A new Lewisham-wide campaign has been created to preserve the borough’s pubs.
In recent years, Lewisham has lost dozens of pubs and more are under threat. In response, the snazzily-titled FOCAS (Forum of Conservation and Amenity Societies of Lewisham), called a meeting to identify ways in which greater protection can be offered to pubs, which play an important role in creating a sense of local identity.
The meeting included representatives from community groups in areas such as Sydenham, Telegraph Hill, Grove Park and Catford, though sadly no-one from the Brockley Society was able to attend.
The problem is most acute in the south of the borough, where a total 14 pubs have closed recently. Brockley too has lost The Maypole and The Duke of Edinburgh recently to new apartment developments. Though neither establishment was among the most dearly loved of Brockley’s drinking holes, it does underline the challenge facing traditional pubs, which are under pressure from changing drinking habits, increasing land values and the pressure to build new housing.
Given that large swathes of the Borough (like Telegraph Hill and Catford) were built by people influenced by the temperance-movement, Lewisham has precious few pubs to start with, so the issue is an urgent one.
Many Councils have much stronger policies concerning development of pubs and FOCAS’ immediate focus is to lobby Lewisham Council for an improvement to bring it in to line with authorities such as Kingston and Merton.
Ladywell Action Group
Cllr Sue Luxton is trying to get a local action group off the ground in Ladywell, to address issues in her ward. She writes:
“On Thursday I had an informal meeting in Masons with a group of local residents concerned about the state of Ladywell Road. A number of people have expressed concern over the past few months (and years) about the number of empty shops along Ladywell Road, the range of shops, the state of the pavement, the unsightly railings and various highways and safety issues. Things have got markedly worse recently since the only shop selling fruit and vegetables on the road has closed, and there is a potential threat of the Post Office being closed too.”
She envisages a group along similar lines to the Brockley Cross Action Group and BXAG member Des Kirkland joined the meeting to share the benefit of Brockley’s experience. If a group is formed, it could work in partnership with the BXAG to tackle issues of mutual concern.
Visit Sue’s blog for more details.
La Dolce Brockley
Local blogger and friend of Brockley Central, Richard Elliot, is having a midlife crisis, brought on by the glut of beautiful twenty-somethings that have suddenly appeared in Brockley. For the record, Richard, Brockley Central have reached our early thirties, but lots of people say we look younger, so you can be forgiven for making that mistake.