Two new heraldic stone plaques were unveiled in King George’s Field, Rotherhithe, by the former Mayor for Southwark, Cllr Kath Whittam, earlier this month.

The stone plaques were funded through Bermondsey & Rotherhithe Community Council’s Cleaner Greener Safer (CGS) programme

The Friends of Southwark Park applied for CGS funding to create replicas of the stone plaques, as the originals were destroyed during the Blitz.

The plaques show symbols from the royal coat of arms; a Lion (England) and a Unicorn (Scotland).  The plaques were made by London company – Priest Stoneworks – and can now be found at the entrance to King George’s Fields, Lower Road.

Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Cabinet Member for Communities, Leisure and Safety, said:  “These heraldic plaques are a fantastic way to bring Southwark’s history back to life and continue to ensure that these green spaces are maintained for the public, now and in the future.”

Education watchdog Ofsted has published its latest verdict on Bacon’s College – judged ‘inadequate’ by inspectors earlier this year.

Three inspectors visited the secondary school on 15 September for a follow-up visit and their letter to principal Chris Mallaband has now been made public.

According to Ofsted inspector Mark Phillips, “leaders and managers are taking effective action towards the removal of special measures”.

The inspectors also deemed the college’s action plan to be “fit for purpose”.

At the end of last term Bacon’s College announced it would be joining the United Learning chain of schools.

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St James’s Church in Bermondsey has been added to Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.

The entry on the register says:

“St James’s church was designed in the neoclassical style by James Savage and completed in 1829. The body of the church is in stock brick while the portico, spire and window dressings are in Bath stone. The plan is rectangular. The aisles were closed off in 1965 for rented income to save the church from closure. The nave roof was recently repaired but the masonry is in poor condition with rusted cramps, cracks and eroded stonework. The church has applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant to repair the external masonry.”

St James’s – which is a grade II* listed building – recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its reopening and renewal.

Transport for London has not yet ruled out a tunnel or an enhanced ferry service between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf as an alternative to the proposed walking and cycling bridge.

TfL is pressing ahead with plans for a bridge, but says that next month’s public consultation on the scheme will also feature tunnel and boat options.

A report [PDF] on the proposed Rotherhithe crossing was considered by TfL’s programmes and investment committee last Friday.

Based on the work that has been done to date, TfL has provisionally
recommended that a navigable bridge should be investigated in greater detail, with the initial options assessment concluding:

(a) an enhanced ferry would be the lowest cost option and could be delivered
more quickly. It provides a positive Benefit: Cost Ratio (BCR) but, unlike a
fixed link crossing, it is unlikely to deliver a step-change in walking and
cycling accessibility, or realise significant wider economic benefits;

(b) a navigable bridge has a broadly comparable BCR to an enhanced ferry,
however, it would realise greater total benefits by providing a permanent link
to facilitate a transformational change in accessibility. This aligns more
strongly with developing policy and the scheme’s strategic objectives and,
further, a permanent link has the potential to realise significant wider
economic benefits which have not been quantified in the BCR at this stage. A
bridge has strong support amongst cycling groups, accessibility groups and
other stakeholders, particularly on the south side of the river, but concerns
remain over the need to open for shipping and the impact on residents in the
immediate vicinity; and

(c) a tunnel would offer similar benefits to a bridge and provide a more reliable transport connection, as it would not need to open for shipping. It would have lesser visual impact than a bridge, however, it may be seen as a less attractive environment for users and is forecast to cost significantly more, resulting in a lower BCR.

The report adds:

Work is now underway to investigate navigable bridge options in further detail and, as more information becomes available, the provisional selection will be refined and tested alongside the other options before a final decision is made on the solution for a new crossing.

Whilst the further investigations continue, it will be important not to dismiss other options until they have been considered as part of a public consultation.

Remarks by former TfL boss Sir Peter Hendy – commenting on the “pretty weak business case” for the Rotherhithe bridge – were recently made public as part of the evidence presented to Margaret Hodge’s review of the Garden Bridge.

At last week’s GLA Oversight Committee current TfL commissioner Mike Brown disassociated himself from his predecessor’s comments on the Rotherhithe scheme.

Canada Water station

Transport for London has postponed plans to build extra trains to add to the Jubilee line fleet which would have enabled more frequent trains to and from Canada Water.

Plans to boost tube capacity are vital to plans by British Land and Southwark Council to build hundreds of new homes, shops and offices at Canada Water.

Cllr Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This major delay is extremely disappointing for us, and for residents, who share our view that the Jubileel line upgrade is central to our plans for positive improvements to the Canada Water area.

“We need these additional trains to meet current and future demand and for residents to easily connect with the rest of London.

“We will be writing to the Mayor of London to outline our concerns and urge consideration for funding to be assigned to this vital upgrade.”

From Southwark Council:

“We want to hear from you about your experience of broadband in your home.

“Your feedback will help us develop a solution that works for local residents, and build a strong case for central government funding for broadband improvements in both the Rotherhithe area and the borough as a whole.”

Follow this link to the survey – closing date 1 November.

Hawker House Canada Water

Hawker House – the street food emporium in the former WHAT!!! stores building at Canada Water – successfully retained its licence after a hearing at Southwark’s licensing sub-committee on Monday. Read all the committee documents – including neighbour objections – here.

Hawker House is part of Street Feast, whose founder Jonathan Downey has made outspoken comments about the local residents who objected to the licence being renewed.

Downtown Pond

The Fields in Trust UK’s Best Park Award is now open for a public vote to select the nation’s favourite local park.

A total of 64 of London’s cherished green spaces – including Russia Dock Woodland and Southwark Park – are featured in the 360 UK-wide nominations each a much-loved part its local community. Now it is time to choose the winners via an online public vote at www.fieldsintrust.org/bestpark/london