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Candlelit Vigil For QMH

Campaigners fighting to save services at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup will hold a candlelit vigil on the Green next to the Hospital on the evening of Friday 19th September.  Details of the date for the community campaign event were announced by Bexleyheath & Crayford MP David Evennett and Old Bexley & Sidcup Conservative Parliamentary candidate James Brokenshire. 

Further detailed information will be released early next month, but the event is intended to have a family focus and organisers are particularly looking for adults and children born at Queen Mary’s Hospital to take part.  The news comes in the wake of the decision by Bexley Council to refer plans to close QMH’s A&E and maternity services to the Secretary of State. 

Commenting David Evennett MP said: 

“It is vital that we maintain the pressure in the fight to stop these cuts.  Health service bosses and the Government need to get a clear message that Bexley residents want to see health facilities maintained at Queen Mary’s.” 

James Brokenshire added: 

“Now that these plans are being referred to the Secretary of State the next phase is to take the campaign into the community.  We believe that the candlelit vigil will be a really positive way of showing both support for the hospital and the strength of local feeling.” 



Conservatives Pledge To Continue Fight To Save Queen Mary’s

Bexley Conservatives have expressed their anger at the decision taken by the Joint Committee of PCT’s to cut vital A&E and Maternity Services at Queen Mary’s Hospital and pledged to continue the fight to stop it from happening.  

Following a meeting of the key local activists to discuss the implications for Bexley residents it has been agreed that Councillor David Hurt will call for the decision to be referred to the Secretary of State when the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee meets on Thursday 24th July.  

Bexley Council Leader Teresa O Neill said,  

“I can assure all Bexley residents that we will continue to campaign to fight this dreadful decision. Details of our campaign will be released over the coming weeks and I hope that all our residents will join us in the fight to overturn the decision.”  

The campaign was welcomed by James Cleverly who represents Bexley & Bromley on the London Assembly, 

“Boris Johnson and the Conservative Group on the London Assembly fully support keeping these services at Queen Mary’s.”  

Bexleyheath & Crayford MP David Evennett added,  

“I am totally disgusted that Labour locally is supporting these cuts in vital services to our hospital. I am committed to fighting for my constituents to ensure they have vital services on the site, and am concerned that the decisions taken are detrimental to our community.” 


James Brokenshire MP the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Old Bexley & Sidcup sharing Mr Evennett’s concerns said,


“The whole process has been a sham. The decision to downgrade and cut services at the hospital was clearly taken long ago and this process has been nothing more than a rubber stamping exercise. We need to fight to keep high quality facilities in Sidcup for Bexley residents.”

Bexley Labour Condemned For Criticising Youth Games Participants

At last night’s Full Council meeting (16 July 2008), Labour Group Leisure Spokesman Cllr Harbans Buttar criticised the 5th Place that the Bexley Youth Game participants came at the recent Youth Games at Crystal Palace, and suggested that their achievement was not good enough, especially following their 4th place last year.
Interestingly he also criticised them in 2007 for coming 4th following their previous year’s 3rd place.  In the last 6 years the results have been:
2003          1st
2004          3rd
2005          7th
2006          3rd
2007          4th
2008          5th

In a move that shocked Councillors from both Parties and members of the public present, Cllr Buttar asked the Leader of the Council, Cllr Teresa O’Neill, what her views of the teams failures were.
The young sportsmen and women from Bexley beat off tough competition at the Games to come fifth in the 31st London Youth Games held at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

More than 500 young people represented Bexley in the annual event in which 22,000 young people take part in sports over a six week period. This year was one of the closest ever with only 22 points separating first from fifth place and Lewisham were only 9 points ahead to take 2nd place.

Highlights for the Bexley team included gold medals in vault gymnastics , girl’s artistic gymnastics, boy’s floor and weightlifting as well as silver medals in aquathlon, diving and boy’s hockey.

