Brockley Road: New date for "Homeview" hearing

The fate of the site currently occupied by the defunct Homeview video store is a story we've been following closely. The shop, a prime site on Brockley Road, has been targeted by a betting shop chain from Abbey Wood, who want to bring their particular brand of "upmarket" gambling to Brockley.

Given its location and the fact that Brockley is already blessed with an abundance of bookies, this proposal has met with strong opposition from local residents. The hearing to decide its fate overran several weeks ago and the new date has been set for 7th September, 10am at Bromley Magistrates Court.

We will bring you the verdict when (and if) it arrives.

12 comments:

Hugh said...

This and the thread about the prevalence of dar dealerships and MOT garages near Brockley station made me reflect: Brockley is and has been a cheap place to buy a decent property for these very reasons. Having moved in, it is somewhat rich to clamour for an uplift in the neighbourhood's tone, richer still to do so while denying that a desire to see house prices rise has anything to do with it. If people are here to stay, are they saying they moved in assuming the area would alter appreciably following their arrival?

I say this is a local homeowner who would love to make a killing on his conservation area flat and expects to.

Kate said...

Hugh - I've been thinking along your lines in relation to the car dealerships issue but I think the Homeview situation is a bit different. Whatever one thinks about the classiness or otherwise of bookies, Brockley is undeniably well supplied with their services. Video/DVD rental, on the other hand, isn't something that is well covered in the area around Brockley station. Therefore it seems rather unfair to push a video shop out of the neighbourhood in favour of another bookies.

Brockley Nick said...

Hugh - by your logic, no-one who owns a property here should have any aspiration for the area. I don't see that there is anything wrong with saying that it would be nice if certain things changed.

Also, I think you make a false assumption that the people making these comments and suggesting stories are people who have just bought properties here. Many of the people I have met with or spoken to through the site rent here. The poll showed that many of the people contributing to this site have lived in the area for a long time. Others don't live here at all, but presumably have some affection for the area. Are these groups allowed to express an opinion?

The prevalence of car dealerships and the easy availability of betting shops have a marginal impact on house prices compared with factors like the wider London housing market and the arrival of the ELL. But they are very important to local people's quality of life and I won't apologise for writing about these subjects.

The car-dealerships do nothing for local people and the betting shop doesn't exist - so it's not as though anyone's calling for the destruction of local culture in the rush to "gentrify" Brockley.

I don't think anyone on here wants to fundamentally change the character of the area and turn it in to Fulham. They just want to be able to enjoy the place they live in. It's the same motive that led people to form the Brockley Cross Action Group or start the Brockley MAX festival and has nothing to do with property speculation.

Hugh said...

These threads don't make detailed replies easy, but here goes:

Kate - I agree about Homeview having a small effect if any on house prices, although it seems an open question whether we need a DVD shop. Mail-order DVD rental is making such shops otiose. I'd rather get my films from Stelios for £2 each than traipse to a shop then back to return the disc.

Nick - My 'logic' was in fact an assertion, namely that people crying out for a better strip near Brockley station want gentrification after taking advantage of its absence. There's no logic there because there isn't an argument, just a proposition. So nothing follows from my logic.

I take your point about people who rent, assuming they're not would-be speculators saving deposits. But to say the car dealerships do nothing for local people is just my point: why should they? Like us, their existence expresses the decisions of certain individuals to locate themselves here, albeit for business. They offer us nothing? Well, I don't drive, so I suppose they offer me nothing. They clearly offer someone something, however, as they remain in business. And what do we offer them? Do we get to choose who is allowed to run a local business? In so far as we can exercising purchasing power, yes, but not beyond that. If local residents really want to see the end of the dealerships, why not club together and buy them out?

I don't hear the people who run such concerns saying they wish city workers and others with no long-standing connection with the neighbourhood would leave Brockley in peace. Should we say the same to them?

As I said, I want gentrification of the Brockley Road as much as anyone. But I am naked in my selfish purpose.

It feels good being naked. Check out my plums.

Brockley Nick said...

Hugh - thanks for pointing out that your first post was without logic - I agree! ;)

Of course, I don't blame the people who run car dealerships in Brockley for running their businesses, I just point out that it has a detrimental effect on the life of the high street. Nor will it do them any harm if property prices rise - it gives them the option of selling up at a higher price. So I doubt they're complaining - I know of a couple of similar businesses that are just waiting for the right offer to come along. I welcome that process. In my view, car dealerships have no place on any high street - not just in Brockley. They don't rely on casual footfall, like a greengrocer or a post office, so they don't need to be located on a high street.

