In memory of Sean McGill

Lep Recorn has investigated a tragic piece of local history. He writes:

In the Brockley sorting office public area where packets and parcels are collected, there is a plaque “In memory of Sean McGill died 30. 10. 92. Aged 22.”

The 30th October 1992 was a Friday. Sean McGill was a postman and gave a colleague a lift home to Nunhead. He was driving a post office Bedford van with sliding doors, and was not wearing a seat belt. As he returned from Nunhead driving over the railway bridge on St Asaph’s Road he lost control of the van on the bend. He was thrown from the van and crushed to death by it as it rolled over him.

Bird of Paradise, 258 Brockley Road

BreakspearsEagle writes:

Bird of Paradise is a new Caribbean restaurant located in 'Midtown' Brockley and according to the manager the food takes influences from across the Caribbean.

I have tried the food 3 times - twice takeaway (with free delivery for orders over £10) and once eating in and each time the food and service have been great.

The menu varies each day from a fairly wide selection and so far I have enjoyed the stewed chicken, curried chicken and the curried goat. Each time the food has been flavoursome with generous portions. The takeaway was delivered promptly and came with complimentary banana crisps and salad.


The decor of the restaurant is clean and fun with the colours taken from the restaurant's logo. When eating in I tried out the homemade the ginger beer and sorrel juice. The ginger beer was very punchy but a bit sweet for my tastes. However, the sorrel juice was lovely and refreshing with a unique taste that I would definitely go for again.

Highly recommended. Visit http://www.bird-of-paradise.org/ 

Blackwall toll to pay for Silvertown Tunnel?

TfL has launched a second consultation about its plans for a new river crossing or two in East London.

The key proposals include a new tunnel linking Greenwich Peninsula to Silvertown and a new ferry connection between Thamesmead and Beckton.

TfL say they are trying to fix the following problems, which were a lot like the problems that were ignored when Boris scrapped the Thames Gateway Bridge (a project that was superior to any now on the table and which, as 853 points out, may not be dead):

1. Regular long delays at the Blackwall Tunnel, particularly during peak times
2. Frequent closures of the Blackwall Tunnel and the impact of closures on the surrounding road network
3. The need to replace the Woolwich Ferry infrastructure as it nears the end of its operating life
4. The need for additional road connections to support growth

The Silvertown Tunnel would increase the volume of traffic trying to use the A102 and carve up Greenwich Peninsula. It would also be less pedestrian and cyclist friendly than a bridge. On the plus side, it would make it easy to re-route traffic in the event of a one tunnel closing and it would connect two relatively dynamic areas, rather than two moribund ones. Whereas the Gateway Bridge would have been primarily a traffic management measure, the Silvertown Tunnel is more likely to play a direct role in regeneration.

TfL has also mooted a £2 toll for Blackwall Tunnel users, to help pay for the new tunnel - something which Boris appeared to veto in a radio interview, at least until he's moved on.

If anyone can muster any enthusiasm to discuss ferry options, please feel free to post below.

Babes in the Wood

Sanjit writes:

From 30th November to 2nd December 2012, Telegraph Hill Centre will stage Babes in the Wood.

Babes in the Wood tells the story of Jack & Jill, two young orphans with a fortune... and a scheming uncle. Will kindly Granny Smith protect our babes from their perfidious uncle, the evil Sheriff of Mottingham? Will Robin Good save the day, rescue our babes and win the hand of Marian?

Come and see the show to find out! There are four shows across three days, including two matinee performances.

- Friday 30th Nov – 7.30pm
- Saturday 1st Dec – 2.30pm and 7.30pm
- Sunday 2nd Dec – 2.30pm

Tickets are £12 (£6 Concessions).   There will be a cafe / bar available at Telegraph Hill Centre.

BOOK NOW – http://thcentre.ticketsource.co.uk/

Some tickets will be available on the door but you are advised to book in advance as the Panto usually sells out fast. This show is a fundraiser for Telegraph Hill Centre and all proceeds will go towards the refurbishment of the Centre. Find out more about Telegraph Hill Centre from http://thcentre.com

The Third Crofton Park Scout Group

Russell: My dad made it sound so easy. He's really good at camping, and how to make fire from rocks and stuff. He used to come to all my sweat lodge meetings. And afterwards, we'd go get ice cream at Fenton's. I always get chocolate and he gets butter brickle. Then we sit on this one curb right outside, and I'd count all the blue cars and he counts all the red ones, and whoever gets the most, wins. I like that curb. It might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.
- Up

Adam writes:

The Scout Association encourages everyone to ‘Join The Adventure’. That’s exactly what many young people in the Crofton Park area have done with the opening of the 3rd Crofton Park Beaver colony, and this April, a Cub Pack.

This is great news for the local area, however, such is the enthusiasm of the young people we are now at full capacity in both the Beaver and the Cub sections. In order to allow more young people experience the adventure that is Scouting we need more adult volunteers to assist on a weekly basis.

We meet at St Hilda’s Chruch, Courtari Road, Crofton Park, every Thursday, Beavers 6:15-7:15 & Cubs 6:00 – 7:30.

If you are 18+ and can spare 90 minutes a week then please get in touch with Adam Longhurst (Cub Scout Leader) on 020 3663 0307/ Longhurst_uk@hotmail.com or Garry Leach (Development officer for Lewisham) 020 3091 6832/ lewishamldo@live.co.uk. Full training is provided, no prior experience required.

BC: A guide to recognising your constraints

Brockley Central has been going since 2007 and was built on blogger as a place to post the odd article. Since then, the amount of content has mushroomed and we’ve bolted bits on to it here and there, using third party software and a few cheats to create something a little less linear than a blog. In the process, the design has become a little confusing, so here’s a guide some of the key features on the site:

1. Along the top bar, we have some buttons that take you to some of the key “sections” of the website. These include a map of the area with some of the places in Brockley we recommend; a photo stream which takes shots from the Brockley Flickr group; a Classifieds section that features adverts from local businesses (ranging from builders and chartered surveyors to gardeners and guitar teachers) and tabs that link to all the articles tagged with Lewisham (meaning they are of borough-wide significance) and Review (local businesses).

2. Down the right-hand column, we have a link to our forum South East Central, which has around 2,000 members, posting whatever local news they are interested in (so you don’t have to wait for BC to cover something, please use it to raise awareness of whatever you like). We also have a list of important pages – useful stuff that people revisit over and over again, like a place to find or plug a home to rent, a list of recommended tradespeople, contact details for recommended places, childcare search and advice about local doctors.

3. There are also links to our various social media channels – including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

4. The newest addition to the site is a map of local Greenspaces, which is currently being added to, but which already has links to more than 20 public spaces in the area.

5. And finally, you can use the blog archive and search box to access any article ever written on BC, plus some links to other relevant sites right at the bottom of the right-hand column.

London Bridge plans and timeline revealed

The Thameslink project website has been updated, to provide a timetable of works at London Bridge Station and the impact on services between next May 2013 and its final completion in 2018. The station will be stunning, but the service disruption should keep Twitter busy for most of the rest of the decade.

The new platforms at the completed station
The new Tooley Street entrance

Here's what the site says:

May 2013 

Platforms 14, 15 & 16 at London Bridge close to enable redevelopment work. This means platform changes and the retiming of some Southern train services.

Spring 2014 

The first two redeveloped platforms open at London Bridge (14 & 15) with new longer canopies to protect passengers from the rain.

