Posted by Nick Barron on 28.2.11
Waj Proper replica man.
Barry It's too small man!
Waj Not too small, brother. Big hands!
South East London blogs eat themselves: Transpontine rummaged through the photo libraries we linked to last week and found some early 20th century images of Telegraph Hill. So now we're posting one of the one's he found - if you want to see the other one, head over to the site.
We opened up the Independent today to see what they made of Homemade London's sewing café and workshops to discover that they'd also mentioned the fact you can use Cafe Crema's sewing machines while you eat and drink in New Cross - something we weren't aware of before.
Posted by Nick Barron on 26.2.11
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw, "I just wanted to be sure of you."
Monday's opening of the East London Line extension to Canonbury and Highbury & Islington is an opportunity for us to dust off and update our series of reviews of stops along the line.
Highbury & Islington tube station exits on to the opposite end of the Upper Street from Angel, where the theme bars and shopping enclaves give way to a more diffuse, varied set of attractions.
That’s not to say that the station’s not handy for many of Upper Street’s more popular venues, like The Grand Union (153 Upper Street), The Hope and Anchor (207 Upper Street – the reviews for which read like a BC debate – no-one can agree whether it’s too down-market, too upmarket, full of genuine geezers or been irredeemably gentrified) or the mother ship of the wonderful Ottolenghi empire (287 Upper Street). It’s also the right end of Upper Street for its mini-theatre district, including the Almeida (Almeida Street), “London’s Little Opera House” at the Kings Head Theatre (115 Upper Street) and the beautiful, tiny Little Angel Theatre (14 Dagmar Passage), which specialises in productions for children.
But from Highbury & Islington station, the interesting stuff fans out in all directions. The handsome nearby streets are home to some great places to eat and drink: Just the other side of the roundabout from Highbury & Islington station is the legendary comedy pub, The Hen and Chickens Theatre Bar (109 St Paul’s Road) or go west up Barnsbury Street for The Drapers Arms (44 Barnsbury Street), down Liverpool Road for the outstanding French restaurant Morgan M (489 Liverpool Road) or Compton Avenue for the uniquely beautiful music venue, the Union Chapel. Someday, all churches will be like that.
To the north lies Highbury Fields, the biggest green space in Islington. It’s broad, flat, beautifully-maintained, lined with Georgian and Victorian terraces and all set about with London Plane trees. Beyond that lies London Met University and Arsenal’s home, the Emirates Stadium, which is a stadium which almost any other Club would envy, not least of all, Spurs.
More East London Line destinations:
The South London Art Map launches tonight, with 90 galleries throughout south London staying open late (6.30pm- 8pm). Among them will be local venues including cueB at Brockley Mess, Lewisham Arthouse and Tea Leaf Arts, which has relocated from The Tea Factory to a new home at 110 Endwell Road after its rent free period ran out.
The money shop at 9 Brockley Cross has closed. Notices from bailiffs acting on behalf of the landlord confirm that it will not be reopening. Once a florist, that business had to close a couple of years ago, when the rent was increased.
TfL has today confirmed that by the end of next year it will have upgraded all bus, Tube, DLR, Tram and Overground Oyster card readers, so you will be able to pay as you go with your bank or credit card.
The Council is to dispose of its management responsibilities for Ladywell Arena and athletics track and is seeking expressions of interests from private or community groups interested in running the Ladywell Fields sports facility.
A new group called The Future of New Cross has been set up for people interested in forming community groups to run frontline Council services being cut in New Cross, including the library, the Amersham Children's Centre and the St James Family Learning Centre.
Goldsmiths students today chose the formal opening ceremony for the college's new digital media centre to protest against changes to university funding.
10.02am Monday, February 28th. The first East London Line train arrives at Highbury and Islington Station.
As local residents, we’ve been asking the Council to address the problem of illegally parked vans in Brockley for over year. During this time, the problem has been getting steadily worse – the number of vans is steadily increasing. Late last year, the Council told us that having investigated the complaints, they did not believe that there was any problem and suggested that we keep a record of parking problems, so that they could see for themselves what was taking place.
