Please help beat parking problems in Brockley Cross

Trucks and vans ruin Brockley Cross - has the Council delivered on its pledge to send more traffic wardens?


Dangerous and illegal parking has been a problem for a long time in Brockley Cross and it is hugely damaging to the area's prospects for regeneration. It got even worse when a van hire company set up shop right next to the dreaded double roundabout, some months ago.


We happen to live pretty close to Brockley Cross and pass through every day. At almost any given time, there are several large vans parked in Brockley Cross and the streets immediately leading off the area. Saturdays are usually even worse. Often, the vans are illegally parked on the pavement.


The reason for the problem is obvious - Brockley Cross is a terrible place to locate a van hire business. There is lots of traffic and relatively little parking. In addition to the cars owned by local residents, it's also a popular spot with commuters, who want to park close to Brockley Station and there a number of other businesses in the neighbourhood, which attract cars.


If we were thinking about starting a van hire business, it would be the last place that would even occur to us, in the same way we wouldn't think about locating a nuclear power plant or a five star hotel there.


We discussed the issue with Cllr Walton, who agreed to investigate its planning status. It's a tricky area, because of course the site has been used as office space for a long time. However, using the space for "vehicle hire" could be considered sui generis (a special case, not considered a normal use class) and that would mean that it would require planning permission.


Cllr Walton asked Lewisham Council officers to investigate the issue and received this response:


The Enforcement Officer has visited the site on two occasions. On the first visit only two vans were seen parked on the street in relation to the business. On his second visit yesterday, he witnessed the same.

The premises can be categorised as falling within Class B1 (Office) of the Town & Country Use Classes Order, 2006. For such a use to be classed as ‘sui generis’ there would need to be other factors involved. For example, a large number of vehicles parked in a yard attached to the premises from which the hire vehicles could be picked up, and later returned. There is no such arrangement in this particular instance.


This is an amazing answer, for two reasons. Firstly, we're astonished that the enforcement officer managed to visit the site on two occasions when there was no parking infringement and only two vans around. Secondly, because it's precisely because they haven't got any special parking provision that the problem is so acute.


Here is a picture taken recently. It could have been taken on almost any morning and it illustrates the problem perfectly - in the foreground, a truck blocks the parking bay so that parked cars can't get out, in the background, on the right-hand side, a van from the same company is parked on the pavement. It's fairly similar to the shots we took a few months ago.


Brockley Central regards it as its civic duty to be supportive to local businesses but only on condition that those businesses themselves behave responsibly towards the community they operate in. They are not charities, they are there to make money and in this case, the profits are being made at the expense of the safety of local people and of other businesses operating in the area.


So we're publishing this article both in the hope that it gives Cllr Walton some further evidence to present to Council officers and secondly that it reinforces the need to send more traffic wardens to police Brockley Cross. Because if it isn't a planning issue, it damn well is a parking issue.


We've never seen a traffic warden in Brockley Cross but we understand that they must have been at least twice. Please use this thread to report any sightings of traffic wardens in Brockley Cross.

39 comments:

name said...

I have a car, I like cars BUT the situation at Coulgate street is dire. All day long cars parked there.

It makes life unnecessarily difficult for pedestrians having to weave through cars to get to and from the station.


If people want to park there, fine but they need to pay for privilege.

Anonymous said...

What goes around comes around. The residents of Manor Avenue had (and continue to have) similar problems. We hope your own situation meets with the same empathy that your usual contributers have shown.

name said...

Also Lewisham is missing a trick here, other zone 2 boroughs really maximise their coffers by introducing parking controls.
A well run cpz system is lucrative for the council and improves the environment.

Come on Lewisham get with it!

Brockley Nick said...

@anon - churlishness aside, your comment doesn't make any sense. The problems at brockley cross affect us all, not least people on manor ave, who have to walk down those blocked pavements and navigate dangerous blind spots and perhaps even experience knock-on parking problems.

Tamsin said...

But to maximise their coffers the council would introduce a cpz for the whole day plus (probably) weekends rather than just the two hours in the middle of weekdays to stop communter parking (which is what Bromley do). Until the council are willing to introduce the bare minimum needed to deal with the problem a cpz is not necessarily in the best interests of residents and businesses.

Tamsin said...

I see you've corrected the main entry but it still comes up in the comments list - is "dag(g)erous ...parking" what happens when things move to open feuding?

