What now?

Kathy: We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we've lived through, or feel we've had enough time.
- Never Let Me Go

At the beginning of the year, our list of predictions for 2011 included the start of two projects: Martin's Yard and the Hilly Fields cafe. With construction at an advanced stage at the Yard and the cafe forecast to open next year, two of Brockley Central's longest-held ambitions for the area are due to come true shortly.

These are two bits of physical infrastructure that will change the way people relate to this area. The cafe should encourage people to linger longer in the park and attract more visitors to the area. Martin's Yard should create a significant small business cluster in Brockley for the first time. 

So what next? We know of two projects, which are potentially very exciting and which we help to bring you confirmed details of soon. But what single thing would you like to see happen in Brockley that would change the area for the better? 

94 comments:

Westsider said...

A complete, high quality makeover of the parade of shops opposite the barge would do me.

Crofty said...

Greengrocer in Crofton Park! And later ELL services/better night bus links.

Brockley Nick said...

Amen to better night services on ELL / buses

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to see a gym open up within walking distance from Brockley station

Adelaidy said...

Another drinking hole please. Love the Orchard but it can get too busy. Been to Browns a few times which is great but not open Friday/Saturday nights. I know we have the Barge but last time I went in the girls loos stank of sick and impluse. Just not where I want to spend my time anymore.

Another eating place would be good too.

And as Westsider said, a high quality makeover of the parade.

And yes, later trains.

Foxberry Flo said...

Does anyone know who has/is buying the Toad? Would be ace if it became more on an evening venue with a bar and food options.

Parade of shops: although it pains me to admit it, a Tesco Metro/Sainsbury's local would do wonders. It's so rubbish at the mo. It needs something to yank it up. La Lanterna: so sad.

Would love late night ELL.

Fattyfatty said...

A decent pub near Brockley station.

Ditto a makeover of the high street, by the station and on the Brockley Mess stretch. A ban on backlit plastic shop fronts and an enforcement on landlords to adequately maintain vacant units.

Sort out the street scape generally, fix uneven paving, remove clutter.

Anonymous said...

Don't believe another watering hole is needed, theres plenty of options is the near vicinity.

As for a gym in walking distance,if you walked more you wouldn't need a gym.

Joel Knight said...

Pedestrianisation of Colgate st. Development of the existing car lots, conversation of the 1930's concrete garage on Geoffrey Road into a contemporary mixed use development - adding to the existing building. This would be amazing.

Development of the timber yard into affordable housing/apartments. These changes would be a catalyst for more developments such as higher quality shops/shop fronts...

Another good pub would be good... I'm sure capital pubs have got there eyes locked in on something and will soon east dulwichise somewhere.

Anonymous said...

A small Waitrose near the station!

Anonymous said...

Somewhere central and residential to exchange needles and do my compulsory rehab.

mk said...

For the love of God, a bar (ideally, a NY-style dive bar that's open late). I know the South-East isn't renowned for nightlife, but just for once i'd like to know that I don't have to venture up to the East End to find a place that plays good tunes 'til the early hours.

barryls said...

How about a petition / vote for a boundary change to become part of Southwark.

That's the only way to get any of the things above.

mk said...

oh yeah, later trains and more night buses too.

though i'm expecting the latter to happen sometime in 2050.

Tamsin said...

Ho, ho...

Parking restrictions on Coulgate Street - not full pedestrianisation.

But please don't make-over the parade of shops out of all recognition - Sounds Around and Magi might not survive the process.

its a shame said...

Ban on the backlit shop fronts is in place under the conservation rules - all you need to do is contact the council.

I want to mention the postive feeling I get from the Brockley market in Tressillain - this is one of the best improvements from the last year.

Brockley Nick said...

"Ban on the backlit shop fronts is in place under the conservation rules - all you need to do is contact the council."

Unfortunately, the Council is pretty open about the fact that they don't believe they have the resources to enforce this kind of issue.

"I want to mention the postive feeling I get from the Brockley market in Tressillain - this is one of the best improvements from the last year."

Totally agreed. And a good example of re-using existing community assets in a new way, rather than having to build something new.

Hugh said...

Russian oligarch to buy up the MOT centre that lines Coulgate Street and raze it in favour of a creative space for excitingly dressed female Goldsmiths undergraduates.

openly out said...

