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Bonkers Blog June 2019

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30 June (Part 2) - The East London meat processing factory

I had hoped not to have to write about Newham University hospital again so quickly but they are being as useless as ever.

To recap my 99 year old aunt was taken to A&E last Thursday evening with severe back pain. It was decided that she should be admitted. Late on Friday she was transferred to the adjacent sister ward of the one that failed her so terribly last May.

A&E found a urine infection first treated two weeks ago had not gone away and I think antibiotics are being administered but there are now complaints of a tummy pain too.

The new ward staff, Thistle, have said that she won’t be seen by a doctor until Monday. The A&E nurse told me that physiotherapy was very necessary. There has been none this weekend and only two sessions since she broke her leg on April 13th.

I decided not to visit over the weekend but friends volunteered to fill in. Their reports were not good. She wants to go home which is entirely normal but she was also complaining of being very hungry.

The ward staff had merely left her food slightly out of reach (I was sent a picture); it’s the weekend so elderly people can be left to die, it’s what they do in Newham.

Her carer is exceptional and she has readily agreed to go in and feed the invalid. She probably won’t even accept payment but I will insist. Newham hospital staff should be rounded up and dismissed. One day they will likely be done for manslaughter.

And they still haven’t answered my complaint about the last stay there in April.

I suspect my visit tomorrow will not be the most friendly ever.

 

30 June (Part 1) - Councillor Philip Read, flying the Kate Bush Kite again

You have to feel sorry for Councillor Philip Read; he is the last remaining Dinosaur on Bexley Council and his style has been severely cramped by the ban on Councillors insulting residents. He is no longer able to insult me very directly on Social Media which is a shame. How many times do I have to tell him that I will not be complaining about him? Every village needs its idiot so why can’t he just carry on as usual? Maybe he thinks someone else will complain on my behalf but surely Bexley Council is sufficiently corrupt to organise a cover-up? It’s what they did last time.

The sad old resident of Northumberland Heath had to be content with this poor effort four days ago. As of this morning it had earned him not a single Like.


TweetWhat is he going on about?  The Bexley Conservatives’ Tweet links through to their own website where you can see that the referenced report is not new at all. It is dated 3rd January and on a click bait site that has no more credulity than does Bonkers, maybe less.

It was set up less than a year ago, not to provide news, but to provide an advertising revenue stream and does nothing other than regurgitate the work of proper journalists interspersed with the occasional video pulled from Twitter and the like.

Be aware that one careless click will send you to an advert or data collection point that you would be better off avoiding.

The report that Read is so proud of lists ten things that makes Bexley “a brilliant place to live”.

Among them is that…


• The Clock Tower is a popular meeting point (omitting the bit about unruly school children).
• It is home to the Red House - a lucky quirk of history.
• It has a sports centre at Crook Log. (Why does Bexley Council sometimes call it Crooklog? Which is right?)
• Kate Bush was born here.
• You can buy nice sausage rolls at Ayre’s Bakery in Sidcup. (Google says their Head Office is in Eltham but never mind.)
• More Bexley residents choose to buy green energy than in any other London borough.
• Danson Park Fair (where a private company took it on after Bexley Council concocted a load of half truths to excuse their cancellation decision).
• It was rumoured that a large wild cat roamed Bexley’s streets twelve years ago.
• Bexley has more than 100 parks. (You may see a list of Bexley parks here and may notice that most of them are not what the average person would call a park.)


Which leaves just one. Bexley residents report fewer crimes than in most other places. Perhaps they have just given up.

To go back to Read, surely the original ‘Man with the Child in His Eyes’, just what is the half-wit going on about? No one is complaining about the list of unimportant items from an unimportant source, only that Bexley Conservatives are dishonest and Tweet nonsense designed to deceive those who haven’t got the time to check out every last piece of their BS.

But it is a lot better than Newham. Read can quote me on that if he likes.

 

29 June - Financial incompetence everywhere

OneSourceI have discovered a link between my Newham problem and Bexley Council. The two boroughs plus Havering combined their financial services in 2016. Bexley’s current Finance Director was previously at that combined outfit which is known as OneSource.

Newham you may remember told me they would fund four weeks of respite care for my aunt who has lived in the same house since 1941 to give me time to make alternative arrangements. One of the conditions was that I had no choice over where she was placed but because she didn’t like it I took her away after five nights.

Newham Council then reneged on the deal and said a bill would be sent. When it arrived I thought it was quite reasonable and paid it. The fact that they had taken my aunt into care, albeit two weeks late because of Newham Hospital’s incompetence, had been extremely welcome at the time.

In correspondence with the accounts section I commented on the fact that the bill was for two weeks accommodation. Back came an apology and the bill was reduced by more than half with the promise of a refund. Six days later the money dropped into my aunt’s bank account.

So that should have been that, but no. Councils can rarely do anything without making a mistake. Last week a slightly threatening letter arrived from OneSource. I had allegedly not paid the reduced bill, in fact I never received it, only the email to say how much it was and that a refund of my overpayment was on its way.

Something else to sort out.


CapitaIt does not of course require the combined forces of three boroughs to create financial problems. Bexley can do it by itself.

Like most people I pay my exorbitant Council Tax by Direct Debit but that was not always the case. I used to allow Direct Debit only from organisations which I felt could be trusted which ruled out Bexley Council and Thames Water. Then one year my standing order to Thames Water coincided with Good Friday and they got their money three or four days late. Their computer went crazy with red letters and I concluded that Direct Debit resistance was more bother than it was worth. I went 100% DD.

It saves a lot of trouble as an elderly Bonkers reader has discovered.

His Council Tax payment was made three days late in April and he was reprimanded for it ten days later. His May and June payments went through on time but he has nevertheless been summoned to Court on 8th July for not having paid all ten of his monthly payments already. Bexley Council appears to have only accounted for two of his payments when in fact everything is up to date.

The seriously unwell eighty year old is going to try dragging himself to the Council Offices armed with his bank statements.

Bexley Council probably has improved over the years and is no longer regularly engaged in dubious and occasionally criminal behaviour but they are still incompetent bastards at heart.

 

28 June - New in SE2

There could have been several little items reported today but events in East Ham took over. The evening carer called an ambulance because of severe back pain and difficulty moving and the crew took the 99 year old to the East End meat processing plant otherwise known as Newham University Hospital. There were suggestions that the pain was caused by a rib broken in what was believed to be a minor fall on 18th June. I didn’t hear about it until 11 p.m. yesterday because I was at a pub quiz where the rules on mobile phones are rather strict.

I expected an early morning discharge as happened after the fall ten days ago but there was silence. A phone call was met with the response that the old lady was to be admitted but they were unable to give a reason.

