Time & Leisure, Tuesday 18 September 2012
Each edition of Time & Leisure Magazine has a dedicated editor who either lives or has excellent links in the community, the content is relevant and reflects the lifestyles of the residents in each area, ensuring it reaches and stays on the coffee table.
If you have an editorial suggestion or comment please contact the relevant editor for the area.
Your editorial, which begins with the subject of dog walking, reminded me of the story of a woman who was walking her dog on the common and was heard to be calling it “Fido”. Someone commented that this was a rather common name for a Wimbledon dog but the owner pointed out that it was spelt PHAEDEAUX.
Just wondered whether in your editorial capacity at Wimbledon Time and Leisure ( which I read avidly!) you might like to hear why I won't be attending my local Royal Wedding street party in SW19.
I've lived in Wimbledon for 23 years now ( bar the odd year in Tooting and Colliers Wood), and in my current house in a quiet road near the theatre for 14 years. However, in all that time I've only ever got to know my immediate next-door neighbours. I do have other friends in Wimbledon, but not in the street where I live and the immediate surrounding area - a few people to nod hello to, but no-one else by name.
I'm not an anti-social person : I'm a 40-something single woman, living alone and working from home. I don't commute at regular times, don't have a dog to walk, car to wash or children to collect from the school gate, so I've never really had the opportunity or excuse to meet and then get to know the other people living around me. Unlike local business-owners, many of whom have become firm friends, like E the beautician, or A in the Dry-cleaners, or Z in the fish-and-chip shop, or L the dance-teacher... They all stop for a chat in the street, or I'll pop in for a cup of tea, or vice versa. It's called 'local community', and I value it.
So I was really pleased to get a flyer posted through the door a few months ago about a possible Street Party to be held on April 29th. What a good idea - a great opportunity to celebrate a happy day and get to know some of my neighbours at long last! Sadly I wasn't able to get to the planning meeting, due to extreme pressure of work.
A few weeks ago another flyer came through, with details of the proposed celebrations. It all sounds great fun : a tea-party for the kids, fancy dress, competitions, raffle with the proceeds to a local charity, and a Hog-roast and music from 6pm for the adults. A slip at the bottom was to be filled in, together with payment to cover the costs. Priced at £12 PER COUPLE. And boxes to tick which read 'WE will be ___ people; WE will bring ___'.
Not £6 PER HEAD, but £12 PER COUPLE.
I'm not part of a couple. So it would appear the invitation does not extend to me.
I am sure my neighbours didn't intend to cause any offence, and would be mortified to learn how hurt I am by their careless use of the plural pronoun, but I would have thought that having recently filled in our census forms we are all ever more aware that the standard nuclear family ( 2+2) is not the only lifestyle in 2011 Britain. Or even 2011 Wimbledon!
Apparently not - when chatting recently over the fence to my next-door neighbour ( married, 2 kids, moved in 3 weeks before I did) she asked whether I was coming along, and when I told her I felt excluded by the wording on the invitation and showed her a copy she couldn't work out what I was talking about, until I explained - to which her response was " Oh, but I'm sure you could still come".
I won't bother to elucidate the sub-text here : it should be plain enough.
It reminds so much of the disappointment I felt as a child, when the neighbouring street to mine in East London, where I grew up, held a party for the Queens' Silver Jubilee, and my brother and I were not allowed to go, because we lived in the wrong road.
So on April 29th I shall be getting dressed up in my best wedding outfit ( hats obligatory!) and going round to the house of another single friend elsewhere in Wimbledon, J the gay man, together with E the single mother who doesn't have custody of her son that weekend, and J's widow next-door neighbour, and various other social misfits. We shall watch the whole thing on television, and raise a glass, and be very happy for William and Kate, and then have a lovely afternoon tea in the garden, which will be decorated with bunting in true street-party style. And I'm sure we'll all have a lovely time.
It won't, however, give me the opportunity of meeting any of my neighbours in the lovely part of London where I have chosen to make my home, which seems such a wasted opportunity. But it's couples-only.....
Camerons' Big Society would appear to have quite a way to go in our particular corner of South West London.
