Sceaux Gardens appeal, and Jubilee events

Let’s start with the more serious news. Southwark Council will not face manslaughter charges for the fire at Lakanal House in 2009. However, the Sceaux Gardens Tenants & Residents Association (T&RA) has launched an Appeal Fund to cover their incidental legal costs incurred in being represented at the inquest.

The T&RA have been granted “interested party” status for the inquest, alongside the bereaved families, but were unsuccessful in securing Legal Aid. They currently rely on advice and support on legal and procedural matters given free of charge by a solicitor and a barrister that have agreed to work for no pay. However, with the inquest predicted to last up to 8 weeks, they’ll take on this representation role themselves — the solicitor & barrister cannot be expected to take 8 weeks off work, with no pay.

The T&RA officers have committed to representing the Association at the inquest but know that they’ll require professional advice and guidance on matters of procedure and law at various stages during the 8 week period. To this end, an Appeal to raise funds for this was launched on 14 May 2012. The target is to raise £10,000, from donations from organisations and individuals who have either an interest in, or sympathy with our cause. So far, they’ve raised almost £1,000.

You can make a donation on their appeal page, by debit/credit card, Paypal or Charities Aid Foundation Accounts. 100% of all donations made via this channel will go directly to the Appeal Fund – Charities Aid Foundation levy no administrative fees or charges.

Thanks very much to Mushtimushta for putting together the text for me — I’m sure if you have questions he’ll be happy to answer you in the comments.

On to matters lighter. This weekend is, as I’m sure you know, the Royal Jubilee, and there are a number of events on in and around Camberwell. On Saturday there’s a party in Faraday Gardens, Walworth, from 11am to 6pm, and a Big Lunch event at the Secret Garden (behind KFC on Kimpton Road) at 1pm on the same day. On Sunday 3rd there’ll be another Big Lunch, this time on the Green, from 12pm to 3pm. Details are on this Facebook post.

And yes, I know that some of you are committed republicans, but as the Huguenots who settled in Denmark Hill in the 17th Century would have said: Vive la difference.

Author: Peter

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

48 thoughts on “Sceaux Gardens appeal, and Jubilee events”

  1. There is also Big Lunch Event in the Secret Garden, from 1pm.

    It’s behind the KFC on Kimpton Road.

    Maybe on Monday we can have a beacon on Camberwell Green, burning all and any republicans who moan on about how 50p of their tax money is wasted on the Queen.

  2. @Dags
    Inquests are held primarily to determine the cause of death of those that have died, but in doing so, examine the factors that contributed to this. The police/LFB investigation report will be examined and this could expose a liability/failure to act. In this particular case, that means Southwark Council or their agents. So the answer to your question is an indirect yes. As I understand it, it would then be the responsibility of the “victim(s)” to pursue any action against Southwark independent of the inquest, however.

  3. I went to both of today’s events to have a nose. Never been to the secret garden before, very impressed by the growing that’s going on there, and a nice community feel. Lovely.

    Then a trip down to Walworth, where the party in Faraday Gardens was in full swing. Very lively, loads of people, the organisers should be proud.

    Well done everyone.

    Noticed on the way back that Burgess Park doesn’t look close to opening; seems to be lacking grass on the new landscape. Wonder if that’s going to delay things further.

  4. Looks like the Union Tavern has shut down. The Clarendon Arms is mostly a refuge for alcoholics (or it was the last time I was in there). So we now have The Kennington at one end of Camberwell New Road, The Bear at the other, and a veritable wasteland in between.

  5. Some of us remember the Union Tavern when the Trollettes played there, the London, polari-era, song-and-bicker legends.

    The street parties round here at the weekend were great for meeting people, really unusually special. There used to be a chance of meeting new people in — local pubs. It really is almost as though people like Tonyblair and David Cameron and their television company friends don’t like pubs.

  6. I heard that Dermot wants to sell the Cadleigh but no one’s shown any interest in buying. Also heard. confusingly that he is closing for a year to do a refurbishment and then again will hope to sell. I don’t know him but if anyone who does could go and get some accurate information that might be useful.

    This sort of thing is happening to pubs all over the UK. It’s the end of pubs and we’re all just standing by watching them slide into oblivion. Although I am working on something in the background.

    If the Union Tavern were a great pub, with lots of events and music and comedy as well as a range of great ales, wines and spirits and and and … would YOU go there? I’ve never been confident of the location.

  7. Really enjoyed The Secret History of our Streets. Looking forward to Camberwell Grove featuring next week.

  8. @Grover Yes I really enjoyed the programme on Deptford last night too. A well-made, thought-provoking documentary. Pretty brutal hatchet job on that planner from Lewisham though, he might have felt quite aggrieved when he watched it.

