Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Rape in Kennington?

The Sun newspaper have reported that a woman in her 20s was seriously sexually assaulted in Kennington on Saturday night (September 27th). It happened at 1:30am, and despite a passerby calling the police when seeing the woman in question flee from a man, the police appear to have arrived too late to catch the attacker. The woman's friends report that she suffered cuts and bruising as she tried to resist the attacker.

For some reason, the police appear to think that the woman might have been stalked for several weeks prior to the attack. The paper reports that the woman is a "top model".

The Sun only suggests that the crime in question was a rape ("tried to rape her"), but does mention that the attack lasted 20 minutes, and that a DNA sample was taken from the woman, which will be tested by the police.

Whilst the block of flats that the woman lived in was apparently equipped with CCTV, not all of the cameras were working.

I can only assume the attack took place in SE11 somewhere (but we have found the media's reporting of "Kennington" to be wide of the mark), but I don't like the fact that there's no report that the man in question has been caught.

The woman concerned is in my thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Peckham Boys Gang - arrests

This is London have just published an article publicising the fact that there have been arrests of suspected members of the Peckham Boys gang.

Some of the arrests have been made in the SE11 area in Kennington. Others are furthur afield. The arrests are mostly for crimes such as violent robberies on pubs and bookmakers using knives and other implements.

I often wonder what happens if one is suspected of this sort of very serious crime, but actually has not done anything. Who pays to have the reinforced door that the police have smashed down in Kennington replaced? How does your reputation (or your family's reputation) survive?

Anyhow, they've arrested seven men. I'll update furthur as I hear more.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Interesting SE11 Planning Applications

One finds out all sorts of things when one starts digging around on the Lambeth planning applications database.

There's currently an application pending to turn 190 - 198 Kennington Lane away from its current usage as offices into a mental health clinic. I think that this is quite a good thing. Mental health is usually underprovided for and an increase of provision is good. However, depending on what the facility will actually offer, it might not be such a good thing for residents of Kennington Lane. Treatment for people with severe (or any) mental illness is a very good thing, but I hope the visiting patients won't lead to the neighbourhood becoming more dangerous. "Mental illness" is such a broad term which covers everything from mild to depression to the infamous, potentially non-existent "severe" personality disorder.

There's another application pending to turn 130-138 Newington Butts into student accomodation (presumably for South Bank university), restaurant, retail, storage and offices. For some reason, I thought that this was going to become residential flats. I think that there is currently retail and offices etc. on the site so I don't know if they're just going to extensively renovate or whether it will be knocked down and started again.

That's all of interest today for the SE11 area. I will try and run the search again in October to see what else might pop up...

Sunday, 21 September 2008

March against knife crime from Kennington

Photos taken in Hyde Park:

I didn't manage to take any photos of the Peace March against knife crime in Kennington Park because it was quite a lot smaller than I expected (only about 1000 people left from Kennington Park) and consequently departed on time! I only reached SE11 at about 11.30, when it was so quiet that I wondered whether they'd cancelled it!

As a result, I decided to go and take some photos of it in Hyde Park as I wanted to support the effort. Something a little odd has happened with the camera exposure so the sky appears pink. It wasn't pink, it was actually a very bright day at about 16:00.

I went to the rally, not because I thought it would prevent furthur knife crime, but because I wanted to demonstrate solidarity as a Londoner with the families of knife crime victims, and also to show that I'd like to be part of any discussion about a solution. I was hoping that I'd hear some sensible ideas about how society might come together and work at strategies for preventing crime (strengthening families, working with schools etc.). Unfortunately, I found quite a lot of the rally's rhetoric to be about "bringing back National Service". It simply doesn't make sense to me to say that "knife crime is wrong" and yet to be seen to be legitimising war through the promotion of National Service. Also, I disliked the way that Gordon Brown, who made an eloquent pre-recorded speech against knife was pretty much "booed" by the crowd. It's not so much the booing I objected to, but the failure to listen to what he was actually saying before booing him! There was a coherent message against knife crime, but I didn't feel that there was any coherent ideas about how the whole community should pull together to stop it!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Peluqueria, Kennington Park Road and the credit crunch

I've made a few changes and additions to the map. It seems somewhat peculiar, but despite travelling past certain locations daily, I can't remember what's where.

