Sunday, September 09, 2018

Significant delay.

The photos above were taken by me on Monday afternoon - they show the former Belvedere Police Station, and the lower photo shows the interior of All Saint's Church Hall in Nuxley Road - almost opposite the former Police Station site. The church hall was in temporary use by the developers of the site to show local residents their proposed designs and to answer questions. Bearing in mind the publicity of the interactive event was fairly limited, the turnout of local residents was impressive, with a steady stream of people arriving at the church hall. The developers - Greencourt Property Group - specialise in redeveloping former public buildings such as fire stations, schools, pubs and police stations. You can see their website by clicking here. The proposed redevelopment for Nuxley Road is OK - not great, not that bad either. I did not hear any strong objections from the other visitors to the event. To be honest, the old police station building has not exactly been an architectural gem - it has always been about function, rather than excellence of form. Whilst many mourn the loss of the Police presence in Upper Belvedere, I don't think that many will miss the building itself. Last year, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan closed 38 police station front counters to save £8 million per year, and warned that Scotland Yard was "running out of options" regarding resources. Greenwich Police Station and Swanne House Flats were sold this year for £11.5 million and Belvedere Police station was sold for £1.2 million. Other south east London police stations closed over the last six years include Sidcup, sold for £444,619 in 2013; Sydenham, sold for £1.5 million in 2014; Woolwich, sold for £2.2 million in 2014. The block of low level flats that are proposed to replace Belvedere Police Station are pretty unremarkable - they will be slightly lower than the existing police station building, and to me look somewhat similar to the apartment block currently being constructed on the former Erith Riverside Swimming Baths site opposite Erith Riverside Gardens. The property developers and architects are actually different for each site, but the look and feel seems to be remarkably similar. I guess that as with many things, architecture is subject to the latest changes in fashion. My only concern with the design of the apartment block intended for the Nuxley Road site is that it may well end up dating quite badly; other than that I can see no particularly strong objection to the plans. What do you think? Did you attend the presentation? Do you like or dislike the proposed design? Leave a comment below, or alternatively Email me at

An anniversary took place this week, and very few people have been aware of it. Google's excellent Chrome web browser turned ten years old on Tuesday. It was originally launched as a Windows-only beta app before making its way to Linux and macOS more than a year later in 2009. Chrome debuted at a time when developers and internet users were growing frustrated with Internet Explorer, and Firefox had been steadily building momentum. Google used components from Apple’s WebKit rendering engine and Mozilla’s Firefox web browser to help bring Chrome to life, and it made all of Chrome’s source code available openly as its Chromium project. Chrome focused on web standards and respected HTML5, and it even passed both the Acid1 and Acid2 web standards compatibility tests at the time of its release. This was a significant step as Microsoft was struggling to adhere to open web standards with its Internet Explorer browser. Another significant part of Chrome’s first release was the idea of “sandboxing” individual browser tabs so that if one crashed it wouldn’t affect the others. This helped improve the speed and stability of Chrome in general, alongside Google’s V8 JavaScript engine that the company constantly tweaked to try and push the web forwards. After a decade of Chrome, this browser now dominates as the primary way most people browse the web. Chrome has secured more than 60 percent of browser market share on desktop, and Google’s Chrome engineers continue to improve it with new features and push the latest web standards. Chrome has morphed into more than just a web browser, and you could argue it’s an entire platform that now runs on top of Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and even iOS. Chrome now powers Chrome OS, Google’s lightweight operating system for laptops and now tablets. Google has been bringing Android apps over to Chrome OS to make its Chromebooks and tablets more useful. Even fully-fledged Linux apps are coming to Chrome OS in the near future, and Chrome is helping push progressive web apps to make web apps a lot better. Chrome has not seen a major redesign in years, but a Material Design Refresh is heading to the browser this month. Chrome’s future now looks more and more like a platform rather than its humble beginnings as a web browser. There are concerns Chrome is turning into the new Internet Explorer 6 (an old version of Microsoft's once ubiquitous web browser that far outstayed its welcome) due to its dominance among web developers, and Google’s “works best with Chrome” messaging. As Google engineers continue to steer the very latest web standards and push them into Chrome, other browser makers will need to catch up or be left behind by Google’s rapid iteration. It certainly feels like Chrome has been here a lot longer than 10 years, though.

