Blackheath Joint Working Party

There has been a slight lull in activity since my last report although the Lewisham Council’s Blackheath Assembly Meeting on 27th March was attended by various parties who were interested to hear from Kevin Sheehan, Executive Director for Customer Services at Lewisham Council, as to why he approved, in principle, two large events being held on Blackheath this summer. The meeting was also attended by Alex Wicks, a representative of OnBlackheath, which is working towards holding a concert on 14th and 14th September 2014. He was asked a number of questions, to which most of which the reply was effectively we don’t yet know. Occasionally he was joined by a colleague, Terry, For example, when asked about the closure of Hare and Billet Road they thought it would be about 9 days. When asked about the numbers expected to attend Alex Wicks suggested that 25,000 was what the licence allowed. Kevin Sheehan interjected that his in principle approval was for 15,000. The impression given was that OnBlackheath hopes to negotiate on the conditions imposed by Kevin Sheehan. We must hope he will stand firm. One question which was answered was the amount to be paid for the use of the Heath: £30,000 - of which half will be spent on improving the Lewisham part of Blackheath. We also learned that John Lewis is a headline sponsor.

 If you are interested, the OnBlackheath website is Perhaps more interesting, as I write this, the site shows that the OnBlackheath festival is scheduled to close at 10.30pm on Saturday 13th and 10.00pm on Sunday 14th. The approval in principle stipulates a 10.00pm finish on Saturday as well as Sunday. Is this indicative of the attitude of OnBlackheath to Lewisham Council, and by inference, those of us who live here and will not profit from the event?

 The Good Hope Festival had been postponed before the Assembly Meeting so it was not represented. However, I understand that the sponsors plan to hold it in 2015. Apparently an early consultation with local interested parties is to be held at the beginning of August.

 On more ‘everyday’ matters, the problem of parking outside Blackheath Preparatory School in St Germans Place was raised. It seems that parents or guardians delivering and collecting children are parking on the grass verge of the Heath and churning it up. The cost of replacing and extending posts along the road is estimated at £10,000. A difficulty is that the road is in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the grass in the London Borough of Lewisham! An RBG officer declined an invitation to contribute 50:50 to the cost, even though LBL does not have a budget for it either! Some wondered whether the School, whose parents are causing the damage, might be invited to contribute.

 Some readers will be aware that the Donkey rides which were a feature of the walk just outside Blackheath Gate to Greenwich Park have not been available for some years. They used to be run by Len Thorne who died in 2012. Some members of the BJWP are keen to see them reinstated and have suggested that RBG should try harder to find an alternative to the Thorne family who seem unable to re-start the operation.


Philip Craig