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News and Comment August 2020

Index: 2020

20 August - Lunatics running the asylum?

With a title like that you may be expecting something about how the Government is handling the so called pandemic: you know the one; the one that has reduced the death rate to less than normal for this time of the year but is putting a widespread brake on cancer treatment (I declare an interest here) so as to store up much more severe problems for later. I have nothing but contempt for those who have made such an enormous mess of things in recent months and appear to be relishing the petty and illogical tyranny they have imposed.

But no, this about something else entirely.

It’s more than two years since Councillor Stefano Borella (Labour) suggested that Bexley Council seemed to be in the business of paying a high price to buy houses it had sold off cheaply some years earlier. No one took any notice obviously and it was not until last year that some details were discovered by someone idly perusing the Land Registry records. Eight former Council properties had been snapped up all on the same day for prices around the half million each mark.

In a further development those same eight properties and eleven more similar ones have again changed hands all on the same day and this time the total price is close to ten million. For neighbours and anyone else who might be interested the addresses are as follows…


42 Coleman Road, Belvedere, DA17 5AN, £450,000
41 Coleman Road, Belvedere, DA17 5AW, £450,000
8 Claytonville Terrace, Belvedere, DA17 6AQ, £450,000
169 Halcot Avenue, Bexleyheath, DA6 7QA, £573,333
82 Halcot Avenue, Bexleyheath, DA6 7QD, £573,333
83 West Street, Erith, DA8 1AG, £450,000
1 Winifred Road, Erith, DA8 1AJ, £450,000
16 Winifred Road, Erith, DA8 1AJ, £450,000
37 Alexandra Road, Erith, DA8 2AX, £450,000
12 The Nursery, Erith, DA8 2EZ, £450,000
300 Bexley Road, Erith, DA8 3HB, £450,000
153 Birling Road, Erith, DA8 3HR, £573,333
140 Birling Road, Erith, DA8 3HS, £573,333
18 Halstead Road, Erith, DA8 3HX, £573,336
10 Elmstead Road, Erith, DA8 3JA, £573,333
12 Stelling Road, Erith, DA8 3JH, £573,333
8 South Road, Erith, DA8 3RA, £450,000
22 South Road, Erith, DA8 3RA, £450,000
97 Lensbury Way, London, SE2 9TA, £573,333


Who bought the houses first time around? Who bought them so soon afterwards and why? It must be something to do with providing temporary housing. Bexley Council for the genuinely homeless or Serco fulfilling their £1·9 billion Government contract?
Serco

 

15 August (Part 2) - Stalemate. Where next?

Concrete blockI have no idea why a property developer would build a massive concrete block on the boundary of Lesnes Abbey Wood and remove many trees without planning permission and expect to get away with it. I have even fewer ideas on why Bexley Council Planning Department would want to grant retrospective permission, albeit with one or two cosmetic changes.

Fortunately most of the Planning Committee Councillors are made of sterner stuff and chucked the application out five against two abstentions at their recent meeting. Most of them had in the past six weeks made a site visit and been suitably horrified. As some remarked, the CGI images provided did not tell the whole story.

Ward Councillor John Davey naturally spoke against the wrecking of the landscape but it fell to Councillor June Slaughter (Conservative, Sidcup) to put her finger on the real issue. Would we have permitted this scheme to go had the plans been submitted in a lawful way? she asked, to which the answer would seem to be a resounding No.

Amazingly Councillor Brian Bishop (Conservative, Barnehurst) was prepared to grant retrospective permission but couldn’t find anyone silly enough to second his proposal. Councillor Val Clark (Conservative. Falconwood & Welling) was a ditherer and both of them were the abstainers. Nothing short of complete restoration is going to be good enough in this case, anything else merely demonstrates that the rule of law stands for nothing in Bexley when an influential developer is involved.

 

15 August (Part 1) - VJ Day. Home was a tin roof and a tin bath

Nissen Huts

The VJ Day Party for East London bombing victims housed in Nissen Huts.
Opposite Whipp’s Cross Hospital photographed 15th September 1945. (Me centre with shiny silver hat.)

 

7 August - Bexley council - park vandals

Dying tree Dying tree Dead tree Dying tree

Bexley’s parks usually get favourable comment from me (except when their ‘Chief Works Officer’ implied I was a racist for suggesting that the foreign language signposts - since removed - were discriminatory) but things have gone badly wrong in recent weeks. The young trees in Lesnes Abbey park which the council have nurtured and protected from the vandals at some expense have all been allowed to wither for lack of water. The irrigation system has fallen into disuse and after a few weeks without significant rainfall the trees have withered and probably died. Bexley’s vandalism has been worse than that of the nocturnal visitors. Never mind, it’s only your money they have wasted.

 

1 August - Here we go again - or don’t as the case may be

Harrow ManorwayThis blog began life eleven years ago highlighting the idiocy of Bexley Council’s road designs, aided and abetted by TfL so it may as well draw towards its conclusion in similar fashion.

Work on Harrow Manorway in Abbey Road is still not completed two years after Bexley Council said it would be but as has been obvious would happen for some while - because they had created a minor death trap at the Yarnton Way roundabout - a light controlled pedestrian crossing was installed last Monday.

As I discovered when returning from across the river on Thursday afternoon a new Gravel Hill/Watling Street situation has been created. When the pedestrian light is green the roundabout is temporarily grid locked.

It doesn’t compare with the vandalism of some London Councils and Mayor Khan who all fail to realise that you cannot run the country’s power house city on pedal power alone but restricting vehicle traffic plays a part in the deliberate wrecking of the UK economy. As if Matt Hancock isn’t capable of doing that single handedly.

 

News and Comment August 2020

Index: 2020

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