Sunday, December 09, 2018

Pop - Up Cinema.


The photos above show the pop - up cinema in The Carnegie Library in Walnut Tree Road, Erith. The events are being held by The Exchange, the organisation who have taken over the former library building and are converting it into a community arts and education centre for local people. Building and restoration work is still under way, and the library is not officially opening for public use until February, but in the meantime, some of the areas on the lower ground floor are now ready for use, and the first event was held on Thursday evening. There are a series of film showings happening between now and Christmas, as a way of "soft opening" the newly refurbished building, and creating awareness of what is going on with local people. This is the first cinema to operate in Erith for 22 years, since the Odeon Cinema closed in 1996 - actually this is a bit of a cheat, as for at least the last two decades the place was open, it was purely a bingo hall, but you get the idea. Below you will find a programme of film showings, along with links to securely book tickets via the trusted EventBrite web site. As a Trustee of The Exchange, you should see me at all of the events - do say hello. 

Graphic novels: Persepolis
Thursday, December 13, 2018
7:30 PM  10:00 PM
Based on the celebrated graphic novels of Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis tells the story of the Iranian revolution seen through the eyes of a rebellious heavy-metal loving tomboy teen Marji. This black and white animated film co-won the Jury Prize at the Cannes 2007 film festival, and put the power of graphic novels firmly in the spotlight.

Adults: £4

Under-16s: £2


PLEASE NOTE: This film is certified as a 12 - we are unable to allow any children under this age to enter the screening. Tickets are refundable up until 7 days before the event.

Dime store stories: Pulp Fiction
Friday, December 14, 2018
7:30 PM  10:00 PM
Tarantino’s masterpiece weaves three trash novels into a breathtaking and pacy cinematic ride; one of the most influential films of the 90s. Incredible performances throughout from John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Harvey Keitel, Bruce Willis and Christopher Walken. 

A delirious postmodern mix of Neo-noir thrills, pitch-black humour and pop-culture touchstones” Rotten Tomatoes.

Adults: £4


PLEASE NOTE: This film is certified as an 18 - we are unable to allow anyone under this age to enter the screening. Tickets are refundable up until 7 days before the event.

Classics: The Muppet Christmas Carol
Saturday, December 15, 2018
2:00 PM  3:30 PM
Part of a Dickens Double Bill, this 1992 musical puppet-led comedy features Michael Cain as Ebenezer Scrooge alongside Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and Fozzy the Bear in a remaking of the classic novella The Christmas Carol. We are now officially in Christmas season!

We are also showing Scrooged, another reimagining of the tale. Reduced rates if you buy tickets for both films.

Adults: £4


PLEASE NOTE: This film is certified a U.

Classics: Scrooged
Saturday, December 15, 2018
7:00 PM  9:00 PM
A classic of 80s comedy with Bill Murray at his peak in a modern twist on the Victorian Dickens novella A Christmas Carol. No Christmas is complete without it. 

Adults: £4

Under-16s: £2


PLEASE NOTE: This film is certified a PG.

Poetry: The Nightmare before Christmas
Thursday, December 20, 2018
7:30 PM  9:00 PM
A stunningly original stop-motion musical animation based on a poem by Tim Burton. Follow Jack the Pumpkin King as he gets to grips with the snowier land of Christmas Town and its king Sandy Claws.

Adults: £4

Under-16s: £2


PLEASE NOTE: This film is certified a PG.

Short story: It's a Wonderful Life
Friday, December 21, 2018
7:00 PM  9:30 PM
The final film in the programme and an all-time Christmas classic is based on a short story The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern. It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, is one of the most inspirational American films of all time, and encapsulates the wonderful spirit of the season. 

Adults: £4

Under-16: £2


PLEASE NOTE: This film is certified a U.

One landmark that dominates the Eastern skyline in Erith, Slade Green and Crayford is the giant chimney the used to form part of the former Littlebrook Power Station in Dartford. As I have written in the past, much of the former power station has been demolished over the last year or so, but the huge chimney, which still has red warning lights against low flying aircraft, is due to come down soon - the date is yet to be set. The entire site is to be redeveloped for dual purpose uses; part of the site will become a new electricity substation to serve the national grid, and to distribute power to the local area; the rest of the site will become a major logistics and warehousing hub to serve London and the South East. The 114 acre site could support the potential development of around 1.7 million square feet of other logistics buildings in future. Whilst this would be very good for local employment, there are concerns about the subsequent increase in heavy goods vehicle traffic in the local area, and the ensuing increase in congestion and air pollution. It may also have a further impact on the often extreme levels of traffic using the Dartford River Crossing, which are already at crisis levels. It is good to hear that the industrial brown field site is being productively reused, but there are concerns about the potential environmental impact to the local area that have not been properly considered. 



