Predictions for 2008

Happy New Year everyone!

Before making our predictions for 2008, we looked back at one of our earliest articles, when we set out a modest wish list for the area. With the new Tesco (and its cash machine) and the planned upgrade of The Talbot next year, all three items have a tick against them. However, in the exchange with Sue Luxton that followed, we poured cold water on her vision of a Brockley which could support good local food shops, which just goes to show that we know nothing. So it is against that backdrop that we look forward to the next twelve months.

The property market is bearish and several properties near BC HQ remain unsold after months on the market but we believe that the East London Line and the improvements around Brockley Cross will create relatively stable house prices while continuing to draw-in young people, which will drive the success of local businesses and shape the character of the area.

Here are our four hostages to fortune...

Brockley Road

In 2007, all of the good new businesses steered clear of Brockley's shabby high street, taking advantage of the blank canvass offered by the new shops created on the side streets. However, in recent months one or two shopfronts have been improved and the introduction of new trees to the ugliest parts of Brockley Road could help matters further. In 2008, we predict that at least one good new business will try its luck on Brockley Road, either in the stretch opposite the Barge or at Homeview.

Cars

One of our long-standing gripes has been the extraordinary number of car-based businesses hogging Brockley's pavements. We predict that, in 2008, at least one will bite the dust. Sadly, we suspect the first to go will be one of the MOT garages, which mostly offer a good local service, rather than one of the car lots, which simply suck-up pavement space for the benefit of non-existent customers.

The Council have already rejected at least two applications to convert car businesses in to alternative commercial and residential developments. 'Unsympathetic design' and lack of car parking provision have been the main stumbling blocks on these occasions, but we expect at least one of the developers to come back with a better proposal in 2008 and, if so, we hope the Council gives them the go-ahead, as we struggle to think of anything more unsympathetic to Brockley's streets than grotty forecourts.

The Gallery

The Gallery at the Tea Factory will create so many new possibilities for local artists and community groups, that we won't know how we did without it before. Assuming completion of the development isn't delayed too much, it should be up and running by the summer. This isn't really much of a prediction, except to say that it will surprise a lot of people with the impact that it has on Brockley - it's something to get very excited about.

Brockley Cross

This is our biggest punt, given that this project's been stuck in limbo for many years. We predict that, in 2008, we will finally get an agreement on that site, with a developer keen to capitalise on the arrival of the East London Line in 2010.

What are your predictions for 2008?

46 comments:

Hugh said...

1. House prices across London will rise this year. This is obvious given that all 'expert' commentators are saying otherwise.

2. Once renovated, the Talbot will become the area's most popular pub.

3. The Talbot's success will invite the question whether that end of Tyrwhitt Road will be smartened up more generally, with no clear answer emerging.

4. The first couple to have met through Brockley Central will be announced.

Richard Elliot said...

There is no chance of No 4 unless more Brockley Central drinks are organised! Hint, hint.... ;-)

Andy Pandy Pudding & Pie said...

1. New businesses will finally move into Mantle Road

2. The Darkside of Brockley will finally get a cafe.

3. My pet kittens will become cats.

Anonymous said...

Brockley will get it's first trendy wine bar.
SJ

mg said...

Mr Lawrence isn't trendy enough?

Anonymous said...

It is but I regard that as Croften Park, not Brockley but I agree something like that a little closer to home would be nice.

Anonymous said...

crofton park is Brockley!

Anonymous said...

it's not really though is it. Croften Park is Croften Park. Brockley is Brockley. The clue is in the name.

Brockley Nick said...

Anon, there have been a few discussions about what constitutes Brockley (search for "where do you draw the line") but Crofton Park certainly is part of Brockley.

SJ, my bet is a restaurant / bar combo will open somewhere - like Ecosium, only with more of an emphasis on the bar bit...

Anonymous said...

Is Croften Park a suburb of Brockley? If so, can somebody define not where Brockley is but What Brockley is? Croften Park is surely an area in the London Borough of Lewisham isn't it, not a suburb of Greater Brockley????? V. Confused.

Anonymous said...

Nick, that sounds like another nod towards insider knowledge. Or is this just a hunch?
SJ

patrick1971 said...

Any hints & tips welcome on Crofton Park as I'm thinking of moving there this year sometime (currently in Deptford). You seem to get lots more for your money there in the Manwood/Salehurst/Bexhill Road areas; is there a catch?

Andy Pandy Pudding & pie said...

Yeah, the catch is its not Brockley. :o)

I had a discussion with the owner of the TM2 about a yr ago now and they are trying to move towards being a bar.

