St. David’s Day

Monday 1 March is St. David’s Day which brings out the Welsh in me (my middle name is Llewellyn) but should also be a sign of the first daffodils flowering and Batley Park (aka Blackheath Standard) breaking out in the colour of crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils. Alas, spring is delayed. Global warming is ushering in greater volatility in our weather. But hopefully soon, there will be more sunshine to help our confidence and the green shoots of the economy.

Despite, the cold and wet we have kept up the round of meeting everyone in Blackheath westcombe yesterday in the Kidbrooke Park estate nestled between Kidbrooke Park Road and the noisy A102. People were pleased to see the Labour team and the Decent Homes programme making a difference. The new entrocoms in the blocks are going in and will mean a big improvement in securtity and peace of mind. There is a problem with people dumping rubbish on the overgrown land at the back of the Rochester Way shops which is a real eyesore; the trouble is it’s private property and the council’s powers are limited. But we will press on.

Today my normal 10k run with my eldest (just adult) daughter and out meeting the people with Nick Raynsford MP (quite a few people coming back to Labour it seems) before some domestic chores. We discuss the nightly closure of the Blackwall tunnel which doesn’t affect me as a public transport fanatic but my wife and friends (and many on the doorstep) have been really inconvenienced by the southbound closure after 9pm. Why there cannot be a carefully controlled contraflow with a 20mph speed limit as in the rothehith Tunnel is quite beyond Nick and me. We will campaign on for Mayor Johnson to see some sense here.

Tomorrow is John Roan Governors which I chair. We will be reviewing progress with getting the final sign-off for the restroration of the Maze hill site and rebuilding of westcombe park under the Building School for the future programme. It is very exciting but also challenging. We fear that a change of Government would lead to the plug being pulled on the schools’ rebuilding programme and Boy George wields the axe. But the polls are now closing: it does very much look possible for Labour to win. In any event, the physical transformation of the school will not be allowed to get in the way of the educational transformation of John Roan which goes from stregth to strength. I remain very confident of continuing year-on-year improvement from 50% in 2008 to 62% in 2009, up to 70% this year and 75-80% the year after. We continue to attract more applicants, being three times over-subscribed this year.

Time to sign off for a little domestic harmony!

David Gardner


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