Curzon Cinema at Goldsmiths

The Revolt heard on the old grapevine (well, over a bottle of one vintage or another…) that Curzon are opening a new cinema at Goldsmiths College in New Cross this Friday, 29 February: http://www.curzongoldsmiths.com. For cinema fans of all stripes the area is not well served. We have the excellent Picture House but that is up in Greenwich, or the multiplex’s at Greenwich and the O2 and up at Canary Wharf. But none are easily on the doorstep and require public transport or the risk of getting caught in a jam near the Sun in the Sands. Curzon will not solve this problem but New Cross is only a couple of stops down the line and the cinematic offerings from Curzon will add further variation to what is available in the area.

Before you think the Revolt has gone all art-house on you and believes the only cinema worth watching are French mime films made between April 1952 and June 1952, Curzon play a range of films. Your Radical rather likes Curzon Soho and in the past year has discovered the rather excellent Curzon Victoria where blockbusters like Star Wars, Spectre, or most recently The Revenant have been viewed as well as films like The Lunchbox, Force Majeure, and The Connection (okay, so this is a French film…).

As for a cinema a bit closer to home, there was talk about the prospect of a cinema in Lewisham town centre, either as part of the new development or from the company that owns the shopping centre. We stand, popcorn in hand, and await further news.



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Orange is the New Black(heath)

No doubt as a direct result of the Revolt’s lobbying (moaning?) it was announced last week that TfL, Mayor of London, and Dept for Transport have agreed that London Overground should take over the franchises for all suburban rail services in the capital. For the long-suffering commuters from Blackheath, Hither Green, Lee, Greenwich, Woolwich (no need to list every station on the line…) this is promising news as the Southeastern franchise is up for renewal in 2018 and will be taken over by London Overground.

 Detail is scant at present so the Revolt is only going to flag a few things and is reserving the full ‘Huzzar’ until we know more:

  • Southeastern still have two years to run the service. We still want to see improvements from them but there is the real risk they will just milk the franchise now there is no chance of renewal. Our concerns and complaints, most recently on service (again) stand;
  • Price structures may change. At present from Blackheath for example there is the option of either a Zone 3 TfL travel card or the considerably cheaper Southeastern season ticket. Should TfL consolidate fares there could be price implications for passengers;
  • The current rolling stock is fairly well suited to the metro service which serves longer routes than other Overground services. Those fancy look-all-the-way-down trains don’t have that much seating so would not be suitable for the run down to Dartford for example;
  • Frequency of service could be affected if Overground split the routes or want to focus on an inner London service that impacts on the longer routes.

 We must remember that many of the incidents that affect the service are caused by infrastructure issues outside of the operators control so reliability of the line may not improve, but customer service, information, and service in general from the operator can only be better and London Overground seems to have done a good job elsewhere.

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Cookery Nook

Latest on Cookery Nook which closes in just under a week – Thursday or Friday (28th / 29th) according to the current proprietor.

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The sign outside the place suggests it has already been sold, by local favourite John Payne Estate Agents.  And the guy who runs it at the moment, and who has done so since 2000 (though it has been there since 1982), was somewhat cryptic when asked just now what would come in its place.  He did though confirm that it would not be:

– a restaurant;

– a hair dressers; or

– an estate agent.

By way of interest, he’s now preparing himself for an alternative career in property management but was extremely busy when this Radical was in their with the place full of people taking advantage of the closing down sale (20% off on all items).  If you’ve not yet been down there it’s well worth while as the place is a treasure trove of useful kitchen related items, and there are also some really good postcards of the local area to be had.

That it won’t be turning in to any of the above will probably be welcome news to most locals (though, this would probably depend on the exact type of establishment in the case of a new restaurant ).  But what it actually will become is a mystery to the Revolt, who have a proud history of tracking the recent changes in the village.  As at the time of writing there were no planning applications with Lewisham Council which might suggest now change of use class from the current one, or that we have a while to wait for what will replace the Nook.

 

 

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Going Southeastern

Time to Act on Poor Southeastern Service – Petition Parliament; Elected Representatives Must Act; Concerted Effort Needed

We Radicals are known for our views on Southeastern and often like a good rant (these posts normally start off with the intention of being short but even with the relaxing sound of Test Match Special in the background this Radical is struggling to maintain composure…). After the latest debacle with the response to the landslide we are once again faced with the same old issues of poor customer service and amateurish responses to incidents that certainly do not take in to account the trials of long suffering passengers.

The Revolt accepts that the infrastructure issues are out of the control of Southeastern  but the response to incidents is not. Knowing, as all passengers do, that there are regular issues with signals etc. should lead Southeastern to have good contingency plans. Instead we see half-hearted responses. Going through the archives (we’ve been around for two years now!) we noted the poor response to the emergency engineering works in Lewisham in autumn 2014; anticipated the London Bridge fiasco at the start of 2015, even though Southeastern were apparently not expecting problems; and wrote to Southeastern with some simple suggestions on how to improve the poor customer service. On the last of those we are consistently promised improvements but see absolutely no change. We Radicals, who are no communication experts or handsomely paid directors of a train company, proposed some fairly basic remedies. Yet still no change. This is not good enough.

We do not pretend that one blog can change the world, and indeed tens of thousands of angry customers seem to have no effect on the complacent Southeastern management either. However, someone has come up with a the rather good wheeze of starting a petition about the franchise on the Parliament website. The link is here and it has already gathered over 8,000 signatures. 10,000 means it gets a government response and 100,000 gets it debated. It would be easy to dismiss this as pointless, but the Revolt thinks this is a rather good idea – 10,000 should be easy, and it is open until June so 100,000 is not impossible. It may prompt someone to take note, including our elected representatives (although probably not Southeastern who seem immune to any entreaties). We note Clive Efford MP has been raising the most recent issues in Parliament and we need more of this. This Radical wonders if the service was so poor on a mainline route whether company bosses would be hauled before the Transport Select Committee and censured in some way.

Our elected representatives need to join forces on a serious issue that affects constituents – a sizable group of MPs and local councils covering the Southeastern network may have a chance of forcing debate or change, or at least holding Southeastern to account in a very public way. Why not take our ideas on customer service changes to the Chief Exec (who it was claimed had some experience in this area) and ask politely “Why can’t this be done?”, “What do you propose to do?”.

Tweeting and complaining to Southeastern is not enough. Remember life exists outside of social media. Thousands of people writing to their MPs and Councillors about Southeastern and exhorting them to take action can have an impact too.

This should be a non-partisan issue so let us avoid grandstanding and hand-wringing about privatisation, franchises and renationalisation, and focus on action that can and will make a difference to passengers. The Revolt wants to see action to hold Southeastern to account and improve the service.

If enough customers make a noise, if our elected representatives take up the cause, then maybe, just maybe, we can do more than just shame Southeastern management and actually make a difference.

 

Post Script

One area that is often overlooked is that Southeastern receive compensation from Network Rail for disruption caused by infrastructure. Yet most customers are unable to claim any compensation. As an example, this week one of your Radicals was delayed most days this week and lost at least an hour over four days, not to mention the disruption of using a different station and changing routines. But no one journey was delayed by 30 minutes so no ‘delay repay’. An annual Gold card for Blackheath now costs £1,008, yet we put up with this service. Whilst on Gold cards this Radical also wonders how much some of the ‘rewards’ schemes cost. The latest is a free glass of champagne (worth £10) if you spend £35 to go up the Shard. This Radical would rather see that money and Southeastern efforts going in to improving the service, not gimmicks. Or get that £10 off the recently renewed Gold Card.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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