Brockley Common: Two steps forward, one step back?

The council's contractor for the long-awaited Brockley Common works, Conways, has begun to clear the site today having installed a ramp and steps. The area around the station entrance has been left as bare soil, unplanted, and due to the previously-documented alleged asbestos problems the planned performance space has not been created.

The council's highways department is project-managing the scheme but the Brockley Cross Action Group have kept a close eye on progress and are very concerned about some aspects of the work.

These include the incomplete works, the lack of a completed footpath on the west side of Coulgate Street, the lack of greening/plants, the missing performance area, the missing corner stairs, the time and money allegedly spent on asbestos removal, and the lack of communication to the community about project progress (the only signs around the site were placed by the train company, not the council, according to BXAG).

BXAG are calling on the council to publish a project plan stating when the above will be completed.

Local residents who want to lobby Lewisham Council about this situation can email gill.redrup @lewisham.gov.uk (remove space).

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a huge pity that this project should be so handicapped, but perhaps it's an indication of what to expect when getting involved with the council.

They have their targets, budgets, staff, personal ambitions, contractors etc etc, and all of these have to be maintained in some way, consultants to the tune of £millions.

Then way down at the bottom of the list is the resident of the borough, if the benefits get to them (other than having your bin emptied on time) it's a matter of luck rather than design.

Anonymous said...

The concrete side to the steps/ramp is just crying out for some grafitti. All those tress removed, for this....

The Cat Man said...

Not just that, the ramp does not go up at an even level, the wall next to it looks like a 5yr old child built it.

Anonymous said...

a. People were already shortcircuiting the ramp by crossing the unturfed dirt areas
b. When the temporary fencing is removed at the top outside the ticket office, people are just going to jump over the wall- with inevitable injuries
c. The ramp is quite uneven- but I am informed by scooting 6 year old is very good for this purpose
d. Surely they can afford at least to turf the area, if not it is going to resemble the somme when it rains

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of Bratislava...

Anonymous said...

Why does Brockley always get the bum deal?

Anonymous said...

oh I don't know, Rwanda seems to get more than it's fair share of bad luck.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that a small project like this has been perceived as a failure here because when it's all opened and matured a bit it will be a definite improvement on what was there previously.
And it seems the most vocal naysayers are the Westsiders wingeing about their detour around the junction. Get the violins out.

The Cat Man said...

huh? 7 anons and me, what makes you think the majority of posters live west side?

This project has been a joke - the council couldn't manage a Pi@s up in a brewery.

Monkeyboy said...

Be interesting to know what role the Council have assumed. Are they the client with Conway taking the principle contractor and project management role or are the council project managing?

Important so that the outrage can be directed appropriately. After all you wouldn't necessarily slag a home owner off the poor performance of their roofing contractor.

Also are we having a go at incompetent public bodies or venal private contractors? Just so I know.

Anonymous said...

What was the name of the firm that was commissioned to remove the (alleged) asbestos?

The Cat Man said...

I think that was Conways.

I think the council is supposed to have overall project management role, its the ladies name in the article above.

PLEASE make sure you direct all anger/upset to the name mentioned in the above article!!!

Monkeyboy said...

exactly, you think. The council will have a role but the day to day project management? perhaps, perhpas not. We're lacking facts.

I doubt that Conways removed the asbestos, there should be a report kicking round from a registered asbestos surveyor, a registered specialist will have removed it. Could be conways, again we don't know. By 'alleged' are you implying there wasn't any?

If your going to whinge, and whinge we should, you need facts and a coherent argument or the contractors will run rings round you.

Anonymous said...

"Also are we having a go at incompetent public bodies or venal private contractors?"

right on both counts

50-50 share I reckon

The Cat Man said...

The annoying thing is, the councillors even recognise the contract with Conways is flawed. I even have emails from my councillors two years ago stating that 'they intend to look at the contract to make things more water tight'.

The blame lays between Conways and the Council. The both don't give a frigging sh*t.

Im going to spend a day gathering together all my emails, letters, photos etc.. and will write a short report and copy in the Mayors office, the council, and BCAG.

