Cold reality of Brockley Cross laid out for Lewisham Council

Stuart from the Brockley Cross Action Group has kindly provided this report from this week's tour of Brockley Cross with the Deputy Mayor and a number of Council Officers, an event designed to help the Council decide how the very limited amount of money to improve the area could best be spent:

For nearly three hours Brockley Cross had the undivided attention of key players in Lewisham Council in the form of a walkabout and de-brief in Toads Mouth Too.

The whole patch was carefully walked - from station to our 'High Street' (Brockley Road), down to Brockley Cross where we all took life in hands to navigate the 5 roads in an clockwise direction to return to the stretch of shops between Cranfield and Harefield where we spent some time examining a large puddle, and the old and unnecessary railings and the unhelpful parking restrictions which serve neither passing traffic or commuter traffic between 10.00am and 6.30pm. It was a sobering and cold tour!

Personally, I had a horrible sense of déjà vu, but it was a useful and necessary thing to do. As a community we have to keep reminding Lewisham Council that we have a very poor public realm, significant road safety issues and lots of ideas as to what might be done. Unfortunately, the money Lewisham has applied for from TfL has been spread quite thinly and with regards to Brockley Cross itself, it isn't going to go very far - we won't be getting rid of the hated 1950s double roundabout arrangement which was an experiment that was never removed.

Some interesting facts emerged - Brockley/Brockley Cross, with its 75 shops is only classed as a 'local centre' and competes for resources with Lewisham's more important 'district' centres (e.g. New Cross, Sydenham, Lee Green). Across the borough the backlog of public realm/highways/pavement works needed is about £150m - compared with its annual budget of just under £3m. In other words unless Lewisham can tap extra funds little more than pothole filling and urgent resurfacing is done in any one year. No wonder we have terrible pavements.

Heidi Alexander (cabinet member for regeneration) and Darien Goodwin (Head of Highways) agreed that some things could and should be done as a matter of priority. For example the above mentioned railings, parking time review, upgrading pavement between Cranfield and Harefield, more drop kerbs and raised tables in the road and crucially slowing traffic more effectively before it reaches the Toads Mouth Too junction, where two tragic road deaths has made clear to the council that something further needs to be done here.

The Action Group pushed hard for any improvements or changes to be set within the context of an urban design strategy - and not just done because a bit more money has been found. We also questioned whether more consultation shouldn't be done with local people on priorities for a large 5 year PFI programme for new street lights. We took them to the old concrete lamp post stuck in the middle of the pavement in Brockley Cross which Ian (BXAG committee member) asked to be moved. Ian is blind and has a close working knowledge of this lamp post and the difficulty of navigating Brockley.

On behalf of Charlie Hedges (BXAG Trustee), Rupert King (BXAG Acting Chair), Michelle (TMToo) and myself, I would like to thank the above named plus Darren Johnson (GLA), Julie Sutch (Town Centre manager), and Ian Plowright, (Transport Policy Officer) for coming down and we look forward very much to seeing small and not so small improvements appearing over 2010/11.

28 comments:

Nylon Cube said...

There are many improvements that need to take place here. Priority must be the ridiculous roundabouts. And when oh when will the street by the station be pedestrianised???

BrocjkleyBiker said...

"we won't be getting rid of the hated 1950s double roundabout arrangement which was an experiment that was never removed."

I like that. A 50's experiment GONE HORRIBLY WRONG.

Very interesting about the difference between a 'local centre' and 'district centre' and the knock on a effects that has.

Bea said...

Sort the pavements out! That huge puddle is such a pain in the @ss. If they could do so in front of the Barge why can't they do the rest?!

I forget the amount of times I have tripped on the pavements and my son landed flat on his face (albeit because he's usually running or skipping!)

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

How about adding to the roundabout to make it a triple? Would that help?

Pete said...

Quite shocking/amazing that there is a back log of work which would cost £150m to fix with an annual budget of only £3m.

Anonymous said...

Ah well thats It till next year's walk then.

Anonymous said...

I hope they do move that stupid lamp post, I've never understood why it was plonked in the middle of the pavement like that.

Anonymous said...

so that's that then.

Ed said...

How f*cking depressing. I drove through the double roundabout at rush hour for the first time the other day and even as a driver with nearly twenty years experience it was scary. Perhaps a Youtube compilation of stranded pedestrians, near misses, queues, horn blasting etc. would heap some we deserved public shame on the council.

