Brockley Cross walkabout with the Deputy Mayor

Gordon Brown isn't the only leading politician listening-and-learning in Brockley.

Following our recent interview with Cllr Heidi Alexander, Lewisham's Deputy Mayor offered to meet us and some Brockley Central readers for a tour of Brockley Cross (East and West!), to discuss the issues about our physical environment that matter most to us: from the dreaded roundabout to the pock-marked pavements. The visit will be an opportunity to highlight the worst of Brockley Cross and discuss what can be done.

There is no promise of immediate action, but any opportunity to put Brockley issues higher-up the local political agenda is to be welcomed.

The walkabout will take place at 4pm on Friday, July 25th. If you are interested in coming on the tour, please email us at the usual address. Otherwise, please use this thread to list the things that are most pressing as far as you're concerned and we'll endeavour to highlight the issues by proxy.

70 comments:

Bea said...

Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend as I’ll still be at work but I second all the issues you have raised i.e. “from the dreaded roundabout to the pock-marked pavements”.

I’d be grateful if you could also raise again the issue of Speedicars’ signage (to keep it at the top of the agenda) and also enquire about the improvements planned for Coulgate Street. More specifically, is it possible to make it a car free zone, can the surface be re-laid with “flat” cobbles, can the lighting round the station be changed to be more in keeping with a conservation area etc etc. Maybe you could also show her the plans for Brockley Common and ask her what is happening on that front (or ask her to find out for us).

Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I maintain a job within business hours! But much appreciated.

Headhunter said...

Yep, me too. Won't be out of work til 6ish, but good to hear that Brockley X is getting noticed. Should also point out the awful traffic situation and that, according to traffic surveys, at certain times, more vehicles pass through Brockley X than Lewisham Way - an A road!

The Brockley Telegraph said...

Bea has made some good points:

1. Coulgate St - better 'traditional' lighting, 'flat cobbles', better streetscape.

2. Pavements - I'm planning an article about this - its shocking.

3. What 'inwards' investment the council is giving to Brockley. We need their support (and the private sector) if this is going to take off. Often inwards investment from the government/council will 'trigger' a catalyst of private sector investment. My question to Alex would be 'what inwards investment are you giving to Brockley'?

Anonymous said...

Great news.
Can I add the high speed buses on Avignon Rd, often travelling on the wrong side of the road to avoid slowing down.
Also the usual list of empty, unsightly shop fronts...

The Brockley Telegraph said...

Anon@11.54,

Clr Robin Cross informed me he has agreed some road layout changes to stop just that. Not sure if its been implemented yet, but you may want to get in touch with him?

You can get his email address on the council website.

shb said...

This is interesting: http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/Documents/Planning/Morecambe%20Townscape%20Heritage%20Initiative/MTHI%20SFIS%20Guidance%20notes.pdf
Perhaps the council could consider similar incentives to encourage businesses on Brockley Road to improve our local environment (and adhere to the planning regulations which they set but seem so reluctant to enforce!)

Anonymous said...

Hasn't she got anything better to do than walk around Brockley?

If the Speedicars’ signage needs to be at the top of an agenda, *any agenda*, then, frankly, words fail me, so I'll stop.

good grief!

Anonymous said...

I agree. I can imagine the conversation in the council offices.

"Where are you off to"

"Talking to the residents of Brockley about their concerns"

"Are they still on about the sign outside the taxi office again?"

"Yep"

"..... tossers"

Do dah said...

Why is the double roundabout such a seemingly complex problem to solve.
Can't a straightforward replacement of the roundabout with traffic lights work?

What am I missing here?

Danja said...

"Flat cobbles" are setts.

Bea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bea said...

Anons at 12:31 and 12:32 – fortunately our Councillors don’t take the attitude you portray. Instead they are involved with their communities and seek to address the concerns of their electorate. It is easy to belittle others but far more difficult to put forward constructive ideas.

And with regard to the sign outside Speedicars, yes, it is not of global significance but the lack of enforcement of conservation regulations is frustrating especially when it is flouted on a regular basis. In my opinion, an attractive row of shops is despoiled by the naff plastic sign and neon lights detracting from an area undergoing regeneration, an area that is for many the first impression they get of Brockley when they step out of the train.

brockley sarah said...

Here, here Bea!
And I wish people would stop getting so personal, with name-calling.

lb said...

I have to say I don't think the sign is very significant, but if anyone's going to be looking at Coulgate Street then they should certainly think of ways that they could reduce the number of cars cluttering it up.

