The Martin's Yard masterplan

Ahead of tonight's consultation meeting regarding the newly unveiled master plan for Martin's Yard in Brockley Cross, we spoke to Colum Maloney from developers MacDonald Egan, about the project...

What are your plans for Martin's Yard?

We've owned the site for about 7 or 8 months now and we want to turn it in to a new street, right in the heart of Brockley. It will be home to around 40 commercial units and family homes.

It's a very unusual design - a modern take on the Victorian housing nearby, they look a little like beach huts. There will be three blocks of housing, each with their own green space. There'll also be quite a lot of parking provision for a development of this size in this sort of location. Parking is always a major concern for existing residents and something a lot of buyers look for.

Brockley still has relatively few businesses operating locally, which means you have a bit of dead time between about 10am and 5pm, when not many people are about. This development would help change that, creating 40 new commercial units, ideal for small entrepreneurial businesses. If each of those businesses employs two people, that's a business community of 80 new people, who will help to bring more life to Brockley during the working day, supporting the businesses around Brockley Cross.

There is also a small building intended for community use, though we haven't worked out exactly how it could best be used yet.

Given the current dearth of local businesses, why do you believe you can attract business people to the area?

Places like Shoreditch are becoming too expensive for many small businesses. But Brockley has a lot to offer them including great transport connections and a creative community. Obviously the East London Line will help, but it's also about creating the right facilities.

One of the really important aspects of Martin's Yard is that it won't be a gated development, we're effectively building a new street, which we hope will be home to a lot of like-minded businesses and a part of the Brockley community. That footfall will also help those businesses. We're creating facilities which just don't exist at the moment, certainly not like the business park next door.

If planning permission is secured, how soon can we expect to see the project completed? Will the turbulence in the property market delay things?

We want to submit planning in May. In an ideal world, it would take around two months to get approval for the project. If all goes to plan [and he stresses there are always plenty of hurdles that any development must overcome] then the plan is to start pretty much straight away, with a 14-month build programme.

As for the property market, well it certainly is "interesting" at the moment, shall we say, but as a developer you have to take a call on what the property market will look like when the project's due for completion and have confidence. Things will look very different in 18 months to two years.

What feedback have you had about your plans from the local groups you've consulted with?

The local community groups in Brockley are some of the best we've dealt with. Very proactive, with a good attitude. The BXAG, for example, have asked to be responsible for planting the flower beds in the development, a suggestion we're very happy with.

And what does he hope to get from meetings like tonight?

It's obviously important to have local support and we believe in transparency, so we're just going to lay it all out for people and ask for their feedback. Secondly, we're interested in ways in which we can make it work best for the local community. The development is big enough that there will be Section 106 money available for the community and one of the groups [the Telegraph Hill Society] mentioned that they hoped some money might go towards their plans to rennovate the community centre, but that kind of issue is for the Council to decide on. Above all, we hope people like what they see and hear about our ideas.

We have two sites nearby, currently in development. One in New Cross, one on Lewisham Way. Our bread and butter is developing in Lewisham, so it's really important that we don't let people down and we deliver on our promises. In a year's time, we could be back in Brockley trying to develop another site, so we want to get this right.


Five minutes later, Colum rings back...


One other thing I probably should have mentioned before is that our architect, Mary Duggan, has lived on Drakefell Road for several years now, so she's paid special attention to these plans. She doesn't want to let her own area down.

102 comments:

Monkeyboy said...

Bugger! forgot all about the exhibition thing.

I can testify that if local groups are noisey (dare I say a pain in the arse - in a good way!) then a developer way well agree to release a bit of extra cash. A project manger may lobby his boss few thousand for some extra smart trees to get the locals off his back!

Am I right in thinking those excentric, but apparently sucessful, shops opposite Iceland are under threat from Goldsmiths? A little arty quarter may be nice. although I accept 'nice' is not a bussiness plan .

Tressillian James said...

what's really heartening about this scheme is the local architect - a resident of Drakefell. If anyone is going to know what will work in the area and how to make a positive benefit, it's going to be someone who lives here - and will live here after the project is complete.

Sam said...

This all sounds very positive. I couldn't go to the meetings but I'm looking forward to hearing a read-out from anyone who could. Creating space for small businesses is an essential part of keeping the community alive rather than simply being a commuter zone.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I think this is a very smart idea. It plays on the strengths of the brockley area and enhances the creative environment that already exists.

Forget being the new clapham, lets be the nex Hoxton or Shorditch.

I hope the section 106 monies will be spent on the brocklay cross area. Maybe enhance some of the derelict waste land either side of the upper rail line. The telegraph hill centre, although in need of money, isn't really anything to do with this new development.

barryls said...

At last a decent developer! Anyone with half an eye on decent design should be encouraged.

Shame they can't all be like this.

Anonymous said...

Looks really good. I love the ides of creating a new street -creating something out of nothing. V. positive for Brcokley Cross

patrick1971 said...

Generally sounds really good; my one reservation is the large amount of parking. That road is already chock-a-block with cars, and it's right next to a railway station; do we really need to encourage more people to have cars? I'd be very surprised if the council lets that part of the development past.