December 2014 

Thameslink route services to and from central London are diverted away from London Bridge via Herne Hill until 2018 but plans are in place to maintain an off-peak service to the station from Brighton.

2015 

Charing Cross services are unable to call at London Bridge due to redevelopment work on platforms 4, 5 & 6. Station redevelopment work reaches half way. All terminating platforms (10-15) are complete. The first new Thameslink trains enter passenger service on the Thameslink route. More will follow on the Great Northern route and on certain other Kent and Sussex routes in the following years.

2016 

Platforms 4,5,6,7 & 8 are complete at London Bridge and Charing Cross services are able to resume calling at the station. Cannon Street services are unable to call at London Bridge due to redevelopment work on platforms 1,2 & 3. The new street level concourse opens at London Bridge providing direct access to St Thomas' Street.

End 2017

Platforms 1, 2 & 3 are complete at London Bridge. Bringing these into use enables Cannon Street services to resume calling at the station shortly afterwards.

2018 

Completion of work to track, signalling and major bridges around London Bridge station. New bigger and brighter station opens. The East Coast Mainline Great Northern route, from Peterborough, Cambridge and stations in between is connected to the Thameslink route via tunnels at St Pancras International. Crossrail is complete and starts running east-west across London connecting with the Thameslink route at Farringdon.

Lewisham Hospital to be "biggest casualty" of recommended healthcare restructure

The Draft Report of the Special Administrator appointed to sort out the mess that the South London Healthcare NHS Trust got itself into has now been published. You can download a full copy here.

UPDATE: London Tonight reports that "University Hospital Lewisham is the biggest casualty of the shake-up - set to lose both A&E and maternity."

UPDATE: Journalist James Poulter has listed the key changes for Lewisham, including:

- Full admitting accident and emergency department becomes a Non-admitting urgent care centre 
- 24/7 surgical emergency admissions end 
- Obstetric and co-located midwife led-birthing unit becomes Potential obstetric and co-located midwife led-birthing unit 
- 24/7 emergency medicine end 
- Critical care unit end 
- Inpatient padeatric service end 
- Complex inpatiant surgery end  

The key passage for residents concerned about the fate of Lewisham's A&E department appears to be this one:

The urgent care services at Guy’s Hospital and Queen Mary’s Hospital Sidcup are already well established. The draft recommendation is for University Hospital Lewisham to have a 24/7 urgent care service that will treat around 77% of the people currently attending the A&E and urgent care services there.

This is because the vast majority of patients with urgent care needs do not need to be admitted. The types of conditions the services will be able to treat include: 

- Illnesses and injuries not likely to need a stay in hospital
- X-rays and other tests
- Minor fracture (breaks)
- Stitching wounds
- Draining abscesses that do not need general anaesthetic
- Minor ear, nose, throat and eye infections.

More to come.

Lewisham's only gay bar closes

Lewisham's only gay bar, Two8Six, has closed.

The News Shopper reports:

Two8Six has been closed after the building's new owner sent in bailiffs and changed the locks... Publican Steve Thompson said problems started when Isle of Man-based company Mendoza and managers Golfrate, took over ownership in June from Admiral Taverns. He claims they told him to evict his live in staff from the residential floors above the pub so that they could be used as private flats, while demanding outstanding rent. After a series of negotiations, bailiffs were sent in on October 12, changing the locks and boarding up the building.

It's another setback for the borough's nightlife, following the recent closure of The Walpole in New Cross and the threatened redevelopment of the Catford Bridge Tavern and a loss for Lewisham's town centre, which is trying to encourage more nightlife.

Kitto Road suspected UXB turns out to be Victorian plumb line

Who are they, these inhuman bombers that strike at the very heart of our society with no respect for human life, without even the courtesy of a perfunctory warning? It makes you nostalgic, doesn’t it, for the good old days of the IRA. ’Cause they gave warnings, didn’t they? They were gentleman bombers, the finest terrorists this country’s ever had. We’ll not see their like again. Let’s have a little clap for the IRA . . . Cause the IRA, they were decent British terrorists. They didn’t want to be British. But they were. And, as such, they couldn’t help but embody some fundamentally decent British values.
- Stewart Lee

Several BCers report a suspected unexploded bomb was found today in Kitto Road. However, reader John Burgess reports it was a false alarm. He says:

Not a bomb, but a large Victorian plumb line in brass and sticking nose up. Looked like the real thing.

TfL confirms that the road was temporarily closed, but has now been reopened.

BBC: Lewisham A&E to be recommended for closure

The BBC is reporting that a government-appointed administrator's report on Monday will recommend the closure of Lewisham Hospital's A&E Unit (refurbished in April), with local people referred instead to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich.

The closure would be part of a series of measures designed to help find savings after the South London Healthcare Trust (covering QE Hospital, Queen Mary in Sidcup and Princess Royal in Bromley) ran up debts of more than £150m.

The BBC has a full report here. More details to come on Monday.

New Cross Bond: Fried Chicken Licken

Psychologist: I'm going to say a word, and I want you to say the first words that come into your head. Country? 
Bond: Greater Brockley. 
Psychologist: Machete?
Bond: Wheelie bin
Psychologist: Agent? 
Bond: Come the Revolution 
Psychologist: Murder? 
Bond: Rush hour on the East London Line 
Psychologist: Skyfall? [silence] Skyfall?
Bond: New Cross
- Skyfall

Bond is back. In South East London. After crashing on the roof of the O2 in The World is Not Enough, he can be seen driving around in New Cross and Deptford in Skyfall, out this weekend.

Tea Factory cafe under offer

The cafe space at The Tea Factory, which has lain empty since Tea Dance for Little People departed earlier this year, is now under offer.

Although a slightly awkward site with relatively little footfall, away from the main drags outside Brockley Station, this is one of the few remaining commercial spaces of any size in the vicinity. Given that we've seen a record-breaking wave of new businesses opening in Brockley this year, it's no surprise that there's interest in this spot, especially as Martin's Yard will be opening soon, only metres away.

We look forward to seeing what becomes of it.

The Upper Brockley Road three to remain closed until 2013

The police say:

Lewisham Police and Lewisham Council were successful in their application to Bromley Magistrates Court for three premises on Upper Brockley Road to remain closed for a further three months.

Supercuts, the Honey Pot and Gold Crest will remain closed following numerous allegations of disorder, nuisance and anti social behaviour to surrounding neighbours and members of the public.

On 01.08.12 using closure powers under part 1A, Section 11A of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 Brockley Safer Neighbourhoods Team and Lewisham Borough Crime Reduction Service had successfully applied at the time to have Supercuts, the Honey Pot and Gold Crest closed for three months, but today's ruling means that all three premises will now be closed till the 25th January 2013.

The closure is as a result of numerous repeated incidents recorded including, drug taking, disorder and anti social behaviour.

Police Sergeant Jon Biddle, Brockley Safer Neighbourhoods Team:

"Since the initial closure orders were granted back in August we have seen a significant reduction in the number of complaints of anti social behaviour in this area. The majority of residents fully support the action that we have taken, this closure is part of our ongoing commitment to combat anti social behaviour and the drugs misuse associated with these three premises. With the properties now being closed for a further three months I hope the residents can continue to enjoy the peace and quiet they deserve.”

Brockley Sorting Office "to be sold"

The Brockley Cross Action Group have discussed at their AGM what we speculated about last month. They say:

The Post Office Sorting Office is to close - the London Borough of Lewisham lost a year-long court case against Post Office, which wants to clear up site for sale. This is in the centre of Brockley so we will need to watch what happens to this site very closely.