"Anons at 12:31 and 12:32 – fortunately our Councillors don’t take the attitude you portray. Instead they are involved with their communities and seek to address the concerns of their electorate"

Well, they're obliged to address these concerns, as that's why they're elected. As to their personal attitude, it varies. I'm not sure an overstretched councillor could be convinced that putting serious time into the sign issue is that worthwhile, based on my experience of councillors' off-record reactions to this kind of thing, but they could probably raise it with the planners. Or, for that matter, anyone else could.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

Bea is right! I hope the sign does get removed, I would be interested to hear what Speedicars has said in its defence. I.e. precendence et all...

Do dah said...

If as a result of the Deputy Mayor paying Brockley a visit, a planning contravention is put right. She'll go up in my estimation. I like people that get things done. Sometimes you DO have to 'sweat the small stuff'.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

Can I make a suggestion? Could Nick, or a commenter post a 'pro-forma' letter and a email address on this site, so all we need to do is copy and paste to send a email to the council?

There must be loads of office workers who view this site and would welcome 2 mins to send one off.

Bea, if you sent one and have it on your computer, i'd happily send one off again if you post it up?

anon 12:31 said...

I've met quite a few councillors, and have been impressed by most of them, I've met H Alexander and was not impressed by her.

The speedicars sign is irrelevant, and dwelling on it shows a parochial outlook that, whilst harmless in private, is ridiculous to flaunt in public.

Anonymous said...

Well done Brockley Central crew, I feel lucky to have such a pro-active bunch of people living in my area.

I hope your walk-around is useful. Keep it up, you do us all proud!

lb said...

By the way, the people who've mentioned about the sign being illuminated would do well to remember that the taxi business is open at night, and therefore requires an illuminated sign. Not very unreasonable.

I suppose they could tastefully illuminate it with candles, but I expect that would contravene fire regulations.

Moira said...

@do dah,
When the masterplanning exercise was done on the Cross, the option of traffic lights was considered. If my memory serves me, traffic lights were deemed the least workable solution. The BCAG has all the documents of the results of the masterplanning exercise, so if your interested do get in touch with them.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon 1231

It doesn't matter whether you were impressed with her, or whether I or anyone was impressed with her. The point is she is in charge of regeneration in Lewisham and therefore the most important person to the issues facing Brockley Cross.

I don't think anyone is dwelling on the sign. But to dismiss people's suggestions as "parochial" misses the point entirely - the whole exercise is supposed to be parochial - it's supposed to be an opportunity to highlight the issues big and small which affect our lives for the worse, and to suggest ways to make them better.

@lb - degustation has an illuminated sign. Have a look at the picture on the main article of Degustation to see what can be done.

Anonymous said...

The Speedicars sign looks like it's been bodged which gives the impression that nobody really cares about the area. It's 'broken windows' syndrome - to say urban design and crime are unrelated is naive. I don't think there's anything wrong with being parochial. Isn't that kind of the point of this blog?!

Headhunter said...

Exactly. If Speedicars can't be bothered to adhere to rules laid out to protect the conservation area and maintain its atmosphere perhaps they should move to another part of Brockley - there's plenty of space! They're not new to the area, it's not as if they have just set up shop here. They should have more respect for their local area. Personally I don't use them any more

Do dah said...

Thank you Moira for the pointer to further info, I have to say I dread to think what other solutions were considered if traffic lights are no good, by passes, fly overs???

Bea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lb said...

I'm not sure the officer in question would appreciate you putting their name and direct line on an openly accessible webpage, unless they've said so in advance.

patrick1971 said...

Well done to anonymous who said that this is classic "broken windows" theory in action. Just what I thought myself. Yes, in and of itself, the sign issue is a small one. But a concern about it shows that people are interested in and care about the wider area. This means that the area doesn't become neglected, and that it becomes a less attractive place to commit crime. A real case of looking after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves.

Bea said...

LB - I don’t see it as a problem as this information is in the public domain already. It only requires a call to the Council planning department’s central number 020 8314 7400 (available from their website) and then a request to speak to the case office in charge of Speedicars to get the same result. But with respect to Mr Sullivan I will delete my post and put an amended version of it below not showing his direct line.

Original post

“APP&P - no I don't have a standard letter / email I send out. Usually I give the planning officer a call which is, in my experience, as effective as other forms of communication. The person handling the Speedicars sign issue is Jodi Sullivan (sp?) Tel: 020 8314 7400 (general planning number).”