Brockley Nick said...

@Patrick - it's certainly true that parking has been a major problem for a lot of developers looking at Brockley. Current Council policy is to try and discourage developers from providing parking, precisely because it's so close to a transport hub. But just because you don't provide parking doesn't mean people won't buy cars - it just means that they will go and park on nearby streets, putting more pressure on existing places. Look at the complaints the Geoffrey Road development received from local residents, for precisely this reason. Geoffrey Road is similarly well placed for the station. I'm sure they could reduce the parking, but it would make them harder to sell (particularly the commercial units) and could put more pressure on surrounding roads. I guess it's just about getting the right balance and taking a pragmatic approach, rather than pretending people won't want to own cars and wishing the problem away.

ElijahBailey said...

I really hope Lewisham don't ever decide to introduce a CPZ. They're a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile over at Hither Green, MacDonald Egan are creating a 'mews'rather than a street.

Danja said...

Forget being the new clapham, lets be the nex Hoxton or Shorditch.

New Cross has been the new Hoxton for too many years - it doesn't seem to have changed it much (yet).

Anonymous said...

New Hoxton? If I see a trilby or a pete docherty wannabe I'll scream

Anonymous said...

This is great. Really exciting news for Brockley. More people, more money, more money going back into the area. Also good for the west side- it's renaissance gathers pace. I'd like these developers to get hold of that Brown Brothers site next to the railway line- there's another street that could be made from nothing.
I can see these unit being taken by creative businesses priced out of trendier areas. Once the ELL has come in it will be a short hop to places like Hoxton anyway. Agree with APPP - Brockley's default setting seems to drift towards creative people (for some reason)and this development seems to be tapping into that.
Word is definitely getting around too. I was out in West London last night and a member of our group (from Chiswick) told me his girlfriend has started banging on about Brockley and how good it is becoming - he was asking me what it was like....

With all the various changes I wonder what Brockley will be like - in 2010/11.

ElijahBailey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Small businesses also need parking for visitors,deliveries and so on.

Lewisham was not so anti car when it granted planning for huge supermarkets. With large car parks for car owning customers who then no longer use local businesses.

It seems to reserve its anti car policies for small businesses.

It has made a fine mess of the borough.

Headhunter said...

I agree with Nick re the parking. that Geoffrey Rd development has so little parking provision it's going to put even more pressure on both Geoffrey Rd and Manor Ave when it's complete.

People will still buy cars but there'll probably end up being no space for residents on Manor Ave. Doesn't bother me too much because I haven't got a car, but when I have visitors it's convenient for them to actually be able to park in the vicinity of my place!

If they introduce some kind of controlled parking on Manor Ave and Geoffrey Rd it's just going to be a nightmare for me to pay for permits and whatnot when my parents visit fot 1 day etc. This was always a pain when I lived in Islington where just about every street had controlled parking. Lewisham can probably see this coming - great new revenue stream.

I think it was short sighted of the council to allow that development to go ahead with barely any car parking provision

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the location is it Brockley Cross or Telegraph Hill? Or is it equidistant and if so can the the Brockley Common project have some access to the section 106 funds?

Anonymous said...

If there is S106 funds available those that mean the development will include affordable housing?

patrick1971 said...

I don't think you can just say, "oh, people will have cars anyway so we'd better build loads of parking". That's like the old Harry Enfield character: "we had a problem with burglary here in Amsterdam, until we legalised it!"

I think it's something that the council really needs to control much more, and, indeed, in my opinion we need a lot more city-, if not country-, wide planning to reduce car use. Controlled parking zones are one very small step in that. As for visitors...why can't they take the train to visit?

For the sake of our built environment we need to reduce and challenge car use a lot more than we currently do, and I just don't think that building a development with loads of parking sends out the right message. I do take the point, though, that in the absence of CPZs the problem is merely displaced.

Brockley Nick said...

I agree with the need to reduce and challenge car use. I'm just saying that preventing new developments from having any car parking spaces is not a very smart way to do it.

Headhunter said...

I completely agree that we need to discourage car use in the capital. As a regular cyclist I would definitely welcome open, motorist free roads. Most people's response when I tell them I cycle in and out of central London from Brockers come rain or shine every day, is that they would also like to cycle but the roads are far too dangerous. I'm sure that if there was even a small reduction in road going traffic in London, the effects would snowball as potential cyclists realise it is less dangerous than previously.

I don't think encouraging builders to construct homes without parking is going to discourage people with cars to buy them. At the moment there's no restriction on parking in Geoffrey Rd or Manor Ave so any prospective buyer will just think they can park in either of those streets. If there were already a current CPZ in place, then, yes, it might discourage car owners moving in, however at the moment, Brockley is probably one of a small number of areas with a station in zone 2 without any kind of parking restriction on roads nearby, so that in itself will encourage car owners to move in.

As for visitors arriving by train, that's fine for visitors from elsewhere in London, but unfortunately, as I'm sure you know, the government has failed to deliver a train service reliable enough to get people out of their cars for longer journeys.