After publishing the Maggot Sandwich last Sunday, I went for a stroll into town. I was taking a leisurely amble through Erith Riverside Shopping Centre when my left leg was suddenly struck from behind, causing me to lose balance and almost end up on my knees. As I staggered, trying to remain upright, a woman riding a mobility scooter drove by whilst talking on her mobile phone, completely oblivious to the fact she had just mown me down, rode past. Fortunately I was not badly injured, with just a small bruise on my calf to show for the encounter,. These mobility scooters are a menace – they may have several humorous alternative names such as the "Nanbretta" or the "Frinton Ferrari" (an offshoot of the old saying “Harwich for the continent, Frinton for the incontinent"). This hides a sad story that quite a large proportion of mobility scooters can travel at substantially more than normal walking pace; when this is combined with the lack of compulsory training or the need to have third party insurance it does leave a legal minefield for both the operator of such a vehicle and also the members of the public than encounter them. I firmly believe that mobility scooters are a good thing; they enable people who otherwise might find it difficult to get out and about, and stay in contact with general society. The old situation with people becoming housebound and isolated when their ability to move under their own steam became impaired has become far less common. I think it vital for elderly and mobility impaired people to retain their independence. The problem is that a small minority treat the scooters as some kind of fairground ride – the lady who collided with me being a case in point – she was whizzing along oblivious to her surroundings whilst yacking on her mobile phone. The reason I did not chase and challenge her after she hit me was that I was acutely aware of what the situation would look like to a passer by who had not seen what had happened – it would look like I was harassing an innocent old lady. I think that there should be some kind of compulsory formal training for mobility scooter owners, on a similar basis to the (voluntary) cycling proficiency test, along with a compulsory insurance policy covering third party liability. Some mobility scooters seem to be capable of travelling much faster than the fifteen miles per hour limit that is meant to be applicable to such vehicles; indeed I have seen a couple of elderly ladies on the pavement beside the Erith Construction HQ (the former Job Centre) in Queen’s Road who were racing each other – it reminded me of the Monty Python “Hell’s Grannies” sketch. On Wednesday of last week, my Mother was in Bexleyheath Broadway and saw what appeared to be a husband and wife on fast mobility scooters in a race along the pavement of the Broadway; she said there would have quite likely been a collision or other accident had the area not been extremely quiet and lacking in pedestrians mid morning; it might well have been a different situation had the schools have turned out and hundreds of pupils been milling around close to Bexleyheath Clock Tower. It is only a matter of time before a mobility scooter rider, or a pedestrian is seriously injured unless some action is taken. What do you think? Leave a comment below, or Email me at hugh.neal@gmail.com.