An afternoon wasted at the hospital provided no more information except the medical notes lying at the foot of the bed told me that three separate X-rays had all shown no fractures. She now lies in an A&E waiting room waiting for a bed to become available in Silvertown ward. A nurse cheerfully told me that the last occupant of the same bed was a one hundred year old woman who waited in it for four days.

On eight of the past eleven days I have spent half a day in East Ham, I shall be glad of the rest while Newham Hospital does its worst.

Meanwhile, what is new in SE2?

Tomorrow sees the fourth street market in Wilton Road sponsored, if that is the right word, by the local Traders’ Association but in reality organised and run by Chris and Cat of CC EVents UK who seem to have cornered the market in local events. Last March the market was blown away, literally in the case of some stall holders, by gale force winds. It looks as though we will be spared that tomorrow and if the Wilton Road market continues to be a success it will become bi-monthly next year.

By a marvellous coincidence the event coincides with the reopening of the Abbey Arms public house. You will have to look elsewhere for reviews of that, neither the barley in the beer or the wheat in their speciality pizzas are going to do my gluten intolerance a lot of good.

Market

The fourth Wilton Road market.

Pub

The Abbey Arms just four hours before opening time.

 

27 June - Rubbish from start to finish

There was another Scrutiny Committee meeting last night chaired as usual by Councillor Melvin Seymour who even if the Peer Review suggested otherwise has always done a decent job of keeping ‘Places’ in order as far as I am concerned. Maybe he is favoured by interesting subject matter or perhaps I don't know what I should be looking out for.

Yesterday’s meeting may have rambled on a bit at times and the only significant subject on the Agenda was Rubbish. The roll out of the new four bin system - which is running late - but before that a presentation by local company - no, international company that has a major presence in Erith and one I had never heard of. A family owned business called European Metal Recycling Ltd (EMR). They do plastic recycling too but not in Erith.

It’s amazing what can go on on your doorstep unnoticed.

Commercial Manager Samuel Taylor gave an illustrated presentation and a video which showed how they not only processed thousands of tonnes of metal every day but also found time to support the local community. Their attempts to interest Bexley’s schools had not yet met with success and the Committee offered their assistance.

Councillor Davey (Conservative, West Heath) asked about the recycling of batteries and was told that lithium ion batteries in particular can be dangerous starting fires when in contact with other metals. Put them in the dedicated recycling bins found in some shops.

Councillor Sally Hinkley (Labour, Belvedere) referred to the all too frequent thefts of catalytic converters from cars. Could they be easily identified when taken for scrap? The answer suggested it was not easy as it was known that some unscrupulous scrap merchants are still “pushing the boundaries” and prepared to break the law and trade for cash. The phrase “money laundering” was used. Experienced EMR staff monitor potential abuse closely but “we know it is going on”.

It was confirmed that EMR also recycled the rare metals often found in electronic components.

The remainder of the meeting was concerned with the roll out of the eagerly anticipated - by most residents - new wheelie bins. Unfortunately there has been a serious hiccup and the first of the new bins will not be delivered to householders until September. With a 14 week programme of deliveries some should arrive just in time for Christmas.

 

26 June - Resources and Growth Overview and Superficial Committee?

A little over a year ago Bexley Council was on the receiving end of an excoriating Peer Review on their Scrutiny procedures which somehow the ruling party managed to spin into a positive.

Report
In a sense it may have been. Scrutiny Committees were made smaller and the Chairmanship changed - all for the better as far as I can judge. The only downside is that there are now four to be monitored instead of only three.

As a spectacle, Scrutiny Committees have been more interesting but as for doing their job more thoroughly I am not so sure. There were at most only two or three questions yesterday evening which by any stretch of the imagination could be called probing.

The occasion was the Resources and Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee where Councillor Andy Dourmoush (Longlands) took charge and did his usual good job of ensuring no time was wasted.

Committee
Councillor Howard Jackson (Conservative, Barnehurst) asked Cabinet Member David Leaf if he had any updates on the report printed in the Agenda (Item 5) a week ago. Not the most probing of questions but it allowed Councillor Leaf to run over a few points relating to the Facilities Management contract. Amey has been shown the door and Kier and others are angling for the new contract.

Councillor Joe Ferreira (Labour, Erith) asked about the companies that had shown an interest so far but the Cabinet Member reminded him the the contract had not yet gone for tender and comment might be commercially sensitive.

Councillor John Davey (Conservative, West Heath) asked a question on a subject close to his heart. Will the Council be changing the tendering process when Britain leaves the European Union? Brexiteer Cabinet Member David Leaf said that EU and UK law on the subject was the same.

Item 6 on the Agenda was the report on the success (or otherwise) of the new Scrutiny Committees, a follow up the the critical Peer Review. Councillors Linda Bailey (Conservative, Crooklog) and Daniel Francis (Labour, Belvedere) both said it was a very good report, however only Councillor Francis attempted to probe any deeper. He thought it was “odd” that only the Resources Scrutiny Committee was being given an opportunity to comment on the report. There was not a lot that the Resources Chairman could do about what was decided by the other Chairmen.

Item 7 provoked a question from Joe Ferreira. It was about forthcoming Digital Services and in particular some interesting developments with Bexley’s contribution to Fix My Street.

It will be possible to do clever things like identify a particular street light on an interactive map. It is not something I have used myself but looks to be very impressive.

I quite often find myself having to look at all 32 of the London Borough websites and in my opinion they fall into three categories. Not too bad, just about tolerable; a bit of a struggle but you get there in the end with only the occasional expletive and absolutely bloody awful. Bexley’s, while not perfect, and Search could so with an overhaul falls firmly into the least bad category. A revamp of Search is coming which will please Councillor Davey whose opinion of it is similar to my own.

Councillor Davey thought the telephone system could do with some modernisation too, not just queue position announcement but also guidance about when the system might be less heavily loaded. Improvements are on the way.

Agenda Item 8 (The Local Plan) attracted Councillor Ferreira’s attention again and he commented for a couple of minutes - but no question.

Cabinet Member Leaf’s report included references to “the fantastic job” by the electoral team in May and said that no foreign national in Bexley was left without the appropriate EU voting forms. The webcasting contract has been extended by four years and enhanced at a similar cost to the past four years.

Cabinet Member Louie French had been particularly busy reviewing comments about the Town Centre Strategy and organising several summer events in town centres. A planning application has been made for the Sidcup cinema and demolition of the old Blockbuster store should take place over the Summer.

Item 10 of the Agenda was on homelessness. Councillor Francis said there are cases where residents’ housing questions go unanswered because “staff are struggling with their case loads” and if Councillors become involved the Council finishes up spending more money than if it provided adequate staffing levels.

The written report showed that a change of policy would see ex-servicemen with medical conditions going to the top of the waiting list in future.

