Jude: The obscure set of commitments

Lisa Well who's your booking agent?
Mike She, she knows… actually I don't have west coast representation as of yet
Lisa Well who was your agent back east?
Mike I sort of free lanced on my own kind of a thing

- Swingers
Lewisham Council has confirmed that the Jude Court (nee Bridge House) development does not carry with it any specific obligations to improve access to Brockley Station on the west side.
Obviously, the removal of the scaffolding and the reopening and repair of the pavement outside the station will significantly improve the current approach to the station, but the Section 106 agreement carries with it no obligations to make other cosmetic improvements.
Instead, there is a more general obligation to:
Undertake an Environmental Improvements Scheme to a value of £30,000 after the costs for the footway reinstatement works have been subtracted.
£5,000 will also be contributed to improvements for local cyclists and £10,000 for "town centre management".
We hope to report specifically how the money will be allocated, in due course.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

vague.

Tamsin said...

They'll spend £30K deciding what to do! The specifics should have been pinned down on the grant of planning permission.

Anonymous said...

Errr can they make that light work that always is flashing on and then off. It gets really dark in the evenings and I had a friend tell me she would not feel safe walking it alone.

Blunderbuss said...

i think the zebra crossing is being moved to where the on/off light is, so presumably it'll get fixed then.

frustrated said...

More to the point (or possibly off this point, in which case, sorry...when are we going to get disabled/buggy access to the western platform?? It's ludicrous. Does anyone know of any effective ways to pressure / who to pressure on this?

Anonymous said...

Yes, the zebra crossing is being moved in front of the footbridge and the pavements will be widened further down.

Oli said...

I moved to Brockley in 2003 & that lamp-post was doing the on-off thing even then (when the Maypole pub was still doing karaoke nights!)

Is it the same bulb that's taking over eight years to finally blow? Or is it a loose wire in the system flapping in the wind?

We need to know! Where's Wikileaks when you need them, eh?

Monkeyboy said...

Think any comitment to step free access got canned last year. LU (and i assume the Overground) has reduced it's step free programme substantially.

Anonymous said...

Oh well, if you're in a wheelchair I guess you just don't get the train then.

Matt-Z said...

The funding is not to do with TfL, but part of the national Access for All scheme. On the Network Rail site step free access for Brockley is still listed for Tranche 3 of the works, slated for delivery 2012-2015. I don't whether this has changed or not, perhaps they'd respond to a press enquiry from Brockley Central?

Matt-Z said...

Mind you it's not looking hopeful. New Cross, New Cross Gate and Norwood Junction were all shceduled for Tranche 2, 2009-11, and nothing's happened yet at any of those.

Brockley Nick said...

I know that Cllr Johnson was trying to persuade TfL to prioritise Brockley because of the west side access problem, but I'm not aware that it worked. I can't imagine any of it being done before the last minute, given the current financial pressures TfL face.

Mb said...

"Oh well, if you're in a wheelchair I guess you just don't get the train then"

it's like that across LU, not an excuse just a fact.

Anonymous said...

Anybody know whats going on behind the Holistic Centre and the Indian next door? A section of wall bordering Cranfield has been knocked down. Apologies if this has been covered before.

Lou Baker said...

Wasn't the New Cross Gate access scheme stopped because the local conservation nitwits complained about it being un-Victorian?

They didn't have buggies in 1870 and they kicked children for fun.

I know making platform 5 step free requires little more than cutting a hole in the fence but that too incurred the wrath of the resident nimbys. The objection there being simply that they could.

The awesome power they possess...

Brockley Nick said...

@Lou "they kicked children for fun."

They sound like your kind of guys!

Anonymous said...

As opposed to these days children kicking adults for fun.

Matt-Z said...

@Lou could you post a link please (about the Nimbyism, not the kicking).

fabhat said...

Lou - there used to be step free access from the London Bridge platform at New Cross Gate. When I was a kid it was used when Millwall were playing and the police would do their weapons search before sending people out of the gate under the stairs. That entrance was obviously blocked when the Sainsbury's slip road redevelopment happened... I'm sure the Conservation Society would be delighted to have it reinstated.

Anonymous said...

This is a bit of a shocker, could things be a bit more complex than lou suggests? You'll be telling me that bears deficate in wooded areas next.

Tamsin said...

The concerns about the first lot of redevelopment proposals for New Cross Gate Station and the tatty bit of retail park (which are just on hold while Sainsbury's weathers the recession) are that the whole scheme, with NDC involvement at the outset, was focussed on access to and from the North West - making things significantly more difficult for Goldsmiths staff and students and everyone else coming from the south side of the A2.

Lou Baker said...

@anon 2204

Putting a gate in a fence to create access for the disabled and parents with buggies can be easy or it can be made hard.

You can make a decision, hire a workman and have it done by the weekend.

Or there can be countless plans, redesigns, all sorts if bureaucrats involved and endless consultation with community groups 'yawn', conservation organisations, quangos, tangos, bimbos and jimbos. This way takes years and costs huge sums of taxpayers money.

