Sunday, October 01, 2017

Anchor Bay.


I took the photos above last Sunday afternoon on Erith Pier, after last weeks' blog update had already gone to press. The event was the closure of The Erith Lighthouse Project and the end of The Erith Pier Commission. A lunch for some of the key people involved in the whole series of events was held, along with a prize presentation for some of the children who had created artworks at a series of workshops held over the duration of The Lighthouse Project. The culture, art and pop up restaurant events held over the last few weeks have attracted well over three thousand people, with ages ranging from two to ninety two. Hopefully The Erith Lighthouse Project will become an annual event; it certainly deserves to, after the very positive feedback that it has received from visitors to the various events. 

I must admit that when Cory Environmental announced the fifth birthday of the waste burner plant that they operate in Norman Road, Lower Belvedere, I was surprised - I thought that it had been open for far longer than that. I know that the original proposal for a waste combustion facility had been initially proposed in the early to mid 90's, and that there was a very strong level of local opposition to the construction of the waste burner, which ended up with two public enquiries taking place. In an interview with The Bexley Times, Nick Pollard, the CEO of Cory Riverside Energy was quoted as saying:- "I think we’ve proven ourselves to be good neighbours, we’re part of the Belvedere Forum, we work closely both with local schools and the Neighbourhood Watch, and we contributed £150,000 to the Belvedere Beach project via the Cory Environmental Trust. There’s no smell, and in terms of pollution, the air quality is better here than going for a run in Hyde Park and we produce a third of what a landfill site produces in carbon emissions. The recent widening of the M25 used our material, we’ve produced around 200,000 tonnes of construction aggregate since opening, that’s 200,000 tonnes that doesn’t need to be dug up from the English countryside. The process to produce electricity at the plant does leave left over heat, we’d like to see a neighbour move in next door to put that heat to good use.Whether it’s a commercial or residential property, we could help heat a building, we can even use the heat to help run a cool-storage unit. Because of the delay in building this facility, the UK was somewhat behind some European countries, I’d put this facility up there with any other in the world, and the UK is now starting to catch up, we hear about projects popping up all over the country, there’s one in Southwark and I believe one in Croydon is being developed, Some boroughs are still sending waste to landfill or shipping their waste abroad, it’s strange to think of local rubbish going out to power homes in the Netherlands and Germany when it could be used here. All of the power we generate goes into the national grid, we generate enough power for 160,000 homes a year, that’s roughly the population of Croydon". I must admit that I was somewhat sceptical regarding the Belvedere waste burner, but overall it seems to work quite well; the reduction in carbon emissions compared with sending waste to landfill, and the resultant material being used for construction are two points I had not been aware of. As many will be aware, I am a very keen recycler, and am keen to see less material being used only once. The waste burner is a step away from just jumping rubbish into holes in the ground, but we really need to be reusing / repurposing far more than we currently do. What do you think? Leave a message below, or Email me at hugh.neal@gmail.com