Train service across the country is woefully overpriced and unreliable. Although I would heartily welcome fewer cars on the roads, I don't blame people for not using our rubbish train system.

Anonymous said...

As a motorist I'm sick of getting kicked in the teeth because I enjoy choose to use the most common mode of transport known to man. For christs sake let people live a little, and find ways of keeping traffic moving so that people can still enjoy their cars rather than impose more taxes and restrictions on them. We don't all want to sit on the bus or on a piss-soaked train seat, we want to use our cars that we work hard for.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Car use in the streets immediately west of brockley station is a big issue. None of the major developments on Mantle rd include car parking provisions, with the result that neighbouring streets (including mine) are to be used by those with cars.

We already have a big problem in our street in that people tend to drive to my street and park at around 7.45am and get a train to london. Then come home around 7pm to collect it. Theres hardly any car parking spaces for residents now.

Anonymous said...

But what are the residents doing with them between the morning rush hour and the evening? Surely the point is that, once the commuters have cleared off, they return home and can park again, and set off from the same parking space when they wake up in the morning...

Headhunter said...

Anon 12:52 - This argument that you've worked hard so you deserve to drive your polluting, dangerous lump of metal around central London without anyone taking issue just makes me laugh! London is a densely poulated, tightly packed city, we all work hard, and I don't think that gives you any more right to add to congestion than me. I wholeheartedly supported Ken in implementation of the congestion charge and the £25 fee for larger, polluting vehicles. bring it on, hopefully can all see sense past the whingeing motorist.

Anonymous said...

I've never understood the argument against 'larger' vehicles, as some of the most poluting are smaller. Bugatti Veyron, anyone?

Headhunter said...

Hmmmm I doubt Bugattis make much impact on London's pollution profile. You could probably count the number of them in the whole of London on 1 hand

Brockley Nick said...

I suppose if there were millions of bugattis on our roads, they might be more of an issue. But the argument against suvs isn't just an emissions one. They take up more space on the roads and pavements and they are about four times as heavy and have a higher point of front impact, making them far more likely to kill pedestrians and drivers of other vehicles.

patrick1971 said...

Headhunter - completely agree with you about train prices...they're ludicrous. I do travel around by train a lot (paid for by work) and I think the train system gets a worse press than it deserves in terms of comfort and reliability - and no, I don't travel first class!

And you're again totally right regarding bikes; everyone says they drive because it's too dangerous to ride a bike, but it's too dangerous to ride a bike because of all the cars...

Anonymous, who wanted to drive at will. Fine, I accept that there are some times when a car is useful. So why not join a car club and only use one when you need to, rather than take up space on the roads (by parking your car) when you don't need to?

Nick/Jon...sorry to have derailed (haha) the discussion - maybe we need a parking thread!

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

I have to confess. I have 2 cars. A Terios and a 2cv. The Terios is a small 4x4 which is fuelled by gas and does not emit any pollution (its water vapour in fact). The other car is a classic 1973 version of te 2cv. It does not have an electronic starter and you need to crank the handle. This is currently in the garage to test for emissions and i am hoping to get this converted to gas too.

The terios is exempt from the congestion charge, I am hoping the 2cv will be too.

I only ever have one car a time in Brockley, the other being used by my partner up north.

The point to all this rant is that owning a car(s) does not mean neccessarily you are polluting the environment. There is a way to drive and be environmentally friendly too.

Anonymous said...

I have to confess. I have a Bugatti Veyron. The good news is that I can never drive it because it won't go over speed bumps and is too wide to get through the traffic calming posts. We're all winners.

Danja said...

The Terios is a small 4x4 which is fuelled by gas and does not emit any pollution (its water vapour in fact).

I think you need to look up the difference between LPG (a hydrocarbon, if a cleaner one) and a fuel cell.

ElijahBailey said...

On the subject of emissions I think it is worrying that the Greens want a 20mph default speed limit as cars pollute more at that speed. The ideal speed for an engine to run efficiently is around 40mph, so a 30mph limit is a good compromise between safety and pollution.

Anonymous said...

depends on the size of engine...

Anonymous said...

See, that's another policy from people with their fingers very much off the pulse. Driving in london can be a nightmare of traffic lights and stop-start idling - anywhere you can get a bit of speed up is a godsend, which is why I oppose any notion of reducing speed from the vegetarian wallies.

ElijahBailey said...

True, but any engine having to remain in 2nd gear all the time is not exactly going to running at its best.

Monkeyboy said...

I've got a car (a small Ka that i use once a week at most)I like driving but I know I should minimise it. The congestion charge means i don't consider driving into london, it works for me.

Would ANY other politician have been brave enough to introduce it?

Headhunter said...

I always thought that the most efficient speed for the average car was something like 55mph, enough to have it in a high/top gear with low revs. This means a lower level of pollution.

Anon 14:30 - How about eliminating stop/start gridlocked traffic AND the need for speed by eliminating cars in central London altogether? That gets my vote and prevents any more whingeing from drivers unable to go faster than 13mph in the city

Exactly my thoughts Monkeyboy, Ken has been brave to implement policies like the congestion charge. For that alone he may get my vote.

