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Bonkers Blog September 2019

Index: 20092010201120122013201420152016201720182019

16 September - Late and later

Bin deliveries running even later
The new recycling bins are delayed again. The revised September date is now back to November with a 14 week distribution period. They are being made in Telford, Shropshire by Craemer Ltd. Not their fault, they were ordered far too late.

Harrow Manorway
Bus laneRunning even later is the rebuilding of Harrow Manorway but it will be worth the wait won’t it?

Don’t count on it, the first bus lane has already been marked out and one can already see that the road capacity for general traffic will be only half what it was before the job began.

Bexley Council at its best.


15 September (Part 2) - Ten years of Council watching

CandlesToday is Bonkers’ tenth anniversary; not the blog perhaps because that was a bit of an afterthought. The original plan was merely to highlight a very big lie that Bexley Council’s Highways Supremo told me. I thought it was a big deal but little did I know that it was pretty much the norm and I would be inundated with similar stories from other residents.

What had Andrew Bashford done? He told me that Bexley’s generally appalling road planning fully complied with the Transport Research Laboratory’s guidance. My son was at the time the Chief Safety Consultant to the Department that issued the guidance; how unlucky was that?

On one of his visits he told me that road planning here looked to be either malicious or incompetent. You may think it is both. To be fair the calamity that most caught his attention has since been modified but he has had something to say about the various crazy roundabouts in Bexleyheath. His most recent concern is that there might be no way a fully autonomous vehicle could negotiate the madness that is Trinity Place. I don’t suppose that will surprise anyone.

2009 is a world away politically. I still cling to the hope that Bexley Council has cleaned up its act in the intervening years but every so often its still reverts to type. Nationally things have not improved. I thought that Gordon Brown was the worst Prime Minister there could possibly be and I was hopelessly wrong.

Dare I indulge in some less than impartial political comment? My friend Michael Barnbrook has increased his Twitter followers from almost nothing to 12,000 since he began to stick his political neck out. I suppose if I do it the few I have will disappear and it will take another ten years to build them up again. Do I really care? Probably not.

Probably everyone will agree that the country is in a Constitutional mess but who to blame might be more controversial. I mostly blame Michael Gove for stabbing Boris Johnson in the back in 2016 and Mrs. May for running a calamitous election campaign in 2017, not to mention allowing the EU to write the surrender agreement which as someone said only a country defeated in war should accept. The Economist Yanis Varoufakis according to Google.

However despite the dire position that the country finds itself in thanks to what the numbskulls in Parliament have engineered it does make one thing fairly clear for those of us who retain some faith in the abilities of this country. Which party to vote for when the inevitable election comes.

If the Prime Minister gets us out of the European Union without compromise on 31st October - The Conservative Party.
If Boris Johnson accepts any part of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement - The Brexit Party.
If the Cabinet agrees to pay the European Union more than a token amount of money on exit - The Brexit Party.
If the Conservative Party readmits any of the MPs who were prepared to see the democratic process undermined on 3rd September - The Brexit Party.

There are no doubt other views.

If you believe the world owes you a living, that you can have your cake and eat it, that terrorists are your friends and wish to face in multiple directions at the same time. The Labour Party.
If you believe in renegotiating Mrs. May’s deal and then campaigning against a possibly improved offer. The Labour Party.
If you believe that democracy is best served by rerunning the referendum but avowing to ignore the result whatever it is. The oddly named Liberal Democrat Party.
If you wish to overturn the majority decision of the electorate by simply cancelling everything and pretending nothing has happened during the past three and a half years. The Raving Loony Party. Sorry where did that come from? The Liberal Democrat Party.

The so called Conservatives who have defected to that shameless outfit were never Conservatives at all and the party is well rid of them.

Have I frightened all the readers away yet? I hope so. I’m not sure I want to be still writing about Bexley Council in ten years’ time.


15 September (Part 1) - Karma

There is a shocking amount of car crime in Bexley. Keying in Thamesmead, tyre slashing and window breaking in Abbey Wood, several catalytic converters a day stolen right across the borough by Eastern Europeans in a white Transit anxious to bring cultural diversity to the UK and then there is the almost daily keyless car thefts from people’s drives. And that’s just the reports that have come my way this week.

I’m very glad that my car hasn’t got a catalytic converter and I have always kept the garage just about clear enough to keep it in there when it is not being driven.

While browsing through Hugh Neal’s Maggot Sandwich blog last week I came across a familiar sounding address. 95 Woolwich Road. Yesterday I found the time to research why it sounded familiar.