As we wrote in September, it seems likely that the redevelopment of this location will involve a mixture of flats and ground-floor commercial space. But the size of the site means that it would have the potential to offer more than space for small shops - restaurants or even a gym - could be accommodated here.

New bike racks for Crofton Park

Lucy tweets: "They're installing bike stands at Crofton Park station as I type."

That is all.

The A-Z of local sport

Friend of BC Sam Parton has recently launched an tool called Matchtea.com, designed to help people find and rate sports groups and facilities near them and then book online.

To demonstrate its awesome power, he has used it to produce this A-Z of local sports options - some of which we've featured in the past, others of which we'd never heard:

A – Athletics. Were you the person who came last at school and vowed never to do athletics again? Well dust off your spikes and head down to the Ladywell Arena, Brockley’s answer to the Olympic stadium. There are a handful of running clubs to join and it’s more social than the gym.
B– Badminton. Popular in Asia and one of the fastest racquet sports, badminton is surprisingly tiring and good for your fitness. Head down to the Haberdashers Sports hall, St Asaph Road every Thursday at 20:00.  Further info here.
C–Cycling. One of the fastest growing sports in London, increasingly safe and it’s good for you (and the environment), why not get a bike? Ladywell Village Cycles and Brockley Bikes will kit you out, the TFL planner can help you find your route and the government’s Cycle Scheme will even make it tax efficient.
D–Dodgeball. Modestly named ‘The Awful Dodgers’ are always looking for players for their fledgling dodgeball team, although they tend to play at London Bridge. Details here.
E– Equestrian. Dulwich Riding School is the nearest riding centre to Brockley. It offers riding lessons for adults & children and perhaps most exciting of all - ‘Own a pony day’
F– Football. For the kids, try ‘Little Kickers’ on 020 7252 1185 who hold weekly football coaching for children at Haberdasher’s School, St Asaphs Road.
G–Golf. Feeling inspired by the Ryder Cup? Though a 20 minute drive from Brockley, Beckenham Place  Park has a public 18 hole golf course - just turn up and play.
H– Hockey. Suitable for both genders, the nearest hockey pitches are at the King’s College Sports Ground on Brockley Rise, where access is available to the community when not in use. King’s and Alleyn’s Hockey Club train there regularly.
I – Ice Skating. Hilly Fields created a ‘synthetic ice rink’ in November 2011, we’ll keep you posted if this ever comes back.
J– Jogging. It has to be Parkrun, a free weekly timed 5k run, starting at Hilly Fields every Saturday at 9am with coffee afterwards at Pistachios. To take part, you just need to quickly register in advance - event details here.
K – Karate. This is a great way to get your kids trained in self-defence. Try TKI Shotokan Karate, with karate classes around the Beckenham and Bromley area.
L–Latin Dancing. You have to head to the Rivoli Ballroom on Brockley Road on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month. Latin and ballroom dancing are on tap with an added twist of salsa and a pinch of line dancing. All abilities are welcome.
M – Martial Arts. New Cross Martial Arts offers Judo in New Crossand the Ackroyd Community Centre has ‘Shu-ho Ju-Jitsu’.
N– Netball. Adored by women, never understood by men, there are netball courts (and community teams) at the King’s College Sports Ground on Brockley Rise.
O–OAP Exercise Classes. Seated exercises for the elderly every Tuesday from 12.15 - 1pm in the Ackroyd Community Centre Main Hall, SE23 1DL. 
P– Pilates. Aptly named ‘I Love Pilates’ holds classes at the St Mary’s Centre on Ladywell Road, “combining our passion for life and wellbeing”.
Q– Quad Roller Skating–Telegraph Hill has a free skate park and if you don’t fancy the ramps, just skate around the park. Be careful not to cramp everyone’s style though.
R –Rock-climbing – Although not strictly on ‘rock’, the new Glass Mill Leisure Centre at Loampit Vale (opening in Spring 2013) will have an indoor climbing wall.
S–Swimming – Head to Forest Hill Pools which was recently(ish) revamped.  Coaching is available for kids and lane sessions are available for adults.
T– Tennis – Fancy yourself as the next Greg Rusedski or Jo Durie? Hilly Fields and Telegraph Hill are your best bets, with the former offering slightly better courts out of the two.
U–Unfound – We genuinely couldn’t find a U, nothing, nada, rien. Unicycling, unihockey and underwater hockey proved fruitless sadly.
V – Vaulting – Available at the Ladywell Gymastics Club at Belingham Leisure Centre, good for kids of all ages.
W –WorkoutOpen gym offers outdoor workouts in Hilly Fields on Mon, Wed and Sat for around £10/class saying “you’ll feel energised and very pleased with yourself” – perfect.
X – X-training - An excellent form of cardio-vascular training (and because ‘x’ is a hard one...) your best bets are Goldsmiths Gym in New Cross and Dulwich Leisure Centre
Y – Yoga – Celebrity fans include Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs. It’s surprisingly tough and incredibly good for your posture. Book a yoga class in Ladywell through Kara Grant – email: kara@karagrant.com
Z – Zumba–This sport originates from Brazil and provides the happy as well as sweaty factor. We highly recommend heading down to St Hilda’s Church Hall, Brockley Road, Crofton Park every Thursday at 8pm, it’s fun, social and Brazilian, click here for further information.  

Crofton Park Christmas choir


Southeastern give go-ahead for Crofton Park station garden

Lewisham Council officer Sarah Eaglestone writes:

I can report that Southeastern have confirmed they have no objections to our proposals for the use of the Marnock Road / Crofton Park station community garden site (a stretch of wasteland next to Marnock Road and station). They have said it would be fine for us to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs as long as they are in planters to ensure the land is not contaminated. But other flowers and plants can be planted directly into the ground and we can landscape as we see fit and even use the land for community get-together.

There is an accessible water supply and Southeastern will be looking into upgrading the fence along Marnock Road and we will have our own private gate and they will provide a number of keys for designated key holders (the site will only be open on designated days of the week for security agreed by the community gardeners).  The only thing Southeastern wasn't happy about was the garden having a tool shed on site due to fears of a fire or vandalism, but we have already discussed ways around this.

Southeastern have advised that everyone who wants to be a community gardener should sign up together as a group to adopt the station land and we will be running through in detail what a community adopting station land entails at our next community garden meeting. Apparently not many communities in London have done this, but many communities elsewhere in the UK adopt station land,  a primary school has  adopted station land somewhere in the South.

Once we have got the main large square patch of land  by the station transformed into a sizable community garden, Southeastern are very happy for us to work our way down the thin stretch of land adjacent to the platform to transform the whole site.

The next step now is to arrange for Community Payback to do the initial clear up of the site (currently over grown and a victim of fly-tipping), which Sergeant Hawtin is kindly arranging for us. I will arrange with the relevant LBL officer for Glendales to prepare the land for use,  once that is all done,  it's down to local residents  to get gardening!

We have £3,000 of Local Assemblies funding  already approved and allocated to this project for site preparation,  planters, plants, etc. The Community Library has kindly offered to initially be the umbrella organisation to support the community gardeners.

We have our next community garden meeting scheduled for Saturday 27 October 2pm - 3pm, at the Crofton Park Community library.

