£10,000 for Brockley Ward - who gets it? You decide... by proxy

"Y'know, a town with money is like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it!"

Lyle Lanley, Marge vs The Monorail

If you had £10,000 of tax-payers' money to spend improving Brockley - what would you do? The obvious answer is to subsidise gambling for children at a new, publicly-funded betting shop on the high street. Sadly, in a representative democracy, it's the politicians who get the final say.

However, Brockley Councillor Dean Walton is asking for our help to decide how £10,000 of public money can be spent on local community projects that will improve Brockley ward.

Cllr Walton explains how the money can be used:

"This is money councillors can use to address so-called low level problems in the Ward that have fallen below the radar of Lewisham's services. This year we want to focus on three key themes of keeping young people active, improving the physical environment and designing out crime & anti-social behaviour if possible."

Last year, the Brockley Councillors allocated the cash to provide solar panels at two local primary schools, financial support for the Brockley Max Festival, improved gardens on the Wickham Road estate and tree planting in Tanners Hill. All very worthy, no doubt, but only 5 out of 10 for imagination. Now that Brockley is one big, socially-networked happy family, we must be able to do better. It's time to put the wisdom of crowds to the test.

Sue Luxton recently promoted a similar scheme in Ladywell on her blog. You may or may not think that any of her suggestions for her ward are worth nicking.

If you have an idea for an activity or project you would like to receive funding for, please contact Cllr Dean Walton by Friday 16 November 2007.

E-mail: cllr_dean.walton@lewisham.gov.uk
Phone: 020 8691 1046
Write to: Cllr Dean Walton, Lewisham Town Hall, Catford, SE6 4RU.

And tell us what you think here.

103 comments:

Hugh said...

What would it cost to replace the portaloo ticket office at Brockley station with something that would put the place on the map, e.g. a brightly coloured box that entered into architectural 'dialogue' with the prospective Tea Factory roofscape while harmonising with the reclaimed land in front of the station that we're waiting to transform itself into a little park?

(How am I doing?)

spincat said...

I think that is a good idea.

When I was having a coffee in the Broca the other day I noticed that there is an area of lovely trees and wlderness by the station but that it was fenced off with very ugly chicken wire fencing.

I know this is something that is probably a well-known issue to those of you in that part of Brockley ( I am from Crofton Park end of Brockley, so I don't know the story about that bit of land) and I do know that local residents did great work making flowerbeds etc outside the station - but what is the situation with the rest of the green space? Can it be made accessible to us and the fencing removed? If not, can the fencing be made more attractive, at least with climbing plants over it, as I think that would improve the look of that area a lot? Some funding for that?

Monkeyboy said...

I haven't got a specific idea but I think we should recognise that £10k is not a huge amount of money. I think the money ought to be spent via a voluntary organisation, I think the site clearance and tarting up of Brockley station had some voluntary input? Ten grand buys a lot of shrubs!

If the money is given to a ‘professional’, whether it be an architect or builder it will not go far.

Andy Pandy Pudding & Pie said...

I think it should be spent around the station - 5k each side of the bridge to connect the 'darkside' to the 'lightside' of brockley - something symbolic each side - to signalfy the unity between our two distant worlds and give us unity of minds...

(not bad for an accountant, eh?)

Brockley Nick said...

I disagree with the suggestion that the money should be spent on or near the station. A lot of money is already being committed to improving the station (as the "All Change" article mentions) and it will soon be unrecognisable. More on the Brockley Common project very soon, by the way.

If you look at what the money is supposed to be for, improving the station wouldn't really meet any of the objectives. My own suggestion would be that they spend the money on creating a cafe / children's art centre in Hilly Fields - combining a cafe like they have in the park in Hither Green with a play centre a bit like they have in Telegraph Hill. The cafe would pay for itself and cross-subsidise the arts and craft activities for the kids. You could go there during the day, have a coffee and the kids could take part in activities. When classes aren't being run, it's just a nice cafe with some drawing materials for children. It would also address the problem that the only public toilets in the park are absolutely disgusting.

£10k wouldn't cover the building costs and, strictly speaking, Hilly Fields is in Ladywell ward. But I'd like to see something like that happen in the park and maybe some of the money could be spent getting it off the ground. I'm sure you could find plenty of local artists who'd volunteer to run children's classes...

Hugh said...

A cafe within the conservation area or on HIlly Fields - now that would be wicked.

Monkeyboy said...

true Hilly Fields is a nice spot. You may have seen me running around it...to try and keep fit, not running from the fuzz with Hugh's picasso under my arm.

A cafe would be good....but for £10k? Give the kids something to graffiti I s'pose

Anonymous said...

I think it should be spent on a piece of public art made by me - a sculpture - perhaps cast off tyres from the MOT garages stuck together like a totem pole. The ten grand would pay for my time and costs (after all they don't just leave those tyres lying around you know..........hang on, yes they do) and the sculpture would symbolise a new swish kitchen for me.

Andy Pandy Pudding & Pie said...

A cafe would be nice but £10k isnt alot of money, and plus theres the long term maintainence issue...

... i still think something around the station would be nice - despite all the private development there is little the council has clawed from the developers in terms of section 100 agreements (provison for local area improvements). How about a day care centre near the station to adults can drop there kids off before going to work on the train?