Now who's going to start the ball rolling further by pedestrianising the West End?

Danja said...

More McDonald Egan stuff goes to planning today (Malpas Rd) and another Malpas Road devt as well:
http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/councilanddemocracy/councilmeetings/planningcommitteeb/meetings/planning%20committee%20b%20-%2024%20april%202008.htm

Anonymous said...

For all those who want to ban cars completely, some of us have no choice as we have a disability.

patrick1971 said...

monkeyboy: "I've got a car (a small Ka that i use once a week at most)"

Why not join a car club, then? One fewer car on the streets, and you get the benefits of driving without all the extra hassle.

Anonymous said...

Some of us just like driving them, like being able to park outside our friends houses, like being able to take heavy shopping all the way home from the supermarket, like being able to visit friends and family who, shock horror, live away from tube destinations, like being able to transport heavy items, LIKE CARS!

ElijahBailey said...

Here here.

As some near to gaining a license I am looking forward to:

No more lugging heavy shopping home on an over crowded bus.

Waiting anything up to 15 minutes for said over crowded bus.

The freedom and ease with which to get stuff for the house.

The ease of visiting friends.

Not having to rely on a dysfunctional rail network.

Being in control of when and where I want to go.

I support public transport and I am all for it, but what people need to realise is that the task should be about making it an attractive option to use, rather than simply bullying people into it.

Anonymous said...

@elijah - hahahahahaha, not only don't you have a car, you haven't even passed your test!? Yet you pontificate about driving issues and fuel economy like you're alan partridge!

Monkeyboy said...

The one thing that stops me joining a car club is elderly parents, I've done few late night dashes to hostpital in Barnet so keep a car just for that.

But yes apart from that I think would give a try for a year, I've seen a few car club sights in north london. Are there enough down this neck of the woods to make it usable?

Anonymous said...

For many people a car is essential to reach the large retail parks and supermarkets that the council has thoughtfully provided in the borough. They are once a week motorized shopping trolleys. They are also kid carriers for the school run.

I would like to see some practical alternatives that make it easy to do without a car. All we seem to get is punitive sanctions from a council bent on revenue generation.

Bea said...

I don’t have a car but have a drivers licence – got it when I still lived in the country-side and there was one bus every two hours!

I’ve contemplated getting a car in London (as I’d love to be able to escape the big smoke during summer weekends and drive to remote beach miles away from a train station). However, in the grand scheme of things it is a huge expense for what will largely be parked on the road and not used and may well be nicked.

I also, sometimes, wish I could drive to a large B&Q or IKEA to get items but then usually friends with cars give me a lift or I order it and get it delivered over the internet – including amongst other things garden plants, furniture, paint, bedding. For everything else I go either into the West End – where a car is a very bad idea (price of parking etc) or walk / bus it into Lewisham. Most of my food shopping is local. It is definitely possible to survive without a car in central London but it is a luxury I sometimes miss.

Headhunter said...

Yes, despite my anti car rants I suppose there are mitigating circumstances, disability, perhaps the school run and carrying heavy loads of shopping (I must admit, for this reason alone sometimes I feel I should get a car, but spending several thou and then having to maintain the thing just so that I can carry a couple of bags of shopping round the corner from Tezzies is just not worth it really).

I understand that we really don't have a good enough public transport system to rely on all the time but the problem is people get hooked on using their cars.

Did anyone see that programme on TV a while back with some woman trying to stop the whole city of She spoke to a woman in Sheffield who drove absolutely everywhere - she even drove her kids literally, 200 metres round the corner to school. And yes, you've guessed it, she and the kids were all, shall we say, more than slightly rotund.

Tamsin said...

Back to the development. The plans are going to stay in the THC until the weekend (just not with the people there to talk you through them). They will also be posted shortly to thehill website.

I love the new street and the soft curve. I am also worried about the lack of parking. Even if everyone who lives there crowds onto the train or takes the s-l-o-w bus most households will still have a car. It does seem a daft u-turn on the part of the Council to now refuse permission because a scheme has too many car spaces. It used to be the reverse.

Not sure about the proposed use of the community hub. They are talking about community space/gallery space. My worry is taht with Tea Leaf Arts in one direction and the Telegraph Hill Centre in another to open a third will risk all three becoming unviable. In my view a much better idea will be to have a children's play area - for these new residents and those from Seymour Gardens and Foxwell Street - together with a cafe/kiosk for the watching carers and the business community in the commercial lets.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I chose to get rid of our car years ago and manage just fine living in Brockely without one. We walk and use public transport and (occasionally) minicabs. You don't need to struggle home with heavy shopping on the bus. You can either get a minicab or order it over the internet and get it delivered. The minicab fares and delivery charges are still far, far less than the cost of running a car. We couldn't drive to work as it wouldn't be possible to park so there would be no saving there either.

It was good for our children to walk to school at nursery and primary stage. As our daughter goes to Prendergast, she still can and our son gets the bus (free, thank you Ken, but I still won't vote for you).