With your help, over the last few weeks, we have compiled a large file of photographic evidence, which we will be giving to the Council, as they suggested. There are dozens and dozens of photos like this one, which should demonstrate beyond all reasonable doubt that there is a problem that needs addressing.
The Council is currently struggling to balance its budget. At the same time, it is spending approximately £300,000 to make safety improvements to Brockley Cross. Better parking enforcement in Brockley could help the Council raise more funds while ensuring that the improvements to Brockley Cross are not wasted beneath a sea of illegally parked vehicles.
Illegally parked vans are not just detrimental to the look and feel of the area, they harm other businesses’ trade, obscure sight-lines and block pedestrian crossing points. In some cases, they force pedestrians on to the road. They are dangerous and harmful to everyone, regardless of your background. This is not a bourgeois concern.
We have two very specific requests for the Council in relation to this problem:
1. Put sustained pressure on the company responsible for parking enforcement in SE4 to take action against illegally parked vehicles in the area – particularly on Coulgate Street, Brockley Cross and Upper Brockley Road, where the problems are most acute.
2. Reconsider its decision to turn a blind eye to the fact that D&M Van Hire failed to get planning permission for its office in Brockley Cross. To speak to them and ask them to find off-street parking for their growing fleet of vehicles, or face action.
Both requests simply involve the Council enforcing its own rules, in recognition of the fact that the failure to do so is harming the area. This is not an anti-van issue – responsible legal business practices are fine – irresponsible, illegal practices are not.
We think the long-term solutions involve performance-related contracts for parking enforcement companies and the part-pedestrianisation of Coulgate Street, but those are issues we are happy to leave for another day. In the immediate future, it needs traffic wardens and planning officers to take action on behalf of local people.
Thanks again for your help, we'll let you know what response we get from the Council.
Long-time BC pigeon Michael reports that the fit-out work taking place in one of the Mantle Road units (same block as Bohemia Hair) is a new sandwich and smoothie joint, due to open within a couple of weeks. He adds that
Posted by Nick Barron on 21.2.11
This is a new thread for local employers wishing to advertise jobs they are creating in the area. It's a hotlink, which means it will be featured permanently on the home page. Businesses wishing to place other advertisements should email us about our classifieds section.
Last month, the Overground was officially the most reliable train service in the UK. The Jubilee Line, by contrast, continues to deliver a shocking service.
Demonstrators gathered outside libraries, banks and children’s centres at 34 locations across the borough, handing out leaflets and singing, before a march took place from the Town Hall.
The action was organised by Lewisham People Before Profit and Lewisham Anti-Cuts Alliance.
Speaking outside Barclays Bank in London Road, Forest Hill, organiser John Hamilton said: “It’s a focal point for the centre of Forest Hill more so than the library.
“The banks are one of the reasons we have been in this crisis of cuts.”
Those seduced by the Bacchanalian atmosphere are promised bigger, possibly rainier, carnivals in future. John Hamilton, the group's own Henry Winter, says the organisers have more meetings scheduled and are hoping to stage bigger protests in future.
Read the report here.
- Amersham Early Years Centre, in Amersham Road, New Cross, which offers childcare, will also close in August.
- Costs for the borough's remaining three early years centres will be upped by as much as £50 a week for parents.
- Charges for the meals on wheels service are going up, there will be less home care support for elderly people and the council will start using staff members rather than consultants to investigate deaths of kids in care.
In today's Lewisham Council budget meeting, the Mayor accepted officers' recommendation that five libraries in the borough be closed unless a third party can be found to take over their running.
Good news for South East London. London Reconnections reports that the Crossrail project will include capacity for station at Woolwich. The project had been in some doubt, due to protracted funding negotiations, but a statement from the Secretary of State for Transport today confirmed that a "box" will be built at Woolwich.
Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust is applying to become a Foundation Trust and has opened a public consultation on the matter.
Lewisham Council's building contractors Conways, responsible for the Brockley Common project, have begun construction work at Brockley Cross today.