Brockley Nick said...

As I said, there would have to be money from other sources to get the thing up and running - the cafe element could be self-financing (borrowing against future profits) the public money could pay for the arts equipment etc for the kids stuff. Maintainence would be paid for from the cafe revenue but also the money that must currently go to "maintaining" the public loos. There are probably other sources of funding (eg: for improvements to the park) that could be explored too.

Running costs for the arts classes would be minimal because supervisors would be volunteers.

Andy Pandy Pudding & Pie said...

Send me a business plan - i'll review it (free of course!) :oP

Anonymous said...

How about planting some trees in the areas which could do with some (Brockley road?) or some planters to jazz up certain areas. I am a filmmaker and several years ago made a film about one of Birmingham's worst areas Balsall Heath (it had a prostitution problem Amsterdam style, with women in shop windows), and had awful no go areas at night - a few commited residents rallied together and eventually forced the pimps to move out by picketing the kerb crawlers- house prices rose over 700 percent. Without oversimplifying the issue, the backbone of the regeneration to my surprise, was not the picketing, but was a simple scheme of planting trees and planters all over the area- they needed to give people a reason to want to like the area they lived in, to see it's potential. Brockely is Holland Park in comparison to what Balsall Heath was like so not in the same league but meeting the people in Birminham and seeing the area had a lasting effect on me in terms of what can be achieved.

(hope this doesn't sound too preachy or earnest - I'm not a tree hugger, but ten grand can buy a lot of plants and pots and could tranform the look of the place)

Kate said...

Hmmm, monkeyboy, perhaps we've run past each other at some point or other - I'm one of the Hilly Fields joggers too ...

Isn't there a kids' play area in Hilly Fields already? Not necessarily opposed to the idea of a cafe, but from what I remember of the Telegraph Hill play area, the H-F one is pretty similar already. Or have I missed something?

Hugh said...

£10,000 is a pretty small sum and might easily be spent on something with no last significance or effect (e.g. a litter blitz). It would be nice if it were spent on something that's still there in three years.

Hugh said...

Separate point, but related: my other half isn't keen on moving here (she lives in SW London), citing the area's 'lack of a centre' as one reason. I've always wondered what would happen if an enterprising soul opened a cafe or similar meeting place near Hilly Fields (cf. the nursery at the junction of Harefield and Tressillian Roads). I imagine conservation area status and planning consents would be issues but not, surely, insuperable. The places by Brockley station are welcome but one is in't always en route to London Bridge when one stops for a coffee.

Anonymous said...

Yeah trees - "improving the physical environment and designing out crime & anti-social behaviour if possible."
It does what it says on the tin...


Please don't let this money go to waste on a cafe which will be closed within six months, and which needs more than ten grand to get it off the ground. Lets think about the areas that need money spent on them - Hilly Fields is doing fine as it is.

Anonymous said...

You can tell her that there is a centre of Brockley - and it's around the station, Coulgate street/ brockley road, where all the shops and cafes are. I'm fairly sure that's what constitute a 'centre' of any place. It may not be geographically central but it it the 'Hub' where people congregate and paths cross. Face it Hugh, hard as this may sound but 'you don't live in the centre', you live on a residential street and I'm fairly sure the centre will never be on a residential street. (even if you open a cafe on your doorstep).

Hugh said...

I'm facing it. I just wish someone would invent a centre nearer me and without traffic. The north end of Tyrwhitt Road could be a contender.

Brockley Nick said...

I agree with Anon (please leave a name!) about the trees. Small trees in some nice (but non-nickable) planters on Brockley Road and a few other well-chosen routes, would make a big difference to the feel of the area.

The cafe / art centre thing is just something I've been thinking about for a while and isn't right for this grant. However, to Kate's question, both Hilly Fields and Telegraph Hill have playgrounds. But, TH has a brilliant playcentre for children, where they can play with toys and do arts and crafts. Hilly Fields not only has nowhere (other than an icecream van) you can get anything to eat or drink, it has no proper public loos. For an area with lots of famillies and lots of artists, it's always surprised me that there are no real outlets for families to get involved with art / crafts on a casual basis - where parents can read the paper while the kids do a bit of creative play.

Anyway, maybe I will expand on this idea at another time. In the mean time - I vote Anonymous for trees and planters!

Kate said...

Ah, I see, play CENTRE. Doh @ me.

One thing I'd like to see in Hilly Fields is the paths re-surfaced. Some of them are bumpy underfoot for us joggers!

Also, if the toilets were spruced up perhaps they could be expanded a little into changing facilities for all the football teams (young and old) that use the park in the evenings and weekends? I'd have thought they'd be keen on that.

Brockley Nick said...

Hugh, are you sure this whole "lack of centre thing" isn't just an excuse? How about moving for love?

Brockley Nick said...

Kate - changing facilities are actually a good point. There could be money from The Football Foundation to pay for that sort of thing. This reinforces the point. If you just spruce up the toilets or create new changing rooms then they will quickly fall in to disrepair because they won't get used or maintained regularly enough. If you create a small but multi-use facility, then you ensure it gets well-used round the clock - paying for its own upkeep, meeting the needs of lots of different user groups and preventing vandalism.

