Brockley: A True Underdog Story

If you can dodge the traffic at Brockley Cross, you can dodge a ball.


Dodgeball is a sport of violence, exclusion, and degradation. Which means that Brockley should be to the sport what Kenya is to long-distance running. To capitalise on our people's natural advantage, The 'Awful Dodgers' were born.

The Dodgers are a Brockley based team who have just joined the Dodgeball UK Autumn/Winter League and will be playing fixtures on Thursday nights from the 16th September at T47, London Bridge.

Baller Steve writes:

There doesn't seem to be much sports action appearing on your blog so why not start by featuring a sport that no one realised actually knows the rules of of knew actuall existed?

In our inaugural season we currently recruiting for a couple of more players who might have seen the film and fancy giving Dodgeball a go.

In return I'd be happy to send you some match reports if Brockley Central fancies apdoting us.
This time next year we'll be playing at the Las Vegas Open, Rodney.

Our motto is currently: Adepto vestri genua sursum, dodge in vicis - (Get your knees up, Dodge in time). Although equally....if we start to struggle for players it could be: "Can vos lascivio in Thursday?" - Can you play on Thurday?

For more details those interested can email the_awful_dodgers@hotmail.co.uk

We'll be following the team's progress, hopefully all the way to Vegas. Are we sure that that amount of coverage is completely necessary? Is it necessary for Brockley Central to drink our own urine? No, but we do it anyway because it's sterile and we like the taste.

Brockley Common Party, Saturday 4th September


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.

Cllr Mike Harris on the News Shopper homophobia prize

I'm 39 and I still love rap music. But I'm tired of defending it. In the old days it was easy. You could break it down intellectually why Grand Master Flash was art... and I love all the rappers today, but it's hard to defend "I've got hoes in different area codes". It's hard to defend "move, bitch, get out the way!" It's hard to break it down intellectually … "Well, as you can see, there's a bitch in his way, that he needs to move. Thus the term, "move, bitch, get out the way". You need to open your eyes so you can see the bitches in your way!"

The trouble with ideology is that it allows people to discuss any issue at length, without ever actually dealing with the substance of the matter in question.

So, the News Shopper's decision to give star status to a poorly-written homophobic rant has been discussed on Twitter as though it was a life or death struggle between freedom and tolerance rather than a more mundane question of whether the paper's decision to give a bigot a lollipop marks a regrettable new low in local media culture. Not so much freedom of expression, but clarity of communication and responsiveness to readers - two things which ought to matter to a local newspaper.

We criticised Lewisham Councillor Mike Harris' defence of the News Shopper here. He was a pretty good sport about it but asked for a right of reply, to clarify his position, and he has provided a statement, below. In a late-night email exchange that followed, he did concede that the star status "may have been confusing for readers" - suggesting that the letter was being rewarded for the quality of its argument, rather than its ability to provoke debate (the paper's explanation).

It's on this little bit of middle ground in the argument that Brockley Central plants its flag. News Shopper can print whatever rubbish it likes so long as it operates within the law, but if it doesn't want its readers and advertisers to think it supports such views (and it claims it doesn't) then it messed up and they should have provided a simple apology instead of obfuscating. Instead, to quote journalist Ben Goldacre, they acted like "a dick about it on Twitter".

Anyway, without further ado, here is Cllr Harris' statement:

The most worrying element of this debate is the calls for ‘responsible’ journalism. Many have said the News Shopper ought to have exercised restraint and not published the homophobic letter from Mrs Fitzsimon. It’s an idea I find offensive. I do not think newspapers should be asked to police their content on the basis of criteria, that are nothing to do with the legality of the statement, such as ‘morality’, equality or the pursuit of a certain value system. In Belarus, a country I’m visiting next week, theatre companies are banned for even putting on plays about homosexuality. The police ask, why can’t people use their right to artistic expression responsibly? But free speech is never responsible.

In a theoretical example, say thirty years ago the News Shopper published a letter by a gay couple who wanted to adopt children – but due to the law at that time – couldn’t adopt, and again, the News Shopper awarded it the ‘Star Letter’ prize. I imagine we’d see as strong as response, but by homophobes. Should the newspaper have its editorial line dictated to by collective disgust? No: sometimes it is healthy for newspapers to explore issues that the majority find uncomfortable.

By awarding it the ‘Star Letter’ the News Shopper highlighted the appalling bigotry still alive today in our communities. Whereas homophobia is deeply uncouth in the liberal-biased online world, in the real world it’s as real as ever. Last weekend I witnessed four young people shout a torrent of vile homophobia at a gay couple kissing on the top deck of a night bus: the young people got off the bus in my ward.

