A schoolboy stabbed in Lewisham… but who would know? 

A teenage schoolboy was stabbed in Lewisham yesterday afternoon. Back in the day, this would have made front page news in the local paper – particularly as police were involved in further altercations as they attempted to cordon off the area.

Not so in this era of hollowed-out local press coverage. Until now the only public information we had to go on was one Lewisham Police tweet as below.

I only knew marginally more as it was yards from where I live, my usual route home cordoned off with blue and white tape.

A stabbing I was told by police at the scene as forensic evidence was gathered at the top of Limes Grove. Not fatal they said, with one adding that it was “schoolchildren getting overexcited” as the end of term approached.

It happened after schools finished for the day. One local woman reportedly tended to the victim, still feeling a pulse when the medics arrived.

A helicopter landed at the scene, swooping over nearby rooftops before landing in Clarendon Rise, with one eyewitness identifying it as an air ambulance.

With no sign of any local news coverage more than a day on, I asked the Met for more information and they gave the following statement:

“Police were called at 15:57hrs on Thursday, 20 July by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) to reports of a male stabbed in Clarendon Rise, SE13.

Officers and LAS attended and found a large crowd gathered and a boy – aged 14 – suffering a stab wound. The boy was taken to hospital, his injuries are described as not life-threatening. His next of kin were informed.

While officers initially attended to the victim, fights broke out involving some of those gathered; officers were also targeted. No reports of any injuries.

There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.

Any witnesses, or anyone with any information, can contact police in Lewisham via 101, or via Twitter @MetCC.

To give information anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.”

Update, July 22:

Two arrests made, apparently, but not for the stabbing. Still no other obvious news reports.

‘Ludicrous’ and ’embarrassing’ planning expertise: a Lewisham councillor’s view

“You might as well have spoken to people at the bus stop”

Lewisham Gateway
‘Build at greater density and greater pace’, says Lewisham mayor Steve Bullock

The London School of Economics held an event earlier this week exploring the shape of the city’s development.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan attended the “Good Growth by Design” evening as a speaker, before a panel discussion and question and answer session.

Topics ranged widely, from issues such as diversity within architecture firms (limited), to London’s rising skyline, the stretched resources of council planning departments and the crucial topic of affordable housing.

There was also an interesting insight into the planning process in Lewisham and the expertise of council members.

Suzannah Clarke, a Labour councillor for Grove Park since 2010, revealed she had only had “about two hours” training before joining a planning committee. Continue reading “‘Ludicrous’ and ’embarrassing’ planning expertise: a Lewisham councillor’s view”

The astonishing gall of councillors in Lewisham’s most neglected ward

More detail emerges on how Lewisham’s Evelyn ward representative Jamie Milne earns his allowance

Earlier this week, we reported on serial skiver Jamie Milne, a Labour councillor for Evelyn whose increasingly rare appearances are but the latest in the ward’s strange pattern of absenteeism and scandal.

According to the latest figures, he attended council meetings marginally more than one in every two occasions for most of last year. But we didn’t know the half of it. Since that post, Lewisham Lately has delved a little deeper into his record and more has come to light. Continue reading “The astonishing gall of councillors in Lewisham’s most neglected ward”

The curse of Evelyn: the strange recurring cases of the errant Lewisham councillors

Serving Evelyn ward can have a strange effect on councillors

An unenviable streak of bad luck has hit the Lewisham council ward of Evelyn in recent years – at least as far as its local politicians go.

There’s been scandal, outrage, absenteeism and even deselection in the ward, which sits on top of the borough like a hat.

Back in 2013, a row broke out at a byelection after a member of the People Before Profit party referred to “an ethnic mafia”.

That byelection itself was called following the resignation of another councillor, Joseph Folorunso, who hadn’t turned up to any meetings for almost six months.

He quit a week before he would have been forced out, stating he was going to run an orphanage in Togo.

His replacement didn’t fare much better. Olufunke Abidoye was deselected just a few months after her election when it was discovered she faced disciplinary proceedings by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Then Jamie Milne stepped in. He had tried previously to serve on the council as a Labour candidate in the 2010 local elections when he was only just kept out of Lee Green ward by a Liberal Democrat incumbent (remember when there was an opposition in Lewisham?).

Once he gained the nomination for Evelyn, he was duly elected in the die-hard Labour ward, along with two other councillors from the same party.

The early signs were positive in 2014 and then into 2015 (when Milne received £13,499.27​ for his councillor duties). Milne’s attendance record was strong. He sat on various committees, including one of the three planning groups, as well as scrutiny and public accounts. In short, he seemed to be balancing his responsibilities as a councillor with his official job as the head of the constituency office of Heidi Alexander, the MP for Lewisham East.

Had the Evelyn effect lifted?

In 2016 things changed, official attendance figures show. Of the 50 meetings from January to early November where Milne’s presence was expected, he showed up to just 29.

The Guardian previously pointed out that Milne was not at an important committee meeting last September to review the compulsory purchase order for the controversial New Bermondsey development scheme.

