Ladywell CPZ to get bigger

Ladywell will get an expanded Controlled Parking Zone, following a public consultation by Lewisham Council, which concluded recently.

The zone will be expanded to Algiers Road, Ermine Road, Ladycroft Road, Shell Road, Veda Road and Vicars Hill, after a majority of respondents (63%) living on those streets said yes. A second consultation about the creation of an even bigger Ladywell CPZ produced a majority no (59%) vote.

Lewisham Council says:

Overall, the introduction of a new parking zone across the whole study area is not supported. However, we have analysed the data in greater detail which shows that there is clear support from streets to the west of the existing Ladywell (T) parking zone and therefore a CPZ extension has been approved for that area.

The voting results mean that those adversely affected by the creation of the original Ladywell CPZ have chosen to opt in, rather than put up with the overflow of cars that resulted from the introduction of parking controls on neighbouring streets. Those unaffected by these problems would rather have no CPZ at all, which suggests if the first one hadn't been created in the first place, gross local happiness would have been higher.

In a few years time, if the streets that voted no find themselves having to put up with problems created by the larger CPZ, Lewisham can just put it to another vote. So it goes.

The new CPZ will come into effect in the autumn. Thanks to Glenn for the info.

Beecroft jumble, February 7th

The Rose Pub & Kitchen, opening today

The Rose Pub in New Cross is opening tonight. The venue replaces the Hobgoblin. Here are the full details, courtesy of Transpontine:

The Rose Pub & Kitchen (to give it its full name) opens on Thursday 29 January 2015 at 6 pm, complete with 'pizza from the wood burning oven'. They're also advertising for kitchen porters. 

It's under the new management of Urban Pubs and Bars, a company set up in 2013 by the founders of Realpubs, Malcolm Heap and Nick Pring. They also run the Whippet Inn in Kensal Rise and the Old Ship Inn in Hackney. 

Bid to turn Lewisham House into 230 new homes

Photo courtesy of Geograph
A planning application has been submitted to convert Lewisham House (25 Molesworth Street) for residential use, with the aim of creating 230 apartments.

The building was once the main UK office for Citi, but the international bank outgrew its Lewisham home and decamped to Canary Wharf decades ago. What's left is a useless eyesore that Citi has been holding on to as a contingency plan in the event of an emergency.

Details are sketchy at this stage and ideally this project would involve a full re-skin or something more dramatic than simply installing new windows, but it would be nice for something to be done with this lump.




A credible plan for some sort of incubator space might be better for the future of the area, but this plan would help Lewisham meet its new homes-target and put more life in to the town centre, boosting its chances of building a viable "night time economy."

Bazooka Joe, February 7th

Brockley Social Club, 240 Brockley Road, SE4 2SU.
Bazooka Joe's Discotastic fun, 8pm until late
Tunes by Dino Collective, Fun and frolics by number82. Dance to 70s music. Bingo! Disco! Flares! Only £3 entry.

Coming soon: South [UPDATED]

South is the name of the new restaurant being created on Brockley's West Side, next to Brockley Station, in central Brockley.

The restaurant will replace Broca Food Market on Mantle Road. Work began on the refurbishment this weekend and they hope to be open by April.

The name reflects the fact that the chefs are antipodean and will be bringing influences from their homelands to SE4. Emma from the team says:

It will be a café by day and, you know, a really good neighborhood restaurant by night. We'll be serving proper weekend brunch, befitting the antipode training and sensibilities of the kitchen.

We're totally delighted with the location and site and really can't wait to get started. The chef is a New Zealander trained at some staggeringly good places in Melbourne (which might give some inkling of the high coffee/brunch/produce standards going on), and the founding front-of-house staff include an Aussie barista and a couple of (Southern) European managers/wine dudes. Me, I'm originally from Boston, MA, but proud to live South of the Thames! 

Looking forward to keeping everybody up to date and of course, to welcoming you in the spring. We'd like all of you to be regular guests and our menus, hours, and prices will reflect this.

Save Southwark Woods from the walking dead

Death's march upon the realms of the living continues. First Southwark Council tried to turn playing fields into graveyard. Now, after that plan fell through, they're eyeing up the woodlands of Camberwell Cemeteries as a possible resting place for more dead people.

A group called Save Southwark Woods is campaigning against the plans and will meet the Council on February 11th to discuss it. They write:

This is your chance to tell the council what you think of their plans to destroy the woods, fell more than 30 mature trees and make way for more than 2000 new burial plots. Come and protest the destruction of Camberwell Old and New Cemetery Woods to Southwark council and demand they are made into Nature Reserves, like Nunhead. View the council's plans from 2.00pm and Public Meeting from 7.00pm-8.30pm - see you there!

