Saturday 17 November 2012

Guerrilla garden update

I'm happy to be able to report some progress on the saga of the 'guerrilla' garden on the Edward Street roundabout. If you remember, in a fit of excessive zeal Glendale staff pulled all the tops off the wild flowers earlier this year, leaving the bed 'tidy' and bare except for the young sunflower plants. As a result of the hoo-ha that it created, questions were asked in council meetings, newspaper stories were published, and the council and Glendales reiterated their claim that they had done the clearance because they were intending all along to replant the bed. 

Weeks came and went, the sunflowers continued to grow tall, flowered and gradually died off (seed heads are probably ripe for picking and drying right now  - anyone?) and many of the flowers that had been so unthinkingly beheaded sprouted back out of the ground for a second attempt.

Today I passed the garden and noticed that two boards had been stuck in the ground, one at each end of the bed. 

If you click on the picture you should be able to see a bigger version - and you'll read that Glendales is offering two different planting schemes for the beds, option one using low-growing shrubs such as lavender, hebe and so on, option two having low-growing conifers.

If you have an opinion on what you would like to see planted here, you are invited to give your feedback to by 30th November at the latest.

Friday 16 November 2012

Wavelengths redevelopment: turning up the heat

Exciting news: work has finally begun at Wavelengths to convert the old library space into a 'modern purpose-built health and fitness leisure centre'.

I'm sure those who use the gym will be delighted to know that they will soon have a myriad of new machines on which to run, cycle and row while watching TV; there's also new rooms for classes (much needed, who ever thought a strangely-shaped room full of pillars would serve as such?!) an 'indoor cycle studio' (room full of bikes for those who want to 'spin'), a new health suite with sauna and steam room, a cafe and a 'soft playroom' for kids.

Above you will see the rather unhelpful diagram that's included in the newsletter being given out at Wavelengths. Perhaps you think my words harsh, but not only is it difficult to tell how the plan above fits on the existing building, the decision to divide it into phasing also seems pointless considering that 'phase three' is now being carried out at the same time as 'phase one' while 'phase two' hasn't begun yet. Confused? You will be!

The fancy rendering above is helpful if you need to know exactly how the new machines are going to be laid out, likewise if you haven't ever seen the inside of a gym and aren't sure what people do in it, take a look at the 'fly through' video. Just don't expect to learn much about how the changes fit with the Wavelengths layout.

In the small print of the leaflet you might have missed the bit about the fun pool being closed - apparently they are carrying out 'essential refurbishment works' but there is scant information as to what this involves.

Will the flumes be brought back into use, or are they being taken out altogether to stop them gathering any more dust?

What about the plastic palm trees set in concrete - will these forlorn items remain after the refurb? Thankfully I haven't had to look at them since the fitness pool was built, but I presume they are still there, propping up the faded 80s vibe of the place.

But regular fitness pool swimmers can't have missed the immediate impact of this closure - the fact that the water in the fitness pool is now stifflingly hot. I thought I was imagining it, but it seems that other swimmers have been complaining it's too cold and so the temperature has been turned up.

Naturally we have to share the fitness pool while the leisure pool is closed for its mysterious three-month refurbishment but I don't understand why the temperature has to revert to that of the leisure pool during this time. Many people use the fitness pool for exercise or training, and it is way too hot to be able to keep up a good pace safely.

Of course it doesn't help that the showers are now once again resolutely cold - on my latest visit the contrast from the hot pool to the freezing showers made me feel like I was rolling in the snow after a Swedish sauna. Perhaps we need a few birch twigs to add to the experience.

Let's just hope that with more people using the pool the pressure might push the management to get those bloody showers fixed once and for all.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Save Lewisham Hospital A&E

In case you haven't already seen this, please read and respond to the campaign to save the accident & emergency facility at Lewisham Hospital.

It is not just the A&E that is at risk - if it is closed, other units such as emergency surgery, critical care and so on are also in danger of being lost.

The suggestion has been put forward by the special administrator who has been appointed to take over South London Healthcare Trust (of which Lewisham Hospital is not a part). The intention is that Lewisham's A&E and the healthcare priorities of all who use it should be sacrificed to save a failing trust.

I can't even begin to comment on how hugely cynical and short-sighted this proposal is, without my blood starting to boil.

For the sake of my own health I will direct you to the various links below that explain it all in clear, concise detail; for the sake of your future health and that of the whole of south east London, I suggest you sign the petitions, contact your MP and attend the meetings.

Save Lewisham Hospital 


Heidi Alexander's petition