I was in two minds about posting
Tuesday’s blog but I couldn’t believe the
widespread irrational responses to an MP’s slip of the tongue. If anyone believes Anne Marie Morris was
deliberately making a racial slur then in my opinion they need their silly heads testing.
I expected the number of BiB’s Twitter followers might plummet like Philip Read’s but in the event, over the day, they went up. There were several messages from those who shared my view and none against. Probably this proves that the bulk of BiB readers were brought up with the same spelling primer as I was and that the politicians and pundits who worked themselves up into a fine old tizzy haven’t got a clue about what the average bloke on the 96 omnibus thinks. The gulf will lead to serious trouble one day.
There was rather greater interest in Bexley Council’s regeneration plans for Slade Green. Having sort of sided with Bexley Council it is probably only fair to present an amalgam of contrary views, some of which are enough to persuade me that Bexley Council may be just a little too greedy - not difficult!
Many people in Slade Green, in fact anyone anywhere who looked at what has gone on recently, think the consultation exercise has been very poor. Bexley Council showed its contempt for residents there by not even bothering to consult them until embarrassed into doing so. From elsewhere in the borough the overwhelming message to my Inbox and on Twitter has been that the staff who manned the Roadshows were poorly briefed and unable to answer questions. ‘Awkward’ residents found that they could get a different answer to the same question at different times.
It’s proposed that Slade Green will have 8,000 new homes, more than any other community and the centre of it is effectively condemned by the comment it is composed of suburban low density terraces and small semis and it’s an ideal spot for high density four to eight storey mansion blocks. It’s not an enormous step from such a comment to the assumption of Compulsory Purchase Orders.
The area around the station is slated for regeneration and a commercial area is on the cards.
The 16 page summary of the draft Growth Strategy filled with pictures and large print is a severely edited document. Vital facts and cross references in the full document have been omitted so that no one who sees it will be immediately aware of what is planned for where.
At Community Events, Council Officers seemed to be very keen to deflect criticism to Crossrail and the Housing Associations. The more honest ones agreed that Compulsory Purchase was likely, if not now, certainly within the next ten years.
Council Officers shown the leaflet produced by the protest movement said it wasn’t accurate but none could say in what way.
Residents object to Bexley Council describing houses in Slade Green as “low quality”. They like their houses and they have made them home.
Council Officers have been unwilling to identify even one area of Slade Green that is comprised of low quality housing but are presumably labelling it as such to justify unnecessary demolition. The truth is perhaps that low density housing does not provide as high a Council Tax base as would eight storey blocks.
Environmental groups also have grave misgivings about the regeneration plans but as has been seen repeatedly in the recent past, Bexley Council is not in the least bit bothered by that.
As usual I am pessimistic for the chances of success of any protest campaign. In the eight years I have been watching Bexley’s disreputable Council only one of their plans has been overturned. It was the particularly silly one to store the borough’s historical artifacts in Bromley and the Council agreed to abandon the idea only because the campaign organisers came up with another which saved more money.
That is hardly likely to be possible in Slade Green. It’s the fly in the ointment!