Ross said...

talking of dangerous driving and all the rest of it. i've not seen any mention of the person knocked down and killed at the end of coulgate street last sunday? very sad

Dick Griffin said...

I saw the flowers on the walk up to Smiles and wondered... Think CPZ may stop non-locals parking there without good reason and agree with 2 hour rule to stop commuters. The whole area including and particularly the roundabouts need sorting.

Anonymous said...

When/where was this - I've heard nothing about it?

Brockley Nick said...

A motorcyclist was tragically killed on the junction of Coulgate Street and Brockley Road. The News Shopper has the story http://bit.ly/3J8pE9

Anonymous said...

Fatal accidents have happended at the corner of Coulgate St and Brockley road in the past.

When the Toads Mouth cafe first opened one of their young staff was knocked down and killed by a motorist.

After that we got a traffic island, but Brockley road remains quite dangerous.

That long straight bit by seems irrestiable for speeding motorists.

There is clearly a case for some form of deterrent, too many accidents. There are huge numbers of pedestrians crossing that road from the rail station.

Ben said...

Well said Nick - I've emailed the Council about this and they said would be looked into as part of the Brockley Cross regen works (if they ever happen).. but its not a good situation.. and means I/ tenants/ guests can never park outside my house either!

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of dodgy drivers around South London. All money spent on the wheels and soundsystem, yet none on insurance.

Fuckers have a complete disregard for any one else, pulling out of side roads at speed, not indicating, speeding in 20 zones.

At least insurance check points are becoming more common. The more of these drivers taken of the roads the better. Doing a sweep across Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham would certainly take a hell of a lot of cars off the roads.

Matt-Z said...

@ Anon 12.05

Agreed it's a dangerous stretch of road. The placing of the pelican crossing between the Barge and La Lanterna means that many pedestrians ignore it and, rather than deviate from their quickest route to/from the station, either use the island crossing, or in fact any other part of Brockley Road.

Mind you whoever it is at the Toad's Mouth who owns that old VW Beetle has an annoying habit of blocking the lowered pavement which crosses Coulgate Street. it's always parked there and you can often watch pedstrians weave around it into the street and into the path of oncoming traffic.

Anonymous said...

A couple of months ago as I was coming home, there was another motorcycle casualty at the junction where the secondhand car sales place is, so there is clearly a big problem with this stretch. The police were putting down something to mop up the blood - it did look as if he'd recover OK though.

Dick Griffin said...

I saw a vehicle checkpoint set up just before the bridge a few weeks back and hope to same more. I also hope for a complete road/paving/cpz redesign for the brockley station/road/cross and proper enforcement (eg fines for those blocking lowered pavements). The priority has to be pedestrian safety.

Lou Baker said...

Controlled parking is the way forward - so long as there is ample provision for visitor parking and for people to visit the shops.

That's what they do in Blackheath and the residential roads around there are much less congested.

Sadly when a controlled parking zone was proposed for Telegraph Hill the local NIMBY society objected on the grounds that they could. As always.

I'd personally be happy to pay £50 a year to guarantee being able to park near my house.

Tamsin said...

Telegraph Hill, by and large, does not have the same problems although there are issues in Troutbeck Road and on Pepys nearby the bus garage (ironically all the bus workers drive their cars to work!).
I was heavily involved in the debate on the CPZ that was proposed pro-actively by the Council prior to the introduction of Congestion Charging (anticipating people driving as far as NXG before parking) but that debate wasn't a NIMBY knee-jerk reaction. A deliberately neutral flyer was put on all parked cars in the area (specifically including Troutbeck where there were the worst problems) inviting people to a public meeting and it was not until that meeting came out 98% against a CPZ that the Telegraph Hill Society took that as a mandate to leaflet the area suggesting a "no" response to the consultation and high-lighting the problems with CPZs identified by the meeting.
Despite the leafletting and discussion we pushed the response rate to the consultation up from the 3% average over the borough to a massive 6% - apathy rules.

Anonymous said...

If I were a London bus driver the last way I'd want to get to/from work is on another bus, stopping at every lamp post as it goes.

Tamsin said...

