Brockley Common, otherwise known as the "area of lovely trees and wilderness by the station... fenced off with very ugly chicken wire fencing," (copyright: Spincat) is finally set to be transformed in to a public space which we can not only be proud of, but also access properly.
The project to transform the east side of the station on Coulgate Street is known as "Brockley Common Phase 2" - an idea for which the Brockley Cross Action Group (BXAG) has campaigned tirelessly. The vision is to create a new way to access the station and make proper use of Brockley Common - an asset which has been ignored for many years. The wire fence will be replaced by green terracing, which will lead up to a new public space, next to the station.
As we reported last week, funding for the next stage of the project has now been secured and work will move ahead shortly. Although there are several details to be finalised, Rupert King of the BXAG was able to explain more:
"Lewisham Council, in partnership with BXAG, Southern Rail and Network Rail, has secured £110,000 funding for Brockley Common from SELTRANS, a transport body administered by local authorities in South East London.
"The money has to be spent within the current financial year. Therefore works will commence early in the New Year and should be complete by March 2008.
"The money will fund the construction of a new DDA compliant 1:20 ramp [for wheelchair access] and the set of steps at the south end of the site leading up to the ticket office, including the paved space outside the office and the switchback path from the top of the ramp back to the office. This Phase, which we will call 2A, will also include new lighting, hand rails and some seating. The scheme is essentially the same scheme as currently displayed on the BXAG website, though this will need updating to show minor amendments. I can confirm that Council have agreed in principle that high quality paving be used for the ramps and steps in recognition of BXAG's vision for the creation of a landmark public open space. This is good news and something we have pushed for throughout the project's development.
"We also have £28,000 of S106 money [funding secured by the Council from private developers, as a contribution towards local community projects] for the project and at present we are looking at using all available funding to carry out all of the hard landscape works in Phase 2A - i.e. including the performance space and steps at the north end of the site. This makes complete sense in terms of minimising disruption and addressing access issues for subsequent phases of works after Phase 2A is completed. But it is not confirmed and is subject to costs. All agree it would be ideal.
"The current funding does not include any soft landscaping, such as planting, or the proposed terracing along Coulgate St. This will be funded separately and would constitute Phase 2B. Phase 2A will open up Brockley Common to the public, but the temporary treatment of the soft landscape areas requires further discussion with the Council. A key consideration will be the safe use of the site, which will contain several banks.
"Although the ramp and steps are mainly about improving access to the station ticket office and footbridge, they are an integral part of the Common and we hope people will make use of the new access to enjoy Brockley Common's wildlife, its views and openness. Seating will be provided. It will be safer, more open and a good place to meet and hang out. But Brockley Common will only become a finished public open space once Phase 2B is funded and completed.
"Of course, we sincerely hope that when Transport for London take over the Ticket Office, they carry out some serious improvements to the building. One thing I do know is that automated ticket barriers are on the agenda, meaning everyone will have to go through the ticket office to access the platforms. This makes the new access improvements - the ramp and steps - even more important and will increase pedestrian traffic through and into Brockley Common."
Thanks to Rupert for providing such a detailed explanation of the status of the project. We think it will make a profound difference to the area and, if money can be secured for the performance space element, it will open up new possibilities for local events.