The Council is keen to find a private partner that will build a new cafe in Hilly Fields and it has targeted the site currently occupied by the toilet block for redevelopment. This would allow them to unburden themselves of the cost of "maintaining" the loos, while enabling the construction of a new community asset.
One possible partner is the development team behind a proposal called The View at Hilly Fields, although they would like to use an alternative location. It's not known at this stage whether the Council will consider other sites, although one would hope that they'd listen to all serious proposals submitted to them.
We ran a story about the proposals here. Unsurprisingly, given how important Hilly Fields is to the whole area and how ambitious the plans are, it generated a huge debate. The large majority of those who posted were supportive of the principle of creating a cafe in the park, but many had questions or concerns about this particular proposal (which is one of two that BC is aware of).
The team has taken the time to address the issues raised in that debate, sending us this Q&A. Whether you approve of their ideas or not, their willingness to engage is extremely welcome and it has helped to provoke a constructive debate about what kind of building we want in Hilly Fields. Whatever the location or design eventually chosen, it is clear that we should be thinking bigger than a tuck shop with toilets attached.
Dear Brockley Central Readers, with regards to The View at Hilly Fields...
Any developer who wins the bid to develop the loo block is called to:
(i) demolish and remove an old toilet block and office
(ii) replace (on the same footprint), a new public toilet,
(iii) an office for the park keeper,
(iv) a café,
(v) on a 20 year lease..?
Limited space, with a limited lease, equals limited return. Indeed one wonders if the council is serious. We genuinely feel that this undertaking will be economically unviable, and possibly even financially disastrous; for additional reasons:
a) that far inside the park would see reduced passing trade
b) the building would be unseen from all three sides/reduced marquee
c) in the dark winter months customers would lack confidence visiting.
It’s the three Rs: Reduced trade. Reduced profit. Repossession.
An additional factor, of huge concern actually, one that plagues park buildings across London; security issues due to burglary and vandalism. If this were solely public money then perhaps one could just shrug one’s shoulders - when it’s your own you’re perhaps a little less dismissive.
However, our concerns do not end there…
The nearby trees have played havoc with the existing building at the loo block site. This is in fact is why the Council needs to rebuild but cannot afford to. There is a huge fissure inside across the length and breadth of the building. It is actually falling down even though it is not very old. (Please go along and ask the park keeper to let you inspect, he‘s quite accommodating.) The drains too may have been damaged by the roots of trees and need constant maintenance.
Four mature trees would have to go or their roots would again destroy the foundations of any new building.
There would be insurance and mortgage issues that would be insurmountable if they remained.
The council is not financing the demolition, or any new building, and the financial risk would rest (solely) with the developer. Repeat, there is no public money. How could anyone, with a 20-year lease, in an environment to a building’s foundations, take on such risk?
Although the above form our reasons for not choosing to bid for the toilet block location we understand that other parties may do so and that at least one, a franchise, may be interested. We are not a franchise, just locals concerned by the risk, but we wish them well.
The View Location
We looked at approximately 12 locations (including the toilet block) and settled on the proposed site - which by coincidence was actually the original site of a Victorian Refreshment House. We did not want to ‘steal’ the view from park users so set the building back; as you may see in the additional photograph supplied to Nick. That said, the location was chosen by the Brockley community circa 1860; in other words chosen by the founders of the park because that position was, to their great thinking, special.
Park users’ do not actually use this section, they either congregate alongside the bench or south where the hill slopes towards Adelaide Avenue. Other users congregate to the north and west, away from this location - which is not in the centre of the park. (In fact the toilet block is central.)
The original building that stood there enhanced the views out some distance - in all weather - and did not intrude on the view enjoyed by other park users. Nor would it now.
How do we make it healthy but interesting - for kids?
We aim to have a section of the interior with different users in mind. Therefore we welcome the pupils at Prendergast; even though some here have posted against this. We will, if the land is ever offered (?), and if we should win a successful bid, and if we should find favour with the community - so many ifs - approach the school kids to design that part of the interior which is exclusively theirs.
What if the building isn’t maintained by you?
The council (freeholder), or the managers of the park, would impose hefty fines. We would also (naturally) be interested in the upkeep of a building that contained our financial futures.