Some teams reached new highs for the borough including a fourth placement in trampolining, fifth place in boy’s athletics and fifth in the girl’s basketball.
Cllr Peter Catterall, Conservative Cabinet Member for Leisure, Arts and Tourism said after the meeting ‘These achievements are certainly worthy of praise and not criticism, and as I said in the meeting I find Cllr Buttar’s comments in very poor taste to the young people who took part’ 
‘The ability of these young athletes should be praised, and certainly not criticised, and we should also show our appreciation of all the work of the parents, volunteers and clubs without whom we would not be able to field teams at the Games’.

Cllr Teresa O’Neill, Leader of the Council said ‘Cllr Buttar should be ashamed of himself, and I call upon him to apologise on behalf of himself and the Labour Group for these comments to the Bexley Youth Team’
‘The teams trained hard to get to the Games, and did incredibly well, a fact that can be seen in the fact that there were only 22 points between 1st and 5th place (or 0.2%)’

No Truth To Rumours That All Parking Is Being Removed From Belvedere

Responding to a question from Belvedere Councillor John Fuller about the successful £1.3 million bid to TFL to regenerate Belvedere Village Bexley Council’s Cabinet member for Transport Cllr Peter Craske expressed his disappointment that entirely false rumours about plans to remove all the parking from the Village had been circulated to the local press.  

“I was disappointed to read in the press that Labour were accusing me of refusing to meet traders to discuss their concerns, as I had just come from a meeting with the traders on the issue” he said. 

It also emerged that Labour MP John Austin who had issued a press release two weeks ago saying he was trying to set up a meeting between the Council and the Traders, had not yet contacted Cllr Craske though those meetings had taken place. Cllr Craske told Councillors,  

“Labour attempts to deceive Belvedere residents and traders about a scheme that will deliver real improvements for the area are completely irresponsible. I have decided to put the plans on display in Belvedere Library so that people can see for themselves exactly what we is being done.” 

New London Mayor Is Good News For Bexley

Councillors have passed a motion congratulating Boris Johnson on his victory in May’s London Mayoral election and looked forward to having a constructive and productive relationship with the new Mayor.   

The motion was moved by Belvedere Councillor David Leaf who praised Boris Johnson for working closely with Bexley Council by campaigning with Bexley residents to save Queen Mary’s Hospital and for supporting the Council’s Jump on Board campaign to deliver transport improvements in Bexley and contrasted this with Ken Livingstone who had said when he was Mayor he only planned to visit Bexley once every four years. Councillor Leaf said,  

“In Four of Ken Livingstone’s Eight years in office, hard working Bexley residents had the twin evils of a Labour London Mayor and a Labour Council to contend with, now that both have been removed from office Bexley can look forward to a more prosperous future” 

Councillor Gareth Bacon who himself was elected to the London Assembly in May’s elections told the Council about Mayor Johnson’s policies which included more powers for the Police to stop and search people suspected of carrying knives, abolishing Ken Livingstone’s 50% affordable housing target that had never been met because it was so unattractive to property developers, protecting green spaces and the £4million Londoner propaganda newspaper had been scrapped and some of the money saved had been used to plant 10,000 new trees around London.  


Councillor Bacon particularly welcomed the publication of the forensic audit panel’s report, which condemned the London Development Agency’s colossal waste of money. 


“ The report pointed out that there was a mindset that success was defined in terms of spending levels not outcomes, and makes far reaching recommendations for reform of the LDA, which will lead to more money being available for genuinely beneficial projects, rather than silly pet schemes.”  

Councillors felt that Bexley’s voice would be, strengthened by our representatives on the London Assembly James Cleverly and Gareth Bacon who would ensure that our concerns were listened to.  

Concluding the debate Councillor Teresa O Neill Leader of Bexley Council said,   

“ Boris was very well received on the doorstep, people wanted him as Mayor; I’m looking forward to the Council enjoying a constructive and good relationship with Mayor Johnson for the benefit of Bexley residents.”