The announcement of the much needed Thames Super Sewer followed by the news that Barn Elms was the top choice for it’s entrance point, has given cause for fresh anxiety here in Barnes. Heated responses from voices both old (BCA) and new (Stop the asking us to once again, stand up and say no!, ‘Protect our green spaces!’ they bellow.
A few years ago, Barn Elms was targeted by the now defunct Lib Dem Richmond Council for a partial Barn Elms sell off to a private health club development. Some of the funds from this sale would be ring-fenced for the long overdue refurbishments desperately needed. Close scrutiny of the proposals revealed some major gaps – such as the the Hammersmith/Fulham side of Barn Elms already had a health club running not more than 500 feet away, there were already 11 sports clubs (many struggling) within a 3 mile radius of the proposed development. The biggest cause for alarm however, was the intent to sell off public playing fields for all, for the enjoyment of the privileged few.
Thus, a handful of us gathered together to create Barnes Vision to stop it in its tracks. We petitioned, campaigned, planned, spoke, wrote and successfully fought off this bid with the help of Fields in Trust, local politicians and most importantly, the support of the community. I stepped out as the brilliant BEST (Barn Elms Sports Trust) was created to see the project through. Planning permission was eventually granted to BEST and all that was left was the task of fundraising for the eight mini, two junior, five senior football and two rugby union pitches amongst the tennis courts and cricket pitches. Job done. Right?
Not quite. Fun Runs, the Buy a Brick campaign, cake sales, even charity cricket matches will struggle to come close to meeting the remaining £350K required to refurbish the facilities it so desperately needs. The longer it sits, run down, covered with graffiti, with perpetually soggy playing fields covered with bird droppings, port-o-cabin changing rooms, all the while not paying for itself, the more it will be eyed up for projects both public and private. One only needs to look at the newly proposed government plans to sell our precious forests for a dose of reality. The economy is in trouble and Barn Elms is on borrowed time.
A huge, underutilized, open space in the heart of London, directly on the Thames is bound to remain so until the fields are re-invigorated, it runs efficiently, and its potential is realized effectively.
Knowing what we do about the state of the economy, and the state of Barn Elms and the enormous difficulties of raising this cash to get it into shape and maintain it – I can’t help but wonder if we aren’t missing a trick here with the potential of the Super Sewer coming to Barnes. The partial sell off of Barn Elms for a private health club development was one thing – but the allocation of some of Barn Elms for the well being of all of London (Barnes and Putney included) is quite another.
The site drastically needs investment and London drastically needs a Super Sewer. Instead of being so quick to say no, at the same time, shouldn’t we also ask what Barn Elms will get in return if we say yes? Things like the protection of these fields from sell off – forever; drainage for the fields; an online state of the art booking system for the pitches and courts; new changing rooms; paved and dedicated parking and security to name just a few?
I’m not saying we should roll over by any means. Thames Water has to show us why Barn Elms is the only viable location for the main entrance site and how it plans to minimize the momentous disruption the construction will undoubtedly bring to the area for 7+years. I’m saying that we should think about this logically and strategically for the long term benefit of London, Barn Elms and its surrounding areas before we say quickly shout ‘NO!’
If we give London/Thames Water this tremendous gift – it seems only fair, reasonable even, that they give Barn Elms back to Barnes and Putney in full glory and we should settle for nothing less. Could the Super Sewer be the Willy Wonka Golden Ticket that Barn Elms so desperately needs? It just might be…
When Thames Water announced its choice of Barn Elms as the site for major tunnelling activity for its proposed ‘Super Sewer’ local people might have thought they would have a say in the eventual planning decision.
Yet neither Richmond nor Wandsworth Councils will decide on development at this location that could cause irreparable damage to both the open space and the towpath environment.
The previous government wanted the decision to be taken by an unelected quango – the Infrastructure Planning Commission. The coalition government is scrapping the IPC with major planning decisions in future to be made by ministers.
While we welcome the demise of the IPC it is still unclear how local people and their councils can be involved in the new planning process. We will insist that councils cannot simply be cut out of the loop. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is now consulting on that policy statement.
There’s still time to let Thames Water know what you think of its plans. Most people agree something needs to be done about river water quality and with a number of sewer outfalls in the borough the proposals were always going to have some impact locally. But when you see the scale of the damage the tunnel shaft would inflict on the Putney towpath it makes you think the cure is worse than the disease.
