Bullock’s Folly #3

Back in the late 1990s a senior Lewisham Council officer suggested that Beckenham Place Park be renamed Lewisham Country Park. His rationale was that such a change of name, together with some judicious promotion, would attract more visits from Lewisham residents from all over the borough, to supplement those who lived on the border with Beckenham/Bromley and, indeed, a big community from that neighbouring council.

Oh, and the golfers, of course. Let’s not forget the revenue generating public golfers!

However, the Lewisham powers-that-be decided against it.

Nowadays social media is a powerful tool in promoting just about anything. Strangely, one rarely sees posts or comments on Lewisham social media pages about Beckenham Place Park, compared to it having been promoted by Lewisham Council on the Beckenham Appreciation Facebook group (over 4,200 members) and it is intermittently a hot topic for discussion there.

Beckenham Place Park is now undergoing a *regeneration* courtesy of Heritage Lottery Fund’s gravy train. Sir Mayor Bullock of Lewisham has approved the transformation of the public park and sport amenities, originally provided by London County Council in the early 20th Century, into a new landscape to mimic when the the estate was in the private ownership of a rich 18th Century gentleman.

Seems a strange concept to me. Indeed, social media activists are familiar with the term “regeneration”, often scorned as it is all too often a euphemism for gentrification and/or social cleansing. Surely Labour’s *Sir* Mayor wouldn’t allow Beckenham Place Park to become gentrified.

Would he?

According to Lewisham’s application form to HLF, the closure of the public golf course for the regeneration of Beckenham Place Park is supposed to specifically benefit those Lewisham people judged by the Council and HLF to be deprived.

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Yet there doesn’t seem much evidence of that happening.

Indeed, if the users of the mansion house are a microcosm of what is happening in the wider park, it appears that people other than the deprived are the main beneficiaries.

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The successful business that leases the Beckenham Place Park mansion is based in Peckham. Businesses renting rooms in the mansion offering mainly fee charging activities are from … erm … Beckenham. Recently a planning application was lodged for a Bromley based private school to open in the mansion. I won’t even talk about the Beckenham tweep running the @BeckenhamPark Twitter account.

As for the parkland, instead of 90 acres out of 240 being used for revenue generating public golf, it has now been reserved for that well known egaltarian sport of mountain bike racing, much loved amongst the deprived people of Lewisham. Are these some of them?

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I wonder how much revenue last Saturday’s MTB event generated for Lewisham Council – compared to, say, public golf? Enough to repair the tracks across the coveted 18th Century rich gentleman’s parkland?

Or, in the alternative universe inhabited by Lewisham Council and Heritage Lottery Fund, do 21st Century bike tracks complement an 18th Century landscape?

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And do the tracks encourage growth of the twigs … I mean whips … I mean trees?

According to Lewisham’s leaflet available in the mansion house cafe (and statement on their website) “the woodland edge is particularly valuable habitat – providing an important transition zone between the forest and the grassland where many species forage and lay eggs.”

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Well, it may not be the egg laying season, but if any species were foraging in that transition zone with MTB cyclists whizzing by they might have experienced their last forage!

The leaflet also refers to ecologically maximising the value of the zone – hmm?  With MTB racers going hell for leather over it?

Yet the council were never interested in maximising the revenue generating golf course, despite many offers of help and constructive suggestions from the golf campaigners.

Do you know, I’m beginning to think Sir Mayor and the Heritage Lottery Frauds have been taken for a ride!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bullock’s Folly 2 #heritageday

It’s #HeritageDay.

Here’s Department for Culture Media and Sport tweeting the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism about it:-

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My reply, sorry for the repitition, is that, back in the day, if it wasn’t for London County Council, it is doubtful that Beckenham Place Park would exist in order for Lewisham Council and Heritage Lottery Fund to airbrush LCC from the park’s history.  The early twentieth century social history, and heritage, of the forward thinking London County Council, in creating a public park, together with public golf course, has been usurped in favour of that of a nondescript eighteenth century rich gentleman.

One has to question Lewisham’s motive.  This tweet springs to mind:-

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I hope Ruthanne Reid doesn’t mind the screen shot.  It puts me in mind of Lewisham’s “Sir” Labour mayor, Steve Bullock, who is so keen on the estate of a rich eighteenth century gent, in preference to a park and golf course for the hoi-poloi.  One can only assume he hated the heritage public golf course.

