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Bonkers Blog March 2019

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21 March (Part 4) - Abbey Wood again. It’s going to be carnage

It is pretty clear now that the information about the Abbey Arms that reached the local traders at their monthly meeting was to coin a phrase, total bullshit. What has in practice happened is in line with what was said six months ago but not what the traders were told only two weeks ago. The Abbey Arms is shut for three months while it is transformed into something more in keeping with what Peabody and others have in mind for the area.

It was on the basis of what turns out to be misinformation that the traders chose to stage the next Market on 29th June but with pub closure scheduled until mid-Summer there will be some who may wish they hadn’t.

Given that you can’t rely on what anyone says any more I hesitate to pass on the following but it comes from within F.M. Conway and someone who really should know what he is talking about.

Wilton Road is now scheduled for closure on 1st April. It will allow Gayton Road and the area outside the Abbey Arms to be given the granite block treatment.

The road barrier will be placed such that BT vehicles can get into the telephone exchange but vehicles will not be allowed to go any further. The road will be made two way but the turning circle which a Councillor was promised will not be provided.

Drivers will be expected to perform a three point turn, using the BT entrance road presumably, and depart as they arrived.

What is even odder is that parking will be permitted on both sides of the road except perhaps for a couple of bays outside the flower shop to allow for easier reversals.

The promise to resurface the whole of Wilton Road, made when the new footpaths were constructed, appears to have fallen down a budgetary black hole for now at least.

It is going to be total chaos and I will make a point of not taking my car there. Fortunately the 244 buses will have no need to use the road, they will have to do a U turn on Knee Hill. If you have never thought that Bexley’s traffic planning is crazy you soon will.
Wilton Road closure Wilton Road closure
Note: All as stated by a man on the ground today. Believe it if you like!


21 March (Part 3) - The Public meeting that isn’t really

I usually check the calendar of Council meetings a month in advance so that I can see which days are clear to make personal arrangements. On that basis and about a month ago I arranged a trip to North London for today but last week it had to be cancelled. On rechecking the Council calendar I was surprised to see a Joint Scrutiny meeting listed for this evening which I felt sure must be a recent addition. Today I checked the Agenda to see if it might be worth attending.

Lucky I did. Only when I opened the PDF document did I see that the meeting is to be held in Bromley and without the benefit of a webcast. Councillors from a variety of local Councils will be there and only two from Bexley. I suppose such things cannot be avoided but it makes a bit of a mockery of Public meetings. I suppose I should be grateful it isn’t being held in Lambeth Town Hall.
Joint meeting


21 March (Part 2) - Pause for thought

Attending more Council meetings than most Councillors is a bit of a drag if I am honest and last Tuesday I really didn’t feel up to going to Cafer Munur’s Joint Children’s and Adult’s Services Scrutiny meeting. A quick glance at the Agenda was enough to convince me that the webcast would be good enough.

PauseThe first speaker was from an organisation called Pause which has partnered with Bexley Council and aims to reduce the number of children taken into care by offering wide ranging support to mothers. I’m all for that. Soon after Bonkers started I met up at least three times with a very nice lady whose son had been taken into Bexley’s dubious care.

Her husband was clearly a thoroughly bad lot who had among other things had notices and cards printed and distributed with his wife’s mobile number advertising her services as, what shall we say, a good time girl.

She reported it to the police who were as one has come to expect, absolutely useless, and all they did was report the matter to Bexley Council. Bexley Council promptly took the child away. I looked through the file of papers.

One of the reasons cited for the removal was that the lady’s house was spotless. Apparently normal people do not have tidy houses and it was a sign of poor parenting skills.

Bexley Council Social Workers gained the support of the Courts by lying outrageously to them. No one did anything about the errant husband.

Nothing will convince me that Bexley’s Social Services were at the time comprised of anyone other than despicable individuals.

What did the Director of Communications for Pause have to say?

There are 94 women in Bexley who have had two or more children removed and have none left in their care. Five of the very young ladies affected had since died.

26 of the 94 had had 82 children removed from their care, several of them more than five children each. Experience suggested that such mothers will go on to have seven or more children with intervals between pregnancies of under two years. The intervention of Social Services is thought in some cases to create more pregnancies which mothers attempt to keep secret from them.

85% of the women involved admit to experiencing domestic abuse, some of it as children, but the real figure is believed to be close to 100%. In Bexley half have issues with drugs and a third with alcohol. Some have mental health issues too.

A slide presentation had been given to Councillors before the meeting began but like so many on Bexley’s website, the two links provided are broken.

Chairman Munur asked what happens to mothers who refuse contraception. Ms. Tanner said it was always the woman’s choice.

Both Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Director Tiotto welcomed Pause to the borough. Rachel Bates is the Pause Manager for Bexley.


21 March (Part 1) - A thirst for knowledge

Abbey ArmsYet another local pub has closed its doors, temporarily at least.

I cannot claim to know it well. When I moved to Belvedere in 1987, but only five minutes walk from Abbey Wood station and the pub, a work colleague who lived just off McLeod Road (SE2) told me I should never go into the Abbey Arms. “Why not?” ”Because it is a rough house and someone was knifed in there last week.”

The News Shopper said it was “unforgivably repellent with the atmosphere of a morgue”.

I took the advice and would never have been inside if it were not for the fact I found myself co-opted to the Abbey Wood Traders’ Association three years ago for secretarial duties. The new landlady of the Abbey Arms was its Vice-Chairman and the Association met monthly in the Abbey Arms.

It was there that I picked up what little knowledge I have of the Abbey Arms and I am a little surprised that what I learned at those meetings is not quite lining up with what has happened this week.

Contrary to what is being said on the local Facebook pages, the pub does not appear to have been sold to Dirty Liquor by the massive (5,000 premises) pub operator Enterprise Inns. It is a partnership, although it is perhaps notable that Enterprise Inns’ web based pub search facility no longer shows the Abbey Arms.

The information provided to the Traders’ Association has been gradually amended over the past six months until two weeks ago it was reported that the pub would close after celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day and that the new management would take over on Tuesday 19th March.

That does appear to have happened but on reflection the assumption that it would immediately reopen looks to have been wide of the mark. It was reported that the refurbishment had been postponed until next Autumn at least and that the Association would be able to meet in the Abbey Arms as usual at the beginning of April.

It is possible that what is going on now, causing the pub to remain shut, is just a general cleaning up operation falling short of refurbishment. I am not aware of any news that may have leaked out into the street.

Dirty Liquor has gained an enviable reputation if web comments are any guide and I look forward to having a pub on my doorstep to which one would happily take friends.

Dirty Liquor


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