The upper photo of the two above above- click on it for a larger view, shows the rather nondescript fencing outside of the LMD waste transfer station in Wheatley Terrace Road, off James Watt Way in Erith
, and opposite the very long established Abbey Car Breakers
yard. LMD waste have been occupying the site for just over four years. The industrial yard is very close indeed to residential houses in Manor Road. LMD waste, it must be said, have not been very good neighbours for the people living in the nearby houses. They have been multiple reports of dust, pollution, noise, breaches of health and safety regulations, and allegations of theft from nearby businesses which have been attributed to staff at LMD waste. The company only had temporary planning permission for the site, and a couple of weeks ago they applied to extend their initial four year temporary planning permission for an additional four years. I attended the planning committee meeting at Bexley Council
which addressed the requested extension. It has to be said that the meeting was tense and somewhat fractious. Certainly, feelings ran high amongst the number of local residents who objected to the extension of the planning permission. One key error made during the meeting was the assumption that the site of the LMD Waste Transfer facility had always been in industrial use - with the inference that local residents would have always had heavy industry on their doorsteps. This is in fact not true - as can be seen from the extract from HM Land Registry
Ordnance Survey Map National Grid Reference TQ 5177 shown as the lower of the two images above. The site occupied by the industrial facility was originally residential, and was filled with houses in what was then known as Rumford Place. In the end, an extension of four years for a further temporary period of planning permission was granted by the council, albeit with some additional constraints, mainly covering dust, pollution, noise, and restrictions on early morning and late night working. Only this week, one local resident took video footage of the site operators undertaking work at 6:30 a.m. It has been a very trying time for people living close to the site. It was anticipated that further complaints would have to be made not only to Bexley Council
back to the health and safety authorities, as some of the operatives working for LMD had been seen on multiple occasions breaking health and safety regulations. This included not wearing correct safety equipment, hard hats and high visibility jackets, but also on several occasions site operatives had been seen climbing on the hydraulic arms of JCB diggers and hitching a lift on the giant claws used to move piles of industrial waste and builders rubble around the site. Early this week, there was a quite sudden change. The site was cleared of waste material, and the lorries that normally deliver to the facility were suddenly absent; it now appears that the operators of the site may be closing the facility down and moving elsewhere. Concerned local residents have taken video footage of the site, and I went around there on Thursday afternoon and took the photograph you can see above. It would appear that the site has indeed been abandoned, which has been greeted with delight by the people who've had to suffer from the irresponsible operators for the last 4 years. Residents are just hoping that they are not celebrating too early; whilst it would appear that LMD are in the process of moving out and decommissioning the site, it is not at the time of writing absolutely certain. It would be very disappointing if what residents have been seeing ends up being attributed to wishful thinking. I suppose that only time will tell. If you have any information regarding this issue, then please contact me by Email in confidence. The usual address - firstname.lastname@example.org
There is an international event taking place today that many may not be aware of. Today, Sunday the 13th of February is World Radio Day. This is not just some event dreamed up by a public relations company as a method of flogging a few transistor radios (what a quaint term "transistor radio
" is nowadays - as if anyone has a valve radio set any more). World Radio Day was created by none other than UNESCO
. In a press release they wrote:- "UNESCO’s General Conference, at its 36th session, proclaimed World Radio Day on the 13th of February. UNESCO’s Executive Board recommended to the General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day, on the basis of a feasibility study undertaken by UNESCO, further to a proposal from Spain. Radio is the mass media reaching the widest audience in the world. It is also recognized as a powerful communication tool and a low cost medium. Radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people: the illiterate, the disabled, women, youth and the poor, while offering a platform to intervene in the public debate, irrespective of people’s educational level. Furthermore, radio has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief. There is also a changing face to radio services which, in the present times of media convergence, are taking up new technological forms, such as broadband, mobiles and tablets. However, it is said that up to a billion people still do not have access to radio today. The date of 13th February, the day the United Nations radio was established in 1946, was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO. The objectives of the Day will be to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio; to encourage decision makers to establish and provide access to information through radio; as well as to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters. The consulted stakeholders also proposed ideas for the programme of celebration: extensive use of social media, annual themes, a dedicated website enabling virtual participation, special radio programmes, radio programmes exchange, a festival involving key partners, and so forth. On 14 January 2013, the United Nations General Assembly formally endorsed UNESCO’s proclamation of World Radio Day. During its 67th Session, the UN General Assembly endorsed the resolution adopted during the 36th session of the UNESCO General Conference, proclaiming 