If you can dodge the traffic at Brockley Cross, you can dodge a ball.
Brockley Common is a living, breathing tribute to hope over despair. To the spirit and excellence of the people of Brockley and the tenacity of the Brockley Cross Action Group. Come and celebrate the day that cigarette butts gave way to blossom, next Saturday with a public party from 12pm - 6pm.
This week, one of our local papers, the News Shopper, chose to give the prize winning "star letter" award, to this bizarre homophobic rant by one of its Lewisham readers.
We hope that Brockley Central sometimes serves as a useful forum for discussion between Lewisham Council, our local Councillors and Brockley residents. Since the May elections, there has been a hole in the site in the shape of many of the area’s newly-elected Councillors, who haven’t been as quick to embrace social media as their predecessors. However, we’re delighted to say that we managed to get hold of one of our new Councillors, Vicky Foxcroft, via Twitter and she kindly agreed to an interview.
During our conversation, she didn’t want to pre-empt the public consultation about how to implement Council cuts, currently underway. She said she would do her best to represent the views of her constituents in this respect. She also admitted to being on a steep learning curve about local issues since her election.
With that in mind and on the basis that we hope this won’t have been the last opportunity we have to discuss local matters with Cllr Foxcroft, here is the interview:
Brockley Central: Local consultation notwithstanding, please can you tell us what your biggest priorities will be, based on your political views?
Cllr Foxcroft: I have always said that my goal is to help those who need it most. That’s the basis on which I campaigned. My two biggest priorities will be housing and jobs.
I’ve joined the Housing Select Committee and I’m going to be paying close attention to the Regenter PFI deal. I’m not opposed in principle to PFI deals but quality and budget controls are something I want to keep a close eye on.
I’ve also met with individual private leaseholders and listened to their concerns. I have also offered to meet with Patrick McGinley from the leaseholders association.
BC: So what can you do as a Councillor to protect jobs? Does that mean you will try to minimise job losses as a result of the Council’s spending cuts?
CF: Yes, I will. Lewisham is going to be hard hit by Government spending cuts, due to the high number of people in the area employed in the public sector.
BC: What about job protection and creation in the private sector locally?
CF: I certainly think the planning process can help here. The Talbot is a good example of a local business that could have gone forever and is now a great local business. The Council should work with local landlords and business people to help them make their premises viable and prevent business premises being lost when there is a clear demand for space.
In my day job, I work for the Unite union and a focus of mine has been extending Lewisham Council’s policy of paying its workers the London Living Wage to sub-contractors appointed by the Council.
I also support the campaign to save Deptford Job Centre.
BC: So what else are you working on right now?
CF: I think that the Local Assemblies are great and I’m working hard to encourage wider participation, particularly around applications for funding. That’s not to say that the groups getting funding aren’t doing good work, but I think it’s important that everyone knows about it as a route for getting funding for projects local to them. There are lots of little projects that would benefit from a very small amount of money.
Given the coming budget cuts, it’s also important that we use the Assemblies to find new ways for people to help each other in areas like neighbourhood action to reduce crime. An interesting example of what’s possible happened on Tanners Hill, where simple physical changes like moving bins on the street cut crime in that location.
I’m also keen to help improve the situation with some of the area’s mews. I took part in the tour organised by the Brockley Society recently and Breakspears Mews is one I’m looking in to. It’s important not to punish legitimate businesses though. I’m trying to encourage a cross-departmental approach to this issue.
BC: And what about the campaign to save local libraries, threatened with possible closure?
CF: Again, I don’t want to pre-empt any consultation, but I think treating the libraries as shared facilities for other groups and Council activities could be a way forward.
BC: What do you think about Controlled Drinking Zones, which are currently being considered in Lewisham?
CF: I think they can be a good idea but we have to be very careful over use of discretionary powers. I would want to see detailed proposals for any such scheme before giving it my support.
BC: And there has been a lot of discussion of CPZs on the site recently. We ran a poll that showed a narrow majority opposed to the idea of one around Brockley Station and Brockley Cross. Do you think Brockley ward needs any?
I would only ever support the introduction of CPZs if there was a clear demand for them from local residents. I understand there was a consultation a few years ago, which rejected the idea and I don’t get the impression that the majority of people support them now.
BC: Some readers have suggested that the Labour Councillors in the area were swept in to power by the turn-out for the General Election and that they had not expected to get elected…
I’d like to put on record my respect and appreciation for my predecessors in Brockley ward. I think they did a good job. But I’m a long-time resident of the area, having also lived in New Cross and Crofton Park in the past and I worked really hard to get elected. I can assure constituents that I intend to serve a full term!