It is the registered address of Balmonza Ltd and linked to Kulvinder Singh. Mr. Singh is the man behind the demolition of Ye Olde Leather Bottle and for the concrete bunker at 238 Woolwich Road.

He is due in Court this week charged with breaching Health & Safety Regulations

If the snapshot of Hugh’s blog is not big enough to read on your tiny screen, it says that “a black Land Rover was stolen from the front drive of 95 Woolwich Road, Belvedere”. You do know that it is not nice to smile at other people’s misfortunes don’t you?
Blog Companies House


14 September (Part 2) - What about Welling?

The Shoulder of Mutton fence made me think about Welling. I’ve lived near Lesnes Abbey for more than 32 years and was in Plumstead for three years before that and I have very rarely been to Welling.

Racking my brains I bought double glazing there about 30 years ago from a showroom long since gone. In recent years I have bought four pairs of shoes from The Wide Shop because too many of Clark’s quickly fall apart since they moved production to Vietnam; one pair lost both soles within three weeks. I’ve bought a few small electrical bits from the shop opposite Lidl and that’s it. I almost never go there.

After I bought the new car a year ago from Motorline Hyundai Bluewater, who were very ordinary at best, they closed their Dartford Service Centre and asked me to go to their beyond Maidstone premises which I might generously describe as absolute rubbish, so I was very pleased when Ancaster’s in Welling swapped their franchise from Nissan to Hyundai. I was in there for the annual service two weeks ago which they offered to do while I waited and that is how I came to walk the length of Welling High Street, by far the longest in the borough.

There was an amazing range of shops. Beds and furniture, sewing machines, specialist locks and security equipment, a fascinating little tool shop that I plan to go back to when needed and more electrical shops than I knew about.

So why don’t I go there?

The lack of a direct bus service is a factor as is the fact that I am paranoid about Bexley’s parking regime. It’s not that I am totally unwilling to pay but it’s knowing that one silly mistake with a Phone App - mobiles are not my strong point - will cost me dear and then there is that blooming Yellow Box junction.

So I buy almost everything on line and don’t go to Welling and the major factor is Bexley Council. Waiting in for deliveries is a total pain in the backside but better than a PCN.


14 September (Part 1) - The ugly face of Bexley Council

On 31st October 2010 I submitted the following question to Bexley Council to be answered at their November Council meeting

Fence Gate“The Council’s Summer 2010 magazine said that fencing had been put up around Lesnes Abbey Woods to “eradicate” the problem of motorcyclists riding in the woods.

It is obvious to anyone walking there regularly that the fence has been a total failure in that regard but it has excluded the disabled in wheelchairs and at some access points makes entry by the fit and well difficult with a danger of heads making contact with scaffold poles - as the hazard tape confirms.

May I ask the Chairman of the Environment and Regeneration Committee the total cost of fencing Lesnes Abbey and Frank’s Parks.”

The answer was £74,995 which seemed dirt cheap when you consider it would take half an hour or so to walk around those two parks and my own 90 feet of fencing had cost more than two thousand just a few months earlier.

Further questions revealed that there was no prior consultation and the Conservatives blamed Labour for the decision; an Administration that had by then been out of power for four and a half years.

I doubt very much that so much fencing was done for just £75k.

After a few years the wooden posts rotted.

History is now repeating itself. Without prior notice Bexley Council has made an eyesore of Shoulder of Mutton Green in Welling. Concrete posts and scaffold poles around a delightful local amenity. The Philistines.

The locals have complained and been given lame fob offs about travellers’ caravans. They have sought support via a petition too. Take a look and see if you agree with them.
Shoulder of Mutton Green Shoulder of Mutton Green Shoulder of Mutton Green Shoulder of Mutton Green
Shoulder of Mutton Green

Nice house. Nice church. Nice park. Ugly fence. Uncaring Council.


13 September (Part 2) - The Cabinet Member for Bins. More lies

It has often been said that Bexley Council is a council built on lies.

A low tax borough when it is only seven points off being the highest taxing borough in London, lowest car parking charges in S.E. London which was always a blatant lie, saving £1 million pounds a year by moving into the new Civic Offices when their own publicity material makes it clear that the saving was only half of that. The list goes on - and on.

However almost always the lies are political lies, lies told by Conservative Councillors on Social Media and not on official Council distributed literature. But there are exceptions. The Cabinet Member for Bins has a history of lying and his department sent me a letter this week about the brown bin charges.