One piece of interesting news is that Peluqueria, the small Spanish-speaking ex-hairdressers, ex-video shop, ex-internet cafe (see above) is to become something else. It's currently undergoing refurbishment in order to become.... possibly, a cafe. I popped in a day or so to check it wasn't disappearing completely, but they were reticent to say much except for "cafe". It sounds promising.

One piece of sad news is that I have heard that H Morrell & Sons (the attractive shop near to Kennington Library on Kennington Lane) will be closing down. As a building supplies firm, I imagine that they've been driven to the edge by the credit crunch. They now have "closing down" notices plastered over the shop.

I will have to walk up Kennington Park Road to check whether I've got some of the other locations on the map quite right. I've added Dominos Pizza Takeaway. I've also marked on the map properly that Mansion House pub seems to have been closed down. (I'm not clear whether the building will form part of the new flats planned for that area of Newington Butts).

Kennington Park Road accident



A friend told me yesterday that there had been a serious traffic accident at Kennington Park Road, near to Kennington Park Place at around 13.30 yesterday. Details are sketchy, but it might have involved a motorbike. It definitely involved the air ambulance. Does anybody know anything? Was the injured person (people) ok? What happened?

One of the odd things about local news blogging is the realisation that there's a lot that happens at a sub-regional level that doesn't even hit the radar of the newspapers or blogs. Obviously, every minor road skirmish doesn't make interesting news, but I wonder how the right balance is struck. Perhaps we're all so busy watching the banks crash and burn that we're not noticing what's happening under our noses in our local area. Anyhow, I only found out because it popped up in my Google search results as something that somebody had searched Google for yesterday, which prompted me to ask some questions. But how many other newsworthy items do we fail to hear about?

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Kennington Association Charity Art Auction

The Kennington Association are holding their fourth annual charity art auction tomorrow evening (18th September) at 18.30. There is a preview tonight.

More trouble at the Oval?

When driving through SE11 and past the Oval tube station yesterday, I noticed what looked like a memebr of the police force boarding a bus that had been stopped just outside Oval tube station. A few hours later, I drove passed again and noticed that Oval tube had an "incident response unit" outside. Also, the road around the Oval was closed.

I've no idea whether that was one, two or three events of any significance. Does anybody have any information?

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Thames Festival 2008

The three wheeled one only found out about the Thames Festival by accident this year after wondering about the vast hordes of people making their way through Waterloo yesterday. This might (or might not) be due to Boris Johnson (BoJo) scrapping The Londoner (the newspaper that supplies Londoners with information about what the mayor is up to). On the other hand, chances of us actually receiving the newspaper are slim!

So... Excited about the possibility of the giant meal with strangers (and happy to try and meet some more South Londoners), we plodged off today, beginning towards the east end of the festival near Southwark Bridge. Unfortunately, I had not realised that the giant meal only took place yesterday and would not be repeated today. Not to be deterred, we obviously had to go and nosey around at what else was on offer...

The rest of the festival consisted of food stalls (many over-priced), stalls selling pictures of London, music stages (I presume some of it /was/ music), the Co-Op selling Fairtrade goods (yay), the BBC doing something related to art for children, various European cultural promotion/food stalls, a giant stage put together by those people who manage to get around London without touching the floor (it's called "freerun" apparently), the BBC and Capital FM broadcasting, lots and lots of performance artists, some people kayaking on the Thames (not sure if these were part of the kayaking demonstrations), old and young men skulling along the Thames (separately), some rather strange performance drama, free Starbucks coffee, more stalls selling everything from books to clever widgets for hanging flower pots...

We were queuing to buy Hog Roast after arriving at lunchtime (around 2pm), but that failed because the Hog Roast wasn't on offer until 5pm. Driven by impending starvation and lack of money, we ended up sharing a Doggett's cheeseburger after concluding that despite Lebanese food being good value for £5 a plate, it just appeared too expensive. I figure that for people visiting London, the prices must just be swallowed, but for actual Londoners facing impending recession, the costs are all too high!

We walked from Southwark Bridge to the London Eye (I'm not sure what was beyond the Eye, if anything) and enjoyed browsing at the varied stalls. We discovered a world film/DVD shop (named mdc music and movies) that we didn't know existed (which wasn't part of the festival) and generally had a happy time soaking up the sun. I think the festival lacked some edge (there were parts of the South Bank that didn't seem to have much going on) and it didn't seem much different from festivals of previous years. However, that won't stop us going next year!