I have been receiving reports of serious traffic congestion problems in the centre of Northumberland Heath, which according to local witnesses are mainly caused by loading and unloading in the road outside of the Tesco Express mini supermarket on the corner of Bexley Road and Northumberland Park, right in the centre of Northumberland Heath. Tesco lorries park in the main road and cause all sorts of traffic congestion which affects all vehicles travelling through the centre of Northumberland Heath. One local resident and Maggot Sandwich reader writes:- "It seems that Bexley Council have given Tesco ‘the green light’ to regularly cause traffic chaos in Northumberland Heath. They now blatantly arrive with two articulated lorries, park opposite the bus stop outside the old NatWest bank and cause chaos with gridlocked traffic stretching from Carlton Road to Brook Street. Traffic wardens appear to be oblivious and police cars patiently wait to get through the jams without doing anything. Emergency vehicles have no chance, do we have to wait for a catastrophe before this is stopped. There are various options to stop this disruption to the local area, why won’t Bexley Council do anything, or are incentives making them look the other way?". It strikes me that not only must the emergency services have issues with the congestion, but the other shop owners in the town must be very frustrated at the current situation. I would imagine that Wellington's, the electrical and kitchenware store next to Tesco Express must have a particularly bad time of it. Have you experienced traffic jams and disruption in Northumberland Heath as a result of Tesco delivery lorries? Leave a comment below, or alternatively Email me at with your thoughts - you can be entirely anonymous, should you so wish. 

It seems that the vision of the “Smart Home” is more than a few years away. A survey has recently been carried out by accountancy giant PwC which shows that British homeowners are more concerned with practical applications and financial advantages rather than the need to be “tech-tastic” when it comes to smart technology at home. The majority of participants (72 per cent) were uninterested in making their homes smarter, and were not looking to buy smart appliances, renewable energy devices or automated cleaning appliances over the next two to five years. Research shows that they could be convinced if there were financial incentives such as reduced energy bills or free installation of smart energy meters or lights. Less than ten per cent of consumers were not bothered by pressure to keep up with tech-savvy friends and family with smart homes and were unimpressed with the ability to control devices through an app, possibly preferring to stride over the room and flip the switch themselves. Concerns were expressed over the security of certain smart devices, after the revelations recently that smart TV’s could be used by hackers to spy on individuals, by remotely activating the TV’s camera and speech recognition microphone. People seem to want simplicity and reliability over additional functionality, according to the report. One of the problems very few people have considered when discussing “The Internet of Things” as digitally connected domestic devices are often called is that of durability and lifecycle. Whilst, for example, a central heating system may last for twenty or so years (with a boiler swap – out halfway through), a smart phone with an associated app to remotely control the heating system has an average life of not much more than a couple of years. There is no guarantee that the app will continue to be supported on later version of the phone or tablets’ operating system, or that the app itself will still be available. A couple of years ago, in my old "day job", I did some research into the possibility of replacing some very expensive, proprietary interactive display screens outside of office meeting rooms which showed who was using the rooms, and who would be in there next, with much cheaper Android tablets fixed to the outside of the meeting rooms. The Android tablet hardware worked out at less than one third of the cost of a proprietary screens, but the problem was that the company that provided the meeting room screen software could not guarantee that their code would carry on working for at least five years, and after multiple Android operating system updates. The project ended up dead in the water because of this. I think that many similar situations may well arise in domestic environments, where a device such as a heating or lighting system with a relatively long lifecycle is to be controlled by a tablet or mobile phone with a far shorter lifecycle, and with software with a shorter lifecycle still. I feel that much of the “internet of things” is actually a solution looking for a problem. 

