Brockley Common moves forward

Brockley Common plan

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.

Brockley Common 3D drawing
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.

38 comments:

lisa said...

The first time I arrived at Brockley train station, on my way to view a flat on a rainy autumn evening, I was totally thrown by the layout -- had no idea which way to the high street, every direction looked dark and foreboding and kind of awful. Practically the only source of light was the Speedicars sign. So, THANK YOU BXAG for your efforts! Phase 1 already made a difference, and bring on phase 2 I say. Glad to note your concern about choice of materials, and securing funding for 2B.. The devil with these things is ever in the detail.

Hugh said...

When searching for a flat in south London four years ago I took the train from London Bridge and deliberately ignored Brockley because of the view from the train. That view has changed but with further change should do much to attract favourable attention.

Anonymous said...

I hope the 28 grand secured from private developers isn't the same money that Nick mentioned would be used to redevelop the west side of the station - that's an area that needs genuine improvement.

b. said...

superb news - bring on 2B's funding!

Monkeyboy said...

I'm normally as cynical old sod but well done the Brockley Cross Action Group, good to see that community groups can get some tangible results. Just be careful that Lewisham don't use the ten grand as part of the funding.

Bea said...

Great news - really looking forward to seeing the results.

And I want to second the thanks to BXAG for all they are doing for our community.

Anonymous said...

The Action Group's efforts and successes are down to a few, deeply committed people, and the group could be far more effective if they had more members. So howabout getting involved, say, one evening a month? Time much better spent than sitting at a computer posting comments....?

Andy Pandy Pudding & Pie said...

It is really good news - so well done BXAG.

Nick, do you know if the 28k is the same monies already mentioned for improving the west side of the station?

I also noticed that on the BXAG website, they have some money available for plants etc.. on the west side (in the triangle bit of grass). Anyone interested in helping get this done?

Brockley Nick said...

Andy, I think the money is separate, as I was told that there was money to open up the area by the bridge on the west side. However, I will try and double-check that there's no confusion.

Bea said...

Anon ... I was interested in joining but couldn't find anyone to contact on their website (which doesn't seem to have been updated in a while). Do you have the email address for someone I can get in touch with about this? Thanks.

lisa said...

Rupert - do you have an idea of what Phase 2B will cost?

Brockley Nick said...

Lisa / Bea - I agree, it can be hard to get up to date information about the BXAG meetings, which obviously doesn't make attending meetings easier! I will speak to them and publish the details on the site. The idea for this site came out of the first BXAG meeting I attended and I plan to go to another one soon.

Anonymous said...

The BXAG website is being updated in the next couple of days, and I've passed your comment on to the group. Thanks

Luke said...

Well done BXAG - excellent work. Now we just need a little more from TFL (ahem) to ready the station for the impending ELL extension and sharp increase in passenger numbers...

...likely.

ElijahBailey said...

Aye well done.

A lot of the stations on the Overground are going to have to have real investment. The steps up from Platform 1 at New Cross Gate are too narrow to cope as it is.

Brockley station is dreafully laid out. Further down the stations are just not dsigned for how they are to be used.

If they are seriosuly talkign about ticket barriers then that'll mean they will probably have full time staffing.

veggiegirl said...

Will this become the unofficial Broca garden - after Phase 2B with more planting & perhaps a couple of benches it could become a pleasant place to have a coffee.

I hope BXAG can get both funding and help from volunteers to see this through to completion & realise the full potential of the space - they've certainly done a great job so far. I'll be keeping an eye on the website to see how we might get more involved.

spincat said...

I also think that what has been done so far is fantastic and really shows what difference a group of people can make. I am all in favour, of doing something with that green space but...

(everyone is going to shout at me for being an old hippy who has lived in Brockley too long and eats pork scratchings and doesn't go to gastropubs, I know they are, but)

..attractive as the plans look on paper, it is a very 'landscaped' design. A lot of wild features are being replaced with paths and water feature and seating and terracing etc. (As I understand it - and I may be wrong in the way I am interpreting it.)
My personal wish would be to see less 'intervention'. Remove the fencing, undertake work to clear up the undergrowth and do some planting - but perhaps less landscaping. There is a danger that something that is a bit grim at present simply because it is so overgrown and fenced off + stuff gets dumped there, becomes a bit suburban-garden.