Anyway, you choose to believe that everyone who wants to see an area improve is primarily motivated by the desire to see their property price rise. You'd have to include people who join local neighbourhood watch schemes (for what has a more depressive effect on house prices than crime and anti-social behaviour?). I simply disagree with the motivations you attach to others.

The whole issue is one I might create a separate thread about, since it's an interesting subject, I think.

Kate - Homeview weren't pushed out of the area by a bookie, their business became unviable and Portland were quickest off the mark in terms of spotting the opportunity that Homeview's departure offered.

Again, I don't "blame" Portland for this, I just feel it would be an undesirable outcome if they are given permission to operate, in preference to another type of business, for reasons I've blogged about ad nauseum.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the point about gentrification, I moved to the area from Hampstead (where I was renting) as this was an area I could afford to buy a flat. It was close to Greenwich to go out, transport links weren't bad, I felt safe at night and it had nice houses. The high street was mostly horrible though and offered almost nothing, and 6 years later still has only a few cafe's and restaurants (althought they are quite good) to entice me there. I don't understand people who don't change anything and don't want gentrification. I do. My neighbours do, my friends do. I'd love the area I live in to offer me things to do in close proximity like East Dulwich/Crystal Palace does to their residents so I have a choice and don't have to go to Greenwich/Blackheath.

In short, to anyone who thinks people come here because of the 'charms' of garage forcourts and awful chicken takaways, they are wrong. People move here in SPITE of them...and hope they will soon be replaced with the likes of La Brocas.

Anonymous said...

Nick and Hugh

I think you're both wrong - people do not come to Brockley for the cars or the bookies, or the video stores; or any of those things for that matter.

So what is it that attracts them to Brockley?

Walking my daughter from her 'primary' school I discovered the answer at first 'hand'.

They hang out on the corner of Upper Brockley Road and Lewisham way. The posse is quite different from the car dealer, but deals none the less. Strangely, the posse has also sited its business outside Rokeby House, a building infamous in that it caters for persons who share an affinity for band substances.

In one instance two gents were in the front garden 'rolling up' in front of my child - and all without challenge.

Cars pull up, exchanges are made, and all under the watchful eye of CCTV - meant to combat crime surely? - and residents alike.

Why oh why don't the police say 'move along now, sir'? AND WHY IS THERE NO MENTION OF IT HERE?

alocalresident said...

Just because that issue isn't mentioned here doesn't mean it's being ignored.

The blatant dealing and anti-social behaviour in that spot is a burning issue for residents and the local Neighbourhood Watch - many, many emails and phone calls have been exchanged with the local Police Safer Neighbourhoods Team, and the council.

As you say though, the response from the authorities has been somewhat weak so far. We will keep asking for action.

Send an email with your details to 'UpperBrockleyRoadNW-subscribe (at) yahoogroups (dot) com' if you'd like more information or to get involved.

Anonymous said...

There is a video rental place in the shop next to (or a couple down from) Cost Cutters. It's not got a huge selection but it's better than nowt.

Brockley Nick said...

To the anonymous who wrote about antisocial behaviour near Lewisham Way (please leave a name everyone!) - there's no conspiracy of silence, we're always open to story suggestions and the issue has been referenced in the past, it's simply that I don't know a great deal about the subject, other than there is a very active neighbourhood watch scheme in that area that is attempting to improve matters.

spincat said...

We find ourselves here for different reasons - for me, I liked the hilly, rolling nature of this part of south east London, the sudden dramatic views from places like Blyth Hill and Hilly Fields. And later I was offered a housing association flat in SE4.
The shopping and coffee possibilities were then (15 years back) a bit bleak in Crofton Park to say the least, but the area was interesting with its hidden gems like the Rivoli, and had an energy to it, with good places to go round about.

A friend lived in Lordship Lane (stay with me on this: I know it isn't Brockley!) and I liked the way that its unusual shops and good cafes were interspersed with useful suppliers like glaziers and plumbers - and I hoped SE4 might develop in that way. It has started to, but there is plenty of scope for new places to open up. Lordship Lane, on the other hand, despite having some great shops and drinking places still, has become too much little Fulham for me with a lot of the old businesses moving out ( Walsh Glazing for example has become a shop selling preppy Boden- catalogue-style clothes).
Well, Brockley is a long way down the line from that happening - but if we cultivate a state of mind where local businesses are seen as an eyesore.. well, that could happen at some stage.
I guess this is just a long-winded way of saying that balance is good!

Alan said...

Brockley has almost everything within easy reach, with the exception of maybe a clothes shop.

The one thing we do lack is decent rehearsal space for bands and performaing artist - with the exception of the studio on Arabin Road.

The Ex-Homeview place could be setup for something like this quite easily.

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