This is an open meeting for anyone interested in getting involved in the garden. People coming along to the meeting may wish  to take a look  at the site and start to think how they would like the site to look like and what you would like to plant there. So please bring your ideas or even drawings to the meeting so we can start to form a plan for the garden, which should be finally blooming in 2013!

Halloween Magi

The Magi Gift Shop (193 Brockley Road) team writes:

This Saturday from 3pm-6pm, to celebrate Halloween, we will be offering our guests free face painting by fine artists and illustrators and a spooky story teller will be in the shop. We are also giving away goodie bags on the day.

The White Room, 352 Brockley Road

The White Room, is a new Crofton Park boutique / studio / gallery opening this Thursday. They plan to offer tuition in pattern cutting, tailoring, drawing, knitting and more. Founder Nicky writes:

The White Room SE4 is looking for creative passion, a little flair and a lot of South East attitude - whether you are looking to learn a new skill, improve an existing interest, teach a local creative group or showcase or sell your own work.

Anyone interested in joining our little local enterprise please get in touch. Contact Nicky: thewhiteroomse4@gmail.com

Big Red Cinema

If you haven't tried out Big Red yet, we have to ask what you've been doing with your time. It has a bus you can eat pizza in, a sun-trap garden beneath the route of the DLR, a lorry that doubles as a cinema and one of the best programmes of music events in the area. Every time we go, a new feature has been added or bolted on.

Now, with winter coming, they've added family film screenings to their growing repertoire.

Central Cafe, 183 Brockley Road

Please post your comments and reviews here.

Bean there. Done that.


As all self-respecting fans of The Archers know it's Apple Day today. As excuses go, it's pretty tenuous, but breakfast at The Orchard it was.

The newish move of both The Orchard and The Gantry to open for breakfast is very welcome. One doesn't like to walk too far for a breakfast of a weekend, and for those of us in the northern reaches of Greater Brockley even The Mess is a bit of a schlep, particularly as there's no guarantee of a table when you get there. There are, of course, two or three greasy spoon options around Brockley Cross and they're perfectly fine. If you're in the mood for something a bit more refined, though, it's great that, on paper at least, you now have two decent options close to the station.*

Both places have variations on the benchmark full English. The Gantry's is rather on the small side and, with its Toulouse sausage, a little French. Beans are of the Heinz variety and arrive in a ramekin, which is not only pointless but rather emphasises the size (or lack thereof) of a breakfast that costs the best part of a tenner. It all feels a bit controlled and polite. Not necessary what you need if you're suffering on the morning after the night before.

The Orchard's atogether fuller English might not be what you're after either, though. It rather depends on your taste in beans. At The Orchard you get homemade Boston baked beans: a generous dollop of undisguised kidney beans in a sweet and spicy sauce. This, and the little dish of homemade ketchup, give the whole plate a sweet and smoky theme that distances it from what we've come to expect from a fry-up. The wild mushrooms further emphasise that this is very much a gastropub version of breakfast. I rather liked it.

Veggie options at both places are a bit perfunctory, although The Orchard at least makes an effort (one can almost see The Gantry shrugging galically), and it was nice to overhear the chef at The Orchard discussing ways to beef up (as it were) that side of things. I'd recommend both places find out where The Talbot get their veggie sausages from.

So on balance, The Orchard comes out on top in the battle of the posh breakfasts – the Stephen Fry-ups if you will. But there's not an awful lot in it and we're lucky to have them both.

* Brockley Central is aware of the middle ground, here, represented by The Barge, but feels a bit weird about drinking tea in a pub.

Down Town venue update

The White Room team updates us:

Opening soon at 352 Brockley Road. A place where students, professionals, new learners, artists, creative and skilled people can network, collaborate, share, support and nurture each other to promote their work and ideas.

Selling stylish, quality women's wear and accessories.

Professional workroom to provide industry level fashion skills workshops.

All creative ideas and enquiries welcome. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Ibsen's brand promise

The Homemade London team has been playing with printing this week. For some reason, we were drawn to this one, from a quote by Ibsen.

Halloween Common


Arrests follow another Brockley drugs raid

Lewisham Police's increasingly hard-line stance on drug crime in Brockley - which has produced recent raids on a number of local businesses - has produced more arrests. A statement issued today reads:

Brockley Safer Neighbourhoods Team in partnership with officers from the Territorial Support Group executed a warrant at an address in Cranfield Road SE4 on the 16th October 2012.

This was as a direct result of information received from concerned local residents. Officers detained two men at the address and found a quantity of what was believed to be Class A drugs (heroin) (cocaine) and (MDMA) during the search. The men in their 20s were arrested for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and taken to a South London Police Station. They have been bailed pending further enquiries.

Police Sergeant Jon Biddle of Brockley Safer Neighbourhoods Team said: "This operation proves once again that I will target drug dealers on my ward. Drug dealers are a blight to our community and this sort of crime affects the community because of the associated anti-social behaviour and criminal activity. If you have information that can help to reduce crime, please contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team as soon as possible."

Ladywell parking meeting

Ladywell Councillors have organised a public meeting about the parking issue in Ladywell.

Cllr Vincent Davis writes:

Myself, Carl Handley and Helen Gibson are organising a public meeting about parking issues in Ladywell, including all housholds in the CPZ wider consultation area and even some of the streets outside the consultation zone, taking in Fossil Road, Shell Road and Cliffview Road.

Wednesday 24th October 2012 @ 7.30 p.m. 
St.Mary's Centre, Ladywell Road

This meeting is organised seperately to the borough wide parking consultation, focussing on the Ladywell CPZ, and Ladywell Councillors are keen to hear all views about the parking issue but we are particularly keen to hear what residents in the zone think about its hours of operation and whether others who remain outside want to be consulted again about inclusion and what hours of operation they would prefer. The leaflet carries a questionairre which folk can either fill in and give to us at the meeting or place in a ballot box in Ladywell Post Office, Algernon Road up until 27 October 2012.

We get a lot of comments from the public - many who are unhappy they can't park outside their own house, others outraged they are charged for parking outside their own house, others who don't mind paying for a parking permit but cannot understand why the zone operates all day to deter morning commuters attracted by the railway station, but we hope to get a sense of the public feeling on the key issues after the meeting and the emptying of the ballot box.

New artist studio approved


Building Design magazine reports that a stunning artists' studio, nestled in a forested area of a Brockley back garden, has been approved and is due for completion in 2013. Architects Studio Verve say of the project:

Located within a forested site in Brockley, South London; with a proliferation of mature tree cover, the design of the artist studio was derived upon a careful and sensitive study of the terrain of the site, its relationship to the main Victorian mansion house and the surrounding buildings and the requirements of the artist. The design is conceived conceptually as a ‘found disc’ lodged in the forest. Light-touch on the ground, it occupies only a small footprint for the purpose it serves- as an escape for the artist occupying the main house.

BC hopes that it becomes part of the Brockley Open Studios circuit.

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The 21st Century Light Space Modulator

For the last few months, BC has been part of a team working on a project called The 21st Century Light Space Modulator - a lighting installation beneath Hungerford Bridge on the South Bank, created by Jason Bruges Studio and commissioned by our client Havells-Sylvania.

The illumination of the Barbarella-esque work - inspired by László Moholy-Nagy’s 1930’s work, Light Prop for an Electric Stage - has just taken place and you can go and have a play if you are down there, because the sculpture responds to the movements of passers-by. While you're there, try to imagine what could be done with creative lighting underneath the bridges on Mantle and Brockley Roads.