I have not mentioned any technology stories for quite some time. I am going to make up for that now. I don't know what web browser you are using to read this, but I would hazard a guess that you are probably using the Google Chrome web browser, which is now the most commonly used web browser in the world. For many years in the past, Microsoft were the dominant player in the web browser market, with the much derided and extremely insecure Internet Explorer 6 being almost the sole browser available, and the one that many web sites were coded to work with. Now a whole range of web browsers are available, depending on your computer operating system and personal preferences. Back in 2015, Microsoft launched an new browser that it called Edge, but thus far it has had little uptake, with only something in the region of three and a half percent of Windows users reporting that they use it as their web browser of choice. Bearing in mind that Edge only works on Windows 10, and not on earlier versions of Windows, or indeed other computer operating systems like Mac OS, Linux, Solaris, or any of the BSD Unix variants such as FreeBSD or NetBSD, this is indeed a vanishingly small proportion. Edge was equally notable for what it omitted as for what it added. Features not supported include ActiveX components, Browser Helper Objects, ActiveX Documents, Visual Basic Script, Java and Silverlight. In fact, Edge launched without support for any kind of plug-in, putting it at an immediate disadvantage to competitors such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and even Internet Explorer 11, which is also included in Windows 10 for compatibility reasons. The one concession to legacy code in Edge was support for Adobe Flash, though this is in the process of being phased out and will be gone completely by the end of 2020, according to current plans. Microsoft had several goals with Edge. One was to achieve a clean break from IE. The company’s mantra used to be “don’t break the web”, as a result of which IE has a complex set of compatibility modes, such as IE9 Standards mode, EmulateIE7 mode, IE5 “quirks” mode and more. The problem is not so much rendering websites that nobody has bothered to update, but more to do with applications, many of them built with Microsoft’s own tools, which rely on features of IE. Such applications can continue performing useful business functions for years after the tools which created them have been abandoned. With the release of Edge, Microsoft no longer worries about IE compatibility; if you need it, just continue to use it. Why do only a minority of users persevere with Edge? One factor was that the first release of Edge was almost unusable. The rendering engine was good, but the surrounding application was poor. Frustrations included no extensions, limited tab management, no choice about where to download files, and crude "Favourites" management. More seriously, some websites did not work properly, despite the company’s efforts. Users who liked or needed IE tended to revert to using IE as much as they could, while those on Chrome or other browsers had little reason to switch. Another factor is that Google exploits its search dominance to promote its browser. Every time you visit Google with Edge, you see an advert for Google Chrome. Edge today is certainly a viable web browser, but Microsoft’s problem is coming up with reasons for contented users of other browsers to switch. The company’s retreat from mobile devices also works against it, since Chrome in particular can exploit mobile/desktop integration. I think that Microsoft face an increasingly uphill battle to get users to switch, when so many other great web browsers are now available.


Local concern is mounting regarding the illegal moped and motor bike riders that have been infesting the local area seem to be getting even more bold in their criminal activities. As I have previously mentioned, that  just on the other side of the River Thames, Dagenham and Redbridge Police are dropping the Met - wide non engagement rule, following a radio debate I took part in on Time 107.5 FM on the 3rd of July, where the Borough Commander of Dagenham and Redbridge Police stated that they were about to trial a new policy of engagement, that, if successful would very likely be expanded to cover all Metropolitan Police areas. Up until now, unless there are very exceptional circumstances, the police will not chase yobs on mopeds, especially if they are not wearing crash helmets. At a motorcycle-related crime forum earlier this month, Government ministers heard there is a perception among the public and some police officers that the police will not pursue suspected offenders riding vehicles at high speeds. In addition, there is anecdotal evidence that criminals are deliberately removing - or not wearing - helmets because it is wrongly believed that police will not continue a pursuit if that happens. 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." Feedback that I have received from a number of respected local residents is that if some robust action is not taken by the authorities in the very near future, there are fears that individuals may resort to vigilante action. The news that the Metropolitan Police are at the very least reviewing the current situation is welcomed, though I feel that they will not only need to do more, but that they will need to be seen to be doing more. Following on from this story, it has a happy ending - for one case this time. It is so nice to be able to report something really good in respect of local law and order issues for a change. After so much trouble from the local illegal moped and quad bike riders in the last few months, I am pleased to note that just for once one of the criminal scumbags had actually got his just deserts. Billy Amos, aged 20 from Frobisher Road in Erith (See his photo above - click on it for a larger image of the criminal scumbag) has been sent to prison for illegally riding a quad bike whilst he was already disqualified from driving, and when he had no tax or vehicle insurance. He was sentenced at Bexley Magistrates' Court on Monday, September 25th to one month behind bars, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115 and ordered to pay costs of £625. He was also given 6 penalty points on the licence he does not have. It is not the first time the career criminal has been in trouble with the law; in March 2016 he was charged with a total of 12 offences - four counts of theft of motorbikes, one count of burglary, one count of attempted burglary, two counts of driving without a licence, two counts of driving without insurance, and two counts of riding a bike without protective headgear. I am hopeful that this will be the first of many prosecutions and imprisonments to hit the large group of illegal bikers that infest and menace the local area. It has been noted that some of the criminal bikers have developed a kind of uniform, which has been seen over the last few weeks. The “uniform” seems to consist of a matt black full – face helmet, along with a matt black boiler suit. The ride orange and white painted moto cross bikes, mostly around Erith, Slade Green and Crayford. This apparent gang of riders have been reported to local Police. What do you think? Leave a comment below, or alternatively Email me at hugh.neal@gmail.com.


