Sunday, 30 November 2008

Cutting of concierges on council estates in Kennington

I've been watching with some concern, various news stories about concierges being removed from (or having their hours cut) on various council estates in Kennington. There have been plenty of reader responses in the media, and all have reacted negatively against the cost cutting suggestions. The SE11 Labour councillors have weighed in on the debate, arguing that it's the Lib Dems fault for bringing in expensive CCTV cameras that there's now no money to operate. Unfortunately, the current Labour councillors have not actually resolved the situation yet.

Whilst cutting concierges might appear to the council (or more likely, the management companies), as a quick way save money, it appears instead to be making certain estates more dangerous. The concierges perform the role of keeping an eye on the estate, and no doubt, help unite the people who live in any particular area.

Sadly, there is now an alarming piece on the front of this week's South London Press about serious arson at Elkington Point on the Ethelred Estate. I think that the newspaper's linking of the blazes with the issue of cutting concierge services is spot on, although I'm not clear whether the Elkington Point services have been cut. (By the way, Elkington Point is such a nasty looking building - that is, it's very badly upkept, that I cannot find one image of the tower to display here). If they haven't actually cut the concierge services, I dread to think what might happen within the next few months...

Saturday, 29 November 2008

RIP Franklins

I'm somewhat saddened by the response made to my post on the closure of the Dippy Egg Cafe yesterday. A reader has noted that Franklins in Kennington has been closed. Sure enough, I checked their website, which reports:

"Due to unforseen circumstances Franklins Food Emporium is closed. Franklins Restaurant and Franklins Farm Shop in Dulwich are trading as normal."

My guess is that the unforseen circumstances are the credit crunch, but I suppose there's a possibility that it might reopen.

Kennington has been rather badly affected by the credit crunch, but I'm not convinced that the worst has yet happened... At this rate, we're going to lose a lot of businesses in the SE11 area.

Friday, 28 November 2008


I've noticed that the Lurking About SE11 stats are up (from around 10 or so visitors a day to around 20 or so visitors a day). There are various reasons for that. Lots of people now list my site (thank you!), and there's now considerably more content here than there was at the beginning. I've also speeded up the site load time (although I admit it's still slow).

However... I'm delighted my entry to DMOZ (a kind of user validated search engine) has been accepted. An entry in DMOZ is valued very highly by anybody with a website as it's something that Google uses to decide how high your site should rank in Google. I'm achieving considerably higher Google rank for a number of searches, so I can only assume it's due to being added to DMOZ here.

Thanks DMOZ editor :)

Dippy Egg Cafe?

Sorry about my failure to post recently. Life is hectic, and I'm trying to study part-time for a degree! I have quite a lot of local news that I keep intending to post about, but never quite get around to.

You'll recall that I was very excited about the former Jado cafe being replaced by the Dippy Egg Cafe, and the potential for fun socialising opportunities which might come to the SE11 area as a result of the changed venue... Unfortunately, I passed the cafe in late October to see a sign from bailiffs on the door. I'm a bit sad about that, as it represented a good business opportunity in the area. I've not found out any more information on the matter.

Also on Kennington Road, there's a shop front that has been empty for ages (it was some sort of photocopying type shop) that has recently been taken over by a new barber. Good luck to them. I would go and give it a try, but I'm a massive fan of Gino the barber. Gino's is located on Kennington Park Road, in the row of shops just north of Oval tube station, and he has been cutting hair for years. Also, he has the most old fashioned barber shop to exist anywhere (old black and white photos of camp hair cuts that are about 50 years old) and red/white bars outside, and an ancient till. He's so good, and requires no marketing that I can't even post a picture of the shop front as there isn't one on the internet that I can see anywhere!

In another good piece of cafe news, Peluqueria (remember the hairdresser / Spanish video shop / internet cafe), also on Kennington Park Road, has finally opened as a cafe. It has 3 internet terminals, a sofa and a few chairs, and a giant coffee bar. I'm really not too sure how it will work as a business, as I'd have thought it would be better to allocate more customer seating than take up a lot of room with a bar. However, there might be more seating at the back, which I can't see. I'll post more, if I have time to visit.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Cross River Tram: It's all over...

Further to the post made earlier, I've just spotted the news item on SE1 effectively reporting that Boris has axed the Cross River Tram.

TFL says it's due to the lack of funding.

Have a look at the London-SE1 article.

I'm too angry at facing this inevitability that I don't think I can face writing anything else at the moment.

Edit: I wonder if it's worth organising a protest.

Way to Go: Cross River Tram

It's a while since I did a Cross River Tram update. In the meantime, rumours and rumblings abound, but we've no concrete "no" and only occasional positive hints.

Planning Resource (subscriber only, so just a snippet) notes that "Way to Go!", Bojo's new document on transport policy in London, does not mention the Cross River Tram (or the Thames Gateway Bridge).

Transport Briefing reports the same, but adds that the Mayor tries to surprise us by suggesting that the eventual Transport Strategy might look at Tube Extensions in South London. That is quite convenient because it's by no way achievable in one term of office. It's also highly unlikely that the government will commit any funding to it whatsoever. Sharon Grant (chair of passenger Watchdog) is reported in the same piece as "endorsing the principles" in the document and says they're "broadly in line with the needs of transport users in London". She presumably doesn't live South of the River then.

Both of these reports supercede that of Devono which noted a comment by Cllr Paul Noblet (Southwark) at the end of October that Boris was going to work with various boroughs about options for the project before any final decisions are made. Hmm.

"Way to Go" might be more aptly named "A Very Long Way To Go".

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Rooftop gardening of fruit or vegetables or Purloining other peoples' roof space

It was only the other day that I was gazing down from my luxury Kennington palace, wondering whether I could purloin roof space from my and neighbours' rooves, in order to grow some flowers or vegetables. Everything looks very grey when gazing over rooftops, and some of the roof spaces get a lot of sun...

But it seems that somebody else has been thinking the same way. A Telegraph article tells of roof space to be converted to vegetable gardens for feeding Olympic athletes. I suspect we might be too far away to participate, but I really like this idea.

I think there may be issues re. accessing rooves. Our roof is communal, and requires a ladder to reach it. Not sure who I'd need to get permission from (not that that would stop me). Also, to access my neighbours' rooves (some of these are light commercial enterprises) would need permission, as well as odd access, and I don't know whether some of the roof space could support the weight of soil and pots, but it is a thought that I don't want to entirely dismiss. In the meantime, I should really get in touch with the local Guerilla gardeners.

Does anybody know whether there are any types of vegetables that can be grown through the winter?

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