Jamie-Milne-council-website
Jamie Milne as seen on the Lewisham Council website

 

In fact if Mr Milne was due at a council meeting, the chances of actually seeing him there were only slightly higher than one in two (58 per cent to be precise).

And of the 21 meetings he didn’t go to, he sent his apologies to only nine.

It’s not quite the staggering seven per cent attendance rate of Mr Folorunso – but engaged local residents were perhaps hoping for a higher bar.

Lewisham Lately didn’t wish to highlight this if there were extenuating circumstances so we emailed Milne (no response) then contacted him at Heidi’s Alexander’s office to check.

There was no particular reason for his absences, he said – just “work and family commitments”. He confirmed he wouldn’t be standing for reelection in 2018.

Until then, Evelyn residents may feel more inclined to direct queries to the two other councillors, Joyce Jacca and David Michael. And what of Jamie Milne’s successor? Will the mysterious absentee blight of Evelyn strike again?

Sparrow restaurant: welcome to a Lewisham pioneer

A fancy new restaurant called Sparrow has landed in Lewisham. Could it be the shape of things to come?

The words “fancy restaurant” and “Lewisham” don’t usually spend much time together.

Could this month’s arrival of Sparrow change that? It’s the first restaurant venture of husband and wife team Terry Blake and Yohini Nandakumar, a culinary duo who met while working in the Michelin-starred kitchen of St John in Smithfield (“a glorious celebration of British fare and a champion of ‘nose to tail’ eating”, according to the Michelin guide).

Sparrow lands officially in central Lewisham today (March 28), where there hasn’t been as much excitement for a new opening since the Model Market offered refuge from the long, hot summer of 2014.

It had its soft launch last week when Mrs Lewisham Lately and I managed to bag a table. Tucked just off the high street on the fringe of “old” Lewisham, the restaurant looks out over the “new”: the soaring towers and cranes of the Lewisham Gateway and the four-lane traffic that surrounds it. Continue reading “Sparrow restaurant: welcome to a Lewisham pioneer”

Tory Lewisham mayoral candidate announced (AKA the man with as much chance of getting the job as landing on Pluto)

The Lewisham Conservative party has announced its candidate for the borough’s Mayoral elections next year.

Ross Archer, the chairman of the Deptford Conservatives, will be among those  standing in May 2018.

Archer has been highly critical of the Lewisham/ Renewal/ New Bermondsey deal, and is also campaigning for better allocation of funds for schools and primary school places (although his pronouncements so far have notably glossed over the chronic problems with some of our secondary schools).

Here is his bio:

Ross has been Chairman of Lewisham Deptford Conservatives since March 2016 having previously been Chairman of Lewisham West & Penge Conservatives between 2012 and 2013. Ross has twice stood for election in Lewisham contesting Sydenham ward in 2010 and Grove Park ward in 2014. Ross has lived in Lewisham most of his life and has been a school governor in the borough. He works for a not for profit organisation in London and has previously worked in the Housing and Transport sectors.

(From the Lewisham Conservatives website).

Continue reading “Tory Lewisham mayoral candidate announced (AKA the man with as much chance of getting the job as landing on Pluto)”

Lewisham’s chronically troubled secondary schools: parents fight back

Local mothers and fathers gain more of a voice in the fight to improve education in Lewisham

The performance of secondary schools in Lewisham is under the spotlight
The performance of secondary schools in Lewisham is under the spotlight

There have been a few developments since this blog’s first post on Lewisham’s chronically troubled secondary schools earlier this month.

Firstly, parents with children are due to start their secondary education in September found out their school allocation. Many did not get what they wanted (42.2 per cent to be precise). Some were distraught.

Then last weekend, a new network for parents of the borough had its first meeting. Speakers included Heidi Alexander, MP, and Nicky Dixon, a member of the Campaign for State Education for South-East London. Nicky is a parent of a pupil at Sedgehill School, a local secondary rated “inadequate” by Ofsted and subsequently forced to become an academy – yet still waiting for a sponsor.

Nicky reports on the meeting as below:

There was lots of interest in creating a Working Group and working together to support each other, the schools and create a much needed parent education voice within Lewisham.  

Parents have lost consultation rights by the Education & Adoption Act for schools rated Inadequate, Causing Concern or Coasting, and Lewisham does not consider parents as part of the Education equation (we are not involved in the Secondary Challenge, were not invited to share our views on Transition (transitioning between primary and secondary)).
This is the start of a new journey for Lewisham parents, and we need to spread the word to create a truly borough-wide parent network.

Nicky also encouraged people to sign the Fair Funding for All Schools Petition and  use its guidance to complete the National Funding Formula Consultation, which closes on March 22.

Meanwhile, in the House of Commons this week Heidi Alexander also mentioned Sedgehill and used education as her weapon of choice to attack the Government’s recent budget, calling its policy an “aspirational mirage”.  See the extended extracts below: Continue reading “Lewisham’s chronically troubled secondary schools: parents fight back”