BC: And with Labour so dominant in Lewisham politics now, do you think there is a risk of complacency?
I will fight for the best interests of Brockley Ward. Being part of the Labour Party means that I am in a good position to encourage constructive engagement at Council level and co-operation between different wards.
BC: What’s the best thing about living in Brockley?
CF: I know it sounds like an obvious answer, but the sense of community. I’m from the north and community is really important to me. You feel that in Brockley.
BC: And what about the worst thing?
CF: [Pause] I’ll have to have a think about that one. Can I come back to you…
The roadworks clogging up Brockley Cross at the moment will at least leave the street outside the Tea Factory with lovely paving, instead of lumpy concrete, bringing the unlikely prospect of Brockley Cross cafe culture one small step closer, so long as drivers can be persuaded not to carry on parking on it.
Crofton Park commuters will face disruption to their journeys from November until January 2011, as Blackfriars Station will close to allow Thameslink construction work to take place.
Following a few questions from Brockley Central readers about the status of the Bridge House development on Mantle Road, next to Brockley Station, we've spoken with the developers, L&Q about progress on the mixed-use residential and commercial block.
286 Lewisham High Street,
30th August · 19:00 - 22:00
We've been meaning to write about the TWO8SIX club in Lewisham for some time, since it is one of the few gay venues in the area.
Indulgence is not another chance to hear the collected works of Lady Gaga and Cheryl Cole while sinking reasonably-priced cocktails. It's an art exhibtition featuring five local artists. The organisers say:
A group exhibition featuring the work of five emerging artists that explores the idea of indulgence within contemporary British Culture.
Each artist asks the audience to reconsider what it is to indulge. What does it mean to indulge in luxury? To immerse yourself in beauty, in an object, emotion or fantasy?
Stuff of more substance coming up soon, we promise, but in the mean time, The Evening Standard has been writing about the impact of house prices that the East London Line has had along areas on its route since 2008.
Exclusive research for the Evening Standard today showed the value of properties in areas such as Haggerston, Shadwell, Wapping and New Cross have risen sharply over the past two years.
More details in the original article, but of specific stops of BC interest, they say:
Price: £294,157 (+7.8%)
Best roads: Five minutes' walk from the station, Wickham Road is rated one of the area's best.
Why live there: The area is not short of green spaces with Blythe Hill, Brockley and Hilly Fields.
Who lives there: actor David Haig and musician Nick Nicely.
Price: £286,036 (+22.7%).
Best roads: Billington Road and Pepys Road for Victorian houses.
Why live there: Excellent if you are a Millwall fan. Good pubs include the Amersham Arms. “Outstanding” Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College.
Who lives there: Musician Steve Harley grew up here.
Honor Oak does not get a mention.
The Forest Hill Society have come up with an ingenious way to take advantage of some major roadworks that have made the south circular in Forest Hill eerily quiet this past week.
They've blogged this street party invite, and we felt we should pass it on:
Forest Hill Promenade
You may have probably noticed that the London Road stretch of the south circular has been closed since the weekend after drains collapsed?! It's caused big problems for traffic and for the businesses along there.
We could moan.
We could fret.
OR we could organise a PARTY!
London Road is quiet and (virtually) car free for perhaps the only time we'll ever get to experience it. So join us at 1pm, this Sunday 22nd August for a coffee and stroll along the NEW Forest Hill Promenade.
We'll keep it very informal. Just turn up, grab a coffee or lunch from the Lemon Grove or the Teapot or Wetherspoons (or even the new St. David's cafe just up from The Hob - Brockley Jon), and meander. Perhaps you'll bring a deckchair, perhaps you'll show off your breakdancing skills, perhaps you'll turn up in fancy dress, perhaps a gentle game of boules will arise spontaneously. Who knows?
So, transform a major inconvenience into a social event and join us on Sunday.
One Step Ahead
189 Lewisham Way
020 8694 2541
After a few disastrous experiences at the now-defunct Brockley Cross dry cleaners, we discovered One Step Ahead, who have always been friendly, efficient and actually give you your clothes back clean. We don't have any more to offer than that by way of a review, but please feel free to share other local dry cleaner recommendations.
- bids where planning applications are required
- bids where major works are required
Brockley isn't only the birthplace of a spinning-wheel-legged England winger, a superflous-eyepatch-wearing MOR singer and a racist otter-botherer. We have also given the world David Jones, the 20th century poet and painter, whose work is celebrated here by the New Statesman. It notes:
The DCMS (day job client) has today announced that Lewisham is among the group of local authorities taking part in the government's "Future Library Programme". The statement says:
The programme promises to build momentum on the ideas that have been generated and spread learning between library authorities to achieve cost savings, new partnerships and governance models, and to take advantage of digital opportunities. Central to the programme is the vision for library services to have greater connection with other local services and an ambition for services to be designed around the needs of the public, rather than based on organisational boundaries.