  9. Yes, agree Ben. It was the one criticism I had, too. Oversll, it gave a bloody eye to those wanting to bulldoze (literally) private property ownership for the “greater good” of socialist housing. We still suffer problems due to such poor planning. And by we I mean people of all walks. The Grove bit will be an interesting one. Camberwellians not in The Grove tend to not like those of us inside. But those before us fought a good fight for it not to become another sink estate. Very complex subject, I know, which is why I enjoyed the programme.

  10. “If the Union Tavern were a great pub, with lots of events and music and comedy as well as a range of great ales, wines and spirits and and and … would YOU go there? I’ve never been confident of the location.”

    I actually would, although I don’t want events and comedy, that stuff does my head in. If I want to see a film, I’ll go to the cinema; if I want to hear a comedy act, I’ll go to a club.

    I want nice beers and good food from a pub. The basics. Music’s fine, in moderation.

  11. The Union Tavern, the Athenaeum, the Father Redcap, all fine Victorian establishments. Let us now praise famous pubs.

    The Viola da Gamba concert by Liam Byrne was fabulous last week — gentle, graceful and delicate courtly dance music threading through the sirens and motorbikes outside — it would have made a good recording, strangely. He explained a bit about the music and the instrument — the strings are made from the small intestine of a sheep.

    The east window by Ruskin and Oldfield is supposed to be based on Chartres where Ruskin went to seek inspiration , but it looks like a fancy Byzantine carpet.

    Whilst the exterior is the best, whackiest, most Disney, most Ruskin-meets-Disney in Camberwell, most of the interior decor isn’t very good. In fact if it were modernised, simplifed and whitened throughout with all the fancy mediaeval nostalgia smoothed away, it would be easily be the best church, meditation, gallery, concert, party and sports venue for miles. It would make the Houses of Parliament look what they are — somewhat overdone.

    The acoustics, sirens and motorbikes notwithstanding, were really rather heavenly.

  12. Did anybody else see the story in last week’s South London Press about plans for the new Camberwell library? I thought Southwark council had given up on their awful idea of chopping down the orchard opposite the magistrates’ court to make way for this, but it appears not.
    Back in February I emailed all three Camberwell Green councillors to object to this but didn’t receive a single reply. It seems like the council is only interested in listening to public opinion when it supports what it intends to do anyway. Most depressing.

  13. The remarkable thing about the Union is that it has the space and layout to be many things at the same time. If developed imaginatively, perhaps that’s what’s happening there now.

  14. Did a crack in the wall open? Or was the site hacked by East Dulwichites jealous that Camberwell Grove is one of the BBC chosen roads.

  15. Tomorrow night from 7 till midnight there will be a tribute to Christopher Logue at the Wreck (above the Recreation Ground) on Camberwell Church Street SE5 with poetry readings and music. Tickets £5.

    Logue lived on the Grove for many years, died last December aged 85.

  16. @Grover

    I don’t think it’s a question of those from outside not liking those who live on the Groves…

    As you pointed out tomorrow’s programme will show — there were people who fought the good fight and prevented the poorly thought out architecture of previous council administrations from ruining a perfectly habitable road. The Camberwell Society was founded precisely to achieve this…

    There are many community groups in Camberwell who require a little of the assistance and expertise that the Camberwell Society could offer but it is rarely forthcoming…the only exception I can think of in recent years was the leisure centre — which was much appreciated.

    There are many other buildings…such as the future long-term use for the ex-Gala Bingo building and site. The last original cinema theatre building left in Southwark.

    There has been a history of unintended misunderstandings with the current occupant but it has never really been anything personal against them — we feel that a property developer has the site in their back pocket — and the current occupant is sitting on it for them. This is standard practice as regard to many of these buildings.

    Which perhaps, was precisely the case with Camberwell Grove in the late 60’s/early 70’s. Play the long game, run it down, re-develop.

    Don’t you agree?


  17. Eusebiovic I don’t have any appreciation for Camberwell Society in what went on leading up to the half arsed scheme the Leisure Centre ended up being that didn’t impact in any way on much wider urgent regenerative needs Camberwell has … still has and will have, that no one is dealing with effectively — which could have mostly been dealt with substantially beginning back then.

    Inward vision only.

    See this very interesting film made in 1968 by Margaret Drabble and marvel at how bugger all has changed. The Local Authorities ought to be ASHAMED that they have made no headway into these issues that were so clearly understood forty years ago:

    First transmitted in 1969, this personal plea from Margaret Drabble is a lament for the death of the city as planners create endless suburbia instead of cities fit to live in.