Conways even manage the public paths - my dealings with them even suggest they dig up un-broken paving slabs and replace them with tarmac - even if not required.

The Cat Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Would you trust a Council, who can't control a contractor to replace a paving stone, to develop the centre of Lewisham?

max said...

Cat Man, this time you're right, if you have reservations on the work done you should make your case, as Monkeyboy says "you need facts and a coherent argument or the contractors will run rings round you".

So I'd suggest that together with writing the report on your case based on the correspondence you have gathered you also make a Freedom of Information request to have copies of the agreements between the Council and the contractors, eventual surveys and any other related document you need to complete the picture, that'll make sure that you're not fobbed off with some stock answer that says nothing.

Anonymous said...

Anon: "And it seems the most vocal naysayers are the Westsiders wingeing about their detour around the junction. Get the violins out."

So, you think this '10 week project' started in Feburary (6 months ago) has been a rip-roaring success?

And yes, it is a pain to walk all the round when it used to take 10 seconds to cross a bridge. Get your own violins out.

Paul Bell said...

I will raise the comments here with Cllr Heidi Alexander who is responsible for this work and once I have a response I will post it here.

The Cat Man said...

Max, totally agree with you and Monkeyboy on this one.

re. freedom of information - i had a request, submitted on my behalf by Ian Page, for the agreement with Conways.

...they gave me a copy which was 4 YEARS out of date. They are supposed to re-consider the terms every year, they have failed to supply me with that!

Anonymous said...

Its all 'them and us' with you lot. No wonder you don't get anywhere with that attitude.

Try working with the Council rather writing reports, lobbying and getting your freedom of information requests in.

Anonymous said...

anon 09:10, I think the whole point is that BXAG *did* work closely with the Council - and that is the cause of the frustration.

Are you perhaps a Council worker yourself?

Anonymous said...

Indeed. No project ever progresses when "well meaning" interested parties just slag another party off, or hound them for updates that they're not ready to give. If I were the council I'd be tempted to tell any groups or green blogs to F off the next time they want an 'update ASAP'...

Anonymous said...

You're right anon 10:18, everyone is equal and nobody should be able to jump the queue - and there is a queue and recognised channels of communication. Unfortunately getting a non-political or evasive, yet correct in the strict sense of the word, answer out of the Council is like getting blood out of a stone.

Anonymous said...

As Monkeyboy has previously asked, I would be interested to hear further explanation about the 'alleged' asbestos. Are there serious questions about whether the whole asbestos story was actually made up? That sounds like a juicy scandal in the making.

Anonymous said...

Surely it's a relatively easy set of questions to answer:

who removed the asbestos
when
where is the documentation

Anonymous said...

something like this perhaps:

who removed the asbestos
"the contractor responsible (name of company)"


when
"5th July 2009" (for instance)


where is the documentation
"the documentation regarding these works is available via the Council Planning Office"


good set of answers?

monkeyboy said...

if you were going to lie you wouldn't about asbestos removal. It's documented at every stage, look elsewhere for the failure. Don't get sucked into some dodgy conspirosy theory just because it sounds like fun.

Anonymous said...

Are there any plans to update the portacabin/ticket office?

Anonymous said...

the questions are surely not whether there was asbestos - as monkeyboy says, stupid to lie about that but why was it not discovered on the original contamination survey (it's not as if they have dug particularly far down so surely it should have been pretty easy to discover...) - i.e. was the surveyor negligent (and thus can costs be recovered?), exactly how much was paid for it to be removed and how long did it take (and were several quotes obtained), aside from that what penalties have conways suffered as a result of their failure to complete the work at all, let alone within budget/time, is the work completed to the required standard and if not what is being done about that?

Anonymous said...

And if you approach any organisation with a set of questions like that, you'll be very quickly shunned. Learn to cooperate.

The Cat Man said...

Many people have tried very hard to co-operate with the council but there response has been to not even let people know about meetings between them and the contractors and to give extremely vague and imprecise responses to what are potentially very serious questions.

I have very big concerns about the contractor in question - I have dealt with them directly and have found them to be unhelpful, evasive, defensive and only in instance where I had factual proof did they then decide to agree with me.