Tesco Fight Begins

The start of the official consultation period for a long awaited
planning application has been welcomed as a significant development by
Barnehurst Ward Councillors, Bill McEwen and Simon Windle.   Tesco
Stores Limited and St. James’ Investments have submitted two identical
planning applications for outline planning permission to redevelop the
former Woolwich HQ site on the corner of Erith Road and Watling Street
in Bexleyheath.  Their proposals are to provide a comprehensive mixed
use development for 277 residential units and a large retail store,
either residential accommodation (125 units) or office floor space
plus community uses.

Receipt of an application had been anticipated for some time, as
workshops had been conducted at the Marriott Hotel and a viewing of
the proposed model held within the former Headquarters through April
and May.  Speaking after hearing the latest news, Cllr. Simon Windle
commented ‘Local residents have already had many weeks of anxiety
leading to this point.  Their concerns appear to have been completely
ignored with many believing the workshops were nothing more than a
sham.  I was delighted to have been invited to a very well attended
public meeting held on 21st June, 2008 that was called by local
campaigners to prepare for the battle.  Now we can begin the fight to
oppose these applications in earnest.’  Erith Road residents, Claire
Summerfield and Joe Keerthiratna, are spearheading the campaign and
can be contacted via email at tescono@googlemail.com.

Absolutely any member of the public can object to these applications,
although it is important that comments submitted are kept to valid
planning grounds.  These would include traffic congestion,
environmental impact, overdevelopment of the site, pedestrian safety
and retail impact.  Erith Road is a major thoroughfare for the locally
based fire and ambulance emergency vehicles.  There are also a number
of primary and secondary schools near to the proposed site.  The plans
can be viewed through Bexley Council’s Planning Public Access website
– the applications have references 08/07470/OUTM and 08/07482/OUTM.

Those wishing to object should submit their comments via Public
Access, or send them to the Planning Department, Bexley Council,
Wyncham House, 207, Longlands Road, Sidcup, Kent. DA15 7JH or by email
to developmentcontrol@bexley.gov.uk.  A copy can also be sent to Cllr.
Simon Windle at Bexley Civic Offices, Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent. DA6
7LB or by email to councillor.simon.windle@bexley.gov.uk if desired.
The deadline for receipt of comments is Friday 1st August, 2008.





Station Access Campaign Continues and Launches Petition

A local campaign to improve access at local train stations, particularly for
disabled and wheelchair using passengers, has launched a petition on the Prime Minister’s website to call upon the Government to use some of the £370 million Access for All programme to fund the necessary improvements to deliver step free access to all platforms. No local stations in Bexley or on the Dartford to London via Greenwich line were originally included in the
programme. However, following representations to the Department for Transport,
Network Rail and South Eastern Trains by local Councillors Bernard Clewes MBE
(Erith Ward) and David Leaf (Belvedere Ward) stations including Erith may be

Attending the petition launch at Erith Station with Councillors Clewes and Leaf
were representatives from the Bexley Access Group and Bexley and Bromley’s London Assembly Member James Cleverly.

James Cleverly commented:

“It is deeply saddening that we still do not have reasonable access to
rail services in so many London stations.  This affects not only disabled people but also parents of young children and older people who may find steep stairs difficult.”

“This really must be addressed and I will contact Transport for London to
see what they can do to push for improvements in this area.”

Cllr Clewes said:

“Many of my constituents struggle to use Erith station. For those in a
wheelchair it is impossible to access London bound trains and a real struggle for people in with pushchairs, heavy luggage and walking difficulties. We will continue to campaign for improvements to access.”

Cllr Leaf added:

“Improving station access would make a tremendous difference to the
quality of life for many disabled commuters. By making it easier for people to use the railways, new employment and leisure opportunities would arise and more people would use public transport.”

“I was very disappointed to see that the Government had failed to include
local train stations in the Access for All programme. It is grossly unfair that
our local residents have missed out on this opportunity to make access
improvements and we will continue our campaign and hope as many people as possible will sign our petition.”