Blackheath Halls Cuts

Did you know that half of Blackheath Halls falls into Lewisham and half Greenwich? No – nor did I. And there wasn’t really any reason to until yesterday when the guys there told me Greenwich were planning to cut their entire annual grant – £72,000 – from  April 2011, giving the Halls no time to organize any kind of alternative funding and leaving them up the proverbial creek without a proverbial paddle. 

I mentioned that I was surprised they actually got a grant given they were in Lewisham and they told me that though the front is, indeed in Lewisham, the back is in Greenwich, and they’ve historically enjoyed grants from both councils and tried to spread their outreach accordingly. 

Now, while I am hardly surprised that Greenwich has done this (this kind of dropping-someone-in-the-shit puts me in mind of another shared Lewisham/Greenwich venture, the fireworks last November, where Greenwich pulled out at a very late moment without a word or a thought as to how Lewisham were going to cope) it doesn’t instill in me much confidence as to how they’re going to deal with the rest of the savings they’re going to make. 

While other councils are coming clean – and getting stick for it in both national and local news, but at least being honest – Greenwich council are playing their cards so close to their collective chest that people end up having bad news sprung on them at the last minute rather than having the opportunity to fight – or at least try to secure some alternative means of income. 

Where will the axe fall next? We know it will fall, we just don’t know where. And I think it’s about time we did know. Lewisham must be getting pretty fed up with the way Greenwich keeps cutting them loose all over the shop after years of co-operation (I can’t believe I’m sticking up for Lewisham here, but I’m afraid I’m ashamed of the way my council is behaving just now). They have their own cuts to make. 

When are we going to know what Greenwich council actually proposes to do with the massive cuts they have to make? We’re getting this in dribs and drabs. I’d like an actual outline please.

In the meantime, if you want to sign the petition against Blackheath Halls cuts visit  and this Sunday 20th February at 2pm supporters of Blackheath Halls are organizing a sing and play in at the front of Blackheath Halls (weather permitting).

3 Comments to “Blackheath Halls Cuts”

  1. EnglishRose says:

    I know that Greenwich Council has some very difficult decisions to make but the way that they are managing (or, rather, not managing) the situation is appalling. Dropping organisations in the proverbial at the last minute, failing to inform residents who will be affected by their cuts, refusing to answer direct questions….it’s beyond a joke. Don’t even get me started on the allotment rent ‘consultation’ process which I investigated recently…..all I can say is that the Council hasn’t got a clue about best practice stakeholder engagement (or even plain, old-fashioned communication, for that matter). Frankly I’m surprised that Blackheath Halls have actually been given almost two months’ notice that they’re losing their grant. As for getting an outline from the Council, we might as well wish for the moon on a stick…….

  2. Actually it’s ALL in Greenwich — the boundary runs up from Lee Green along the middle of Lee Road, as far as the railway bridge in the middle of the village, then runs along the railway line to Pond Road, then up the middle of Pond Road to the heath (where there’s a boundary marker in the grass).
    But like other facilities on or near the boundary (the heath, Age Exchange, the fireworks display until last year, the pavements and roadways through the village) both councils have helped with funds.

  3. methers says:

    It’s a shame that Greenwich and Lewisham councils don’t seem to be able to cooperate more. I thought perhaps they would be able to work together to find joint savings in this time of austerity (i.e. cuts), but it looks like Lewisham has decided to join together with Southwark and Lambeth instead.