No idea what progress has been made on this, although i have seen a trendy looking menu holder outside the TM2 door :o)

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is a catch. You're nicely tucked in behind Croften Park's main drag with plenty of shops, cafe's etc.

One note about the Brockley/Croften park thing though- borders (real or imagined) change all the time, but in two years the East London Line will be serving somewhere called Brockley. New people will move to that area and I imagine that the new 'Brockley' will increasingly become centered around the new station (based on whether commuters can walk to it easily).
What are you're thoughts Nick?
Mr Y

Monkeyboy said...

I think you're right. When i first moved to Brockley NO one at work seemed to have heard of it. The only disadvantage is that the ELL will not go directly to central london. It'll serve docklands though so will prove popular. Anyone from deptford care to comment on the changes around there since the DLR reached them?

We need more bankers around here, I can't KEEP robbing Hugh's place.

Anonymous said...

According to various web enthusiasts and historians, years and years ago Crofton Park actually WAS Brockley (hence the Brockley Jack pub being where it is.

Later development saw Brockley enlarged and the 'centre' moved up the road to where it is now. Crofton Park railway station was built and named after the cemetary nearby.

I think if you ask most local people their opinion, Crofton Park is still in Brockley.

Anonymous said...

I agree, but I think the East London Line will change all that. Croften Park will not be on the Overground - Brockley will be and as most people know, London being London, people tend to look at the tube map and ask what tube is it on? Once the ELL is here, it will be difficult to call Croften Park as part of Brockley.

Sue Luxton said...

. . .but the cemeteries are called Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries and and were formally Ladywell and Deptford cemeteries, not Crofton Cemetery, as far as I'm aware. I could be wrong on that though.

For what's it's worth, I think geographical Brockley ends by the junction of Adelaide Ave with Brockley Road, or thereabouts, but where does Brockley turn into Ladywell? Is Hilly Fields Ladywell or Brockley? ;)

Sue Luxton said...

PS: word is that the shop next to Shop on the Hill may soon be let, but what it will be is being kept under wraps for now, but it won't be a food shop.

Anonymous said...

I'd go along with that boundary. Plus if an area is deemed definitive enough to have it's own named railway station, then surely that is the name of the area? To me Croften Park is as defined as an area in it's own right as Honor Oak, New Cross, Ladywell, or indeed, Brockley.

spincat said...

When this has come up before it seems as if, for the purposes of this site, Brockley Central covers SE4 postcode, which is fine by me.

What is interesting is how heated we all get about what is or isn't Brockley : I have seen this before in other situations, and I think it is because, in such a big city, we create a kind of mental boundary we call home. Mine stretches way outside SE4 in fact: basically from lewisham high st on one side to (roughly) east dulwich on the other. Crystal palace in the south and new cross in the north. With crofton park at the heart of my world.

Brockley Nick said...

@Mr Y - Personally, I don't think it matters greatly what people who don't live here think about Brockley / Crofton Park - it's more important what we all thinkg. As Spincat says, this blog tends to concern itself with SE4 and things directly relevant to SE4 life.

Any area which is lucky enough to have two stations in close proximity (arguably, Brockley has three) will necessarily have these kind of debates, because station names play an important role in defining an area.

For example, I grew up in the Westcombe Park conservation area, but my nearest station was Maze Hill, not Westcombe Park. Most people visiting Maze Hill Station would not think of Maze Hill as a distinct area, nor would they even think of it as Westcombe Park, they would most likely think of it as being the nearest station to Greenwich Park. And when most people asked me where I lived, I used to say Blackheath or Greenwich (depending on which I thought would make most sense to them) because no-one knew what Westcombe Park was and in any case, it bounds both Greenwich Park and Blackheath. The other day, I read an article in the paper which described "Westcombe Park and Shooters Hill" as though they were the same area, but they are about as closely related as Brockley and Sydenham.

Anyway, the upshot of that long and rambling anecdote is that, although it's an interesting question, I don't think we should worry too much about what is or isn't Brockley. I didn't think "Brockley, Crofton Park, St John's, Brockley Rise, bits of Ladywell, and the parts of Telegraph Hill that are a short walk away Central" was a particularly catchy name. Brockley is in the middle of all of that and it's the single area name that could be made to fit all of that in my view.

We are lucky, in SE4, that we have so many nice bits on our boundaries. When I lived in Charlton, my house was bounded by industrial estate, main roads, ASDA and various other bits of grot, which meant that a Sunday morning walk was not half the pleasure it can be in Brockley.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. I was just making the point that I think these traditional boundaries will all change with the arrival of the ELL. I think it's introduction will be the single biggest factor to define the area for years.

