BXAG calls for more trains, family homes, studios, shops and green spaces

The Brockley Cross Action Group (BXAG) has responded to Lewisham Council's core strategy consultation, arguing that it demonstrates a need to reinstate the Upper Level train station at Brockley Station, connecting Brockley directly with Lewisham and Victoria:

The Lewisham Borough Wide Transport Study (2010) shows that for Brockley to New Cross Gate the expected increase in passenger numbers is 24.6% by 2026 with a total of 19,620 travelling in the AM Peak. Morning volumes and increases further down the slow up-line (Honour Oak and Forest Hill to Brockley stretch) are much bigger. Table 7.6 shows crush capacity compared with 2006 level (at 159%) back up to 118% by 2016 and 125% by 2026. However this is based on 18 trains per hour in the AM peak period. We understand this isn’t correct and the actual planned figure is 14 trains per hour. This is 22% less capacity at morning peak than stated in the evidence – even though the study rather depressingly concludes:

(In Lewisham), “Brockley station will continue to have the highest volume over capacity proportion, whilst services from New Cross and New Cross Gate towards London Bridge will remain overcrowded in 2026.”


There remains a significant demand within Brockley and beyond for a direct train link to Victoria.

They have also made a range of other recommendations with which Brockley Central heartily agrees. These include:

- Tighter restrictions on family homes being converted in to flats, to allow for more young families to remain in the area:

The evidence base shows that 41.5% of all market households (in Lewisham) are families (one or more child) and 30% are unsuitably housed and most of these are concentrated in north of borough. In addition 36% of people in Lewisham want to move compared with 27% in the rest of south east London and nearly a half of these want to move because they want/need more space.

Given that there are so few sites where 10 or more homes can be built, we feel both the evidence base and the Core Strategy itself is not ‘Sound’ in this respect and we would like to see stronger policies to address this within district and local hubs which are under particular pressure from market trends like this including Brockley Cross.

- More emphasis on the development of shopping streets like Lewisham Way and Brockley Road, to anticipate lower reliance on car-trips to supermarkets and a greater demand for local highstreet facitilities. They argue that Lewisham Council's view of the shops and services these high-streets need is too narrow. The Council's emphasis on shops for 'everday use' dooms us to more newsagents and takeaways:

We would like to see the evidence base for essential community infrastructure applied more dynamically to the hubs, for example identifying the importance of having a community centre, doctors surgery, post office and fitness suite as well as, “an adequate range of shops to meet everyday needs”... and would argue here that retail provision at local hubs should be allowed to develop more flexibly than policy 2D suggests to allow, e.g. clothing, consumer electronics, banking and jewellery to flourish in such locations if there is market interest.

We would also like to see more support for traders and more links with strategies such as the Shop Front Improvement Pot which could be linked to Brockley station approach improvements as suggested in the current Town Centre Management strategy.

- The development of Brockley's Mews as creative industry hubs, using them to provide more studio space, which is hard to find in the area:

Given the apparent density of artists and artisans living in Brockley Cross and the wider Brockley, we would like to see the emergence of a mews development framework which could provide the focus for an exciting new ‘cultural clusters’ in these areas of the borough.

- The conversion of more small areas of unused land in to green spaces, to address the shortage of green space in the area:

We note that Brockley Cross continues to be in an area of Local Park Deficiency. The Action Group, with support from the Council has worked hard to transform Network Rail wasteland into accessible public open space (Brockley Common). There is a similar, large empty (for several decades) Network Rail site on the corner of Endwell Road and Mantle Road which might also help to meet this policy, but which isn’t identified in the open space study.

The reinstatement of the Upper Level link is one of the BXAG's long-standing aims.

38 comments:

quick brown fox said...

It would be fantastic to reopen the high level station. Would it be worth having a petition?

I'm not overly optimistic, as I understand this has been on the agenda for a long time, but good for BXAG for pursuing this, and looking for a better transport deal for the people of Brockley.

Anonymous said...

great idea but just don't see this ever happening - good luck to BXAG for trying though.

Anonymous said...

