don't read the menu options and go directly to the page content 

Key issues in Blackheath

Home / News / Blackheath / Key issues in Blackheath

19 April 2010
Key issues in Blackheath A few weeks ago the Blackheath Village Residents Group asked all local parliamentary and council candidates a series of questions on hot local topics. I agreed my answers with Labour’s council candidates in Blackheath (Paul Keane, Colin Elliot and Kevin Bonavia) and thought I’d paste a copy of my answers here.

Since writing these answers, we’ve had some quite good news from SouthEasten who have agreed to lengthen one of the Cannon Street trains (the 08:48) in an attempt to ease overcrowding (the extra carriages are being taken off one of their Kent services). Nick Raynsford, Bridget Prentice and I have been pushing for some recognition of the problems that the new timetable has caused and whilst this is only a small change, I think it’s to be welcomed.


Southeastern has severely reduced the peak-time train service from Blackheath. What steps would you take to get the services re-instated, and the off-peak timetable moved to the long-promised “clock-face”, i.e. evenly spaced, service?

Local Labour party representatives have already had a number of meetings with SouthEastern about recent timetable changes (see my previous post). In the short term, we have put pressure upon SouthEastern to carry out a review of overcrowding on their services and have asked them to consider whether it would be possible to add extra carriages to the trains that call at Blackheath. Along with current Lewisham East MP Bridget Prentice and Nick Raynsford MP, I am due to meet with SouthEastern again to review the passenger loadings data. We will provide an update to BVRG once this meeting has taken place. Should extra carriages not be forthcoming or should they not ease the problems significantly, we would take this matter up with the Department for Transport who specify the franchise commitments for the line. Should we be elected, we would also want to campaign on the “clock-face” timetable and would want to involve the local community in lobbying for change. We would want to support the efforts of local groups such as BVRG and the Blackheath Society in this area.

Cumulative Impact Zone

The CIZ has been in operation since November, 2007. There will be a review in 2010 as to whether it should remain in force. What is your policy on this?

We believe the Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ) in the Village should stay in force as we understand that, on balance, it has made positive difference to public nuisance in Blackheath. We believe it is right that there should be a presumption against the granting of new licences in the Village given the large number of existing licensed establishments and the problems with anti-social behaviour that still exist. We also think it’s right that any new applicant should have to demonstrate that a new licence (or longer licence) would not have an adverse impact on residents living within the CIZ. However, it is clear that more work needs to be done with existing licence holders to ensure that they do not encourage excessive drinking and with the police to ensure that the some of the worst behaviour on Friday and Saturday nights is dealt with effectively.


The BHA zone is very large, and many Village-centre residents find it difficult to park their cars near their homes. What is your policy on this?

The BHA controlled parking zone was one of the first to be introduced by Lewisham Council and we are aware of strongly held views about the appropriateness of the boundary and the parking restrictions (i.e. whether there should be 2 hour or all day restrictions). The council carried out a review of the zone in the 2006 and consultation responses suggested that there wasn’t strong support for change across the area as a whole. This is clearly a difficult issue – parking is at its most intrusive in the village and there is the need to balance the wishes of residents as well as the wishes of business. We would be supportive in principle of a further review but funds would need to be found for this exercise and ideally we would find need to try to find some consensus across the zone.


Many residents remember 1999, when the council attempted to close the Village library. Can you assure us that the Village library will remain open, and be adequately funded?

Decisions about the future of Blackheath Library would ultimately be one for the Mayor of Lewisham to take but should we be elected as local representatives, we would want to see Blackheath Library remain open with adequate funds. We recognise that Blackheath is one of the busiest local libraries in the borough and that it fulfils an incredibly important role in our community – both educationally and recreationally. We are aware of no plans which would threaten the future of the library – should any plans emerge we would fight to protect this vital local service. Having recently attended a Blackheath Library User Group meeting, we are aware that many people would like to see improvements in the library – extended opening hours, better computer facilities and a lift to name just a few. We would like to explore the ways in which these improvements could be brought about.

website by Hudson Berkley Reinhart Ltd