Following the article I wrote last week about the outrageous licence application that has been submitted to Sevenoaks Borough Council regarding the shortly to re - open White Hart as an African restaurant and bar, I understand that a number of local people have Emailed the licencing authority to complain about the application - which wants the bar / restaurant to be open and able to serve alcohol from 10am in the morning, until 4.30am the next morning, and not to close until 5am. The standard acknowledgement Email received by those people who complained about the licence application reads as follows:- "Thank you for your correspondence below making representations to the variation application in respect of the above premises. Please note that the last date for making representations has been extended until 19th September 2018 so I can accept further representations from interested parties up to this date. For your information, when an application is subject to representations it is referred to the Council’s Licensing Sub Committee for determination. Therefore, once the last date for making representation has passed arrangements will be made, for the Sub-Committee to hear the application. You should be aware that the licensing process requires the Council to provide the applicant with the details of any representations received. This means that a copy of your correspondence will be sent to the applicant. Furthermore, a copy of your correspondence will be included in the report prepared for the licensing hearing. This report is a public document. You will be invited to attend the licensing hearing to support your representations, at which time a copy of the Council’s procedure and hearing regulations will be sent to you. If, however, you require these documents sooner please contact me and I will be happy to provide you with copies straight away. You may represent yourself at the licensing hearing alternatively, you may wish to be represented by a Solicitor or Barrister or any other person. Your local Ward Councillor may be prepared to represent you, but you will have to contact them direct to enquire. If you do not know who your Ward Councillors are, you can contact this office and we will supply you with the names and contact details. Alternatively, you can find out who your local Ward Councillors are by visiting In preparing for the licensing hearing you should bear in mind that all decisions made by the Sub Committee have, as a matter of law, to be based upon one or more of the licensing objectives, which are the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm. Therefore for the evidence you give at the meeting to have any influence upon the Sub -Committee it must relate to one of these objectives, and can only relate to matters you have raised in your letter making representations.  In other words if your letter is about noise from the premises you cannot at the hearing give evidence about the danger to which children may be exposed to at the premises. Finally, should you require any further information or wish to discuss any of the information provided in this email, please do not hesitate to contact me. Samantha Laing - Principal Licensing Officer London Borough of Bexley". It would seem from Samantha Laing's Email, that a licencing decision will not actually be made until some time after the 19th of September; this suggests that the originally planned opening date of the 16th of September won't now be happening, and may be subject to a significant delay. If you have any further information regarding this, please let me know, either by leaving a comment below, or by Emailing me at As previously mentioned, the licencing application process formerly operated by Bexley Council is now outsourced to Sevenoaks Borough Council. Any objections to the proposed White Hart opening hours needs to be raised by sending an Email to You need to include your name and address in any correspondence, but this will not be passed on to the licence applicant.

Now for the weekly local safety and security updates from Bexley Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association. Firstly from Barnehurst ward:- "Only one crime of note to report this week. Sadly it is a burglary which occurred between 4.30pm on the 1st September to 1.30pm on the 2nd September in Edendale Road. Occupants were away for the weekend and suspects have gained entry to the property by forcing the rear patio door breaking the locking mechanism. They have then ransacked the property and stolen electrical equipment (laptops) jewellery and cash. If you have any information regarding this or any other crime please contact the team or alternately call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. We have continued our street a week campaign, a local initiative to visit at least one street a week and meet as many residents as possible across the ward. This week we have visited Colyers Walk and Peartree Close, most of the residents were pleased to see us. Please join a member of the team at our next community contact session which will be held at Barnehurst Golf Course on Wednesday 12th September at 1pm. This is an opportunity to speak to a member of the local team about any issues that may be of concern. If you cannot make our contact sessions please feel free to call us and we can arrange to meet at a mutual time and place. As always you can follow us on twitter @MPSBarnehurst and Facebook Barnehurst Police to find out what your team are up to and crime prevention advice". Belvedere ward:- "We are receiving reports of nuisance in the car park off of Nuxley Road again. The youths are gathering and picking up rubbish dumped at the recycling bins and throwing it around. They also seem to be throwing rubbish at nearby houses. The recycling bins are provided by Bexley Council for specific things (i.e. paper, glass, clothes etc.), all items are supposed to be placed inside the bins. If