeting in a hot and overcrowded hall followed by months of wrangling with local members who objected to her decision.

“There was a hardcore of Momentum who thought, we’ll take over the constituency and we’ll get rid of Heidi,” says the then chair of the CLP, who does not want her name to be published for professional reasons...

For the full article, click here

Brockley home worth two in Southern Hemisphere

Hahei Beach
New Zealand is the Brockley of the Southern Hemisphere. Slightly overshadowed by brash cousins across the water to the north, but full of people making wearable art, building their own homes and perfecting the art of coffee making. Like Brockley, New Zealand has a surprisingly rubbish pub scene, but makes up for it with a disarmingly good food scene.

Now you, can experience Brockley living upside down, by trading your house for one of two in New Zealand in a house swap that sounds too good to be true. Lynne writes:

We are visiting family and grandchildren who live close to Hilly Fields during July and August this year. We have a lovely family home close to two harbour beaches in Devonport, Auckland and a holiday home in beautiful Hahei Beach in the Coromandel . In exchange for 2 weeks accomodation in Brockley we could offer the use of our houses in New Zealand at a non simultaneous time to suit.

If you are interested to discuss further, drop me a line at Lynne@idresearch.nz

Barclays Crofton Park to close

The last bank branch in SE4 will close on July 6th.

Dent & McKenzie launch a new weekly market in Deptford

Grace Dent, critic, author and broadcaster, has joined forces with food-event guru Kate McKenzie to present Deptford Bites Live on Saturday 7th April 2018. This one-day festival of eating & drinking runs from 10pm to 4pm at Deptford Market Yard.

The event will mark the start of a new weekly market in the Yard.
.
On the 7th, Grace Dent will curate and host a series of talks which picks apart Deptford’s new status as ‘up and coming’ - including debates about gentrification, veganism and diversity in the restaurant industry. Still, the food should be good.

Free to attend.

Microbrewery plan for empty New Cross bank

Plans have been submitted to redevelop the old bank next door to the Venue in New Cross. The developers envisage:

"The construction of extensions at lower ground, upper ground and first floor levels to the side and rear of 329-331 New Cross Road, SE14 in order to facilitate its use as a restaurant (Use Class A3), a bar (Use Class A4), including micro-brewery and cellarage, and flexible space (Use Class D1), together with the provision of a landscaped courtyard at upper ground floor level bounded by absorbent acoustic panels, changes to door and window openings and an acoustic enclosure to the condenser unit."

The bank occupies a key spot in New Cross and has been closed for decades.

Thanks to Gill for the spot.

Seb Dance MEP - Lewisham for Britain in the EU, March 23

Do you refer to the Brexit referendum as 'only advisory', believe that people who voted leave are racist idiots who got fooled by a toxic combination of some numbers on a bus and the Russians - and that we should vote again because a good chunk of those dumbos have now died of old age? Then this is the event for you.

Fri 23 March 2018
19:00 – 22:00
The Talbot, Tyrwhitt Road

Lewisham for Britain is a campaign group that makes the case for remaining within the EU. They say: 

Join us for an evening of EU and Brexit discussion with the MEP Seb Dance.

Seb is one of London's MEPs, a proud Londoner and a passionate defender of Britain's place in the EU. A member of the Labour Party, he sits on a number of EU Parliamentary Committees and still believes the challenges Britain faces are better served by remaining in the EU.

Come and hear more from Seb on his views about Brexit as we discuss the twists and turns of the complex, febrile time we find ourselves in.

We are proudly unaffiliated to any political party, open to anyone who, like us, believes Britain needs to find a way to stay in the EU.

For more details, click here

Grandad's Shed, Deptford Market Yard

Grandad's Shed is the new private hire venue from Little Nan's bar in Deptford. Founder Tristan writes:

Our new arch in Deptford! Grandad's Shed is large and has the indoors / outdoors vibes, it's suitable for groups of up to 90.

Decked out with a tropical theme, this private party hire space is suitable for groups of 30 - 90 guests, and includes a sectioned off private Victorian cobbled courtyard to the front of the arch.

Little Nan’s is offering this space out for Free Private party hire to all South East London residents for groups larger than 40 guests. If your group is smaller than this number, then there is the option to reserve an area within our main bar arches next door.

Click here for details.