Currently Brockley, Croften Park, St John's. Lewisham are all served by over land rail stations. Brockley is only one out of those to be plugged in to the tube network. To most people in London this holds a huge bias of desirability. Thus I believe that Brockley future as an 'area' will be centered around the station (anywhere in reasonable walking distance from it- i.e. twice a day, every day).

As someone relatively new to the area one of the main factors of me moving was the ELL. Because of this I didn't entertain any ideas about looking as far down the road as Croften Park, or St Johns. That's not to say they those areas don't have a lot to offer. I find myself down at cafe blanca often, and like that stretch of shops.

As for the website, i wasn't making any judgment on what areas it should or shouldn't cover. I love the site and think it's good to cover the wider area.
My point was simply a suggestion which was supposed to spark debate.

Mr Y

Brockley Nick said...

@Mr Y - apologies if I sounded grumpy, didn't mean to. It's obviously January blues seeping in to my correspondence.

Anonymous said...

No worries. Debates about areas or boundaries are usually hotly contested because (like someone else said) we feel an affinity with the area or like to attach an identity.

I am interested though in what changes people think the ELL is going to bring to Brockley - (lets face it they might not all be good ones). I suspect that last year there were more significant changes to Brockley than in the previous 5 put together. If that continues then the area is in for a major overhaul for better or worse.
Mr Y

Hugh said...

Haven't read the whole thread but the interesting thing about the ELL is that it doesn't go anywhere interesting directly. Even the wharf means changing for the Jubilee Line - admittedly perhaps not a deal-breaker.

Monkeyboy, a mate is a banker and he almost bought a flat overlooking Hilly Fields. Then he dropped the idea.

What the area really needs is a place where beautiful young things (and the rest of us who aren't yet completely old/bald) can hang out drinking European beer from bottles, wear our designer jeans, read the Sunday papers, watch Sky Sports and generally eye up local talent. So far there isn't a contender.

Brockley Jon said...

Hugh, not sure if that last comment was your dry sense of humour, but have you not seen Moonbow Jakes? If not I think you have just found what you are looking for (although, of course, we would certainly welcome more!).

Earlier on Nick predicted a place opening up like Ecosium but with more of a bar feel. If Ecosium read this blog, I think you could be onto a real winner if you start to push yourself as more of an evening venue - get some DJs, a range of affordable beers, and spead the word! This could be your ticket to breaking even this year.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone recommend a good nursery in Brockley??
Dave

tyrwhitt michael said...

At the risk of sounding like the woman on the Setanta advert ..........it's not Croften, it's CROFTON.

Oh and a Happy New Year to everyone.

And by the way, the owner of the derelict Tyrwhitt Road corner shop and no 8 Tyrwhitt Road died at the end of last year. Whether anything will be done to them now, or whether they remain as they are unloved and un cared for, whilst arguments rage over who will inherit, I can't say......

Pete said...

I'm pleased you posted that Michael as you saved me having to do it.

If you exclude Crofton Park from being part of Greater Brockley you are actually excluding about 1/3 of the good restaurants and bars from the area.

I think Ladywell includes about half of Hilly Fields.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should lobby the council to get the name changed to 'Brockley South'.



......then Lewisham could be Brockley East......Nunhead Brockley West, St Johns Brockley North, and Brockley, Brockley Central - obviously.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - that's the kind of thinking we need around here.

Kate said...

Could we annexe Bond Street too?

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find that Bond Street is technically Peckham...

Aliche said...

1. Aliche will stop lurking on Brockley Central and sign up properly. Check.

2. That is all.

patrick1971 said...

As far as changes to Deptford post-DLR go, "not enough" would be my assessment. I moved to the area in 1999, just after the DLR had opened. It was pretty grotty then and it's still pretty grotty now. There are gems, but they're well hidden; I'm thinking of Wellbeloved, Bear Cafe (although I hate going there to give money to a revival church, it is a nice place to have a coffee) and, erm, that's it.

The much vaunted regeneration hasn't really happened (they were plugging Deptford as the next big thing eight years ago when I first moved here) and what regeneration there has been has been of the wrong sort - blocks of yuppie flats by the DLR which allow people to insulate themselves from the area.

To be honest, I can't really see Deptford ever doing a Clapham or an Islington. The housing stock's just not there. This is where Brockley has a huge advantage, as it still has loads of terraces and the council stuff that is there isn't too bleak, unlike Deptford.

