East London Line drives Brockley house prices

Prices of homes near the East London Line have risen faster than the London average, with houses near Brockley Station experiencing the second-fastest rise along the overground route, according to research by Hamilton International, reported in today's City AM. The paper says:

Homes within a 10 minute walk of an overground station have outdone the rest of London’s house price growth since the line was set up in 2007 [sic]. Now, house prices sit 31 per cent higher than the capital’s average level for homes near the stations. In 2007, they were around 15 per cent more expensive. 

Some of the areas with nearby underground stations have seen prices swell even more rapidly than the London average... Dalston Kingsland, Brockley and Hackney Central’s prices have risen by an average of 31, 30 and 29 per cent in the last year respectively.

With thanks to Alastair for the report.

Police Station plans opposed by neighbours

Today is the last day to comment on the plans to redevelop Brockley Police Station. The developer that has acquired the site has applied to convert it to flats, preserving the exterior but adding a row of small houses. Some local residents are opposed to the plan and are asking other locals to object. Gavin writes:

We're collectively objecting as the houses just aren't in character with the area and street, it will effect us through loss of light as well as creating a real strain on the existing parking in the area - which is already pretty saturated - often used by the garage as overspill as well as commuters parking here to use the Overground.

It feels like another clumsy piece of urban planning where the aesthetic of the streets in Brockley is slowly eroded with lazy design and lack of consideration.

I think part of what makes Brockley an attractive place to live is the way it looks, and developments like the new flats in and around John Stainer School area for example are eroding this fast. I'm not sure exactly how this would become a thread but if you could highlight the fact that any planning objections need to be submitted via the Lewisham Planning Department portal today. It is application No. DC/14/88272.

Party in the Park 2014

Party in the Park's line-up has been finalised. The focus is on music, with dozens of young bands and DJs performing. You can view the full roster here.

16 Coulgate Street work underway

It appears that work on the Coulgate Street block, approved in 2012 is now under way.

The site, next to Brockley Station and the rail line, was formerly the home of Speedicars taxi service (now Keen) and has been used in recent months for storage and access by engineers working on the Brockley Station platform expansion works, but a construction team is now working on the plot itself.

The approved plans are for:

The construction of a part single/part four/part five storey building at 16 Coulgate Street SE4, incorporating balconies and roof terrace, comprising a mini cab office/retail/commercial unit (Use Classes A1/A2), 4 one bedroom, 3 two bedroom and 2 three bedroom, self-contained flats, together with the provision of a bicycle store.

New Ladywell Fields cafe opens

The Ladywell Fields User Group reports that the new park cafe, operated by the charity Ten Thousand Hands is now open. They say:

"[We were] impressed today by the friendly service and coffee strength - and the kids enjoyed a reasonably-priced ice cream. The early signs are good, with more punters than the previous café - including some new faces."

Click here for the Ladywell Fields Facebook Group.

Support The Deptford Cinema

"I'm raising money for this documentary I want to make about Kickstarter and I'm trying to figure out the best way to do it."
- Jimmy Dore
The Deptford Cinema Kickstarter has begun. They're trying to raise £6,000 to fund the 50-seat cinema, which will incorporate a cafe lounge area and a darkroom. Watch the film to learn more about this exciting project and click here to support it.

Lewisham's Big Budget Challenge

Lewisham Council has launched a "Big Budget Challenge" consultation, asking residents to give them their views on how it should bridge the £85million funding gap it faces over the next three years. They say:

What would you do if you had to save around £1 in every £3 you spend? That’s the challenge facing the Council which has to find further savings worth £85million over the next three years in the face of reduced government spending. 

The Council would like to know what you would do – how you would meet this budget challenge. What services are important to you and your family? What services do you think are important to the more vulnerable members of the community? Where might you find the savings? Using the online budget simulator you can decide how you would allocate the funding. To take part, click here.

 You can also attend your local assembly meeting during September and October to join in the discussion about the Council’s budget. 

It might look like one way to save some of that 85 million quid would be to employ less elaborate consultation mechanisms but the tool is actually hosted by the Local Government Association.

What it is trying to impart to us is that the "easy wins" of sharing services with other councils, allowing advertising on redevelopment sites and procuring more economically will only take them so far - that some very difficult choices lie ahead. And to that extent, it's a salutary exercise.

BC chose to ringfence "Environment and Waste" and "Planning, Economy and Regeneration" because we figure these are the fundamentals on which Lewisham's future prosperity is based - helping the Council to grow its revenues in the long term. We trimmed the "Culture, Leisure and Community Development" budget, because we think this is an investment in quality of life, which benefits everyone. We also jacked up Council Tax by the maximum permitted amount, but it doesn't make a lot of difference.

What the game shows is that the Council is primarily a front-line social care provider and to make the figures balance, you have to cut things like adult care, child protection, housing support and community safety to the bone. We chose to protect spending on children's services and child protection (because, you know, children are the future) as much as possible, but we set about Council support and customer services with a blow-torch and some pliers, not because these aren't useful, but because front-line services have to come first.

Finally, we made up the balance with quite drastic cuts to adult social care, housing and community safety - the latter because with falling crime rates in the borough, we think there needs to be some sort of peace dividend and the former, no-doubt, out of our own ignorance of how essential these services are. The site tells you what the negative impact of your proposed cuts in each area are and the adult care cuts we proposed would probably lead to more people ending up in homes, more social isolation and less effective intervention by social workers.

All in all, not a pleasant exercise and by the end, you do not envy the Councillors and officers who have to implement the real cuts. Which is of course, the point of the exercise.

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