Wednesday, 26 February 2014

National Health Service: Paramedics, London Ambulance Service, Trafalgar Square

NHS paramedics standby as police try to persuade an unidentified man to move away
 from high ledge in Trafalgar Square (© London Intelligence)

(© London Intelligence)

The man stands on the ledge. 

His back turned to the edge...and to the crowd around Nelson's Column.
Facing the police officer trying to persuade him not to step back, fall, or jump (Tuesday, 25 February).

The man, carrying a holdall, reportedly only speaks to police officers 90 minutes after assuming his precarious position some three metres above a Trafalgar Square pavement in central London. 

Police officers cordon off the area around the National Gallery's frontage.
Passers-by stand and watch. 
Take photos. 
Film on their mobile phones. 

"He'd have chosen a higher building, if he was serious about suicide," says one man.
- "Yes, he's obviously got issues," says a police officer. "Please move those children away, thank you."

Groups of young European tourists continue to 'arse' around - like this is just another piece of innocuous London street theatre.
Another recalls an attempted suicide scene featuring Mel Gibson in the film Lethal Weapon.
But this real life situation could end in serious injury, or worse.

Paramedics working for the London Ambulance Service, part of the UK's National Health Service (NHS), wait to see if police officers can successfully persuade the man to stand safely away from the edge of the high ledge.
Is his a 'cry for attention or help'? Despair or possibly, anger?


Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, February 2014

Friday, 21 February 2014

Viability Assessment, Lend Lease, Southwark Council, Heygate Estate, Elephant and Castle

Heygate Estate in Summer 2012 © London Intelligence

Elephant Confidential

Judge Nicholas Warren and his Information Rights tribunal face an important decision.
Is the public interest best served by maintaining the confidentiality of a commercially sensitive document, or by public disclosure?
  Southwark Council appealed to the tribunal against an order by the Information Commissioner to publicly disclose developer Lend Lease's Viability Assessment.
  Marked 'Strictly Private and Confidential', the document contains information calculating the type of new housing that could be built to regenerate the Heygate Estate in the Elephant and Castle area of south London.

Lend Lease told the tribunal that disclosure could damage the regeneration scheme and harm the developer's commercial interests.
 Southwark Council leader Peter John says disclosure could jeopardise regeneration scheme negotiations between other UK councils and developers. 
The Information Commissioner says disclosure would serve the public interest by allowing local people to exercise their democratic right to fully participate in key local decisions. 

For the full story, go to Viability at London Intelligence.

© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, February 2014

Heaven 17, Glenn Gregory, Martyn Ware, Jazz Cafe, Camden Town

Heaven 17 return to Camden Town

Glenn Gregory, Heaven 17 lead singer, and Berenice Scott on synthesiser

Padding along Camden Town's night-time pavements.
Passing small flats selling for penthouse prices.

Sadly, some crumbling Camden corners look lost, forever.
Camden Snooker Club on Delancey Street.
A favourite old haunt for younger cue eagles and gentle old men.

('Leave no trace...)*

Even the once trendy Blair Babes wine bar next door on Arlington Road. 

(...Hide your face')*

A passer-by puffs smoke from his 'Camden Carrot'.
A more resolute local tradition.

My destination - the Jazz Cafe on Parkway.
Scene of a raucous homecoming party for 1980s 'Synth Britannia'. (Thursday, 20 February 2014)

('Sweat my youth away').**

Party hosts?  
Heaven 17.
Martyn Ware on Roland synthesiser, and inspiration. 
Glenn Gregory, on rich vocals, and charisma.

Inspired post-punk, synth-futurist pioneers of the earlier British Electric Foundation.

Sheffield's finest, who glowed the hope of white hot synth-pop against the gloomy despair of concrete cold 1980s Britain.

A hostile Thatcherite era of social unrest. 
A country tearing up its industrial base in favour of a false financialised future.

A decade defined by 'succeed, or don't exist'.
An era that spawned the financial meltdown of 2008 - and, in turn, the rise of today's austerity.

But an era that can't be entirely dismissed as a basket case.
As, out of that mire, came heavenly music, allowing you to say...

...'Hello to my Soul'.**

Martyn Ware, Heaven 17, on synthesiser (where else?!)

Heaven 17 lyrics from:

* 'Temptation' 
** 'Penthouse and Pavement'

Heaven 17

Photos: © Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, 2014

Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, February 2014

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

London Intelligence: Level Crossing Safety after Elsenham - Letting children skate on thin ice (By Paul Coleman)

London Intelligence: Level crossing safety after Elsenham

Cars wait for a passenger train to pass over the road and footpath crossing at Elsenham station
in Essex. The parallel white lines mark the footpath crossing (© London Intelligence)

Letting children skate on thin ice

Network Rail says it is significantly reducing risks at railway level crossings in the UK. 

But the company remains tainted by allegations of a 'cover-up' over the deaths of two young people at a crossing in 2005.

Letting children skate on thin ice, written by Paul Coleman and published on the main London Intelligence website, provides an account of ongoing developments in level crossing safety since the fatalities at Elsenham in December 2005. 

© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, February 2014