Anonymous said...

Mmm. Even if your house was chosen to have a huge James Blunt mural on the wall in keeping with Brockley tradition?

Hugh said...

Nick, she doesn't 'love' Lewisham enough. Or the Brockley Road. Or Lewisham Way. Or New Cross. Then there's the question of where one's nippers would school. SW London has the answers if one is prepared to pay.

Pete said...

What's wrong with Dulwich College? I would have thought that would appeal to most SW Londoners?

Hugh said...

True, Pete, and to be fair, she herself brought up DC. Perhaps I should remind her. At least house prices round here are taking a breather.

Anonymous said...

Nick, thanks for the endorsement for the trees idea. The planters in Birmingham were made from wood, knocked together very easily, looked great, and were cheap. It took 4 to five people to lift one, very slowly with soil inside it, so un-nickcable basically. If anyone with any say over this money wants to know how they did in Birmingham they can look up the Balsall Heath Forum (google it). Incidentally Balsall Heath is now always an annual contender for Britain in Bloom.

Also I think most people's gripe about Brockley isn't the people, the crime, or the 'facilities' (these are improving) - it's the look of the place. Lets go some little way to improve that.

RE the Anon - it's just easier - Steve.

Kate said...

Here's another idea - can we use the money to get the traffic lights outside the Barge fixed? It's been a week now, and on dark mornings and evening rush hours, crossing the road is rather dodgy.

(of course I'm not proposing this REALLY. I'm just taking the opportunity to have a whinge. Does anyone know how I could find out who's responsible for closing the crossing, so I can whinge directly at them?!)

M said...

I wasn't aware that the proposed betting shop was going to be 'publicly funded' - I thought it was proposed by a private commercial chain of bookies. What did you mean by that? I think your local elected representatives are, by the way, opposing the application - and successfully opposed the last one at magistrates court.

Bea said...

I would like to suggest that the money go towards making the high street along Brockley Road a more pleasant environment. Not only extra planting (there are flower baskets already but they are quite high up) but also sorting out the paving and the crash barriers which are bent in places and have gaps. Also the area in front of the post office sorting office could do with looking more appealing (the recycling bins are invariably overflowing) and the concrete plaza such a waste of space.

And as has been pointed out, the better the environment the more pride local residents have in their area and the more crime goes down.

P.S. The flower planting on Loampit Vale Road has really cheered the place up and makes is look like people there care. Money from the Ladywell ward fund was used for this last year.

Brockley Nick said...

M sorry, the opening line about the bookies was a joke - obviously not a very good one. It's not going to be publicly funded - hopefully it won't happen at all!

Hugh said...

I rather enjoyed it.

Bea said...

Hugh re schooling in Brockley, there are several very good primary schools in the area (Myatt garden got an outstanding in its Ofsted report this year) as well as Haberdashers` Aske`s Hatcham College in Brockley boarders / New Cross and Prendergast Secondary School on Hilly Fields.

Hugh said...

Bea, where do young boys go to school? Prenders is for girls only, I understand, and Haberdasher's is an upper school or whatever they call them these days.

Bea said...

Hugh, they take boys from the age of 11. I quote from their website “We have 1371 students in all aged 11 - 18 including 337 in the Sixth Form. We admit 208 each year.” and “Academic results: we are well above the local and national averages with 2007 results at: GCSE 92% gaining 5+ A*-C and at A Level an average of 299 points gained per candidate”. No surpise then that the school is heavily over subscribed.

Hugh said...

And for the first 11 years?

Kate said...

Mmmm great ideas re: Brockley Rd, Bea. Let's face it, if any part of Brockley needs 'physical environment improvements', it's Brockley Rd. The recycling bins by the postal sorting office are a disgrace and people often seem to see that area as the local tip, depositing things like mattresses there.

Bea said...

Hugh, primary schools such as Myatt Garden … you can look them all up on the Lewisham Council website http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/EducationAndLearning/ and the BBC also has a site dedicated to education where you can look up the latest school tables http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/default.stm

deekers said...

10K isn't a lot of money and as it is one-off funding, it'd be a good idea to either:
a) fund something that will not require continued investment of any kind,
b) fund something that will need minimal continued investment, and persuade the council to take this on (eg planters & trees), or
c) use it to seed-fund something that someone will then make self-sustaining (eg the cafe idea) - very reliant on an incredibly committed individual or organisation. Nick your arts centre idea sounds like a social enterprise... Pretty ambitious to get off the ground, but you are mister community now, so maybe you're the man for the job!

The 10K shouldn't be used to fund stuff that the council should be doing anyway - like traffic lights or graffiti removal, but could add to basic council provision or services. For instance the idea of improving the shrubbery or commissioning a bit of public art for a area maintained by the council. Any proposal should be cross-checked for existing pots of money that could've covered it, like lottery funding, where this sort of sum is more or less there for the asking (http://www.awardsforall.org.uk/england/index.html).

Personally I'm quite taken by Kate's latest idea, of improvements to Brockley Road around the post office, maybe all the way up to Brockley Cross/Geoffrey Rd. It'd be nigh impossible to get private funding for this sort of thing, or to get the council to volunteer for it (we've seen where Brockley stands with them elsewhere in this blog, and in the Local Development Framework). Getting rid of the billboards and re-doing the pigeon-proofing under the railbridge would be a start. I believe that in Council parlance the term is "street furniture", but i'm no expert.

leenewham said...