I took the photo above a couple of weeks ago - it shows the view looking East from Erith with Anchor Bay, the Slade Green Marshes and the Erith Yacht Club in clear view - click on the photo to see a larger version. It was taken from the same mystery location as the competition photograph from last week; I had one person get very close to the actual location that the shot was taken from, but the competition is now still running.

One of the problems that comes with only being in a position to publish once a week on a Sunday is that if a good story breaks earlier in the preceding week, it can mean that the Maggot Sandwich looks like it is "coming late to the table", when in fact in many cases I was aware of the story well before it broke in the local mainstream press. The following story is a case in point. I was forwarded a press release by one of my occasional confidential sources on Monday, and the story was published by the News Shopper on Tuesday, but I have only been in a position to publish it today. Never mind; I am sure that some people will not be aware of the really good news. National consumer organisation ‘Which?’ has praised Bexley’s food hygiene enforcement record, naming it the best performing London Borough and the most improved authority in the country, after it came at the bottom back in 2015, as I wrote extensively about at the time, with West Street in Erith coming out as the bottom road in the bottom borough in the "Scores on the Doors" food hygiene ratings. The announcement of the drastic and much welcomed improvement since then follows:- "In 2015 Bexley made major changes to the way food safety is investigated in the borough. This included increasing staffing levels coupled with significantly increased inspection, advice and enforcement action to raise standards by lower rated businesses. Bexley food businesses are now among the highest rated for food hygiene in London. Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Environment and Leisure, Cllr Peter Craske said; “Residents across Bexley can eat out with confidence because of the hard work of our food inspection team. This Which? report rightly recognises the importance of this issue. To be number one in London is testament both to our staff and the restaurants and cafes across Bexley who work to maintain very high standards.” Council officers visit around 1,000 food establishments every year to make sure people are safe eating their food. Those that don't meet the standard and have a score below three face formal enforcement action including statutory enforcement notices, closure and fines. Restaurants and takeaways should display their food hygiene score in their window. If they don't, remember to ask what it is before you book, visit www.food.gov.uk or download the Food Hygiene Rating App for Android or Apple". Personally I think that is should be a legal requirement that food outlets should have to display an accurate and up to date "Scores on the Door" hygiene rating sticker in their window - currently, whilst the inspections are compulsory, the display of the rating is only voluntary - this has to change.