Catford Food Market opens March 25

A new monthly Council-backed street food market starts in Catford on March 25. The Catford Food Market team writes:

The Market, which kicks off on Sunday 25 March from 10am–4pm, will take place on the last Sunday of every month.

By implementing recommendations submitted at catfordtowncentre.commonplace.is – the online engagement platform collecting people’s aspirations for the town centre – Catford Food Market aims to create real opportunities to develop and sustain new businesses, that complements the existing offer and meets local people needs.

International flavours offered by local traders include Caribbean fayre from Jerk Off BBQ, north east Indian delights from Raastawala, Japanese delicacies from Fuse Love and Italian inspired sourdough pizza from Van Dough.  There’ll also be cakes from Brett & Bailey and Miss Flits Vegan Bakes, and bread and pastries from Claude’s Boulangerie. Non-food treats include multicultural children’s books from This is Book Love and work by local Catford artists and designers including Hazel Nicholls.

You can also get your hands on Catford’s newest custom beverages including: Catford Cream Soda and Catford Cola as well as Tom Cat Six gin and Catford Pride pale ale, both of which launched popular drinks festivals last year.

For further information visit www.catfordfoodmarket.com or email hello@catfordfoodmarket.com

Mama Dough, 40 Ladywell Road

Mama Dough, the sourdough pizza specialists from Honor Oak, have opened their Ladywell restaurant.

If you've had a chance to visit, please tell us what it's like.

Lewisham v Camden in the World Cup of London Boroughs

Alright Lewisham, let's roll.

We saw off the favourites Southwark in round one of the World Cup of London Boroughs, when no-one gave us a chance. Now we're up against the fancy-dans of Camden. You have 20 hours to vote on the Twitter feed, so please get on it.

Friendly Gardening

Friendly Gardens needs some love and affection

You shall go to the ball, four times an hour

The Cinderella Line campaign to improve train services through Crofton Park station will be celebrating a major victory from May, as frequency of service will be increased to four trains per hour during off-peak periods. They explain:

Despite a week of snow, nearly 100 local residents braved the weather and made it to the Rivoli Ballroom on Saturday to hear about the future of rail services at Crofton Park. For those who couldn't face the cold, or who made it but want to hear about it all over again, here are the highlights:

Local MP Vicky Foxcroft made the introductions and Michael from the Cinderella Line campaign talked about the achievements of the last few months and future plans.

Brilliantly, for the second and third rounds of the consultation, Crofton Park provided the highest number of responses across the whole network of 140 stations - beating Brighton, London Bridge and London Victoria in the 'having our say' stakes - a real tribute to Crofton Park power.

As a direct result: from May this year, we are getting FOUR TRAINS AN HOUR! This will effectively double our off peak services. In addition, we will also get two extra peak time services in the morning and two more in the evening, with scope for this to be increased in line with passenger needs in the future.

This is the culmination of years of work from the campaign, but as Michael mentioned, although we have achieved what the campaign set out to do, there are still a lot of hills to climb and we are willing to keep pushing for further improvements to the services and the station, as always, with your support.

Lewisham Council unveils new rail strategy

Lewisham Station in the 25th Century
Lewisham's leading technocrat, Cllr Alan Hall, has published Lewisham's new rail strategy on his blog. He explains:

“Railways are incredibly important to Lewisham and have shaped our local communities. I have said we must be ambitious for Lewisham but local residents need to be involved in our decisions. I have asked that this important report be discussed at the next Sustainable Development Committee but I would welcome public comments on these new and exciting plans.”

“These include increasing frequencies on existing routes, adding new stations and supporting the Bakerloo Line extension – dubbed Bakerlooisham”

The report highlights the dramatic differences in connectivity between the well-connected northwest of the borough (Greater Brockley) and the desultory southeast, where, for example, Whitefoot has no stations at all.

Lewisham Council's 'vision goals' are as follows:

1.To provide better links and sufficient rail capacity between all areas of Lewisham Borough and central London employment areas.
2. To provide sufficient rail capacity between all areas of Lewisham Borough and East London employment areas.
3. To increase rail access to and from Lewisham’s growth areas.
4. To improve rail connectivity across the Borough, especially east-west links and services to the south of the Borough.
5. To enhance the quality of stations and provide step-free access at all station in the Borough.
6. To improve the connectivity between stations and their local areas.