Use it to replace all the plastic perspex signs that blot the landscape with nice hand painted ones more suitable to the architecture or proper shop awnings. The 10,000 would be a grant towards the cost of the signage for any shop (old or new) that wants to do this.

Hugh said...

Thanks Bea, very useful.

Monkeyboy said...

I may have passed you but more than likely you passed me - I'm the one who's slow, sweaty and deeply unhappy at having to excercise.

Anonymous said...

I think (what I will refer to as 'The Central Corridor of Brockley') of the Brockley Road from the post office to the bridge, would benefit hugely from tarting up and may encourage nice new businesses to move in.

Kate said...

Monkeyboy - sounds like we're on a par!

Anonymous said...

Many of the things mentioned - hanging baskets, netting under the bridge, improved paving, as well as
removal of commercial bins, improved street furniture etc.. were all successfully campaigned for my the Brockley Cross Action Group. Howabout some of you joining and making a positive contribution to your community?

Bea said...

Anon ... as mentioned in my other post - would love to. Who should I contact as I can't seem to find anything on the BXAG website. Do you have an email address, please? Thanks.

leenewham said...

It always amazes me how everyone always wants planting and hanging baskets without really addressing the real issues.

I'm all for really well considered planting as part of an overal scheme, but just sticking flowers in a place to basically 'disguise' the crappy bits really isn't doing anyone any favours. Artmongers did a great job in New Cross with the recycling bins (feed the cows) and the big clockwork key above TM2.

I nominate Artmongers to do something with the horrible recycling bins outside the post office and some up with a unique and exciting way of brightening up the high street that actually eliminates something ugly rather than disguising it with flowers.

How about painting the roller shutters so it looks like the shop is open at night with a 'Trompe L'oel' effect?

Vikki said...

Hi - just to pick up on a few things...

Firstly there is a good chance that readers will live in Ladywell ward rather than Brockley and some might even live in Crofton Park ward. So there is, in fact, £30K floating round. I imagine it would be very difficult to spent all this on the same thing but it might be worth considering how some of the money could be spent together. E.g. if you want to tart up Brockley Road then Brockley people should make sure they submit those ideas to their councillors and those of us in Ladywell could ask our councillors about spending some of our money on Brockley Road south of St Andrew's Church (that's our's).

Secondly it isn't a lot of money so it's good to have quite small and contained ideas for what we want. Planters are not most exciting things in the world but they are relatively cheap and easy to deliver. (BTW I do like the idea about asking the New Cross cow people to come up with something imaginative/different)

Thirdly - as mentioned above - this isn't the only money we get. There will be a sizable environmental budget (for example)for the entire Lewisham borough. Getting hold of some of this is obviously effected by who's in power but it can also be influenced by those who shout loudest. E.g. There were big improvements made to Sunninghill Road (not Brockley but very close) that were not (I don't think) out of Ladywell's local fund money and the local councillors did a lot to bring this about.

spincat said...

leenewham has got a good idea there about involving artmongers. There is also an area around Goose Green (peckham) where they got zandra rhodes to redesign things like the bollards etc. I am not specifically suggesting that, but schemes like that and artmongers have made a difference to the look of places though some relatively small changes. I think one of the grimmest things about Brockley Rd is the shutters as it makes the area look so bleak at night - anything that would improve that.

Anonymous said...

Leenewham
"It always amazes me how everyone always wants planting and hanging baskets without really addressing the real issues." Er and you're addressing those are you?
In area dominated by concrete and metal, lets pay someone ten grand to add some more metal, albeit in a weird and interesting shape. You want the new cross bins?? U want bins? Bins? U want to spend the ten grand on bins?

They're bins!!!!!!

"just sticking flowers in a place to basically 'disguise' the crappy bits really isn't doing anyone any favours."

What do you think the cow bins are then?? Giving bin a cow face and painting it black and white is trying to disguise something crappy and in in my opinion doesn't do it any favours. A bin is a bin. It shouldn't grab your attention, you should barely notice it.

Ideas like that don't address the real issues. The real issue is why does the place look so bad? It's because it an area dominated with concrete and metal. Add some greenery and break up monotony. Any kind of sculpture/art or.....bins...will have faded, be chipped, or will just divide opinion.

If you really want to disguise the shutters on the shop doorways, whack a tree in front of them.

Kate said...

Artmongers could do a really great mural on both sides of the wall under the bridge at Brockley Cross. That would be wonderful.

I thought it was Anthony Gormley who did the Bellenden Rd (Peckham) bollards etc? But anyway, I used to live there and yes, it did really make all the difference. There are loads of nice little shops around there now - nothing like places like East Dulwich, which have become 'overdone' ... Perhaps the regeneration of that part of Peckham should be our 'model' for what we'd like to see in Brockley?

Anonymous said...

More murals in brockley? Can't we do better than that?

Kate said...

What do you think constitutes 'better', anonymous?

(Nick, maybe you should turn off anonymous posting, so we can differentiate between all these anonymouses!)

