Brockley Cross Action Group: a history

Brockley Central is helping the Brockley Cross Action Group to draw up some publicity materials and as part of the process we sat down with its chair, Des Kirkland, to talk through the history of the group. He provided a useful insight into its achievements and we thought BC readers would be interested to hear more ...

BCAG was founded in 2000 by a group of local people who were concerned that the area had become overlooked by the council and was becoming shabby.

It initially covered the conservation area only, but its remit has expanded 'because nobody else is doing what we’re doing', Des explains. The group now aims to cover the whole of Brockley ward.

BCAG has a broad-based ongoing improvement programme which includes:
- Engaging with Lewisham Council, other public bodies and local businesses to address infrastructure and public realm issues such as litter, graffiti, poor roads and pavement maintenance, and pedestrian safety.
- Carrying out community works such as the creation and maintenance of public gardens and trees, and the installation of noticeboards on housing estates.
- Liasing with prospective developers about their schemes to ensure they are in keeping with the local area and contribute to the established community.

The group is a registered charity with 9 trustees. There are 15 committee members and attendance at meetings varies but Des estimates that 50-70 is the average. Priorities are set by local people’s feedback at the meetings.

In addition to its ongoing improvement programme BCAG has undertaken several major projects, including:
- Launching the annual Brockley Max arts festival
- Installing that poem written in large letters along Shardloes Rd
- Organising a clean-up of derelict land on Mantle Rd by Brockley train station
- Setting up Brockley’s first Christmas market in Coulgate St
- Launching the area’s first 5k fun run, which took place recently
- Creating a train station flowerbed over the course of a weekend with a team of volunteers at a cost of £1,500
- Winning planning permission to create a new public space on Brockley Common.

BCAG's funding comes from donations from local people and businesses, and the council from time to time. The group picks its priorities and then fundraises specifically for these projects.

BCAG’s goals for the future include:
- Finishing off Brockley Common;
- The launch of new gallery Tea Leaf Arts later in 2008 (subject to funding, as already covered here on BC);
- Campaigning for improvements in local retail: 'There are too many takeaways and locals want a good butchers and fish shop,' Des says.
- Clearing up a derelict garage on Vulcan Terrace;
- Improvement of the Mantle Rd planters by John Stainer School, using money from Lewisham Council’s localities fund;
- Re-opening Brockley Lane train station, which is on the Lewisham-Victoria line. This is something the group has been interested in for quite some time. 'We did a feasibility study to demonstrate there was enough demand to justify re-opening the high level link but Lewisham Council are against it,' says Des.
- Re-development of the Brockley Cross roundabout. The council paid for a surveyors’ consultation in 2005 and a number of different possible designs were drawn up, but no further action has yet been taken.
- Campaigning for more facilities for local people. 'There are very few facilities for local kids, nowhere for them to go to play snooker and nowhere for young teens other than playing on Hilly Fields,' Des said.


Obviously the group has achieved a lot in a short space of time and hopefully it will continue to thrive. BC wishes it the best of luck in its efforts; it would be great to see our readers get involved with the hard work and help to shape the group's priorities. Anyone interested in volunteering can check out the group's website here.

46 comments:

headhunter said...

I wonder why Lewisham council is supposedly againt re-opening Brockley Lane station. Would it really be any skin off their nose? Surely it would be something the rail companies wuld be against on the grounds of cost etc

mg said...

The christmas market was seemingly very successful, how about a Coulgate St summer fair? Marine Ices instead of mulled wine!

Headhunter said...

Talking of Marine Ices, Time Out rated them number 1 in some kind of good things about London poll in the last issue

NSFR said...

The roundabout and the East-West line are to things I would really like to see happen.

I've seen so many near misses between cars when crossing the roundabout. And it isn't just down to bad driving. It seems really unclear where everyone has to go, especially with the sudden changes in priority.

Anonymous said...