This week’s safety and security reports from Bexley Neighbourhood Watch Association, which begins with some special advice concerning garden sheds:- “With winter fast approaching, be sure to secure your shed to avoid a nasty surprise come the Spring: 1) Check that your insurance covers the contents of your shed or outbuildings from theft. 2) Take a look at your shed and consider how you would break in. It’s worth having a good padlock on the door with no exposed screws. Pay attention to hinges, as these are sometimes easily removable. If you have windows then these could be vulnerable unless they’re secured with wire mesh or grills. And keep it locked at all times. 3) Alarm it - consider a battery-operated shed alarm. They look low key but they respond to movement or door contact with an extremely loud siren. It is also important to lock, hide and mark the contents. Visit https://www.met.police.uk/crime-prevention/non-residential-burglary/secure-shed-garage for details of how best to do this". Barnehurst ward:-“Good news for Barnehurst Ward!! Yet again there has been no reports of any burglaries. There has also been no reports of any vehicle crime within the last week. On 25th September at 06.00pm a member of the public reported criminal damage to a bench in Russell Park. Police attended and spoke to a group of youths present however there was no evidence to say who or how the damage was caused. Officers paid a visit to Barnehurst Methodist Church on Wednesday to engage with the local residents. On Monday 25th September a visit was made to the Barnehurst Rainbows at Parkside Cross. The rainbows were given a talk on Stranger Danger and were invited to try various parts of Police uniform, this included a chance to sit in a Police car followed by getting their finger prints taken. The visit was enjoyed by all. Midfield Avenue, Westfield Road, Bourne Mead and Mount Pleasant Walk have all been leafleted in the hope of launching a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. It is hoped residents from these roads will come forward to act as a point of contact for the Barnehurst Policing Team. Please continue to be vigilant in keeping your home safe. Look out for your vulnerable neighbours and always report something or someone you feel is suspicious, best to be safe than sorry. We will be at Barnehurst Golf Club on Tuesday 03rd October at 11.00 so please feel free to join us over a coffee and a chat. If you’re a resident on Barnehurst wishing to know a little bit more about Neighbourhood Watch and what it entails, come along to the golf club and we will be more than happy to elaborate further. Please forward details to anyone you know that maybe interested”. Belvedere ward:-“The team have continued to patrol Nuxley Road and surrounding areas including the car park in relation to ongoing issues with ASB by youths. We are aware that there appears to be an issue stemming from the recycling refuse bins within the car park, in as much as the youths have taken to using items dumped here to throw into nearby streets, causing damage to vehicles. We are in the process of contacting Bexley Council to assist with this issue and will monitor the situation over the coming weeks. We have also been receiving information of drug dealing in and around Upper Belvedere and have been carrying out patrols of areas said to be affected by this issue. Lastly, a female has been charged by PC Holmes in relation to a shoplifting offence that took place at B and Q in Lower Road, Belvedere”. Brampton ward:-“Brampton ward have had a lively week with numerous crimes: Shoplifting at Pickford Lane £100 worth of goods stolen and Shoplifting in Brampton Road 4 cans of beer stolen. 3 Burglaries where suspects have broken into the rear upvc door on 2 occasions and completed an untidy search of the property , the other at present it is unknown how entry was gained. Theft from motor vehicle in Rydal drive and Belvedere Road, number plates were taken from the vehicles. Sending letters with intent to cause distress in Silecroft Road; Criminal damage in Preston Drive and Bowford Avenue; Possession of cannabis in Long Lane - officers stopped a person who was smoking it. Robbery to a person in Heversham Road, mobile phone stolen. We are currently investigating a female for breach of Criminal behaviour order and a pickpocketing that happened in Long Lane. On investigation, the CCTV in the shop has shown the offence - images of the suspects will be circulated . Please go to www.met.police.uk and choose your area , place in your road name or postcode and it will take you to Brampton ward , from there you can look up all crimes on the ward and advice on all crimes. Also look out for us on Twitter Brampton police”. Colyers ward:-“There were no reported burglaries between 20/09/17 and 25/09/17 and no reported motor vehicle crimes during the same period. On 14 September a scrape lorry helped himself to items in the front garden of Windermere Road Barnehurst. On 13 September a male was arrested for handling stolen goods following a stop of a vehicle near Hampton House on Erith Road and a quantity of cash and bank cards seized. There were also arrests for Possession with intent to supply in Colyers Lane on the 12 September and possession of Cannabis in Frinsted Road on the 15th September. Colyers next Surgery will be Friday 6th October in the Blackberry Patch Community Centre, Badlow Close at 7pm”. Crayford ward:-“Unfortunately there has been an increase in crime in Crayford this week. Of note there have been two residential burglaries. One on the 25/09/2017 during the day, jewellery and watches were stolen. Another on 26/09/2017 at approx 19.40, whereby the house alarm was set off, a neighbour entered the house and disturbed the burglar, in this instance a lady had her jewellery and watches stolen. On 23/09/2017 there was an attempted burglary but nothing was stolen. Crime prevention advice has been given. The darker nights are drawing in and we would suggest that our residents consider their home security. Please see the websites http://www.met.police.uk/crimeprevention, http://www.immobilise.com and http://www.securedbydesign.com for further information. Of course, we are available should you require a visit. There have also been non-residential burglaries to shops and business premises during closed hours. A moped has also been stolen. The Crayford Ward Panel meeting will be held on Thursday 05/10/2017 at 19.00, the venue is Sainsbury CafĂ©. We will always welcome new members”. Lesnes Abbey ward:-“Good news - No Burglaries (Dwelling). 