Some good news from the Police. After the closure of Belvedere Police Station some time ago, the presence of the Metropolitan Police has been much reduced in the local area; that is shortly about to change. As mentioned some months ago, the Met are moving their primary vehicle maintenance and repair facility from Vauxhall in central London to a brand new site in Crabtree Manorway North, on the location of the former NuFarm warehouse. Thanks to local source Flash22 for reminding me of the story. It will house workshops, storage, administration offices and fast charging facilities for new electrically powered Police patrol cars. What is also ironic is that Crabtree Manorway North has historically been one of the favoured locations for illegal meetings of Bike Life TV UK - the largest of the illegal biker gangs that are apparently behind much of the moped and bike crime in and around London. Now that the primary Police vehicle maintenance centre will be located in the road, I get the feeling the criminal bikers will have to look elsewhere to congregate. In a connected story (who says I don't plan these things?) A potentially serious issue has occurred only weeks after the Metropolitan Police were given the green light to ram scumbag moped and motorbike crooks off their bikes and arrest them. The tactic has already led to a marked decrease in the number of reported bike related crimes. However, something very worrying is being proposed following an incident where a Police vehicle intercepted a known criminal drug dealer and burglar from a notorious crime family in Eastern Way, Erith, at about 2:15 am on the 7th of November last year. The officer carried out the so-called tactical contact to stop the 17-year-old from riding dangerously. The boy, who was not wearing a helmet, was admitted to hospital with head injuries, but later discharged. A file of evidence gathered by the police watchdog is to be passed to prosecutors and Scotland Yard. If he is prosecuted, the officer could be charged with actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm. The Met could also decide if there is a case to answer for misconduct, which could result in dismissal. The boy later pleaded guilty to five offences at the youth court, including theft, dangerous driving, and driving without a licence. It is my understanding that this was far from the first time the scumbag had been in serious trouble with the Police. I fail to see why a Police officer carrying out his duty should be penalised for doing exactly what they are supposed to do - in this case preventing a known criminal from carrying out a further criminal act. If the moped scrote had not been breaking the law, then he would not have ended up in hospital, and subsequently in court. Senior Police officers have defended the use of tactical contact, saying it was needed to stop dangerous chases and has helped reduce moped crime in London by more than a third. The manoeuvre has also recently been backed by Prime Minister Theresa May, who said a "robust" response was needed from police to what she described as a growing problem of people using mopeds to commit crimes such as bag and phone-snatching. The current official Police policy, called the Authorised Professional Practice (APP) states:- "It is in the public interest to protect life, prevent or detect crime, or to apprehend an offender. Staff must discontinue a pursuit as soon as the risk becomes disproportionate to the reasons for undertaking it. Motorcycle and quad bike pursuits clearly present higher risks for suspects than conventional vehicle pursuit. Where such vehicles are used to facilitate serious crime or used repeatedly as the mode of transport for organised crime groups then, to minimise risk to the public from criminality and to secure public confidence in policing, a pursuit may be justified." I know I am far from being alone in wanting to see robust and effective countermeasures being taken against these crooks, who until recently have seemed to act with impunity. One reader Emailed me to suggest an approach used by the Police in South Africa to deal with motorbike criminals who refuse to stop when challenged. The traffic cops are issued with pump action shotguns, but the cartridges fired by the guns are filled with rough rock salt crystals, rather than with shot pellets. When fired against criminals on the run (generally aimed at the back or legs) the blast of rock salt will penetrate clothing and cause painful but not life threatening injuries to the crooks. The salt makes the wounds agonising and temporarily debilitating, but the injuries heal within a few days. The reader said that the Police usually "aim at the crook's backside - then they can't sit down for a week". Cheap and apparently effective.

An announcement has been made by prominent local figure Doreen Ives, who writes:- "Are you a fan of that addictive game SCRABBLE?  If you are, then why not become a member of Erith Vet’s Club (£20 a year) and join Julia Baker and I for a game on a Friday afternoon 2.30pm -3.30 pm at the Vets’ Club Erith.  It should be a sociable afternoon helping to keep our grey matter working without too much physical activity. We will also have tea and biscuits and probably some animated conversation! Julia and I are planning to start the club after Christmas, probably the second Friday in January and thereafter on the second Friday of each month. If you are interested and would like further information please speak to one of us.  My telephone number is 01322 345406". Doreen Ives

It would seem that a London tourist favourite, and part of "brand London" may be about to get the axe. Transport for London wants to cancel the daytime “heritage” service on route 15, which uses the 60-year-old RouteMaster buses between Trafalgar Square and Tower Gateway. Under the plans, the buses would appear only at weekends during the summer and on bank holidays. “Stakeholders” were asked to comment, but there has been no public consultation. No details were published on TfL’s website. Enthusiasts are dismayed that transport bosses and Mayor Sadiq Khan is prepared to kill off a “London icon”. Andrew Morgan, chairman of The RouteMaster Association, accused TfL of acting in a “secretive” way in an article published by the London Evening Standard. He said: “We should be keeping them to attract tourists, but tourists don’t know about them. They are London’s biggest secret.” Mr Morgan said leaving the RouteMasters unused in a garage was the “worst thing you can do with an old vehicle. They will get them out at the last minute and they will break down. From an operator’s point of view, it’s going to cost more. They have not repainted them in the last few years and they are looking very unloved and shabby. It’s obvious they are driving them into the ground. They don’t advertise them — there is no publicity anywhere.” TfL recently spent £200,000 refurbishing four of the buses. Last year the Mayor said: “They promote London as a key tourist destination.” Two heritage routes, shortened versions of routes 9 and 15, were launched in 2005 when RouteMasters were phased out by Ken Livingstone after 50 years of service. The 9 heritage route was axed in 2014. TfL says the proposal to cut the 15 heritage service comes alongside the Mayor’s proposed cuts to 33 bus routes in central London, and will save £800,000 a year.

