Brockley Cross work begins

Lewisham Council's building contractors Conways, responsible for the Brockley Common project, have begun construction work at Brockley Cross today.


This is later than originally planned in the construction timetable, but is not late enough to incorporate any significant changes to the original proposal.

At the recent Brockley Assembly, a motion submitted by the BXAG and seconded by Broc Soc was passed unanimously. It called upon the Council's Highways Department and their consultants to:

Enter into meaningful discussions during the design development process and work closely with community representatives and their Councillors to resolve huge public concerns over the Council’s plans. We urge the Council to work with the local community – the stakeholders and users of Brockley Cross – to develop a plan that we can support, which improves Brockley Cross for pedestrians, cyclists and traffic and makes it safer for everyone.

That has not happened. We hope to confirm the scope of work that Conways has been asked to deliver shortly.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

I cant believe how much work Lewisham give that firm Conway's.

L said...

I hear that Anonymous!

Tracy said...

I presume they are going to do something with the road island outside Tickle Me as there have been pallets of paving stones there for about 3 weeks- I am amazed that someone hasn't hired a D & M van and made off with it! Also outside Pavillon estate agents there is a yellow road marking into the road.

Tracy said...

I presume they are going to do something with the road island outside Tickle Me as there have been pallets of paving stones there for about 3 weeks- I am amazed that someone hasn't hired a D & M van and made off with it! Also outside Pavillon estate agents there is a yellow road marking into the road.

drakefell debaser said...

I don't mind a firm getting lots of work but I question how, after the Brockley Common experience, Conway's can be trusted to deliver improvements to our area on time and on budget.

I hope they come good this time.

Ed said...

Groan. I wish I was confident but with Lewisham and Conway...

Anonymous said...

I hope the gold taps in the house of Lewisham's procurement officers look nice.

Tamsin said...

I don't think that is fair - you almost have to account for every cup of coffee you get given in a meeting. But isn't it the case that by government regulation the procurement process is so long-winded that it costs far too much to change once the juggernaut is in progress (whether it be battleships or Conways). The usual unintended consequences - a system that was meant to create more choice and accountability in fact creates less.

(And note this is the route the NHS is going down.)

Anonymous said...

Mmmm. Accountability, yes....that's when people who are supposed to do things don't do them, they lose their job/position...

Node said...

Conway's have been working on the pavements westside now for about 6 months on and off. Whilst some of this delay has been down to the over run on Bridge House. Taking over two weeks and counting to repave a 20 metre stretch of pavement on St Asaph seems tardy in the least.

Their attention to detail is non existent. They have removed a load of railings, which is great, but then randomly left other little bits so the whole crossing looks disjointed. Also where two bits of their 'work' meets one side is an inch higher so they have put in a shoddy tarmac ramp. They have also left rubbish on the grass for months on end thus killing it. Nice.

I can see Brockley Cross becoming the new station ramp in terms of their slipshod approach, especially as it already looks an unsatisfactory project before it's started.

Ed said...

The finishing on the ramp railings etc etc is very poor; I doubt the council did proper snagging and I expect a another shody job but desperately hope to be proven wrong.

Conways? Really? said...

The steps at the bottom of the station are coming loose, the mortar is giving way and the job was shoddy.

So instead of getting Conways to come back and make good, they get another job.

Labour councillors, instead of standing around the traffic light on Lewisham Way getting your picture taken - sort this out. Take active steps to tackle something that involves more than writing a letter. If you don't know how speak to the Green ex-councillors - they certainly knew how to be active.

Well whatever work Conways do at Brockley Cross we know that it will probably have crumbled away within 12 months..

Tamsin said...

So now, instead of accountability, you have a mass of contracts and a happy hunting ground for lawyers.

Mark you the previous system was not ideal because of the hammerlock the unions held over matters and the job for life mentality.

Anonymous said...

its gonna be GREAT!!! (clapping hands)

Anonymous said...

2 years to finish,and last 12 months,not a bad return.

Jonathon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
urbansurgery said...

very often these companies apply to be on a framework agreement which in itself may make them preferred contractor for a specified time period.

i.e they tender not on a job by job basis, but tender instead to be the goto guy for all works within a calendar year(s) say.

Thomas Telford said...

Conways weren't to blame for a plan that basically consisted of demolishing a ramp then building another one in the same spot. Leaving the other side rampless. Whoever commissioned THAT should be first up against the wall in the cuts.

Mb said...

it replaced a steep ramp that did not meet DDS requirements with a ramp that does. So if (and it's only an if) the station is made step free you have the ramp their already. Using development funds in that way is not unusual. Also there are a decent set of stairs and a common, which will look great in the summer.

The workmanship is appaling, that is the responsibility of the contractor.

Tamsin said...