The Museums Libraries and Archive Council (MLA) and the LGA Group (Local Government Association Group) will begin work immediately with packages of support and advice for each of the projects. As work gets underway with the initial ten projects, planning for the second phase of the Programme will press ahead to ensure the successes and experiences of each project can be collected and shared with library authorities across England so that the results of the programme can benefit people throughout the country.
Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey said:
“A strong library service, based around the needs of local people, can play a key role in our ambitions to build the Big Society by providing safe and inclusive spaces for people to read, learn and access a range of community services...
Closer Working in South East London (Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark)
The Future Libraries Programme is an exciting opportunity to deliver a step change across library services in South East London. Through it, Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark, will look at options and opportunities for improving quality and reducing costs by working more closely together.
These library authorities - members of the South East Libraries Performance Improvement Group (SELPIG) - will build on individual strengths and distinctive features, to retain and improve best practice models and introduce new solutions.
We're not entirely sure at this stage what any of this actually means, although it sounds as though Lewisham's libraries could be sustained by broadening the range of community services provided - an approach we've been arguing for since the consultation on their future was first announced. It could be good news for people campaiging to save our libraries from closure since those leading the pilot are unlikely to want a 'Future Library Programme' to result in a future without libraries.
It appears the church that set up shop in St Cyprien's Church on Brockley Road was only a short-term tennant. The owners have made an application to completely redevelop the building as a restaurant, office and residential space.
Tonight is the first night of the London Bubble's open-air production of The Sirens of Titan in Hilly Fields. If you've had a chance to go, please post your reviews here.
The South London Press reports that plans to demolish and rebuild Sydenham School could be scuppered by English Heritage, which is considering giving the 1950s building Grade-II listed status.
Heritage concerns have already prevented the rebuilding of Lewisham Bridge school and delayed the planned development of Gordonbrock and the shortage of local school places is threatening to become an acute problem.
With thanks to Patrick for the story.
On August 12th, Brockley Central readers and the Brockley Flickr community are asked to take part in a mass-observation exercise - taking pictures of the local area and uploading them to the Mass Observation of Communities Online (MOCO) website to create a snapshot of life in Brockley in 2010.
Good news everyone!
We’ve found another legitimate excuse to plug our lovely new shop Homemade London, which offers craft workshops and parties in a place called Portman Village, near Marble Arch tube.
This excuse comes in form of Helen, a Brockley-based designer and sign painter, who did an amazing job on our shop-front, as you can see here. Even the blokes who run the hardware shop next door had to grudgingly concede that she’d done a brilliant job, despite their initial skepticism that a woman could paint a shop.
You’ll already be familiar with her work from the sign she painted for Browns of Brockley. She is also working on a proper window display for us, so she is as versatile as she is talented. If you have any similar requirements, you can email her here.
We’re also pleased to say that, despite having to abandon initial plans to locate in Brockley, we have nonetheless snuck subliminal advertising for South East London into our courses, in the shape of this fabric, which is actually Sydenham viewed from above:
Homemade London is now taking bookings – please click here
Please use this thread to post your services, recommendations and requirements here. Please note, there is also a thread about local nurseries here. Brockley Central does not endorse any of the providers listed here.
It turns out that the following may have contributed to that result:
- It’s a mobile unit that drives through the area – which means that they’re probably assuming the double-parked cars are actually stuck in traffic
- The contractor is not directly financially incentivised to issue tickets – the contract is based on performance indicators. So complaining to the Council is probably the best way to incentivise them, because regular complaints could harm their chances of having their contract renewed (it’s up for renewal next year)
- Based on the photo evidence we saw, their focus to-date has been the stretch of road right outside the Tea Factory, not the bits where the problems are
So the Council Officer asked the contractor to look again at Brockley Cross, this time focusing on the area next to the shops. This morning, they reported back that “it appears that the location needs to have an increased enforcement presence... We will be increasing the MPU patrols in the area in addition to the Mopeds that patrol and will conduct further spot checks on the site in the next few weeks to see if things have improved.”
Thanks to Lewisham Council for taking the matter seriously - we look forward to seeing the results in the coming weeks.
The team behind the Surrey Canal regeneration project (30 acres of Lewisham, surrounding The New Den) have released new images and a little more information about the project, as part of their public consultation.