As a gay person in Brockley I'd like to have more homosexual-friendly meeting places, the last time I was affectionate to my partner in a fish shop i felt I was being examined by other customers

Anonymous said...

With the lamposts being so bad in some places, back lit shop fronts are a good thing.

Osh said...

The question is: what are the two projects that Nick is talking about!

Mb said...

Covered elsewhere, provide proper commercial waste mangement facilities for the take aways at BX and compel them to use it. Would make BX immediatly better and would be inexpensive (?)

Pedestrianisation of Coulgate St sounds a no brainer, will inconvinience some but benefit many.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if the area had a decent brothel or at least a lap dancing club (could have one for women as well.)

I can see a couple of obvious benefits. It would help some of those poor students pay their fees and also help relieve some of the marital tensions that arise from the ongoing baby boom. Yoga is often not enough.

Anonymous said...

And stop Dominos Pizza opening in Honor Oak Park.

Crofton Cath said...

Direct buses to Greenwich and East Dulwich.

Brockley Kiwi said...

Doesn't the 484 go past Dulwich?

My two (kiwi) cents worth:
Browns opening on Fri/Sat night
Emergence of a reliable quality Sunday roast from one of the newly refurbed pubs (have tried Haberdashers, Talbot and Orchard which are ok but a bit hit and miss)
One more decent restaurant/evening drinking option near the station/brockley cross

Oldtimer said...

Brockley used to have lots of good things that we now don't have !0 years ago there was a brilliant deli, a fantastic second hand bookshop, and second hand furniture shop full of bargains, to name a few sadly all these have gone, not to mention about 3 pubs.

The idea that Brockley is on a trajectory from crap to good really isn't true, yes we've got a couple more places to eat but actually less than to be expected from the boom in people eating out in the last decade. Some bits of Brockley have got better some have got worse, get over it.

Oldtimer said...

*10 years ago

Anonymous said...

More fried chicken shops.

Brockley Nick said...

Oldtimer, alternatively, if you want to trace Brockley back to the primordial swamps, then it is on an upward trajectory.

I'd dispute the claim that it was better 10 years ago on the basis that there was a second hand bookshop and an occasionally-open deli. But that's a different argument, for another day. That's not the point of this thread at all.

mb said...

What deli? not Dandelion Blue? frankly I though that was more style over substance. Degustation, The Broca, Browns, Broca Food Market - proper bussinesses.

I moved here in 2002, it's better now (for me at least)

Matt-Z said...

I presume Oldtimer means the deli which was opposite Homeview (now Portland bookies) and is currently a fruit/veg/convenience store.

There were several more pubs around, admittedly they weren't great, but if they'd stayed as pubs rather than being converted into tiny flats, by now they would make great watering holes, e.g. the Maypole on the West side of the station.

@Joel knight - why so keen to get rid of the timber yard? It employs local people, provides materials for local people and builders, and is a success. I can't understand how keen some people on here are to drive any business that doesn't fit into a single floor shop unit out of the area.

Anyway my suggestion, if TfL get hold of the Dartford lines, is for the High Level platforms to be reopened at Brockley, giving a direct rail connection to Lewisham, and a faster route to Victoria.

Also a bakery would be nice.

Morag said...

Yes! Open up the platforms for direct trains to Victoria! That would hugely improve transport links for the area, especially when the ELL link from Surrey Quays means the short loop of the London Bridge - Victoria route disappears.

mb said...

@matt, possibly. Before my time!

The pub closure thing, that's true for London generally though? not a particular Brockley curse.

like the idea of the direct vic service. Is that more likley that the Bakerloo extension? Which i doubt is on any realistic funding plan.

Anonymous said...

More shops and bars in West Brockley - there is loads of retail space now. BTW Does anyone know who / what is going under Jude Court now? I heard it was Nisa but that was months ago ...

Tamsin said...

We could make a start by lobbying at relevant times (on the six monthly time-table revisions) to have the weekend/evening Charing Cross service restored now that the money making routes from further out that we were shoved aside for have not lived up to expectations.

I know I've been repeatedly told that it is simple to change at Canada Water and/or London Bridge but London Bridge is really crappy late at night, and changing is never easy with shopping, or children or a walking stick and I would rather not use the underground then either. It is a service that was removed for no valid reason and could and should be restored.

Anonymous said...

A community centre is something that Brockley lacks.

Michael said...

Pretty sure that is is going to be a Nisa, I asked one of the builders recently and he confirmed that.