1 Burglary Non Dwelling (Garage) Amberley Road; 1 Attempted Burglary non Dwelling ( shed ). There were person/s using metal detector/s in the Lesnes Abbey ruins. It is an offence to use a metal detector on a scheduled monument  or in an area of archaeological importance without a licence from Historic England. This is regardless of whether the user does any damage to the monument or area. It is also an offence to remove an object of archaeological or historic interest from a scheduled monument or area of archaeological importance that has been discovered using a metal detector”. North End ward:-“In the last week we have had 5 vehicle crimes reported. This includes 3 x criminal damage to vehicles and 2 x theft of number plates. One of the criminal damage was caused by a rider on a motorbike with no helmet kicking the wing mirror off of a vehicle as he rode down Manor Road making no attempt to stop. This sort of crime seems to be increasing. Any information you may have regarding any off road bikes or motorbikes and mopeds being ridden in a dangerous or ASB way, please pass on to us. In better news, a male was stopped and detained by PC Mark Brookes-Smith after we saw him riding down the cinder alley. He tried to get away but Mark was able to stop him. The bike checked out to all be legal but he still received a Section 59 warning for riding on the path and is being interviewed this week for the offences of Failing to stop for a police officer and riding where he shouldn’t be riding. We carried out a weapons sweep in Rainbow Road last Sunday and thankfully nothing was found. Surgery dates for October are set to be sent out in next week's update”. Northumberland Heath ward:-“This week we visited the Muller Dairy on Brook Street to give crime prevention advice. In the very early hours of the morning some delivery drivers have been randomly attacked by youths whilst out on the rounds delivering milk in surrounding areas to Bexley. This was very well received and a follow up visit is being planned. We have been low on crimes reported this week with only one residential burglary in Cranbrook Road. The suspect broke in via the rear kitchen window and made an untidy search of the house. The burglary happened between 1.30pm and 10.30pm on 25/09/2017. There was a fight reported between two school pupils that was quickly stopped in Byron Drive. Thankfully this appears to have been a one off incident and not linked to the previous ASB issues in the area. Officers from the team also patrolled in plain clothes on Saturday night checking The Pantiles, Parsonage Manor Way, North Heath Recreation Ground through to Bexley Road. The ward was thankfully free of any groups of youths gathering or causing ASB and no criminal incidents were seen. Groups of youths on bicycles have been spoken to throughout the week in relation to recent reports of ASB. It turned out that none of the youths spoken to had any involvement in any previously reported issues”. Some general personal safety advice from Bexley Police:- “Police were called to Natwest Bank at Bexleyheath on 21/09/2017 regarding concerns of an elderly male who was trying to withdraw a large amount of money in order to pay garden clearance workers. The elderly male stated that a man had knocked at his door offering to do maintenance work. He has attended the bank whilst the male was carrying out work at the address and tried to withdraw the cash. Officers attended the home address with Trading Standards and stopped the male conducting the work. No money was handed over. As Police we always advise don’t do business on your doorstep. If you are unsure if the company is genuine you can always check reputable traders under Bexley’s trading standards website https://www.traderregister.org.uk/bexley/index.php or you can give them a call during office hours via 020 8303 7777 asking for Trading Standards. If you feel you are being pressured into handing money over or the person becomes abusive, please do not hesitate to call 999. Bogus callers We also received a report of a young male knocking at an address in St Marys Road at 9pm on 21/9/17. It is not known what he was doing. We are looking to hear from any other residents nearby to see if anyone else came across him".


It has not been given much publicity, but the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is celebrating its 30th birthday. The railway continues to deliver a vital transport link for millions of Londoners and to mark the anniversary a '30 things to do by DLR' travel guide and an easier to read line map have been released - the the image above - click on it to see a larger version. Officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in summer 1987, the DLR initially began with just 11 single-carriage trains that served 15 stations. It has continued to grow, being extended six times to help meet east London's growing population, and now serves Bank DLR station in The City, Beckton, Lewisham, London City Airport, Woolwich Arsenal and Stratford International. Today, the entirely step-free railway carries 122 million passengers, up from 6.7 million in its first year, and encompasses 45 stations with 56 mainly three carriage trains on 38 kilometres of track. DLR customers will benefit from new trains in 2022, helping boost capacity on the DLR by 30 per cent. The new trains are part of the Mayor of London's draft Transport Strategy, which plans to create a fairer, greener, healthier and more prosperous city by improving public transport and encouraging active travel. The trains will help improve reliability and will feature onboard real time information, air-conditioning and mobile device charging points for the first time. They will also bring increased capacity and will help the DLR continue to support growth in South East London. See a short film on the 30th birthday of the DLR below.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe the New light pub for the photography location.

    ReplyDelete