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info re Robin Cross - unfortunatley the traffic calming work on Avignon Road has been completed and the result is that cars and buses now go even faster than before! We have advised Robin of this and he's taken on the concerns, unfortunately it's up to London Transport to deal with the bus issue and they remain entirely disinterested. We just hope it won't take a fatality for the council to show more interest.

Amanda said...

The one general request I'd make of the deputy mayor is simply to get the council to work with the people that live and work here.

We are doing things to help ourselves and regenerate the area. From the Brockley Film Nights, the Fayre, the Fun Run, to the Marsha Phoenix Trust, the Hilly Fields User Group, I just read up about an idea to reuse the playtower, the Brockley Common.


I'd like the council to be a facilitator rather than is sometimes the case a hindrance to ideas and action.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

Compliant nowe registered. The council contactor is very pleasent!

I encourgage all to go log a call. Takes 2 mins.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

Anon, im glad that you have got in touch with Robin. I'm trying to improve the Mantle Rd flowerbeds at the moment, and the pavements.

If you speak to him again, and the above things bother you too, then making it known to Robin would be quite useful.

Robins also looking into getting an 'offically' recognised area name for West Brockley.

Brockley Kate said...

I very much agree with Amanda. The overwhelming impression I get from speaking to local community activists on a range of subjects is that the council's political leadership is their main stumbling block.

Anonymous said...

Surely you're better off leaving the name as just Brockley. By differentiating you're asking for trouble in terms of dropping house prices, etc.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you could ask Ms Alexander, as she is 'in charge' of regeneration in Lewisham, exactly what regeneration is and what she has regenerated?

As far as I can see regeneration means little more than handing over land to developers and get a free, for example, swimming bath, in exchange for a couple of high rise tower blocks.

Curious regeneration indeed

Anonymous said...

i was born in brockley 45 years ago and have lived here all my life as do my family. i was excited to find a blog that focussed on my local area. I have to say tho that this blog gives me the fear as to who my neighbours are - what is all this poncy conservation bullying of speedycabs. what were all those snide comments about possible new take aways. i dont know who you people are but u aint "my people"

Anonymous said...

I was born here 80 years ago and my family and I have lived here ever since. I was excited to find a blog that contemplated Brockley's issues.

I have to say though that this blog makes me rejoice as to who my neighbours are - who want to return the area back to how it was in its heyday and how I remembered as a boy. Thanks to those who perservere in the campaign against Speedicabs. Thank goodness for the comments on local business - the area has been on a decline for - mmm... the last 45 years or so.

I dont know who you people are but you are 'my people'.

Class war crap can easily be countered

Anonymous said...

Anon 21.30

You must remember, snobbery is rife on this blog, just look at many of the issues that this site covers, you will find aspects of smug snobbery throughout.

Tressillian James said...

Asking for Conservation rules, that have beena greed by council, to be implemented is snobbery? Wanting a range of business types to service the community is snobbery? I think it is reverse snobbery not to think that these are things that all Brockleyites want.

I am really glad that there are people wanting to discuss issues and act for the good of all.

Monkeyboy said...

I was born in north London 39 years ago, were things better when I was a lad? Well the summers were longer, chips tasted better, less stressful etc, etc.... Has there ever been a generation that didn't things were better years ago?

This blog dosen't represent anything other than the views of those who post on it. I wouldn't get too excited about it's malign influence.

lb said...

Anon@19.28:

On a national level, the Government's plan as far as regeneration goes is much in line with all their other views on large public sector projects - the private sector should be heavily involved in financing. It's a classic neo-liberal thing, but it's also worth pointing out that Britain has had no real tradition of large, wholly public sector projects (in comparison to France, say) since the time of postwar reconstruction. This goes for local government nowadays just as much as it goes for national government; private finance (i.e. handing stuff over to developers) is seen as the key to enabling development. I don't really believe it myself, but that's what the prevailing thought has been.

Not that a change of government would make any difference, the Tories are even more keen to devolve things to the private sector.

Headhunter said...

Here we go again, a couple of anonymii (or whatever the plural is), bitching that whenever people actually take an interest in their local area, they are "snobs" or NYMBYs or CAVEs or whatever.

The conservation area rules were set up over 30 years ago to protect the feel of the area, not create class war.

If you want to create that ugly kitchen extension, uPVC double glaze your front windows or build over your garden, there's plenty more space in Brockley outside the conservation area...