Homophobia exists – the News Shopper decided to throw the disinfectant of sunlight on the bigotry of a particular letter-writer. I’m sure people across Lewisham and Greenwich aren’t sat in their living rooms agreeing with Mrs Fitzsimon, but it has inspired a debate about homophobia.

Blogger Daryl Chamberlain wrote that the News Shopper also displays: “a blind eye turned to offensive comments placed at the foot of news stories”

I’m worried by this intolerance of intolerance: free speech isn’t free if we can’t tolerate opinions that offend our own. That applies to religious people who are ‘offended’ by homosexuality, or liberals offended by the misuse of religion to justify homophobia.

As Dr. Evan Harris said:

The test of adherence to rights is willingness to accord them to those you disagree with or despise. And that means testing boundaries.

Mike Harris is a Labour Councillor for Lewisham Central Ward, and Head of Public Affairs at Index on Censorship

Major fire reported at Stillness Junior School, Brockley Rise [UPDATED]

At the time of writing, Stillness Junior School is on fire, with several witnesses reporting on Twitter that the damage appears significant. One correspondent has posted this photo of the fire.


Stillness Primary School is located at Brockley Rise, SE23. We'll bring you more details as soon as possible.

UPDATED: Courtesy of a reader post, here is video footage of the fire.




UPDATED: The school has issued the following statement:

You may have heard or seen that there has been a fire at Stillness Junior School this afternoon. Unfortunately, the Annexe Building to the front left of the school has been severely damaged and cannot be used. However, at present, we are anticipating that school will start as planned on Monday, 6th September, although there will be adjustments to the classrooms.

UPDATED: Bert has posted these photos of the fire being tackled.

Lewisham Councillor backs News Shopper's anti-gay rant prize

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.


It is reasonable to assume that the News Shopper editorial staff don't actually agree with the views in the letter, but by giving it star status, they gave the impression that they did. Local blogger Daryl Chamberlain challenged them on their decision and speculated pretty convincingly about why they might have done this.

At the time, we thought it was a gross error of judgement by the News Shopper, but a forgiveable one, especially at an understaffed newspaper. We all make mistakes. However, the News Shopper's response to the criticism was abject, instead of contrition, they offered sarcasm and retweeted the one or two tweets of support they got (as opposed to the mountain of critical ones they received). Londonist has a good account of the early exchanges. This behaviour is not forgiveable, in our view. But even then, we probably wouldn't have waded in to the argument, were it not for the fact that one of the few people to leap to the Shopper's defence, was Lewisham Central Councillor, Mike Harris, who wrote:

The idea that my local paper the @NewsShopper should not publish a letter because it's bigoted, is far more offensive than the letter itself... No2censorship!

In doing so, the self-proclaimed campaigner for Index on Censorship, demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of what censorship and advocated the sort of balanced debate you can find on Fox News.

Giving someone an unchallenged platform to abuse gay people and awarding them a prize is not exercising freedom of speech, it's an abuse of power. No one is asking for these views to be "brushed under the carpet" or imagining that they will go away if we don't talk about them. We are asking that the foam-flecked homophobia not be actively celebrated.

To borrow a phrase from Cllr Harris, his defence of the News Shopper's decision is far more offensive than the letter itself.

Blackwall Tunnel work to finish six month early - closures cancelled

TfL has announced that refurbishment work on the Blackwall Tunnel, requiring closures to the northbound tunnel that have caused major disruption, will finish six months earlier than expected and ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

The final weekend closure this year will now take place from 9pm on October 15th to 5am on October 18th, 2010. There will be no closure over this Bank Holiday.


Krizz Kutz Komin Atcha

Goodbye Aladdin's Cave in Crofton Park, hello hairdresser Krizz Kutz, complete with sign that we thought said something completely different when we first looked at this picture from BC reader Molewife.

Homemade London - opens August 31st

Having done some 'proper journalism' this morning, we reckon we've earned ourselves one last plug for Homemade London, ahead of its formal opening on August 31st.


A few loyal Brockley Central readers took part in the introductory workshops and hopefully had a good time. We even managed to tempt one reader from the Sydenham Town forum, based on our cushion that doubles as a map of their neighbourhood. Tonight's final introductory workshop is a crochet class being led by Brockley designer-maker Sarah.

The full website is now up and running, with details of workshops where you can make lingerie, jewellery, bags, perfumes and all sorts of other goodies.