Whatever the merits or demerits of the contractors, the traffic queues up Geoffrey Road were back to the roundabout on Wickham this morning.

If the work goes on long enough the traffic issues will be dealt with by displacement to other routes.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this army of drivers will learn to use the A2 instead.

Lou Baker said...

Only MB - one of the goons responsible for our atrocious railways - could argue that the Brockley station ramp has any use at all.

The southbound platform is already accessible - though the trains are not.

Despite the ramp the London-bound platform is still not accessible. Only the bridge is. It's a ramp to a bridge over the railway. Only bureaucrats could have come up with a scheme so dumb.

And it was shoddily built too. A double whammy of incompetence funded by hard pressed taxpayers.

Brockley Nick said...

Re: the ramp. It's nice. It means we have a nice garden there, instead of some scrub land we can't see properly. That's what it's for.

Eventually, there will be step free access on the other side and then both sides will be step free.

Brockley Nick said...

Re: the drivers. No, they won't. They'll sit there endlessly wailing and gnashing before they think about changing their route or worse, finding an alternative means of transportation.

urbansurgery said...

Essential works to tower bridge were put off for best part of two decades because of the gnashing of teeth within the highways dept worried about traffic impacts.

New broom at the top said lets just do it, and it was hell, for a while, but soon enough the traffic diminished and found either other routes or alternatives to driving.

They reopened the bridge and levels of traffic over it haven't yet returned o the levels they were before the closure and that was some 10 years ago.

Brockley Nick said...

That's good to hear, but there is a more obvious precedent - the gasworks in Brockley Cross that went on for weeks and led to traffic jams every day. I don't think it led to any long-term decrease in traffic use.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not shedding any tears for the drivers, just doubtful that it will make any difference.

urbansurgery said...

perhaps te proper lesson is that to do these sort of works well and efficiently you have to bite the bullet and just close the whole thing. no point in sitting in a queue that literally goes nowhere. its amazing people will (un)happily sit in their cars for hours with the prospect only of 5metres gain per 15 minutes.

generally the geometric solution of highways work is an outcome not of ideal solutions but a representation of the necessary phasing

THNick said...

Lou - the station ramp also gives access to the ticket office. Plus it means that if you are taking a pram etc to the london platform, you only need to carry it down one lot of steps.

Lou Baker said...

@THNick

Yes. But you said it there yourself - it means you still have to take a pram or wheelchair down one flight of stairs. Which is pointless. Just stick a ticket machine on the accessible platform and be done.

Don't get me wrong I am not against making stations accessible. I think they should all be. But there was no point doing the ramp without making the Londonbound platform accessible too.

Why not? Because by the time they get around to doing that platform - many moons from now - the accessibility rules will likely have changed again which will mean the ramp needs redoing. In other words you end up
doing it twice. That to me is a pointless waste of money.

Brockley Nick said...

It doesn't make it pointless. It's better to carry prams up and down one flight of stairs than two.

Beyond that, they are thinking long-term. The west side will be made step free in the next five years. The money for the east side was available now. Why wait?

Anonymous said...

i know a disabled brockley couple who cant use the stn at all cos of the ramps into steps nonsense. Ramp good Steps impossible. they actually get a bus to new cross and use that - so much for local stn

Lou Baker said...

Nick - I'll wager Brockley station still won't be accessible 5 years from now.

And without access to the Londonbound platform as well the ramp is pointless. It's a ramp to a bridge over a railway.

It is always cheaper - and quicker - to do these projects in one go rather than revisiting them several years later. It would have been better to spend that money making New Cross Gate platform 5 accessible instead.

Brockley Nick said...

Like I say, the main benefit as far as I'm concerned has nothing to do with accessibility, but the fact that a new community garden has been created.

If the funding to deliver west side access as promised isn't there by 2015, then will you blame the Conservative government or the Conservative Mayor?

urbansurgery said...

surely whoever made the promise.

Matt-Z said...

So Lou, your plan would have been to add step-free access to one platform at a five platform station, as opposed to improving all round access and safety at a two platform station (with step-free acecss scheduled for the other platform within five years), and generally improving the entrance, streetscape etc.

Anonymous said...

@ Nick who cares about a garden when you cant get to the platform. Get ur priorities right. Accessibility First

Ed said...

Laregly academic now other than in the context of Conway's involvement in BX.

Nick, I agree that the common is great but the finishing on the ramp/step works is very poor as I mentioned and has already required repair within months of completion.

Perhaps the BX roundabout will fall into a Conway sinkhole; photoshop anyone?

Brockley Nick said...

@Ed - yes, totally rubbish, hence the link I provided in the original article. They did an OK job on the cobbles outside the Barge I think.

@Anon - yes, accessibility is important, which is why it is good news that the east side now has a better gradient ramp. The west side is a totally different project with different funding. So I don't really understand your point.