  18. That’s while £millions have been and are being spent in ‘regenerating’ SE5.

    Burgess Park. PAH! Paving on Church Street and Denmark Hill. PAH!

    Someone needs to be making sure that contractors do their work adequately — they are not — and someone needs to be cleaning the streets round here. Have you seen how DISGUSTINGLY FILTHY the pavements are along Church Street. A Sickening disgrace.

  19. Mark said “and someone needs to be cleaning the streets round here. Have you seen how DISGUSTINGLY FILTHY the pavements are along Church Street. A Sickening disgrace.”

    I agree. But would it be an idea to teach people not to drop litter in the first place, they are after all adults that should know better or if it’s their kids those parents should teach them not to do it. I don’t drop litter there are bins all over.

  20. Mark also wrote “Burgess Park. PAH! Paving on Church Street and Denmark Hill. PAH!”

    Are you sure you don’t wanna go live somewhere else?

  21. Bloody ‘ell I’ve just realised I might be winding someone up. I really must stop doing that!

  22. I have found in Camberwell there are those who do, and their list of achievements is long and impressive, and those who rant about those who do while never really doing anything. I am not an active Society member, I pay membership, but I feel they take on a limited number of quality projects that are achievable, and see them through. The Bingo Hall was never more than a Facebook pipe dream with no plan and no money. The Leisure Centre and Burgess Park are the result of a lot of people working very hard to secure a better outcome than was ever envisaged. We could have either secured good progress, or sat back and ranted about not getting great progress. I like the results we achieved. Compromise and hard graft, working with the Council is far better than inertia and stone throwing.

  23. I love what’s been done with the leisure centre. I cancelled swimming membership outside of Camberwell and now use it regularly.

  24. Spoke with Dermot at the Cadeleigh last night; he confirmed that they’ll be closing on the 4th July, and will be converting the place to flats. I am quite gutted.

  25. Apologies Grover, maybe you were there and you missed something. There is a large population of very good people in Camberwell and they do not get what they deserve as basic amenity and service where they live.

    For the record:

    I’ve been more active for the last eighteen years than most people in Camberwell and have had a clear, and developing, vision, for what it could, can and should be, a vision shared by many others who put the time and energy in who never get recognition for the huge amount of work they do for Camberwell; which benefits everyone else who live and work here.

    Directly I’ve invested more, financially and voluntarily, than most people who are not a private land owner or property developer. My children were born and live here, they go to school here. I’m an active community governor at a local school. I sit on the Lambeth Volunteer Network as SE5 Forum representative. And I’ve got a consistent record of being a board member, trustee, director or active participant on local voluntary organisations stretching back to 1996, a year after I invested substantial money in setting up a business on Coldharbour Lane, with decades of catering and Landscaping experience behind me.

    I’ve put in many thousands of hours and invested money into community projects and voluntary organisations in Camberwell. I’ve worked with Lambeth and Southwark both sides of the border. I’ve represented SE5 Forum at Council meetings and have lobbied leaders and chief executives of successive administrations on behalf of various organisations I’ve represented… I was even an active Camberwell Society Committee member but that was so long ago no one will remember.

    I’ve heard all the promises and commitments around Camberwell and seen the failures. Money wasted, Hundreds of Thousands burned pointlessly because of short time span political vision and other seemingly intractable issues, no one’s prepared to sort out, that Margaret Drabble’s piece dealt with up there forty years ago. And, by and largely, I’ve been polite about it and kept schtum because my speaking out, anyone speaking out, keeps doors closed and avenues of communication blocked.

    As for pubs. Well, I can rant on about them and the pub sector too — and be accused of being a stone thrower and knowing and doing nothing there either.

    JK it’s great that you use the facility regularly. But you could be using it and it could be SO MUCH MORE than it is. And it isn’t. A lost opportunity for another fifty years.

    Dermot obviously was asking too much for the freehold — that’s why there were no buyers — and that’s why it’s being converted.

  26. “half arsed scheme the Leisure Centre ended up being”

    What’s wrong with the leisure centre? Seems like a great, and pretty well used, local facilty to me.

  27. Hey Mark. Great quote in the film from Margaret Drabble, about urban better-off insulating themselves from poorer locals and driving two miles for provisions. Camberwell Grove apparently has the largest number of car parking permits for any street in the entire Borough of Southwark so they can smell cheese in Lordship Lane every week. Outstanding, ‘Grovers! Look out, if you add an ‘o’ you get Groover. Cool, huh?

    Hey Grover. You forgot at least one category: community groups who ride coat tail on existing Council initiatives like the Leisure Centre, then associate their community brand with the outcome and talk about hard graft and long lists of achievements.