Maybe he hated it because he thinks golf is elite?  🤔😂  Way to go then, remove an accessible and diverse public golf course.

Or maybe he hated the golfers – all those white, middle aged middle class men 😂🤔?

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Lewisham Council and Heritage Lottery Fund would much rather have *diverse* groups such as these in Beckenham Place Park:-

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Maybe Sir Mayor hated the tens of thousands of pounds of income generated by the golf course? Even though, as yet, there has been little income to replace it and no guarantee it will be equalled let alone increased.

Still, in the whole year since Heritage Lottery Fund confirmed their grant to airbrush the legacy of London County Council in favour of a fake lake project, to replicate John Cator Esquire’s 18th Century parkland, the squirrel sculpture in Beckenham Place Park has had a makeover!

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Impressive, eh?  I bet Lewisham residents were really excited to see this in the council’s propaganda publication, Lewisham Life.

What’s not to like about Bullock’s Folly? 😜 #HeritageDay

Bullock’s Folly 1

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On 19th October 2017 Lewisham Council finally granted itself planning permission to progress Bullock’s Folly and keep the mates of Heritage Lottery Fund gravy train in clover.

Oh, and not forgetting that it will provide the *destination* two-wheel sports venue some of the cycling loving officers and councillors of Lewisham have long coveted.  Except they could have had that anyway without radically changing landscape and closing the golf course.

Then there is the ever decreasing in size fake lake, for which Harry Potter’s wand will be required in order to magic up a water supply.  A fake lake which, despite being substantially smaller than other lakes that support water sports, is being touted as providing a venue for kayaking, canoeing and open water swimming. 🙂

Such is the burning desire to eradicate all traces of the former, heritage public golf course and replace it with new toys desired by the *collective* of mates that, what should be a priority in the park, to correct decades of neglect of the 18th Century Mansion House, has been overlooked.

Still, the good people of Beckenham and Bromley have stepped in to make the most of a bad situation, by taking advantage of short term leases on rooms in the mansion cleaned up and given a makeover by the temporary lease holder from Peckham.

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Just as well they have, but I’m not too sure whether this cross borough development was part of Sir Mayor’s cunning plan for the park.

Oh, the irony of this-

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The Public Accounts Select Committee recommends that Mayor and Cabinet task officers on how to “generate income through the use of its existing assets and resources.”  In this case it is regarding procurement, but I wrote to the PASC in 2015 querying the dodgy golf contract and suggesting they look into maximising income from the council’s wonderful asset, the public golf course.

Here is the reply I received:-

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He didn’t. Or if he did start to make enquiries he was encouraged not to.  Sir Mayor’s dream of getting a one-off £5M grant from Heritage Lottery Fund (which will be quickly spent, 20% has already gone on consultants and Lewisham also have to find extra millions) was too big a carrot.  Any common sense thinking about long term revenue generation, based on a proven model, to maximise the wonderful sporting asset was abandoned.

Instead of a jewel in the sporting crown, it’s a bit like a case of Gollum’s obsession with a shiny ring – ”my precious”!

England Golf objected to the plans on the grounds that there “is significant demand in Lewisham for golf and the proposals involve the loss of the only golf course in the borough.”  

OK, so we know Sir Mayor and co are not *bovvered* about golf, but the fact that Sport England objected to the loss of golf and other traditional sport in Beckenham Place Park cut no ice.  Irrespective of the narrow statutory rules, Sport England maintained a non-statutory objection.

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Despite this and a multitude of other objectors and objections, some based on National Planning Policy Framework and the London Plan, the planning officer recommended that Bullock’s Folly be authorised.  There was, of course, a convenient “get out of jail” card:-

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The impartial councillors of Planning Committee A duly voted it through, including:-

1) André Bourne, one of my ward councillors, who has replied seven times to emails I have sent him since June 2015, raising important issues about Beckenham Place Park.  His replies ranged from a polite thank you and acknowledgement to unfulfilled promises to look into my concerns and report back.  Then there was this pass the buck gem:-

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André is very well aware that it is only possible to ask one supplementary question for each originally submitted question.  He also knew from my email that each originally submitted question raised several more questions to the replies given.  So, how was I supposed to obtain comprehensive replies?  Very disingenuous – typical Lewisham Council.

