Friday, 22 February 2008

Reassuring words from Joan?

Following Andrew Brown's comment on my previous post, I dropped a line to my local MP Joan Ruddock to ask if she knew what was happening on the station redevelopment.

Fair play to Ms Ruddock, it did only take her a few weeks to reply - much quicker than I was expecting. Unfortunately the letter, which came on official House of Commons notepaper, was inspiring in its blandness and lack of information. The envelope was probably the most exciting thing about it.

Three of the seven lines were taken up in telling me that she had been looking into the matter (which I already assumed since that's what she was responding about). The other four lines were vaguer than a government press release.

Apparently "there were some concerns regarding the architects which had the potential to delay the start of the project". There is no elucidation as to who had these concerns, what the concerns were, where they came from, why they had arisen etc. Were the architects potential crooks? Were they about to go bankrupt? Were they revealed as having faked their qualification certificates?

But not to worry, apparently these 'concerns' have now been resolved! Hurrah for whoever did the resolving, whatever it involved. It's obviously not my place to be appraised of the details.

Apparently whatever it is that has been happening, has set the project back 'a couple of months' but 'certainly not to the degree you mention in your email'. Now, as the email was submitted via Joan's website and I don't have a record of what I said, I can't defend myself here. All I know is that I submitted what I thought was a rather measured enquiry. I certainly wasn't in rant mode! I probably alluded to the fact that the station redevelopment plans have been in the pipeline for at least two years, if not more. If I root around in my records I will be able to find the letter for the original planning application, which was more than two years ago. And every time I have met any of Cathedral's or the architects' staff at exhibitions, and asked them about timescales, it has always been about to start 'in the next six months'. I still have the card they handed out at last year's festival promising the craft market 'Autumn 2007'. In case you hadn't noticed, it's now nearly March. Sorry Joan, I'm not making it up.

All the same, the letter finishes with the bland reassurance 'all the parties concerned now believe the project is deliverable and plans are progressing'. Plans for what? The market, the station, the live-work units? In what way are these plans 'progressing'? Does that just mean that the documents are on someone's desk waiting for an approval signature, or is someone actually mobilising staff and equipment as we speak? Is the funding in place? If so, how much funding is in place and what will this cover? If not, what are we waiting for? How long is the wait likely to take? Once work starts what is the timescale? Are there any further hurdles that need to be cleared?

It's good to see that our MP is responsive to requests for information. It's just a shame that her response is so bland and devoid of any facts.

Vandalism at the Stephen Lawrence centre - arrests

It seems four youths have been arrested for the recent vandalism to the Stephen Lawrence Centre. Let's hope it leads to some convictions...

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Next RSVP event

Remember the RSVP BBQ/naming competition that the Dame had a bit of a rant about last year?

Watch out, cos the next RSVP event is almost upon us:

"The next RSVP gathering will take place at Artspace, an interesting alternative not-for-profit gallery hidden in the Victorian vaults of the Deptford Arms. Enter this space down the old stone stairs lit by the moon and candle.

Date for your diary: Tuesday 26th of February 2008. 6pm til late.

Venue: Artspace"

Incidentally, does anyone know what name won the competition? I haven't seen anything about it anywhere and can't find anything on the website. Who got the Witcomb bike?

Ta dah!

Slightly incongruous-looking, but fun!

Friday, 15 February 2008

Carriage of delight

The rumours of a railway carriage in Deptford High Street were true! A slightly scruffy looking slam-door style carriage has turned up in the space formerly occupied by a dodgy-looking butchers, and the shop that sold every type of cleaning product under the sun (except Ecover!).

I'm not sure where the butchers went, but the household shop moved a couple of doors up, and the old lean-to they used to be housed in, opposite Iceland, has been flattened.

The train carriage looks ever so slightly incongruous, sitting there on its own piece of track, with 'To Deptford with Love' painted on the side. Apparently it's to be our new cafe and station site HQ, as promised by the Cathedral Group in their latest press release which I reported in January.

Naturally I'll be bringing more news as soon as the carriage is open for business! (and some photos hopefully tomorrow!)

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Chinese new year in Deptford

A colourful New Year celebration outside Lai Loi in Deptford High Street. The two dragons, accompanied by the drummer and percussionists, moved on down the street to the West Lake Vietnamese restaurant afterwards. Much more intimate than Chinatown!

Kung Hei Fat Choi!