And, at the end of it, you'll get a fence with a gate in it.

@tamsin

Sigh. Walking around a corner does not make things significantly more difficult for anyone.

Trying to get a wheelchair down a flight of stairs is difficult.

Expecting a student to walk an extra 30 yards is not.

Why do you people have to make easy things so bloody complicated?

Monkeyboy said...

I saw a chap at Bank station spraying spittle into the face of a Station Supervisor because of the ongoing escalator work. He KNEW for a fact that the work could be done quicker, he also DEMANDED to know why there were aparently no one working on the escalators at that moment. He INSISTED that they should take the hoarding dowm so the out of use escalators could be used as fixed staircases during the day.

Lou, do you use bank station?

Lou Baker said...

No - I don't use Bank.

Though you'll be aware that TFL have been able to speed up escalator repair work by following techniques developed in the private sector in Japan.

But we're not talking about fixing a piece of complex machinery underground.

We are talking about a platform which is currently not accessible which is adjacent to - and at the same level as - pavement which is accessible. Separating them is a bog standard wire fence.

A gate is an easy and sensible option - inexpensive and easily done. I am sure you can come up with a far more complex, costly and unnecessary solution but then you're a railway worker so are problably more interested in strikes and tea breaks than passenger needs.

I don't think there's any merit in making things harder than they need to be.

Monkeyboy said...

Yes Lou, I know the escaltor engineers at LU and the contractors doing the work. I don't have tea breaks, I dont get overtime, I've never been on strike. I've worked in the private sector for 15 years, have been Chartered for ten and in the railways for about five. I worked for Metronet, the private company made up of some of the biggest engineering consultancies in Europe (that went well). Without wishing to question your expertise, I think I've got a tad more credibility in the engineering field. Incedently, LU often have overseas Metro operators over to London to understand how to upgrade a working railway, they learn from us, we learn from them. That's how it works. I wouldn't dare tell you how long to leave the fries in, I know the limits of my knowlege.

Lou Baker said...

Ouch.

I am so hurt - I might just cry in the fries.

Look, we all know a large part of the reason the railways are dire is due to the quality of people who work on them.

We know many of the jobs require little or no skill - and those that do need talent, like engineering, are bogged down in bureaucracy.

But we're not talking about high tech engineering. We're talking about platform 5 at New Cross Gate station - which should be accessible but isn't.

And it isn't because of a combination of idiot local nimbys and railway know alls - like you - who want to make fitting a gate a complex task.

So Mr Big Shot why is it so complex?

Hint: the answer is because bureaucrats have got involved.

Brockley Nick said...

@Lou "we all know"... "we all know"... "Railway know-alls like you"...

Brilliant.

mb said...

I'll agree with one thing, there are a lot of Lou's working in the Railways.

I know nothing about the specific issues at New Cross. Just making the point that Step Free schemes are more than just chucking in a lift.

(no gurkins on my quater pounder, ta)

Lou Baker said...

@nick

I know I'm an opinionated know all. That's why everyone loves me. And, secretly, you all know I'm right. But no-one will admit it in this lefty enclave.

But, seriously, doesn't needless bureaucracy make you mad? I think life should be as easy as possible but some seem to delight in making it hard.

Can you really believe fitting a gate can be as complex as Monkeybrains suggests?

mb said...

The railway planners stopped it did they? I really don't know. I suspect we share that lack of knowledge.

Matt-Z said...

@Lou - it's not as simple as just cutting a hole in the fence and hanging a gate.

A few reasons:

- The gate would open onto a narrow pavement which would need widening or expanding in some way (quite possible - traffic exiting Sainsbury's is in two lanes before the store gates).

- Part of the trench between Sainsbury's and the station would need filling or bridging.

- Ticket gates or at the very least Oyster readers and a call-point would need installing.

- Improved lighting and possibly CCTV would be needed.

Before you start foaming at the mouth about pinko bureaucracy and idiot railway planners - these are nececssary considerations - what use is level access if you can't scan your Oyster card or manoeuvre your wheelchair?

I suspect one reason this hasn't been done is that, rather than implement access to a single platform at their own expense, Network Rail are hoping that Sainsbury's will pay for the whole station to be done as part of their revamp.

M said...

The words "@Lou - it's not as simple..." must be the most written on this site.
Are they showing up in Google searches yet?

Danja said...

Lou is the pupa of a talk radio host.

Lou Baker said...

Matt-Z

You're clearly a bureaucrat - making problems where there are none.

1) how about a gate which opens all the way back - no problem.

2) the 'trench' you talk about is a small patch of mainly level grass. A couple of spades of earth and, if you fancy, some tarmac. Or one of those plastic thingies Thames Water use when their butchering our roads. Job done.

3) There's plenty of lighting on the platform. Wanna add an extension and a whole extra light? Fine - be my guest.

4) An Oyster reader is fine. Move the extra ones from platform one / two. Bit of cable is all you need.


So you've got a gate, a few bits of earth, a bit of tarmac, a light and a cable. Plus labour. I could find a bunch of Romanians who could do the job in a day.