But, hey, he did refer me to Cllr Rachel Onikosi.  Yeah, right – like Lewisham Councillors are renowned for responding to queries from people who are not in their ward.  And the less said about Rachel’s collusion, the better … for now.

But aren’t councillors supposed to look into queries/concerns/issues/complaints and generally try to help members of their own ward?  Would you not think André would have raised my concerns with Rachel?

2) James J Walsh. Impartial?  Hmm.  Eh

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Funny, I read *somewhere* that you are never far from a green space in Lewisham 🙂

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And Lewisham Council’s map doesn’t even show all of Lewisham or extend as far as Beckenham Place Park!

3) Jacq Paschoud was in attendance at the planning Drop-In session at the Green Man on 25th January 2017.  Many of the 40 people who attended would have heard her eulogising about the new scheme for the park.

I wonder if there will be any declarations of interest recorded in the minutes when they are published?  For example, does a cyclist voting for a scheme to replace golf with cycling count?

So, Bullock’s Folly of an ever decreasing fake lake is to go ahead.  Maybe it will end up small enough so that these observations, by an engineer who knows something about water movements, will be overcome and we can float some rubber ducks on it instead? :-

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Bullock’s Folly, eh?

 

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Sounding Off!

Here’s one of the new whizzy things you can do in Beckenham Place Park that replaces a combination of healthy public golf and usual park activities in the other 150 acres.

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Erm, well actually, it’s one of only two new things that you can do any time on the parkland (the other is BMX in the east of the park).

So, in the west of the park you can now walk across the former golf course gawping at your phone with head phones stuck in your ear.  And, of course, the app won’t take you to the east of the park.  Can’t think why.

Tralaa!  Its the Beckenham Place Park Soundwalk map.  Download the app and let’s begin!

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The friendly voice hopes we have an “enjoyable experience and remember to watch where you are going!”  Pretty much sums up the pretentious clap-trap that is a park walk driven by a mobile phone app.

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Here is that group of diverse peeps testing the app.  Diverse? Eh

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These groups look more diverse to me.

 

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Anyway, after engaging the first arrow on the map we hear the interviewer asking someone their name and I recognise that voice – it’s Lin, a long standing local resident, park user and non-golfer who campaigned for retention of the golf course. But then, suddenly, Lin is cut off and Roger is speaking instead.

I can’t think why!

How interesting is Roger, though!  He said he first discovered the park on 2 July 2016 and during that walk he realized how unbelievably beautiful it is.

Think about it folks.

The golf course was not closed until end of October 2016, that’s almost four calendar months after Roger discovered and fell in love with BPP.  But, but … Lewishambles said golf was a barrier to discovery of, and use of, the park, yet here is Roger eulogizing about how he found and was enthralled by it before the golf course closed.

I am sure Roger will correct me if I am wrong, but he sounds Afro-Caribbean.  Yet Lewisham closed the golf course used by a diverse community in order to … uhm, attract more diverse users.  Yet here’s Roger rocking up in the park prior to closure of golf.

How strange.  A bit like that strange golf contract Lewisham had with Glendale.  Have I mentioned that before?  th[2]

Engage arrow two and Roger contributes again, loving the ancient trees and pointing out that every mature tree feeds a family of four with oxygen.  I’m sure that must be true of mature trees in general, not just the ancient ones, so I wonder what Roger thinks about Lewishambles’ plans to fell mature trees just to create a different vista?

Also known as a vanity project.

There are other voices now: appreciation of the bluebell woods and the variety of animals and birds to be found all over the park.  People remembering such things as scrumping and foraging in the park, a colony of rabbits back in the 1960s and someone else loves the egrets and kingfishers still to be found on the river.  Yet, despite having this wonderful water habitat running through BPP (plus a large pond), Lewishambles insist on creating a fake lake and in doing so will be destroying another kind of ecological habitat.

Still, it all helps to obliterate that pesky golf course, seemingly so hated by Sir Mayor.

‘old on a minute me ‘earties, wots all this?  Eh

A lady says there was always somewhere new to explore in the park.  How can that be?  The clever Lewishambles officer told Heritage Lottery Fund that the golf course was a barrier to use!  Sorry, I already said that – and if you tell a lie enough times then it must be true.  Mustn’t it?

