On Saturday 25 January, starting at 7.30pm in New Cross Learning, 283-285 New Cross Road. Please come along… – If you are struggling with housing and would like to learn more about affordable, cooperative housing. – If you’d like to find out about our plans to develop new housing. – If you are keen to get involved with CASH – Or just if you fancy a chat with some other local people about how you would like Lewisham to change. We will showcase innovative examples of housing from all around the world.
Have you heard of Community Land Trusts? Do you know what a Community Land Trust (CLT) is? Did you know that there is now a new CLT in New Cross, called Community Assets for Society and Housing (CASH)? Community Land Trusts are set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets like social and working spaces. CLTs ensure that the housing remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in that area, not just now but for every future tenant. There are 263 CLTs in England and Wales, and 935 CLT homes have been built so far. CASH was founded by people who already live in local housing co-operatives and value being in control of their own housing, along with other local residents and community activists. They bring together a wealth of personal and professional experience. CASH aims to build more houses that are ‘community led housing’ and to influence the regeneration of the local area. Recognising the diversity of members of the New Cross community and their needs, CASH will be approaching Lewisham Council, local developers and Transport for London to secure small plots of land to build on. CASH is a registered Community Benefit Society. You can find out more at https://ldn.cash.
Welcome to our regular column where a local resident has their say about something on their mind. This month Muki starts a discussion about high rents forcing people to move out of their locality to cheaper rent areas and the affect it has on family life.
“I moved to New Cross before my daughter was born. We had a studio flat. It was a bit damp in the bathroom but I liked it, the carpet was nice, the furniture not bad and it was clean. Rents in London are very expensive, I was paying nearly £900 a month but I liked my neighbours, they were kind and I felt safe. When I had my daughter I got to know lots of people and my neighbours looked after me. I felt very settled. Then my daughter started school and she made lots of friends. She is a clever girl and loves school, her teachers and her friends. When I was a child we had to move around a lot and I never had friends and didn’t do well at school because I was never there long enough. I was very happy I could make my daughter’s life more settled and secure. One day I got a letter from my landlord, it said he was going to fix the damp and decorate the bathroom and hallway. I was so happy. But after he did the decorating he put the rent up and for months I paid the extra rent but had to go to food banks for food and couldn’t afford to put the heating on. Then I needed to buy school uniform and shoes and fell behind on the rent. The landlord was putting pressure on me and I just couldn’t cope. I went to see the council to see if they could help in anyway, help with my rent or help find me somewhere else to live. They said I wasn’t entitled to anymore housing benefit and I should start to look for a cheaper place to live. We are now living in Upton, in East London. I don’t know the area, I have no friends here, I feel all alone and exhausted all the time because I don’t want to take my daughter out of school in the middle of the year because she is happy and settled and doing so well. So, for the moment, we travel in from Upton every day and I hang around New Cross in the library and different community centres while my daughter is happy and confident at school. Then we travel back to Upton every evening. It is tiring and expensive, a lot of what I save on rent is going on travel, but not all of it. I know I will have to change schools soon but we didn’t ask for our rent to go up, we didn’t ask for our lives to made insecure, we didn’t ask to our lives to be turned upside down, it was someone else who decided this for us and that seems wrong. Every child should have the chance for a safe and secure childhood that’s how they can do well and making children leave the school they love, their friends and teachers is unfair. She never did anything wrong. It’s not her fault rents are so crazy in London and that there are not enough homes for people, is it?”
Grainger and LB Lewisham have now submitted a planning application for the development on Besson Street. Consultation for the application closes on 10 January. To view the planning documents visit the Lewisham Planning website: using application reference no DC/19/114805.
Most of us spend, at least, a moment or post-Christmas where we promise ourselves to be healthier in the coming year; we’ll promise ourselves to eat less, quit smoking, cut back on drinking, do more exercise etc. But very few us spend much time thinking about how we can look after and improve our mental health. Yet the fact is that 1 in 3 of us suffer from winter depression or post-Christmas blues. This should mean that we give our mental health some serious consideration. All the evidence shows us that making time to do simple things like walking, taking a bit of regular light exercise, talking with friends, and getting out and meeting people can make a big difference to how positive and good we feel about ourselves and the world around us. In the week running up to Christmas New Cross Gate Trust had some good news to share. We have secured a grant from BUPA UK Foundation to deliver mental well-being activities and training in New Cross Gate and the surrounding area. We will deliver Mindfulness classes, peer-to-peer support training, mental health first aid training, and weekly self help support groups. Keep a look out in our press, on social media and our website for more details, or contact Jill.Mountford@nxgtrust.org.uk.
Our next Mindfulness course begins on Tuesday 4 February at 6.30pm and runs for 8 weeks.. Please go to our website, www.nxgtrust.org.uk, to book a place or call us on 0207 639 7605.