Item 11, Sub Groups, attracted no questions at all but Item 12, The Work Programme, provided an excuse for Labour Councillors Ferreira and Francis to speak their mind over Post Offices closures. They thought Bexley Council should assert itself more.

in Abbey Wood, albeit half a road width over the borough boundary, the Post Office had closed with no consultation in Bexley and no prospect of alternative arrangements being made. The same had happened in Slade Green, shut “with no notice whatsoever”. Councillors were informed two months after the event.

The Sidcup Post Office is about to close, Bexley Village Post Office was closed for nine months without alternative arrangements and Bexleyheath Post Office has been closed some days and Belvedere Nuxley Road for a whole week.

The Council Officer, Nick Hollier, didn’t think it was a matter for this Committee. Councillor Francis said he had been advised otherwise.

Discussions will continue outside the meeting.

What conclusions can one draw from the new look Scrutiny meetings? If last night’s is typical, only the Labour Members ask serious questions. Maybe everything is so well run that one can expect nothing more.

 

24 June (Part 2) - One for Dave

It didn’t go entirely according to plan; the tow truck was too tall to get to the van but the truck driver was ingenious and used the winch to pull the van sideways.
Van removal Van removal Van removal Van removal

Asbestos removal.

 

24 June (Part 1) - Just when you thought the lying had stopped…

…Bexley Conservatives suffer a relapse

They claimed back in 2013 that moving into the new Civic Offices would save £1·5 million a year (green image below) which thanks to inflation and miscalculating staffing levels allowing space to be rented out has resulted in a claimed £2 million saving in 2019. (Blue image below.)

Good stuff but almost inevitable.

What would be a good way of making things look better than they are? Lie and say the forecast was only £1 million.

“Right let’s do it. We are Bexley Tories. It is what we do.”
2019 lie 2013 claim

 

23 June - Some days nothing useful gets done

 A reader linked my aunt’s situation with that in Bexley six years ago when a money scrimping Council contributed to the death of a woman when they employed a lone drunk to man the emergency phones at night. A deliberate decision by a manager taken in the face of more sensible advice. Thankfully she is no longer employed by Bexley Council.

I know exactly what happened on that fateful night because I met the sacked whistleblower and still have a copy of the emergency call logs somewhere. Bexley Council’s cover-up machine went into overdrive and someone was paid to be quiet when she left Council employment.

That lady wanted to see some documents published here but I persuaded her that signing the NDA had to take precedence. The Council Leader and the Press Office did not come out of it well at all.

In Newham there is a similar emergency call system but unlike Bexley they do not see it as a profit centre so it only costs a couple of quid a week. It is in practice not a lot of good because…


• If the alarm is pressed they call me and I have to go over there to sort things out. (It takes an hour but has only happened once.)

• It has proved to be quicker and more effective for several people to be monitoring the CCTV regularly.

• My aunt cannot remember what the alarm pendant is for.


Useless the service may be in this particular case but it cannot be cancelled as if something untoward happened one would always be wondering if the pendant may have helped.

Another reader drew my attention to the Radio 4 programme File on Four. Today’s repeat told a similar tale of NHS incompetence in Leicestershire as I have experienced in Newham.

A kill the elderly as quickly as possible policy would appear to be widespread within the NHS. In Newham they have not yet succeeded in their mission. In Leicestershire they took only eleven weeks to meet their target.

Maybe I should let them get on with it. I was away from home on mercy missions for a total of five hours yesterday and six today and more time is taken up answering innumerable phone calls and text messages from concerned friends.

Some I have to write to, most of them nonagenarians themselves who are still able to write letters but not up to date with modern technology.

Council meetings are back this week too. ☹

 

22 June (Part 3) - Fun and games in Newham

The decision was taken reluctantly (for obvious privacy reasons), but I installed CCTV in the old lady’s bedroom last Sunday. On Tuesday evening it proved its worth.

TweetI looked in at 21:55 expecting to see her in bed asleep but she was nowhere to be seen. I looked at the front door camera and there was a police officer trying to get in. I made arrangements to get him a key and he later told me he had called an ambulance at 21:50.

My aunt was bleeding from the head and had called 999 herself. Impressive!

I drove to East Ham and my aunt was so uncomfortable on the floor that the police took a chance and lifted her into a chair. The ambulance eventually arrived at 02:15. Meanwhile I had tried to make the patient comfortable in bed but the pillow was soon covered in blood.

An ambulance man showed me a rather nasty cut an inch inside the hairline at the back of her head. It had to be ‘glued’ in hospital. There was also a lump and several grazes on her back.

Newham hospital phoned me at 08:30 Wednesday and we agreed that mid-day would be a good time to accept her home. The CCTV revealed her being delivered to an empty house at 09:00.

A conversation with the GP the next day revealed that the hospital had prescribed some pills to address the likely cause of the balance problem. They had handed them to a demented 99 year old with instructions to take two a day. If there was any sense at all in that cowboy outfit they would have told me.

What sort of idiots do we employ in the NHS these days? Because of their incompetence the medication was commenced more than 24 hours later than it should have been.

This morning the same camera showed her on the floor again, a neighbour called an ambulance and I shot over there on the train. Fortunately no harm done but her back still hurts from Tuesday and so does the bed sore that Newham Hopital sent her home with two months ago.

A District Nurse attends to it twice a week but so far ineffectively. Another expense occasioned by Newham Hospital’s desire to kill off the elderly as quickly as they can.

Right now the old girl is wandering around the house without the Zimmer. Stubborn as a mule. Anyone got a straight jacket?

Incidentally neither Newham University Hospital nor the General Medical Council has answered my two month old complaints. Acknowledged but no answers.

Previous reports.

 

22 June (Part 2) - I simply do not understand politicians

TweetAt a time when politicians, MPs in particular, are under constant threat. When the abuse suffered by my own brings tears to my eyes and one of Bexley’s Councillors endures living in a house festooned with security measures we fortunately have one who does his best within a matter of seconds to prevent what might have been a tragedy while his colleagues all look like the proverbial rabbit caught in headlights.

And one of Bexley’s own Councillors calls him vile.

The only response has to be Stephen Timms MP and Jo Cox MP, both knifed by mad terrorists, one a woman.

The Lord Mayor of London’s residence had been invaded, a trespasser rushed towards the top table and was frog marched out, propelled from the neck.

Where else was Mark Field to ‘grab’ her? It’s not exactly doing a President Trump is it?

Totally unjustifiable allegation against Mark Field too.

Disgusted of Belvedere.

(I went to a grand Mansion House dinner once. It was a long time ago and I felt a bit like a spare part among all the dignitaries. You don’t want to hear about that do you? Thought not.)

 

22 June (Part 1) - It’s bad but not quite as bad as it seemed

Road closure Road closureBelvedere Councillor Sally Hinkley (Labour) has obtained some clarification on Bexley Council’s alarming announcement that they planned to close a three quarter mile length of Abbey Road (B213) for two whole weeks beginning on 1st July and prohibit access to Blakemore Way, Carrill Way, Tunstock Way, Shortlands Close and Laymarsh Close totally with restricted access to Elstree Gardens and Kingswood Avenue.