May be an idea to move. No?

Anonymous said...

If something can be done about brockley cross then that would be fantastic, I can't make the walkabout as like most people I will be at work but my concerns (in no particular order) about the area are as follows:

1. The roundabouts - I have looked at the BCAG masterplan docs and think that the preferred option would be a huge improvement, this change would then affect the general look and feel of the area and encourage businesses to improve their image/move into the area

2. Pedestrian crossings - there is a distinct lack near the roundabouts other than the one on Brockley Rd

3. Access to the train station - would be great to have direct access from Mantle road to the London Bridge platform without having to go across one bridge and back across the other - I guess this is more something for the rail companies

4. Empty shop/business premises - can't the council offer incentives (e.g. discounted rates for a certain period) in order to encourage businesses to move in?

5. Bridge strikes at the bridge on the victoria-crofton park line over Mantle Rd - there have been a couple in the last few weeks causing disruption to the trains & roads, can't there be some better signs/warnings so big vans/lorries don't try going down there?

6. General environment - some more plants/trees etc would be a huge improvement (this would tie in nicely to changes to the roundabouts)

Good luck and hope you can get some actions taken!

Tressillian James said...

Brockley Cross is one of the entrances to Brockley - I remember first driving down Shardeloes Road into Brockley, on the day I moved here to rent, and being quite upset with my partner for deciding on a place here (I'd been away).

I think it was the sight of the roundabouts and the grey railway bridge together.

Now sort out some trees, perhaps grow some greenery on the railway bridge (I've seen it done in Mile End), and enforce the shop signage on Brockley Road (which should be under conservation rules), and we'll be going a long way to making it better. Oh and the Jam Factory IS a great improvement.

Anonymous said...

On the Mantle road side of the train station the trees and shrubbery has been cut back (presumably to clear the rubbish that had been building up) and it shows how easily a second path could be built directly down on to platform one. Next time your walk past take a look it would be so straightforward - and yet the buffoons who work for Network Rail obviously think that it's better to cross the tracks twice. Who knows why?

Do dah said...

I would like the bridge to be painted. Obviously I forsee an issue with people debating over which colour should be chosen, but hey we cross that particular bridge when we come to it...

I proffer a suggestion however, how about a colour that compliments the turquoise/green of the Tea Factory.

Pastel colours seem to be an emergent theme in Brockley*, I think some subtle colour therapy is going on.

*the recycling bins

Brockley Kate said...

Do dah - quite a while ago now I suggested we could do with a nice colourful mural under that bridge, to combat its dank, dark atmosphere. But there were a fair few people who disagreed at the time!

The Brockley Telegraph said...

As long as its a picture of Princess Diana I don't mind, not another frigging 'rap-esque' graffiti syle murial please.

do dah said...

Well for what its worth, if I were around at the time I would have supported your proposal.


Matters such as the double roundabout are involved and will require a host of time and effort to resolve.

But the bridge could be spruced up quickly. The bridge and beneath look so neglected.

A lick of pastel paint would work wonders I think.

If Hilary could get the paint roller going on this and the speedicars sign issue she'd get my vote.

Headhunter said...

Sounds like you're doing a parody of yourself now, Andy! Princess Diana....! I know what you mean though... Let's have something non-grafittiesque, something more along the lines of the key on the side of the building near the station, or perhaps a giant print of one of Pissarro's paintings from East Dulwich or Crystal Palace or wherever

do dah said...

Of course, I meant to say Heidi...oh dear lol.

Well my verbal mood board would have the words modern, quirky and fun.

Anonymous said...

On each side it should be painted with an optically true depiction of the view beyond, thus making the bridge appear to disappear.

fabhat said...

anon 17.09 - what a nice idea, but what about over height lorries - imagine the poor drivers what have no idea what they've hit? Couldn't we have Brockleyist slogan? Like the ones in shoreditch and other such trendy places?

Anonymous said...

Id like to see more support on local events like B Max, the fun run, summer fayre and xmas market - which are all brilliant but a little extra money and support from the powers that be wouldnt go amiss? A prime example is what happened with the the Brockley Max this year

oryx said...

Being a resident of SE4 and regular reader of this blog I decided to take a look at the much-derided Speedicars sign from the vantage point of the 18.18 from London Bridge.

I was expecting a filthy lopsided neon sign with an 01- number or something. It looks clean, it looks new, it looks like a bog-standard sign for any other type of old-skool business that one would expect in SE London.

