Residents and councillors are using the internet to vent their spleen on local issues. Reporter GLENN EBREY logs on to the world of web blogging.

SINCE bread became sliced it seems residents and politicians have used tried and trusted methods to put across their opinions.

Residents organise meetings in church halls, sitting down with a cuppa and chatting to like-minded people about their neighbourhood.

Those fortunate enough to be elected have the council chamber to project their views and try to act as a force for change.

But now a band of net users from Lewisham has entered the computer age to find a new way to let off some steam.

They are known collectively as "bloggers" and are part of a craze on the web.

The blog is part diary, part mouthpiece, where the author puts across what is on their mind that day.

It also provides an opportunity for the author to stimulate debate and sound off about what is happening on their patch.

Lewisham Central councillor Andrew Milton has kept a blog since he was elected three years ago.

He updates it once or twice a week, noting the outcome of key council meetings and keeping his constituents up to date with his work.

Lib Dem Cllr Milton says he enjoys compiling the blog because it takes him away from the day-to-day constraints of party politics.

He said: "I maintain and update the blog myself, which means it does not go through the party machine.

"Sometimes I can get away without toeing the party line.

"It is a more personal take on things."

Several of Cllr Milton's fellow Lewisham councillors have since followed his example by starting their own blogs.

These include Lee Green councillor Paul Bentley, Tory councillor Hilary Downes and newly-elected Green representative Councillor Sue Luxton.

Cllr Luxton said: "I hope I can engage people who would not usually go to meetings.

"It is much more immediate than delivering a newsletter and because I invite comments on the site I get a lot more feedback."

Campaign groups have also found the internet a powerful tool for their causes.

The Save Ladywell Pool Campaign group keeps a regular blog to update supporters about its battles with council chiefs.

Campaign leader Max Calo said: "The website is extremely important to our campaign.

"It is a great way for people to keep up to date with what we are doing and is very popular.

"We get around 200 hits a day."

Mr Calo added: "I have heard our website is even popular at the council.

"Some councillors rely on it as their source of information on the pool battle."

News Shopper has also joined the blogging age, by encouraging residents to compile their own logs of life in Shopperland.



Councillor Andrew Milton. The latest news from Lewisham Central and the council chamber.

Councillor Sue Luxton. New blog from recently-elected Green councillor.

The Man from Catford. A quirky take on life in Catford "and the pursuit of a perfect kebab".

Bob from Brockley. Described by its author as a blog for "perfidious intellectuals and other such things".

Save Ladywell Pool. Account of the fight to save the under-threat leisure centre.

Casino Avenue. A daily, dry look at London life.