Those Closes and Ways lead to several more roads with residents numbered in their thousands. That’s hundreds of people who cannot take their children to school or themselves to work and no doubt dozens of the housebound dependent on travelling carers and food delivery services left with no help.

It seemed likely to be a mistake but given the lunacy regularly displayed by Bexley’s Highways Department one can leave nothing to chance.

It appears to be only a partial mistake. There will be no through road for two weeks leaving everyone who lives between New Road (Abbey Wood) and Picardy Road (Belvedere) - a little over a mile - without their regular bus services.

Bexley residents must be used to being treated with total contempt by their Conservative Council by now so probably they will just grin and bear it.

Fortunately the aforementioned side roads will remain accessible for most of the time but there will be times when the old surface is being removed, replaced with new and then awaiting asphalt curing when residents reliant on their cars or visiting vehicles will be effectively imprisoned by Bexley Council. Probably for hours at a time without due warning.

The work is very necessary and it is good that the money has been found to fix the patchwork quilt but as always Bexley Council can be relied upon to have very little consideration for residents.

 

21 June (Part 2) - Danny in Bexley

It is rare to have a Councillor provide any feedback on a blog but it happened quite quickly after I featured Danny Hackett (Independent, Thamesmead East) two days ago. The best I usually get is Councillor Philip Read Tweeting nonsense about me being a Labour Troll and a cretin from Abbey Wood.

Cretin The weird thing is that my politics are probably just a little to the right of Philip Read but I assume he is not bright enough to have worked that out for himself.

But enough of him, did Danny have a gripe with me too? I’m afraid the answer is yes.

He was a little concerned that I had portrayed ourselves as a pair of inebriates. Oh dear, but I must confess there was a small element of poetic license.

I make it a golden rule to drink a maximum of one pint of beer and never more than once a week but Danny led me astray. I’d walked to the pub and Danny persuaded me to have a second pint. He, on the other hand, was drinking beer shandy. A whole pint and a half of it. I remember clearly because I was staggered to discover that shandy costs exactly the same as beer despite the heavy taxation on the latter.

So now you know that neither of us was anywhere near drunk and my recollection of what I read on his phone is not as hazy as may have been suggested.

I remain unsure why Danny joined the Labour Party. Despite my distinctly right wing leanings Danny and I have only one big difference. Brexit. Well just possibly another; he is a fan of Michael Gove, for his creditable back story I believe, whereas I regard him as an irredeemable back stabber.

I was lucky enough to pick up Danny speaking to Michael Gove on LBC on Wednesday. I am rapidly going off LBC, there is too much nonsense spouted between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. I used to like Eddie Mair on BBC Radio 4 but on LBC he is only interested in being a Clever Dick, with the emphasis on dick.

Here’s Danny…

Danny still gets an enormous amount of abuse for his decision to leave Labour and it does their cause no good at all. If I had no real interest in continuing as a Councillor beyond the present term I think I know what I would do but then I may be given to revenge and Danny will most probably play his characteristic straight bat.

 

21 June (Part 1) - Mesothelioma menace

It’s been one of those days.

Just after midnight coming home from North East London I found the normally clear A12 closed and replaced by a diversionary traffic jam. I had often wondered where Hackney Wick was, now I know.

So it was bed at 2 a.m. and woken by a text message at 06:42. Well I needed to be up anyway.

Then two friends had different mobile phone faults and I am expected to be the fixer. The Samsung is OK now but the Apple was kaput. Brand new so swapped already. Should I mention the screw in the car tyre too?

Then as if Murphy had not been busy enough already my internet router failed and it was hunt the spare one and remember the password time. That’s three out of three Asus AC87U routers failed now, not sure I will be buying any more. Meanwhile across the road Bexley Council contractors were donning ‘space’ suits.
Asbestos removal Asbestos removal Asbestos removal Asbestos removal

Thanks to Councillor Dave Putson and as he graciously acknowledges quite a lot of Council staff the last of the derelict yellow vans are on the way out. Rusting away with asbestos inside could not be allowed to go on any longer.

I kept well away; I lost a friend to Mesothelioma (from working on power station boilers) and recognise the dangers, hence the unobtrusive pictures. As you can see it was a pretty big operation, the land agents Centro Ltd will be facing a big bill. Money that should have been spent on replacing their 33 year old fences - but that is another story
Asbestos removal

Getting a couple of old vans removed may not seem like a lot and Bexley Council should have got off their backsides many years ago but it shows how local Councillors can help when they want to and Dave Putson (Labour, Belvedere) did.

 

20 June - Councillor puts on a show of determined perseverance

Van NoticeThis yellow van has appeared here before which is not very surprising if you consider it has been parked behind some flats in Coptefield Drive, Belvedere since before this blog began in 2009. Until earlier this year it had a twin and both were filled with builder’s rubbish.

Despite numerous complaints by residents and former Councillors Bexley Council has always said "nothing to do with us guv" because it is on private land.

Councillor Hackett tried to get Bexley Council to take action by taking the fire risk line but nobody cared.

One of his successors, Councillor Dave Putson (Labour), continued the struggle and gradually wore down the Deputy Director of Public Protection who hadn’t been living up to his job title.

The rumour among local residents - although I have seen no evidence - is that Dave pulled the asbestos card.

The land owner has been served with a notice to remove the yellow van by yesterday. These photos taken as the deadline was expiring show non-compliance. A £5,000 fine looms which presumably will be added to the householders’ maintenance bills.

Will they still be grateful to Councillor Dave Putson for fighting their corner?

 

19 June - Politics is a dirty game

it is probably a mistake to manufacture a space filling blog when there is not a lot going on. I did so last Thursday and have been mildly - very mildly if truth be told - rebuked for failing to reach any conclusion. Guilty as charged!

I left readers to guess whether or not Labour Leader Daniel Francis spoke in favour of Bexley adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s definition of anti-Semitism. I was pretty sure he had because the subject had cropped up at one of my occasional meetings with Independent Councillor Danny Hackett but I missed the end of the relevant Cabinet Meeting and the webcast had no recognisable audio track. Hence the lack of a firm conclusion on 13th June.

TweetA conclusion that may more easily be drawn is that Councillor Philip Read is spiteful and throws insults with gay abandon.

Has he forgotten the new Code of Conduct already?

Whatever was he thinking of when taking the enormous leap of logic from his discovery that Councillor Hackett had not been allowed to add his own support for the IHRA definition to calling for Councillors Daniel Francis, Stefano Borella, Mabel Ogundayo, Nicola Taylor plus Teresa Pearce MP to apologise for their imagined support for anti-Semitism?