The attitude of the contractors and the council is not one of co-operation, its appeasement.

We need to take a tougher line with them.

Anonymous said...

In fairness they havent finished the station as yet so it will probably be nicer once its done. It cant be worse than what was here originally I guess. Public projects are usually an absolute joke in terms of timing, but this one does seem to take the biscuit given it is a relatively small job. Some mornings I am so tempted to shout "Hurry up you bunch of losers!" when i walk past and see the workmen standing smoking or chatting and not a seconds work taking place... LCC are possibly the worst local authority I have seen for making infratructural improving. I guess all their time goes in housing the nutters.

The Cat Man said...

Thats just it. Apparently BCAG has been told by the lovely lady in the article above that the project (excluding the steps) is now FINISHED.

I.e. no grass, plants, railings, wonky ramp, concrete walls.. shall I go on?

This is a vital KEY site for Brockleys regeneration - everyone goes past it!

Anonymous said...

The saga of the "destroy a ramp so we can build a ramp" project goes on...

Anonymous said...

How can it be finished, it clearly looks incomplete and is not finished in the slightest? Maybe what she means is that the Council have finished with it. That being that case, we may need to get a group of volunteers to do some planting at the weekend. The Council doesnt know its arse from its elbow, so if we want it sorted, best do it ourselves?

The Cat Man said...

Another example of the contractors lack of expertise is the pavements underneath the bridge, just north of coulgate street (on the left looking north). The gaps between the 'new' paving slabs are so large thay they immediately look like they do not comply with the councils rules (i.e. no more than 1.5cm tilt between each one).

Has the council bothered to take a look? I doubt it.

The Cat Man said...

This means they can be dug up and replaced again as people can trip over them and break a leg or something worse.

Who wins? The contractor.

Headhunter said...

Talking of timing on public sector projects I notice that "The Wall" does not seem to have progressed 1 iota since I last went by that way a couple of weeks ago. I mean how slow can they go?!

The Cat Man said...

well, the brockley commmon 'ramp' has turned from 10 wks to 25weeks plus, so i guess 3x your initial expectations then perhaps you will be correct.

I dont know why I bother to pay taxes.

shirley p said...

Does anyone know if there will be any hand rails? My gran can't do stairs or ramps without...

Anonymous said...

Brockley readers thinking this is taking too long should have a look at the Bermondsey Street tunnel - now that's a slow burner

Anonymous said...

I have heard back from Gillian Redrup who has assured me that the council does not consider the work finished. Not sure if the information has got mangled somewhere along the way...

The Cat Man said...

Perhaps, my understanding was that all (except) for the stairs was finished. Therefore, my understanding is that the project is not finished but the ramp is.

I'm relying on second hand information though, so happy to be corrected.

tyrwhitt michael said...

From what I read this is one step forward two steps back.

Any photos or do I have to go and look myself?

ladywell bodybuilder said...

if you don't use the station TW what would be the point, simply to come here and complain about it?

:P - so you recognise it is slightly tongue in cheek

Anonymous said...

"good set of answers?"

Probably... for anyone connected with the project that is.

As for it being highly unlikely that anyone would lie about such a thing? Well... where is the documentation?

From what I have gathered on this thread no-one knows who removed the asbestos, or when.

ladywell birdspotter said...

I think it's unlikely that anyone would lie about anything regarding this project, when there's obfuscation to fall back on, whats the point?


chaffinch in the garden this morning, robins eyeing me with interest as usual.

Anonymous said...

Yes TM. Could some kind soul snap some photos please when they're passing, and upload them to the Flickr group? (I'm down at the Crofton Park end, and probably use the station/Coulgate St once a year). It's always nice to know what's getting people knickers in a twist.

Oli said...

Seems to be a lot of vague guessing about what's going on without any actual facts. No wonder everyone's so pissed off!

Very bizarre that such disruptive work is going on and no one in 'authority' seems able or willing to simply explain the situation.


In other news, my band is playing at the Big Chill this Sunday, do pop by to have a listen if you're there!

www.cassetteelectrik.wordpress.com

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