Like Thomas Wilson's dream of a Pyramid of Death at the summit of Primrose Hill, this scheme is a bad idea. The dead will have to head out of inner London or do the decent thing and get cremated.

Lewisham Roundabout gone for good

Lewisham Roundabout - an efficient way to process traffic and separate Lewisham shopping centre from its main transport interchange is gone forever

This weekend, a new road layout came into effect in central Lewisham, replacing the main roundabout with something more complicated:

The new system will allow work on the Gateway project to continue and will remain in place for the rest of the year. The final road configuration will be created next year.

Meanwhile, a warning to pedestrians - don't do what Brockley Central did tonight and try to find a short cut while trying to get from Lewisham town centre to Loampit Vale. There is no way back on to the pavement - you'll be forced out on to the road system.

Hobgob robbed of sobriquet by refurb job

Steve Rogers: The uniform? Aren't the stars and stripes a little... old-fashioned?
Agent Coulson: With everything that's happening, the things that are about to come to light, people might just need a little old-fashioned.
- The Avengers

The Hobgoblin pub in New Cross is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, which appears to be nearing completion.

Transpontine reports that its name will change back to The Rose Inn, which is a shame, because even though the name's a bit retro, Dungeons & Dragons will never go out of fashion. Never, you hear!

Enshrine the Firkin's right to party

Dewey Finn: I pledge allegiance... to the band... of Mr. Schneebly... and will not fight him... for creative control... and will defer to him on all issues related to the musical direction of the band.
- School of Rock

Central Lewisham is underweight when it comes to decent places to drink and hang out. An honourable exception is the Fox & Firkin pub, which has been a music venue for 30 years and has managed to reinvent itself time and again.

So local fans are worried that a proposal to develop new flats directly behind its garden would jeopardise its status as a music venue with late opening for its garden. A petition has been started to enable residents to show their support for the pub and ensure that Lewisham Council takes the pub's status into consideration in the planning process.

Petitioner Didier Autard writes:

'The Fox and Fikin has thrived as a venue for 30 years. One of the key factors in its success is its location. The lack of residents in the surrounding has meant the venue has been able to offer live music 3 nights per week and club nights until 4am at weekends without disturbing anyone. During its entire history The Fox and Firkin has not had any issues with noise complaints. 

If the huge Sainsbury Warehouses next is given the green light to be converted into privately owned flats we would anticipate a deluge of complaints as soon as people move in. If you think The Fox and Firkin is important within the live music scene in Lewisham and London culture, and are worried about how this new development will affect the Fox and Firkin , please show your concern by signing this petition.

Click here to sign the petition.

Brockley war memorial clean-up earns six police officers Citizenship honour

Lewisham Council writes:

Six police officers were given citizenship awards on Wednesday night at the Council meeting by the Mayor. The officers are (L to R): Police Constable Terry Powell, Police Constable Danny Gobin, Police Constable Keith Galyer, Police Sergeant Ian Fearn, Police Constable Adam Elwood, Police Constable Andrew Collins.

In the small hours of 30 July last year Police officers were alerted to an arson attack on the Lewisham Way war memorial. The Fire Brigade attended and extinguished the fire but the residue left scaring and stains on the memorial.

Instead of leaving the site, the Police officers took it upon themselves to obtain cleaning fluid and worked for many hours to remove the charring and burnt stains on the cenotaph to ensure that the war memorial was restored to its former condition.

The officers were fully aware of the emotion a desecration would have on the local community especially so close to the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of WW1.

These officers are to be commended for their dedication and instant action. Each officer has received the Mayor’s Citizenship certificate award.

Number 178 closed

Number 178, the New Cross cafe that combined quality, low prices and social purpose, has closed. The move is permanent, as founder Luke explains:

Unfortunately we were unable to reach financial sustainability. As a social enterprise we had to certain restrictions on how we could operate and adapt to changes in the market. A lot of businesses are feeling a prolonged squeeze at the moment due to stagnant wages and increased competition. 

Furthermore our end of New Cross Rd is slowly filling up with high profit margin/low overheads businesses such as estate agents which kills off a healthy independent business ecosystem.

However, Luke and the brand could be making a local comeback in some form soon. He promises more details as soon as he's able to share them.

Green Gauge: Greens Back?

Across the nation, from Brighton Beach to Brighton Pavilion, the Greens are back as a political force, sweeping all before them and separating their enemies into food waste and recyclables. They are surging in the polls, growing their revenue base at a rate that would make a turbo-capitalist blush and they are ready for prime time.