Between now and the end of September, there is a two-for-one offer on all workshops and sewing machine hire at the Sewing Cafe. After that, we'll come up with a special offer for BC readers...

Parking again - with a twist!

George: I can't park in a garage.
Elaine: Why?
George: I don't know, I just can't. Nobody in my family can pay for parking, it's a sickness. My father never paid for parking; my mother, my brother, nobody. We can't do it.
Elaine: I'll pay for it.
George: You don't understand. A garage. I can't even pull in there. It's like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?
- Seinfeld

A BC reader who's been among those calling for more ruthless parking controls in the area, has experienced some rough justice. "Upper Toff" writes:

Having recently blogged on the issue of illegal parking at the cross and other streets and requesting the need for a 2 hour CPZ in streets close to the station (allowing residents to be excluded!!! and preventing daily commutors from parking), I am amazed/ outraged that yesterday having parked on UBR - I recieved a ticket!

There is a faint double yellow line - why it is there I haven't a clue... it has not been painted recently and is not obvious! You would assume that traffic wardens are present to uphold traffic laws... has anyone seen them around targetting poorly parked cars in areas where traffic flow is adversely affected? Or are the wardens hell bent on targetting cars in a quiet residential street where a yellow double line is hardly noticeable?

I will of course appeal the ticket issued... I parked late at night and had no idea that this space is a "no parking zone". Plenty of cars are parked in this spot time and time again, there is no logic as to why a ticket has been given (apart from faint yellow lines !), this spot doesn't impede upon anyones safety.

The corner of UBR and the one way for example, usually has a vehicle parked blocking view at the junction - why is there not a double yellow here?

If the council are committed to enforcing traffic laws perhaps they should focus on drawing up double yellow lines at key junctions where parked cars obstruct vision for all! Any chance you could raise this issue- still fuming about my ticket!

The Brockley Central interview: Cllr Vicky Foxcroft

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…

Brockley Cross baby steps


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.

Telegraph Hill skating - the two park solution


Orphan: Daddy Bender, we're hungry.
Bender: What's with you kids? Every other day it's food, food, food. [pause] Alright, I'll get you some stupid food.
- Futurama, The Cyber House Rules

It was touch and go for a while, but it looks like democracy works. After a plan to install a skate area in the upper park in Telegraph Hill met with fierce opposition, a site has been identified in the Lower Park, which should keep everyone just about happy. BC has argued for a while that this seemed like the most sensible way forward and it appears that we were right, for a change.

Skate park campaigner Imogen explains:

The Skate Park Working Group had a site meeting in the Lower Telegraph Hill Park and
looked at all of the possible spaces. The site we agreed was best was to use the strip of
path along the top side of the basketball court with a piece opening out at either end of
this (see map above). It would create a dog bone / telephone type shape. The site benefits from banking and planting which screens views and noise, as well as being a good distance from houses.

The fact that there are already activities (basketball / football) in the area was also seen as
a plus. There is a path on the other side of the ball court so it wouldn’t affect access. The
space chosen was far enough away from trees not to create problems, although drainage
will be a consideration for the groundworks.


There is a Local Assembly Meeting on Tuesday 21st September at which this proposal and designs will be put forward and voted on. As I think I mentioned before we have to use our funding (48k) before March 2011 so it is imperative that we get agreement on a site asap.

Hilly Fields Fun Fair, Monday 30th August

The Fun Fair returns to Hilly Fields this Bank Holiday Monday. The dodgem trucks are currently unloading awkwardly around the cricket square.

Wickham Road gig tonight


Liv and Laurie have been in touch to let readers know about a concert they're organising tonight on Wickham Road, starting 7.30pm.

We heard this musician/singer/songwriter on Dermot O'Leary's radio show the other night. He's called Jont and he's a 'rather marvelously like Bowie in his happier moments' they say. Anyway he is going on tour across the U.K and Europe and the best bit is that the venues are people's front rooms across a load of different cities. So tonight the side gate at 58a Wickham Road will be open for a gig in the garden. We don’t have much experience as venue managers or tour promoters but we do have some chairs.

Just a few friends but open to all. Bring your own. Hope for nice weather.

Blackfriars Station to close for two months

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.


BBC News reports that:

The completion of the upper station concourse paves the way for the track "switch" at Christmas.

This will involve work on the the tracks moving from the western side of the bridge to the eastern side - creating the final track alignment for the redeveloped station.

Trains will continue to run through the station for the majority of the closure - from 20 November until 17 January - and passengers will be able to use the nearby City Thameslink station.