Anil Gupta, CEO of Havells Sylvania, said: “When you combine light with world-class design, it can have a transformative impact on people’s everyday experience – whether that’s under a bridge, in a cultural institution such as the Louvre, or in hotels, commercial offices or schools. It’s this principle that Havells Sylvania wanted to bring to life through our partnership with Jason Bruges and the Southbank Centre.”

The 21st Century Light Space Modulator will be in-situ under Hungerford Bridge at Southbank Centre until 1st November 2012, before going on exhibition from the 14th November 2012 at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The Allotment celebrates first birthday

Gill, the owner of New Cross Road food shop owner The Allotment, writes:

Next Wednesday The Allotment is 1 year old! We are celebrating our birthday with a free raffle.

1st prize: £30 hamper,
2nd prize £20 hamper,
3rd prize £10 veg box.

Receive a ticket with each purchase.

The draw takes place next Wednesday 24th october, and the winning tickets will be published on facebook, on our website, and in the shop.

We've really enjoyed our first year in business and have learnt a huge amount since opening.  The range of stock has increased dramatically, much of it suggested by customers - we're always open to ideas and will try to get hold of something if we can.

Over the next year we intend to continue to expand our range, and to offer some more unusual varieties of fruit & vegetables.  We're also applying for a licence to sell a small, but hopefully interesting, selection of wines, beers and ciders, though it's a bit of a slow process, so don't hold your breath!

CueB 2: HyperCueB

Kate Filmore: Okay, let's just say we are in this hypercube or whatever; does this diagram show us how to get out? 
Jerry Whitehall: Well... no. You see a hypercube isn't supposed to be real. It's just a theoretical construct.
- Cube 2: Hypercube

Alex Evans writes:

I'm a Brockley artist with an exhibition of my drawings (originals and prints) at the CueB Gallery in the Brockley Mess that runs till the 28th October. I have previously exhibited locally in the windows of Gruff Architects.

The exhibition is open from 10 - 5:30 every day. This series of 23 original drawings entitled 'Megasites and Microtopia' has been completed in the last 18 months, and charts a fascination I have with cities, cartography and geometric patterns in nature.

Each piece explores depictions of cities growing as organisms, prone to development and growth by a number of different external (and internal) factors. They are completed in black pen on paper and range from dense miniatures measuring 11 x 11cm to sprawling metropolitan abstracts measuring 70 x 70cm.

I am fascinated by the obsessional nature of drawing such landscapes, finding myself transported into these Utopias (No-where places) and forging new understandings of these mutated cities.

Crofton Park - the breakaway state

Oliver Rose: I think you owe me a solid reason. I worked my ass off for you and the kids to have a nice life and you owe me a reason that makes sense. I want to hear it. 
Barbara Rose: Because. When I watch you eat. When I see you asleep. When I look at you lately, I just want to smash your face in. 
- The War of the Roses

Is the break-up of the Union inevitable? Are we better off together, stronger together and safer together? Does central Brockley really have more in common with the Nordic states of Surrey Docks, Rotherhithe and Bermondsey than it does with the shires of Crofton Park? These are the most important questions in the 300 year history of Greater Brockley.

Brockley Kate sent us the latest proposed Parliamentary constituency boundary for "Deptford and Rotherhithe" (above), which would sever Brockley ward's historic ties to Crofton Park and create an 'Arc of Prosperity' to the north.

As she notes, although it's unlikely to change the political map much (this new constituency would almost certainly be a Labour stronghold) it would have profound symbolic significance, connecting us much more with inner London. areas with a more extreme social mix of poor estates and rich areas dominated by loft-conversions and new-build apartments. It would also acknowledge the importance of the river to the area's development.

She says:

All in all, this would be a massive vivisection of Lewisham I'd suggest. Shifting 'central' Brockley, St Johns & Telegraph Hill towards central London, but retiring Crofton Park to the outer zone. Radical.

Hilly Fields market update

Christine writes:

I just want to give some love to the Hilly Fields Farmers Market, which is a great little market and does  cheap, good quality local fruit & veg. They have recently added a couple of new craft & second hand stalls and have relocated next to Pistachio's cafe, which seems to have helped drive numbers up, so I thought another mention on this site would be timely.

It's on the second Saturday of every month from 10am-3pm and if I had a choice I'd basically never buy veg anywhere else. On the third Saturday of the month, the same market sets up in Telegraph Hill lower park.

Witness appeal after Crofton Park shooting

The Met Police are asking for witnessing after the second shooting in Crofton Park in recent months. They say:

We are appealing for witnesses after a man was shot in South London yesterday evening 15th October 2012.

Police were called to Lewisham Hospital after a 20 year old man was admitted suffering from a gun shot wound to his stomach.

The incident is believed to have occurred at 19:55 hours at Buckthorne Road/Courtrai Road.

The victim managed to drive from the scene to hospital. He did receive treatment but has since been discharged. House to house enquiries were conducted by officers

No arrests, inquiries continue.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Trident on 0208 785 8580 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111

Fright nights in Ladywell

Ladywell's Misty Moon Gallery is staging five nights of knock-out horror screenings, presided over by celebrity horror queens. No predictable crowd pleasers for these guys - not even Back to the Future - they are going hard-core. It's all a bit complicated, but films and judges below and full details here on the South East London forum.

Saturday 27th October

“Brutal“ – Director: Michael Stevens
“Voltage“ – Director: Todd Coleman Smee
“Slasher” – Director: Zac Daggy

Judges: Adrienne King + Special Guest Judges Michael Barber & John Warner.

Sunday 28th October

“For Words” – Directors: Jules Lowe and David Hayes “I Bleed Dust” – Director: Henry D.C. Williams “The Legend Of Ida Temperance Smith” – Director: Andrew Pengilley
“Ian Carricker: You Need To Be Yourself” – Director: James Matejka

Judges: Adrienne King & Fenella Fielding.

Monday 29th October

“Frankenstein: Day Of The Beast” – Director: Ricardo Islas
“Taking Shelter” – Director: Jason Gregg
“Tell Tale Heart: Tales Of Poe” Director: Bart Mastronardi

Judges: Adrienne King + Special Guest To Be Announced…

Tuesday 30th October

“The Reckoner” – Director: Stephen Oxborrow
“Guilty Conscience” – Director: Gary Mancini
“The Gallery Of Fear” – Director: Alan Rowe Kelly

Judges: Adrienne King & Danielle Harris.

Wednesday 31st October 

The Final

Please strings

Christine writes:

A couple of years ago you posted a plea for string players to join Harmony Sinfonia (I joined Harmony as a result and it's given me many happy times)! We are still rather low on strings and are particularly desperate for violinists.

I'd really encourage anyone remotely interested in orchestral playing to give it a try: it's a really fun and friendly orchestra, very welcoming and forgiving but with some fantastically talented players making great music.

We rehearse on Wednesdays in Prendergast School on Hilly Fields, from 7.30 - 9.45pm (including a break for a cup of tea and a natter - retro biscuits provided!). I believe you can try it out for a couple of rehearsals before committing.

Our programme for this term is Bruckner's Symphony No. 4, Elgar's Serenade for Strings and Beethoven's Egmont Overture (concert on 1st December).

More info is available at http//www.harmonysinfonia.co.uk. If people have any queries they can email Sharon.

Lewisham Council proposes £28m in further budget cuts

The News Shopper reports on the scale of Lewisham Council's proposed budget cuts, outlined in a paper for the budget Select Committee. As the paper says, "it's bad news for just about everyone."