Car sharing/pooling/clubs have got to be a far more sensible way of having access to a car for the odd occasion when one is needed than owning one which sits in the street for 90% of the time.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if there are any plans for a footbridge from Seymour Gardens to connect both sides of the track?

Headhunter said...

If you're someone who just needs a car now and then and can't warrant the expense of buying and maintaining a car that will be parked up in the street most of the time, I have heard good things about Street Car and have heard that there is 1 in Brockley somewhere

http://www.mystreetcar.co.uk/

Anonymous said...

You still have to pay quite a lot to be with them - there is a minimum regular charge, IIRC.

fabhat said...

I've used the local streetcar scheme twice now - once booked well in advance for work - from the St Johns location, the other time, spur of the moment booked half an hour before using it for an hour to collect something heavy and drive it home. Both times it worked really well. You pay a fee of £49.50 per year, and then only when you use it - approx £6 per hour.Both locations are 10 minutes walk (max) from my house and so far - it's been really useful. I also use my parents car, as do my other siblings, but that's 20 minutes walk away, so the streetcar is great for really short errands or when the parents are using their car themselves. I've never owned a car in London myself, although I do enjoy driving, but the streetcar (and similar)schemes really seem perfectly suited for urban living.

Anonymous said...

Taking cabs which are often unreliable and expensive. Internet supermarket deliveries, with their unsatisfactory substitutions. Car clubs that have few cars available when you want them. Those with perfectly organised lives no doubt book in advance and can live with this.

For others, having a car at your disposal gives you great freedom. Cars are cheaper to buy than they ever were.

A secondhand hand car is also a lot greener than a brand new one in terms of the energy and CO2 used in its build that is already accounted for.

There is a great deal that can be done to wean people off cars that can be built into public policy.

Sadly we usually end up with something that involves imposing punitive charges. Cameras, wardens , controlled parking zones rather than encouraging services that make not having a car easier.

Too much stick. not enough carrot!

fabhat said...

anon - how often do you really jump in your car at a moments notice? I bet, like most people, you decide to do something with at least half an hour to get your self sorted, put the washing on, chekc the windows etc before leaving the house. That's all it needs to book a club car. Also, the clubs keep a close eye on how oftern the cars are used - and then add more locations. Only a year ago, there were none in brockley - now there are three! If you don't use your car every day, you'll also save money by only paying when you need to...

Brockley Nick said...

Re: Streetcar, there's an article about it on this site. With a jokey title and everything. Don't forget to use the search function and the label cloud.

Anonymous said...

There are 3 car clubs cars in Brockley? As a percentage of the cars that line the streets of Brockley that is pretty small potatoes.

It needs a lot more than that to start having a significant impact on car owmership.

When I have talked to car sharing clubs they put the resposibility for their slow take up squarely on the shoulders of local government which loves the idea, but has been very slow to make spaces available.

There should be at least a couple on every street to make an impact.

I wonder if anyone has looked into this?

Dave said...

As a reasonably regular Streetcar user, I've never had any problems with the availability - there are two in Brockley now (one on each side of the railway) and quite a few others not very far away (e.g. Ladywell, Lewisham, Honor Oak, Nunhead).

Unfailing good customer service too - even when someone collided with my Streetcar, I barely had to do anything other than ring them up and get them to send a recovery truck.

I live fine in Brockley using walking, cycling, buses and trains - and car clubs fill in the small gap left over (carrying heavy things or making trips which are difficult by public transport).

Anonymous said...

I wonder if we will get a dedicated cycle highway into the City. Showers and lockers provided at key points?

Proper school buses to ensure every child is carried safely to school.

There is a great deal that can be done in the carrot department.

Anonymous said...

That is your personal experience, but the general idea of to reduce car use for the whole population.

These services are still just at the innovator stage. Where people who are interested seek them out.

These things only make an impact when they become a normal, commoditised, no brain option that is taken up by default.

It has to be done on a large scale. A bit like that cycle hire scheme in Paris. Otherwise it just makes na few people feel good and has little impact on the number of cars on the roads.

Tressillian James said...

When I first moved to London I got rid of my car ( a really nice orignal VW Beetle) because I thought I would no longer need it. But with aging (and sometimes ill) parents in the country and an irregular (and on a Sunday lengthy) train journey and carting DIY stuff to do up my place, I ended up buying a car after 2 years.

I wouldn't give up my car now - and I really shouldn't have to - I will however be buying a Prius when I trade in my current drive. I think the way forward is greener technology, rather than increased road charges or communcal driving

max said...

I managed to live all my life (39) without ever driving a car but I now have a 2 year old daughter and I'm quite happy that my wife has one.
If all the people with pram-age kids would take the bus the system would go into meltdown immediately.

Anonymous said...

Special dispensation for the disabled and those with pram age kids? And....?

Tressillian James said...

Special dispensation for what? Driving? I don't think either Max or I were asking for allowance - we were just stating some of the factors why we use cars

max said...

Yes, in fact I am not really too bothered by the handful of times a year that I have to pay for the congestion charge, but if I'm out with the pram and I have to take a bus I wait for it praying that all the other pram-pushers are driving that day.