Totally unable to see what the problem is - apart from the apparent snobbery of some of the people on here.

Old type businesses are just as essential (perhaps more so?) than delis charging £3 for a loaf of bread* etc.

*totally made-up, entirely fictional but not unrealistic figure. ;-)

Brockley Jon said...

Oryx, the main reason for complaints is that it flouts Lewisham Council's shop front guidelines (PDF here), and a sign like that requires planning consent in a conservation area. Other shops on the street have set an example that Speedicars has not followed. This is a shame, and should be dealt with in the appropriate way, but it does not affect me using them as a local taxi service!

There is a thread devoted to it, here.

spincat said...

Thank you very much for organising this - i am sorry to be working til 8pm so can't be there.

Living down the south end of Brockley Manor, I feel a slight 'outsider' perspective when I walk up to Brockley Cross (something we only do maybe every couple of months), usually on a weekend, maybe to go for coffeee or passing through on a walk.

1) The most depressing thing about the main road (I am talking only about top of Brockley Road and the bit immediately around the mini roundabouts) has always been the number of empty shops/shops with steel shutters down: if you see the area anytime after 9-5 weekdays it has a kind of 'this shop is under seige' vibe.
2)I recently saw some clean pavement laid in a short stretch elsewhere in south london and was surprised by the difference this makes. In some capital cities in Europe street/pavement washing takes place everynight - not suggesting Lewisham does that every night ! - but new pavings in some stretches of road where it is very higgledy piggledy would have an impact
3) There is very little greenery on the main road except for some rather beleagured looking trees.
(Maybe some guerilla gardening to create a Bonnington Square effect in about 10 years time?)
Once you step off the main road there's plenty but actually travelling down that road you get no idea what a lovely green area Brockley really is. The wide pavement area in front of sorting office could have a bit of the concrete broken up for planting plus new benches.

Brockley Kate said...

Completely agree with you about the pavements Spincat! Also about the potential for the area by the sorting office to be used for seating and planting. I think there's scope for a raised flowerbed on the corner outside the Barge too.

oryx said...

@ Brockley Jon - it's nice to want a better overall look for an area and while the sign would probably have been more aesthetic in painted wood, I'd rather my council tax was spent on more important enforcement issues like dog-fouling.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to stick my neck out here and claim that there will be issues more important to any council than dog fouling and signage combined! i.e. actual things that actually affect people.

Do dah said...

I think you'd find if you asked that the two things mentioned DO affect people.

There are things that affect people physically and there are things that affect people mentally.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

It matters alot. Not so much that its a nasty-ish sign, but it sends a negative signal that the oterhwise desirable coulgate street hasn't been fully regenerated.

Regeneration is what we want. If it doesn't happen there, then it won't happen on Brockley Rd or other adjacent roads/streets.

lb said...

Oryx, a fair number of people actually agree with you. If the sign hadn't been pointed out to me I honestly wouldn't have noticed it, or the fact that it sent out a 'negative message' regarding the area or its 'regeneration'.

I think it's possible to take aesthetic issue with the sign, and if some people want to devote time to doing so it's up to them, but I can't see that it has any significance beyond that, and it's certainly nothing that any great amount of Council resources should be ploughed into.

Headhunter said...

I think the point is that if the area is ever going to re-generate properly and if the area around Brockley X and Brockley Rd are every going to smarten up then we have to encourage the council to take action, in fact not only action but actually enforce exisiting planning regulations that they themselves instigated, rather than turning a blind eye as they seem to at the moment.

Currently anything goes - satellite dishes, uPVC glazing and illuminated signs. The council's response - nothing.

We need to make them realise that the aesthetics of Brockley are in fact quite important to some people and that perhaps they need to stop pouring every penny into crime prevention and social issues, as their list of aims suggests

The Brockley Telegraph said...

The council operates like a firm of auditors in that respect. Always concentrates on minimising risk for a set fee, and doesn't focus on 'promoting' certain activities that could - in the long run - have a much larger positive effect.

Also like the newspapers.

We just live in a pessimistic world.

coibhe said...

Hello

I have three newly reburbished offices to let above the old flower shop at brickley Cross, jsut opposit the tea factory. I do not know Brockly well and wondered if anyone could reccommed a good notice board where I could put up an ad.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

coibhe

It's not unusual to approach an estate agent or similar for this kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

If you can find one still trading.

Credit Crunch - part of a healthy breakfast.

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