The paper has a more detailed list of the cuts, but the main savings include:

- £1.7 million cut to the "Supporting People" budget, which provides help to 'vulnerable people'
- £1 million saving by cutting Horizones and Wesley Halls day care centres
- £750,000 saving by reducing residential road sweeping from a weekly to (in some cases) a monthly service
- £270,000 reduction in funding to Community Safety programmes which help victims of domestic violence and anti-social behaviour
- £200,000 saving by withdrawing discretionary Freedom passes
- £187,000 reduction in the Local Assembly budget - more than halving the total budget

If approved next year, the cuts would save £28.3m over three years.

We'll leave it to others with a better working knowledge of some of the other programmes to say what they think, but in our view, if they halve the LA budget, they should just go the whole-hog and scrap the programme.

Assemblies are great, but they are an expensive exercise in local democratic engagement and if they don't have any significant money to allocate, their main reason for being ceases to exist. The money could then be spent on other vital services, or diverted to the local good causes they are supposed to fund.

Coming soon: Villa Toscana [UPDATED]

O BC of little faith. It seems that Villa Toscana (179 Brockley Road) represents not just a new lick of paint on an old business, but a genuine attempt by a new team to start a restaurant to replace the hole left by La Lanterna.

They now have a temporary sign (with contact details - already a cut above Alby's Place) and various readers have been told that it is due to open shortly.

UPDATE: The Villa Toscana team has now confirmed that "Villa Toscana opening party will be on Thursday 18th October from 6- 9pm. Restaurant will be fully open from Friday 19th October."

New Cross Sainsbury's Local opening soon

The long-mooted Sainsbury's Local on Lewisham Way is currently being fitted out and will be opening shortly.


Sited opposite Goldsmiths UOL in a unit that has lain empty for years, it attracted some (in BC's view, misguided) local opposition when the application was submitted.

Full disclosure: Sainsbury's is a client of our employer.

Black History Month 2012 in Lewisham

Lewisham is celebrating Black History Month with a huge range of events, taking place at venues across the borough for the next four weeks. Most of the action takes place elsewhere - in particular, at the Deptford Lounge - but the most local events include:

23 October 10.30am–4pm 
Ladywell Day Centre
Celebrate Black History Month and World Mental Health Day with fun, entertainment and great food.

26 October 7.30–8.30pm 
Crofton Park community library
Caribbean Community Choir and writer Steve Smith present an evening of song

1 November 10-11am
Crofton Park community library
Half Term Tour: Afrakan Storytelling - join Griot Chinyere to explore storytelling from the Afrakan tradition.

Greenspaces: Burgess Park




The £8 million redevelopment of Burgess Park in Southwark was completed earlier this year and has turned a large, flat, scraggy and unremarkable park framed by the Aylesbury Estate in to one of London's best.

Its central feature is a large lake which offers a couple of fountains, a boardwalk, fishing and outdoor barbeque area. The landscaping and planting from the Old Kent Road entrance to the football fields beyond the lake's far shore makes the waterside stroll feel like a country walk and the children's play area looks like it's been designed by a Mario Kart fan.

The Greenspaces map is our guide to the parks and public gardens of the area. Click here to explore it.

The Gantry, Brockley Road

188 Brockley Road
020 8469 0043
www.thegantry.co.uk

French-inspired restaurant and bar The Gantry was an instant success when it opened in the summer, transforming a somewhat tired cafe (Toads Mouth Too) in to a wonderfully relaxed bar at at the front and a series of intimate dining spaces in the back. A collection of handsomely decorated rooms leads out in to the garden, the charm of which has been retained from its previous life.

We went last weekend as part of a group of seven, all of whom were pleased with the food. We had the mussels, which were the best we've ever tasted, served with authentically French fries and most of a bottle of Grenache Gris.

The vegetarian in the group felt spoiled for choice (which is rare in Brockley) and although there isn't a dedicated children's menu, there were plenty of options for them, and the staff were very attentive - at one point bringing a couple of stacks of printer paper for one of them to sit on as an improvised booster seat.

The banoffee cheesecake was the only slight disappointment, managing to be less than the sum of its parts. We managed to get our spoon on someone else's fondant, which oozed raspberry and more than compensated for our dessert.

The Gantry is warm and lovely and offers a true restaurant experience. It also has the best toilet in Brockley. Lit with 'natural sunlight'-effect lighting, it's a loo so pleasant we'd live there if it was socially acceptable.

Big Draw 2012

Goldsmiths writes:

As part of the national Big Draw campaign, families are invited to take part in 'Outlines: The Big Draw at Goldsmiths' led by PGCE Art & Design and BA (Hons) Education, Culture & Society students on Saturday 27 October from 11am - 4pm.

This year’s event promises to build on last year's success, which saw children explore a treasure island as well as help 'shipwrecked' PGCE students make rafts and build shelters. Other activities included mapping their journey around the hall with poetry and stories – getting their passport stamped as they went – and helping to create an exciting new civilisation out of cardboard boxes.

The free annual family event - which is ideal for children aged 3 to 13 years old - has continued to grow in popularity since Goldsmiths hosted its first Big Draw in 2006, winning several Campaign For Drawing awards along the way.

One parent who visited the 2011 event said: "It was amazing - my little one loved it, thank you so much! The hall was incredible - like going into another world. There are a lot of very talented students at Goldsmiths"

Please visit www.gold.ac.uk/bigdraw for more information or if you have any questions, please contact Peter Austin on 020 7919 7909 or p.austin@gold.ac.uk

Anchor's away in Deptford High Street makeover


Lewisham Council reports that work to redevelop Deptford High Street will start early next year, resulting in the relocation of the anchor at the junction with New Cross Road / Deptford Broadway. They write:

Lewisham Council’s refurbishment of the southern end of Deptford High Street, from Giffin Street down to Deptford Broadway, is due to get underway in spring 2013.

The work will take place in phases, so the High Street as a whole will remain open throughout the nine month construction period.

The planned changes are designed to better equip the street to accommodate traffic four days a week and a vibrant street market three days a week.

They include:

- the laying of a smart new single-level surface which will help to sort out current issues such as drainage
- new lighting
- traffic restricted to one-way (towards Deptford Broadway)
- improved parking arrangements
- the creation of a new public space alongside Deptford Broadway which could host events or special markets in order to attract more people to this end of the street. This will require the removal of the anchor, which was gifted to Deptford by Chatham Historic Dockyard in 1990; however, the Council is looking to re-locate the anchor elsewhere in Deptford.

Come and view the finalised plans and speak to the project team at Deptford Lounge from 4pm-7.30pm on Wednesday 17 October.

Brockley Bites: Dark Matters

Police release EFIT of New Cross attacker

The police say:

This is an EFIT of a man we wish to trace in connection with a violent assault that took place o/s the number 53 bus stop located  at New Cross Road, SE14 on Sunday 16th September 2012 at 03:30 hours.

The 19-year-old male victim was found by police collapsed on the pavement with a stab wound to his chest. It transpired that the victim had left the Venue nightclub with friends and got into an argument with the suspects the Venue nightclub. The victim went to a takeaway shop nearby.

The victim then left the shop and in the company of his friends went to the bus stop. The suspects followed the group to the bus stop where the argument continued before one of them produced a knife and stabbed the victim. All of them then made off on foot away from Lewisham.