The site now includes some implausible-looking renderings, which have been given the I Am Legend treatment, with lush vegetation sprouting from every pore of every building. The architecture is pretty lurid too, but these will only be concept designs at this stage.
If all proceeds according to plan, work should begin in 2012 and be completed over the next 10 years.
The Hill Station, Telegraph Hill's new cafe and community space, opens today.
This weekend, a birthday party invitation for our son took us to Mudchute Farm on the Isle of Dogs.
- The Social Network
We are big believers in the serendipitous power of networks and we won't rest until the people of Brockley are the Na'vi.
Today, BC passed another milestone, securing its 1,000th Twitter follower, spammers not included. We're also to be found on Linked-in for local businesses. Please come and join us on both.
So what now? Facebook? Foursquare? Any other platforms we simply must colonise? Please let us know what you think.
Posted by Nick Barron on 7.8.10
A beautiful wedding in Deptford market, captured by Deptford Visions.
Two areas of Lewisham have made a list of the top 20 parts of the country where homeowners are most likely to claim for theft on their home insurance. Blackheath and Forest Hill / Honor Oak were the local postcodes that made a list dominated by London locations.
The data comes from Moneysupermarket.com's database of 1.1m enquiries in 2009.
With thanks to Monkeyboy for the story.
Restaurants, cafes and takeaways
188 Brockley Road - 020 8469 0043
Smiles Thai Cafe
106 Foxberry Road - 020 8469 0953
10 Coulgate Street
4 Coulgate Street - 020 8691 0833
Browns of Brockley
5 Coulgate Street - 020 8692 0722
68 Brockley Rise - 020 8690 3761
11 Coulgate Street - 020 8692 4136
119 Brockley Rise - 020 8291 2400
The Brockley Mess cafe and CueB gallery
325 Brockley Road - 07772 232 862
48 Ladywell Road - 07590 690 825
81 Ladywell Road - 020 8690 1047
1 Harefield Road - 020 8469 2004
Bird of Paradise
258 Brockley Road
330-332 Brockley Road - 020 8692 3320
5 Harefield Road - 020 8692 4756
The Royal Albert
460 New Cross Road - 020 8692 3737
2 Tyrwhitt Road - 020 8692 2665
The Wickham Arms
69 Upper Brockley Road - 020 8692 8686
Mr Lawrence bar and wine merchant
391 Brockley Road - 020 8692 1550
The Ladywell Tavern
80 Ladywell Road - 020 8314 2801
The Brockley Jack
410 Brockley Road - 020 8699 3966
The Brockley Barge
184 Brockley Road - 020 8694 7690
New Cross House
316 New Cross Road
New Cross Inn
323 New Cross Road
Little Nan's Bar
46 Deptford Broadway
72 Honor Oak Park
12 Coulgate Street - 020 8691 0857
195 Brockley Road - 020 8692 9347
169 Brockley Road - 020 8692 2881
The Broca Food Market
209-211 Mantle Road - 020 7358 8343
Geddes Hair and Beauty
42 Ladywell Road - 020 8690 0509
297-299 Brockley Road - 020 8691 8686
Peter James Family Butchers
1 Ewhurst Road - 020 8690 3320
Slater & King
46 Ladywell Road
Pistachios Hilly Fields
Hilly Fields, near the tennis courts
Misty Moon Gallery
80 Ladywell Road
The Rivoli Ballroom
350 Brockley Road - 020 8692 5130
The Hill Station
Kitto Road - 020 7639 0214
Lewisham Art House
140 Lewisham Way - 020 8244 3168
The Brockley Jack Theatre and Film Club
410 Brockley Road - 0844 847 2454
Crofton Park Library
375 Brockley Road - 020 8314 8726
The Sunflower Centre
Montague Avenue - 020 8694 2714
Posted by Nick Barron on 5.8.10
In addition to letting us know about work on the Crown & Sceptre, Rob from the Brockley Society has also provided an update on La Lanterna, where work on the restaurant refurbishment has stalled. He reports:
I met up with the owner a couple of months ago. He showed be around the building. The hotel element was nearly complete – in so far as the walls were plastered, and ready for painting. The quality of the work looked fairly good.
He told me that they had came across some serious structural problems, which needed rectifying. I discussed the outside appearance of the shop front with him, and his foreman. He agreed that he would remove the faux—ballustrading (which he has done), and the odd pediment relief.
His foreman agreed that they can reuse elements of the triangular shape to rebuild it as a rectangular sign. As far as I am aware, Lewisham’s Planning and Enforcement have not been involved with this issue.
So, the most contentious features of the new restaurant have been dealt with, but no news yet on the new completion date. We hope to bring you more in due course.