    Synergy Centre had a full business plan and investors in place to purchase Bingo for community use if use change were refused. Please stick to the side of the road that you know.

    Camberwell Society was silent on the most significant change of use for decades in SE5 (Bingo) and offered no view of Camberwell’s strategic position in the Borough during the Core Strategy hearings in 2010. Maybe the Society just agrees with the Council that Camberwell Green should be categorised a minor town centre like Lordship Lane, instead of a major town centre like Peckham. Or maybe it’s not one of those-who-do! But stay positive. Well done to Peckham Society on Peckham’s 2006 promotion to major town centre. Putting Peckham right to the front of the queue for infrastructure investment.

    Our local Society’s projects apparently included a scheme to disassemble the Lassco building at Vauxhall and reassemble it in east Camberwell. Not hare-brained at all, and a great use of resources. And when the Society puts its mind to a quality project…

    Is it also true the Society approved of the sale of the town hall for housing when consulted by the Council? Will it be getting involved in opposing change of use for the Cadeleigh, when permission is asked? Easy. Base it on a previous opposition by Camberwell Society to the conversion of a pub to flats and as ever keep us informed via the website.

  28. @Grover

    “The Bingo Hall was never more than a Facebook pipe dream with no plan and no money”

    With that condescending and flippant comment you have totally missed the point as regard to the whole purpose of what the campaign was/still is trying to achieve.

    It was known full well from the beginning that the chances were slim — the free market puts all the power in the hands of property developers who in most cases act to the detriment of genuine community and the persons who live there.

    Local authorities are not given enough power to object…but there are some who try much harder than others to do their very best — given the current state of what the law permits.

    The fact that the ex-bingo hall is the last remaining cinema theatre building in Camberwell & Southwark and there was also a credible plan for a community arts centre with a library should have counted for something valid.

    However, with all due respect to our local councillors many of them failed to engage and see the huge long-term benefits,potential & vision of that initial idea.

    Camberwell is one of the top 10 safest seats in the entire country — this is a fact not fiction — It can’t be denied that there is also a long-term culture of complacency here. For generations there has never been any real need for our elected representatives (whoever they may have been) to really push the boat out too far around these parts!

    The natural home for a community arts centre will ALWAYS be the ex-bingo hall.

    What this campaign has done is bring together a lot of local people who never really communicated with each other previously.

    There is now a real chance that we will get our community arts centre but for now it’s location is destined to be everywhere in the physical geography of Camberwell itself…

    The function rooms of our bars,pubs,restaurants,hotels (perhaps even our crypts?);-)

    We are also hugely fortunate to have 7 parks here — and the art college.

    Our Local businesses and the enthusiasm of residents from ALL corners of se5 are starting to come together to make it happen in a co-ordinated, organised, regular basis — rather than an ad-hoc one.

    Last year’s OXJam festival in October showed the potential of what could be achieved — the way the local community came together for that event was totally unprecedented in recent history.

    If the members of the Camberwell Society don’t feel able to support this burgeoning zeitgeist…then I think it reflects more on them rather than the dedication and efforts of everybody else who have a genuine affection for the area.

    Thank you all

    I drink my tea

  29. And the winner is…

    (dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum…dum…dum… dum.… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum.… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum… dum…)

  30. I think the Camberwell Society deserve praise for their resistance to the Mary Datchelor development; the end result is lovely, and much nicer than the original proposals.

    Regarding the residents of the Grove shopping out of town, it’s because they have no option. We can mock people who shop in the Lordship Lane deli, but if it’s organic meat and produce and luxury cheeses they want, where else will they go? Morrisons?

    I’ve said many times before that someone needs to respond to the influx of new wealthy residents, open up a shop that will keep them here. Something like the amazing Greensmiths on Lower Marsh. But there is nothing like that here.

    Don’t get me wrong, I buy from local shops as much as I can; but I don’t expect people who’ve paid £1.5m for a townhouse would find a lot to like in them.

  31. The Camberwell Society earn praise for their opposition to the Mary Datchelor scheme though we should also remember those (including people like myself) who wrote on several occasions to the Council.

    But their silence over the fate of the Bingo Hall was telling, i.e. it wasn’t within a short walk of the Grove, when their involvement might have been beneficial.

    Supporters and members of the Society, including myself, were dismayed when the Society wrote to TfL in 2010 to complain about the number of buses passing through Camberwell that were making it difficult for car drivers to get through. There’s no doubt that some on their Committee were taken aback by the level of astonishment expressed by the membership.

    Much as I enjoyed the programme last night it was disappointing to see too much time given over to the self perpetuating minority who run the Camberwell Society.

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