13 February, the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946, as World Radio Day. Radio is still the most dynamic, reactive and engaging medium there is, adapting to 21st century changes and offering new ways to interact and participate. Where social media and audience fragmentation can put us in media bubbles of like-minded people, radio is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and foster positive dialogue for change. By listening to its audiences and responding to their needs, radio provides the diversity of views and voices needed to address the challenges we all face. Radio informs us and transforms us, through entertainment, information and audience participation. Having a radio means you are never alone – you always have a friend in radio. On the occasion of World Radio Day 2022, UNESCO calls on radio stations worldwide to celebrate this event’s 11th edition and more than a century of radio. This year's edition of WRD is divided into three main sub-themes: - 1) Trust in radio journalism - Produce independent and high-quality content. Respecting basic standards of ethical journalism has become challenging in the present high-tempo digital age. However, in order to keep or raise listeners’ trust, journalism must continue to be based on verifiable information that is shared in the public interest, holds the powerful to account and helps society build a better future for all. 2) Trust and accessibility - Take care of your audience. Reaching out to a selected audience group implies serving the informational needs of all listeners and being a catalyst for integration and social participation - including persons with disabilities. Digital radio platforms provide grounds for innovation in the accessibility of content for the latter, such as the use of sign languages or automated subtitles for hearing-impaired audience when streaming, or announcements of content for blind listeners. 3) Trust and viability of radio stations. Ensure competitiveness - How can radio survive when financial crisis hits the media market? How to transform loyal audience engagement into financial sustainability? This sub-theme links the economic survival of radio stations to their ability to attract and retain a large enough base of loyal listeners to be sustainable or to embed listener interaction into their business models
Manor Road in Erith has a rich industrial history that is unknown to many local residents. Before the First World War Erith possessed extensive brick fields in Manor Road, to the East of the town centre. The deposit of the iron rich brick earth stretched all the way into Slade Green, where a company called Rutter's Brick Works was in operation for many years. The finished bricks were exported by ship from Anchor Bay Wharf, which was connected to the pits and brickworks by a tramway. The semi liquid brick clay was transferred from the more distant pits to the main brickworks in Manor Road by a network of iron pipes; apparently the ovens which fired the bricks were kept working around the clock, and in cold weather it was not uncommon to find homeless people using the buildings as somewhere warm and dry to spend the night. Nowadays many businesses are still based at the Eastern end of the road, whilst the Western end is exclusively residential.
Another reader contacted me during the week, with their thoughts on the situation regarding rubbish in the borough. The person, which prefers to remain anonymous writes:- " To follow up on your recent blogs about the north/south divide and the scourge of litter and fly-tipping. I am a community litter picker and therefore speak not only as a disappointed resident but as someone who actively does something about it. I have frequently complained to the council either via the fix-my-street system, directly via the council complaints procedure and directly to council employees and members of the relevant committee. With the exception of Councillor Taylor who is very active when it comes to this topic I have been ignored multiple times, given misinformation and on several occasions simply lied to. Bexley council is a total disgrace when it comes to managing street cleaning, weed management and fly-tipping. I continue to work with the council despite being treated like a nuisance. I even got our local MP involved and after several months, and after being provided incorrect and misleading information from the council she even gave up! According to information in the local press Bexley has the highest rate of fly-tipping amongst the boroughs of Dartford, Greenwich and Bromley; it also has the lowest enforcement rate
". What do you think? Would you like to write a guest article for the Maggot Sandwich? You can do so anonymously and in complete confidence. You can also Email me at email@example.com
I have for a very long time been of the opinion that there is little point in having a rule or law if it is not going to be enforced or invigilated. This could be said to be no more true when it comes to members of the public smoking in Erith Riverside Shopping Centre. Despite prominent and profuse “No Smoking” signs, people continue to ignore them and smoke like chimneys; during the week, I was walking past the Mambocino coffee shop / cafe when I saw a couple sitting at one of the outside tables; both were puffing away, directly under a sign banning that very activity. Not only are there signs on the walls, but the cafe’s tables have signs fixed to their table tops – it would be virtually impossible not to see them. I am , and always have been a personal libertarian. My view is that a person should be able to do pretty much as they wish, providing it causes no harm or distress to others. I do feel that those smokers in the shopping centre are being selfish and arrogant, but at the same time, nobody ever stops them – not the shop owners or the security guard, who is a lot less evident than he used to be. If the rules are not being enforced, then what is the point of the rules in the first place? One could argue that the smoking ban should be self enforcing, but when one considers some of the people who flout it, one might well be under the impression that breaking a smoking ban was the least offence they were guilty of.