I thought a feasibility study was done by the rail company, apparently not enough foot flow. I would imagine the council just agreed. After all, we're getting the ELL. It could of been a compromise.

Summer fayre sounds great. I loved the Xmas one! Hopefully with the common open!

APP&P Troll (from an iPhone)

Brockley Kate said...

Erm guys, we already have an extremely successful summer fair run by BrocSoc - why replicate it?!

Anonymous said...

Why not? Anti-fairtrade monopolism?

mg said...

A small street fair could be a different proposition to the Hilly Fields one (which I love btw, highlight of the summer!) - could be later in the day with barbecue etc and stalls with crafts/gifts/food/stuff from those shops rather than the more varied selection and bric a brac on Hilly Fields. Plus, more events means more fun!

Brockley Kate said...

Good points. Well I'm sure BCAG would love to hear from anyone who wants to organise such an event!

Headhunter said...

I'm not surprised that any enquiry by the rail company would find that re-opening Brockley Lane is not feasible. It's going to involve a lot of upfront cost with little reward in the first years at least and even then it would probably take years to pay off.

Also I am not surprised that they found that there was little demand. Anyone who regularly commutes to Victoria is unlikely to have chosen to live in Brockley. Why would you choose to live in an area which makes your daily commute awkward?

If the rail company re-opened Brockley Lane I'm sure Brockley would see an increase in popularity in Victoria-bound commuters, so it's "chicken and egg".

The problem is, the rail company is a private firm which wants to maximise immediate profits rather than wait for several years before they even start to get a return on their investment, so unfortunately unless someone pushes them into it making them see Brockley Lane as a facility for Londoners rather than a potential profit/cost centre for rail shareholders, it'll never happen. Sad but true.

As for creating another summer fair alonsgide the existing Broc Soc one, surely Brockley isn't big enough to support 2 fairs and they'll probably both end up killing each other off. It would seem more sensible for anyone who wants a summer fair to throw themselves behind getting the Broc Soc one going

Anonymous said...

its also about visibility. People are also lazy . Near the station is an ideal location to regenerate the area. The fair at hillyfields could be geared towards more 'green' recreational activities. Rather than subsitution, they could compliment one another. And yes, I do think there is enough demand.

on a seperate note, now I understand why the BXAG are so concerned about planting the flowerbeds on the wickham estate - they are merely a bigger Brockley society. I have volunteered my services for planting on mantle road, but BXAG never followed this through. They seem to be slanted to the Conservation area side.

Does 'brockley' borough mean both brockley and telegraph hill wards?

APP&P Big Bad Troll (from an iphone)

Monkeyboy said...

By the way reopening is not only the particualr rail franchise only I think most of the cost are Network Rail - new station, ticketing, comms, signaling etc.

I'm a bit sceptical that Gordo will actually sign the cheque for Crossrail and all the other big rail upgrade projects let alone this one. I really doubt it's of strategic importance for the system as a whole.

Sorry to give you a downer... ooooh, it's four o'clock. Nearly time to pack up and go home......

Tressilliana said...

It's perfectly straightforward to commute to Victoria at the moment but you would have to change at least once en route.

It surprises me that Lewisham Council has said no to opening the area up to better transport links with other parts of South London. The more links the better, surely?

Headhunter said...

APP&P - Brockley is not a borough, you keep referring to Brockley Borough - there's no such thing. It's Brockley Ward

Yeah it's not too difficult to commute to Victoria, but with the re-opening of Brockley Lane it would be so myuch easier and quicker. or what about re-opening Loampit Vale station on the same line but the other side of the cons area?

Monkeyboy said...

4:30 - overtime.

Really doubt the cost is worth the benefit (not that I know the cost mind you) Would opening this station affect the service elsewhere? It's a complex issue, for example many big stations can only just handle the number of trains arriving. Look at London Bridge, one train breaks down any the sytem melts down. The demand being there is only the start of the analysis, but worth posing the question at least.

Rubbish isn't it?

Tom said...