It excuses the price hike by saying that even after Bexley’s price hike the “cost [of garden waste removal] remains the lowest in London”. That is a lie. My own family members are spread across five London boroughs and Bexley is the only one of them that charges for garden waste removal. There is insufficient time to check all 32 boroughs but even if I found no more Bexley would be fifth on the list.

Bexley, a borough built on lies.
Garden Waste It should not be forgotten that at the Scrutiny meeting at which the garden waste proposals were discussed it was said that separating garden waste from food would save £440,000 a year compared to the old method which is presumably how more honest boroughs manage to provide the service free.

The bin tax is in reality a massive and very successful confidence trick on the population of Bexley.


13 September (Part 1) - Getting there! Abbey Wood’s closed bus stops reduced in number from six to five

Yarnton WayA long term Bonkers reader and occasional contributor told me that I missed a bit of Abbey Wood good news. The Yarnton Way bus stop was recommissioned in time for yesterday’s morning’s rush hour.

I looked back at my 712 photos of the work to see how long it has been shut and discovered that photo number 252 taken on 4th August 2018 was the oldest that showed the Yarnton Way bus stop and it was closed then.

It’s difficult to say what caused such a long delayed opening because the photos taken of the carriageway last June, cone positioning excepted, do not look any different to those taken today.

The stop on the other side of Yarnton Way has not yet been reopened. It’s not even there.

Some bus passengers will be happy but presumably not those on one earlier this week that got to the Harrow Manorway roundabout just before 7 p.m. Unfortunately F.M. Conway had closed the road early. Maybe it was to make up for the time they reopened it three hours late.


12 September (Part 2) - No hiding place

I woke up this morning to find an email from Google in my Inbox. It said they were going to remove one of my 4,500 blogs from their Index pages.
They went on to say the page in question was from 20th June 2014. It looked to be a date etched into my memory. The first blog on a subject which took several years to die, the one that reported how Councillor Cheryl Bacon was badly advised by Council Officers and illegally took a Public Meeting into closed session. Bexley’s Council’s lie machine was forced to go into overdrive to cover their inconsequential error and so began several years of enquiries which eventually saw several well known (at the time) Bexley names referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for Misconduct in Public Office.

According to the police the CPS took a year to lose the evidence and so the case against Bexley Council died as cases always do when corruption may be found on so many levels.

I sought out the blog which Google has blocked but I was wrong, the blog I was thinking of was exactly a year older and had in any case been removed as part of the Bonkers’ clean out in the early months of this year of reputation damaging blogs which I considered to have served their purpose now that Bexley Council is not so obviously bent.

The blog for 20th June 2014 was however indirectly linked to the illegal meeting closure, it referred to the two police officers who dealt with the original incident in an exemplary manner but had then been asked to change their reports retrospectively to suit Bexley Council’s lying Agenda. Put under such pressure by senior officers the lower ranks have little option but to comply, which in my opinion makes them corrupt too.

BiB had discovered that the wife (former wife perhaps) of one of them, another police officer, had been jailed the previous year for Misconduct in Public Office. One can only guess that the blog that reported that fact is not welcomed by those involved.

The same subject was covered by the BBC, Kent on Line, The News Shopper, The Bexley Times and the Daily Mail and still is if you care to Google ‘PC Eileen Arthurs Misconduct in Public Office’. Maybe those news sources will be delisted by Google too or perhaps someone thought that Bonkers would be an easier target than the big boys.

I doubt they can be bothered to rejig their websites to circumvent the Google ban, not so Bonkers. Below is a repeat of the 20th June 2014 blog and the original has been given a new date (and therefore URL).

The news has been out in the open for more than five years, I see no need to suppress it especially when it it is so easily available elsewhere.

The rude words at the end of the old blog are taken from the statement signed by Councillor Melvin Seymour and provided to the police as part of a malicious prosecution of a Crayford resident who had been indiscreet on Twitter.

The statement is untruthful but if one is in a generous mood it is possible to argue that Councillor Seymour did not know it at the time but the police knew the statement was a lie because they had seen the original Tweet which said something rather different.

That did not however stop DS Alastair Vanner of Bexley Police standing in the witness box at Woolwich Crown Court and on oath repeating something that he must have known was untrue - and you wonder why I have no time for any of them.

Old blog follows.

20 June 2014 - Misconduct in Public Office. A family affair?

Someone closely acquainted with Bexley police and their crooked associations with Bexley council (†) asked me why I was so sure that Police Constables Shaun Kelly and Peter Arthurs would have to be pressurised into making false statements in support of Bexley council, maybe they were happy to be associated with liars was the unstated suggestion.