Almost £150,000 has been lost by people attempting to buy e-scooters that are never delivered. Despite a ban on the electric scooters in public places their rise in popularity is leading to growing numbers of bogus sales, according to charity Action Fraud. Victims reporting suspected scams to the National Cyber Security Centre say they are being caught out ordering from bogus companies selling e-scooters on fake websites only to find the order never arrives and when they return to the website they bought from they find it has disappeared or been shut down. Officers have also received numerous reports of individual sellers offering e-scooters for sale via online market places and social media platforms, taking payment, and then failing to deliver the scooter once the money has been sent. Owning or trying to buy an e-scooter is not illegal. However, unless you're living in an area where a government backed trial of the up and coming mode of transport is taking place then riding them on public roads, pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas currently remains illegal. Those caught breaking the law could face a fine or points on their driving licence while police can also seize the scooter. Despite the restrictions on where they can be used the popularity of electric scooters has continued to increase with more and more people buying them, which you are allowed to use on your own private land. Since the start of 2021 Action Fraud estimates that over £145,000 has been lost by unsuspecting victims trying to buy themselves new wheels and more than 350 reports have been compiled where people have been caught out by a scam sale. Those wishing to shop for a scooter, says Action Fraud, should exercise the same caution as they might for any other online purchase. This includes using a credit card if you have one when it comes to paying for items or using an online payment provider such as PayPal which can offer additional security and protection. Although use of an electric scooter in public is still illegal, I have heard that the Home Office is currently investigating ways to legalise the vehicles; I understand that the requirements will be roughly similar to those currently employed on riders of 50cc mopeds and scooters, though this may well change before anything comes into law. Coincidentally, a story which somewhat runs counter to this is that an electric scooter user in Woolwich got a huge fine recently. A 20 year old from Woolwich Common was stopped by police on Woolwich New Road shortly before 9am on June 14th, 2021. He was found to be riding without insurance, in breach of the Road Traffic Act. Bromley Magistrates' Court found him guilty on January 12th, 2022. He was fined an initial £660 for the offences, plus a victim’s surcharge of £66 and costs of £100, while six points were placed on his driving licence. The court gave him until February 8th to pay the fine.
The News Shopper published a story this week that I feel is somewhat unfair and one sided. The article started with the following statement:- "Residents in one of the most deprived areas of Bexley are heading for budget shops and cutting out takeaways to make ends meet. The cost of living crunch is looming and people living in Erith are being forced to make drastic changes to eke out the cash in their pockets. They are facing rising energy bills, inflation and food prices going up. Erith is ranked as one of the most deprived areas in the borough of Bexley, according to 2019 Government data". This may be true to a point, but it neglects the fact that Erith is an extremely diverse town, not just it its ethnic makeup, but also financially. Yes, unfortunately there are a number of people who are at the lower end of the income range, but there are also people who are substantially more financially comfortable - one only has to look at roads such as Park Crescent and Lesney Park Road - what I have only half jokingly referred to in the past as "The Beverly Hills of Erith" to see that the town is home to a great many people with diverse backgrounds. You can read the full News Shopper article by clicking here.
It is feared that poorer people will be hit the hardest.News reaches me from a Maggot Sandwich reader in China, that the Chinese authorities have taken such a dislike to my online meanderings that they have banned my Blog, and blocked access to the site via "The Great Firewall of China". Quite why they have done this eludes me; how they even came across it is also a mystery to me. I don’t recall ever writing anything that could be construed as subversive or critical of the Chinese regime – as far as I can recall I have not even posted a negative review of a local Chinese restaurant! To be honest, I am treating it as a left handed compliment; that some faceless civil servant in the Ministry of censorship (or whatever the department responsible is called) can consider the rambling thoughts of a bloke in a small and not very well known South East London suburb could affect the stability of the totalitarian Chinese regime is patently ridiculous; I get the feeling that China’s web censors have got rather too much time on their hands. I wonder if I would get arrested if I ever went to China? This is highly unlikely as I don’t own a passport, and in any case I detest travel.
The end video this week is a documentary that was originally broadcast on BBC4. It tells the story of the musical instrument and amplifier manufacturer Vox, who many believe powered and enabled the musical boom of the 1960's and onward. The documentary concentrates on the Vox factory in Dartford, but as regular readers will be aware, the company also had a substantial factory and offices in West Street, Erith. Do give the film a watch, and send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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