As we left, we saw some people that appeared to be preparing for a carnival procession (in some fabulous outfits), which (if it was a repeat of previous years) would have taken place this evening. We headed home after about 3 hours, and then happily watched an absolutely stupendous, amazing, fantastic, glorious, expensive, colourful fireworks display from our home in SE11. The fireworks were so good that we might have to invite lots of people around next year just to watch!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Peace March leaving from Kennington Park, SE11

According to an article in Southwark news, there is to be a peace march against knife crime, organised (in part) by The Damilola Taylor Trust later this month. The march is to be called "The Peoples' March", which is a fitting tribute to Kennington Park's history of organised revolution and ferment.

The report also notes that two individuals, Sharon Singh and Gemma Allway organised support for the march through Facebook. I think it's fantastic when networking technology allows for friends to organise strangers to march together for peace. I googled the two of them and found that The Mirror has a photo of them alongside their description of themselves as "two ordinary Londoners who can't bear to see any more dead children on the news".

The march will congregate in Kennington Park on 20th September at 10am, depart at 11am and will culminate with a rally in Hyde Park at 2pm. It is specifically organised as a peace march, and not a protest march.

I will go. I might even make a "Lurking about SE11 for peace" banner, but I'm only little and it's a lot to get on one banner!!

SE11 Monthly Crime Update: July 2008

I just noticed that the July 2008 stats are out for the Metropolitan Police Crime Map. The Police have started to compare the different levels of crime in each different Borough when you click in detail on the map. However, I'm turning it into a crude chart format so we can watch Lambeth in-depth over the next few months.

See my previous post for reasons as to why these stats. are not definitive.


Lambeth crime levels (Average - June 08, Average - July 08)
Southwark crime levels (High - June 08, Above Average - July 08)
Westminster crime levels (High - June 08, High - July 08)

So, overall, things have improved somewhat in Southwark, and Lambeth remains the same. Now, breaking Lambeth down into its boroughs, we find as follows:

(3 = Average, 4 = Above Average)

Jul08 Jun08
3........3 = Bishops
3........3 = Brixton Hill
3........3 = Clapham Common
3........3 = Clapham Town
3........4 = Cold Harbour
3........4 = Ferndale
3........3 = Gipsy Hill
3........3 = Herne Hill
3........3 = Knight's Hill
3........3 = Larkhall
4........4 = Oval Ward
4........3 = Princes
3........4 = St Leonards
3........3 = Stockwell
3........3 = Streatham Hill
3........3 = Streatham South
3........3 = Streatham Wells
3........3 = Thornton
3........4 = Thurlow Park
3........3 = Tulse Hill
3........3 = Vassall Ward

Oval Ward has high crime for 2 months running and in Princes Ward, crime has risen to the "high crime" bracket. However, other than that, crime has broadly either stayed the same or improved throughout Lambeth and every borough is reporting "average" crime. Furthur investigation reveals that 31 crimes were reported in Princes in June, but in July, this went up to 41!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

A couple of Stockwell news items

I have failed to report a few Stockwell items that have come up in the news of late, so here is a quick round up:

1. A good Guardian article on "why we must remember Jean Charles Menezes". Last month was the third anniversary of his death, after he was shot by police in the aftermath of the July 7 bombings in London.

2. A BBC article (thanks to Stockwell news for pointing this out) about a seventeen seater minibus travelling back from the Notting Hill Carnival which collided with four pedestrians on South Lambeth Road. Unfortunately, two of the pedestrians have died as a result of the traffic accident.

3. And most recently on Friday... According to The London Daily News, some burglars broke into a house on South Lambeth Road in order to steal scrap metal. They tore out gas pipes, which basically put everybody in the locality in danger as it casued a major gas leak. Personally, I think it all sounds rather strange. Could it be the other way around... Might they have meant to cause a major gas leak and have it look like a burglary? Presumably they'd have put themselves in some danger, and how much can old pipes possibly be worth...?

Cross River Tram - more news

We've not yet reached the crucial date of 8th September, but Boris Johnson appears to have announced to a committee:

I am not intending to spend a lot more money on the Cross River Tram

SE1 news have the full article.

I'm still rather hoping that this doesn't mean the project has been axed. I'm hoping Boris will say that he doesn't plan to spend more money on the Cross River Tram until he receives a committment from central government to fund it... or something...

Caroline Pidgeon has made adequate disappointed noises, but I really wish that there was something else that could be done.

Label Cloud