For the area to truly move forward an improvement in the streetscape is essential. Good pavements and clean public spaces inspire people to contribute to their local area rather than see it as a lost cause. I'm really looking forward to the tree planting that's going to happen along the parade opposite the Barge. The new pavements are fine but look very barren at the moment, they really need brightening up.

Also, a good over-the-counter deli with a proper seating area and an Italian restaurant.

mb said...

Have a whip round and pay Genaro's to relocate. Top deli.

Anonymous said...

a direct bus to brixton.

Matt-Z said...

An Italian restaurant would be great. What is going on with LA Lanterna?

The P4 is direct to Brixton from Crofton Park, though it can bit a bit slow during peak hours.

Tamsin said...

@ Anon 15.35 - St. Andrews?

Anonymous said...

I've lived here long enough to remember when Brockley did not have streets congested with cars vying for parking space next to the station.

When, there were local shops like bakers, fishmongers, butchers, greengrocers and so on. The shopping parades were full of useful shops.

All this went into a decline once Lewisham cut a deal with the big supermarkets and their huge car parks. It killed off a lot of the commercial life that existed locally and condensed it into a handful of shopping centres that are best accessible by car owners.

The commercial landlords seem not to have responded to this situation very constructively. They are fond of rental hikes on independent businesses that can easily push them into unprofitability. I guess they like to keep the properties on short leases so they can sell several properties to a some supermarket in the future.

Brockley, like much of the Borough suffers from decaying shopping parades because of the these reasons.

There are examples in other parts of London where this process has been arrested and reversed. Marylebone High St being the obvious example.

Yesterdays article in the Independent on Margate was illuminating. It does not paint a pretty picture of the decline of this town into near dereliction.

The recommendations fixing this sort of decline require some assertive and inspired leadership from local government to encourage independent businesses.

These are words not normally found in the same sentence as Lewisham, which seems content to go with the flow and cut easy deals with big corporations.

So, I am hoping their might be some tweaking of the economics at a national level to rescue the decline of local shopping areas.

Anonymous said...

Anon: "All this went into a decline once Lewisham cut a deal with the big supermarkets and their huge car parks."

Do get your head out of the conspiracy bucket. It was government planning policy that allowed these supermarkets in towns (people were objecting to the big out-of-town ones, remember?). It had nothing to do with Lewisham.

Bonobo said...

I would like somewhere public where I could make love. But people are so hostile to my needs.

Anonymous said...

A medium-sized arts centre and performance space for cutting-edge contemporary music.

I'll get round to setting it up one day...

Tressilliana said...

Anon 16.57, actually it was Lewisham as the other Anon is presumably talking about the arrival of Tesco in Lewisham in the mid to late 80s rapidly followed by Sainsbury's in Dog Kennel Hill and then New Cross.

I've been in Brockley since the mid 80s and I don't remember a fishmonger. There was a good basic greengrocer in Crofton Park until at least the early 90s. The deli opposite the upholsterer was a bit hit and miss but had some good stuff. The secondhand bookshop was good for an occasional browse.

The truth is that there have always been good things in Brockley but they change from time to time.

My hope for the future is that the Prendergast federation does really well over the next few years so that far fewer Brockley children commute half across London for secondary school.

Anonymous said...

Substitute the MOT/ACE in a square with shops with shops and cafes.

I remeber a proposal last year launched by Brockley Central

Tressilliana said...

Lovely idea, but what happens to the business and its employees? I'd rather see a lot more local businesses creating good, long-term jobs with training provided.

Anonymous said...

Sadly Biaggio group, which owns la Lanterna, has put all it's central London restaurants on the market, so my guess is Brockley will be heading the same way......

Mb said...

Could be a blessing, at least it gets the site out of limbo.

Aricana said...

I'd really like a bookshop and a new cafe/restaurant.

I wonder what's going to happen to the housing office space on Mantle Road. It's a large area with portacabin type buildings. The sign says the housing office has moved. Could this be a new and exciting development?

I Broccoli Brockley said...

I'd like more places you could have a dance in. Particularly down the Brockley Station end of town.

Anonymous said...

Can we ask thE Barge to hire a gourmet chef for a gastro menu?

Anonymous said...

@anon 16:51 - for big hairy projects you may want to contact:

The Big Society Network

bigsociety@thebigsociety.co.uk and specify
the nature of your enquiry, or call 020 7845 5895

For information about our events:
please email events@thebigsociety.co.uk

kolp said...