But you pinkos like making things hard and keeping pen pushers in work. In the meantime the infirm and long suffering parents can keep struggling with the stairs and will for years. Do a risk assessment on that, why don't you!

drakefell debaser said...

Who needs Nick Knowles when we have Lou for our DIY tips.

Bit of MDF. A cheap Romanian. Sorted.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lou. Way too much bureaucracy.

In 2008 the Chinese government decided overnight to double the rate of investment in high-speed rail, to $50bn a year to combat the global recession and build a 16,000 mile HSR network nearly from scratch over the next twelve years. By which time of course, we may or may not have managed to install a gate at New Cross Gate(less).

@Matt-Z. "The gate would open onto a narrow pavement which would need widening..." - not if the gate were a sliding gate. The other objections you mention seem fairly trivial (e.g. filling in a small section of ditch).

The communal "we couldn't possibly" response is an example of a wider problem, an inability or lack of desire to think laterally and actually acheive anything. Brits prefer to sit around explaining why it just couldn't happen.

Brockley Economist said...

I agree with Lou. Way too much bureaucracy.

In 2008 the Chinese government decided overnight to double the rate of investment in high-speed rail, to $50bn a year to combat the global recession and build a 16,000 mile HSR network nearly from scratch over the next twelve years. By which time of course, we may or may not have managed to install a gate at New Cross Gate(less).

@Matt-Z. "The gate would open onto a narrow pavement which would need widening..." - not if the gate were a sliding gate. The other objections you mention seem fairly trivial (e.g. filling in a small section of ditch).

The communal "we couldn't possibly" response is an example of a wider problem, an inability or lack of desire to think laterally and actually acheive anything. Brits prefer to sit around explaining why it just couldn't happen.

Matt-Z said...

@Lou I've not time to argue - too busy inventing pointless tasks and rules in my new-found role as a bureaucrat. However:

1) It is a trench, several feet deep for the most part, running most of the length of the platform. Have a look next time you visit.

2) Your shortsighted, cowboy builder approach to getting things done has missed the point of the gate/narrow pavement problem. It's not that a gate would block the pavement - as you rightly suggest correct hinges would fix this problem - it's that a gate opening onto a narrow pavement would lead to a congestion point. When scores of passengers disembark a train they go for easiest exit - look what happens at Brockley. If you just put in a gate with no other changes people will spill out into the access road.

mb said...

Brand new railways are a quiet different propostion to working on an operational railway. Ask the people who actually design and build them, they'll tell you.

Do bureaucrats include economists, who as far as I can tell from my Lou like position of ignorance, sit around comparing theoretical models and don't actually produce anything. Unfair? yes...anoying isn't it?

Matt-Z said...

@Brockley Economist

I must take issue with your suggestion of a ‘communal "we couldn't possibly" / sit around explaining why it just couldn't happen’. I, like many of the contributors to this blog, want to see developments and improvements in my area, but I believe if you are going to do something, you should do it properly, not in a half-arsed, cheap way.

Yes, the objections and problems are fairly small and easy to overcome, but they are not as straightforward as Lou's 'get some foreigners to do it one weekend' approach.

Far from standing in the way of it, I'm all for a street-level entrance, but it needs doing correctly, and some money needs spending. As cash isn't abundant in the public sector at the moment, and the private sector won't fart without charging us for the privilege, I can't see it happening any time soon.

Lou B said...

It's not working on an operational railway.

It's a bloody fence on the edge of the platform.

Could a gate pose a health and safety risk to society's most useless and expendable? Yes.

But then so can the bloody great drop on to the tracks at every station in the country.

Or a pencil. Or a toilet seat. Or any other item you can possible care to name - all of which have harmed some twit or other throughout history.

And Matt: it wouldn't lead to a congestion point. Hardly anyone would use it to get off. The main disembarking platform is 1/2. Still no access there. It would be used as an accessible way to get on. For people coming from Sainsburys and for those with wheelchairs and buggies who struggle with the stairs.

Actually I see your point. I can imagine two whole people occasionally wanting to use it at exactly the same time. How will they cope?

Ggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr @ bureaucracy apologists.

Danja said...

The main problem with economists is that their starting point is 50 feet up, hoisted on the bootstraps of all their assumptions.

Tamsin said...

It is an obvious thing to do - if you can get away with having an unmanned access point - which you probably can't if the whole objective is to let people with buggies and wheelchairs have step free access - they are just the ones who would usually need to "press button for assistance" and have the wider barrier opened up.

But a bit of lateral thinking would be to have someone on duty at this point when it is open during the morning peak and the main access adequately covered by the person on duty in the ticket office anyway.

Something should be worked out even in the short term. It could be a very long wait before anything heappens with regard to the Sainsbury's development plans.

mb said...

Now you see what you and Lou are doing is working out an operational procedure to make it work while protecting revenue. This is the kind of thing that needs to be done before implementing a change. Not just 'bung it in'.

In any case we actually don't know why it's not been done so it's all a bit academic.

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