Why does a Councillor who appears to be reasonably good at his job stoop to such vile suggestions? There is absolutely zero justification for what must be quite close to being libel.

But it still left me less than absolutely sure that Daniel Francis had offered support for the IHRA. I had a bright idea. The subject came at the end of the Cabinet meeting so I watched the back end of the webcast to see Councillor Francis stand and endorse the Council’s policy albeit unheard.

Unfortunately I saw no such thing and it became apparent that not only was the audio missing from the recording so are great chunks of video too. There was no alternative but to get in touch with Daniel and ask him to confirm what I was sure he must have done.

Unlike the Tory top brass Daniel treats Bonkers as part of the news media if perhaps the down market end of it. He is always happy to answer questions and readily confirmed that he did indeed speak up in favour of the IHRA definition.

Why was no one else from Labour allowed to speak? I learned that party rules apply and ward Members may only speak at Cabinet meetings if their own ward becomes the subject or it is part of their specific portfolio.

What Councillor Francis said lined up exactly with what Councillor Hackett told me while we shared a beer or two. So all is well then?

Not really. Danny is particularly strong on anti-Semitism and felt he should have been allowed a bit of leeway. If proof is needed, did he not resign from the Labour party with its alleged anti-Semitism very much in mind?

At one of our more beery meetings Danny let me skim through some of his mobile phone messages. I am pretty useless with mobile phones and even worse after a few pints but I do remember being rather shocked by some of the things I read and saw.

Why would Danny’s fellow Councillors be calling him “a little twerp” on Social Media three months before his resignation and if that is not bad enough why would one of them be liking Facebook posts from disgruntled residents keen to slag Danny off? All politicians get such criticism but surely it should not be encouraged by their own party colleagues?

I do not remember every detail of what I read on that boozy night but I do recall commenting along the lines of ‘how the hell did no one see your resignation coming? There was ample time to pour oil on the very obviously troubled water but I see no sign that anyone did anything to help you, the reverse more like’.

It may go some way to explain how the IHRA business blew up into something bigger and Danny resigned from the Labour Party three weeks later. What I read on Danny’s phone has inevitably made me look at some of his former colleagues in a rather different way to what I have done hitherto. I regret that very much.

 

18 June (Part 2) - Local Labour Councillors succeed after Bexley Council let us all down

Leather Bottle Leather BottleIt has not been a good few days for Kulvinder Singh. First his retrospective planning disaster and now his company Balmonza Ltd is to be prosecuted for the way it demolished Ye Olde Leather Bottle, the historic old pub on Heron Hill.

Bexley Council did not cover themselves with glory in 2016; put simply Mr. Singh started the demolition without warning, threatened anyone who took an interest, me included, while Bexley Council stood idly by doing nothing.

Fortunately Labour Councillor Daniel Francis was not so complacent and while his efforts could not prevent the demolition he did create a sufficiently big fuss to arouse the interest of Council Leader Teresa O’Neill and perhaps more importantly that of the Health & Safety Executive.

Councillor Francis and a number of residents were separately invited for interview by the H&SE and I was there for an hour or so on 17th November 2016 adding descriptions and a signature to my photos.

It has taken an awful long time for the H&SE to get around to doing anything, but as a a direct result of Councillor Francis’s efforts, Balmonza Ltd is due in Court on 21st August.

Labour Group Press Release.


Directly related earlier blogs.
22nd September 2015 (Before demolition).
23rd September 2015.
24th September 2015.
8th October 2015 (Last days and the cliff appears).
31st March 2016.
5th April 2016 (And now it is gone).
17th April 2016.
19th April 2016.
12th May 2016.
4th June 2016.
22nd June 2016 (Pushing and shoving).
23rd June 2016.
2nd January 2017.
9th February 2017.
3rd September 2017.
18th September 2018.
12th October 2017.
2nd February 2018 (Reference to H&SE interview).
18th September 2018.

 

18 June (Part 1) - Justice prevails, sort of

Devastation Devastation DevastationThe consequences of the unauthorised desecration of Lesnes Abbey woods by Kulvinder Singh’s company has reached another milestone. His application for retrospective planning permission (19/00194/FUL) has been refused after the biggest public backlash that Bexley Council’s Planning Department has ever seen.

Well done the McCann family for organising the public protest via Facebook and elsewhere. They have been given retrospective planning permission (18/03147/FUL) for the soil which Singh dumped in their garden changing its appearance for ever.

Not perhaps a good outcome overall but perhaps as good as could be hoped for.

Now let’s see Singh attempt to remove his concrete monstrosity.


Directly related earlier blogs.
2nd October 2018 - The background to this story.
4th October 2018 - Concrete delivery.
9th October 2018 - Bexley Council belatedly marks out the boundary line.
29th January 2019 - Neighbour has to apply for planning permission.
31st January 2019 - Enforcement Notice.
26th February 2019 - Singh makes another planning application.
16th March 2019 - Plea for help from the resident worst affected.

 

17 June - And about time too

Abbey RoadAbbey Road in Belvedere is a special place for Bonkers. Without it this website would never have been created. In 2009 Bexley Council took a perfectly good and accident free road and decided to make it much narrower. Narrow enough for buses not to be able to easily pass near the Abbey itself and narrow enough elsewhere to cause many accidents. (Report on just one of them.)

The justification by Cabinet Member Peter Craske and his Highways Manager Andrew Bashford were largely lies and obfuscation. I knew they were because they quoted two Transport Research Laboratory reports without realising that my own son had had a hand in their publication.

I naively thought that the lying must be a shameful one-off and made the details available on the web only to find a small deluge of comment to the effect that Bexley Council lying was the norm. Bexley is Bonkers was born.

Needless to say the road reconstruction job was not done properly and the pock marked road surface was retained. The ruts caused by buses and other heavy vehicles were in effect, on a narrowed road, moved much closer to the kerb.

They fill with water and drench pedestrians whenever ir rains. I have for many years refused to use it on rainy days preferring to use the car instead even for the shortest of journeys.

And now for the good news.

Ten years after Abbey Road should have been resurfaced the job is to be done.


MapThe section alongside St. Augustines’ Church was resurfaced three years ago and the section to the west of Lesnes Abbey was done more recently. Now it is the turn of the three quarters of a mile in between.

Work is scheduled to commence on 1st July and take two weeks - well it is quite a long stretch.

In full accordance with Bexley Council’s policy of ignoring the inconvenience caused to residents their letter bearing today’s date says “it will be necessary to impose a road closure”.

Exactly what that means is left unsaid but taken literally there will be times when many hundreds of homes will become inaccessible by road.

Presumably Abbey Road will have no buses for two weeks either.

As though this area has not suffered enough road disruption already but there is no denying that the road is badly in need of some loving care, it has had none for 30 years or more.

On the downside the surface is currently so poor that speeds are necessarily curtailed by the safety conscious, but sadly too many vehicles already pay little regard to Abbey Road’s speed limit.

