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Review of the year 2018 part two: Masterplans, fires and fly-tips

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 January 2019

Cabinet member Cllr Kate Lymer was there as the truck was destroyed. Photo: Bromley Council

Cabinet member Cllr Kate Lymer was there as the truck was destroyed. Photo: Bromley Council

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Following on from yesterday’s look back at the first six months of 2018, we continue our review of the year with a round-up of the biggest news stories from the last six months.

July

Worrying new figures find the number of first time youth offenders in Bromley is edging up, with the dramatic rise in knife crime being blamed.

The authority’s youth offending department said the numbers were still small, but were heading in the wrong direction.

In the wake of Grenfell Tower, it is claimed the cladding on Northpoint building in Sherman Road, was a danger, and fire alarms were defective.

The management company said they were on the case.

The 100 years of the RAF was marked with a close look at the history of Biggin Hill.

The council takes on new contractors to tackle the never-ending problem of potholes in a £70 million deal.

Concerns at St Olave’s Grammar School surface with claims that there was harsh, unequal and illegal treatment of Year 12 students being refused places in Year 13.

Vaping is up 30 per cent since 2011, helping drive down the number of smokers.

August

New plans for Bromley town centre are criticised by councillors as “unimaginative and extremely damaging”.

It included building up to 1,200 homes in towers of up to 15 storeys and the public was urged to say what they felt.

Bromley schools had been excluding increasing numbers of children for racist abuse with some experts worried that abuse was becoming “mainstream” in society. The borough saw 27 exclusions during 2016/7.

Like knife crime, moped snatches were increasing. But two people targeting Bromley residents were jailed for a total of 32 years as a court was told they hunted people for sport.

Still on the roads, up to 10 driverless cars were due in Bromley to gather data. Ben Peters of FiveAI told us: “Throughout this exercise we want to keep residents informed about exactly what we’re doing.”

Local MP James Brokenshire calls on government to grant more powers in dealing with travellers’ camps.

September

Tragedy this month as a man was charged with the murder of a woman found at an address in Stoneleigh Road.

Officers were called in to do a welfare check and discovered the body of a woman in her 60s.

In brighter news, Rebecca Hurst decided to run a marathon each month for a year to raise cash for Cure Leukaemia.

Bromley Council announced the sad passing of former leader Frank Cooke who served with the authority for 30 years.

Figures revealed during Organ Donation Week included 387 people had died in the area waiting for a transplant. Locals were urged to fill out the donation paperwork to cut these deaths.

Bromley Council revealed it spends almost £500,000 a year on wages for suspended staff. It said 49 had been on suspension since 2014/15.

Plans for the Sherman Road tower block homes finally thrown out.

October

Public Health England announced more people are dying at home.

New figures put it at 25 per cent in 2016, up three per cent from five years before that. A quarter of those happened in care homes.

The Bromley Times backed Brighter Beginnings toy appeal is launched – the result was a sensational 100 plus toys donated.

The council said its wage bill for temporary workers had doubled in the past five years.

It said agency staff were costing taxpayers £13.9 million a year while bosses struggled to find full time workers.

A coroner decided PC Keith Palmer was killed unlawfully when he was stabbed during the Westminster terror attack.

Poppy displays are emotive, so it was greeted with dismay when mindless vandals destroyed one made from 500 knitted poppies in Penge.

A trader was fined £9,000 for selling danger cosmetics. Ghulam Mustafa from Woolwich Sabina Hair admitted 19 charges and removed them from sale.

November

A major fire in Homesdale Road was caused by hot gas works being carried out, the London Fire Brigade said.

Forty firefighters were called to deal with the flames which could be seen from miles away.

The council and health bosses greenlit a £13million health centre in Masons Hill.

And the authority also confirmed it spent £15,000 on private eyes to track and trace flytippers. They were brought in three times for that cost since 2015, but no prosecutions occurred.

Undeterred, Cllr Kate Lymer said: “Often quiet locations are targeted making the whole business of catching someone quite difficult.”

The department of education revealed one in 10 Bromley children miss class regularly. Bromley Council said: “The importance of regular attendance at school cannot be overstated.”

A fire destroyed 11 buses at Farnborough Hill but no one was hurt in the all-night fire. One local said the explosions were like an earthquake.

December

There was a day to remember for one young pizza chef when he helped to open Bromley’s second Pizza Express.

Joshua Ruddick, five, was invited to cut the ribbon of the new restaurant in St Mark’s Square after his strawberry, marshmallow and hot chocolate pizza was crowned winner of the brand’s design a pizza competition, launched earlier in the month to find a creative young food lover.

Ed Ruddick, Joshua’s father, said: “When I got the call asking if Josh would like to cut the ribbon of the new restaurant we were absolutely thrilled for him.

“It was clear he and his classmates had such a wonderful time doing the workshop and by the look of the pizzas he might cooking a meal for us one night this week!”

And revenge was a dish best served cold for the council when it crushed a white van that it was able to prove had been involved in a fly-tipping spree earlier in the year.

Officers analysed CCTV footage and were able to eventually identify and trace the vehicle being used before destroying it.

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