Has been mentioned before - the high level station is 4 concrete walls full of broken glass and dogshit. People think it would somehow be like reopening the Eurostar platforms at Waterloo.

More mung madness from the local green militia.

Ed said...

I can see the high level platform from my flat in the TeaFactory and what little is there is in a right state. Tiny platforms and can't imagine it could handle modern volumes/H&S etc. Love the old entrance next to the barbershops though, that would look great reinstated.

The Cat Man said...

Reopening the station is a really good idea worth pursuing, it would make trips to Victoria, 10 mins?

Matt-Z said...

Did anyone ever conduct a feasibility study into this idea? I'd be interested to read it.

Reinstating the high level station would be no mean feat. Surrey Canal Road is projected to cost £10 million; I would guess this would at least be a similar cost. Platforms would need to take 8-car trains at a minimum, probably 10-car. There would need to be step-free access from street to platform (lifts), and easy interchange with the existing platforms. A larger ticket office would be required. If the platforms extended east then residents of Geoffrey and Cranfield Roads would probably have to lose some of their gardens, and the old station house on Brockley Cross would need to go. Possibly the parade of shops including Duke’s and the barbers would also go for a new entrance building. If the platforms went west then they'd need to use land which is currently earmarked for a big development. Residents of the Tea Factory and the new flats on Mantle Road may well object to having a platform right outside their window.

Whilst a great idea for Brockley, I wonder if it's too late given the developments around the railway line in recent years and those planned to come to fruition soon?

Pete said...

Whilst in theory keeping houses as houses might sound like it would keep young families in the area it doesn't get around the fact that very few families (young or old) can ever hope to afford a whole house in this area. We own a three bed flat (which is half of a house in Ladywell) - there is no way I can upgrade to a whole house.

Lou Baker said...

The high level station at Brockley won't ever be reopened in its own right. The cost/benefit is too small.

However you'll have seen here rumblings about a Bakerloo line extension - and that's how we could get the station open again.

Extending the Bakerloo Line sounds hideously expensive and complex. Actually for a large scale transport project it
would be quite cheap and would solve a myriad of transport problems in south London.

If you want Brockley upper level reopened our best hope is to campaign for the Bakerloo.

So says Lou Baker.

Brockley Nick said...

Well well Lou, another thing we agree on! Keep this up and you'll have to be my running mate in the Mayoral elections...

I've never been convinced about the upper link, but the Bakerloo line could come via Brockley and Lewisham...

In the short term, more capacity can be added by longer trains and the restoration of the current frequency levels for overland trains.

However, the Victoria link is the least interesting thing in the response, I think.

The most interesting idea is the use of the mews - such a terribly underexploited resource at present.

Anonymous said...

Love the idea of a bakerloo extension going through the upper level and a nice improved station to match - oh well we can but dream!

The other ideas all sound good though and hopefully achievable

Kevin said...

Don't remember Brockley even being one of the 3/4 options that might be considered re. an extension to the Bakerloo.

Seem to recall the closest stations that it was rumoured it might go to were Honor Oak Park and/or Catford Bridge (both of which, for those of us in Ladywell Fields/Crofton Park bit of SE4, are nearer than Brcokley Station)

Anonymous said...

Imagine... High-level station opens, Bakerloo extended through it, Thameslink stops at the "low-level". Brockley would have direct services to Paddington, Marylebone, St Pancras/King's Cross, London Bridge, Victoria. Best connected station in London, hands down, and a fantastic interchange.

It would be so good, I just can't see it happening.

Anonymous said...

"Brockley" already does have direct services to many of those places.

London Bridge: Brockley, Ladywell
Victoria: Brockley
Kings Cross: Crofton Park

I'm all for increasing links but honestly, I think many in Brockley don't already know they're born, as it were. So much connectivity for want of a short walk, bus or car trip.

Brockley Nick said...

Anon - agreed. The long-term issue is that in ten years' time, Lewisham's own forecasts are for a return to crushing, as more and more people living in Brockley want to commute to central London. Capacity needs to be added.