 

15 June - Empty streets and sometimes empty promises

As you might remember I get an invitation to all the Abbey Wood Trader’s Association meetings which I suspect is mainly because they can lumber me with writing their minutes but I’m also an occasional contributor on Council matters. In retrospect it should perhaps have been called the Wilton Road Traders’ Association because it has no members beyond the handful of shops around the corner at its southern (Knee Hill) end.

It’s not appropriate to report those meetings here (†) although in practice there is rarely anything discussed that could be remotely described as ‘Commercially Sensitive’.

Wilton Road Wilton RoadWhat there is you can guess from looking at the road at pretty much any time. Generally empty. Ever since Network Rail moved into the area in August 2013 the number of shoppers has fallen steadily.

Bexley Council didn’t help by taking the Network Rail works as an excuse to further reduce on street parking facilities and massively increase the price of off-street parking. Nearby Gayton Road offers the second most expensive parking in the borough.

The Association has complained to and sought help from various authorities but little has happened. When the brothel operated opposite the Abbey Arms, Anti-Social behaviour began to get out of hand and the police took an interest. However their report was that Wilton Road was far from being the worst locality for ASB and said as much to both Councils. They can’t be blamed for accepting that at face value and turning their attentions elsewhere.

At around the same time as the Police were keeping an eye on things the two Councils hosted a traders’ meeting in the Community Centre. I was specifically excluded from the meeting, not by the traders who wanted me to be there but by the two Councils. Presumably they thought I might make comment and after a year and a half of waiting I am going to prove them right.

None of the six local Councillors representing Wilton Road (it is divided by the borough boundary line so three Councillors from each) were invited either, nor was Teresa Pearce MP.

Eight Greenwich Council Officers were present and three from Bexley plus a police officer from each borough. (The meeting pre-dated the amalgamation of the two borough police structures.)

Between them those eleven Council Officers took away seven action points.

It is exactly 17 months since that meeting was held and there has been no similar contact since. When the AWTA chased those action points ten months ago the Councils had to admit that not one of them had been followed up. Looking at the list of action points as I am right now I think one could say that one from Bexley is no longer an issue but as an illustration of how Councils exist to tick boxes and move on while doing as little as possible it is hard to beat.

But let’s not to be too negative; while the traders say they have had no help from the three Greenwich Councillors, on the Bexley side Labour’s Sally Hinkley takes a close interest and attends every meeting for which there is the slightest reason to do so.

Thanks to her interest the flyover is soon to boast bright blue signposts directing pedestrians and train passengers towards the Wilton Road shops. It is fair to say that Bexley Council were more than cooperative too.

The railway authorities refused to provide signs on their property and it may be a more serious problem than one might imagine. I recently came across someone who had lived in Felixstowe Road for seven years and had no idea that there were shops the other side of the railway line. Felixtowe Road provided a decent bed for the daily commute to London and everything else had passed her by.

The regeneration of Gayton Road ran months late and is an obvious improvement on what was there before but doesn’t look as attractive as what was planned as noted here on 5th June. In particular there are no trees and local resident Craig Jenkins organised a petition about it. Greenwich Council has offered kind words and Bexley Council which is the lead on this project has promised to do something about it come the next planting season.

I do hope they can find a place where they can dig a hole without piercing some vital underground service. I am not entirely confident of Network Rail's mapping. They once admitted to checking through my many photographs to see if they would help them locate a drain.

When Bexley Council restricted access to Wilton Road for six weeks earlier this year I was not alone in predicting traffic chaos but we were wrong. People stayed away and all the evidence is that they have never come back.

The permanent closure of the Post Office has also had a big effect on passing trade and until Peabody builds its tower on the Harrow Inn site there will be no suitable property nearby. The Peabody Tower is more than two years away from completion and the Post Office doesn’t want to wait that long.

And then The Abbey Arms shut down for major refurbishment work.

The loss of Crossrail services is having a major impact on trade right across London. The Traders’ Assocations’ market gurus CC EVents UK managed to interest the News Shopper in their plight which led first to a radio interview, then an item on the local TV news and just last week a Channel 5 film crew was in Wilton Road as part of a planned hour long documentary.

Some of our local traders spent very large sums in preparation for the anticipated Crossrail generated trade. The Councils said they were sitting on little gold mines. How wrong they were.

CC Events UK have proved to be the one and perhaps only bright spot for Wilton Road. Their markets in the Abbey Arms’ car park seem to attract bad weather but have been a resounding financial success. Many stall holders report it is their most lucrative venue, even better than those held in Hall Place in some cases.

Unfortunately there is no evidence that the markets are having any impact on trade beyond market days but there is a determination to carry on.

There will be another market in two weeks time whether the pub is open again by then or not. Don’t discount its garden being accessible to market visitors and refreshments of some sort being available. The new owner shows every sign of wanting to become part of the local community and doing whatever he can to help.

If the market continues to succeed it is more than likely that next year will see it go bi-monthly.

For news on Abbey Wood Village there is a new Facebook page. Expect to see traders’ special offers there soon.

Market Market
† This particular report was not exactly solicited by the AWTA but its Chairman will not be surprised to see it.

 

13 June - Jews, boos and lose

Whenever there is a break on Bonkers - too many trips to East Ham, Bexley Councillors behaving themselves etc. - a dilemma arises. Does one let the blog die naturally or keep it going on nothing much?

Given the stupidity of politics nationally it is tempting to comment on that, there would be a never ending supply of material.

TweetFor the Many not the Jew
What goes on within the two major political parties is horrifying though in very different ways. Jeremy Corbyn is just a nightmare from every point of view. The anti-Semitism displayed is beyond my comprehension. Quoting Anne Frank while welcoming yet another anti-Semite into Parliament. A woman who denies the one incident of Jew hating that got her into the headlines but who has a history of doing the same thing which tends to prove her a liar.

There is simply no excuse for any of it.

Anti-Semitism or maybe I should say anti-anti-Semitism came to the fore in Bexley six months ago when it adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s definition of anti-Semitism.

I had always assumed the Cabinet decision had the backing of everyone locally and Philip Read’s comments suggests it did but unfortunately I missed the debate - if any - and even more unfortunately Bexley’s webcast had no audio track. It still hasn’t.

In ignorance of the detail I find myself wondering what is behind this Twitter exchange. Did the Labour Group have nothing at all to say about the IHRA definition, surely their Leader must have commented but why is the then Labour Councillor Danny Hackett claiming to have his support gagged?

I see nothing at all to justify Councillor Read’s slur on the whole local party but as usual Councillor Ahmet Dourmoush hits the nail squarely on the head.

Note: This subject was expanded on 19th June.

Boris Johnson
So the man who robbed South East London of its bridge over the Thames (†) is the front runner to be the next Prime Minister. What a sorry state of affairs. It says everything one needs to know about top Tories that he is their best candidate.