Probably I am naive but that was something that had never crossed my mind encouraged by the fact that the police refused to let Mick Barnbrook have a copy of the two PC’s statements, merely giving assurances that their statements supported Bexley council’s false allegation about five members of the public refusing to leave the council chamber. Being only too well aware of how senior police officers lie as a matter of course I rather thought the statements didn’t actually exist.

But what if the two PCs are wrong ‘uns happy to associate themselves with liars, cheats and crooks?

Research into Shaun Kelly’s history did not get very far. He is the Neighbourhood copper on Teresa O’Neill’s ward which doesn’t prove a lot. Maybe he feels he can’t afford to upset the great lady.

Looking into Peter Arthurs’ history proved to be a bit more interesting but maybe not entirely productive. A Peter Arthurs married an Eileen Hayes in 1983…
…and a Peter and Eileen Arthurs live - or maybe lived - together in Bexley.
With the same names and middle initials it’s not impossible they are the same couple. So where is this leading you might ask. Well it’s probably just wishful thinking but a PC Eileen Arthurs was jailed for two and a half years last year for Misconduct in Public Office.

There is a pre-verdict report on the News Shopper’s website. It includes the little gem of information that PC Eileen Arthurs lived at the same address as Lee May, “suspected of involvement in the 2006 Securitas Heist which was the biggest in British criminal history”.

It’s too much to hope for that PC Peter Arthurs is in some way linked to this and heading in the same direction as Eileen. The indications are unfortunately that it may be all coincidence but it does serve as a reminder that one can be too trusting of the police and maybe I should stop giving PCs Kelly and Arthurs the benefit of the doubt.

† It was John Kerlen as long term readers may have guessed. For newcomers I should explain that in 2011 John Tweeted “What sort of c*** lives in a house like this?” alongside an identified house. It was councillor Melvin Seymour’s house but it was Bexley council that identified it, not John. They then persuaded an obedient Bexley police chief to prosecute him claiming without a shred of evidence that John had encouraged people to post dog faeces through Seymour’s letter box. Will Tuckley repeated the same lie in a letter to John.

Below is part of councillor Seymour’s less than truthful statement to the police…
Where did Seymour get that idea from? No one mentioned dogs but when does the truth ever bother the average Bexley Tory? Seymour repeated the same lies in the witness box. Fortunately, albeit after ten thousand pounds’ worth of barrister’s fees, John was found not guilty. Yet another example of the dishonest steps certain Bexley councillors will take to avenge criticism.

Perhaps Melvin Seymour would like to thank Cheryl Bacon for providing the opportunity to rake up that old story for the benefit of a new audience?

Note: This republished old blog has been very slightly modified because it would otherwise conflict with my decision to wipe references to Councillor Cheryl Bacon’s illegal exclusion of the public from a Public Meeting in June 2013.


12 September (Part 1) - It’s not all bad news

It’s not all bad news in Abbey Wood. The fifth street market will be held in the Abbey Arms car park and to some extent its garden on 21st September.

A similar number of stalls to last time with a return of the candy floss and popcorn sellers.

As stated before, the new management of the Abbey Arms is determined to play a leading role in the community and to that end not only provides near essentials like water and electricity, this time they will have non-stop children’s cinema under their big tent.

Full details below and in further good news the market has proved to be so successful that it will definitely go bi-monthly in 2020.
Market Market


11 September (Part 3) - Profiteering from having fun

Beware propaganda!

On this day in 2018 I signed over £32,110 to a car dealer and with considerable trepidation drove home in a vehicle with no gear box. No, not an automatic, no gear box at all just 204 horsepower with a direct link to the wheels.

It took a bit of getting used to.

I was also very aware that at the moment one drives off a car dealer’s forecourt several thousand pounds are tipped down the drain.

We Buy Any CarToday seven and a half thousand miles later and in a moment of of idle curiosity I put my details into

This was the result. The most expensive second hand model like mine that I have seen was £42,995. Total madness but that is what was being asked.

The reason is supply and demand. You can’t get an electric car on demand anywhere, the best you might do, if you don’t pick up someone’s cancellation, is a two to three month wait for a Tesla.

Meanwhile the government talks out of its backside while encouraging widespread adoption.