Isn't there an existing plan to extend the overground line around, possibly as far as Clapham Junction? And that this is the priority, precluding other changes?

Headhunter said...

Yes. Rubbish!

Tom - The extension of the overland to Clapham Junc would not affect the Brockley Lane line, it would run from Surrey Keys through Queens Rd Peckham, Denmark Hill etc round that way, further north than Brockers

Tamsin said...

As long as the Summer Fair is not 19th July. It would then clash with Hillaballoo - with events hopefully going on into the evening.

APP&P Troll said...

What is Hillabaloo?

Anonymous said...

It's a telegraph hill event, but being.such a champion of the west side you'd know all about it. Oh and they've written about on this site.

APP&P Telegraph Hill Troll said...

Yes, I have now read the article. Nick commented that it was such a bizarre event that he didn't really know what it was about - not exactly the same level of promotion that the Brockley summer fair gets.

Which, by the way, is mostly dominated by stalls full of junk from people trying to get rid of ther old clutter.

It's still a nice day though, just like Hillaballo will be. I will be attending both for certain this year.

And thank you to whoever is posting the advertisements for the Telegraph Hill events outside the shops in West Brockely, its great in keeping people informed. I for one has acted on them.

Tamsin said...

Hillaballo also suffered with terrible weather last year - squally showers. Lovely cloudscaapes to look at through the Camera Obscura and the damp really brought out the coloured chalk drawings on the paths - but it was a real shame. (The e-mails batting around the day before while we debated whether or not to pull the plug were something else again...)

It looks like Nunhead on Saturday will suffer its usual intermitten showers again. Long live gazebos.

Brockley Kate said...

Monkeyboy - my understanding is that the feasibility study found that existing services could simply add Brockley Lane in as an extra stop without interfering with scheduled timings or connections. I'm keen to write something more detailed on this subject so I'm hoping to speak to the member of BCAG who knows most about it and will then write it up for your perusal ...

Moira said...

If anyone wants to be kept informed of events happening in Brockley, I send out regular emails. Get in touch and I'll add you to the list.

Moira said...

If anyone wants to be kept informed of events happening in Brockley, I send out regular emails. Get in touch and I'll add you to the list.

Moira said...

If anyone wants to be kept informed of events happening in Brockley, I send out regular emails. Get in touch and I'll add you to the list.

Monkeyboy said...

Oooohhh.... I'm sub-editing Kate. Watch your spelling and semi colons.

I'm actually no expert on network planning, I spend my day's trying to not to commit acts of extreme violence against 'jobsworth' LUL/Metronet collegues who seem to take great pleasure in saying NO, YOU CAN'T DO THAT!!

lb said...

There's a little more detail on previous efforts in this area (not many) here.

I suspect that now we're getting the ELL along with the trains from Brockley and St Johns it would be argued that we're already pretty well served by rail, which would weaken any future 'business case'. St Johns isn't exactly overcrowded as it is...

APP&P Troll said...

agreed. Its a real shame, but I would expect this to be a realistic goal in 7-10 years time. Depends how 'densely developed' brockley becomes

Anonymous said...

The population of the non-conservation area are pretty dense...

Headhunter said...

There used to be a station on Lewisham Way as well - where the big junk shop is. I think it was called Loampit Vale station or something.

It does seem a bit strange to have such a long stretch of line with no stations between Lewisham and Nunhead. I'm sure that back in the early 20th century when the station was closed there was little demand for services to Victoria, but with the larger populations of the 21st century surely there must a case for the re-opening of 1 of these 2 stations again at least!

At the moment St Johns is a bit isolated out there and services aren't exactly frequent. Re opening the old station on Lewisham Way would surely make a big difference to accessibility in that area.

headhunter said...

St Johns probably isn't crowded because train services there are so infrequent. It's almost and abandoned station!

Tamsin said...