I am inclined to agree which makes the situation even worse. I wouldn’t trust Boris Johnson one inch and I’m a firm believer in Elwyn Bryant’s opinion of how he operates. To understand that comment you would have to be present at the meeting between former Bexley Police Borough Commander Victor Olisa and the pair of us when I asked the Chief Superintendent exactly what persuaded him to disregard Crown Prosecution advice and drop the impending charges against Cabinet Member Peter Craske after so much incriminating evidence was found on his laptop.

† Mayor Livingstone’s small scale bridge had been approved and due for completion in 2014 before the newly elected Boris Johnson succumbed to Bexley Council Leader Teresa O’Neill’s NIMBYism.

TV Licences
My email Inbox tells me that some readers are concerned or amused by the impending loss of my free TV licence after becoming eligible for it less than a year ago. Except that I will have to tell Capita where to go at frequent intervals I am not personally concerned at all.

I fell out of love with the BBC many years ago, firstly in my usual nerdy way, for their failure to observe the minimum technical standards for digital broadcasting mandated by the European Broadcasting Union of which they are a founding member and later for distorting and censoring the news.

For reasons I would be hard pressed to specify I gradually stopped watching any TV programme. It started four or five years ago and now I can say with hand on heart that this year I watched most of the Inspector Morse based drama Endeavour (ITV) and the penultimate episode of Line of Duty (BBC) which looked too much like a documentary to me.

And that’s it. I occasionally flick on a news channel if something interesting is going on so I saw a bit of the D-Day celebrations and that really is the lot.

So I won’t be buying a TV licence. From being a major fan twenty years ago I have gone to being perfectly happy to see the BBC closed down.

The only good thing I can say about it is that it has kept my daughter employed for the past 30 years or whatever it is and paid her so well that she has never come to me suggesting that a bit of cash would come in handy.

 

8 June - The Riverside Energy Park

Bexley Labour Group has been busy producing Press Releases this week. First revealing that the Conservatives had not bothered to attend any of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee meetings over the past year, then arguing that Bexley’s installation of electric car charging points is going to annoy a lot of people because too high a proportion of car parking spaces will be lost from small shopping areas. (†)

Then yesterday they issued one about the plans to massively expand the Cory incinerator in Belvedere. Cory Environmental made a presentation to Bexley Council last October but didn’t bother to hand out copies to the handful of members of the public in attendance so they have only themselves to blame if their case cannot be made more enthusiastically here.

Things in favour of it are 900,000 megawatts of ‘free’ electricity. Cheap district heating and 655,000 tonnes of rubbish that does not go into landfill.

The other side of the equation is that a quarter of those 655,000 tonnes will arrive by road, it will do nothing to improve air quality and it is right next door to a nature reserve. Three MPs have submitted their concerns to various hearings.

The Government Inspector’s web page is here.

† I am a member of a few electric vehicle owners’ discussion forums. I mentioned Bexley’s plans for 13 dual headed trickle chargers and the consequent loss of parking spaces on one of those forums. The unanimous verdict wass that the loss of a high proportion of parking spaces does indeed outweigh the small advantage of a couple of not very useful charging points.

 

5 June - Vote green

Below is what Bexley Council told us Gayton Road would look like after they spent £6 million of Network Rail’s money (including the recently started Felixstowe Road) improving the appearance of the area around Abbey Wood station.

Nice isn’t it? Nice and green that is.

Trees Trees

The reality is rather different.

No trees No trees

There are about 16 trees shown in the leaflet issued in November 2016 and now that the work is finished, just the two that survived the diggers.

What happened?

Hole HoleThe refurbished Abbey Arms pub is definitely green but elsewhere everything is hard white stone. I don’t much like the new pub colour and at night it is hard to see it at all but far more don’t like the absence of the promised street trees.

Only three holes have been left in the footpaths that might accomodate trees. Is there anywhere beneath the granite that is clear of service pipes and conduits?

One Abbey Wood resident feels strongly enough about it to have started a petition. If it is directed at Bexley Council - and most of the barren land is within Bexley, I fear for its chances. When did Bexley Council ever respect requests from residents? On the other hand Greenwich Council has shown some interest in fulfilling the original promise.

The petition may be signed here.

 

4 June - Bexley Conservatives missed the bus. (And the train, and the bikes and taxis too)

Yesterday’s Press Release from the Bexley Labour Group argued that converting 26 of Bexley’s parking bays to electric vehicles only without listening to objections ran the risk of harming business in the borough and they may well be right. In the short term they almost certainly will be but eventually, if government ambitions are to be realised, we are likely to see many more such charging points. Within months new electric vehicles will become available from Vauxhall (the Corsa), KIA (the Soul), BMW (The Mini) Citroën (the C-Zero), MG (the ZS), Peugeot (e-208), Volkswagen (too many to mention) and Audi. More charging points will become essential.

Note the absence of Ford which has been sitting on the sidelines ignoring the trend and hoping it will go away. They will surely pay the price.

Labour is on much firmer ground with another Press Release. Each year Bexley Council allocates Councillors to Committees, some of them London wide ones. Naturally all the best jobs go to Conservatives.

A year ago they put forward three names for the London Councils Transport and Environment Committee. Labour put forward three names too but fat chance!
TEC

2018/19 Committee appointees. Councillor Craske and Deputies Councillors Sawyer and Seymour.

As you will know. Bexley is particularly badly served by public transport; no Tube, no tram, no DLR, no river crossings and no Crossrail - the terminating buffers straddle the Greenwich/Bexley boundary.

The Chairman of Bexley’s Transport Users’ Sub-Committee regularly complains that TfL fails to show up at any of her meetings and rightly so but it would appear that there is an element of hypocrisy about that.

It became clear at the last Council meeting that Bexley’s delegate to the London-wide Committee never ever bothered to show up. And what about his two Deputies? Exactly the same. Not a single meeting out of four attended!

How is Bexley ever going to get a fair crack of the whip if it is not represented? We have had no say on electric car charging points, air quality, fly tipping, dockless bikes for hire, concessionary fares and the Freedom Pass, the TaxiCard and the Ultra Low Emission Zone which will soon be loading extra costs on most of us,

Looks to be a disgraceful state of affairs don’t you think?

 

3 June - Bexley Labour. All charged up

This blog is prompted by Bexley Labour’s Press Release about the Council’s failure to listen to concerns about electric vehicle (EV) charging points.

I have become quite interested in electric vehicles, not because of their green credentials but primarily because they are such fun to drive and cost next to nothing to run. The one I bought nine months ago can easily do 300 miles on a single charge but that is still something of a rarity - not to mention being expensive.