A campaign is also under way to rename the station Blackfriars and Bankside, to reflect the fact that when it reopens, it will straddle the river, with entrances on both the north and south banks.

Bridge House, Mantle Road - update

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.


L&Q confirm that construction is ongoing, but much of the work is now taking place internally, which is why there is a less visible presence on site at the moment. Marketing for the development is just beginning, with a 'show flat' opening in October.

The whole project is now due for completion in January 2011.

Indulgence at TWO8SIX

TWO8SIX
286 Lewisham High Street,
SE13 6JZ
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?

The Evening Standard on the East London Line effect

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.

They say:

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:

Brockley

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.

New Cross/Gate

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.

Celebrate Forest Hill's new 'promenade' this Sunday

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.

Silent Cinema at the Deptford Project

Shaun: As Bertrand Russell once said, "The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation." I think we can all appreciate the relevance of that now.
Liz: Was that on a beer mat?
Shaun: Yeah, it was Guinness Extra Cold.
Liz: I won't say anything.
Shaun: Thanks.
- Shaun of the Dead

Londonist reports that Silent Cinema is coming to the brilliant Deptford Project.

The concept is simple - a film plays silently in the background, if you want to listen, you simply put on the headphones. The line-up is as follows:


Eighties Classics
Thursday, September 9th: Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Friday, September 10th: Heathers
Saturday, September 11th: The Breakfast Club
Horror Hits London
Thursday, September 16th: American Werewolf in London
Friday, September 17th: 28 Days Later
Saturday, September 18th: Shaun Of The Dead
Cult Classics
Thursday, September 23rd: A Clockwork Orange
Friday, September 24th: Rocky Horror Picture Show
Saturday, September 25th: Withnail & I

One Step Ahead Dry Cleaners, Lewisham Way

One Step Ahead
189 Lewisham Way
SE4 1UY
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.

East London Line Brings Tha Noize

Listen for lessons I’m saying inside music that the critics are blasting me for
They’ll never care for the brothers and sisters now across the country has us up for the war
We got to demonstrate, come on now, they’re gonna have to wait
Till we get it right
- Public Enemy, Bring tha Noize

In Sydenham, the brothers are madder than mad cause the beats on the East London Line are so dope. The ride, the glide is driving them to suicide.

ThisisLondon reports that residents nearby Sydenham Station are being driven to distraction by the frequency of train announcements since the introduction of the East London Line. The tannoy has been replaced by a man with a loud hailer, who has become D. Public Enemy number one.

In Brockley, we've kept our tannoy but we have thought for a while that the frequency of the trains now makes the announcements redundant. Anyone who spends a few minutes near the station is subjected to a running commentary about life on platforms one and two.

Are any residents in Brockley bothered?

Funding available for community projects - apply now

BC reader Richard has spotted a pot of money available to fund small scale community projects in the area covered by Lewisham Homes (the organisation that manages Lewisham Council-owned homes). Here are the details:

The Lewisham Homes Community Improvement Competitive fund has a total budget of £39,200 which was agreed by residents as part of the Residents Business Plan.

Residents can apply for grants of up to £5000 to improve their local area or community. Lewisham Homes residents have been actively involved in setting up the fund, setting the criteria and ensuring that it is accessible to all residents across the Lewisham Homes area.

Leaseholders may be recharged for works in line with their lease, this will be assessed on a scheme by scheme basis and communicated with all residents.

You can apply for up to £5000 to fund your project. All funds need to be spent by the end of March 2011 so it’s important to remember that your project must be complete by this date. To enable all groups to apply, monies will not be paid into individual accounts and will be held and managed by Lewisham Homes. Lewisham Homes residents should be the main beneficiaries of applications.

What they will not fund:
  • bids where planning applications are required
  • bids where major works are required
Following the judging process, Lewisham Homes will work with you to deliver the project. This will include the use of Lewisham Homes own resources to ensure Health and Safety standards are adhered to and value for money is achieved.

Timescale for applications:

All applications need to be received by: 27 August 2010.

The Lewisham Anti Cuts Alliance

Soon there will be war. Millions will burn. Millions will perish in sickness and misery. Why does one death matter against so many? Because there is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished. Even in the face of Armageddon I shall not compromise in this.
- Rorschach, Watchmen

A few days ago, we were contacted by The Lewisham Anti-Cuts Alliance, whose agenda is fairly self-explanatory. Here's the correspondence:

TLACA:

The Lewisham Anti Cuts Alliance is just getting starting and it needs as many people as possible to be involved to make it as broad and strong as possible (and not just the usual suspects - including me!)

