The Trees the Garden Bridge will destroy

Just a quick view of the trees which the waste of money Garden Bridge, a few 100 yards from 2 existing bridges, will need to destroy. Not much mention of this.

Garen Bridge Trees

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A Thriving Food Market In Woolwich? Let’s Get Behind Mike And His Mates

A Thriving Food Market In Woolwich? Let’s Get Behind Mike And His Mates.

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SuDs or not SuDs in Lewisham

A little while back I posted a blog which talked about the River Quaggy in Lewisham being removed from its cultervt and returned to a more natural river:

It looks like I may have been wrong – the work currently going on there appears to show a continuation of the river in a culvert approach:

River Quaggy Lewisham

Next to where I took this photograph from is an old information board which includes a graphic of what a more natural approach to managing the river could look like:

Quaggy Info Board

So, I am currently uncertain what is happening here at Lewisham.

It will more than a bit dissapointing if all we will be getting here is another tall building rather than more sort of green space for the people of the many new buildings near by to use.

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Peckham’s High Line

I am getting a bit fed up with hearing about somewhere-or-other coming forward with their answer to New York’s ‘High-Line’.

But what I saw at the weekend – Peckham’s High-Line is going too far:

Peckhams High Line

Just for a bit a balance I thought I would show this – also in Peckham:

Peckham Square

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High Street Regeneration – Suburban Style

One of my local town centres got funding from The Mayor of London to regenerate its high street.

I was there this morning, so thought I would give a quick run-down of what has been done.

There was a fund for new shop fronts, and here are a few examples of the end results:
Sidcup Shop Fronts 1

Sidcup Shop Fronts 2

Having a shop-front improvement scheme or project is a good idea – it’s the sort of thing I have proposed and would have done. It is good to show other shop-keepers what can be done fairly cheaply, and it is well known that when the neighbours improve others are more likely to follow. However, although these are an improvement on what was there before, they do somehow leave me cold.

A hub for new, small, businesses has been set up, incorporating a Box-Shop

Sidcup Box Shop

Again, the sort of thing I have gone on about (and is quite common now), but I do wonder to what extent these ‘pop-up’ like things work in outer-London suburbia. I wonder if an outer London borough, which has a large proportion of low wage earners, has enough of a market for the sort of things being sold in here. I don’t know the answer to this, and part of the point of such ‘pop-ups’ is to test the market, but it will be interesting to see what happens once the funding runs out.

Another part of the improvement strategy is re-paving of the pavement

Sidcup Paving 1

I am not convinced by this. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that the public realm is important but who is really going to visit a high street to see the new pavement?

The junction seen to the right of the above photograph has also been repaved, but across the whole width of the road, and I would have extended the re-paving right across the above junction to calm the road and create more of a place where a few small events could have been squeeqed in.

This is the junction from the otherside:

Sidcup Paving 2

As I said, the new paving has been extended to include the road surface to create a little bit of space outside of the library for events, but this should have been extended across the whole of the junction with the High Street. With a limited budget, I would have extended the new paving across whole junctions along the High Street in preference to replacing the pavements only along the entire High Street.  If treated as a whole, this junction and other junctions could have changed the feel of the High Street.

I suspect that one of this High Street’s problems wasn’t so much the look of the previous pavement but this sort of thing:

Sidcup Parking Sign

This seems to be saying ‘We don’t really want your custom – and anyway there is so little to do here that it can be done in under 2 hours’.

On the whole I would have spent the money on putting on events, paying off the local authority to provide free parking, and paying a consultant to negotiate lower rents for the independent shop-keepers. And I would have provided something to attract the 100s of full-time dance students who are based a few hundred yards away but are noticable by their absence on the High Street.

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The Problem with Regeneration

This poster, seen on a site in central London, sums up what is wrong with the way some people view Urban Regeneration and Growth:
Your efforts bring us victory

It is OUR vision which will be imposed on YOU.

Good Regeneraton takes place with people – not to them.

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The taxless recovery

Originally posted on Flip Chart Fairy Tales:

This is no ordinary recovery. Not only has it taken a hell of a long time to do not very much, it’s seen collapsing productivity and very little wage growth, even for those who appear to be highly skilled. As a result of all this, even though the economy grew at over 3 percent, the tax revenues didn’t increase at the same rate.

As Sarah O’Connor reported in the FT:

[T]ax receipts have grown just 2 per cent so far this year, compared with the 5 per cent growth the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast in March.

As Ben Chu’s chart shows, most of the rise in tax revenue since the recession is due to VAT.


Record numbers of people in employment, it seems, hasn’t led to record levels of income tax.

When you break out the figures for income tax, as Michael O’Connor did earlier this week, there is a marked difference between receipts…

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