The Bakerloo idea is more about the wider challenge of improving connectivity in SE London as a whole, but would benefit Brockley, even if it goes via Honor Oak or New Cross Gate (the most likely option).

Tamsin said...

And there used to be - and could be again - Charing Cross which, with one change, would give you Paddington. Although for that from the Telegraph Hill side for convenience of not changing you've got the 436 and 36 buses.

Kings Cross Thameslink from the northern end of things, it's Nunhead.

Anonymous said...

Charing Cross?

Ladywell.

Headhunter said...

As welcome as a reopening of the high level station would be, I'm not holding my breath. As for the Brockley Mews, why is everyone always going on about developing them in some form or other? If it's not some developer wanting squeeze little Barratt style homes on them it's something like these "artistic hubs".

The reason I and many others I'm sure, moved to the Brockley CA is because of the lengthy green gardens. Just leave them as they are, why does everyone want to "develop" the mews? There's plenty of bownfield and derelict commercial land cross Lewisham Borough, use that up 1st before encouraging people to build on their gardens.

Brockley Nick said...

@HH - no one's proposing to build on anyone's gardens.

David said...

It would make more sense for them to campaign for more Victoria services from Crofton Park & Nunhead - & to press for clarity on how many more trains (assuming any) will run through those stations once the Thameslink work is finished.

bn said...

The BXAG are the Brockley Cross Action Group so they may get told where to get off if they campaigned for changes in services in other areas.

Headhunter said...

Nick - "The development of Brockley's Mews as creative industry hubs, using them to provide more studio space". Where do you think this new studio space is going to go if not at the end of people's gardens in the mews? I'm confused...

I just don't see why the mews need to be developed at all. It seems such a city dweller attitude to have to "develop" everything. Why can't they be just left to nature? You don't get people out in rural Kent saying - "oh look, a patch of green along a lane, quick let's "develop" it"!

Brockley Nick said...

@HH - building in the mews doesn't require building on a single inch of anyone's gardens. If you ever bother to walk down one of them, you might notice that there is already considerable development down many of them, including garages, workshops and even houses. Far from being rural idylls, they are for the most part burnt-out bomb sites that are completely wasted resources under all our noses. If you were ever to peer over your back garden wall you'd probably discover dumped rubbish or piles of rubble.

Intead of this, BXAG are smratly proposing to return the mews to good order and solving the problem of a shortage of work space for artists. By doing so, we would create local employment, which is necessary to support a healthy eco-system of high-street businesses, which we all say we want.

This space would also be single-storey which would address the chief objection to building on the mews, which is that back gardens could be overlooked.

Now, it would be wonderful if someone were to draw up a plan for the mews which said one of them could be a row of artists' studios and one could be "greened", creating a strip of parkland through the middle of Brockley, but that would be an extremely big challenge and would require some "can-do" spirit, rather than the knee-jerk negativity that you just offered.

Headhunter said...

Nick - What a load of rubbish! I've walked down just about all the mews at some point, yes some of them need a bit of TLC but what largely makes them untidy is burned out, abandoned buildings and garages not the greenery and trees wich in my view should be left. You assume that I haven't even bothered to walk round my own neighbourhood! Huge assumption.

Where on earth are these "bomb sites" you speak of? In fact have you ever walked down any of them (other than the mews between Manor and UBR)? How on earth do you propose these "studios" are built if not in people's back gardens?! Do you propose that they are actually built on the mews tracks themselves blocking the way through?

How do you differentiate between a "studio" and a small repair garage of some kind which belts out noise. In fact even a "studio" for metal or woodwork artist would involve lathes and noisy cutting machinery.

Once these are built do you really thing the council or the police would actualy follow up and make sure they are used for what they were intended? There are already noise issues along some of the mews where "studios" or workshops have been constructed.

You seem to have a rose tinterd view of these "studios", where perhaps elderly artists might set up easels and while away afternoons withoil paints before going to bed early. How does "studio" differentiate essentially from "light commercial/industrial". How would the authorities define this an make sure that these properties, once built were not used for other purposes? How would they stop someone with a noisy lathe operating into late into the evening?