Anonymous said...

Non car users really need to stop with that holier than though attitude. Cars are legal and it is not immoral to use a car (despite what the greens might try to push).

Don't anyone lecture me on using my car, whilst we have an underfunded, dirty, unpleasant, unreliable public transport system, that in main does not address 21 century consumer needs.

Anonymous said...

Quite. People should be lured away from car use rather than being bullied and by the authorities and patronised by moralisers.

There are simply too many cars for the roads. This situation was brought about by government transport policy and local government planning.

It can also undone by the appropriate policies.

Reducing responsibility down to individuals and their lifestyle choices is outrageously sanctimonious. No sort of substitute for a coherent transport policy and an integrated system that serves this city as it should.

That just lets the politicians off the hook.

Tamsin said...

Streetcar us a brilliant concept (we are members, although haven't used it yet, for the very rare occasions when we both want need to use the car for different purposes at the same time). A neighbour who has no car swears by it. The developers on this site are thinking of approaching Streetcar to offer them a space on the development.

There is one parked over towards Nunhead station, off Gibbon Road, and at one time there were discussions about having one right next to the Telegraph Hill Centre.

Tamsin said...

@ anonymous 16.51 - another footbridge over is a lovely idea, but I think it would lead only into the Brockley Business Centre. I must look again at the plans.

patrick1971 said...

It's always interesting how, when people's own behaviour is questioned, it's immediately "sanctimonious". If we're going to tackle the changes that need to be made to keep London liveable, this will include making changes in all our behaviour (my own included!). Reasons given for using a car are generally valid, and I quite take the point that more could be done in terms of the carrot (school buses in particular are an excellent idea and I'm surprised Ken's not done more in this area).

But the fact remains that the vast majority of car journeys in London are a luxury rather than an absolute necessity, and do need to be challenged.

Headhunter said...

Exactly Patrick, public transport needs to be better and I'm hoping that Ken's hikes in cost and revenues from the congestion charge will continue making a difference.

One reason I wholeheartedly support the CC - quite frankly I do not want that extra funding to bring public transport up to scratch coming out of my council tax. If people want to drive everywhere and take up more than their fair share of road space, let them pay.

As you say, plenty of people in London make needless journeys by car, journeys they could easily take a bus for, walk or even cycle.

Brockley Kate said...

The city-wide bike hire system in Seville is incredibly impressive, I was gobsmacked by it! Something like that in London would be amazing.

2nd point: I don't drive, and it is a real pain sometimes - mostly when I need stuff from B&Q and Ikea, but also when I need to get around at the weekends. In recent years the amount of weekend line closures, delays and reduced services due to engineering works has soared and it has a very real impact on a large number of people. Our rail system is an absolute bloody disgrace and I would happily vote for any political candidate that could present me with a coherent, economically viable policy to sort it out. Unless/until that happens (and I'm not holding my breath) the chances of a real shift in transport use are, I'm afraid, very minimal.

And what I really don't understand is why transport is so far off the national political agenda. I'd wager that most people in one way or the other suffer because of the current situation. I'd have thought there'd be a lot of political capital out there for any party that wanted it.

(Trains from Brockley Station aren't running in the direction of London Bridge all weekend, by the way, folks).

Headhunter said...

Kate - there are similar systems in Barcelona an Paris amd I think Ken has mentioned establishing such a system in London at some point. Problem in Barcelona I have heard is that all the bikes end up at the bottom of hills, or down by the beach in summer! My friend said that everyone wants to ride to the beach from the town centre in summer and all the "parking" slots fill up so people end up circling (as they do in cars) waiting for someone else to leave...

Tressillian James said...

@ Patrick.. what is my 'fair share of the road' that you accuse car drivers of over using? Is it the one I pay £160 in road tax for? Or the one that I pay extra in taxes in petrol for?

I think in modern terms, driving a car is hardly a 'luxury'.

In London I imagine the average car driver probably is similar to me - they commute to work on the trains and use the car for trips out of the capital or to haul things in.

If we really want a system that works, we should be looking at Tokyo as an example - not only do they have a connected, frequent and cheap underground, overground, and bus system (connected being the key word here) that serviced all parts of the city; but all shops and convenience stores offer delivery services from around £5.00be it a bed, your shop, or sending your luggage to the airport. Those travelling away for the weekend send their luggage ahead, knowing that their train journey will be hassle and luggage free, and the bags will be awaiting them on their arrival. Car in Tokyo - no I didnt need one.

Monkeyboy said...

Just joined Street Car. £49.95 membership fee and you get £20 credit. Also you can cancel within three months and get your money back so I'm trying it out. I had no idea there were so many close to my road.

Also as everyone knows hire cars are the fastest cars on the road!

Monkeyboy said...

Just joined Street Car. £49.95 membership fee and you get £20 credit. Also you can cancel within three months and get your money back so I'm trying it out. I had no idea there were so many close to my road.

Also as everyone knows hire cars are the fastest cars on the road!

Headhunter said...

