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Review of the year 2018 part two: Towers, libraries and board games

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 January 2019

Natalie Podd came up with the idea for the trivia game while travelling in South America with boyfriend Ceri Price. Photo: Natalie Podd

Natalie Podd came up with the idea for the trivia game while travelling in South America with boyfriend Ceri Price. Photo: Natalie Podd

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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

Plans to downsize Sidcup library and incorporate it with an arthouse cinema in the old Blockbuster store have been met with derision and a petition signed by 700 opponents calling it “underhand”.

A “creative enterprise zone” was also floated by the council.

The mental health of schoolchildren was highlighted by head teachers at a school forum.

Educators being in the dark was the main concern, and there was a call for more information on what help is available to be made clearer.

One governor, Corinne Botten claimed: “It was a government initiative to put mental health into school but the resource, I don’t think, has been put in place.”

Students at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar won an award for their mapping aid for the blind at the Bright Sparks design competition.

The number of children receiving free school meals dropped 10 per cent with changes in the benefit system being blamed rather than parents doing better than before.

August

As it’s realised the real number of sufferers of Dementia is probably hidden, the council said early diagnoses was the best policy.

It had been estimated thar the number of cases had gone up 10 per cent, but experts say this is just the “tip of the iceberg” and more needs to be done to spot the condition earlier.

Bexley schools had 56 suspensions of students because of racial incidents, up 81 per cent from the previous year. The Department for Education reminded people: “Racism has absolutely no place in our school and is completely unacceptable.”

Activists with Save Wilde Road celebrated winning their battle against development of green spaces in Erith to build flats.

Staff at the Dimbleby Macmillan Support Centre, which cares for cancer patients, won a Macmillan Quality Environment Mark for their high quality of work.

Teachers missed 300 days through stress because of overwork.

September

Jenny McDonagh is the latest in a long line of scammers to con Grenfell Tower fund holders – she stole £62,000 to pay for holidays in Los Angeles and Dubai. She was later jailed for five years.

Plans for a new special education needs school were due to be agreed at Cleve Park.

But it was also looking at introducing a £400 travel fee for special needs students over 16.

More organ donors are needed was the call during Organ Donation Week as 387 local people died from a lack of donations.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct look at the death of a man in police custody. He was picked up following a disturbance in Eversley Avenue.

Amputations from diabetes rose a shocking 17 per cent in three years. Public Health England reported in the NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group area, there were 87 amputations between 2011 and 2014. Between ’14 and ’17, that was up to 102.

October

An electric wheelchair user was found guilty of actual bodily harm when he reversed the vehicle into two elderly women, 90 and 85.

Aaron Ali was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court.

Outside, DC Iain Hill said he used the wheelchair as a “weapon” and showed no remorse.

And Transport for London worker Damian Fichardo was jailed for a year after molesting a female coach driver at Victoria Coach Station.

Litter bugs took a financial hit as contractors took to the streets to dish out fines. Controversial because of their apparent work practices, the company tripled the number of tickets issued.

There are plans for a new green energy park to power 30,000 local homes at Normal Road. Cory Riverside Energy said it would eventually supply 150,000 using landfill waste. If approved, it would open in 2021.

Meanwhile, plans to collect bins every three weeks would just confuse everyone, and Cllr Val Clarke said it “becomes very complicated”.

November

There are to be 518 new homes on the old civic centre site and will be called Eastside Quarter. It would include retail and leisure units. Jamie McArthur from Bellway Homes said: “It is great to receive our finaly, full planning consent.”

Worries over the one year delay in opening the Crossrail project worries councillors. Louie French said: “The delay does have an impact on residents in the north of the borough.”

The council agrees an overhaul in the way social care is provided by increasing the use of voluntary and private organisations and saving cash on temporary staff. A report said the present system was “unsustainable”.

Still on money, cash-strapped schools have been asking parents to help with cash donations. Labour leader Daniel Francis said: “We are increasingly concerned about begging letters being sent to parents.”

The Sidcup library and arthouse cinema get green light after major rows.

December

Natalie Podd and her boyfriend Ceri Price were celebrating after a boardgame they invented called CONFIDENT? shot to the top of the charts online.

She told us: “We were floating down the Amazon when my boyfriend Ceri Price asked me what the population of Brazil was.

“I answered between 100 million and 150 million people. We loved the idea of answering trivia question with a range and right there and then, we came up with the idea for a board game that used the range concept.”

And the borough’s dog lovers were facing a bit of a shock after one councillor revealed a shake up of the council’s finances meant that Bexley’s park volunteer groups could be funded by none other than a charge for dog walkers using the public green spaces.

Cllr Alan Downing said: “Perhaps we should go down the thinking that the majority of people walking on green spaces are walking a dog.

“Can we not consider a small fee?”

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