I am all in favour of improvements to the station buildings themselves - any improvments and radical design welcome I would say.

Anonymous said...

Spincat - there are various reasons why there had to be 'intervention'. Some of the money was dependant on creating disabled access, which could only be acheived by having such long paths due to the steepness of the site. Furthermore the retaining wall will have to be removed because it is unsafe (and ugly), again dictating somewhat as to what could be done. The BXAG felt it important also to have a possible performance space to encourage use. Because of the many provisos to the group receiving the money, compromise was neccessary. For any design to work it has to have an overall look rather than being piecemeal.

spincat said...

OK - thanks; that makes things clearer. I can understand the access issue and the way that the money is related to that. Although I prefer wilder looking places, I am very impressed with what has been done at the station so far and these plans will surely bring improvement (it is not my local stations as am down Crofton Park/Honor Oak end, so didn't know all the issues involved)

Torres said...

Nick, do you know what kind of re-vamp the station will undergo? (simple cosmetic or full on re-design) As a paid up (and very happy) member of 'the dark side' I would like nothing more than to be able to access platform 1 without doing the relay. This is even more frustrating because it seems so simple to remedy.

Anonymous said...

I went to Brockley station around dusk on a Saturday evening two weeks ago and there was a mob of about 20 male hoodie wearing teenagers acting like lunatics, (shouting and rapping and pushing each other) and it created a very uneasy atmosphere at the station entrance (in front of the Broca). I was glad when a train came and they all ran and leaped on like animals and got out of Brockley. These were young adults maybe 16-18 years of age, old enough to have sense (and manners). They created an awful image of the town for people using the station and their behaviour was frightening for anyone arriving in Brockley.

Then i got as far as the Brockley Barge and i was approached by a young lady with some cock-and-bull story about needing 50p to get her train home (I mean come on?!).

By this stage it felt like i had been dropped into some sort of ghetto.

If this park gets the go ahead night time activity will need to be controlled, (preferably with an extremally strong gate with a massive guard dog!) so that any money spent is not wasted by creating an area for these people to congregate after dark. They will only laugh while breaking the newly planted trees in half, graffiting the sculpture and benches, and turn this excellent initiative ito a no-go area. The organizers need to adopt a zero tolerence attitude from the outset so that its clear that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated in the park, if its developed.

Sounds harsh perhaps but its the reality of this site unfortunately - both train stations and parks traditionally attract nutcases so having the two together would be asking for trouble.

Brockley Nick said...

Anon, I don't want to downplay your experience a couple of weeks ago, but in essence, you saw some young people on a Saturday night, being a bit rowdy, but not actually doing anything criminal or threatening to others, while they waited for their train. Then the train arrived and they got on it and left. Later, you saw a beggar and ignored them.

That's not my definition of a ghetto.

But everyone sees the world differently and that's why one of my earliest articles asked people who lived locally to say whether they felt that the area was safe. A large majority said yes. You can read their responses for yourself.

There is some anti-social behaviour and I have seen both begging and some kids fighting. But I totally, totally disagree that the appropriate response is to put up gates everywhere and not try to enhance the area. The vast majority of people in Brockley are great and we shouldn't fear making improvements because of a small number of anti-social people, as can be found in virtually every part of London (I work in the West End and can tell you all about beggars, but I wouldn't put a fence around Trafalgar Square and a searchlight on the fourth plinth).

ElijahBailey said...

My word! Loud young'en's and beggars!? In Inner London!?!?!?!?!

What is the world coming to!

Anonymous said...

The BXAG's rottweilers are straining at their leashes whilst we write.

Anonymous said...

