Saturday, 10 March 2012

Eltham round-up - March

Quite a bit happening locally recently while I’ve been a bit awol, busy with life:

Greenwich Council meeting
Greenwich held its Council meeting on 29 Feb. Apparently it was much longer than usual due to budget discussions. One of the headlines to emerge was that councillors voted to freeze the council tax for the fifth year in a row. The meeting was very usefully tweeted by Matt Clinch and there are reports about the meeting at website.

Seems to have got quite heated at times, with “Cllr Roberts implying that new master-plans for the area are an antidote for cuts coming from central government” and “attacking Conservative councillors on their Eltham-centric amendments to the budget” (@mattclinch81)

Since writing this, I see that 853 blog also had a good post on the meeting and especially a question put to the Council about how much the recent royal celebrations cost:
853 reader beats press and politicians to royal borough sums

Libraries to transfer, then not
Elsewhere in the forest, on 14 Feb Greenwich had approved transfer of its libraries to the ‘social enterprise’ company Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) which already runs its leisure centres, amidst much protest from trade unions and librarians fearing cuts to services. Then we saw the surprising announcement that the transfer was halted due to a ‘conflict of  interest’ declared by Councillour John Fahy.  Cllr Fahy apparently runs Meridian Link with Mark Sesnan, managing director of GLL. However, the transfer has not been stopped completely and may still go through.

Reverse parking
And then there was the slight problem for Greenwich Council with the parking consultation. Having put out to consultation controversial changes to parking arrangements in Eltham and Old Dover Road, it then released the following statement, on 29 Feb, withdrawing them:  
“Parking proposals in Eltham and Old Dover Road – fresh consultation questionnaire to be issued
The Royal Borough of Greenwich has been considering changes to parking arrangements in Eltham and Old Dover Road as a result of the severe cuts imposed on budgets by the coalition government.
Formal consultation on these proposals has begun but unfortunately the consultation papers already issued contained errors so have been temporarily withdrawn.
New papers will be issued as quickly as possible and the consultation time period will be extended. The Royal Borough apologises for this delay in the process.”
You can read more about this story at 853, the Westcombe Society's blog and

Parking plans featured, of course, in the Council’s ‘Masterplan’ for Eltham - no doubt folk will have voiced their opinions in that consultation too, which closed yesterday.

A question of class
Last week local MP Clive Efford questioned class sizes in Parliament, but unfortunately it didn’t really get him very far:
Clive Efford (Eltham, Labour)
“One of the most demanding tasks that teachers do outside the classroom is marking books, which allows them to monitor the progress of pupils. The applications for free schools that I have seen have an average of 25 pupils per class. If we value teachers in all sections of our education system, should they not all be teaching classes of 25 pupils? If the Government are serious about reducing the work load of teachers, they should take that on board.”

In a promotion of Gove's push on academy schools, his question was batted away by Nick Gibb (Minister of State (Schools), Education; Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, Conservative) with “I would encourage schools that want to have smaller class sizes and more control over how they are run to adopt academy status.”

But wait, a piece in last Saturday’s Guardian was interesting on this score: “Academy schools attain fewer good GCSEs, study shows”. Hmmm.

Bank on sensible precautions
There are reports of some worrying goings-on in some Eltham High Street banks, if the accounts are to be believed. Take care when using ATMs and carrying large amounts of cash in and out of banks. I’m not wholly sure of the veracity of the sources for now, hence my caution - so just be aware.

Eltham Green on the radio
On 6 Feb an Eltham school featured in a radio programme. The ‘Your Old School’ slot on Robert Elms’ BBC Radio London show focussed on Eltham Green Comprehensive School (now the Eltham Foundation School, though soon to become another Harris Academy) with ex-pupil Glenn Tilbrook talking about his time at the school and why he was expelled from the school for having long hair. The Packet of Three blog has a brief write-up about programme and you can (still) listen to the programme there.

Eee-haw to the Palace
And finally, a bit of news for those who’ve grown used to seeing the donkeys on Blackheath, or parents whose kids had their first donkey ride there. I had an ‘aaahh’ moment reading that “the Blackheath Donkeys have moved home from Thompsons Garden Centre, on Shooters Hill, to Eltham Palace. Nice post here on the e-shootershill blog.

Previous Eltham round-up 
Other Eltham posts

1 comment:

EnglandTripTips said...

Would be nice to know what happened in the Greenwich Council Meeting.