Incidentally, re: the shooting in New Cross yesterday, the BBC has a rather patronising feature about New Cross, here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7027045.stm

Brockley Nick said...

I don't want to turn the "anon" feature off unless it actually gets abused but even if you choose the anonymous option, you can still write your name at the end of the message.

As for the bins at the post office, why are they even there at all? Why are they necessary? If we really do need giant communal bins, why do we have to put them smack dab in the middle of the high street? I can't believe that Brockley doesn't have somewhere slightly less prominent they could go! Does anyone know the answer?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to confuse you. I thought I'd made myself clear. Trees! Trees would be 'Better' than a mural a piece of public art or cow shaped recycling bins. I am the same Anonymous that keeps banging on about it. In regards to turning off the anoymous posting - what's the point? Everyone is anonymous on here - 'Hugh' may actually be a 12 year old girl living on the 'dark side' for all I know.

Brockley Nick said...

The point of turning off anonymous posting would be precisely because anon posts can lead to confusion. It doesn't matter whether "Hugh" is a fictional identity, so long as we know that we know that we can reply to "him".

Now that we are getting 50+ comments on many posts, it's getting hard to tell whether it's one person posting 10 comments or 10 people posting one comment. It just makes it harder to have a discussion.

By all means call yourself Mr X - there are plenty of people on here who go by a code name, eg: Spincat, Deekrs, b., etc Not to mention "Brockley Nick"

Anonymous said...

You are sharp Nick - Okay I concede that point, it can be difficult to keep up. On that matter is there a way to start your own thread because if there is I don't know how to, this also would help the confusion.
Mr X

Kate said...

Trees - under a bridge?

Anonymous said...

No Kate, not under the bridge. Trees on both sides of the Brockely Road or any other area that could do with it. How can you not want trees?
MR X

Brockley Nick said...

Hi Mr X. No, blogger doesn't let you create your own thread. However, if there is a debate you'd like to start, please email me at nick.barron@gmail.com and, so long as it passes the exacting editorial standards(!) set by Brockley Central, then I'd be happy to create it.

Pete said...

"anonymouses"

Shouldn't that be anonymice?


"Trees - under a bridge?"

Shade tolerant trees that don't grow very tall?

Pete said...

With regards to trees you have to be careful. Southwark Council planted several along Lower Road/Evelyn street in Surrey Quays and the local kids vandalised most of them. What would you do about that?

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, vandalism's always a risk, but I think at some point you have to just trust in human nature! Otherwise, we'd never do anything to make our public spaces more pleasant. The places most in need of attention are, ironically, the most public - so that would help reduce the risk of vandalism. Plus, everyone is lovely in Brockley.

Hugh said...

I agree that murals aren't the way forward. I also agree that the biggest change to the feel of the neighbourhood would be secured by changing the look of Brockley Road near the station.

The subsidised signage idea is interesting, although getting that Marylebone High Street effect might require ripping out quite a few shop fronts and starting again. Lasting change here will require new businesses to move in.

I'm coming round to the idea of trees/plants being put along the main strip to break up its A-road sadness, unless we can get a coffee outlet set up on Hilly Fields to provide something of a focal point for people visiting the park.

I hadn't realised the toilets there are out of action but this surely is something the council alone should take care of.

Kate said...

"How can you not want trees? MR X"

Don't think I ever said I don't want trees. Some trees on Brockey Rd would be nice. I think you're making the mistake of thinking that a mural and trees are incompatible. Why can't we have both? The area under that bridge is well grim. It's just one of the things on that stretch that need addressing, including more trees, decorative street furniture, the removal of those massive recycling bins, etc etc.

AND the crossing still needs to be repaired, it's been out of action over a week now and it's rather dangerous.

Hugh said...

PS I've just been studying the architects' diagram of the Brockley station revamp. Surely the work can't go ahead without the ticket office itself being improved. Imagine replacing it with something wood-panelled like those fruit juice outlets you see in Green Park and the like. I think that would look terrific and be in keeping with the reclamation and opening up of the common outside.

Brockley Nick said...

Hugh (if that is your REAL name?!), the toilets aren't "out of action" in the sense that they still probably flush, it's just that you wouldn't want to wade over to them to find out. It's not very nice for kids, in particular.

Hugh said...

My theory about how you quick-fix the underside of bridges is simple: paint them in bright colours and, if cost permits, light them. Murals under bridges never really work because people don't want to hang around looking at them and anyway a lack of light means they can't be seen properly.

Brockley Nick said...

The ticket office will have to be improved. There is going to be refurbishment right the way along the ELL line. Most of that will be cosmetic, but if they want barriers, oyster cards and additional capacity, then it will have to be more substantial than that.

In the mean time, according to that diagram, our friends the trees will go some way to covering up the horrible ticket office.

Trees, is there anything they can't do?

Anonymous said...

Kate, that's fair enough. I agree there are many things that need improving, but there is only ten grand. Now I have absolutely no idea how far that would go in terms of buying trees or painting a mural or improving other things. I am only suggesting what I think would be the best way to make a real and lasting change to the look and feel of Brockley - if the money is enough.
Mr X

Hugh said...

How about we spend £10,000 on wooden cladding for the ticket office?

laurent said...