In the discussion of which Parliamentary seats they have an outside chance of winning, Lewisham Deptford doesn't get a mention, with that result already a foregone conclusion. But this little patch was once a Green stronghold and it seems the right time to ask BCers - are you a Green supporter re-energised? Or a lapsed supporter, returned to the fold?

Is this a long-term shift in the political landscape which could help the Greens reassert themselves as a local political force, or will they wither as soon as people get wind of what's in their manifesto. Who's up for some degrowth?

Deptford SMASHfest

Jonah Hill: A huge earthquake happens, who do they rescue first? Actors. They'll rescue Clooney, Sandra Bullock, me. If there's room, you guys will come.
- This is the End

Yoms writes:

I'd like to introduce SMASHfestUK, a brand new science and arts festival for young people, piloting in Deptford during the February half term holidays.

Part sci­-fi, part horror and post-­Apocalypse, the festival is themed around a gripping story in which an asteroid is on a collision course with Planet Earth and a zombie invasion ensues. Visitors will have the chance to plan for Armageddon, whether it’s preparing for survival, singing for their lives at the End of the World Cabaret, creating a time capsule or taking a trip to the Intergalactic Travel Agency.

SMASHfestUK is the first event of its kind, designed to widen participation and build diversity in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) by engaging young people and hard to reach audiences.

SMASHfestUK is the creation of science TV production company The Refinery, and is partnered by the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, the Wellcome Trust, Middlesex University, and the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

Our story has already started, with interested participants submitting their own stories as to how they intend surviving armageddon. https://storify.com/smashfestuk

YBAs donate to Goldsmiths gallery fundraiser

Goldsmiths has revealed the list of its alumni who have donated artworks for its gallery fundraising auction. Blouin Artinfo reports:

The works, by the likes of Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Julian Opie, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and Steve McQueen, will be auctioned during Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale on February 12, 2015 in London. 

The money raised from the donated works, which include Damien Hirst’s “Ipratropium Bromide” (estimate: £250,000 - £350,000), Sarah Lucas’ “Nahuiolin” (estimate: £120,000 - £180,000), and Antony Gormley’s “Another Time XX” (estimate: £120,000 - £180,000), will go towards the £2.8 million needed to build the Gallery, all of which will be funded by external donations.

For details of the gallery plan, click here.

96% of Londoners say get on with the Bakerloo Line extension

An easy question, with a resounding answer. Does everyone want a southern extension of the Bakerloo Line? Yes. Yes, we do.

The public consultation is now over and the margin of victory for the yes camp is on a par with the referendum asking the Falkland Islanders asking them if they want to remain a UK Overseas Territory.

TfL says:

Initial analysis shows that over 90% of the 14,200 responses* support the principle of an extension into southeast London. 96% of respondents indicated they either ‘strongly support’ or ‘support’, in principle, the extension of the Bakerloo line into southeast London from its current end point at Elephant & Castle.

Matthew Yates, Head of Transport Planning & Projects, spoke about what happens next: "Over the coming months we are reviewing the case for the proposed extension including the different route options and possible station locations. We are also carrying out further environmental, planning and engineering studies and examining funding options."

Looking to the future, Matthew said: "It is still early days in the planning of this project but if progressed, and subject to funding and necessary powers, construction of this extension could start as early as 2023 and be open during the 2030’s."

We're not going to say that we are wiser than Jesus and Confucius put together - that is for others to say - but when we started writing about the consultation, the official line was that it wouldn't start operating until 2040. We said: "the smart money is on this project being brought forward by a decade or so, as South East London transport overheats." Now, they're talking about work starting in eight years.

Thanks to Monkeyboy for the tip-off.

London: The best of times

BC's been dwelling on the mountain of nostalgic coverage that accompanied the closure of Madame JoJo's in Soho. Celebrities and journalists have been lining up, to declare this not just the death of Soho, but of London itself: “Once [Soho] turns into a cascade of glass, then London is gone," says Rupert Everett.

Madame JoJo's was a great institution and the clean-up of Soho has cost it some of its soul, but Soho's transition from seedy to sought-after has been decades in the making. When BC worked there 10 years ago, it was already dominated by clubs, bars and restaurants for ad agencies and media companies. The internet was busy killing off the porn shops and Westminster Council was doing the rest. We'll be going back to Soho tonight, for a friend's farewell party and nothing much will have changed in that decade, except perhaps fewer doorways will open onto yellowing corridors, lit red. Are the brothels the kind of thing Guardian journalist Eva Wiseman mourns when she uses Soho's fate to ask whether the "London we love" is dying?