Not to get pernickety, TJ, but actually Vehicle Excise Duty goes straight to central government funds and has not been guaranteed to go towards road maintenance since 1936, so whether you pay road tax or not does not mean you are contributing any more than any other taxpayer to our roads... So there...

Equally the exorbitant tax you pay on fule is in no way guaranteed to be spent on the roads. It all goes into Darling's general coffers.

I agree with you that we should look to Japan as an example though. I lived in Osaka for a few years and the transport system was amazing. In fact I was talking to my Japanese flatmate about the overland rail works that are going on at the moment and he is astounded that the line is completely closed for so long.

Apparently in Osaka since I last went there in 06, they have tunneled 2 completely new Tube lines under the city which have been fully operational for a while now. Not sure what the exact time line on these were, but they have both been completed and brought into operation since April/May 06 as that was the last time I was in Osaka and they weren't there then!

Anonymous said...

Monkeyboy said...

Also as everyone knows hire cars are the fastest cars on the road!


They certainly seem to rev a lot higher than other cars :)

patrick1971 said...

Kate - quite agree with you, I am generally amazed that transport isn't the number one thing on politicians' priorities. One possible reason: you're dealing with generations of experience of a poor transport system. Have you seen over on www.se23.com, someone's posted a list of most common complaints to the railway company in 1880: it includes constantly delayed trains, filthy waiting rooms, lack of information when things go wrong, etc. etc.

Additionally I would suggest that the country hasn't reached total gridlock yet. People can still get around relatively easily in cars, with the odd minor irritation such as parking; as such, cars, being, I freely admit, by far the most convenient form of transport, are thus still used by the vast majority of people. Hence no impetus to change. London had ground to a halt in 2000, which is how Ken got support for the congestion charge. Where there's political pressure, things are usually pretty good, which is why I've almost never had any trouble on my regular journeys with Worst Great Western, as I travel on the morning businessman-heavy services. And it's also why they do works on the weekend - fewer "influential" people to complain.

There's also the Englishman's-home-is-his-castle issue: in a crowded country like this, transport improvements will necessarily have a negative impact on people, be it through compulsory purchases, noise, loss of road space, etc. People are much more likely to kick up a fuss than see the broader common good (e.g. the Ealing tram).

And one final point, related to my first point: even now, I think, the vast majority of people have never travelled or lived abroad for long enough to experience a decent, functioning transport system, so don't really know what to ask their politicians for. Hence you get people saying, "oh we need better public transport" but, when pressed, having no idea what they mean.

TJ: that Japanese delivery system sounds fantastic, and you'll get no argument from me on that point. It would be fantastic, and is a really good example of a proper, tangible carrot. Indeed, older readers may remember that we used to have a similar system in this country: my dad used to be a butcher's delivery boy, and delivered people's orders on his bike after school!

Anonymous said...

Just as the rail system was used as experiment in privatisation. The motorway system was used to promote Thatchets car owning, home owning constituency. So, too the underground is being used for another political scheme: PFI.

Transport in the UK is a political football. In other countries this is not the case and they contrive integrated transport systems that are efficient and service the nation well.

Here we like to have regular political bunfights over the failures and crises. This in largely explains why the service we get is so poor.

Headhunter said...

The problem with transport and politicians is that the system has got so bad (result some awful accidents in the early 2000s) that it will take far longer than 1 political term to put it all right, and will also mean some pretty unpopular decisions to raise funds to put it right.

This means that any political party is not likely to push through higher taxes or other funding methods if they're not likely to get instant results within their term of office. If Labour chose to actually do something about transport, it would most likely be the next government that gained popularity through any success. Just as people (still) claim that Thatcher rescued the UK economy from Labour in the 70s and that Blair, Brown and cohorts have merely ridden that wave.

This is why I feel that Ken is brave enacting policies like the CC and raising Tube ticket prices with the aim of actually getting something done. I really can't see Boris pushing through anything like this - the man is all aboutr words and no action.

Ken may not actually be in office when the reversal of years of underfunding come together so probably won't get any recognition

Anonymous said...

I'm intrigued why people feel there's a need for school buses in London. I can see the justification in rural areas or in towns where there's just one school serving a wide area and not much public transport, but in London most children live within easy walking distance of their primary schools. When it comes to secondary schools the children spread out so widely that trying to introduce a bus service would be a complete nightmare. When my children were at Gordonbrock, most of the girls were moving on to Prendergast (walking distance for all of them) and the boys were dispersing to about fifteen different schools.

Some parents choose to drive their children to school because the parent is driving on afterwards to work or to go shopping or because of mobility issues, but in my experience many parents who drive their children to school are doing so because of laziness or lack of organisation (child's or parent's).

Tressillian James said...

Agree with you about infrastructure projects in Japan - just compare the stadium building that went on for the world cup. The pitch in the Sapporo stadium can be moved in and out of the covered arena - allowing for the grass to grow - but also for indoor matches in a snowy and wet climate. Meanwhile we have Wembley constructed at a far greater cost and wildly over due date...Japan is a high cost of living country - with hardly any immigration - so it can't be a cheap labour force.