Which is a nice wish list but doesn't provide a great deal of focus. Loads of trains everywhere is not really a strategy. But there are some nice ideas, including:

- Providing 'Night Tube' style services on the DLR to Lewisham
- Extending the Croydon tram system in to the south of Lewisham
- The reopening of the high level platforms at Brockley for trains from Lewisham to Victoria, natch
- The Bakerloo extension to Lewisham to be extended as far as Hayes at the outset (rather than at some unspecified point in the future)
- An extension of the London Overground from New Cross to Lewisham Station
- A new southern entrance to Ladywell Station

The document also sets out the Council's position about the future of Lewisham Station, which will require a major redevelopment to accommodate the Bakerloo and rising passenger numbers:

Through the study [“Lewisham Feasibility Assessment: Station, Platforms and Subways”], the Council has advocated for improvements to Lewisham station to enable local housing development and provide access to Lewisham town centre. These upgrades should be a requirement on the new Southeastern franchisee in order to secure any possible increases in capacity before major schemes can be delivered. Better access to National Rail services and DLR could be secured through minor projects in the interim. 

The option to extend the Overground should be secured through any station upgrade project. With development sites coming forward at a rapid pace around the station, the opportunity exists now to start safeguarding a future vision for the station. This will ensure that the station in the future can engage with the surrounding area rather than be an inward-focused transit interchange.

To read the full document, click here.

Much of this stuff may be wishful thinking, but I am glad this thinking is going on.

Lewisham commuter rebellion as passengers abandon train during Storm Emma


Passengers held outside Lewisham Station on a Southeastern train rebelled and fled the train during Storm Emma tonight. The Telegraph reports:

"In south-east London commuters took matters into their own hands, pressing the emergency door release and getting out onto the tracks when their train was held outside the station. As a result, all lines through Lewisham station were blocked.

"Southeastern Railway said the situation was getting worse "because several people are jumping off trains onto the tracks", warning that it would only cause further delays.

"Power was switched off on trains because of the incident and the police and fire service were brought in to help get people off trains."

Ian Thomas recommended as new Lewisham Council CEO

Ian Thomas, the man who led the response to Britain's worst-ever child sexual abuse scandal, has been recommended as the new CEO of Lewisham Council. The Council says:

The recommendation was made following a rigorous selection process by an appointments panel consisting of Sir Steve Bullock, the Mayor of Lewisham and a cross-party group of eight councillors.

The recommendation will go to Full Council on 14 March 2018. Organisations from across the Lewisham borough also took part in the selection process, including:
  • Lewisham Hospital
  • The police
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Phoenix Community Housing
  • SE London Chamber of Commerce
Ian’s work at Rotherham Council Ian is currently the Strategic Director for Children and Young People at Rotherham Council. Since becoming the statutory children’s officer for Rotherham in January 2015, he has been busy responding to the reports of Professor Jay, Louise Casey CB and Ofsted, in what has been the most challenging time for any council.

Under Ian’s leadership, children’s services in Rotherham have been transformed, improving from a rating of ‘inadequate’ to ‘good with outstanding features’ within three years. Ofsted report that there is now ‘a positive organisational culture’ in Rotherham.

At the same time, education standards have improved and, as lead commissioner for victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation (CSE), Ian has mobilised a response with partners which has resulted in 30 sex criminals being convicted, now serving around 400 years in jail between them. A range of community-based services are now in place to support around 1,100 survivors of CSE.

Ian was formerly Deputy Chief Executive and Strategic Director for Children and Younger Adults at Derbyshire County Council and Assistant Director (Social Care and Housing Strategy) at Trafford MBC.

Ian Thomas said, ‘I feel both humbled and privileged to be offered the role of Chief Executive of Lewisham Council. This is an exciting time for the borough, which has been well led by Dr Barry Quirk and Sir Steve Bullock over many years. I look forward to working with the new mayor, ward councillors, staff, partners and residents, to build on what has been achieved in the borough, address the challenges ahead, as well as seize the opportunities to improve the lives of all Lewisham citizens.’

In 2014, Ian was named by innovation charity NESTA and The Observer as of one of ‘Britain’s New Radicals’ for his creative ideas in raising aspirations for children in care. He holds a master’s degree in Developing Professional Practice (incorporating change management) and is a master’s-level qualified executive coach and mentor.

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