Normal service will be resumed

Thanks to everyone for keeping the last post on-topic. I’ll be back to regular updates shortly, but thought I’d add this one quickly to give people a chance to comment on other stuff.

For example, I went to FM Mangal last week and it’s as good as everyone says. So good, I went back for a takeaway two nights later.

More to follow.

Update: Back to the fire for a second; Southwark Council are accepting cash donations to help victims.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

49 thoughts on “Normal service will be resumed”

  1. Should the council own and let out garages?

    The land that these garages take up is really valuable yet the service that they provide is of negligible benefit to the community.

    Sell them off or rent them out for profit or something. Giving discount storage/ car parking to a tiny minority is in no way equitable. They are also often scruffy, run down and negelected.

    I feel the same way about allotments. Why should time on a waiting list entitle someone to a subsidised vegetable patch?

    In the coming era of austerity I want councils to be sure that the services they provide really do provide maximum benefit for the capital employed. Allotments and garages do not fit the bill.

  2. Allotments may not be everyone’s cup of tea but…

    1. There is a demand and a massive waiting list for them.
    2. Councils have a statutory obligation to provide allotments. In fact a fair few councils are breaking the law by not providing sufficient allotments because they have sold off land for development (i.e. more vital luxury apartments).
    3. Without sounding like a veg munching hippy- I am neither by the way- I do think that the opportunity to grow your own veg and see where it comes from is important. The other day, I was picking lettuce from a community garden to eat. One of the new children visiting (he is about 13 or 14) was amazed to discover that lettuce was made this way and that potatoes (and therefore chips) grew IN the ground.

    Re: garages. Yes scruffy, but since a fair few of them seem to be build under flats I can’t see that they take up that much space.

  3. Thanks for the reply — i expected to be ignored as a boring crank..

    I agree that there is a discrepancy between allotment supply and demand. The way to address this is to increase the price.

    The satutory obligation to provide allotments explains there existence but it does not justify it. This is obviously outdated legislation that should be changed.

    Again garages under flats may not be easily removed but they could at least be rented out at market rates so council tax payers do not subsidise the storage costs of a fortunate few.

  4. @Alan re Council garages — quite right. Why we continue to subsidise car storage in this way is a mystery as the country is forced to borrow 0.5 billion per day from the Far East just to satisfy existing creditors.

    Local CPZs are run at a loss in our inner city area to do the same for wealthy residents owning Mercedes, next to high rise buildings containing the pedestrian poor, degrading their public space into the bargain.

    Ideally we would stop planning for sink communities and fewer amenities (= poorly planned slum accommodation) in this way, and make fairer, more equitable use of community resources in the future. Will the few release their conveniences for the most basic and dire needs of the many, including health and safety? They will certainly protest their concern for the plight of others.

    Lots of demand for useful allotments, but little acreage. Huge swathes of private car parking space in Camberwell, however, largely empty to judge from the overhead shots.

  5. Good point Reg. The council could run CPZ’s for profit to subsidise council services and keep council tax down. That would certainly benefit more people than just those who store a motor in the road.

    Are you suggesting that those who own private car parking spaces shoudl be allowed to convert them into allotments to rent out privately. I’d be all for that but I doubt that the revenues would cover the capital expenditure.

    Perhaps though council taxes should consider the footprint of the non-green areas of a home to discourage people from keeping redundant parking spaces and encourage them to add gardens which would certainly improve the aerial view and the local environment.

  6. Our lettuces and green beans are doing really well. We’re cropping them already.

    Carrots and beetroots are comming on, but will be a while yet.

    I’m a bit concerned for the corgettes as they should be further along by this time of year. Potatoes aren’t looking too great either.

    We’ve had loads of raddishes. I think we’re on the third sowing of the year already.

    Strawberries are doing OK. Not a bumper crop, but a steady flow of ripe ones.

  7. @Alan — More allotments, not less, is what’s needed.

    There’s a big waiting list. The council should increase the supply and subsidize the creation of new plots.

    The kid’s school (which has virtually no green space whatsoever) has been on the wait list for ages for an allotment. Schools should be fast-tracked up the list.

  8. ‘@Alan — More allotments, not less is what’s needed.’

    Surely you mean ‘wanted’ rather than ‘needed’?

    We have chronic national debt we can hardly afford to hand out free/subsidised land.

    I’m sure people would enjoy subsidised speed boats and sports cars, they mean even glean educational experiences from their use, but nobody would suggest they become part of normal council provision.