I would urge you to let both Defra and Thames Water know how you feel.
Councillor Edward Lister
Leader of Wandsworth Council
020 8871 6041
Time and Leisure readers are understandably concerned that the southern part of the conservation area of Barn Elms - in the borough of Wandsworth - is earmarked as the location for the main entry point for Thames Water's £3.6 billion Thames Tideway Tunnel.
Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council has fought a long-running and successful battle against plans to locate these works in Hammersmith. This would have meant land on the riverside, large enough to build a crater 25 metres in diameter, would have been turned into a construction site for around seven years to allow a tunnel boring-machine to dig the main tunnel.
Now H&F Council is lobbying Thames Water to make sure that disruption to residents is kept to an absolute minimum now that the government is backing the scheme in principle.
Other west London boroughs are waking up to the scale of the disruption that will caused by the construction of this huge tunnel and Richmond, Wandsworth and Kensington & Chelsea are all pushing for Thames Water to amend their plans for the sake of their residents.
Residents in H&F are understandably concerned about increased traffic congestion during construction and the council is encouraging Thames Water to take away as much of the spoil and excavated material by river rather than by road, along Fulham Palace Road, especially as the borough already has some of the most congested streets in London.
This council continues to believe that the marginal benefits of the super sewer are disproportionate to the scheme's mammoth cost and we will continue to work hard on behalf of our residents to minimise the negative effects from Thames Water's plans. Have your say at www.thamestunnelconsultation.co.uk before the consultation closes on December 20.
Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh
H&F Council Leader
I am an avid reader of the mag and I rave about your articles every month, rest assured I am spreading the word on the Southfields grid.
Eyes glued to the page whilst the food on my plate goes cold; I imagine you sitting at the breakfast table, crossiant crumbs everywhere as you try not to create too much mess!
I also really enjoy your more formal reads such as tapestry of war, is there really hope for political justice and true leaders with a passion for the good. The world is in trouble and something must change, reports of a spiritual awakening of the conscious mind in a new atmosphere of understanding and unity.
Maybe the general election will be a success but as you quite rightly point out the goverment will remain and rule.... Unless WE make a change.
Thank you, truly good reading
(you can quote me on that!!!)
Dear Tony, we are FAINTING with pleasure at your wonderful articles in your two mags, which have just arrived. Fantastic. Thank you SO MUCH. You’ve no idea how indebted we are to you. What winning articles! (nothing to do with my vanity at being quoted all over the place.) Again, thank you.
Best wishes, Kate K
Head of Communications,
Dulwich Picture Gallery
After reading your editorial in this November's edition of Time & Leisure I felt that I had to contact you and invite you along to our event at Roehampton University called "Land that Job". Its on the 20th November from 2-5pm and we are inviting a number of people to engage and exchange ideas on the whole area of jobs/employability/career development. Your editorial was a great example of how people arrrive in a job which they enjoy and excel in but they make an individual and often diverse journey before they achive a job which they love. Students often think that careers are planned and mapped out in detail, almost like military stragegies, as you move progressively from one job to another. But experience tells quite a different story.
Often people get into a job they love by default - propelling themselves forward because they decide that the job they are doing is not what they want so they move on. They do not have a plan set in concrete.
Good examples of different people in different jobs talking about their work experiences can be extremely inspiring to youg undergraduates.
I hope that you will be able to come along and I would like to invite you to become part of a panel discussion who will be openly discussin these issues and more.
I will look forward to hearing from you.
Just a quick note to say thank you for the excellent coverage of the Courtauld's Renoir exhibition in the Time & Leisure publications. It looked fantastic and was a great way to start the week.
Your support is much appreciated.
With best wishes
Sue Bond Public Relations
I just wanted to say a big thank you for the piece that you did on Dawn Steele for Blackbird. Your editorial pieces make such a huge difference to us. The day both the Warren Mitchell and the Dawn Steele pieces came out, the daily sales for each doubled.
Thank you for your help and ongoing support. It is hugely appreciated by us all here at the Rose Theatre.
Very best wishes,
Director of Marketing & Communications