anyone sees fly tipping going on please contact the local authority with what you saw, what day, what time and any descriptions of the suspects and vehicle used. If you see the nuisance youths please call the team again with any descriptions, time etc. If anyone knows who the youths may be please let us know. We have now received a report of drug usage and potential dealing behind Kelvin House, Dylan Road. Also, and possibly connected to Dylan Road, reports of drug dealing on Sheridan Road. If anyone has any information please get in touch. We will be holding our next drop in surgeries on 15/09/2018 at the Abbey Ruins Café, 12:00 – 13:00. Also on 18/09/2018 at Belvedere Library between 13:30 – 14:30". From a Member of the Public - "A local resident has reported that she has been intimidated on Friday, Saturday and Sunday when she visited the Co-op and Sainsbury's in Nuxley Road by a group of men sitting outside the shops swigging alcohol. She has reported this group before to police and they were moved on, but now they have returned". From a Member of the Public - Chapman Road:- "There are youths on scrambler bikes in Streamway riding dangerously and without helmets. We are concerned because it is an area where dog walkers and families go. Not to mention the noise! (Neighbourhood Watch Office: We forwarded the info to Belvedere SNT who advised that they would link up with the North Heath team in order to investigate the issue)". Bexleyheath ward:- "We have had a burglary reported on the 04/09/2018 along Long Lane Bexleyheath. Entry was gained via a rear ground floor window and personal items had been taken. On the 04/09/2018 – A theft from motor vehicle was reported along Albion Road, vehicle door was opened and items taken. On the 05/09/2018 – There was a theft from motor vehicle reported along Midhurst Hill, there was an untidy search and property taken. Also on the 02/09/2018 – A criminal damage to motor vehicle by Café Mojito, vehicle appeared to have been keyed. The team are still targeting patrols around Martens Grove and Grove Road including the garages to reduce anti-social behaviour. On the 07/09/2018 between 3pm & 4pm at Café Nero along the Broadway Bexleyheath, we shall be holding our next contact session and you are welcome to come along for a chat.  If you do wish to pass on information to Police then please contact Crime stoppers on 0800 555111. Please do not hesitate to contact us via Twitter, Facebook, email and the ward phone. If you are after crime prevention advice, please look at the Met Police website which has lots of information that you may find useful. Remember in an emergency please dial 999 and 101 for non-urgent reporting". Crayford ward:- "On Wednesday 29th August at 16.14 a black handbag containing a pink purse, cash, bank cards and keys was stolen from a porch in Woollett Close. The victim was alerted by her bank contacting her to say that there had been four transactions by contactless card locally. On Thursday 30th August between 11.30 – 13.30 criminal damage was caused to a rear kitchen window in Maiden Lane. A tool was used to attempt to prise the window open, no entry to the property was gained. Access to the rear garden likely to be via an insecure side gate. On Wednesday 29th August at approx. 16.45 2 male youths aged approx. 14-15 years were disturbed by the owner of Farm Buildings at Maiden Lane after they broke the padlocks and gained entry to disused units there. The access is believed to have been via Crayford Way by the allotments. There have been reports of youths throwing stones at people tending their allotments, we would be very interested to know who the youths are so that their parents can be made aware of their blatant disrespect as well as any offences. On Friday 31 August at 6am police received several calls that a ram raid by three suspects on two mopeds was in progress in Crayford High Street. A quantity of wedding attire was stolen but mostly recovered nearby when apprehended by police nearby in Old Road. Between Friday 24th August at 18.00 and Tuesday 28th August at 12.00 six air conditioning units were stolen from Crayford Motors in London Road. They were externally fitted and removed without access to the building. On Monday 3 September LFB reported a vehicle fire at Creek Road, Crayford as suspicious. The vehicle concerned was a blue Transit, registration number AX08 KCU. On Monday 3rd September between 21.00-21.20 police were called to Medway Road after a large rock was thrown at a front door smashing a double glazed pane of glass. Our team have been out and about around the ward this week, six tickets were issued for use of mobile phones whilst driving and another to a driver who had no insurance or valid MOT as well as other visible foot patrols. On Sunday 9th September we will be at Lyndhurst Chapel in Lyndhurst Road with our Bexleyheath ward colleagues to meet with local residents. (Many of our Crayford residents attend there)". Erith ward:- "We went along to the Orbit funded Slade Green senior film club. Once a month they put on a film and food and drinks. There were around 45 senior residents there from Erith and the Slade Green area. If you are interested in coming next month or you know a relative who is, message me for more information. Crimes of note for the week: Theft of a motor vehicle on 28/08/2018 Cricketers Close. Theft from a motor vehicle on 29/08/2018 Bexley Road. Making off on 31/08/2018 from Wm. Morrison Supermarkets Plc, James Watt Way. Theft from a motor vehicle on 31/08/2018 St. John's Road. Residential burglary on 25/08/2018 in Erith Road, - by an unknown suspect entering the venue through the rear window and stealing property therein. Theft of a motor vehicle on 03/09/2018 Park Crescent. Theft of a motor vehicle on 02/09/2018 in Bexley Road. Lastly a theft from a motor vehicle on 04/09/2018 B and Q Plc, Lower Road. Upcoming date of note - Wednesday 12/09/18, 12 