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Bonkers Blog October 2017

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25 October - Borough of Culture. Bexley bid bombs

It would be surprising if any BiB readers were unaware of Bexley’s bid to be London Borough of Culture given the advert above each blog for the past six weeks and Cabinet Member Peter Craske’s supreme stupidity reported here at the beginning of the month.

For that reason the Council’s report presented to the Places Scrutiny Committee will be summarised here with a degree of brevity which I suspect will be welcomed by all.

The GLA has invited the 32 boroughs to put in a bid by 1st December with two ‘prizes’ of over a million pounds each on offer. Bexley’s will focus on “its strong heritage and our strength in the arts”. A number of historic buildings were mentioned. “A lot of people have come out of the woodwork to help.”

“Competition is very fierce but even if we don’t win a number of runners up prizes are worth £600,000 each.” ITN is running an unofficial poll on who should win and Bexley is currently in second place.

Twelve boroughs are thought to be taking the competition seriously, among them Waltham Forest and Croydon.

VimyCouncillor June Slaughter (Conservative, Sidcup) said the initiative was one of the biggest and best she had seen in her many years as a Councillor. “It is tremendously exciting.” She noted that music did not feature heavily in the bid so far and asked that it should. Deputy Director Toni Ainge promised to take the suggestion on board. Councillor Lynn Smith (UKIP, Blackfen & Lamorbey) was similarly enthusiastic.

Councillor Howard Marriner (Conservative, Barnehurst) reminded the Committee that 1919 will be the centenary year of Alcock and Brown’s flight across the Atlantic, the first to be made non-stop and their Vickers Vimy bomber may have been built in Crayford. Several of them certainly were. Unfortunately a 1919 celebration may be a little too late for inclusion in the bid.

The winning borough will have to put up “match funding’ of £300,000 and “various organisations including Peabody” are to be (or maybe have been) approached. Failing that Bexley could always paint another ill-conceived yellow moneybox junction.

Note: A replica Vickers Vimy flew low over my house about 15 years ago. No idea why, maybe Howard Marriner knows.


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