Every pot of money comes with restrictions, and we could do with some more information on what they are, in this case. Take a look at the examples in Sue Luxton's blog. Most are 'quick win' type improvements, or one-off events or series of activities, because with one-off funding, that's it - you cannot get into something that will require maintenance or follow-up. Even if it means they are a bit boring (hanging baskets) - this is essentially 'feel good' funding, not chang-the-world funding. You also can't get into something that will require a lot of consultation - like altering a ticket office that belongs to a private company and is soon to revert to a public body, & for which you should probably negotiate matched funding - or complex planning permission, because the time scale for the spend is likely to be prohibitive (?), and you'll blow the budget on planning consultants. Based on what we know about this funding, trees, or improvements under that rail bridge, sound great.

Monkeyboy said...

This thread is getting increasingly confused - but what the hell I may as well leap in.

I'm sure Networkrail will be looking at doing something with their ticket office as part of the East London Line. Presumably there will be increased throughput of passengers so they will have to as part of their legal obligations. Trust me on this one, you do not want to ask them to do anything to their infrastucture. It'll take forever and they could hapilly spend £10k on a new litter bin.

Beyond that let's all take a breather and chill out. How about sitting in the middle of the stone circle at hilly fields and having a chant?


I'm posting this while naked by the way.

Hugh said...

I realise my portaloo decorations proposal was somewhat unreflective. Sorry about that.

The centre of gravity of change on the Brockley Road is TM2. All recent and proposed developments are accretions to it, if we ignore the new flats being built.

Painting the underside of the bridge would pull attention to the other end of the street where there's more need.

How about some mental day-glow yellow? Or yellow on one side and fluorescent pink on the other? Cheap and effective in broadcasting the arty reputation Brockley seems to want to project. Even people driving through would notice.

Kate said...

On the issue of the area under the bridge, does anyone know anything about the disused shop between the bakery and the bridge? It's got really nice paint around the windows and could potentially bring a bit of life to that area, but it's completely disused, although apparently relatively recently so.

Does anyone know what it was?

Monkeyboy said...

It was an Afro-Carribean takeaway thingy. Only stayed open for a few months and then closed all of a sudden - presumably their finely honed bussiness plan didn't account for it being take away city round there.

But yes a good location for something......

Brockley Nick said...

That place was the subject of one of my first articles. It was one of Brockley's "limbo" shops - never really open, even when it was officially still in business. Anyway, it is due to reopen soon, apparently. But not in a good way... I am waiting on a few more bits of info before running the story.

leenewham said...

Dear Anon/Mr X etc.

I don't want to spend 10 grand on bins or to add bins or add any metal.

You totally missed the point that I was making.

The point of the post is that if there is something that is an eye-sore you eliminat the eye-sore, not put trees infront of it.

I never said I was against trees, only that I am against putting flowers and trees in a place for the sake of it.

There are ALREADY recycling bins near the post office in Brockley and they look ugly. The same was the case in New cross, Artmongers used good design to make an negative into a positive. And it also increased the amount of recyclg and people don't dump rubbish there any more like they do in Brockley. It is a well thought out and concidered scheme. They were designed to draw attention to themselves TO ENCOURAGE RECYCLING. Putting abush in front of it or flowers around it wouldn't have the same effect.

Good design and street furniture can make a huge difference. As for maintenance, trees need attention, as do flowers and hanging baskets, as do murals. Each serve their own purpose in the grand scheme of things. The trick is to use them for the right reason at the right time in the right place.

This blog was about 10,000 for one project. I suggest we highlight ONE problem and use the 10,000 to solve it properly. Perhaps thats wat we should be asking outselves, what ONE thing annoys you most about Brockley, what ONE thing is ugly, what ONE thing would you change.

I hope this clears things up.

Regards

Lee

Anonymous said...

Lee, I don't think I did miss the point. I wasn't suggesting we actually covered anything up. my "whack a tree in front of it" wasn't meant to taken literally. If there is something that needs removing because it's an eyesore then great, but my view is that the one off ten grand could be partly spent on trees which would lift the look of the area.
Consider Harefield Road, or any other of Brockley's lovely tree lined streets without them. Not so great. Ask the residents how they would feel if the council decided they were going to chop them all down - not bothered?? Wickham Road without it's trees? Fine. While we're at it lets tarmac over Hilly fields because people don't really go there for the trees anyway. Would sort the parking out.

Brockley Road has no trees and looks crap. Add some trees and it's not going to cure all of Brockley's ills, it won't prevent recycle bins looking like bins, and it won't stop kids dropping litter but for a one off shopping spree to improve Brockley you could do a lot worse.

..and if you had the dosh you evidently would.
MrX

leenewham said...

Can I make a suggestion. Who is up for meeting one Saturday/Sunday morning for coffee and coversation to discuss certain blogs and 'pressing issues'. Real social interacton! It means we actually get to know each other and I'm sure Hugh will be entertaining.

He may even give us a ride in his chopper!

Any takers?

I'll bring my crayons. :-)

Brockley Jon said...

Lee, I think you may have hit upon a brilliant idea to sort out the bins down by the Post Office. As you say, what Artmongers did at Goldsmiths looks great, and Brockley, being the hippy-dippy green area that it is, surely could have the same treatment for their 'bin farm'.