Recent research conducted among more than 150 million people shows that there is a strong correlation between poor air quality and higher rates of serious mental health problems. This could be caused by air pollution itself, or noise from the traffic, or it could be that these areas are often more poor and more densely packed with people, therefore the number of serious mental health issues are bound to be higher. Scientists are increasingly convinced that some of the smallest pollutants pass through the blood brain barrier and are potentially affecting the brain. Even more recent global data has found that people living in heavy air polluted areas have higher rates of depression and suicide. So, what’s the answer to this serious problem? Do we all move out of cities? Can most people really afford to live in less air polluted areas? Or does the answer lie in better public transport; relying less on fossil fuels; greener, more efficient ways of moving all the goods around that we now all buy online; a greater concerted effort to properly green the most heavily air polluted areas? We already know that air pollution in New Cross and Deptford is six times higher than the World Health Organisation guidelines, so greening our area is essential. It’s clearly in all our interests. And it is something we can all play a role in. Whether by planting what we can in our own spaces, getting involved in developing community green spaces or lobbying our council and the London Mayor to expand their ‘greening’ plans even further. Here’s one New Year’s resolution we all need to make and really cannot afford to break – reducing our own and collective carbon footprints. Planting trees and grasses, such as Bamboo, can make a significant difference. Commit to planting a tree or some bamboo this year. It doesn’t have to be in your own backyard, you might not have one! If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved in tree planting in London check out the following websites: www.friendsoftheearth.uk, www.woodlandtrust.org.uk, https://www.treesforcities.org, https://www.london.gov.uk/whatwe- do/environment/parks-green-spaces-and-biodiversity/urbangreening, https://www.deptfordfolk.org, www.nxgtrust.org.uk, https://lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/environment/trees
In early 2018, Lewisham Council selected Grainger (UK’s largest listed residential landlord) as their joint venture partner to deliver a major, new rental housing scheme in Besson Street. A planning application was submitted in November 2019 and is now open for public consultation until 10th January 2020.
The planning application provides for 324 new residential units, flexible retail and commercial floorspace, a Pharmacy, a GP surgery (to replace the existing Queens Road surgery) and new community space for the New Cross Gate Trust in buildings ranging from 3 to 12 storeys, provision of disabled car parking, cycle parking and servicing facilities, landscaping and other associated works.
If you would like to submit comments on the planning application, please submit these via Lewisham’s planning portal.
Tickets are now available for our next 8-week mindfulness course, starting on Tuesday 4 February, 6.30pm @ Besson Street Community Garden. Click here to book.
This 8 week course (Tuesday 4 February to Tuesday 24 March, 6.30pm – 8.00pm) will teach you mindfulness and loving kindness meditation and explore a bit of the philosophy and research underpinning the practices. Specifically you will be given detailed instructions on traditional sitting practice (in a chair or on the floor), mindful movement, awareness of the senses and emotions, relaxation techniques and how to integrate this into your life so it is not another chore ‘to do’. It will provide an opportunity for beginners to become firmly established in their practice and for experienced students to deepen their existing practice.
A new parent led nursery is coming to Deptford, and is planning to open in January 2020. Parents have worked together to develop affordable fees, the opening hours they need and how they want children to learn in this space. The nursery will offer places for up to 26 local 2 to 5 year olds.
LB Lewisham have recently published a draft New Cross Gate Supplementary Planning Document. This looks at the potential designs and use of the space in and around New Cross Gate station, in light of the proposed Bakerloo Line extension. It involves the move of Sainsbury’s store to the front of the site, new (taller) residential buildings, alterations to bus routes and access points to New Cross Gate station, and a new footbridge.
While offering a very welcome improvement to public transport and capacity through the Bakerloo line extension, the plans present some issues for the Hatcham conservation area itself, in relation to a proposed new circular bus route through the site making use of Harts Lane. This is also likely to be the route by which lorries access the new supermarket, and could potentially impact on traffic levels across the conservation area. The site will also have some taller buildings on it.
Please have a look at this document, and respond to the consultation before 5th January2020. Residents in the local area are also in the process of setting up a conservation society for Hatcham Park. Further details to follow.
NXG trust offers highly subsidised short courses for local residents to improve, update and branch out their learning, skills and qualifications. We currently have the following courses available for booking.
The Somerville provide employment advice specifically for young people, so if you need help with interviews, looking for training, drafting your CV or simply considering different options, call or text R2W to 07908 699621 or email email@example.com, or register at: https://somerville-online.org.uk/ready-2-work. Sponsored by NXG Trust.
Open Stage presents Common People, Wednesday 6, Thursday 7, Friday 8 and Saturday 9 of November from 7.45-8.45pm at Student Union, Goldsmiths University. Fancy some peace and quiet? Time to contemplate away from the hustle and bustle of life? Think again! With a range of characters from the new female defender to the lonely vamp, the loved up Jack to the stressed city guy, funding moments of solitude on the common may be way more challenging than you’d imagine! In this latest Open Stage production, we hope to tap into the sometimes sad and often hilarious lives of ‘Common People’. All the actors have come through Open Book, where education is for education’s sake and for anyone looking for an alternative route. Not suitable for children.
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