Monkeyboy said...

Yes Lou, it is complex.

Let me try and explain. There was a plan to make Brockley accessible, in fact there still is a plan. May not happen for a while now, at the time it was certainly more likely. Funding became available to create a new entrance and landscaping. Now it would seem obvious to those with more than a room temperature IQ that whatever is built is suitable for a future step free scheme, hence a compliant ramp. Now what would you have said if the developer had built something that would have needed rebuilding or modifying to make the station step free in the future? We like to call this ‘Future Proofing’ In the same way at Farringdon they are building a liftshaft for Thameslink. It goes nowhere, it was planned and funded before Crossrail was secured. Now that could have been a waste of money but as it turns out Crossrail WAS funded so the feature has saved money and time, we like to call this Passive Provision. The same thing was done on the ELL, preparity work was done to allow the spur to Clapham if it was funded, it was and the spur could be integrated with little fuss.

Anymore basic project planning questions, do ask.

Anonymous said...

Yes, why don't Boris Bikes use Oyster rather than giving you a big fat plastic key to squeeze into your pockets with everything else?

Mb said...

No idea.... but we're agreed that integrating projects (where possible) where their scope overlap is good thing?

Mantis said...

@anon 14.36

Because the cycle hire is a completely different scheme for starters. That and the fact that TFL have to pay a hundred million quid every year to the providers of the oyster card network, so didn't want to give them any more work. TFL have been trying to negotiate lower fees with little success, and there are rumours that they are changing provider and therefore the name 'Oyster' as the company and not TFL own it.

Punter said...

Changing provider? Oh god, can you imagine the protracted fuss they'd make over that?

A question about the tubes (the normal ones, not the sort you get in Brockley...) - is the overall message here "grin and bear it" as I don't see capacity getting significantly bigger nor do I see a prospect of adding a 2nd track or 24 hour opening any time soon.

p.s. any chance you can get rid of the unions?

Mb said...

I is getting signifficantly larger capacity, it just is. There are also more people using it. More trains will be squeezed onto the same lines - theres a limit of course. The Jubilee already had an extra carriage added some years ago, when (and if) the signaling system settles down it will be running more trains. Of course, it couold ALL be lies.

A 2nd track? well if you can find the money. Of course the stations will have to be upgraded to accept the extra passengers.

24hr running? Many jobs are impossible with trains running, they tend to hit people which is messy. Could of course shut lines completly for a period, that has been doine and is being proposed. Have to balance the inconvinience and loss of revenue - adds cost which the tax payer/passengers have to pay for.

The list goes on......

Lou Baker said...

@MB:

In places like Farringdon with Crossrail and Tottenham Court Road - where I understand they're making provision for Crossrail 2 while building Crossrail - it obviously makes sense to factor in unfunded schemes. Digging huge holes underground is complex, disruptive, expensive and difficult - and the less often you have to do it the better.

But we're not talking about a hugely complex underground project at Brockley station. We're talking about a ramp. A ramp which has been built at unnecessarily great expense but which doesn't actually go anywhere at present. And there's no sign it will go anywhere anytime soon. In the meantime, as you know, rules change, priorities change and what is deemed 'compliant' now may not be 5 years from now. After all this ramp replaced an old one - which had functioned perfectly well for years but was suddenly deemed unfit for purpose because some bureaucrat got bored one day and decided all ramps were too narrow. Or steep.

@Matt-Z: it would have been far better spending this money making New Cross Gate platform 5 accessible. Ultimately all stations should be fully accessible. Until they are it is sensible to improve acccessibility where you can. The southbound platform at Brockley was always accessible, the ramp didn't change that. Crucially though it didn't make the other platform accessible either. So the net current benefit is zero. Conversely, sorting out one platform at NXG could have benefitted every one who uses that platform by making it fully accessible where it wasn't before.

@nick
We don't have a Conservative government and I'm no fan of the Conservative mayor - having voted for his opponent. In fact, I've never voted Tory in my life and probably never will. If money for schemes isn't there I blame the system, not just one political party or other. They all waste huge sums of our money - failing to spend it sensibly or wisely. So much public money goes tackling avoidable problems - but very little is spent trying to avoid those problems in the first place. That's mad. You might like your hard earn cash being wasted on pointless schemes and futile projects. I want to make sure mine is spent sensibly and makes a difference - whichever colour party - or parties - are in power.

drakefell debaser said...

Lou, you are talking nonsense, the old ramp was steep enough to cause able-bodied people trouble, particularly if there was ice on the ground, never mind people in a wheelchair or those with a pram. Incidentally, did you ever use it given you would access the station from the West? Isn’t New Cross Station closer for you anyway? Why do you care?