Re. meet-up, I believe Nick aka 'Mr. Community' is planning something soon.

leenewham said...

Dear mr X,

I dont disagree with you about trees, I love trees. I'd love more. I never said anything against trees in my original post, only about bad planting. Infact I didn't even use the word tree! I agree ith you that planting trees along brockley road may be a nice things to have, (depending on what trees they plant).

I'm not a fan of hanging baskets and poor planting which end up being barron glorified litterbins filled with soil. It does happen.

The planting around Brockley Station near The Broca is a fantastic example of what can be done when it's well designed. Just like the 'feed the cows' bins are another great solution to a problem that really worked.

The point of my post was this: Any scheme needs to be a solution to a problem, not just planting flowers for the sake of it.

leenewham said...

I'd just like to say that Brockley Jon is no relation of mine (but jon the cheque is in the post).

Anonymous said...

I would say that the Brockley Road looking horrible fits that criteria. MrX

Hugh said...

It worries me that somewhere earlier I'm sure I read a councillor speaking of 'designing out crime'. You don't remove people's motives for committing crimes by making the streets more pleasant to look it. I hope discussions at LBC level are more hard-headed than this and have already begun thinking Nick should stand for election.

Kate said...

Yes! the Brockley Central party candidate!

Re: meeting up, it's a great idea and I think that plans are afoot to do just that. I'll leave it to Nick to say more though ...

Anonymous said...

Oh Hugh you've opened a can of worms with that one. Apparently the environment is exactly why some people do behave in that way. There is overwhelming evidence from regeneration projects all over the country that street level crime CAN be designed out. If you walk down a street with no litter you are less likely to drop litter yourself than if it's a litter strewn street. This is why the way somewhere looks is so important.
MrX

Brockley Nick said...

I suspect I'd be too much of a liberal softie for your tastes. I agree that you can't change people's motives, but by designing an environment where "good" people want to spend time, you change the atmosphere of an area, reduce opportunities for crime (more people around means less scope for crime) and reduce petty stuff like graffiti - if an area looks neglected and run-down, people will treat it as such.

Of course, you need stuff like effective policing too...

Hugh said...

Fair responses. My concern is that slogans shouldn't replace thinking through the issues.

Anonymous said...

If anyone wants to meet up to discuss local issues, then go along to BXAG meeting, that is of course, if you're prepared to get involved rather than sit there discussing "pressing issues"...

Anonymous said...

Do I detect a sense of snobbery from the BXAG?

Kate said...

If the particular 'anonymouse' that is posting sneery comments is indeed a member of BXAG, then I'd suggest they're cutting off their nose to spite their face.

When I moved into the area I used the internet to look for local community organisations I could get involved with. BXAG's site seemed rather dead, and the organisation seemed to be about achieving a very specific goal in a very specific area of Brockley; I thought that (again, judging by its website) BrocSoc sounded broader-reaching - however, it also seemed even more dead.
So it was with great joy that I found Brockley Central, proof that the interweb had indeed reached the deepest darkest corners of south-east London (even Plumstead, apparently, judging by that flame war a while back ...)

I'd suggest that BXAG (and BrocSoc for that matter) uses the internet as a way of recruiting new people and communicating effectively - instead of sneering at people who show an interest in their local community while sitting at work, unable to be physically present in the area.

Hugh said...

We must nevertheless leave room for failed wits who work in warm offices for profit-making concerns.

Ed said...

Not quite a Brockley resident yet but interested in BXAG projects including hands on things like clean ups/planting. Perhaps you should invite people to the meeting (when and where is it?) and make the website a little more user friendly rather than teasing those people who seem genuinely interested in Brockley. I for one hope for a growing relationship between the popular BC and the BXAG.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not a member of the BXAG, but do my bit when I can over the years. Meeting up to discuss "pressing issues" sounds like navel gazing when there is a perfectly effective (clearly, from what the BXAG have achieved)forum for actually doing something about it. My point was not about people discussing things on a blog, but if someone wants to take things a bit further ie. to meet up (though meeting up to discuss what is already being discussed here seems a bit pointless, unless the motive is to suggest solutions with a view of doing something about them)then the Action Group is already there.
And how does the poster work out that BXAG's ethos "to celebrate, empower and improve the community and environment of Brockley" is too specific (both with regards to aims and geography) beats me.
The group is made up of volunteers, most who work full time with typically other commitments, so the group's achievements is dependant on people feeling passionate enough about wanting to do something in their not so spare time. If the poster found that the group seemed dead (though over the last 5 years, the group have been working on the masterplanning exercise, Brockley Common and Brockley Max to name but a few projects)then perhaps he/she might have taken to the time to inject some enthusiasm about something he/she would have liked to have done. Nobody as far as I could tell in the Action Group was a professional community worker, motivational speaker, volunteer worker, psychotherapist or any other such person who could gee everyone up when the group constantly have to battle with the slow workings of the council, idiot services, and non-communicative authorities. What I did see at one stage, was the members getting very disheartened because people at meetings were always happy to voice their opinions extremely vociferously, but when asked if they'd like to get involved, disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Vikki said...

I like to think the navel gazing is more blue sky thinking... But do agree that it would be good to either meet up or to also attend BXAG meetings.