noon Erith Costa: Coffee with cops". Northumberland Heath ward:- "One attempted burglary in Beechfield Road overnight on Monday 27th August which we did not receive information about until the latter part of last week. The victim was asleep and heard tapping noises on the window which was left slightly ajar. Thankfully entry to the property was not gained. One report of motor vehicle crime over the last week. On Saturday September 1st between the hours of 2pm – 7pm a stone was used to smash a window of a parked vehicle in Belmont Road. Several bags were stolen. Please remember to remove all items from display when leaving your vehicle unattended for any period of time. Two pushbikes were stolen from outside a newsagents in Bexley Road on Sunday Morning between 8.45 – 9am. Both bikes were valued at between £700 and £750 each. We are receiving reports of groups of youths gathering in the stairwells at Walsingham Walk smoking cannabis and behaving in an anti-social manner. This area is occupied by senior citizens and some of them are in poor health. We are patrolling this area as often as we can to help to identify and deter those responsible. We have also been made aware of motorbikes being ridden erratically in this area also. The next police surgery will be held on Friday September 14th at the Library in Mill Road Erith at 2pm. The next coffee with cops event will be held on Thursday 20th at Noon in the Sunshine Café in Parsonage Manorway. All are welcome to attend these events". Slade Green and North End ward:- "No crimes of note again this week and no burglaries for over 3 weeks now which is good news. In the last week PC Brookes-Smith has had 4 males stopped in the ward in possession of cannabis -1 in Erith and 3 in Lincoln Road. 1 was resolved by way of a Community Resolution and the other 3 are due back for interview later in the month. On Thursday 30th August at 1400 hours PC Telfer chased, caught and arrested a male riding a stolen moped in the alleyways around Maynard Close. There are several charges against the male which will be established once the investigation is fully complete. This was after he had already recovered a stolen bike found in the Frobisher Road estate. A known female pleaded guilty to a Section 4a Public Order Offence (intentional harassment, alarm and distress) at court last week after an investigation by PC Telfer. She received a 12 month conditional release various fines/costs amounting to £120. PCSO Mark attended the Slade Green Seniors Film Club on Tuesday the 4th September at Slade Green Community Centre. Over 40 residents were in attendance for a showing of Oklahoma after tea, sandwiches and a few cakes. This event is held on the first Tuesday of every month and is aimed at senior citizens in the area and surrounding wards. It is also free. Please contact us if you require more details". Thamesmead East ward:- "Good News Stories - Good work by PC Quarshie-Awuah on behalf our colleagues from the Midlands, by conducting an arrest enquiry for a person who failed to appear at court. The person was not present at the address, however after speaking to the officer on the phone, the person handed himself in at Plumstead police station. The officers in the Midlands have been updated with the result. Burglaries - No burglaries. Keep vigilant at all times. CRIME PREVENTION - Back to the school run? Remember to CLOSE windows, LIFT and LOCK doors when leaving the property even for a short time. REMEMBER: DO NOT PARK OUTSIDE OF SCHOOLS ON THE YELLOW ZIGZAGS. Motor Vehicle Crimes - On Friday 31/08/18 just after midnight, a lorry parked on the Hailey Road industrial Estate had the side skirt cut open. The driver was alerted. Nothing was taken on this occasion. Between the hours of 11:00pm on Monday of 3/9/18 and at about 01:00pm Tuesday 4/09/18, a vehicle owner was alerted by his bank that a card had been used to access money. On going to the vehicle parked on the drive, the passenger door was open, the owner realised he had not locked the door. Items taken included a sports bag, driving licence and bank card. This incident happened in SUNNINGDALE CLOSE.  Motor Crime Prevention - It cannot be stressed enough TAKE ALL YOUR BELONGINGS OUT OF YOUR VEHICLE AND LOCK THE DOOR. Community Contact Session - Tuesday 11/09/18 between the hours of 1:00 pm and 2:00pm at THE LAKESIDE MEDICAL CENTRE, YARNTON WAY. All are welcome. DON'T MAKE YOURSELF A TARGET FOR THIEVES ON BIKES. Criminals are using mopeds and cycles to snatch phones and valuables. They often ride up behind the victim and even mount the pavement to grab them. Don't text while walking as you'll be distracted .Go hands free or stand away from the roadside, near a wall ,so no one can come up behind you. Make sure the security features on your phone are activated. Don't openly display high value watches and jewellery. Keep handbags fastened and close to you". West Heath ward- "Another busy week sadly. There have been two residential burglaries - one was in Hurlingham Road sometime between the 17th August and 1st September where entry was forced to the rear utility door and several items taken. The second was in Glenview Road on Saturday 1st September between 2pm and 10.45pm. An untidy search was made and a large amount of jewellery was taken. A vehicle was stolen from a driveway in Long Lane in the early hours of Friday 31st August and on the 4th September another vehicle was taken in the early hours of the morning in Gipsy Road. A car window was smashed and small change was taken in Brampton Road on the 4th September".

The end video this week is from transport expert and co - founder of the "All the Stations" project, Geoff Marshall. In the video he gives some extensive insight into the recently announced significant delay in the opening of the Crossrail / Elizabeth Line, which will affect many commuters in and around London. Please feel free to leave a comment below, or Email me at