Whether you view my views as "knee jerk" or not, I view yours and BXAG views as unworkable and extremely undesirable and would push as hard as possible against them if they become reality near me.

Headhunter said...

Nick - What a load of rubbish! I've walked down just about all the mews at some point, yes some of them need a bit of TLC but what largely makes them untidy is burned out, abandoned buildings and garages not the greenery and trees wich in my view should be left. You assume that I haven't even bothered to walk round my own neighbourhood! Huge assumption.

Where on earth are these "bomb sites" you speak of? In fact have you ever walked down any of them (other than the mews between Manor and UBR)? How on earth do you propose these "studios" are built if not in people's back gardens?! Do you propose that they are actually built on the mews tracks themselves blocking the way through?

How do you differentiate between a "studio" and a small repair garage of some kind which belts out noise. In fact even a "studio" for metal or woodwork artist would involve lathes and noisy cutting machinery.

Once these are built do you really thing the council or the police would actualy follow up and make sure they are used for what they were intended? There are already noise issues along some of the mews where "studios" or workshops have been constructed.

You seem to have a rose tinterd view of these "studios", where perhaps elderly artists might set up easels and while away afternoons withoil paints before going to bed early. How does "studio" differentiate essentially from "light commercial/industrial". How would the authorities define this an make sure that these properties, once built were not used for other purposes? How would they stop someone with a noisy lathe operating into late into the evening?

Whether you view my views as "knee jerk" or not, I view yours and BXAG views as unworkable and extremely undesirable and would push as hard as possible against them if they become reality near me.

Anonymous said...

Businesses can be charged more council tax therefore increasing revenue and putting less pressure on hardworking sons of toil such as yourself.

On one hand people complain that Brockley is in danger of becoming a dormitory town for the city, on the other they object to local businesses setting up. The area will never be a hub for large manufacturing, these small enterprises are just the kind of thing that could work. As for the noise, you police that just as you would any other new use.

I've yet to here any positive suggestions from you.

bn said...

As someone who has their part of their sold off and redeveloped, not into studios but homes, its not fun. The proximity between properties makes competing needs for privacy and light difficult to reconcile.

As long as this policy- of mews development is thought through, it can be workable but it is not without compromise for both sides.

patrick1971 said...

"30% are unsuitably housed and most of these are concentrated in north of borough"

This sort of stat always makes me laugh. These will be the sort of people who I saw profiled in the South London Press recently. A couple who had a two bedroom council flat in Borough (central London!) had then gone on to have FIVE children, and were complaning that they were overcrowded! No one forced them to have that many kids, and they were using this "overcrowded" clause as leeway to get a bigger flat when they were already living very cheaply somewhere where a lot of people would love to live.

Re reopening Brockley High Level, it'd be a nice idea but unlikely to happen due to all the constraints already mentioned. More services from Crofton Park are the solution to this one (and I'm not just saying that because I live near CP station!).

Anonymous said...

Crofton Park is in zone 3, so you can understand why there's a preference to open up Brockley High Level, which all things being equal would be zone 2.

Brockley Nick said...

@HH - to answer your specific questions:

- There are a number of sites which could be built on or converted without building over anyone's gardens or over the pathways.

- You can prevent them being converted to other uses through a combination of giving the right kind of planning permission, only giving permission to build buildings that are unsuitable for things like light industry (eg: too small) but the best safeguard of all would be for the Council to develop them and act as the landlord - or how about the community getting together to develop the sites themselves, like the Coin Street development on hte Southbank.

However, it doesn't sound like you're interested in having your questions answered, since you have already declared your fierce opposition to any plans, even before any have been developed or put forward. The very definition of a knee-jerk response, if you don't mind me saying.

Headhunter said...

Nick - Sorry if I came across too strong. I've got a bad back at the moment and it's making me grumpy. However you definition of my views as "knee jerk" came across as slightly aggressive and just make me even surer that you've barely thought through development of the mews at all. Your responses show this.