The current one has a friendlier gradient so I think it is highly unlikely that it will need to be rebuilt on the whim of a bureaucrat. The recent change was a logical one, similar to why humans decided to move out of caves.

And, as has been pointed out the new ramp has opened up the station approach and provided a much nicer environment than what was there before. To call all the work and effort of the BXAG and the volunteers that weeded and planted the common ‘futile’ is pretty insulting.

Lou Baker said...

@drakefell

Yes, there are some pretty flowers. But I'm sorry - a ramp which goes nowhere IS futile.

There was an old ramp - which also went nowhere - which, as unnecessary ramps go, was perfectly functional.

And I care because it's partly my money which has been wasted on this currently pointless project.

This may only be one project costing a few hundred grand. But you multiple this hundreds of thousands of times across the country and you realise just how wasteful we are.

Brockley Nick said...

All of your grumpy criticisms are based on your assumption that the west side access issue will not be resolved. We have until 2015 to see whether you are proved as wrong as you were about the ELL

Mb said...

Spending more money but at a slower rate is often done, cash flow old boy. It's not at all unusual in either public or private realms.

All ramps are not equal, some ramps are not negotiable by wheelchair.

Brockley may never be completely step free, there's a good chance it will be and was certainly planned at the time so still had some merit doing it piecemeal.

Your right that even making a single station completely step free is pointless unless you have some where to travel too that is also step free. Life isn't ideal, funding creeps along and so upgrades like this are disjointed. Welcome to the real world.

Still heaps better than what was there before.

Bored and tired said...

Yes it is better than what was there before, but as Nick has said, this is mainly down to the planting on the mound - so nothing to do with Conway, then, who failed to finish it, or to the council, who failed to make Conway finish it. All thanks go to BXAG.

Ed said...

ditto

Mb said...

Agreed, the execution was shoddy at best.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it about time the mound was trimmed?

Foxberry Mike said...

I see from this TFL site: http://public.londonworks.gov.uk/roadworks/?x=FUnASOUvivP2Papbv--F9g
that the works were scheduled to take 5 weeks and now are programmed to last until early May!
I wonder if this is in recognition of Conway being the contractor or if the scope of works has increased.
(The same link also shows that the works to make Coulgate St no entry by Toad's Mouth start on Friday for about two weeks)

Anonymous said...

THE LINK DOESN'T SHOW THAT...

Foxberry Mike said...

Anon - if you click on the orange triangle on the link - works start 15th Feb and finish 3rd May. there is a black triangle mostly hidden under this that shows 'works cancelled' start 23rd Feb, finish 29th March, which is about 5 weeks as i posted. (is your Caps Lock stuck?)

Brockley Dogging Society said...

I'm prodding the black triangle and nothing's happening

Foxberry Mike said...

BDS - you do have to hover (with your mouse) quite carefully before prodding.......

Foxberry Mike said...

Lou - the ramp does link the east and west sides with a shortcut usable by less able bodied people, so it is not just about access to the station platforms.
The approved plans for Bridge House seem to leave a wide enough route between the brdge and the new building for a route through to platfom 1 which could form a very low cost and quickly achievable option for wheelchair access - no lifts needed. (An access here might also increase the footfall to the new retail units on Mantle Road too).

Bakerloo said...

Don't confuse him, he can't even comprehend the three dimensional problem of "changing at Canada water". He tends to think in straight lines.

Brockley Dogging Society said...

Foxberry Mike - it's OK, we managed to find a way in by clicking firmly on the brown star with our pointer.

drakefell debaser said...

"There was an old ramp - which also went nowhere - which, as unnecessary ramps go, was perfectly functional."

Eh? The old ramp formed the only access to the ticket office from the East. Don't you remember? The difference was that if you were in a wheel chair and wanted to go over to Mantle road you would need biceps the size of a small child to get up the slope.

Have a look on Google maps.

We now have steps for those that can use them, a gentle slope for wheel chair users, a large platform area outside the ticket station to help with queues and a permanent Christmas tree. Progress.

Anonymous said...

The "redesigned" Brockley Cross road scheme is pretty much a failure and a massive waste of money. Was it designed by a cyclist with no experience of driving a vehicle?
Has it improved road safety? Nope.
Has it decreased congestion? Nope.
Has it helped Brockley residents? Nope.
The hundreds of litres of white paint would have been better used painting the toilet block on Hilly Fields.

A Driver said...

I don't agree, I drive, i think the slight change in markings and repositionied islands has added some clarity to the double roundabout and means that drivers new to the area are less likley to use it incorectly.

Don't think anyone suggested that it was going to help congestion.

A slight WIN.

Brockley Nick said...

I agree "A Driver". I hear fewer horns as people drive through it, see fewer near misses and it does slow late night traffic through there.

As you say, a slight win. The more general point that the Cross is a mess is still true, but we are promised action on that front next year...

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