So where’s the revolution? About what does this blog plan to revolt? Good questions and ones which are over-due an answer.
Well, as self-declared Radicals you can imagine it’s not the size of onion bhajis in the Village Deli (the size of tennis balls if anyone’s interested – and nice with it); nor, even, the brightly lit facia of a particular village estate agent (though it does give the impression of being a bar – a disappointment every time one passes the place). No – the revolt is about something far bigger. It’s about the prevailing consensus view about how best to ‘protect’ the area known as Blackheath.
It goes without saying that all who live/work in the area must like it and therefore want it to be as pleasant and vibrant as possible. And to those who devote their own time and effort to help achieve this there should be nothing but praise (plus, perhaps, preferential access to the public loos by the post office?).
However, the consensus view appears to be that the best way to achieve this is to object to all and every form of change/development/innovation that is proposed – or even hinted at. What might be referred to as the Blackheath Society – or ‘BS’ – consensus. As they put it: “If we hadn’t spoken up over the years against the ideas, plans and proposals that have been directed towards Blackheath Village, it wouldn’t be the place it is today – one of the most popular residential areas of London!”
No doubt the heath would now be covered in high-rise flats strewn with nappies and burnt-out Vauxhall Astras – and the village demolished to make way for a petro-chemical factory- had it not been for the BS. Or – perish the thought – that Number 4 Kidbrooke Grove might have a flat rather than a pitched roof extension.
Perhaps the best (or worst) example as far as we Radicals are concerned is the continued opposition to the heath being used for concerts and events – such as the Good Hope Festival, which this blog is very excited about. But the consensus would disagree, and have in the past gone to the courts to argue its case.
This is despite the fact that such events would undoubtedly generate more footfall and custom for village businesses. Businesses – like our lovely pubs – that make the village what it is. And whose absence the self-same residents bemoan when they’re forced to close. Due to, er, lack of custom. Just think of the additional sales of onion bhajis!
Now we’re not proposing a thrash-metal concert every Friday night; but that’s just the point – there’s a danger in extremes. The BS consensus represents just such an extreme. And so maybe it’s time for a little nudge in the other direction. Radical? You tell us.