    Perhaps it’s not quite a yacht but a patch of mud to mess about on is a luxury and not someothing that people should pay tax to support.

  9. “We have chronic national debt we can hardly afford to hand out free/subsidised land.”

    Maybe we could just, y’know, loan out the land to allotment societies until some future generation can make a more informed decision about its value?

  10. @Alan — I can’t really see the point in subsidizing sports cars, or speed boats. Both forms of transport have been linked with environmental damage and are unfashionable.

    Subsidized cycles would be more appropriate.

  11. Allotments are really important and should be encouraged because as monkeycat said it is good for people to see where their food comes from etc but also because locally grown produce reduces the need for transport and therefore carbon. Allotments are a great community asset, friendly places. The world should not always be about money — Alan if your argument were right why have art or galleries of libraries etc — they all loose money. However I do agree with you about the garages. On the subject I cant understand why supermarkets cant grow some of their produce locally. Sainsbury’s is always running out of mint and rosemary however they could so easily grow these on some of the wasteland behind the store.

  12. Good to see where there food comes from?! Are you proposing subsidised field trips to Kenya?

    What proportion of food consumed in Britain comes from council allotments?

    As a percentage I think you’ll find that it’s pretty much 0%.

    I do not think it is prudent to subsidise art galleries unless you are confident that the tourism and associated trade generated produces sufficient tax revenues to cover the costs. I think libraries are out of date now and should concentrate of provision of internet access rather than providing tramps with heated reooms to red the paper.

    This thread is already helping us address the sticky and topical issue of rebalancing the public purse. Stop subsidinsng art galleries, libraries, allotments and car parking. Any more suggestions?

  13. There’s an art exhibition on top of the multistory parking garage in Peckham.

    Anyone been?

  14. Regeneguru says:

    “Local CPZs are run at a loss in our inner city area to do the same for wealthy residents owning Mercedes, next to high rise buildings containing the pedestrian poor, degrading their public space into the bargain.”

    I think you’ll find reg that those big cars are owned and run by the very people who are living in the properties supplied by the council as the rents are soooo cheap.

    As for growing things we have three window boxes and manage to produce herbs and radishes and am going to give a lettuce or two a go next year.

  15. hello, and here are the results of the vegan (although not necessarily hippie) jury:
    alan dale, are you in fact annie shepperd? 🙂

    southwark council has agreed to develop a borough-wide food strategy few months back
    ( and that’s possibly the one good thing they’d done for a while, when you compare it with the sale of absolutely everything and everyone else in the borough (from community spaces in peckham, to the people of elephant & castle, to every other saleable inch of space they can find, to cuts in budgets for social services, carers etc etc
    growing your own food is incredibly easy, considerably cheaper and more sustainable than flights to kenya, etc

    the less this council owns the better for the people they’re allegedly there for.

  16. Was the Leisure centre hit by lightning or something?
    I went along after work last night and it was all closed up with a sign on the door saying something about electrical problems as a result of the thunderstorms on Tues?

  17. @Genfink

    Yes, the Leisure centre was hit on Tues night. Although it was pretty cool to see the lightning while swimming underwater, lightning struck again just as I put my hands on the metal rails to get out which did nothing for my nerves.….

    (I should point out that I wasn’t fried! I was told that the building was fitted with a conductor). Soon afterwards we were all ushered out.

    More info here

  18. Thanks Yak.
    The notice said they hope to be open again this afternoon, I may call them at lunchtime to find out, I don’t want to have to lug my big bottle of water home from work with me for nothing (again).
    They don’t have any water fountains, I’m sure that seems a bit wrong for a leisure centre, plus the gym has no air conditioning, even the desk fans that are nailed to the walls weren’t on over the hottest days of last week. It was like a 2 in 1 sauna and gym! But it’s nice and cheap so I suppose you get what you pay for, plus the staff are lovely which makes a nice change.

  19. On another note, anyone know if Le Petit P has anything planned for Bastille Day next tues?

  20. I am not Annie Shepperd. From your description of her activities I am growing fond of her.

    Jennie Jones on the other hand is a nutter. More allotments?! FFS. In future I will only vote Green if I’m sure it won’t result in them getting any power.