Now for the weekly local safety and security updates from Bexley Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association:- Firstly a report from Barnehurst ward:- "There have been two burglaries on Barnehurst Ward in the past week. On both occasions the doors have not been double locked. As your local policing team we have stressed time and time again to double lock front doors, please assist us with getting this message out. In Heath Way on Friday 30th November in the very early hours at 00.30 the victims woke to find the front door open and items had been taken from the property including a set of car keys. No one was seen or heard however victims retrieved a phone that had been stolen from the property down a nearby footpath. The second burglary took place on Tuesday 04th December, again early hours between 03.35 – 03.37 in Fairford Avenue. Victims witnessed their car, a blue Audi LX I6ZZB Model Q3, being driven off the drive way heading towards Barnehurst Avenue. House keys and other items were also taken. Tool marks were left on the front door, possibly a small screw driver was used to pop the door open. As already mentioned both of the front doors were not double locked. When doors are not double locked it will take a burglar seconds to pop open a door. On a good note we welcome two residents to Neighbourhood Watch who have volunteered to act as Coordinators for Westfield Road. The team have been concentrating on hot spot areas with regular patrols being carried out throughout the shift. If you would like to discuss anything with your local policing team or would simply like to come along to say hello please join us for our last community contact session for 2018 at 11.00am on Thursday 20th December 2018 at Barnehurst Golf Club". Belvedere ward:- "We have been receiving more reports of another beggar at ASDA, Lower Road. This time it is a scruffy looking male, brown hair, brown beard, aged in his late twenties. He has not been aggressive but is a pest. If seen or approached by this male please do not encourage him by giving him money. Please contact us if you do see him. If we do not answer then please leave details of the time and date you were approached. The team assisted with a call in Erith to prevent a breach of the peace while an eviction was taking place. No issues, male left. We also assisted North End SNT with a drugs warrant in Rayleigh Close, Erith. More team working now. We dealt with a shoplifter in Erith Town Centre at Wilko. The male was banned from the shop and centre. He was also arrested for failing to appear at Bromley Magistrates court in November. There was a burglary in Elstree Gardens overnight Sunday 2nd into Monday 3rd. Appears that the burglar entered via the front room window by forcing it open. He proceeded to steal over £3000 worth of goods, which includes a car. It happened in Elstree Gardens. If anyone has any information, heard something odd that night or has noticed any suspicious people cars hanging around the area recently please get in touch. There was also a burglary on the night of Saturday 1st December at Norman Road. Nothing was taken but the occupant was slightly injured. Again, if anyone has any information please get in contact. We have now merged with Greenwich and Lewisham and so have a new sergeant supervising the team. PS Martin Lockwood has taken over from PS Rob Jobson. On Wednesday 21/11/2018 we helped out Erith SNT by responding to a call at Matalan, Riverside Shopping Centre for a detained shoplifter. The female had stolen £64 worth of clothing, which was recovered intact. She was given a Community Resolution for her troubles. On Monday 24/11/2018 the team attended the All Saints Church Christmas Fayre. We had a stall with crime prevention advice and leaflets in the church hall. It was a very popular event with many people attending. Many a bacon roll was devoured. On Tuesday 25/11/2018 the annual Sikh Guru Nanak parade was held around Belvedere. The day went well, a few miserable people that couldn't wait for 15 minutes for the parade to pass but overall a success. Good show by the people taking part." Bexleyheath ward:- "We have had two reports of burglary on the ward. One was reported along Rochester Drive Bexleyheath, a vehicle was taken. Entry was gained via the back door of the property. The other was reported along St Audrey Avenue Bexleyheath, entry was via the rear kitchen door window. Regular burglary patrols are conducted by the team. Weapons sweep search back of ASDAS Broadway open green by the skateboard ramp, kitchen knife found concealed by the wall, knife taken back to Bexleyheath Police Station to be disposed. Car parks on the Broadway patrolled for anti - social behaviour and drug activity. Also patrols are conducted in the car park areas and the Broadway to reduce anti-social behaviour including Martens Grove Park. Regular patrols are conducted by the team along Gravel Hill because of children running out on the road causing a danger, team is liaising with school officers on the borough".  Crayford ward - no reports received this week.  Erith ward:- "Weapon sweeps have been carried out across the ward over the last week, in areas including West Street, Compton Place and around the town centre. We went along to the pop up kitchen (see photo above). For more info on events in Erith please see greatererith.com. We had a walk-in surgery in the BlackBerry Patch office at 7pm last week. This went well - look out for more dates. We are looking into doing this once a month. Upcoming dates – Erith Costa coffee 12th December 2018 at 12pm - feel free to pop in and buy us a coffee. I mean speak to us about any issues you may be having or if you need advice. Shoplift <£200 Friday 30/11/2018 Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc, James Watt Way – Made off with goods; Theft of cycle Thursday 29/11/2018 Parkspring Court, Erith High Street – bike stolen from community area; Shoplift <£200 Friday 30/11/2018 James Watt Way – made off with goods; Theft from MV Wednesday 28/11/2018 Lesney Park Road – car door forced open items stolen; Theft from MV Friday 30/11/2018 Erith High StreetMorrison Supermarkets – filled up with fuel drove off no attempt to pay; C/Dam Vehicle U500 Thursday 29/11/2018, St. Fidelis Road – damage to car; Shoplift <£200 Tuesday 04/12/2018 11:30:00 Wilkinson , Town Square – made off with good from the store; Burg Res Saturday 01/12/2018 St. Francis Road – tv, ps4, dvd player stolen from flat, entry through the front door; Theft mail Tuesday 04/12/2018 Riverdale Road – mail stolen; Theft from MV Tuesday 04/12/2018 Larner Road – items taken from inside the car".  Northumberland Heath ward - no reports this week.