Arrow three and memories of the golf course!  All positive, with the exception of one lady remembering that back in the day (the 1960s I believe) her golf partner was from the West Indies and nobody else spoke to him.  Such a shame that no one thought to bring some context to that statement because by the time the golf course closed mixed heritage groups of golfers were a common scene.

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The young interviewer was asked at one point if he played golf and he said he tried it but he was no good.  This brought the response that at BPP you didn’t need to be any good.

That’s the whole point of an accessible public golf course.

Anyway, the lady of advanced years (stands to reason she must be if she was playing golf as an adult in the 1960s) now thinks she likes the park without a golf course (I suppose she doesn’t play any more – had her fun, lets deny others!)  Adding the pearl of wisdom that it’s “quite a big park, over 200 acres.”

Why do supporters of closure of the golf course never see the irony of that fact?

Arrow four was about hand tree carvings in the woods.

Moving to arrow five and memories of the Estonian Day event held at the Foxgrove Club in the grounds of BPP.  The social club that the mean-spirited Lewisham Council officers forced to close in order to ….?

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Answers on a post card please?

Here’s Frank, the former resident steward of the Foxgrove Club.

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He lost his home and job when spiteful Lewisham Council closed the club down, because their plans for it are ….?

Anyway, the Estonian Day, remembered on the sound walk as being organised by Frank with the local Estonian community, was great fun, offering an insight into a different culture, with national flags, dress, food, music  and dancing.  Someone thought Frank organized one every year.  But then the clever Lewisham Officers closed the club because it is now going to be ….?

 

Foxgrove rubbish

And it’s obvious, innit, that we can’t have any unapproved, golf loving people (Frank played the course too) organizing cultural events on Lewisham’s property!  That’s only for them to decide.

Arrow six and a discussion of the outdoors as being therapy – “God’s Cathedral”.  I wonder how many of the sound walkers were getting that elevated sense of place gawping at their phones and fiddling with their ear pieces?

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Arrow seven and lots of childhood memories.  People talking about playing with their friends over the park and the tobogganing in winter was fab!  Surely not?  How can that be?  The clever Lewisham Officer told Heritage Lottery Fund the park was little known.

Someone said he was always over BPP with friends!  Sometimes up to mischief and avoiding the park keepers.  Anyone remember them?  Will the whizzy new park have park keepers?  Nope!  But it’s got a community engagement officer!  LOL!

Laughing

Arrow 8 and going back further in time with tales of Second World War connections.  Italian Prisoners of War were housed in the park and local kids threw snowballs at them, which were returned in kind.

Arrow 9 and a lost dog story of Ye Olde London Towne – I mean Beckenham Place Park. All good reminisces must feature a lost pooch!  After a week of being missing Max’s owners found him being walked in the park by a golfer, who had looked after him.  He said “I could tell he was a really loved dog.”

Funny that, because we used to have a really loved viable, accessible and inclusive public golf course until interfering busy-bodies decided they knew best.

Not forgetting vested interests, of course.

Still, the clever Lewisham Council officer will get a gold star from Sir Mayor and I’m sure a park sound walk app will look good on his CV.

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Planning for Heritage Lottery Farce?

It is nearly 9 months since Heritage Lottery Fund made the announcement of a grant to Lewisham Council in respect of a spurious heritage scheme to change the landscape and use of Beckenham Place Park.

It is also nearly 10 months since Lewisham Council applied for planning permission.

Considering Lewisham Council have to apply to themselves for planning permission (marking their own homework) it seems to be taking an awfully long time for the decision to be made.

And in the meantime very little work could be carried out.  Indeed, one assumes that HLF may not even be able to release any money?  Oh, hold on a moment:-

BPP planning permission

Taking a lot for granted methinks!

Ha,ha – *Progress* Report Forms.  Nul Points! 🙂

Could it be that both Lewisham Regeneration Department officers and the heritage lottery gravy train did not pay any attention to planning laws and to local policy documents like the Lewisham and London plans?

Did they just assume that Lewisham marking Lewisham’s homework would be waved through?  That planning laws and policy plans could just be ignored because such rules don’t apply to the council when it suits them?

Unfortunately for Lewisham’s Regeneration Department and Heritage Lottery Fund there were objectors who looked closely at planning policies and law and lodged valid objections, rather than wailing “we don’t like it!”

Campaigners against the blatant social engineering scheme for Beckenham Place Park have long thought that Lewisham’s Regeneration Department appear to be a rogue department.  However, it would appear Lewisham’s Planning Department is not!