More affordable and second hand vehicles will typically do a little under half of that before needing to find a charging point which is ideal for someone who drives ten miles to work each day. No congestion charge, no ULEZ charge and plug it into a 13 amp socket at the weekend. Virtually free motoring.

For the record I have driven just over 6,000 miles for a total electricity cost of £38.

For longer journeys some planning may be necessary. Where are the chargers? Whilst there are now more charging points than petrol stations in the UK that is not a fair comparison. You can fill your car with diesel in five minutes but even the fastest electric chargers will take half an hour or more.

The UK’s network of chargers has evolved such that 50kW plus chargers are frequently found on major routes, but usually only in ones or twos, and slower charging points are found at destinations where one is likely to be there primarily for other reasons. Anything from supermarkets to National Trust properties.

The problem with both is that you can turn up and find the charging bay(s) already occupied and as often as not by non-electric vehicles. I called in at Sainsbury’s in Becton last Thursday and found five of their eight charging bays occupied by cars that had no business there, one electric car plugged in but not charging and two spare spaces. On examination the electric car was not charging because the charger was broken and the same applied to the vacant spaces.

It is a constant problem, not too bad for those of us with 300 miles of range to play with but disastrous for many.

Bexley Council plans to dip a tentative toe into the water with 13 double headed charging points dotted around its 300 mile road network. Better than nothing but maybe not well thought out.

KIA SoulBecause my electric vehicle is so rare with fewer than 250 in the country and allegedly increasing by only around six a month I have been invited to show it off to a few car enthusiast clubs which is why I was in Brighton a week ago. I mentioned Bexley’s plan to install thirteen dual 7kW chargers and everyone fell about laughing - but you have to start somewhere.

Labour Councillors in Bexley are worried about taking away 26 parking spaces from generally small shopping centres and have issued a Press Release on the subject. They think it will take trade away from nearby businesses and all objections and suggestions have been ignored totally as one would expect in this borough.

There may well be an impact on trade but in my view there are too many unknowns to be sure. Bexley will be charging for the electricity and with all the supermarkets planning to offer the same facility for nothing (and already doing so in many cases) Bexley’s tiny offering might well prove to be a white elephant. On the other hand experience elsewhere shows that many non-EV motorists park alongside EV chargers anyway and risk a ticket.

In the two hours allowed no electric car will take on board more than 60 miles’ worth of ‘fuel’. Will that be attractive? Not to me but then not everyone is lucky enough to have their own charging point in their own garage.


Charging hubWhat Bexley Council should really do is incentivise a commercial company to install a bank of 100kW plus chargers alongside the A2 as more far sighted Councils have done. Now that would be really useful to long distance electric vehicle drivers and experience shows that such people are prepared to pay a premium for the convenience. Feeble efforts in small shopping centres may not compete with the freebies available from Tesco and the like.

The 13 locations are Bellegrove Road, Welling; Blackfen Parade, Blackfen; Danson Lane, Welling; Erith Road, Barnehurst; Methuen Road, Bexleyheath; Nuxley Road, Belvedere; Picardy Street, Belvedere; Sandford Road, Bexleyheath; Sherwood Park Avenue, Blackfen; St Johns Road, Sidcup; The Oval, Blackfen; Walnut Tree Road, Erith and Waterside, Crayford.

Note: The KIA Soul shown here is the electric version. The upgraded model due next September will not be available with an internal combustion engine. The sign of things to come!

It is battery powered or nothing for the European market. With more than 200 horsepower and 400 Newton metres of torque under the bonnet it will put most hot-hatches to shame.

 

2 June - Bonkers. Where next?

If you have been a close observer of this blog over the years you will very likely have noticed a huge reduction in the number of reports of scandalous and downright dishonest goings on at Bexley Council.

I would like to think that it is a direct result of putting them under close scrutiny both here and across Social Media generally but I suspect webcasting has had something to do with it too.

We will never know for sure but my suspicion is that the real reason is that the bad guys are no longer in Bexley. I sometimes wonder if it is worth continuing with the blog; it is very obvious from visitor numbers that readers want to read bad things about Bexley Council - and there is no longer a daily supply of it.

Over the year to date several small concessions have been made towards Bexley Council, you can’t keep raking old things up if they have mended their ways. Everyone deserves a second chance.

So today Bonkers announces the completion of a big weed out of old stuff. The beneficiaries are Councillors Peter Craske - the obscene blog stuff and the catalogue of parking fibs have gone . Val Clark - the summary of her year as Mayor is banished. Cheryl Bacon is no longer featured - her minor transgression of the Local Government Act led to various people who should have known better lying on her behalf.

Sent to the Recycling Bin is Councillor Geraldene Lucia-Hennis for her misjudged exhibition at the Royal Charlotte public house. Melvin Seymour for making a malicious allegation against former Bexley blogger John Kerlen, possibly after being misinformed but possibly not. All gone. Ditto Linda Bailey for setting upon John Kerlen when he poked a camera through a doorway. All history now.

Other beneficiaries are Councillors Campbell, Massey and Fothergill all of whom are no longer Members of Bexley Council. All the most critical comment is removed and with luck we will never see their like in Council again.

The past is the past. Going soft in my old age? Probably.

Attempts to access any of the removed pages will take you to this notice.

 

1 June - The man on the Thamesmead omnibus

A reader reported a conversation with a bus driver earlier this week; the news subsequently appeared on The Murky Depths blog but not all of it. The driver gave no dates and there can be no guarantee it is totally accurate but this is the summary of what he said…


Route 301 which had been scheduled to complement Crossrail services from December 2018 will begin service imminently using double deckers operated by Arriva out of Dartford †. It will run from Bexleyheath to Woolwich via Woolwich Road, Long Lane, Brampton Road, Woolwich Road (top of Knee Hill), New Road, Harrow Manorway, Carlyle Road, Bentham Road and Nathan Way.

The 53 from Plumstead Garage will no longer serve stops beyond Lambeth North during the day and a new N53 will service Plumstead to Horseguard’s Parade during night hours.

The 428 will only serve Erith and Crayford/Dartford and not go to Bluewater or Darent Valley Hospital.

The B11 will only operate between Bexleyheath and Lakeside Medical Centre on Yarnton Way and no longer go to Thamesmead.

The driver referred to information on a website called http://www.londonbusroutes.net although the changes section doesn’t appear to be very up to date.


There was no reference to the 469 (Woolwich to Erith) for which a diversion via New Road. Woolwich Road and Picardy Road was proposed. That would deprive Abbey Road of more than a third of services, turn New Road into a major bus route and congest Picardy Road even more than is already the case.

† Arriva has recently been granted permission to keep buses at 185 Manor Road, Erith too.
Route 301

Route 301 as originally proposed. However due to Bexley Council’s intransigence over removing the dangerous kink in the road at the top of Knee Hill it will now divert via New Road. That may not seem like much but it is an additional five stops on what was supposed to be an Express Service.

 

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