Slade Green and Northend ward:- "Unfortunately there has been 4 motor vehicle related crimes on the ward this week. Overnight between Wed 28th / Thurs 29th November number plates were stolen from a vehicle parked on Wallhouse Road. Overnight between Thurs 29th / Fri 30th November a window to a vehicle was found smashed (nothing taken) on Betsham Road. Between Fri 30th November and the Mon 3rd December a vehicle was stolen from an industrial premises on Manor Road and finally overnight between Sun 2nd / Mon 3rd of December tools were stolen from vehicle parked on Willow Road. Please remember not to leave any valuables on display – in our experience this will dramatically reduce the chances of you being a victim of motor vehicle crime. In more positive news, there have been no burglaries on the ward over the past week. The team have been involved in some proactive work such as: executed two drugs warrants on the Frobisher Road Estate, we have recovered a knife near Erith Town Centre and we have ‘stop & searched' three individuals on the ward. Finally, PCSO Mark visited Slade Green Christmas Fair as Father Christmas!"  Thamesmead East ward:- "No Burglaries again this week. Criminal Damage - Wolvercote Road Thursday 29/11/18 between 11am-12pm Lock on rear garden gate broken by person/s unknown; Thamesbank Place Friday 2/12/18 9pm Paint thrown over victims car by person/s unknown; Theft from Motor vehicle - Hinksey Path Thursday 29/11/18 between 9:15 - 9:20am. Delivery driver left van secure with items on show. On his return the window was smashed all items removed by suspect; Baylis Avenue Friday 30/11/18 between 4pm – 8am by an unknown suspect stealing the exhaust from the victim's car while it was parked in the street overnight; Sidney Road Sunday 2/12/18 between 7:10 – 7: 24pm Nurse left work bag on rear seat. On her return the rear door was wide open with bag removed by suspect unknown; Carnouiste Close Monday 3/12/18 between 1pm – 4pm Catalytic converter stolen from the vehicle. Our next Community Contact Session is Tuesday 11th December at Lakeside Medical Centre 1-2pm. Please feel free to drop in". West Heath ward:- "Over this past week West Heath has suffered 5 burglaries 2 attempted burglaries and 2 vehicle crimes. The burglaries occurred in Priory Road on Wednesday 28/11/8 between 0900-0915hours where a window was smashed to gain entry. On the Friday 30th November there was a burglary in Bedonwell Road in the early evening between 1700-2000hours. Suspects gained entry by smashing the glass in the front door. There was an untidy search and cash and other items taken. There were 2 burglaries in First Avenue, one during the day of Friday 30/11/18. The glass in the rear door was smashed followed by an untidy search, it is not known at this stage if anything was taken. The second burglary in First Avenue happened the following day on the Saturday 1/12/18. The residents returned home at 1900hours to find a male in their house, the male subsequently ran off in the direction of Madison Crescent. Entry had been gained by smashing the glass in the door to the rear of the property and then using the keys that were in the back of the door to get in. An untidy search followed but nothing taken. Last but not least there was a burglary in Malvern Avenue overnight Thursday 29th November to 30th November between 2200 hours and midnight. A handbag, documents taken and the car stolen from the driveway. There was a possible attempted burglary in Woolwich Road in the early hours of Friday 30th November where 3 males were seen on the driveway and a second possible attempted burglary in Budleigh Crescent where people seen trying door handles on Saturday 1st December in the early evening. A car was stolen in Stapleton Road overnight Friday / Saturday 29th – 30th November and items were taken from a vehicle in Glenview Road the same evening".

The end video this week features the Bexleyheath model railway show from last weekend. The event was organised by Selkent Model Railway Group, and held at Bexleyheath Academy in Graham Road. Please feel free to leave a comment below, alternatively you can Email me at hugh.neal@gmail.com.