The suspect who produced the knife is described as a male of Mediterranean descent with a chubby build, freckles on his face and a fair complexion. He was wearing a baseball cap, a brown checked hooded top and light coloured baggy jeans. Height unknown

Anyone with information is asked to contact DC Abraham Pino, from Lewisham CID on 0208 284 8372 quoting reference CR3222320/12. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

More flashing reported

Following a series of flashing incidents in the area earlier this year, East London Lines reports another incident occurred last weekend:

A 25-year old local resident saw a man exposing himself on Pepys Road in the early hours of Saturday morning when walking home with a friend... A spokesperson for Lewisham Police said officers did attend the scene but there was no trace of the man.

Hilly Fields  incident

A female BC reader writes:

On Tuesday, while walking my dog at about 6.30am, I was grabbed near the Vickers Hill entrance of Ladywell, by a man who tried to reach in to my pockets before I screamed and he ran out of the park. I have always found Hilly Fields to be safe but I just wanted to make other people aware of this incident

Not Brockley Central: Tradicional After Supper Club

Last night, we went to the After Supper Club - a Mexican pop-up restaurant and bar located in the MC Motors Warehouse in Dalston, a short walk from the ELL.

For £45, we got a great five course menu, wine, beer and as many tequila-based drinks as we could handle. If you don't like avocado, this place is probably not for you, but the food was delicious, the hosts created a very social atmosphere and the setting was stunning. The Standard has a much better photo than we managed to get.

The event was created by start-up company The Art of Dining, a chef and designer duo who only met each other at University for the first time a year ago and have pulled off something pretty incredible in a very short space of time. It's sponsored by Jose Cuervo (full disclosure, Diageo is a client of BC's employer, but this is entirely coincidental, we paid for our own tickets).

There are still a few tickets left for the last events. Click here to go to the event page.

The FT on the Brockley enterprise hub

The FT has followed its discovery that Lewisham is the Very Small Business capital of Britain with an article today, which examines the borough's enterprise credentials. And in its search for green shoots, it headed to Brockley.

Among those offering the prime minister advice are Margaret from Magi, Ed from The Orchard and this blog's author. Those who cast doubt on Lewisham's status as a start-up haven will be glad to note that the article is nicely balanced, concluding:

With the third highest rate of public sector employment among the city’s boroughs, Lewisham is vulnerable to government cuts. Business survival rates are lower than the London average, as is the percentage of small businesses expanding their staff numbers year-on-year.

Click here for the full article.

Wednesday night five-a-side

Chris writes:

I organise 5-a-side football for a group of friends on wednesday nights (most of us are SE London based), however we've recently been struggling to find sufficient numbers to make it worthwhile. 

We play on the pitches at Catford bridge, kicking off at 19:30, the cost is £5. We're really not very good at all and the whole thing is quite chilled, we rarely keep track of the score and some of our senior players are well past their prime!

If anyone is up for that, please get in touch with me here.

The Jam Circus of Horrors

Lewisham tops UK Very Small Businesses table

Inspired by Boris' "nation of SMEs" speech at Tory party conference yesterday, The FT data blog has looked at the size of the UK micro business community - companies that employ between 0-4 people, which represent over three quarters of SMEs.

The FT analysis of ONS data shows Lewisham top of the VSB table

Using ONS statistics, they find that London has more of these businesses as a proportion of the area's total  number of businesses than any other region and that this borough has more very small businesses (VSBs) as a percentage of its total than any other part of the country. In Lewisham, VSBs represent 84.2% of the total.

It's hard to know what to make of these numbers, since they also confirm how low Lewisham's employment base is (with almost exactly half the total number of businesses located in Wandsworth). However, looking at this chart, it's probably fair to say it's better to be at the top of the scale than at the bottom, with stellar performers like Hull, Stoke and Dundee.

The other positive to draw from this is that developments like Martin's Yard (not far off completion now) are targeting the right type of tenant - if Brockley's going to attract more employers, it will be in the form of Very Small Businesses.

You can register for free with The FT to read the blog in full.

The Greenspaces Map

Greenspaces is BC's attempt to document and map the local bits of public greenery. The Greenspaces map is now live on Google Maps. Most of the markers now have links through to the corresponding articles on Brockley Central, to provide images and comment.


View Greenspaces in a larger map
You can visit it here.

There are a few glaring gaps on the map - we're adding to it as we go along.

Greenspaces: Hilly Fields

One of the area's biggest parks, Hilly Fields hovers over the neighbourhood, ringed by trees and topped with  Prendergast School. It has shaped the character of the area since it was saved from developers in the late 19th century by Octavia Hill and is now the focal point for community life in a way that no other nearby park is, hosting a full calendar of events all year round.

Hilly Fields has achieved the perfect balance for an urban park: Always busy, but never crowded, it's home to bubble makers, tightrope walkers, footballers, army fitness trainers, picnickers and open gym-bunnies. The tennis courts, basketball court and ping pong table are always in use, but there are rarely queues. It's big enough to swallow events like pop-up cinema screenings and follies like the stone circle or to let you lose yourself in the long grasses and wildflower meadow on its quieter eastern and southern sides.

Sunbathers can follow the sun from one slope to another, while the addition in recent months of a cafe and cricket square, together with a new playground, ensure it's a place to linger, as well as run through.

Click here for the Friends of Hilly Fields.

Anonymous - an invitation


It has been brought to Brockley Central's attention that some people don't agree with the values, ideas and priorities espoused by this site and some of its readers - that there are hidden costs, unspoken 'agendas' and forgotten issues that we ignore. That's interesting - but the pity is that the Anonyms who offer this perspective (perhaps for reasons of space) rarely get around to explaining what their alternative ideas are.

So this is an invitation to Anonyms everywhere - if you feel that there is another story that needs telling, you're welcome to contribute articles at this address. If they're good, we'll run them.

Write now to stop the loss of another Lewisham pub

The Catford Bridge Tavern team have launched a campaign website to fight plans to turn the pub into flats and ground floor retail. As discussed here, the risk of it closing is real and would be a serious setback for Catford and for local drinking options.

The team write:

As the pub is already licensed for the sale of alcohol, it is a prime target for a retail unit. The landlord needs only apply for planning permission with no regulations to stop him. We would like to ask you to join us in opposing the application and therefore retaining your beautiful pub. There are a number of ways that you can do this and we have listed them below. 

We have launched a petition, which you can sign here.

Or, if you are willing to write on our behalf, please email: 

Lewisham planning: planning@lewisham.gov.uk (Quote – DC/12/81142/X ) 
Joan Ruddock MP: joan.ruddock.mp@parliament.uk 
Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock: steve.bullock@lewisham.gov.uk 
The News Shopper: mchandler@london.newsquest.co.uk 

Or mail Antic your letters of support: fi@antic-ltd.com

Jam Circus - Sous chef needed

General manager Lucy Arnold writes:

Jam Circus is looking for a sous chef to work full time starting immediately. They need to be enthusiastic and passionate about delivering high quality delicious food. Anyone who is interested please drop in or e-mail us a CV.

The White Room - Coming Soon

The White Room (352 Brockley Road) is a new shop opening in Crofton Park, replacing Whites DIY, which moved to larger premises in Honor Oak some time ago. Work has begun on the fit-out of the shop, which is reportedly due to sell clothes.

More details to come. With thanks to Alison, via the Brockley forum.