As for the 'Takyubin' or transport system, when my parents came to visit me they were amazed by it. The night before our trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, I took our luggage to the local 7-11 convenience store (a few yards up the road), paid a £5 a piece a gave them the address of our hotel. Next day we took the bullet train and where in Kyoto in about 2hrs at the same cost as a cheap flight. After a day sightseeing, we came back to our hotel to find the bags waiting for us in our hotel room.

The companies that provide the service are courier companies - that I presume are utilising capacity. I'd be happy for any UK governement to pay money for a study group to go to Japan and work on its utilisation here. It is a key piece of 'infrastructure' that would help move people from the reliance on personal transport.

Headhunter said...

Yeah for sheer efficiency and ease of living, Japan is a fantastic place. There may be other things which westerners find disagreeable, but you just can't argue that everything runs like clockwork. Their efficiency puts the Germans to shame and their customer service is second to none, they will absolutely bend over backwards for you

Headhunter said...

....And didn't you just love the way that on the bullet train, after any member of staff (dressed immaculately in full uniform with tie and peaked cap), passed through the carriage, they would turn and bow to the passengers before passing into the next carriage. You just don't get that attention to detail on Worst Great Western...

max said...

It may have to do with the fact that when Japanese managers cock up they disembowel themselves with a traditional sword, here they get a traditional bonus.

Headhunter said...

I know what you mean. When I was out there as a TEFL teacher, one of my students disembowelled himself with a propelling pencil in my lesson after mixing up the subjunctive with the past historic of the verb "to eat"... ;o)

Anonymous said...

This sounds great, very positive news for Brockley and it's residents

Headhunter said...

Yes, I thought so....

MLB said...

Whilst this post is supposed to be about Martin's Yard, I would like to follow up on the parking question. Telegraph Hill/Brockley area needs a parking scheme. Too many cars are commuters, at least half way up the hill every morning. The scheme can be simple, in operation for one hour a day 11am to 12.00 for example, to stop commuter parking. That leaves the rest of the day open as normal. The challenge is to get Lewisham Council to run such a scheme for us all as it doesn't make money!

Monkeyboy said...

STREETCAR

I've booked a car for next week for a couple of hours food/B&Q shopping.... it really looks good. The cars don't seem to book up too badly. I think Lewisham Council really ought to encourage developments to include a couple of parking bays for these schemes. By the way did you know that if you have a designated parking bay you can let Streetcar use it? they give you preferential rates and free membership. Also have the car outside your house. Still have to take your chances booking it but still, great idea.

As usual North london has loads more of these cars so getting one at short notice is not an issue.

I may be flogging my Ka, only did 3000 miles last year. Work out the cost of running a car for low mileage, it's scary. The only reason I may keep it is to visit my elderly parents at short notice but there seems to be about 5 or 6 Streetcars within walking distance of me so may not be an issue.....Hmmmm, I'm rambling, too much wine

rosie said...

On the 20mph thing... actually lower traffic speeds in built up areas reduce air pollution by improving traffic flow. Exhaust emissions always contain larger amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides when a vehicle is accelerating or decelerating, or when the engine is idling, than when the vehicle is cruising.

Tamsin said...

To get a CPZ with limited time - 12 to 2 to prevent commuter parking would mean a total U-turn on the part of the Council. Each occasion when the issue was debated before they have been insistent that it has to be all day or nothing, otherwise the scheme does not cover its costs. Even the suggestion that the time could be a rolling one - 10 to 12 in some streets, 12 - 2 in others, and a third lot of 2 - 4 so that the same wardens could patrol on a full day's work, did not cut any ice.

There is also, of course, the question of street clutter. White lines everywhere on the road and posts by every little run of parking bays, even if it only one or two together.

Anonymous said...

...just as well. A CPZ invites a supplementary local tax. Don't imagine it will be fair or provide value for money.

Tamsin said...

Indeed. Something to be fought tooth and nail whenever it is periodically proposed by the Council.

max said...

I live in a road that had CPZ introduced a few years ago and I love it.
It's £30 a year for residents and for that money we get a lot less traffic on our road and reliable available parking space for our car within a few steps from the front door.
Is that really that bad?

Anonymous said...

Its Colm Maloney not colum maloney

Danja said...

Up for a planning decision at last:

http://tinyurl.com/nf7he8

Danja said...

In fact, it was due to be heard at the same meeting last night as the much less interesting Manor Avenue one.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, I am going to run a story about it shortly, just looking for a few more details.

Anonymous said...

well, it's not difficult to work out what it's going to look like:

Materials would include a cementitious board to be used at second and third floor levels, which would have a timber grain, possible ship-lap or open joint detailing, and a variety of colours. This would continue onto parts of the roofs surfaces, with
a single ply membrane (in dark grey) covering other parts of the roofs. A robust material such as smooth precast concrete, with the appearance of masonry, would
be used on the commercial units at ground and first floor. Extensive metal-framed glazing is also proposed. Most hard surfacing would be executed with an open
jointed block paviour.

ie, much the same as everything else that's being thrown up at the moment...

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