If I might rub the petrol heads nose in it a bit the last time I calculated fuel costs it was 0.08 pence per mile and it still brings a smile to my face when I see the driver of the car next to me at the lights has his cap on back to front, windows down so that we can share the throbbing bass line, revving his turbocharger and then I see him receding rapidly in the rear view mirror. (†)

By the middle of next year it will be different, most of the big manufacturers will have electric vehicles on sale and the value of mine will likely plummet.

Ford and Toyota are the only big names with their heads in the sand. When we eventually see Fords they will be little more than rebadged Volkswagens.

† The reason is that an electric motor delivers its full output from the off, no gears necessary to optimise the power output. It just goes smoothly from a standstill.


11 September (Part 2) - Five years of misery. (No it’s not another Parliament)

I suspect that most of those who live in the leafy south of the borough have no idea of what northern residents have had to put up with for the past five years. Southerners have the occasional spell of disruption while Bexley Council wrecks another road but in the north it has been relentless as five separate but overlapping operations go on for ever and well past their predicted completion dates and the revised completion dates.

Maybe it is time for a reminder of just how poor Bexley’s highways planning is under their Chief Engineer Andrew Bashford.

Felixstowe Road It started in August 2013 when Network Rail moved in to build the Crossrail station and closed the Felixstowe Car Park aided and abetted by Bexley Council who imposed additional street parking restrictions not to mention exorbitant street parking charges in selected roads.

Fortunately the Network Rail operation went according to plan and the station opened on the day that had been predicted several years earlier. It may not have been completely finished but at least they didn’t disrupt the roads further. Network Rail completely moved out of the Felixstowe Road Car park about a year ago but Bexley Council has kept it closed.

Network Rail has not however been the big problem, it’s been Bexley Council with their four separate but related road projects. The flyover, Harrow Manorway, Gayton Road and Felixstowe Road. You might add Wilton Road too but that was done by Greenwich Council and finished more or less on time.

Bexley Council first made a move on the flyover in 2017. My first photograph of it was taken on 1st March. By coincidence I took my last photo of the work on 1st March 2019. That was seven or eight months late according to Bexley Council.

Harrow ManorwayVery soon after work began on the flyover Harrow Manorway itself was disrupted. FM Conway moved in on 26th May 2017. Bexley Council said the job would be completed by the Autumn of 2018. When it was wasn’t they said it would be done by June this year. Naively I believed them which is why all my 709 photos of the work are filed under a June 2019 date.

The job is still nowhere near being done.

Work on Gayton Road was not due to start until January 2018 but it was deferred until October for reasons which were not entirely unreasonable and given a February 2019 completion date but here we are in mid-September and it is still not completed. The barriers are still there and the promised passenger drop off points and black cab rank are not available either. Did someone mention the promised dozen or so trees? There are none.

Felixstowe Road was supposed to start even earlier, November 2017. Work actually began in April this year and my first photo was taken on the 18th and scheduled to end this Autumn. Perhaps I was optimistic in filing the photos with a September date but the job is probably no more than half done right now.

Their four road schemes reveal shockingly poor planning by Bexley Council. If their forecasts had been correct everything would have been back to normal a year go. Meanwhile we have massive diversions, some for months on end (Felixstowe Road) and others for only weeks. (Harrow Manorway.)

I’m no expert but FM Conway seems to have done a decent job and one must hope it doesn’t go the same way as Bexleyheath Broadway. I do however wish they took more care with pedestrian crossings. The latest example is by the roundabout near Sainsbury’s. They have diverted two carriageways into one which may be fair enough but there is no provision whatsoever for those who might need to cross the road.


11 September (Part 1) - The Eyes have it. The Eyes have it

Swinson, Abbott, Rudd, May, Long Bailey, Rayner, Phillips, Thornberry. Why are so many who achieve high political office so obviously out of their depth?

Emily Thornberry Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury.

Have I missed any?


10 September - One brave man in a sea of serpents

MPs have no idea of the contempt with which many of us hold a lot of them have they? It is pleasing that I have not seen any of Bexley’s featured in the news but some are intent on proving themselves the most amazing of undemocratic cretins who deserve every humiliation when the election eventually comes; but not all of them.

Imagine being as brave and I suppose thick skinned as this man. I bet he is pleased that he doesn’t have to go back to work this morning. Not all MPs are as pathetic as you might think they are.

Ian Austin Labour MP for Dudley North.

Who is the pathetic creature sitting behind him and interrupting? Have I proved yet to the PC from West Heath that Bonkers is not a Labour sponsored blog?


