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HomeCommentLettersLetters to the editor: 06/10/16

Letters to the editor: 06/10/16

Autumn is upon us

September was warm and dry with record breaking temperatures – the autumn equinox fell on the 22nd which is the point where day and night are of equal length.

October is usually changeable as the autumn rains and gales move in, although it can still be mild, weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable and it’s hard to know what to expect. British summer time ends on the 30th October which will make it seem more like winter; that exceptional hot summer is well and truly behind us.

Back in July trees were losing leaves due to warm, arid winds; now the autumn leaf fall is well underway in response to lower light levels and cooler days. Many of the plants in flower are either left from the summer borders or are autumn perennials such as Dahlias (pictured), Sedum and Michaelmas daisy. Joining the display of colour will be the falling leaves and bright berries on shrubs such as Pyracantha and Cotoneaster.

Window box displays can be changed to a mix of seasonal plants – dwarf conifers, smaller Hebes plus ivies to give a backdrop to Pansies, Cyclamens or Violas. Herb plants can also be used as the evergreen component – try Lavender Munstead, the low growing compact Thymes and Rosemary ‘Prostratus’ which will trail over the sides of containers. Other plants to consider are heathers, ferns and spring flowering bulbs.

Spring flowering bulbs can also be planted in the garden during October; Puschkinia (related to the bluebell) has attractive pale blue flowers with a darker blue line through the petals. Star of Bethlehem, has delicate star shaped flowers of pure white; it can become invasive and so confine bulbs to one area of the garden and keep it in check. The Spring Starflower has eye catching blue, fragrant blooms which continue for several weeks. It also goes by the exotic name of ‘Ipheion’ (Flower of the Incas).

With continuing mild conditions, grass will need cutting for a while yet; if there are dead patches as a result of the scorching summer heat and extensive repairs are required, new turf can be laid during October. This is not a complicated task, success is achieved by good preparation – raking out dead grass, loosening the soil  and spiking, watering thoroughly before laying the new turves; to ensure they are level add or remove soil.

Name supplied


Cyclists learn the highway code

In reply to Caroline Russell’s letter about the government’s film, did we watch the film?

The bike was at the back of the lorry then started to undertake it !

If cyclists knew the highway code they should only undertake if a vehicle is turning right sadly as most accidents involve this scenario they don’t seem to know the rules of the road.

I have seen many cyclists make this manoeuvre many times and they want to blame the lorry drivers who have no idea that there being undertaken.

The Highway Code is there for every road user to abide by lorry drivers and vulnerable cyclists.

Maybe all cyclists should be tested on the rules of the road before there allowed on them, just a thought could save many an accident.

Richard Haughney, via email 


Right to return

It is depressing to read your stories about the demolished WoodDene block, which left an eyesore for a decade on Queen’s Road Peckham.

As a former ward councillor, I worked hard with Danny Smith, the tenants chair and active tenants like Michael Bukola to get Southwark to agree the Right to Return for the decamped. .

To its credit, Southwark Housing found suitable new homes for many. But that still left lots of worthy people disappointed. Southwark Property has totally reneged on the council’s promises. No tenants will be able to return. Less than a sixth, just 54 out of 333 new homes will be for social housing, as you report, with a few more allocated for “shared ownership”.

The rest are to be sold by developers Notting Hill Housing as a further exercise in gentrification by Labour Southwark. This can be added to its appalling tally of some 700 homes sold or demolished and just a few built. No hint of Corbynism here, then.

Jonathan Hunt, Camberwell


Council’s good work on fraud

I’m sure many readers were appalled to read that a  housing officer illegally allocated homes to people who lied to get council homes, (Southwark News September 29, 2016).

I’m glad Southwark is using the full weight of the 2013 Housing Fraud law. Taking back 42 homes from these criminals is only part of the story, because the reputation of the housing staff suffers too.  As a council tenant across four decades, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard rumours of illegal allocations. I’ve always dismissed the rumours as malicious, but they undermine confidence in staff. Southwark, one of the biggest landlords in the country needs to continue to send a clear message to criminals.

Well done and ‘Thank-You’ to the fraud department for ‘Operation Bronze’ – thank you for protecting the reputation of our housing staff, as well as making sure those most deserving of council housing are not cheated out of a home by greedy criminals.

Graham Neale, Elephant and Castle


Save Rotherhithe’s historic red crane

Southwark Council want to demolish The Red Scotch Derrick Crane that has stood on a Wharf at Odessa Street Rotherhithe since the 1940s.

It is to be replaced with an eleven storey block of flats built by Hollybrook developers. The flats, that will over shadow existing buildings, will look over the river and are mainly private properties.

This Red Scotch Derrick Crane is the only one left in London Docklands, it was erected after World War Two and is drawn on the ordinance survey map of 1949 when it was one of several in the area, it was used up until the early 1980s.

The London Docklands Development Corporation refurbished it and laid out a public space around it to allow the crane to be appreciated for its part in history on the Docklands.

When the LDDC was wound down the Covenant was passed to Southwark Council who left it to fall into disrepair. Unfortunately in 2014 Southwark Council and the then Mayor of London removed the Covenant so the land could be sold development.

The crane is viewed from the river by passing boats and walkers on the Thames path. It is part of London Docklands Heritage and should remain where it is with the open spaces around it.

Although the disrepair of the crane can be seen it is only neglect by Southwark Council that has caused this and it could be brought back to how it looked originally.

Please go online and sign the  Petition to save the Crane.   then go to ePetitions  Redevelopment of Surrey Quays.

Please sign and keep our heritage we need at least 500 signatures before the council will consider.

Sandra Walsh, Rotherhithe


Is Camberwell on a new flight path?

Has anyone else in Southwark noticed the increased visibility and audibility of planes as they fly over Southwark on their arrival path to Heathrow?

I have lived in SE5 for almost 30 years and until August  was not aware of air traffic overflying.

Now, seven days a week, there is the relentless screech and grind of engine brakes from 4,30am until 11 or 11.30pm, at times planes passing almost continuously.  By clear day it is possible to see the plane details and cabin windows; on a clear night the plane outline and lights are equally visible.

Heathrow Airport’s Cheryl Monk, Head of Community Relations and Policy, stated on 22 September to Caroline Pidgeon of the London Assembly: “There have not been changes made to the numbers of or the height at which aircraft are approaching Heathrow.”  This is not my experience.

Bridget Bell, via email



  1. I dunno who taught Richard Haughey to drive but I would urgently recommend extra driving tuition. Ignorance such as his is not helpful. Some spelling lessons would help too.

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