Wet weekend….? Some light reading

Click image for leaflet

Missile Battery on Bow residential block

The MOD has told shocked residents of the former Bryant & May factory development near the Olympic Park in east London it is installing a missile battery on top of the water tower to defend the 2012 Games this summer.

“There was no consultation, no one knocked on the door,” a local resident told Reuters. “You just wake up one morning, there’s a leaflet telling you they are going to put missiles on the roof.” (see local resident on video here)

In the leaflet for residents (PDF download here) the MOD say “the equipment is not noisy” they go on to say it had chosen the former water tower in the Bow Quarter complex because it offered “an excellent view of the surrounding area and the entire sky above the Olympic Park.”

The rooftop missile battery is one of a number of extraordinary measures Londoners can expect during the high-profile sporting festival, including restrictions on road lanes for Olympic use and a security bill of more than a billion pounds.

Update – Sunday 29th at 19.00 – As this story develops over the interwebs, twitter & facebook it is looking more and more like not only residents in Tower Hamlets have been totally ignored in any discussions to site a high velocity missile system (flies at over 3 times the speed of sound with three warheads) in a heavily populated area but also local politicians appear to have been left in the dark, including Rushana Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow who speaks on the BBC website as if it is this is the first she has heard of it.

Tomorrows press (Monday) may be interesting – see what lip gloss the MOD spokes hole will be using to explain this total disregard for residents in E3 and the borough.

The implications for residents in Mile End should not be underestimated as the  Stadium and Mile End Leisure Centre will be providing the facilities for the pre-games training camp for Team USA . To be sure there will be a heavy American security presence in London. In excess of 500 officers and agents from the FBI and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.

Rather worryingly in a recent FBI advisory relating to Internet Cafe users. Businesses are instructed to report people who regularly use cash to pay for their coffee because they may be potential terrorists. (download PDF). To be part of the solution the FBI advises that you should “gather information about individuals without drawing attention to yourself”

Look out for the men in sharp suits and head sets with a bulge in their trousers whether they are happy to see you or not. If you see anything say anything

From an Olympic Legacy angle it will do wonders for the parking and refuse collection issues in the area. Watch this space…

 Victoria Park – Live Nation Licence Application

 On Thursday 26th April MERA went to the Licensing Committee along with other objectors – including Cllr Joshua Peck and Cllr Francis.

In the end they had to extend the meeting for hearing evidence back and forth. We were presented with four new documents when we got to the room – none of which we had seen before. One was a very weak Transport Plan. Dispersal from the site is acknowledged to be critical – and yet they still have no crowd management plans or egress marshalling plans to show us. There were significant holes in the data and conclusions of the Transport Plan.

In the end the licence was granted but with significant changes:

  • capacity at any one time now limited to 20,000 (this is because it was recognised there was no way – as predicted – that they could cope with 30,000 leaving late at night)
  • no change to proposals re opening and closing nights of Olympics – recognised that these are special one-off events
  • Sunday to Thursday: all music (live and recorded) to stop at 10pm and alcohol to stop at 11pm
  • Friday and Saturday: all Music (live and recorded)to stop at 11pm and alcohol to stop at 11.30. The aim is to get more people to leave even earlier which will help with the pressure points re Bethnal Green and Mile End tubes.
  • changes to the allowed times for set-up and take-down so that further disruption to nearby residents is minimised.
  • scope for Council to change level re decibels in Waterlow Crescent if residents complain and say situation is untenable


Malmesbury Primary School – Ofsted Report – Special Measures

Despite being described as “a good school that has improved significantly” in the last inspection in 2008 Malmesbury has not done so well according to a recent Ofsed report published on 27th April (PDF download here)

Inspection judgements

Overall effectiveness Inadequate
Achievement of pupils Inadequate
Quality of teaching Inadequate
Behaviour and safety of pupils Satisfactory
Leadership and management Inadequate

As a result the Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education.

The report does go on to say “Pupils’ achievement is inadequate. Children make satisfactory progress in the Early Years Foundation Stage, often from low starting points” It then goes on to make serious criticism of teaching at the school.

This comes as a surprise to parents of kids at the school who had not noticed the schools decline from good in 2008 and “outstanding” in PE in 2010 – 11 . When quizzed about this, ie how could a school take this nose dive in three years, David Shepherd the lead inspector declined to answer.

Since the new Ofsted framework came in in Jan 2012 16% of schools have been put in special measures as opposed to 3-5% preceding this. The new regime only assesses schools on five categories as opposed to 33 before. The inspectors weren’t interested in the demographics of the school. The report makes unpleasant reading,   The full report here and the letter to pupils & parents here

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