9 September - Speculation and squabbles

While the Council is pretty much still in Summer recess I have looked elsewhere for things to do. One was the aircraft noise issue and I rather wish I had not covered it because until then I didn’t notice aeroplanes going into London City and now I hear them frequently, albeit far away and not very loud. Perhaps I really had learned to tune them out. However at long last a meeting is coming and the Agenda is published. It is the Members’ Code of Conduct Committee meeting on Wednesday week and the list of complaints received is just a little bit interesting.
Complaints It’s the third one that caught my eye and persuaded me I ought to attend. The Labour Group is complaining about a Councillor’s behaviour on Social Media and a failure to declare an interest in something or other. That sounds very reminiscent of another meeting I attended; one with the Councillor for Thamesmead East in a pub.

I am guessing there is a connection but I remember that rather a long time ago, it may have been last year, Danny Hackett came over all LibDem (†) and said Bollox, Bollox, Bollox in reply to an idiotic Twitter post. My recollection is that no one cared until he left the Labour Party. They wouldn’t be so petty as to complain about it now would they?

The failure to declare an interest is by now just a vague memory for me but what recollection I have is that Danny either didn’t do a job at all or he did do it and it didn’t amount to much, I dunno.

I could be barking up the wrong tree or as Councillor Read might say, simply barking but it would be enormous fun if my guess was somewhere near right and I could persuade Councillor Hackett to run some of his old emails past me again.

Bonkers has not done any decent muck raking for months and months and a mini-scandal could be just what it needs as the blog’s tenth anniversary approaches.

† Former LibDem Leader Vince Cable said Bollox to Brexit.


5 September - Gate crashing City Airport

One of the possibly throw away lines by Tim Hulley, City Airport’s Director of Infrastructure and Planning, at the meeting last Tuesday in Belvedere was that any “stakeholder” could go to their quarterly consultative meetings. I’ve never been sure what defines a stakeholder but I do know that Bexley Council’s delegated airport stakeholder is Councillor James Hunt. I also know that James has been in trouble with his Labour colleagues for not attending any of the meetings and I have heard his excuses.

I looked up when the next meeting was to be held and discovered it was to be this afternoon in Newham’s swanky new headquarters overlooking the airport runway. I was due in East Ham anyway so escaped early presenting myself at the reception desk as a stakeholder for Thamesmead. The airport PR people welcomed me with open arms. Nobody had represented Thamesmead before. (It was only a small fib.)

Ten minutes later Councillor James Hunt rolled up having taken a half day off work. We sat together to see if we would learn anything. The presentation was a slightly extended version of what was shown in Belvedere two days earlier so I didn’t learn a lot that was new. James who had mugged up on the Airport Master Plan on-line was probably the same.

It soon became apparent that the failure to invite James to previous meetings was not special treatment meted out to him. Three Councillors from other boroughs made the same complaint.

So what was new compared to Tuesday?

Despite passenger numbers being up by 42% in the past five years aircraft movements are down. I learned that the overnight flight curfew caused massive inconvenience to delayed passengers who are diverted to Stansted etc. all over a couple of minutes lateness with the knock on effect of the aircraft not being available for an early morning departure. The word flexibility was mentioned but without any intention to change the basic opening hours.

There was confirmation that a new generation of aircraft, some are already operating from London City, will be noticeably quieter on take off but not a great deal better on the landing approach. The diagram below indicates the old (blue) and new (orange) ground level noise at two decibel levels.

The bad news is that it will be 15 years before the quieter aircraft become 75% of the total. (The current new planes are operated by Swiss Air, the ones with the big red cross on the tail fin.)

To the surprise of many it was said that the old propeller driven aircraft were noisier on landing than any of the current jets but quieter on take off however the fact remains that with more aircraft movements the gaps between them will be shorter; speaking of which between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. I noted only two landings but from 5 p.m. to 6 planes were taking off very frequently.

The airport people were at pains to say that their Master Plan was only their forecasts and initial ideas and that they had made up their minds on nothing. It has no statutory force. There was widespread cynicism.

A Councillor from Lewisham had a big bee in her bonnet about climate change and so didn’t really want anyone to fly at all. She got very close to calling the airport management liars. Someone from a group called Stop City Airport went further and said they were all “duplicitous”.

A Greenwich Councillor read a question from a sheet of A4 and freely admitted she didn’t have any idea what the question meant. Presumably she didn’t understand the answer either.

There were at least five of us who were no more than resident busybodies some a lot more knowledgeable than others. A lady who lived at the eastern end of the runway seemed to be reasonably content with her lot whilst others from as far away as Lewisham and Lambeth were not.