Motor-cyclists are extra vulnerable but some are also quite lunatic. A month or so back I was walking along the stretch from St. Andrews and you could hear bikes revving at the Wickham Road lights. When the lights changed two bikers took off like bats out of hell and must have been going up the road at nearly sixty. They then obviously did a circle round the roundabouts at Brockley Cross because they came back at the same speed. Terrifying, stupid and heaven help any pedestrian who got in their way.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

There was a proposal for a CPZ in the roads around the college around six or seven years ago now which the majority including me voted against.

Included Tyrwhitt along to Wickham. They settled instead for a campaigne to get students and lecturers to use the train. Shame they didn't get the service to St Johns greatly improved

I think I would vote for it now......... that is how fickle I am.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Hmmmmm knew I should have spell checked campaign......

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, but please let's be clear Tamsin that a motorcyclist has died and there is no suggestion that he was driving dangerously. I'm sure you weren't trying to suggest otherwise.

Matt-Z said...

One of the problems with CPZs is that, as soon as they are installed, everyone tears up their front garden and has it paved for a car parking space. This has many disadvantages including

1: Removing the section of road outside the house as a parking space for anyone else to use.
2: Oversize cars crammed onto tiny front gardens, resulting in them overhanging and obstructing the pavement
3: Causing problems with drainage / rainwater run off / damp in properties
3: Loss of natural habit for wildlife
4: Making the area look generally a bit crapper

Matt-Z said...

^^^ My numbering could do with some work.

Anonymous said...

The conservation area rules would help alleviate some of that wouldn't it?

Matt-Z said...

I don't know, about two years ago my former landlord on Wickham Road covered the entire garden with cheap paving slaps and ripped up the tiled path to replace it with more slabs and concrete. All done with impunity it would seem.

Tamsin said...

@Nick. Oh, absolutely, and why I started off with the acknowledgement that all cyclists and motorcyclists are extra vulnerable (car drivers just don't seem to register anything smaller than themselves) and my comment was that "some" were extra foolhardy. I'm sorry, it was rather inappropriate but the event I witnessed was so shocking I wanted to unload.


CPZs and hard-standing. You are quite right Matt-Z - one of the aesthetic reasons against having one, another is the extra street furniture. In theory the hard-standing conversion is outlawed once there is an Article 4 directive in place, but that in practice depends on Council enforcement and is just a source of ill-will. Better not to give rise to the situation in the first place unless the parking situation is so bad that there is no alternative.

Maradoll said...

I'm pretty sure I got something through the door recently that stated in the conservation area you're no longer allowed to pave over your front garden. Drainage/wildlife issue.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Paving the front garden is outlawed but this didn't stop the house next to me doing it.

It was a specific condition of the planning permission to convert the house to flats that the front garden be retained.

However a few months after the conversion was finished and "signed off" the lawn was ripped up and concrete went down.

What rubbed salt into the wound was that a year after the conversion the owner applied to Lewisham Council for a pavement crossover and along came the council and installed one!

Dick Griffin said...

CPZ should allow locals more parking space but agree that parking in front gardens is far from desirable.

Anonymous said...

There's a rumour going round, Eddie Stobart wants to open a depot in Brockley.

Blunderbuss said...

Here on the west side the tracks I can park outside my house pretty much anytime I want even though I'm 2 minutes from the station. Any Brockley X CPZ would probably needlessly bring my street into the zone so I voted against the proposal. CPZ's are all money making schemes anyway...

Brockley Nick said...

@anon, apparently, that's fine, so long as they're happy to park on residential streets. It's only if they go to the trouble of creating dedicated parking facilities that there's a planning issue.

name said...

Maybe all Brockley should be CPZ'ed. Any profits could be put back into local pot, for improving shop fronts.

When cars are off the road it makes areas feel spacious.

Anonymous said...

Ah Blunderbuss seems like you have a case of,as long as Its not on my doorstep,or Im alright pull the ladder up Jack.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone every looked into who exactly is parking outside Brockley Station all day?
I always thought that there was no cpz because no-one would want to drive through the traffic to Brockley (New Cross, Crofton or Honor Oak Park for that matter) just to find that they could barely get on to a cramped train this close into London anyway. (I commute from HOP so probably shouldn't comment)
If it's "just around the corner" locals who can't be bothered to walk maybe there's a better way to deal with it than restricting / charging residents for parking as well?

Brockley Button said...

I am very local and park there because I cannot park outside my home.

Fan said...

Is it possible for Brockley Central to organise a petition to ask for a parking permit zone around Brockley Cross and the Station?

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