It is virtually abandoned "Not Calling at St. John's" was almost a standard mantra on the recorded announcements in London Bridge when I lived in Eltham on first coming to London. Now, of course, it is changed to "Fast to so-and-so" so that people don't hear just the station name that is NOT being stopped at and get on under a woeful misapprehension!

A pity, as it is beautifully situated in the verdant cutting.

leon said...

It's not so bad during peak times in the week (which is when I usually use it) but suffers a bit at weekends. Still, it'd probably be argued that you could always get a bus down the hill into Lewisham, or use Elverson Road DLR station, which is actually a fairly short walk. In St Johns favour, you've usually got space to breathe on the trains (unlike the ones going through Brockley) and you can even get a seat occasionally.

The biggest problem with St Johns is that you can only get to it via the bridge and (single) staircase, on which I've nearly broken my neck several times over the winter. I don't see why I should have to invest in crampons to get onto a station platform.

Anonymous said...

I avoid any brockley-bound train unless necessary. The southeastern services to Ladywell are much more pleasant (although the choice can swing back towards brockley if the train is making a stop at all the intermediate stations enroute)

Vikki said...

Don't diss St Johns! It's actually pretty good at peak time and it's not that bad on Saturdays.

I've posted this before but for whatever reason the junk shop was actually Lewisham Road station, despite not being on Lewisham Road. Good info here - http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/stations/l/lewisham_road/index.shtml

Same site has Brockley Lane info and pictures.

On the Summer Fayre stuff surely we have lots of stuff already with Brockley Max and the Hilly Fields fayre? Though something very different to both might work?

Anon on 14 May at 15.23 what do you mean by -

"The fair at hillyfields could be geared towards more 'green' recreational activities." What's wrong with the fayre as it is? It's always buzzy and has a whole host of stuff going on! It's a successful local event and it seems silly to change that. Nothing wrong with a bit of bric a brac and a few tombolas...

Brockley Kate said...

St Johns is a gorgeous little station with a real feeling of being in the countryside. I only discovered it recently when Brockley station platform 1 was closed for the weekend and I had to get an early-morning train into London Bridge.

Headhunter said...

I'm not "dissing" St John's it can be bloody convenient when there aren't any trains to Brockers, but it could do with a better service. Re opening Lewisham Road/Loampit Vale station would increase access to an area which is a bit of a desert when it comes to train access

Bobblekin said...

I hav the choice of Brockley or St Johns (SJ is a bit nearer)and so the frequency of services is doubled and one of the reasons I love living where I do.

Can't see the big need to get a line going to Victoria from Brockley. Doesn't Crofton Park serve Victoria?

St Johns is a bit unlucky in its location as the north side of teh station isn't very residential. Its a funny old station - would love to know the history of the station and the strange walled entrance to teh bridge.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I'm sure that something has gone off with the service over christmas time. I was on gardening leave so didn't really notice but now, not only have a few evening services been withdrawn but also the trains appear to be more congested.

I would love for a few other services to make an extra stop at st johns and give us a few more trains at the weekend - but there really isn't the demand at teh moment. Metro don't even bother to drop papers off for us in the morning!

Tressilliana said...

One of the advantages of re-opening the High Level station would be that people could get to Lewisham by train, which would be quicker than walking or going by bus and would give people starting their journey at Brockley or arriving there from Croydon or the East London Line lots more interchange possibilities than we have now.

APP&P Troll said...

I never thought of that, where exactly does the line go 'eastwards' anyway?

Tressilliana said...

I think it's Dartford. Westward the line stops at Nunhead, Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill, somewhere I can't remember - Brixton?, Clapham High Street and one or two other places before Victoria.

APP&P Troll said...

Ah ok, that would be quite useful for me, I have a client out that way

Quokka said...

I have noticed surveyors around the Brockley Cross roundabout this week - can we hope that some sensible road planning is imminent - or are they about to cause chaos by digging it up for water mains repairs??

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

"There are very few facilities for local kids, nowhere for them to go to play snooker" That's a joke right?

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