In my humble opinion James Hunt’s absence from earlier meetings has made no material difference to any Bexley resident. One might argue that Bexley Council should have nominated a Thamesmead East Councillor to be the airport delegate but that is not the way the Tories work. In practice it doesn’t make a scrap of difference, if any of the Labour Councillors are serious about defending their residents right to a quiet life they can take a seat alongside James Hunt. As I proved this afternoon there is nothing to stop them taking an afternoon off work as James did.

Aggrieved residents could go too.


4 September (Part 2) - Green but very mean

I was thinking of driving around Bexley to see if there has been any progress towards the Council’s planned installation of 13 electric charging points but today I have been saved the trouble. Bexley Council has issued a Press Release on the subject and it is clear that they have yet to make a start.

Charging plugTheir 13 charging points is fewer than half what can be found off Bugsby Way in Greenwich alone but they are not the same. Bexley’s are to be provided by a company called ChargeMaster with every indication that they will cost plenty. In Greenwich they are free to use.

The more popular Electric Vehicles become the more the industry is showing signs of becoming a rip off. The electric car I bought a year ago is now £5,000 more expensive which makes it a candidate for George Osborne’s iniquitous Luxury Car Tax.

A year ago the most expensive public charging was 25 pence per kilowatt hour with many being free and now it is 39 pence almost everywhere. That makes it more expensive to run an EV than it was to run my old petrol engined runabout.

In practice it is not as bad as that sounds for the many people who can charge overnight on an Economy tariff but the situation is getting to be silly especially when so many of the chargers at Motorway Service Areas are out of order and do not work on newer cars.

Sooner or later the government will want to recoup the lost fuel duty revenues; but back to the present.

Except where there are large banks of charging points it is almost the norm to find the charging bays ICEd, which is short hand for them being occupied by Internal Combustion Engine cars or EVs which are not charging.

Just for once I hope that Bexley’s Parking Enforcement teams are out in force handing out Penalty Charge Notices.

Motorists can be a selfish bunch and the picture shows the remains of a charging plug lazily not replaced in its holster in a Bexley store’s car park. Then someone ran over it; the voltage and maximum wattage available are most certainly lethal.

Fortunately the charging points chosen by Bexley Council require motorists to bring their own cable so maybe they will be a little more careful than they are with the more powerful tethered cable units.

Proposed locations. Bellegrove Road, Danson Lane, Sherwood Park Avenue, St.John’s Road (Welling). Blackfen Parade. Walnut Tree Road and Erith Road (Erith). Methuen Road and Sandford Road (Bexleyheath). Nuxley Road and Picardy Street (Belvedere). The Oval (Sidcup) and Crayford Waterside.


4 September (Part 1) - London City Airport is growing. Noise can only get worse

In another example of Bexley Council’s neglect of their northern territories they have taken no known interest in London City Airport’s long term forecast which predicts a near doubling of the number of flights.

London CityNot once has their delegate attended a Airport Consultative Committee and unlike all the other nearby boroughs they have not brought the current Consultation to Bexley. I was told why Bexley’s delegate had not attended any Committee meeting, he missed a meeting due to a date clash after which he was never invited again. It’s a reasonably good excuse but the fact remains that Bexley has been left without a voice while City Airport gears up for expansion.

Bexley Labour’s Transport Spokesman Stefano Borella and his Belvedere and Thamesmead East colleagues decided that standing idly by while the Conservatives did nothing about the Consultation was not an option. Last night there was a public meeting in Belvedere with a representative from the airport and their noise consultant.

It should be stated at the outset that there are at present no airport plans as such, at this stage it is more of a crystal ball exercise looking at the next 15 years and until the middle of October anyone is free to tell the airport authorities how they feel about it.

London City Airport is a big employer (2,200 jobs) doing a vital job for the economy although its five million a year passengers is a drop in the ocean compared to London’s three big airports; just 4% of the total.

However their studies suggest a 42% growth in passenger numbers by 2025 and eleven million ten years later without extending the operating times. That’s twice as many passengers as today and with aircraft not likely to get any bigger it must mean twice as many flights. The new taxi-way being constructed right now will free up runway capacity to allow the increase.

Future aircraft are expected to be as much as 6dB quieter on take off which is a big reduction but only about 2dB quieter on landing which is barely perceptible. Residents living on the flight path are understandably concerned and the most usual wind direction means they will not benefit from the 6dB reduction.

