Tesco shoppers in Southwark can help Surrey Docks Farm restore their wildlife pond by putting their blue tokens in the designated slot.

Surrey Docks Farm is one of three projects in the borough which will share funds from this quarter’s allocation of funds from the sale of reusable ‘bags for life’.

Customers’ votes are used to decide which project gets the largest share of the money.

Surrey Docks Farm says: “We need help restoring the farm’s wildlife pond for our outdoor learning projects with children and young people.

“The restoration will involve children and benefit local wildlife!”

You can vote for Surrey Docks Farm in any Tesco store in Southwark till the end of March.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said that there are no plans to extend the Night Overground service on the East London line due to low demand.

At the moment trains run between Highbury and Islington and New Cross Gate overnight on Friday and Saturday nights, serving Rotherhithe, Canada Water and Surrey Quays.

Responding to a question tabled by Florence Eshalomi AM, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has revealed that each Night Overground train carries an average of 44 passengers.

The Mayor said: “Transport for London (TfL) has considered the value for money that would be offered by extending the current Night Overground service from New Cross Gate to West Croydon and Crystal Palace.

“Unfortunately, loadings on the current Night Overground service between Highbury and Islington and New Cross Gate are relatively low compared to those recorded during the remainder of the day, with an average of 44 customers on each train as it passes between stations.

“Loadings south of New Cross Gate are forecast to be about a quarter of this with (on average) only 10 to 15 customers on each train.

“At this level of demand, the customer benefit and revenue generated by this service change is unlikely to represent adequate value for money, given the additional costs that would be incurred (which include funding changes to Network Rail’s maintenance regime to accommodate these services).

“TfL does not therefore plan to extend the Night Overground network at the current time.”

Surrey Docks Farm has launched a fundraising appeal for £32,000 so that it can carry out electrical works to allow its much-missed cafe to reopen.

As the farm explains on its website:

“As most of our supporters will know, we’ve been without a cafe this year. We’ve greatly missed the warm friendly space for our visitors and the much needed rental income which contributes to the Farm’s running costs.

“The good news is we have found some wonderful tenants to take on the cafe at the Farm. They will provide a welcoming space serving drinks, tasty cakes and delicious meals.

“However before the cafe is back in action the tenants will need to invest and install a kitchen and we need to carry out a significant upgrade to our electrics. We need to bring a new three-phase line into the Farm to meet a modern kitchen’s needs and to keep up with the demand of our growing Farm projects.

“We’ve now had quotes for this essential work from UK Power Network who will bring a supply to our boundary and from an electrician who will connect this new supply to the Farm’s Segal building and cafe.

“The total cost for this work will be £32,000.

“This is not something we have budgeted for, nor do we have enough reserves to cover this, so we urgently need your help to raise enough money to complete this work and bring back a Farm cafe.”

Find out more at www.surreydocksfarm.org.uk/cafe

Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown has given an update on plans for an upgraded ferry service between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf to replace the cancelled bridge project.

“We are continuing to examine options for a new ferry service, with work focused on route planning, fares, vessels, piers and connectivity to the local area,” wrote Mr Brown in his report to the TfL board.

“Initial feasibility work has been completed and an informal update was provided to the Programmes and Investment Committee in October.

“We are now continuing work to develop our requirements for the service, identify preferred infrastructure options, and determine a suitable delivery and operating model.

“By the end of November 2019 we expect to appoint a specialist consultant to support us in the next stages of work and have recently issued a Prior Information Notice seeking feedback from industry on how best to take forward the scheme.

“The work on a new ferry to improve connectivity for people who walk or cycle between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf is alongside the wider investment we are making in walking and cycling across the area, including delivery of Cycleway 4 and new cycle routes from Rotherhithe to Peckham and from Hackney to the Isle of Dogs.”

The Rotherhithe link is also featured in TfL’s new passenger pier strategy published last week. That document says that: “Options include new or improved piers at Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf, together with roll-on, roll-off electric or hybrid high frequency ferries to reduce waiting times.

“The Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf ferry would serve as a test case for assessing the feasibility of providing similar high-quality pedestrian and cycle links in other locations in east London, including Opportunity Areas, where the river is currently a barrier to encouraging healthier travel choices.”

Transport for London says it has adjusted the information on connection times between Jubilee line and London Overground trains at Canada Water displayed in its journey planner using anonymised wifi data gathered from passengers’ phones.

TfL has implemented the first improvements for customers following the start of collection of WiFi connection data earlier this year.

The 2.7 billion pieces of depersonalised data that have been analysed so far have allowed TfL to update Journey Planner to more accurately reflect the time it takes to travel through stations.

By collecting the data TfL claims that it has gained a greater understanding of the routes people take across the network, where they interchange and how long people may have to wait at certain points along their journey due to crowding or maintenance work.

At major interchange stations like Canada Water, the time to interchange between lines has been adjusted to better reflect busy times.

Historically, TfL has relied on customer surveys to understand the flow of movement through a station.

Using depersonalised WiFi data provides a more accurate understanding of how people interchange throughout the day.