Where are these sites you suggest that would not involve building on gardens? Certainly along most of the mews I have walked along, gardens butt right up against the mews itself. You also have failed to point out where these "bomb sites" are. I reiterate, the only eyesores along the mews are derelict buildings and garages. Why should the mews need more buildings which may potentially become derelict and burnt out in the future?

There have already been discussions on this site about illegally operated business along Breakspears Mews for example and a long running battle which the council and authorities seem completely powerless to sort out. The council and police could not even be relied on to prevent the daily bonfires taking place along Ashby Mews which was reported here.

Planning permission can only safeguard so far. The council has little interest in enforcing CA regs as it is, without the added pressure of having to rule whether a "studio" is being used as a "studio" or for some other means. How is a "studio" defined in planning permission law?

As for the council acting as landlord, the council barely has control of noisy and antisocial neighbours in council flats judging by some of the comments I've seen on here over the years. I just don't see the point in adding responsibility to the council's workload when they barely seem able to police the CA and antisocial behaviour as it is.

You have also failed to respond to my point regarding metal and woodwork artists with noisy machinery. Are the council supposed to police a strict "oils and patels" only policy? Some art by the very nature of its materials involves tremendous noise and machinery. This was my point about defining the line between "light industrial" and studio. I see potential conflict.

As one of the previous posters points out, whether mews land is sold off for residential development or "studios", compromise has to be forced through on both sides. Why do both artists and residents have to accept this compromise when there is derelict land across SE London, away from residential units, that would serve perfectly well. The mews really are not that spacious.

I love your postive outlook but you need to get a grip on reality. This is south east London, not an artists enclave in some picturesque stretch of French countryside near Giverny.

Headhunter said...

"oils and pastels" not "oils and patels"....

Brockley Nick said...

@HH - no, of course I haven't thought this plan through fully, it is not my plan. Nor did the BXAG say that they had all the answers at this stage, they urged the Council to consider the option for their long-term planning.

I didn't give you the GPS co-ordinates of the possible sites. Nor am I about to, go and have another walk down Brockley's many mews and you'll soon spot a few possible sites. As for your hypoethetical midnight lathers, soundproofing in the construction could do much to sort that menace out.

Anwyay, keep an eye out for the next news article as may be about to suffer from cognitive dissonance.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that Lewisham are pushing for the northern route for any Bakerloo extension via Burgess Park, Old Kent Road, New Cross, Lewisham and Ladywell rather than the southern route via Burgess Park, Peckham Rye Rail, Peckham Rye Common and Honor Oak to Catford Bridge.

I think they are pushing for even better transport links to Lewisham in order to get more employment opportunities there.

David said...

Crofton Park is Zone 3 - but Nunhead is Zone 2 - no reason there can't be more trains from both stations with an enhanced Thameslink service.

Bakerloo Line tube to Ladywell would be great. An intersection with the ELL not too far north would be good. I suspect the crap state of Brockley station might also be a factor in Lewisham council's plans - it wouldn't have the capacity to handle a tube line, the ELL & whatever trains service there might still be without a major overhaul.

Monkeyboy said...

well done to lewisham for promoting it but it's WAY bigger than them. Would cost oodles of cash and take years or wrangling to get the land and disrupt the locals on the route - would it be entirely underground?

No harm in keeping it on the radar, stranger things have happened, but bear in mind that billions more than the origional money allocated to the tube over the next 30 years has to be found to merly implement the improvements we need to stand still if the expansion of london is as expected and the exisisting infastructure finally expires (can't be srsed to punctuate that, add your own commas 'n' stuff)

I'm a cynical old soul, prove me wrong TfL/DfT/LUL et al....

Anonymous said...

So basically BXAG should campaign for services for anywhere except Brockley Cross.

David said...

As others have pointed out the upper level station at Brockley doesn't have the capacity. If the BXAG want to make reopening those platforms a long term aim, fine - but it's not going to happen anytime soon. So, if they're wanting to do something to improve local train links, they'd be better off lobbying for extra trains at Nunhead/Crofton Park.

Anonymous said...

The BXAG are savvy & if they believe that this is a long term goal worth pursuing, I'm with them.I want the high level station open, some things are worth working for.

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