A small number were quite vocal about it last night and I began to think I should get my ears tested again. One visitor had come from Stockwell because of the perceived noise problem down there but when I have been sitting at the nearby Oval watching Surrey lose cricket matches I see the planes immediately overhead heading for London City. I never seem to hear them.

Perhaps I have learned to tune out aircraft noise. I live almost as close to the airport as it is possible to be whilst remaining within the Belvedere ward. I see the aircraft from home but I am not very aware of any noise.

I stood in my front garden this morning looking and listening and I agree I could hear them but not louder than the buses 150 yards away on Abbey Road and nothing like as loud as a passing train. However someone at the meeting whose comment suggested a nearby address said that when an aircraft takes off in an easterly direction and turns to the north he is subjected to the full force of of its engines. Either my hearing is seriously kaput (and SpecSavers says it isn’t) or I feel there must be an element of exaggeration or intolerance going on.

Perhaps I should declare an interest or maybe it’s a bias. From 1949 until 1984 I lived less than a mile from the runway at Farnborough when it was the centre of British Aviation.

ConcordeIf you have not been blown to the ground by a Vulcan bomber as it switches its Olympus engine to reheat at low level or you have gone through life and managed to avoid having the hairs on your arm singed by a Naval Buccaneer bomber (†) you don’t really know what aircraft noise is.

The underside of Concorde pictured here was taken from my back garden long before I owned a telephoto lens and what you see has not been cropped.

The difference from me in Farnborough and Thamesmead residents is that Concordes and Vulcans flying over were relatively rare events.

No one flies pure jet engines commercially any more (Concorde was the last) and quieter bypass engines have become the norm. (Name dropping; the leading ‘inventor’ was a personal friend until he died four years ago.)

So as you can see I am not a good judge of what constitutes unacceptable aircraft noise but I do know that on the rare occasions I take a trip to Thamesmead’s shopping centre I am surprised at just how low the aircraft appear to be but I have never been particularly aware of the noise.

When you have been under a slow moving Harrier jump jet you just accept that aircraft are noisy. I also accept that it can’t be any fun living under the flight path and many of the houses there pre-date the opening of London City and the promise never to fly jet aircraft from it.

Labour’s Press Release on the subject is here and perhaps more importantly anyone with more sensitive ears than mine should make sure their opinion is heard via the Consultation process.

† As a teenager with a group of friends I climbed the airfield perimeter fence and got a little too close to the runway.


2 September - Harrow Manorway regeneration gets even messier

Harrow Manorway Harrow ManorwayThis evening Bexley Council closed the Harrow Manorway/Yarnton Way roundabout for resurfacing; why it will take three whole weeks is not yet clear, maybe the roundabout is to be remodelled.

Traffic at the roundabout at 9 p.m. was quite light although 90 minutes earlier I noted a queue of nine buses waiting for the single bus stop at the foot of Knee Hill, many of them diverted routes.

At various bus stops along Harrow Manorway people were waiting for buses that will not come until dawn, many people were walking towards Thamesmead.

At the roundabout itself it was far from clear what motorists should do. The car in the final picture had come from Yarnton Way without impediment and took the northern side of the roundabout towards Eynsham Drive where a head on collision was narrowly avoided because it had been made one way only without warning.

Harrow Manorway from the Station to Eastern Way was scheduled to be completed a year ago.

Well done Bexley Council, it’s what we have come to expect of you.

Harrow Manorway Harrow Manorway Harrow Manorway Harrow Manorway


1 September - It’s just not cricket

CricketI’ve said before that for technical reasons there has to be a blog entry on the first of each month but right now I can’t think of anything of much interest. Does anyone need a reminder that Bexley Council plans to reintroduce evening road chaos to Abbey Wood and Thamesmead?

There’s only a couple of Council meetings this month that might be worth going to; I wonder who has caused the Code of Conduct Committee to be convened. Has someone managed to stick some nonsense on Independent Councillor Danny Hackett yet? It is obvious that there are people out there determined to get him for having more sense than they have.

The picture shown here is a bit worrying, I have seen Councillor Philip Read Tweeting from the Oval Cricket Ground before but I’ve not worried about it as the photographs have shown him to be sitting on the opposite side of the ground to me.

This time they are pictured uncomfortably close. It’s a good job I did not go the the Members’ Bar or I might have had to offer to buy Philip a drink.

Perhaps I should rethink my Surrey Membership. Given their performance in the T20s over the past couple of years and the number of times matches have been rained off it’s probably the sensible thing to do, Philip Read or not.


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