So my guess is that the arrival of the tube may slightly accelerate what's already happening in the area, but won't be the sole catalyst for change.

Anonymous said...

Some good points there Patrick, particularly to do with housing stock. It's the one essential ingredient needed for regeneration in any area. I bought on the west side of the tracks last year and the housing stock there is well above average in terms of size and affordability. Young couples are slowly picking up on this and moving in, seeing the potential of an undervalued area (relatively) especially as it's so close to the station.

The only difference I would say though in terms of impact is the difference between the DLR and Overground. I used to live in Lewisham and regularly told north London friends about the fantastic DLR (which I think it is). They used to sniff about it saying it was a toy train and wasn't the tube, blah, blah, blah. The truth is is that they had never even used it (or seen it) to make a proper judgement. The Overground on the other hand is being run out all over London (not just the east london line) and so will eventually be used by almost everyone at some stage and will become as normal to hop on as the tube is now. Also from what I've read it appears that the train stock they'll be using is superior to anything on the Underground - air conditioning for a start - so it's my hope that the Overground will eventually become regarded as the same, if not a better way of travelling around than the (older) underground. Therefore Brockley being on an Overground line be be a very attractive place to live indeed.
(it already is!!)
What do you think - false hope?

Mike C

spincat said...

I can't see why anyone would particularly want to be on a tube route. The overground and DLR are much more enjoyable.

It is just a weird mindset some North Londoners ('mentally north', I mean) get into where they think a place doesn't exist if it isn't on the tube.

If you don't agree, think back to your last half dozen tube journeys - now were they really that great?

Matthew said...

good points Patrick, from a Deptford resident of similar vintage. Deptford just doesn't have the housing stock to sustain a regeneration similar even to Peckham, let alone Islington or Shoreditch. Grotty estates and Barratt houses will never be sought after by the social groups that tend to drive such change.

Convoys Wharf will change things to a degree, though it's hard to see it becoming any more than a ghetto for the rich unless something serious is done to improve the prospects of those living on the surrounding estates.

Anyway, after 10 years, I'm retreating from the SE8 front lines to a comfortable spot a little further south east...

Matthew said...

er, that should be south-west. Never was much good with that blasted compass.

Anonymous said...

My daughter came back from Uni. last summer and was looking for a local summer job. The Ecosium was advertising for waitresses, and my daughter has great experience, so she enquired, was told by the manager to come back that evening to do a trial, and then worked for four hours with no break and no offer even of a glass of water. The manager who completely ignored her when she left and was downright rude to her for the entire time that she did the "trial". In the four hours of free work that she gave him she completely re-stocked and re-organised his bar, shifting heavy crates of bottles around in order to do so, thoroughly cleaned the entire floor, polished countless glasses and was allowed to serve only a few customers. There was already another French girl doing a "trial" in there and she had been working since twelve midday and was still working, with no break, at nine o' clock at night when my daughter left. The poor girl was exhausted but desperate for work, so couldn't leave. Just thought you might like to know when you're sitting thinking what a lovely place Brockley is becoming.

Monkeyboy said...

That's rotten - what a sod. Erm, but not really evidence of the widespread collapse of Brockley society.

I often see chap who runs the news agent / corner shop at the end of Malpas road pop round from his counter and help a regular old lady bend down for milk and her dailey paper and even have a little chat about nothing in particular. Even heard him telling her that she could pay another time when she didn't have enough on her. That's the flip side of Brockley life.

Hugh said...

And in between are the doors.

Anonymous said...

You're right...there are some really lovely people who have been in Brockley for a long time - I guess I should have made it clear that my point was more that I think the guy in question is in a minority- and I hope not typical of newcomers....it's just a rotten display of behaviour on his part and my daughter was stunned that anyone in Brockley could be so rude. Maybe she felt it all the more keenly because we've lived here for thirteen years now and was initially so happy that such a seemingly nice place was opening. By the way, re. what does and does not constitute Brockley - isn't there a very old sign post near the top of Vesta Road indicating that we're actually in Kent?

Brockley Nick said...

And the other day the lady at degustation said I could bring the money with me next time I popped in when I was short of change. There are lots of nice people around... (I did pay up)

Monkeyboy said...

Totally off topic.. but degustation seems to be getting into its stride. Not a huge selection but interesting. Anyone bought wine from there? I was suffering from wine anxiety, I'm used to the lables in Sainsbury's telling me if it has 'a hint of goosberies' and all that guff. So I slunk out like an ignorant fool...

I almost bought some fois grau (yes I know, I'm sure these geese donated their livers willingly), until I saw that a small jar cost £14!!

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