From a City Hall report published this week, authorising the expenditure of £20,000 on research about broadband connectivity in London (the emphasis is ours):

Investigating the state of London’s connectivity, providing recommendations to address this and then working with providers to improve the service across London is a critical and urgent piece of work. There are significant issues in important inner London locations (including large parts of the City and Westminster) and in several other locations across London (including but not limited to Rotherhithe, Barnet, Bromley, Ealing and Barking and Dagenham). These issues affect small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and residents disproportionately as big businesses can usually afford to pay for their own leased line. The Mayor is passionate about rectifying this issue as quickly as possible. This issue has also recently been highlighted by the Prime Minister.

It’s good to know that City Hall officials are taking the issue seriously.

Photo by Davina Connor
Photo by Davina Connor


Eight fire engines and 58 firefighters and officers tackled a fire at the rear of the What!!! Stores shop on Surrey Quays Road on Wednesday lunchtime.

According to the London Fire Brigade, three gas cylinders are believed to have exploded and there are reports of more cylinders involved in the blaze. There are no reports of any injures at this stage.

Firefighters from East Greenwich, Dockhead, Old Kent Road, Deptford, Peckham, Whitechapel, New Cross and  Lewisham fire stations were sent to the scene.

The smoke was visible from a large part of south-east and central London.

Surrey Quays Road and Canada Street were shut to traffic.

What!!! Stores is the discount hardware shop next to the former Harmsworth Quays printing works.

Police are investigating a burglary at FA Albin & Sons funeral directors in Culling Road.

It is believed that the burglary took place overnight between Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 July.

Officers from Southwark CID are investigating and no arrests have yet been made.


Anyone with information should call police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

BrfQXPDCUAAG5uP.jpg-largeThe area around the Blue is to become a business improvement district (BID)  after local firms voted in favour of the proposal in an official ballot.

Nearly nine out of 10 firms backed the proposal which was spearheaded by Russell Dryden, the fishmonger in the Blue market.

BIDs are funded by a levy on business rates and provide a way for local traders to work together to promote their locality as a place to do business and to make environmental improvements to their area.

Find out more about the project on the Blue Bermondsey Business Association website.

Southwark Council is in talks with the City of London Corporation over plans to bring high-speed broadband to Rotherhithe.

News of the discussions was revealed by the council’s chief executive Eleanor Kelly at a meeting of the borough’s cabinet on Wednesday.

The City of London Corporation – the local government body for the Square Mile financial district – has been looking at ways of providing high-speed internet connections for its businesses and residents.

“At present, no operator has plans to provide a high speed, affordable broadband network across the Square Mile,” the corporation posted on Facebook in May this year.

Southwark Council hopes that by teaming up with the City, it could put a deal in place with a commercial partner more quickly and provide a more attractive proposition for prospective partners than the Square Mile could on its own.

Meanwhile the Rotherhithe Broadband Group continues to promote its social enterprise proposal for solving the SE16 broadband problem.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has invited the Rotherhithe Broadband Group to a meeting at City Hall to discuss their plans for a locally owned and managed fibre internet service.

The Rotherhithe Broadband Group’s Brian Hodge called the Mayor’s ‘Ask Boris’ radio phone-in on LBC on Tuesday morning to ask for help.

“I’m very concerned about broadband speeds in the centre of London,” said the Mayor. “It’s absolutely disgraceful that we’re not going faster.”

Mr Johnson invited Mr Hodge to meet him to discuss the issue in Rotherhithe.

He added: “I’m fed up with this broadband issue. We must get this thing sorted out.”

Businesses around the Blue are currently taking part in a ballot on the formation of a business improvement district (BID) for the area.

Southwark already has several BIDs including Team London Bridge and Better Bankside. They are funded by a levy on business rates and provide a way for local firms to work together to improve and promote their locality as a place to do business.

The Blue Bermondsey BID ballot closes on 3 July and the result will be announced the next day.

The proposed BID would span the SE1/SE16 border and stretch from Monnow Road in the west to Raymouth Road in the east.

Clements Road would form the northern boundary with the BID stretching south to encompass the City of London Academy.

Full details of the proposal are now available online.

The Rotherhithe Broadband Group has lauched its Broadband Blueprint for Rotherhithe (PDF).

The Blueprint is the result of several months of exploration of the widespread anger and frustration at the poor broadband speeds and poor stability in the area. The document was revealed at tonight’s Canada Water Consultative Forum meeting.

The Rotherhithe Broadband Group has been looking at why the broadband service to Rotherhithe is so poor and what can be done to improve it.

They said:

We have met with BT and been in contact with Virgin Media to assess what the main providers can do and to understand better the reasons for the poor broadband speeds.

We believe the problem lies with the providers of infrastructure rather than the ISPs. BT as main provider must urgently upgrade their provision to Rotherhithe. However the Group has concluded that a community-owned and -managed broadband infrastructure could deliver a better solution faster and cheaper. Such a solution would future-proof the infrastructure by providing superfast fibre to the home rather than relying on the existing copper wire system.

The Broadband Group is currently completing a feasibility study into the details of our solution. So far it shows that local investment would be better spent on a local solution rather than paid to the major provider. Locally-owned and managed infrastructure would aid the area’s regeneration, maintain the competitiveness of the area and encourage new businesses to consider Rotherhithe a place for long-term investment.

In launching the Broadband Blueprint for Rotherhithe, the group calls on the London Borough of Southwark to support us to find the necessary investment. We call on local councillors and other politicians to come behind the plan and offer their public endorsement of our blueprint. We are looking for partners of all kinds to help us make Rotherhithe a great place to get online. We invite community members with specialist skills such as legal experience or marketing expertise to join the planning group as we develop this project further. If you want to stay in touch with developments, register your details at and we will send you regular updates.

Pauline Adenwalla –  chair of the Canada Water Consultative Forum who chaired the working group – said: “Once again the community has shown that it has the skills and knowledge to provide community based solutions to address the issue of the local infrastructure.”

Mark Parker who convened the group said: “For years, the issue of broadband has dogged residents and small business owners in Rotherhithe.

“Now we have a chance to turn the experience round and deliver a service fit for the 21st century.”

From the latest diary of local funeral director Barry Albin-Dyer:

You may have observed that the roundabouts at the Rotherhithe Tunnel and at Crittals Corner have been signed as ‘The Albin Roundabout’ as we have sponsored them, and I have to say that it has already helped some people to find us much easier already – Look out on the news for ‘traffic approaching the Albins Roundabout’!! – Who knows??