Sadly, Deptford’s historical importance on the global stage has been erased from most people’s memories and this was one of the reasons that we launched the International Deptford Heritage Festival last year.
We wanted to remember and celebrate important people, places and events, such as, amongst others, the life and work of John Evelyn; the 500 skilled local residents who left with Peter the Great to build the first great Russian navy; the MacMillan sisters, who led the way in nursery care and education; the poetry of Robert Browning and the activism of Kath Duncan and the Battle of Deptford Broadway, which guaranteed for us our freedom to protest.
The Deptford Parish Council Public meeting with Government Officials will take place as first festival event 5pm, Friday 29 April at The Zion Chapel New Cross Road Deptford SE14 6TJ
You can sign the petition if you are a SE8 resident at London And Country Office, The Yellow House, 37 Plough Way SE16 2LS every day office hours.
Petitions can be collected or emailed directly to you as we are looking to secure many more than the 7.5% number required to bring this into effect in 2017 when elections would be held for Parish Councillors.
A Parish Council is Independent of Lewisham Mayor.
And we will not forget the darker sides of Deptford’s heritage, such as the slave trade and the remarkable life Olaudah Equiano and the mysterious death of Christopher Marlowe, whose remains are buried somewhere in the churchyard of St Nicholas’s Church in Deptford Green, an ancient church that dates from Saxon times and which will be the venue for many of the events in this year’s festival, including the amazing and highly original production of Messiah by the Merry Opera Company which is returning this year due to popular demand.
The festival management team also feels that the government’s Localism Bill, which gives the power to local communities to create parish councils, was too good an opportunity to miss and we are delighted to confirm that, after talks with the relevant government officials, we are well on the way to creating a new Deptford parish council. This new parish council will allow greater local and community involvement in the decisions that affect our everyday lives, will have the powers to intervene in planning decisions and curtail the excesses of property developers and betting-shop chains that work against the common good, and will be in a position to defend Deptford’s heritage, promote greater local involvement, identity and cohesion, and foster a real sense of pride in our community.
Councillor Ken Browse, chairman of the National Association of Local Councils said: “I’m delighted to support the campaign to set up a new parish council in Deptford as this will give more power to the people, providing the community with a democratic voice and accountable structure for taking action on local priorities.
“Deptford joins the devolution revolution that is taking place up and down the country with scores of communities in the process of setting up new parish and town councils.
“NALC was instrumental in helping set up London’s first parish council in Queen’s Park, Westminster and the country’s largest in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham and we will help the Deptford campaign in any way we can.”
Ray Barron-Woolford, press spokesperson for the Deptford Heritage Festival said; “I am truly delighted that after months of work we are in the position to restore Deptford’s pride, heritage, identity and its community cohesion and would like to thank the festival management team who have made this possible, and Lewisham People Before profit, whose members have been knocking on doors day after day collecting the signatures in support that has helped us give Deptford back its mojo.”
The Deptford Heritage Festival (www.deptfordheritagefestival.org.uk) will begin with a free event called Our Deptford at 5pm on Friday 29 April (Bank Holiday weekend) at the Zion Chapel, New Cross Road, Deptford, London SE14, when Government officials will be present to explain the process until it is recreated in 2017 with local parish Councillor elections.