However it is this blog - which may in reality do nothing - that has got lots of people thinking about what we can do to improve our local area. 90+ comments on a thread may deliver five extra people at a BXAG meeting and that's great. Think we should commend Nick and his blog for that rather than just dismissing it and us.

As there are now so many comments on the blog I'm not sure when this was mentioned but someone did seem to promise to provide info on the next BXAG meeting? As this blog has so many readers it would be a great place to post stuff.

Just back to the £10K issue and just to repeat stuff that has probably been written already - this isn't the only money we get and it isn't really the money that will make a huge difference to our area. This is just 'easy' money that we don't have to work hard to influence how it might be used. The type of amounts we might want to make big differences will require us to campaign and to 'do' something. And I would say that the BXAG would be a great organisation to do this campaigning through.

Cllr Dean Walton said...

Dear All,

Thanks for the comments/ideas/suggestions to date.

One point that I'd like to address is a bit 'off-topic' but I want to make it anyway.

Hugh has commented on the attempts to 'design out' crime - I know there is a wider issue out there - you should ask me about the work I have done with local residents and Upper Brockley Road - however there can frequently be relatively simple measures that quite simply remove the scope for a crime or anti-social behaviour. There are a number of boarded-up garages and gates paid for by Lewisham in Brockley and the impact on these was to prevent continual fly-tipping that was subsequently set alight.

As the money is just £10,000 it is clear that not every scheme brought forward can received some cash...however I hope to bring out additional ideas from people & places that might not normally think of approaching the Councillors for help and getting together some ideas for future action, identifying recurring themes. Also there are sometimes 'pots of money' that can be used to pay for other small scale projects...but if we don't know about them then there's little we can do - certainly one of the things I'll be doing in looking through the bids is to ensure that there is no 'mainstream' budget available prior to considering it within the £10,000 under offer here.

Additionally I want to encourage applicants to explore matching the funding from this with money from elsewhere...perhaps we can make £10,000 into £15,000 or £20,000 for Brockley...

All the best

Dean

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

I have a few suggestions for the ten grand.

1. Give it to me. I will spend it wisely.

2. Spend it on replacing all the street signs. As attractive as the blue ones are(mmmm), I think some really quirky and original street signs would be really great. They could be all different designs, maybe coming from several local artists? Or maybe as a project for the college? We could even try and get the ones at the station changed and give the place a bit of a facelift. I am not sure how strict the regulation is regarding what can and can't be done with street signs, so maybe if someone from the council reads this they could give us some insight.

3. I agree that the area outside the post office is pretty horrible. I think the bin idea is really good. At the end of the day a bin is a bin but why not make them a bit more interesting? The ones on Lewisham Way are by no means an eyesore when compared to the horrible green things. Maybe we could steal the idea from the nice people at innocent and cover the bins with astroturf? Has anyone ever seen their vans around London? A van is a van, but when its covered in grass it does catch your eye a bit more than your average white transit.

Or perhaps the area could be made into a little green space, with some nice planting like outside the station.

4. Another possibility is to put the money towards Phase 2B of the Brockley Cross. I think I read that finance had still not been secured for that part of the project.

I was also going to suggest that we spend the the money on employing some guys to blitz brockley of all of its excess rubbish. All those tv's, old kettles, microwaves and tires that seem to miraculously find their way onto the street. But then I thought that maybe this is something we could actually do ourselves. It would be an easy way way of getting involved and doing our bit. The results would be instantaneous as well. We would have to hire a skip or two so there would be some outlay but maybe we could get some from the pots of money Dean mentioned. Do you think they really keep it in pots?

I know this may provoke some discussion because at the end of the day we could be cleaning up just to have it dumped back a week later, but hey I am putting the suggestion out there anyway.

Personally I like the street sign idea...

Kate said...

Re: the rubbish, I think (correct me if I'm wrong, councillors) that the council picks up big bits of rubbish like mattresses, tvs, etc if we phone up and report it. Is this correct?
If so, it just requires us to be a bit more proactive in reporting it. I'm sure I once came across a website where you could file such reports for the council, but I can't find it now. Will try to track it down so Nick can link to it, then we can use it to keep the council's rubbish-collecting team up to date.

Anonymous said...

I try to co-ordinate the Brockley Commoners group and this in an unashamedly biased appeal for help from the locality fund. A little bit of new money each year keeps local groups like the Brockley Commoners going. We are transforming the environment both publically (around station and now on the estates (see two new fantastic flower beds on Wickham Road estate). We've also doubled the money received from this years locality fund. Next year we want to commission a major piece of very visible public art to go on Brockley Common and have to raise £30-40,000. This will reflect the local culture and history of Brockley and a locality fund contribution could really help us on our way. Vote for Brockley Common! Vote for more flower beds! Stuart

Anonymous said...

Message for Spincat. We've been developing the land around Brockley station for 3 years now. Southern Rail/Network Rail still won't give us open access even though we've invested over £50,000 on improving the site already. This is because it doesn't have proper lighting and isn't a recognised highway yet. However by next summer phase 2 should have been completed and then you'll really be able to use it. Stuart Woodin Brockley Commoners (www.brockley.com/bcag)

Anonymous said...

Getting warm nearTyrwhitt Road..

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