Good quality local employment. Jobs that's what this area needs more than anything.

Anonymous said...

The housing offices on Mantle Rd are being dismantled at the moment, the buildings are shipping containers and only had temporary planning permission.

I presume another ugly block of flats will go up crowding that side of the station.

Hugh said...

It has gone unremarked, I think, but if the Hilly Fields cafe is done properly it has the potential to make a bigger difference to the area than anything else. Brockley Road isn't likely to change in appearance to any material extent, nor are jobs likely to fall from the skies for local residents claiming benefits. So we must aim for what we can achieve, and a yummy mummies latte station deesigned to wow casual monied visitors to the conservation area (so that they decide to move in) seems the ticket.

Anonymous said...

Definitely get rid of the wood yard and the MOT centre. They only provide employment to working class types which we don't want in Brockley. The former could be taken over by Waitrose -- they must be looking to expand into the area.

TM said...

Genaro's used to be in the parade of shops adjacent to the Wickham before moving to Lewisham.

For me lets get rid of anti social behaviour.

T said...

I'd love a second-hand bookshop, a nice deli with lots of foodie delights, a couple more trendy cafes like browns of brockley and brockley mess for coffee, brunch and drinks, a vintage furntiture shop and a proper bakers to take over the grey parade and give it some life. Would be nice to have shops to explore on the weekends.

Seeing the amount of successful small new business that have popped up in east london created by young entrepreneurs makes me think Brockley has the same potential. With the east london line bringing more young people in, I'm hoping it will have a knock-on effect and young entrepreneurs will start investing in the south east.

Also, that car dealership place should go, it's rank.

Brockley Nick said...

I know you're trying to be dreadfully satirical, anon, but you seem to be suggesting that only posh people work in Waitrose.

Anonymous said...

Nick - what are the two projects?

Anonymous said...

What about using the area next to the station. It is used as a construction yard, but there is no construction there. Surely we can find a better use for an area so close to the station. Perhaps the estate agent could be offered some other less prominent piece of land by the Council or TFL. It is also an obstacle to a pedestrian Coulgate Street.

mb said...

Think they may be using it as a site compound for the platform works at the station?

Mr Crofton Park Motivator said...

I second the gym suggestion/request and a pool would be nice as well (but maybe a bit big?).

and to whoever suggested walking to the gym - I want to add muscle not burn it off...

Tressilliana said...

I've said this before but I really, really can't see how anyone can think running a small bookshop of any kind, let alone a secondhand one, would make the proprietor enough to live on. Have you seen how cheaply you can buy secondhand books on Amazon?

ambitious said...

I'd like the moon on a stick!

chesney hawk said...

Forget Brockley it's all about Ladywell man, Id like a commitment from London Mayor BJ that the Bakerloo line extension to Ladywell and onward to Hayes will be completed by 2015 so my house can go up by 20k and I can live happily ever after. Id also like Masons to be turned into a gentlemens evening dining and entertainment establishment

Anonymous said...

The bakerloo line is supposed to run through new cross gate too, which would make it pretty much connected to brockley ...

Anonymous said...

OMG, my housekeeper did not tell me that the lower classes worked in Waitrose too. My world has crumbled. In that case, if we must have the lower paid around, what about a branch of Asprey's? I've always found their staff very obliging.

Tamsin said...

Pootling around a secondhand bookshop (or a booksale) is a different experience to getting something specific off Amazon. Those who run second hand bookshops now usually also have their stock listed on Amazon - although not sure how the logistics work of someone buying on-line at the same second as it is picked up in the shop...
The Kirkdale bookshop in Sydenham (which I think is both new and second hand) seems quite successful - but the proprietor does have to work very hard at non-stop promotion.

Tressilliana said...

I tried selling some books on Amazon earlier this year. They were as new but not rare, so the maximum I could charge was a penny. The big sellers make all their money on the postage charge and by qualifying for a bulk sellers' discount with Amazon. If you're not a big seller you can't sell bog standard books at a profit.

In those circumstances I can't see why anyone would choose to operate from a shop rather than from their back room.

NAT said...

I really liked the idea of lighting/painting the railway bridge on the West side, mentioned here (but can't find where}

Done well,it might provide some definition to that stretch.

Local designers artists involved?

It might also give the drivers of high sided vehicles pause (argh... lighting...graphics..)before they come unstuck.