The data collection, which began on 8 July 2019, is harnessing existing Wi-Fi connection data from more than 260 Wi-Fi enabled London Underground stations.  All data collected by TfL is automatically depersonalised to ensure that it is not possible to identify any individual, and no browsing or historical data is collected from any devices.

Lauren Sager Weinstein, Chief Data Officer at Transport for London, said: “Our lives are now more data-rich than they have ever been and therefore we are working to use this data to allow our customers to better plan their journeys and find the best routes across our network. These changes to our online Journey Planner using depersonalised Wi-Fi data collection is just the start of wider improvements we are hoping to introduce which will provide better information to our customers and help us plan and operate our transport network more effectively for all. As we do this, we take our customers’ privacy extremely seriously. It is fundamental to our data approach and we do not identify any individuals from the Wi-Fi data collected.”


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Thames tour boat firm City Cruises, which operates from Bermondsey’s Cherry Garden Pier, has been sold to Chicago-based Hornblower Cruises & Events.

City Cruises was founded in 1985 and now has operations in York and at Poole Harbour in addition to its core Thames business.

“We are incredibly excited to acquire City Cruises, which we believe to be the best leisure cruise operator in Europe today,” said Terry MacRae, CEO of Hornblower.

@We have long had the ambition to enter the European market, and it makes perfect sense to start our journey in one of the most iconic cities in the world.

“Under the expert stewardship of Gary and Rita Beckwith, City Cruises has earned an enviable reputation, and we are honoured to build on their legacy in 2020 and beyond.”

Gary Beckwith OBE, City Cruises founder and CEO, said: “We believe the sale of City Cruises to Hornblower will take the brand to the next level of success. 

“We have always been at the forefront of change and believe our growth and success over the years is testament to our commitment to embracing innovation, constantly investing in our vessels and our customer experiences, and our dedication to providing outstanding customer service every day of the year. 

“We have been honoured to be at the helm of City Cruises and believe the business we started will further flourish and grow under Hornblower’s ownership.”

Hornblower Cruises & Events President, Kenneth Svendsen, leads the combined company. All staff will be retained, with founders Gary and Rita Beckwith assisting in the transition.


The Canada Estate has been chosen as one of the testbeds for Southwark’s new ‘Great Estates’ programme.

Seven estates have been chosen to pilot ‘estate improvement plans’ by Cllr Leo Pollak, cabinet member for social regeneration, great estates and new council homes.

The council’s Great Estates programme stems from a pledge in Southwark Labour’s 2018 manifesto to “launch a Great Estates Guarantee so that every estate is clean, safe and cared for and residents have the tools to garden and improve their estate”.

The Canada Estate will share £970,000 funding with six other estates across the borough.

“Residents have raised concerns regarding crime and anti-social behaviour, in particular robberies and mobile phone theft nearby the train station,” according to the report prepared for Cllr Pollak by service development manager Sharon Miller.

There is an ASB hotspot in the middle of the estate, where there is a low level concrete structure. This area would benefit from some re-designing/redevelopment.

“Through the consultation process residents have suggested the following improvement areas should be considered: improved estate signage; re-painting and redecoration works to blocks and communal areas; improved estate cleaning; to create a space to use as a garden to grow vegetables; and new fencing around Edmonton Court.

“The estate has also been approved to receive £6,710 TRSIG funding for an estate music project.”

The bridge across Albion Channel near Brass Talley Alley was replaced a few weeks ago as part of works to upgrade the cycle route for Cycleway / Quietway 14.

But the new bridge – installed at a cost of £115,000 – isn’t to everyone’s taste, with the ‘offensive’ blue handrail drawing particular disapproval.

So far 11 people have signed a petition to Southwark Council calling for the handrail to be repainted:

The consensus among the residents in the area is that the new bridge does not suit the style of the canal and the surrounding buildings at all. The most offensive feature — and easiest to remedy — is the blue railing. The blue is at odds with the colours of all surrounding buildings and should be changed.

Plans to knock down the Albion pub at the corner of Albion Street and Neptune Street and replace it with a block of eight flats have been approved by Southwark Council.

In their submission to the council, Michael Trentham Architects say that: “The building which currently occupies the site is struggling with its fitness for purpose and although recognised locally as a landmark, it does not help or contribute to the shopping parade.

“The Neo Tudor style was common during the interwar years and as noted in the heritage statement, the current building is not a particularly good example of this.

“The proposed building has been carefully crafted and designed with carefully considered materials to enhance its context whilst providing much needed housing and a flexible commercial space that will be attractive to a wide range of occupants.

“This is in accordance with strategic Policy 10 of the Core Strategy 2011 and will help regenerate, preserve and enhance the historic shopping parade on Albion Street.

“The proposed building preserves and enhances the setting of the historic Grade II listed Finnish and Norwegian Churches, complementing both with a new urban vernacular that uses traditional materials but has a modern, bold composition and form.

“The building sits within its boundary and frames, not obstructing the views of the buildings, thus preserving their historical value and character of the area.”

Further details on the Southwark planning register.