I wonder what is the grant expiry date?  The standard terms of the HLF grant says that the grantee must achieve the approved purposes and make the grant draw down by the expiry date.  No doubt HLF will give Lewisham an extension – and another, and another, and another – considering they granted multiple extensions during the Phase 1 development stage.

You would think that would have set alarm bells ringing.

They are going to have to go great guns to achieve the original project completion date of March 2018, as per the first round application form!

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Proverbial in a brewery anyone?  🙂

Do Heritage Lottery Fund really do scrutiny outside of making sure the appropriate boxes are ticked?  You only need to read my previous blogs to be doubtful.  In addition, you can read this report (its actual content and also reading between the lines) by the Independent Complaint Review Service to realise HLF talk the talk but, when it suits them, do not walk the walk:-

https://www.hlf.org.uk/file/21441/download?token=kMtrUios2HZ_RpSNtYH2YnmbHXcRAd8RMSH7J9q8uf8

Here is part of the biography of Angela (one of the HLF Trustees, you can look her up on the website – she’s a Doctor – of the PhD kind):-

Angela

“Given her financial background she is always keen to assess the long term sustainability of projects.”  So, her (and her colleagues) assessment of the long term sustainability of Beckenham Place Park is based on an assertion that the council is committed to long term financial maintenance.

That’s it.  There’s no evidence in the report to suggest former golf income will be matched, let alone exceeded, and the maintenance costs for the new park scheme will remain the same, given that the largest cost driver is staff and staff numbers have not reduced.

Dr Angela’s financial background obviously did not include local government and the fact that budgets are always under pressure and are set on an annual basis.  Local Authority budgets do not cover the minimum 10 year sustainability period HLF (apparently) require.  Also, that the political make up of LAs is subject to change and a new administration may not follow through on woolly promises made by a previous administration.

Dr Angela was one of the Trustees present at the meeting in London on 13 December 2016 when the award of £4.9M was confirmed to Lewisham Council for BPP (not that it was ever a done deal or anything).  The meeting commenced at 9.30am but the minutes do not record what time it closed.  Let’s be generous and say they worked through to 5.30pm with breaks only totalling one hour.  That’s seven hours to consider 38 items of business.

The 38 items of business included short routine stuff like approving minutes of the previous meeting.  Other items were:-

  • 5 Presentations on: Parks Overview, Programme Evaluation, Re-thinking Parks, Parks for People HLF Overview and decision making protocol.
  • Starting with the Chair and then the CEO, six other reports followed covering routine HLF business.
  • Memorial Fund report.
  • 9 First Round Parks for People applications were considered (7 approved, 2 rejected).
  • 5 Second Round Parks for People applications, all accepted including BPP (I can’t find any 2nd round applications on other meeting minutes that were rejected).
  • 5 other funding applications were considered, 3 awarded, 2 rejected, including the rejection of funding for repairs to First World War battleship HMS President.  That application did not tick enough boxes, concentrating as it did on aiming to repair and make safe the ship!  Maybe if a circus was to perform on it, it may have got the dosh!

Here is the link:-

https://www.hlf.org.uk/board-decisions-and-minutes-december-2016

My, my – didn’t they get through a lot!  Mind you, I expect Dr Angela and her twelve colleagues had studied all the applications in detail before the meeting (BPP has 40 documents associated with its planning application, many of which also formed the submission to Heritage Lottery Fund.)

But then, they probably just relied on the Grant Officer’s Case Paper – the same officer whose Case Paper for the First Round application was criticised by the Independent Complaint Review Service.

Oh!  And by the way, the clever Lewisham Regeneration Officer has just had an application for an events licence for Beckenham Place Park turned down.  Her council colleagues told her to go away and think again.

What a farce.

Mayoral material

Not about Beckenham Place Park!

This is Paul.

Oh. Now. I was going to insert a photo here of Paul, but as I don’t own the photo and he seems a bit litigatious to me, I thought better of it.

Paul Maslin is one of five Lewisham councillors hoping to secure the local Labour Party nomination to run for mayor in 2018, after *Sir* Mayor bows out.

Hooray! The bowing out bit I mean 😉.

I have seen the opinion expressed on Twitter that Paul M is not a serious candidate, that he is engaging at present on social media to divert any adverse attention away from Damien, another mayoral candidate. I couldn’t comment.