BC:

I'm certainly not in favour of all the measures proposed thus far, but bearing in mind that we know national funding is being cut and Lewisham Council Tax rates are already relatively high compared with many other London boroughs, please could you explain what level (if any) of cuts you think is appropriate and where you think those cuts should come, if at all.

TLACA:

Lewisham Anti Cuts Alliance believe that cuts to public services and jobs are not necesary. The deficit that so many politicians (disgracefully including many in the Labour party) seem to think justifies these ideologically motivated cuts is moderate by historical standards and is easily manageable. The government should start by actually collecting the approximately £40bn in unpaid taxes or taxing the companies and people that are still making huge profits and bonuses, even despite the financial crisis and recession that their actions caused. Corporate tax before the election was 28% on profits above £1.5m, compared to the 32.8% G7 average. The new government is planning on lowering it to 24%, (indicating that we are really not 'all in this together')

So there we have it.

Join the email list by sending a message to laca-request@lists.aktivix.org

Join the facebook group

David Jones' Brocker

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:


He was born in Brockley in south-east London (then Kent) to a Welsh father and cockney mother. At the age of 14 he was still wearing short trousers; five years later he enlisted with the Royal Welch Fusiliers and was marching to Southampton for the boat to France and the Western Front. Jones was an enthusiastic combatant. Asking "Is it worth it?" in the columns of the Brockley parish magazine, he answered his own question with an unequivocal "Yes".

Thanks to JPM (rapidly becoming BC's unofficial historian) for the spot.


Lewisham's Future Library Programme

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.

Hilly Fields: The Mark of Cain


"What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."
Genesis 4:10–12

This photograph was taken by local artist Leo, who approached the Brockley Society with it, who in turn have asked us to help answer his question:

This photo is taken from the path on the part of Hilly Fields that’s towards the north west (on the Montague Avenue side). It shows the ‘shadow’ in the grass showing the outline of a building or structure that obviously stood there once, and that has now been revealed by the dry weather. What was it? When was it built and when was it pulled down?

The fact that there’s a manhole cover for (?) a drain there means that it couldn’t have been too temporary. My guess is that could have been a WW2 anti-aircraft gun emplacement and/or a searchlight battery or maybe a small Victorian pavilion…but I'm open to other ideas.

We think these markings are left by the Nissen Huts, that a few BC readers have already discussed - but can anyone confirm this please?

Death takes a holiday: New restaurant planned for Brockley Road


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.


Reader Bronwyn spotted the following planning submission:

Demolition of existing church hall and ancillary buildings, with retention of facade at St Cyprians Hall Brockley Road SE4 and the construction of a four storey building to provide a restaurant (Use Class A3) and office (Use Class A2) on the ground floor, together with 3 one bedroom and 5 two bedroom self-contained flats and 1 two bedroom self-contained maisonette.

When the building was sold at auction, it seemed that the new owners had secured a good deal and might have deep enough pockets to do something significant. Then the Church moved in. However, this application signals that the original assumptions were correct.

The plans could be transformative for this stretch of Brockley Road, which is currently dominated by funeral homes, raising it from the dead and giving midtown Brockley new life by deathmasking the building - keeping the historic facade but ripping out its rotting guts. The building is in terrible condition, requiring a major overhaul before it can be used properly.

The historic front will be retained but will have a new four-storey backdrop. The development is on a corner site, meaning that Braxfield Road will also be significantly altered by the addition of a four storey residential block with an effective Grim Reaper colour-scheme thanks to the anthracite zinc cladding and dark blue brickwork. A roof garden will also be created for residents.

Public drinking public consultation

Lewisham Council's media team has issued the following announcement about a major public consultation:

Plans to trial a borough-wide Designated Public Order (or Drinking Control Zone) have been given the go-ahead by the Mayor, Sir Steve Bullock.

Before the pilot can be put in place, Lewisham Council must conduct a public consultation so that people have an opportunity to express their views.

The Designated Public Order will give police a discretionary the powers to stop people and confiscate, demand and dispose of any alcohol within the boundaries of Lewisham borough.
The DPPO is not a ban on alcohol consumption in a public place, and does not make drinking in a public an offence, but is a measure that can assist in tackling problematic street drinking linked to anti-social behaviour. The intention of the DPPO is to provide police with a tool to address alcohol-related disorder in a quick and effective way. Failure to comply with a request from the Police to hand over alcohol can result in arrest and/or a fine of up to £500.
The DPPO would be reviewed following a 6-month trial period.

Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, said: “Lewisham Council has worked closely with Lewisham Police, the community and stakeholders.

“The difficult issue of anti-social behaviour brought about by street drinking needs to be tackled and the implementation of a pilot borough-wide DPPO will enable us to review its effectiveness and look at our options, once the results have been analysed at the end of the pilot.”

Borough Commander, Detective Chief Superintendent Jeremy Burton, said: “The use of this power is not directed at stopping people drinking responsibly in public; it is a further tactic in our drive to reduce anti-social behaviour associated with alcohol abuse and misuse. We will continue to work with Lewisham Council and our communities in combating alcohol related disorder and I look forward to the results of this pilot.”

Before the implementation of any DPPO, the Council is required by law to consult with the public. To take part in the consultation go towww.lewisham.gov.uk and click on the ‘Check our active consultations’ and then ‘Lewisham Designated Public Place Order’.

Alternatively, comments can be emailed to communitysafety@lewisham.gov.uk
The consultation ends on 27 August.

The Sirens of Titan, Hilly Fields

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.


Tickets for the remaining shows (they run until Saturday) are still available although we're pleased to say that they tell us they have sold a lot of tickets to BC readers.

We're reviewing the final night this weekend (we realise that's somewhat pointless, but that's what we do).

School listing could derail another Lewisham school plan

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.

The London Particular, New Cross



399 New Cross Road
SE14 6LA

The London Particular is a new cafĂ© in New Cross. It opened earlier this month with a concept custom-made for South East London: The ‘Bowl Food’ menu combines egalitarian principles with aspirational quality to create something unique to the area.


Its founder Becky, a South East London local, did what many of us do, which is wander around wondering why there are so few alternatives to kebab shops and greasy spoons. So she decided to create London Particular.

She told us:

I’ve been working as a chef for seven years and it had always been my dream to open my own place. I’ve always liked the area and New Cross and Deptford have a real buzz about them at the moment. The return of the East London Line is also a big help.

The opportunity to take on these premises arose and I grabbed it. The whole thing happened quicker than I expected actually, but I’m pleased to say that the response in the first two weeks since we opened has been great. We’re busier than I’d anticipated and local people have been really lovely. During the summer, there are fewer students around, so most of our customers have been young professionals so far.

The “bowl food” concept is based on the fact that I wanted to keep the menu simple and focus on getting the best possible ingredients. But actually, when we first opened, we were selling coffee and cakes. Coffee’s a big part of what we do, we source our coffee from Higgins Coffee Suppliers and have created our own blend, which is nice and subtle. Ross from Browns of Brockley was a big help as we were setting up.

Some of our most popular dishes include brioche pizzas and the ‘Banger Sanga’, inspired by an Aussie on the team. Our home made brunches are going down well too – both the streaky bacon and the veggie varieties.

The plan next is to start opening on Sundays and longer term to increase the seating capacity inside and ideally extend the kitchen and dining areas. It’s a very exciting time.

Read a review by local foodie blogger Hollowlegs here.

The Domesday Brock

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.


It's like Streetview, but instead of barricading our village to prevent people seeing what our garden gates look like, the people of Brockley are being asked to capture daily life in all its glory.

Participants are asked to take six pictures of a street and upload them to the dedicated Brockley Central page on the MOCO website. Communities from across the country will be doing the same thing.

If we can get dozens - maybe hundreds - of people to create a photographic database, historians will pore over Brockley for the rest of time. They'll use this record to help answer questions like "why did anyone ever think illuminated plastic signs on the front of shops were a good idea?" and "what must life have been like in the days when people were allowed to park lumps of metal in the middle of pavements?"

We hope it sounds interesting to you all and that as many of you as possible will take part. We'll give you a few reminders in the days leading up to the 12th.

The Crofton Park Transport Users Group

The CPTUG is a new group open to anyone living or working in Crofton Park, with an interest in public transport provision in the ward. The specific issues they will be discussing at the first meeting include:

- Train services from Crofton Park Station

- Train and London Overground services from Honor Oak Park Station

- Bus routes 171, N171, 172, 122, P4

The inaugural CPTUG meeting was originally scheduled to take place in July, but a delay in publicising the meeting has caused it to be rescheduled. It will now take place on:

19:30, 21 September 2010

Ackroyd Centre, Ackroyd Road, London SE23 1DL

(off Brockley Rise near Honor Oak Park)

Art and Crafts in Marylebone and Brockley

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

Babysitters, child minders, au pairs and nannies in Brockley

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.