Why does it have to be completed before the Olympics?
We never said that.. This was just an item on the wish list. Given the interest in London during the games, we just hoped to siphon some towards Brockley.
The View at Hilly Fields is a work in progress, seeking community approval and/or input, and it is to be wholly funded by private means. (However, those willing to contribute against any adverse risk are most welcome.)
Domination by building
The photograph shows a building - a house as someone rightly keeps pointing out - at a reasonably close distance. It is not wholly in context with the overall size of that section of the park. (Also the red dot in the other photo is off by 50 feet.) A specially tailored building, with the same sweeping shapes, would, we believe, compliment the park landscape… but that’s just our view. We also understand that this brings change and with change always comes concern. When that concern is about the disposal of public land then we would be amongst those calling for greater clarification and community control.
Connections to sewage, etc.
The location we have chosen is within easy reach of all utilities according to our research. Added to which, the access road to the toilet block site is roughly the same distance from the toilet block location as Montague Avenue is to our proposed site. (However, the Eastern Road access to the toilet block location is, or so we believe, a right of way to Prendergast School - which places visitors and deliveries even further away.)
As one poster suggested the loo block site would be a good position from which to watch her child in the playground… we would say forget it. You would not see your child from that position, but would from the site we suggest. (Visit it and see.)
Proposed design may look dated in 50 years
We can’t argue with this. We actually love Victorian properties, but we would hazard that not even the Victorians knew how long their beautiful buildings would remain.
Be that as it may… the possibility of something looking dated should not form the handcuffs from which the ideas of a new generation are shackled.
Rebuilding a Victorian refreshment house
We do not believe that all building patterns have to follow the Victorian book. However ours is no fait accompli: by any means. This building is by the same designers and was supplied - together with additional work - as one of a set. (The original View House in Argentina is worth seeing in context.) It’s a representative of the design we want to take to enhance the views around Hilly Fields, and an outline of these has been provided to Nick. It is a work in progress, one which we are inviting community participation; alongside those of the designers Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee and others. We emphasise… There is no land currently being made available by the council at our desired location. The image is there purely to challenge, to stimulate, and - hopefully - produce a healthy debate on what can and cannot be. The land was donated by a previous Brockley community. It is that community which decides the merits of development, if any. It is too that same community to which we are proud to offer an investment that will carry over to the next generation.
What will we gain from this development?
We were surprised by this question…
Try rate revenue, taxes, a Section 106 Agreement, a superb iconic building, a facility in the park, and work for locals.
It will not be a McDonalds. However, on the ground floor we will sell teas and sandwiches, the usual park café fare with the usual user in mind, sensibly and affordably priced, and at a mezzanine level - should one be allowed - we will offer that little bit extra. Some call this ‘fine dining’… We believe all dining should be fine; in other words good for your health - even if it comes wrapped in a sandwich.
Why Should ‘alleged’ entrepreneurs build where they see fit.
We’re just looking to improve the community in which we live and there is nothing ‘alleged‘ about us in our community commitment. If the community doesn’t want our money or ideas then that‘s fine. However, to dispel the myth, we cannot build where we see fit. As pointed out already the land isn’t even being offered. (Please remember this.) If it were then the Council would have to ask for your permission to dispose of it. Following this, if you gave that permission, anyone else could ‘express interest’ in building on what we propose. The hurdles to our ambitions do not end there... Anyone interested in such public land would have to have any plans or disposal passed by the following; Lewisham’s Mayor; Legal Department; Planning Department; Building Control; Traffic Control; Glendale Park Management; Hilly Fields Users Group; the Friends of Hilly Fields; Brockley Society; the London Fire Service, the Metropolitan Police, the residents of Hilly Fields… and a host of individual park users.
The land and interior of present building
Lewisham Council has needed to provide decent public loos at that site for some years. It has failed to do so. The park manager Glendale would also like a new park keeper’s lodge, but why should a café owner pay for this? The authority would (naturally) like anyone expressing interest in the land at the toilet block to redevelop (try rebuild) - on its behalf - a public utility it should provide. But is this likely?
Only time will tell.