Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Blurt on film

A new film of legendary Deptford band Blurt playing at the Birds Nest pub back in 2014 has been released by film maker Stewart Morgan Hajdukiewicz, with all profits going to the artists. 

With tours cancelled and even local gigs impossible, the financial situation for professional bands such as Blurt is dire. 

Now for the price of little more than a posh pint you can own a copy of this 45-minute long film, which cuts footage of the band bursting energetically from the tiny Birds Nest stage, with Deptford street scenes of the time, to watch over and again at your leisure.

Stewart Morgan writes: "It is (I hope) a decent record of a memorable night, with Blurt in their home territory and amongst friends.  Their Birds Nest gigs always had something special I think, and of particular interest may be the numerous documentary images of building developments around Deptford and Lewisham from 2014 that are featured in the film."

BLURT - Live at The Birds Nest, Deptford from HajduKino Productions on Vimeo.

A concert film of musical mavericks BLURT, captured in a riveting live performance on their home turf in Deptford, south-east London in 2014. 

Featuring documentary imagery of Deptford and Lewisham alongside intimate coverage of the gig, here is a rare chance to experience a unique band at the height of its powers.

TED MILTON - vocals and saxophone

STEVE EAGLES - guitar and vocals




Filmmaker - Stewart Morgan Hajdukiewicz

Standard Definition / 4:3 / colour and black and white / Stereo / 46 mins

(c) HajduKino Productions, 

Made in Deptford in 2014/2020

All profits from Vimeo streaming will go to the artists.

In his email, Stewart also reminded me that I wrote a blog post about his film about Bill (Wellbeloved)'s pies back in 2014 - and looking at the film again now I recognise there's a bit of crossover in the local street scene footage!

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Got a planning objection? If you live in Lewisham you can SoD off!

Changes to the way Lewisham Council makes decisions on its planning applications, which favour reducing the council's backlog of cases at the cost of transparency and public scrutiny, are now proposed to be retained until at least February 2021 - nearly a year since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown. 

The special measures were brought in three months ago when councillors agreed to temporary changes to the 'scheme of delegation' for planning applications; the reason being to clear a bottleneck of applications caused by the lockdown. 

Under these changes to the appropriately-acronymed SoD, 75% of applications that would previously have been scrutinised by councillors are now decided by officers under what is called 'delegated powers'.

Without being brought to committee there is no opportunity for objectors to argue their case; no scrutiny from elected councillors or the general public; no debate or questioning of applicant or objectors; decisions on permanent and long-lasting changes to the borough's estates, streetscapes and public realm all made behind closed doors by council officers.

The council's formal constitution states that any planning application with three or more objections - or just one if it comes from a recognised amenity society such as the Deptford Society or the Brockley Society - has to be scrutinised by a committee if officers are recommending it for approval. 

Under the new powers, five objections are needed just to get your foot in the door, and even with as many as nine objections, applications only get a 'case review' by the committee chair. The chair will decide - in discussion with the very officers who will be landed with the increased workload associated with a committee hearing (#justsaying) - whether an application should go before a committee or not. 

When the changes were first discussed in June, strategic planning committee members were reassured that they would be able to review these changes after three months, and the review 'would provide an opportunity for [them] to assess success in terms of the quality of the decisions that would be taken, and the transparent and fair processes that would be applied.'

Officers now want to extend it for another six months, but the report they are putting before the committee on Thursday that claims to assess the success of the measures only states the number of cases resolved as a measure of success; it neither offers any insight into the quality of the decisions, nor does it list the cases that have been decided in this way, to enable interested parties to make their own assessment. 

Reading between the lines, officers are clearly delighted to have binned all the tiresome parts of the job like writing committee reports, negotiating with applicants, and spending evenings in meetings (even online ones) and they want to ensure that this joyous situations persists as long as possible. 

Recently heavyweights such as RIBA and the Town & Country Planning Association have been raising merry hell about the impact Tory planning reforms could have on our built environment; but  Lewisham has proved we don't need the tories to fuck up planning scrutiny - the ruling Labour group can do just as efficient a job, and get it under the wire without anyone batting an eyelid! 

We have lost scrutiny in one fell swoop and it's now at risk of being extended from a three month temporary measure to almost a year. An open invite to bang in that application for a badly-detailed conversion that you sketched out on the back of an envelope when you were in the pub the other week.