Brockley Cross Breakthrough

We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!
- President Thomas Whitmore

Today is the first day in the rest of Brockley Cross' life.

Lewisham Council's traffic enforcement team has agreed to give the area special attention, having acknowledged that there are particular problems in the area. This is a welcome breakthrough, which together with planned measures to improve pedestrian access in the area, could transform Brockley Cross in to a civilised spot, if not quite Brockley's most lovely.

Having grumbled intermittently about the number and flagrancy of parking abuses in Brockley Cross, we approached the Council about the problem, to see what had happened in the twelve months since we'd first raised the issue.

Our enquiry was dealt with very quickly and we were passed on to the person at Lewisham Council responsible for traffic enforcement in the area. She explained that they had been aware of public complaints about the area and had asked the contractors to pay special attention to it. However, over the last year, they had visited Brockley Cross 167 times in 2010 and only issued one ticket (although Endwell Road generated many more).

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.

Surrey Canal regeneration - new images released

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 opens today

The Hill Station, Telegraph Hill's new cafe and community space, opens today.

The team behind it want to see it used as a focal point for a host of community activities, including cookery classes and children's activities.

Read the Hill Station blog here and our intial thoughts here.

Not Brockley Central: Mudchute Farm



This weekend, a birthday party invitation for our son took us to Mudchute Farm on the Isle of Dogs.

Ridiculously easy to reach via the DLR (Mudchute and Crossharbour serve either end), Mudchute is a 32 acre park, comprising a farm and some undulating grassland, which makes a great picnic spot, so long as you don't mind dining amongst copious amounts of delightfully varied types of dung.

Mudchute is the largest city farm in London and it is home to most of the farmyard classics, including pigs, sheep, cows, donkeys and chickens, as well as some more exotic fare, like llamas and chipmunks. The animals are happy to be hand-fed by gaggles of kids and seem well-kept - one parent commented that it was the least smelly farm she'd ever been to.

It's also a brilliant children's party venue. After a tour of the animals, we went back to the education centre, which doubles as a playroom at weekends. The food served - pizzas, sandwiches, dips - was cooked and prepared on the farm and delicious enough to keep kids and adults happy.

Set against the backdrop of Canary Wharf, the farm is big and rugged enough that you feel like you've escaped even with skyscrapers peeping over the treeline.

The Social Network



"If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you'd have invented Facebook."
- 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.

Brockley Bites: Bloggers

A beautiful wedding in Deptford market, captured by Deptford Visions.

Another blogger tempted south of the river by the East London Line, this one to try Meze Mangal.

Lewisham Libraries have their own blog - a really good one. Let's hope they have more to write about than their own demise.

The Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries report on the restoration of Ernest Dowson's grave.

Blackheath, Honor Oak and Forest Hill make burglary top 20

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.

They Live: Cllrs campaign to save Lewisham Way crossing [UPDATED]

Local Cllrs Vincent Davis and Vicky Foxcroft have come here to chew bubblegum and petition the public... And they're all out of bubblegum.

They have launched a petition to 'save' the pedestrian crossing on Lewisham Way that has been identified by Mayor Boris as one that could be removed in the interest of traffic flow smoothing.

As we argued on this thread, the idea to remove it is a terrible one, so we of course support the petition, although it is our understanding that the Mayor's team is only consulting on these sites at this stage and a decision has not yet been made.

The petition says:

We, the undersigned, call upon Mayor of London, Boris Johnson to reverse his decision to remove the pedestrian crossing on Lewisham Way, the effect of which would be to make crossing to St. John's Train Station and St. John's Medical Centre more hazardous for pedestrians.

It's good to hear something from our newly-elected Councillors, who have been relatively low profile thus far. We've asked Brockley's new ones for an interview but none has been forthcoming yet and a quick straw poll among BC's Twitter community suggested their record hasn't been much better in the physical world.

It's interesting to note that the first campaign we've seen from them relates to an initiative being led by the Conservative Mayor of London and we hope the next thing we hear from them relates to Lewisham borough politics. Too much of the current political debate in Lewisham, whether in party literature or in Council meetings seems to consist of point-scoring over national politics, rather than the local matters that our Councillors are elected to deal with.

We hope to bring you interviews with Cllr Foxcroft and Cllr Adefiranye (and indeed any of the other newly-elected officials in the local area) soon.

UPDATE: We're happy to say that we've now managed to get in touch with Cllr Foxcroft via Twitter and she has kindly agreed to an interview - coming soon.