Damien Egan is a member of Sir Mayor’s cabinet, as is Paul Maslin, and unfortunately the cosy club (with the honourable exception of Joe Dromey) is tainted in some people’s opinion in originally voting for a Compulsory Purchase Order for land that has been leased long term by Millwall Football Club. Other properties are also affected. To be fair, Damien is passionate about social and affordable housing, not that there is a lot of social housing provision in the scheme covered by the CPO, as sussed out by Joe:-

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No social housing and only 12% *affordable* housing, as per Lewisham Council minutes 7 September 2016.

Then there are three candidates who are not members of the cosy club. I like the sound of Paul Bell’s commitment to abolishing the mayor and cabinet system, although it is like a turkey voting for Christmas! Then there is Millwall’s preferred candidate, Alan Hall, who went out on a limb to challenge the CPO. Not that my opinion counts because I don’t get a vote, not being a Labour member, but if I did it might go to Brenda Dacres for Girl Power! In addition to which this is what she said at the September 2016 council meeting:-

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Anyway, back to Paul Maslin, who has kept himself entertained recently by trying to justify the CPO and also, should it not go ahead, he thinks it only fair that the developer be compensated.

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Hmm 🤔😳

Then there is this gem:-

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This is a definition of entrepreneur:-

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Guarantee of profit? Nope! “… taking on financial risks in the hope of profit”.

Paul M implies there is some sort of contract because the Council have been working with the Developer and granted planning consent (not actual planning permission prior to start of build).

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Therefore if, ultimately, it doesn’t work out for the developer because … umm, erm … due diligence has taken place … they should be compensated!

You have to laugh:-

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So, according to Paul, anyone who wants to build in Lewisham just needs to lodge a planning application when they are ready to build and go through a process of refinement, detail and minor changes? 😂😂😂

Erm …

How does this , from Mayor and Cabinet meeting 17th February 2016, fit with Paul M’s argument?

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It is under no obligation to do so!”

I’m not going into the background of the developer, Renewal. I know they have no track record of large developments and that’s not a problem for Paul M:-

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Seems, though, that there are entrepreneurs …. and entrepreneurs! Here’s one Lewisham aren’t so keen on, apparently.

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I also don’t know much about off shore trusts; Renewal are backed by such a financial arrangement. It all sounds very Tory to me so I’m surprised Labour Lewisham thinks they are good eggs!

Someone on Twitter described the Renewal proposals as a speculative private development for minimal public benefit which, in terms of the scant affordable housing included and the possible loss of Millwall FC to the borough, sounds about right.

Paul M would no doubt disagree!

 

Hubris

The hubris of Lewisham Council Regeneration Officers never ceases to amaze.  But their dangerous over confidence is very worrying.  It seems they think they can ignore elected councillors, whose job it is to apply scrutiny, in full confidence of getting away with it.

These are some of the issues regarding the *regeneration* project of Beckenham Place Park raised by Sustainable Development Select Committee (elected councillors) on 20th April 2017:-

Change of wordingOfficers (paid staff) to report back to Mayor and Cabinet on 19th July 2017.  And therein lies the nub of the problem.  Reporting back to a different “committee” than the one that raised the issues.

So will the cabinet of Sir Mayor’s stooges notice, or if they do will they be *bovvered*, that the clever officer’s reply (below) completely ignores one of the issues (3.6), which is probably why she has not quoted paragraph numbers.  Had she done so, it would have been immediately obvious that she has chosen to *overlook* one of the queries.

Clever, innit!

Events

In addition, she has changed the wording of 3.7 (first bullet point above).

SDSC paragraph 3.7 referred to recouping the cost of staging large events in the park.  But for some reason the clever officer has changed it to returning revenues to parks budgets, which is an entirely different concept.  What are we to make of all this?

Still, I expect she’ll get away with it.

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I wonder, also, if Sir Mayor’s stooges will spot the fact that either the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, or that the officer wants her cake and eat it or that, quite simply, officers will answer questions with what is convenient rather than with what is true?  On the one hand (first bullet point above) we are told that there will be a business plan for income from events (this is the officer rewording of the original councillor question) and on the other hand (second bullet point) we are told a large part of the strategy will be focused on free events.