Now hang on people, before you start trying to have a laugh at my expense....I am not simply refering to a group of kids hanging out and being slightly rowdy on a Saturday night, which of course would be perfectly acceptable.
These teenagers were virtually causing a riot wearing hoods with their faces hidden with facemasks at night, which I am sorry, but is simply not normal behaviour. These guys knew they were intimidating the passing commuters and that everyone would be too afraid to question their antics and this only made them all the louder and vulgar as they lapped up the 'power'.

Maybe you guys are used to kids acting like that on the streets in London but where i come from (Ireland) thats simply not normal. And wouldnt be allowed.

At the end of the day it would be lovely to have a safe society where we could spend £30k of public funds on a new park and not have to protect it, but the reality is that if this park is not secured from the outset then you can bet your life it will be vandalized without question. My 'gate and dog' suggestion was slightly in jest, i dont care how its protected really, just think that the issue should be considered.

ElijahBailey said...

Well with TFL taking over the station security will automatically be upgraded: Better lighting, more staff in the late hours etc. as TFL is very committed to improving all aspects of the stations it takes over.

The murals haven't been massivly vandalised and they are public art.

Anonymous said...

Anon, i admit i thought your initial posting sounded a bit Daily Mail but I've literally just seen those kids your were referring to 5 mins ago and yep - they were intimidating. There were about 30 of them walking up the street on both sides and in the middle of the road. They had hoodies and balaclava's so only their eyes were visible. They weren't doing anything wrong but the sheer number of them was quite overwhelming.
John

Anonymous said...

ElijahBailey, a quick word. I work with many folk from TfL and are am involved with a lot of their upgrade schemes. One of the main reasons for introducing Oyster was to remove the need for cash transactions and the need for ticket office staff. Many of the outlying Tube stations are unmanned and their asperation is to increase that trend (TfL control the Tube and will control the 'Overland' East London Line. Their has been a lot of resistance to that recently so Brockley may get extra staff but don't go holding your breath.

The Tube has a 'classical music' project at unmanned stations, they are playing a bit of the old classical malarky at a low level. Apparently hoodies hate Bach! I'm not joking, it works a treat so I'm told!

Monkeyboy said...

...Doh, bit pissed. Hit the return key. The last post was mine.

Pete said...

If the stations aren't manned, what happens when the barriers break down?

Monkeyboy said...

If the barriers break down they default to the open position and TfL lose money!

ed said...

I currently live in Brixton (moving to Brockers in February) and am familiar with intimidating gangs of hoodies. In Brixton tube station they play classical music which does seem to have a calming effect...

I think that the lighting in the common area will be key to it being a successful communal space.

I am also worried that the sculpture/water feature may be naff (for want of a better word on a Friday afternoon); aren't water features a waste of energy?

I'd welcome a well lit seating area for those supping their broca beverages although if the sculpture has some local significance and is sympathetically designed it could be quite nice. Does anyone know what is planned in this regard?

Moira said...

Re Public art on the Common: The BXAG have held the first stage of the competition, but no one artist has been commissioned yet.

Anonymous said...

Nick,
would it be possible to find out what provision for wheelchair access there will be on Platform one? Without wanting to sound negative about the BXAG's plans, (in fact they sound terrific), there is little point in taking care to build a 1 in 20 gradient ramp on one one of the station, only to find a steep set on steps on the other. I know this doesn't come under the BXAG jurisdiction but do you know if Network Rail or TFL are looking at this?
Simon J.

Monkeyboy said...

TfL commited to a certain number of stations being 'step free' by a certain date. Although Brockley is Networkrail I'd hope that the new 'Overland' East London Line would be step free also as its TfL operated? Their may be info on TfL website for the East London Line?

Kate said...

A quick thought - it would be great if the train people could install a cash machine as part of the station upgrade, as this is something that's sorely lacking in Brockley at the moment, and a lot of other mainline stations do have them.

Anonymous said...

Monkeyboy, Thanks, I'll check it out.
Simon J

Anonymous said...

When is this supposed to be happening? There is a distinct lack of movement considering it's supposed to be done and dusted by March.

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