Brockley Voices Choir

Brockley has another new choir - this one meets on Wednesdays and already has 13 members. Founder Phoebe writes:

Whether you sing in the shower, hum on the train or have lot's of experience... If you fancy singing with a group of like-minded people... come and give it a bash!

We sing fun classics...Songs from Around the World...and contemporary arrangements in harmony.

Every Wednesday at St Peter's Church, Brockley 
7.15pm - 8.45pm

To find out more.. contact Phoebe - phoebe.m.osborne@gmail.com

The Catford Bridge Tavern threatened with closure

The Catford Bridge Tavern is under threat of closure. Since pub group Antic took over the pub earlier this year, the place has been transformed from one of the area's problem pubs in to one of Catford's best assets.

Now, the freeholders of the pub have submitted a planning application to turn the rooms above the pub in to flats (fine) and the pub itself in to retail (disaster).

There are a number of reasons why the Council should listen to the recommendations of its own Sustainable Development Committee and pull out all the stops to save the Catford Bridge Tavern.

Firstly, good local pubs improve the quality of life for residents - an important part of the mix for any successful community. Catford is famously short of pubs - its development having been influenced by the temperance movement - and this is arguably the best in the area. If the plan goes ahead, an important amenity will be lost.

Secondly, and ironically, this would damage local retail. Catford is not short of retail, it has a surfeit. The Council is struggling to make the retail centre a success and its only hope to do so is to marry the shops with a range of high-quality leisure options to attract and keep shoppers in the area. The loss of the area's best pub would be a major setback.

Thirdly, it would send a signal to pub freeholders across the borough that the Council does not value its pubs and will not protect others from further development. This is a chance to draw a line in the sand and support a company that has perhaps done more than any other to make Lewisham a better place to live.

This application is a text book illustration of the problems facing pubs in the area. The pub itself is now a success, but the freeholders have a strong incentive to let it close - the residential properties above the pub would be worth more with retail on the ground floor. Given that average house prices in Lewisham are nearly eight times the average salary, it would be no bad for thing for the borough if the flats were more affordable.

The Catford Bridge Tavern team believe their position is precarious and plan to mount a campaign to persuade the Council to help them. It goes without saying that their customers will support their petition, but anyone who cares about Lewisham's pubs should do the same.

The campaign will launch next week - we'll publish the details then.

Brockley badminton

Badminton is the sport of kings and more players are needed for the local Thursday night Badminton sessions. Ian writes:

Every Thursday at 20:00 at Haberdashers Sports hall, St Asaph Road, there is a Badminton session, all abilities are welcome.

Session lasts from 20:00 – 22:00 and costs £8.

We generally play doubles and mix up the teams as the evening progresses.

Just turn up and play. Entrance is at the top of St Asaph Road, you can’t miss the Sports hall.  Bring a racket, shuttles are provided.

The Emerald Guard is recruiting

In forest dark or glade beferned, No blade of grass shall go unturned. 
Let those who have the daylight spurned Tread not where this green lamp has burned! 
- Medphyll's Oath 

Brockley's Tree Wardens need you. Anthony, Nicola, Eamonn & James write:

The Brockley Society's Tree Wardens are keen to raise awareness of the plight of our street trees, particularly as a significant number were felled this summer due to old age and/or disease.

We are looking for people to act as Tree Guardians for their street, reporting damage, disease or vandalism and who would also be willing to look after newly planted trees. We are also hoping to identify people who would be able to donate financially to help in the planting of replacement trees across the conservation area. 

We have developed good contacts with Lewisham Council's Green Scene team, The Tree Council and other significant advisors and consultants and we are looking at innovative ways to increase and diversify the tree stock as a variety of factors (including untypical weather conditions) begin to place additional stress on our ageing but invaluable street trees.

Our new blog is up and running and all contributions are very welcome: www.brockleystreettrees.blogspot.co.uk

Old Kent Road Aromatherapy

If there is a better-smelling stretch of road in South East London then BC never smelled it.

On our ride home each night, the miserably underpopulated Old Kent Road gives way to the sights, sounds and smells of New Cross Road, which let us know we're nearly home.

It's hard to pin down, who's responsible, but between Smokey Jerky, Big T, Happy Inn and half a dozen other takeaway restaurants, a delicious smelly haze hangs over a 200-yard stretch of road every night.

If you have any eating recommendations for this stretch of New Cross, please let us have them.

The forest with the big hill

Jessica writes:

The Forest with the Big Hill presents a day of performance and workshops with special guest TUUP the storyteller.

Venue: Forest Hill Methodist Church, Normanton Street, SE23
Date: Saturday 6th October from 2pm

Buy tickets online at www.forestwiththebighill.org or on the door. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Lewisham's Housing Map

London Tonight reported on London's housing shortage, using the case of Lewisham pensioner Yvonne Iles, who currently lives in an air raid shelter in St Johns to illustrate the sometimes-acute problem.

In addition to a plug for People Before Profit's squatting operation, the feature mentions the London Housing Map, which provides live data about housing shortages across the capital, mapped to each borough.

Here are the stats for Lewisham borough:

Average selling price of a home in this area: £260,885
Average house price to income ratio: 7.91
Vacant dwellings: 2,355
Households in temporary accommodation: 1,001 (second only to Croydon in South East London)
Affordable housing delivery: 520
Average private rent: £1,018.25

Irresistible enforcement to meet indescribable object

The recent history of 179 Brockley Road (aka La Lanterna / Alby's Place / Villa Toscana) has been a sorry mess. Alby's Place recently closed after a retrospective planning application appeared in their window for building work carried out without permission. Then, work began on Villa Toscana, without any sign that the problems with the original work had been addressed.

Now, Cllr Johnson has sent us confirmation that the Council intends to serve an Enforcement Notice against the property, so that the owners deliver what was originally promised. The Council's letter confirms:

A planning application was submitted on 21st September 2009 for the change of use of the upper floors of 179 Brockley Road to a hotel (Use Class C1) together with the construction of a part one/part two storey extension at the rear to provide additional restaurant area, a new extraction flue, additional hotel accommodation and a self-contained two bedroom flat accessed from Harefield Mews, alterations to the front and rear elevations, including the retention of a dormer window to the front roof slope, replacement windows and a new shop front. 

An enforcement complaint was received on Friday 22nd June 2012 for unauthorised building works and questions regarding the use of the premises. The lawful use of the premises is a hotel.

Unfortunately the earlier reports regarding the works to the rear were held up as the Council received complaints regarding the use of the building. It was considered that all breaches of planning control at the premises should be reported to Planning Committee. A report is being put together to be presented at planning committee to get authorisation to take enforcement action.

Mr Lockett will be reporting the unauthorised building works to the Planning Committee next month with a view to serving an Enforcement Notice. 

In response to the letter, Cllr Johnson commented:

"When I first moved to Brockley over a decade ago this was one of the few places to eat in the area so it has been sad seeing it sitting there empty for years. But residents are right to be concerned about the recent planning breaches and I hope the Planning Committee agree to clear enforcement action. It would be good to see a well-run local restaurant here and I sense that's what most people in the area would like."

Halloween parties for kids


Film returns to the Brockley Jack

Moonrise Kingdom cert PG12
Directed by Wes Anderson
October 15 at 7.45pm

The Brockley Jack writes:

From Autumn 2012 the film nights will continue to be part of the theatre's programming, and we will hold screenings every one to two months. All tickets will be £6.00 To book tickets visit the Jack's website www.brockleyjack.co.uk

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