25 January 2006

25 January 2006

Orient expressed already at school

BLACKHEATH not Brighton is leading the way in teaching pupils the Chinese language, according to a headteacher. Last week bosses at Brighton College in East Sussex claimed it was set to become the first place in the country to make Mandarin Chinese a compulsory subject. However, Blackheath High School headteacher Lisa Laws has hit back, saying her school is already well advanced at teaching the language.

Programme gives out warm feeling

A £1.2M initiative is helping thousands of people feel warmer in their homes. The money, provided by British Gas, has helped 2,400 Lewisham households benefit from free energy-efficiency advice and improvements such as loft insulation. An extra £210,000 has also been made available to residents across the borough via benefits which were previously unclaimed.

Joint initiative proposes community centre plan

The Moonshot Centre, Fordham Park, Deptford, will have facilities including IT rooms, dance studio, cafe and creche. It will provide a base for groups, including the Playhouse Nursery and Irie Dance Theatre. The new centre, due to open in the autumn, is being funded by £2.6m from Lewisham Council and £500,000 from SureStart, the Government's childcare initiative.

'Immigrant racket forgery factories uncovered'

It is thought up to 1,000 bogus driving licences and 300 forged passports were among items seized in swoops on suspected forgery factories at addresses in Sydenham and Brixton. Officers are also said to have found computers, printers, fake National Insurance cards and 1,000 blank ID cards. They were printed in five different languages, including French, Spanish and English.

Notice served to allotment users

Around 30 plotholders on St Norbert's Allotments, St Norbert Road, Brockley, have been given eviction notices and told they must be off the land by April. They are now asking the council to intervene and wrest control of the land from its current owner UGS Properties. UGS sent out the eviction notices even though it has not lodged any formal planning application to build on the land.

Defra confirms 22.9% recycling rate with St Edmundsbury top

Recycling in Newham is the lowest in the country - residents there recycle and compost just 6.2% of their rubbish, with Tower Hamlets following closely behind with 7.4%. Lewisham also features in the bottom 10 authorities for recycling and composting, with a 10.2% rate. Recycling rates actually dropped in the Corporation of London (down from 19% in 2003/04 to 14.3%) and in Croydon (down from 14% to 13%).

Bus Crash

Four people, including the driver, suffered minor injuries after a bus ploughed into a shop front, in Lewis Grove, Lewisham. Three fire crews were called to deal with the crash, which happened just after 1am, on Monday.

Duo blaze a trail in village

The pocket-sized Blackheath Village Trail and Guide has just been published by the Blackheath Society. Written by two society members, historian Neil Rhind and architectural journalist Tony Aldous, it points out the buildings of interest. And with the aid of a bird's eye map by artist Peter Kent, it leads people around the village as defined by its 20mph zone. The guide was paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund's Awards for All scheme and is available from the society by calling 020 8297 1937.

Posties rapped over rubber bands

Lewisham Council estimates up to 5,000 elastic bands are dropped in the borough by postal workers every month. Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said valuable time was being wasted picking them up and urged Royal Mail to take a "collective responsibility". Royal Mail said although the bands were bio-degradable they would urge staff to take extra care in future.

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