Eh?  Eh

I bet the Regeneration Officers are really cross these questions have come from councillors rather than members of the public.  Had these issues been public questions submitted to full council, the order of them would have been mixed up with questions relating to other issues.  That way, although the questioner would realise answers were contradictory, other people may not necessarily cotton on as they work their way through the mish-mash of Q&As.

But it’s a bit of a bummer when the questions come from councillors and there is nowhere to hide the contradictions.  Still, any anomalies will probably escape Mayor and Cabinet, who have not previously proved to be the brightest sparks with regard to scrutiny of Beckenham Place Park.

Spark plug

This contradiction about events really is very confusing!  Surely even Sir Mayor and cosy club cabinet will notice?

Seems to me that free events would benefit the target audience – remember them?

The pitch by the other clever Lewisham Officer to Heritage Lottery Fund was that closure of the viable, accessible and inclusive public golf course would benefit those Lewisham people considered to be deprived, especially those from the wards of Downham, Whitefoot and Bellingham.

But if events are to be part of a business plan to provide income (you know, like golf generated income) they will not necessarily benefit the target audience because they will be chargeable.  There are already small scale paid activities taking place in the park, but the fees are going to Third Parties (much like golf).  Or is the case that the better off will enjoy themselves while a few free crumbs will fall to the deprived?  Someone else thinks so:-

Cockney events

Another person, on the other hand, seems to think that two tiered events will be good (even though he thought revenue generating golf was bad, oh so very bad!)   Bingo again

This was my reply

Not bingo

To which I received a patronising (spot a common theme here) lecture that I am showing myself up, whether being obtuse or just plain silly, because the role of schools is pastoral care as well as education.  And his point being in relation to events in public parks?

Anyone know?  Eh

He points out as part of the same Facebook thread that public golf is a paying activity but that parks are free.  Except, of course, when fee charging events are taking place!

Laughing

Still, I expect it will all be OK with those clever officers overseeing the project.  Look at the reply they have given to another point raised by Sustainable Development Select Committee:-

Contingency 2

“A significant contingency is built in …”

How strange, then, that the Heritage Lottery case paper to Trustees says the opposite:-

Contingency 1

*Contingency* together with professional fees and inflation all seem “rather light.”

Seems to me that *excessive self confidence* by those clever Lewisham Council officers applies here, let alone any of the other synonyms of hubris!

hubris

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secret Squirrels

Barry Quirk must have got a shock!

People being allowed to stand up and admonish council members.  Surely not.

Barry Quirk RBKC

Barry is seated second from left.  I wonder if he’s thinking “this wouldn’t happen in Lewisham!”

Lewisham Council have security staff on standby at Council Question and Answer sessions, so that they can grab the microphone from you if you ask an awkward question.  Happened to my partner last year.

Baz, of course, being the 3 day a week Chief Executive Officer of Lewisham Council on a 6 figure salary seconded to Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.  Lewisham Council often exclude Press and Public from their meetings.  Happened yesterday at RBKC.

#justsayin’

Let us hope for openness, transparency and a quick enquiry into the catastrophic fire and tragic deaths at Grenfell Tower, but people are suspicious this won’t be so, which is why the issue can’t be buried.

Is that why Baz is there?  He’s pretty good at cover ups.  I know this because I was on the receiving end of Baz allowing Lewisham Council officers to cover their own backs after I, and others, submitted complaints relating to misconduct to him.  We thought we would get some form of redress by going straight to the top.

Nope!

I didn’t even bother subsequently to go back to him about the trolling.

Remember that?  When Silly Timmy (AKA @bpptruth), husband of Lewisham Council officer Laura Harper, was uncovered as the chief troll targeting Beckenham Place Park golf campaigners.  A troll who had an obvious accomplice.

 

 

Now, in the clandestine world of Lewisham Council, we have the @BeckenhamPark Twitter account, followed by Lewisham Council and vice versa, refusing to give the joint Chair of Friends of Beckenham Place Park an email address.

Seems a bit odd.

The account couldn’t operate without an email address, so why so shy about sharing with the long established and active Friends group?

Lewisham Council initially claimed the Twitter account is nothing to do with them, but then went strangely quiet.

Reply Ros

So who are the Secret Squirrels of @BeckenhamPark that Lewisham Council follow, and vice versa?

secret-squirrel11.jpg

Not only do the Secret Squirrels refuse to communicate with the Friends of Beckenham Place Park, they also ignore requests from other Tweeps to say who they are:-

Not Lewisham2

No reply!