  21. rooms read

    “rooms read” is beautiful, Alan. “She walked into the Hermits Cave and the room read her from top to toe…”

    Havana is bulging with vegetables grown in every tiny urban space. The green strategy for delivering chickweed and other native species to enervated birdlike vegans dotty throughout Camberwell has a sort of delicate, cerebral appeal.

    In the meantime, the assistant manager of Camberwell Morrisons told me today that the new store will open on Monday 27th July. Whoever gets the contract for supplying it with Camberwell carrots will make a mint. People will drive in their hybrids for miles to buy them after reading about it in the Observer food supplement

  22. ‘Camberwell mint made out of Camberwell carrots’ THAT is a headline.

    Silver Buckle is awaiting a business plan. The rent is likely to be £35K. WITH a credible business plan the freeholder is prepared to fund a refurb (it will turn out to be 30% more than if it were paid for by the incoming lessee, this means that if the incoming lessee had the capital they would be able to do the refurb at a cost at least 30% less than it would be billed by S&N’s national contractors).

    What happens to this site could have a pivotal influene to Camberwell’s regeneration. Currently it’s likely to continue in a form not dissimilar to its past incarnations. It seems that Frank, he of Caravaggio and Mozz Pom fame, is interested.

    S&N want to get it returning income asap. It’s likely they will find someone to trade it just so there’s some income.

    What happens to S&B, uniquely, COULD be the result of what WE, I mean WE as people who know Camberwell, errr, well, say is needed for US — so we can spend our money there.

    It needs to be a place that sells beer — and a lot of it — and it needs to be THE place that changes Camberwell for good. It’s right at the heart of it alll. There is no ‘circuit’ for socialising in SE5. Most bars have to be detination places there’s no quick step to the next venue. Make SB a brilliant something that everyone wants to drop in on and sudddenly, Camberwell all begins to link up as a social circuit.

    IF SB were YOUR ideal place what would it be?

    Ideas, suggestions and thoughts post here please.

  23. There will be many bargains on offer at the Lyndhurst primary school fete today 12–3pm. The DJ is excellent, playing a fabulously eclectic mix of music outside on an old steam-valve amplifier system. The sound quality is wonderful. The cakes will be scrumptious and also available will the unmistakeable fragrances of the countryside supplied by real farm animals.

  24. Missed Lyndhurst because I was manning a goody bag stall at Comber Grove summer fair. Weather JUST held off to avert climate change disaster.

    Going to try and get SB.

  25. Very off topic, but does anyone know how I could get hold of a passport application form today (or perhaps you have one i could have). It’s very urgent.

    If anyone can help, say so on this thread and I’ll give you my contact details

  26. Go for it Mark.

    Think that you may be right. Having a decent pub right in everybody’s line of vision may help. Somewhere with pizza? Somewhere with some decent beers and as many real ales as you can possibly manage make a profit with.

    On a more positive note, I kind of get the feeling that there is a little more social togetherness around in Camberwell at the moment. I think the combination of the arts fair, the fete at Myatt’s field, sadly the fire, and personally because of a community garden I am involved with.

    So maybe the new pub should be somewhere inclusive for everyone.

  27. Stuart — thanks. but that’s no good. i need the form (se40), today, which can’t be downloaded

  28. The Bear is good but S+D has a much stronger identity and is more uniquely Camberwell.

  29. Lyndhurst School Fair was fun. I was supposed to run “beat the goalie”, but I slacked out in the end (had a goodish reason tho).

    Mark, you’d be a superb team to run the Silver Buckle. Pizza’s good.

  30. @Mushtimushta — the latest thing we had through from South London Gallery was about a show/installation that would have visitors enter via Sceaux Gardens for artistic reasons (a different perspective on the Gallery, I guess).

    Presumably that was planned before the fire.

  31. I see there’s a benefit gig for the residents of Lakanal House on 16th(?) July. Anyone got details?

  32. yak, i just noticed it too, as i was coming back from a very interesting overview & scrutiny meeting (no, not an oxymoron!) — the benefit is going to be at the arts bar, best email them for more details at artsbar@​hotmail.​co.​uk
    if you do get more details, please let me have them too so i can post it on people’s republic of southwark

  33. What a good idea. That’s Thursday right? That’s something most people posting here could join in with without feeling in the least bit pious. Get pissed not pious. That’s our slogan. “Carpe diem.” Big goldfish in pint of lager. Look! Swallow ‘im whole for a bet! If he exists! What!

  34. I tried again FM mangal . it greatttttt. I recomend it to everyone must have try it. good price and delicios foods

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