By which I mean, of course, stuck.

Ed said...

A good gym in Brockley, yep. Went to the Goldsmiths one but the running machines are a bit 2nd rate, and what's the point of working out on not very good machines?

The Co-Op should be bigger and have more of a range of stuff.

Also, Brockley needs an enormous Broccoli looming above the parade of shops, much as Catford has the Catford Cat and London has all bridges or whatever.

Anonymous said...

Westsider has my vote...

You wally said...

"Also, Brockley needs an enormous Broccoli looming above the parade of shops, much as Catford has the Catford Cat and London has all bridges or whatever."

You seem to have a piece of broccoli in place of a brain.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of decorating the bridges, bought to mind this at Deptford Creek:
http://www.shonakitchen.com/high_low/index.html

2 and 2 together said...

how about decorating the bridge with a giant brocolli mural!

Anonymous said...

A decent youth centre? And a cafe/coffee shop that stays open later than 6pm

I'm no artist but I know what I like said...

Massive badger. That is all.

Tamsin said...

The problem with a decent Youth Centre is that you need decent youth workers to staff it - and they are thin on the ground and those that are around (as some excellent ones are) are much in demand and quite expensive.

Ali Kati said...

Massive badger eating some broccoli?

And get rid of the bookies! How many does one stretch of road need?

kolp said...

What's with this 'Brockley as broccoli'? The name of the area derives from badgers not brassicas.

Agree lighting the bridge would be a good thing.

NAT said...

Would a proposal like lighting/painting the bridges be something that was suitable for a proposal for funding at a ward assembly?

Anonymous said...

CPZ and CCTV for the station


Enforcement of existing covenants/tidy up parade

Barge upgrade/change in operator/owner

Signage and fines for noise pollution (esp. from cars)

Funds for BXAG to improve the area further

Weekly street markets on Coulgate St.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Brockley sounds like broccoli! Ha ha ha, hilarious! Let's all get tattoos of broccoli on our faces!

drakefell debaser said...

Conways to do the right thing and refurbish the steps outside the station, remove the pond by the Western entrance and contribute funds to the Xmas market or Brockley Max festival to make amends.

Re-surfacing of Coulgate
Full pedestrianisation of Coulgate St

Development of the plot of land where the Maypole once was

Development of the plot of land where the port- cabin offices are opposite

Work to recommence on the development further down alongside the railway line

Painting of the bridges on Mantle Rd and Endwell Rd – something fun and vibrant that won’t be an instant graffiti magnet

A careless lorry driver counter for the Mantle Rd bridge - another lorry has apparently smacked it again today…

Planting of trees along Mantle Rd’s new pavements to soften the concrete a bit

Martins Yard development forces the drycleaners next door to take down the ridiculous A4 per letter advertising display in the window and to give their shop a lick of paint.

Sandwich shop opposite said drycleaners to become something
Shop / restaurant potential premises opposite to become something

I third the request to smarten up the parade opposite the Barge

I second the request for an anti – social behaviour crack down (spitting, littering, dog fouling)

Bitter thirty-something said...

@NAT

"Would a proposal like lighting/painting the bridges be something that was suitable for a proposal for funding at a ward assembly?"

Yes it would, but you'd have to make it appeal to the yoof for it to have a chance of being voted in.

Moira said...

Conways lend us barriers for the Opening Night of Brockley Max - and very grateful we are too. But if anyone knows someone in their corporate responsibiilty dept (if they have one) we'd appreciate some more support...

NAT said...

@BTS I went to my first Ladywell ward assembly meeting recently' and while you're right that many of the applicants and, I think, all of the eventual recievers of funding were youth groups, it was however the grownups voting.

Might yet be a goer?

Tamsin said...

Need to be slightly careful in planting trees to soften concrete in case they soften it too much. Rather concerned about the mass of silver birches planted along Shardeloes Road (suddenly and without consultation a couple of years back). Not necessarily the wisest thing to do right next to a retaining wall that's been there without tree roots altering the sub-soil for about 150 years.

Bleeding Heart Liberal said...

How about the council providing a permanent site for the Brockley Dogging Society.
I think it only fair the BDS are afforded the same rights as the Travellers/Gypsies.
Any NIMBY'S out there who object to such a suggestion are small minded racists.
Doggers have been around for centuries and it is about time Brockley and the wider community embraced them.

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