Anonymous said...

It's not just that the double roundabout lacks functionality - it's that the street-scape looks so bloody awful. Even when it's not busy that area looks busy, its a hideous miracle. A dirty, grey, concrete, mess that is very uneasy on the eye. I don't know if we'll ever manage to sort it out if there is such a lack of funds.

Ed said...

Public demo where we all continually cross the roads in a circle at BX halting traffic and get the press down? I am in despair.

Tamsin said...

Well, unless you are going to do what they did by Lewisham Station and Molesworth street and flatten everything around to smooth out a big circle I don't see a single roundabout working at all, let alone better.

But such major works sound hypothetical at present and in the meantime we can see if the Kender Triangle shennanigans have any knock on effect this far over.

drakefell debaser said...

Anyone been up Sprules Rd recently?

It was resurfaced, given speed humps and had a green painted cycle lane put on it about a year ago. Today it looks like it has been cluster bombed. Riddled with potholes and tarmac debris lies all over the place.

I have often wondered why such ‘rogue trader’ levels of workmanship are so abundant around here but if you are trying to shoe horn £150 million worth of work out of £3 million, then it comes as no surprise.

I think it is very poor management to be in that kind of situation in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Remind me which political party has run Lewisham for the last 20/30/40 years and failed to invest?
Time to vote and to kick them out.

Murk said...

Lets just move the concrete lamp post in between the roundabouts at Brockley Cross. Least it's out the way...

ppp said...

I feel like the council is holding this area back. I kinda feel if we had our own executive mayor, someone who could raise funds, independently manage the area like a business we'd be alright. There is so much talent here.

Barry said...

It's always interesting to see how much work has been done fitting brand spanking new speed humps everywhere in Lewisham.

The local authority has little interest in actually fixing potholes or streetscenes as this costs money and poor condition roads act as a default traffic calming measure.

Murk said...

£150 million - £3 million = 50 years*





*£147 million

Anonymous said...

I think the GLA set definitions of "district town centres" and "nieghbourhood centres" based on the amount of shopping floorspace: an area needs to have over 10, 000 m2 to qualify as the former. So New Cross will be fine because of the massive Sainsburys.

No idea how much floorspace we've got around here, but guess it would take a big supermarket or two to get anywhere near.

Anonymous said...

As usual the Deputy Mayor Councillor Heidi Alexander comes empty-handed and all she can offer is... NOTHING. Having done for Brockley she hopes to become MP for Lewisham East to do ... NOTHING. Shame on you Heidi for continuing the long-established tradition of those horrific ex-councillors Jimi Adefiranye and Terry Scott who did nothing except preside over the painful decline of this area and have the bare-faced cheek to stand again to do... NOTHING. Vote for freedom - vote ABL - Anything But Labour.

Planning Nick said...

Need to keep an eye out for any significant developments from which Section 106 funding can be extracted as part of the planning permission. If for example the timber yard on the corner was ever redeveloped their permission could be conditional on funding highway/public realm improvements.

Anonymous said...

What the immediate surrounds by the station and Barge need are:

- better paving on the side opposite the Barge.

- More attractive shop fronts. Some are okay, however the shutters on Brockley Road are ugly and should be discouraged. Grills look better if they are absolutely necessary.

- the gray railings are ugly. Either they should be removed or at least painted a better colour. Black perhaps.

- the street lights are ugly. They should be replaced with something more attractive - maybe like the ones in Greenwich High Street.

- the area by the train station should be completed and improved (planting etc).

Brockley Nick said...

Agree with pretty much all of that.

Anonymous said...

Nick - in regards to the new building development on mantle road by the station - i recall it being part of the conditions for that to go ahead that the company had to pledge some money or work into redeveloping the surrounding area? Or improved access to the station? Am I remembering this correctly? if so do you know what is being done about this?

Brockley Nick said...

Anon - you are right - I think some money will be used to make the west-side entrance to the station a bit nicer. Not sure how much more was negotiated.

Anonymous said...

Okay - thanks for the quick response.

Anonymous said...

There are some marvelous old-fashioned and attractive lamp posts decorating a car dealers on Brockley Road. Maybe the council could offer them some money to swap them for the innapropriate grey modern ones by the train station. They would make an attractive addition to Brockley Common - if this was done.

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