Recommended Places

Restaurants, cafes and takeaways

The Gantry
188 Brockley Road - 020 8469 0043

Smiles Thai Cafe
106 Foxberry Road - 020 8469 0953

Mo Pho
10 Coulgate Street

The Broca
4 Coulgate Street - 020 8691 0833

Browns of Brockley
5 Coulgate Street - 020 8692 0722

Le Querce
68 Brockley Rise - 020 8690 3761

Nu-Spice
11 Coulgate Street - 020 8692 4136

Babur
119 Brockley Rise - 020 8291 2400

The Brockley Mess cafe and CueB gallery
325 Brockley Road - 07772 232 862

Cafe Oscar's
48 Ladywell Road - 07590 690 825

Ladywell Tandoori
81 Ladywell Road - 020 8690 1047

Fishy Business
1 Harefield Road - 020 8469 2004

Brockley's Rock

317 Brockley Road - 020 8694 1441

Bird of Paradise
258 Brockley Road

Bars and Pubs

Jam Circus
330-332 Brockley Road - 020 8692 3320

The Orchard
5 Harefield Road - 020 8692 4756

The Royal Albert
460 New Cross Road - 020 8692 3737

The Talbot
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

Hopscotch Bar
72 Honor Oak Park

Shops

Degustation
12 Coulgate Street - 020 8691 0857

Sounds Around
195 Brockley Road - 020 8692 9347

Gently Elephant
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

Sids
297-299 Brockley Road - 020 8691 8686

Peter James Family Butchers
1 Ewhurst Road - 020 8690 3320

El's Kitchen
71 Ladywell Road - 020 7998 2889

1c Mantle Road - 020 7277 6881

31 Tanners Hill - 020 78692 3679

Endwell Road Business Centre - 020 7064 5222

Slater & King
46 Ladywell Road

Pistachios Hilly Fields
Hilly Fields, near the tennis courts

Attractions

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

Brockley Origins: Hilly Fields



Reader JPM has unearthed another treasure from the newspaper archives - this time, an article describing the genesis of Hilly Fields as the focal point for Brockley's development. The article is from The Star (not that one) on December 23, 1893, a time when the London County Council had the vision to create "one of the most delightful of suburban pleasure grounds" in South East London:

La Lanterna update

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 fauxballustrading (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.

The Brockley Central debate: Do we need a CPZ around Brockley Station?

And so the time has come to address a question we’ve been scared to raise until now. But it has begun to bubble up in debates on other threads:

Should Lewisham Council introduce a Controlled Parking Zone in and around Brockley Station and Brockley Cross, similar to the one recently approved in Ladywell?

As a car-owner likely to be caught up in any Brockley CPZ, we don’t relish paying money for the privilege of parking our car. We don’t have any problems finding a parking space, but we do notice that on weekends, the local pavements empty of cars and we’d welcome any initiative that would persuade Lewisham Council to take the issue of parking enforcement in Brockley seriously. However, that ought to be a separate issue – we’ve written before that the area needs is a few vigilant traffic wardens to clamp down on local abuses.

It seems to us that the worst possible world would be for conscientious locals to shell out for parking permits, only to see the abuses continue because Lewisham Council fails to enforce the system.

Nonetheless, it’s a worthwhile debate and we’d be fascinated to see which way the weight of local opinion falls. So let’s have it. Here are the arguments for and against (as far as we can see them). Tell us what you think and please vote in the new poll, but please note the Council has no plans to introduce one and this is not part of a formal consultation - it's just a debate topic!

The case for:

On the Zone 2 borders, Brockley Station attracts car drivers from across South East London, in search of a convenient place to stash their car every day – a CPZ would not only reduce the number of parked cars in the area, it might also cut local road use

BC readers who live on nearby roads have complained that is increasingly difficult to park near their own homes – a CPZ could solve this problem, at a price

Illegal parking in Brockley Cross is a problem – a CPZ ought to be an incentive for stronger enforcement

Van hire companies that use the streets around Brockley Cross instead of paying for a proper parking facility would be forced to find alternative (legitimate) arrangements

 A CPZ could provide the Council with another source of revenue at a time when cuts are on the agenda

The case against:

It’s an additional expense imposed on many local residents in a borough where Council Tax rates are already high

On top of the expense, it’s a massive pain in the neck to have to sort out permits

It could cause displacement of parking problems on to other nearby roads

Parking is still relatively easy compared to many parts of the capital – our pavements are not full yet

A CPZ could dissuade people from shopping in Brockley because parking would become more problematic

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