Someone was even outraged enough to DM me and provide me with some information.

Gavin email

Of course, I am already well aware of the clever officer’s role and email.  Had to laugh at this assessment:-

Tool

Anyway, why is it that often when @BeckenhamPark tweet about people enjoying the whizzy new golfless park, they don’t actually post a photo of the happy peeps?  Seems a bit barmy!

Barmy Balmy

 

Oh, but then they do post photos of peeps who have been allowed (who sought and were given permission by Lewisham Council) to break parks byelaws:-

Drones

Ah, I see the cunning plan now!  A Secret Squirrel Twitter account to promote Lewisham Council’s preferred use of Beckenham Place Park (having got rid of socially and ethnically diverse and viable revenue generating public golf) so that they can absolve themselves from any responsibility that bylaws have been flouted.  Is that right?

Or no responsibility for risk of accidents arising from their other preferred uses of the park.

The clever council officer who is driving this project has told Heritage Lottery Fund that the Friends group will be “enabled”.

Friends

Not really sure what Gavin means about a low level of activity considering the Friends lobbied for and maintain the sensory garden, keep people up to date with newsletters, organise guided walks and run the Visitor Centre on a Sunday afternoon.

Not really sure what he means about enabling an active user group with a greater role either – doesn’t he mean the Friends?  A greater role for the Friends of Beckenham Place Park?

He wouldn’t mean “alternative” volunteers?  Would he? Gasp!

Volunteers

Oh, if only Dim Tim had stuck to trolling from his mobile phone instead of using BBC systems, and being found out, he’d be able to really whinge about this blog!

Anyway, in preparation for Gavin’s stated greater role, the long established and active Friends of Beckenham Place Park now have a Twitter account.

FofBPP

And if you DM wanting a contact or more details I am sure they will oblige.  Unlike Secret Squirrels!

secret-squirrel21.jpg

 

Droning on

 

The lack of self awareness is amazing … but there again it is Lewisham …

Job

Having closed the revenue generating public golf course, Lewisham Council are now recruiting someone to drum up new users for the park after excluding a previous long-standing user community.  But I suppose that’s OK because it is Heritage Lottery money paying for the Community Engagement Officer.

Just another form of wasting public money!

Maybe this Twitter account owner will apply?

BeckPark

She (apparently) is already working with the Lewisham officer in overall charge of the project, if advice at a public meeting of Friends of Beckenham Place Park is anything to go by.  They were told by the project managing officer that the @BeckenhamPark Twitter account is Lewisham Comms team.

“Droning on again” I can just hear the chief troll itching to get back into action 🙂

And very apt, considering the example I have used, of the alleged Lewisham Comms Twitter account, is promoting drone racing in the park.  The trouble with that is drone racing infringes Lewisham’s parks’ bylaws.

Byelaws

There’s even a newspaper article about it!

Evening Standard

So, how can it happen that both the organiser of the drone race who said he had permission from Lewisham Council (no reason to disbelieve him) and @BeckenhamPark are not aware that drone racing infringes the by-laws?

 

Permission

Permission 2

Whilst it is forgivable that the drone flyers might rely on the veracity (ha, ha) of the council’s advice, how come the Lewisham tweeter didn’t know their own by-laws?

Simples!  Seems like the Friends of Beckenham Place Park were misinformed, the officer seems to have been a bit muddled, because @BeckenhamPark is not a Lewisham account.

Not Lewisham account

They are adamant about it!

Reiterate

Oh, but hold on a minute, whilst that may be true (contrary to the Lewisham officer’s advice) how does the official Lewisham Council tweep account for this:-

Great event

So, let’s get this right – flying drones is against Lewisham parks’ by-laws, yet drone racers obtained permission from Lewisham Council to hold a drone event and the *official* Lewisham Council Twitter account wants images of this illegal event to upload on to their Facebook page!

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Clueless!

I wonder if the new Community Engagement Officer will have any clue?

Anyway, Alex and his mates seemed a nice enough bunch.  We have an invitation to watch next time.  Hmm … I wonder if that clever (but confused) council officer project managing would approve?  After all, people who told her they enjoyed watching golf were more or less told to get a life!

Welcome

I’m not quite sure what to make of this either:-

Caution

Weren’t we told that the danger of being hit by a golf ball was so great that golf had to go!

Oh hum.