The brothels, like the treasures that Wiseman lists - the cinemas, the cafes, the cheap bagels, Central St Martins - haven't disappeared of course, they've just been displaced. Cut off one of London's heads, two more will take its place elsewhere in the capital.

The London of the and 80s and 90s, when most of these commentators grew up and enjoyed themselves, was simply much smaller and less dynamic. The fact that so much nostalgia can coalesce around so few places (JoJo's, the Wag, the Groucho) shows how narrow London's horizons used to be. Bohemian London didn't just get forced out of the West End, it outgrew it. Once, decadence was confined to a handful of streets. Today, it spills out to Brixton, Peckham, Dalston and a dozen other neighbourhoods. When our ex went to Central St Martins, it was a crummy collection of buildings scattered across London. Now, the college lives in an incredible new home, on a site which was once a polluted no-man's land.

London nostalgia has become toxic and tedious. And it's not only BC that's bored of it. Giles Coren, writing in Time Out, captures it perfectly:

"Well, they are ladies and gents of a certain age, who for most of their lives lived in a London of closed boozers, awful food, stinky communal pissoirs, graffitied public buildings, incipient sexism and racism, and danger on every corner. 

"And they are just so jealous about the great things their children’s generation are doing to this city that they want to nip progress in the bud by objecting to damn near everything. They want to turn the clocks back to a time that they somehow perceive as having been more ‘real’, because it was their own miserable reality growing up, and they want it to be ours."

Of course, urban decay has its own charm and change means inevitable loss. It is impossible not to regret the Venue's decision to switch from showcasing indie upstarts to hosting tribute bands (though, ironically, the nostalgics are to blame for that, too). But if you're not having illicit or extravagant fun in London any more, don't blame the city.

London didn't get old. You did.

One Friendly Place

Yesterday, on Twitter, we were casting around for good local wedding party venues, on behalf of a friend.

As ever, BCers came up with the goods, including this beautiful venue, which we'd never heard of, but lurks under our noses at One, Friendly Place, next to Pets At Home at the bottom of Blackheath Hill.

It's a venue for hire as a studio space or party venue and you can find out more here. And if you're not following us on Twitter, you are only experiencing BC in mono. Click here to talk about every issue two levels deep.

The Hilly Fields Big Birdwatch, January 25th

Tom writes:

Friends of Hilly Fields are holding a Big Birdwatch event this Sunday 25 January to coincide with the RSPB national event.

We'll be outside the cafe from 10.30-12.30. Guided walk from 11.00-12.00 or grab a bird picture sheet and go round by yourselves. All welcome. Activities for children include making bird feeders and fat balls. The RSPB will have representatives present.

More details here.

Asda comes to Deptford

The march of the supermarket convenience stores through south east London continues, with the news that Asda is applying to convert a 99p store on Deptford High Street into one of their small stores.

Deptford Dame reports that it will be going head-to-head with Tesco on the high street soon. Up to a point, BC's view is that the spread of supermarket convenience stores is good news. It helps reduce car use, brings people to shop on their high street instead of retail parks and gives the people what they want (reflecting a shift from weekly shops to impulse purchases). The supermarkets are mostly cannibalising their own trade or fighting off threats from deep discounters like Aldi and Lidl or online retailers like Ocado and the units are too small to compete with the specialist independents like those that grace Deptford High Street.

However, moderation in all things. Deptford's already been swamped by bookies. It would be nice if any shops following Asda's lead did so at their expense.

Violent crime rise bucks Lewisham's downward crime trend

Crime in Lewisham in 2014. Left: All. Right: Violence Against the Person
Total recorded crime in Lewisham fell by nearly 10% during 2014 compared with 2013, although within that total, crimes involving Violence Against the Person rose by nearly 10%.

Figures from the Met Police show the annual crime count for the borough fell from 24,733 to 22,313, while violent crime rose from 5,765 to 6,324. This included a sharp jump in the most serious violent crimes, which more than doubled from 325 to 739.

This pattern was mirrored in Brockley ward, which enjoyed a 13% drop in total recorded crime, but a 21% increase in violent crime. Of the wards covered by the Brockley area, Ladywell saw a fall of total recorded crime from 997 to 843 (violent crime up 220 to 238), Telegraph Hill fell from 1154 to 989 (240 to 248) and Crofton Park fell from 1003 to 858 (down from 219 to 206).

Crime in Lewisham has been falling for years, in line with the overall trend for the capital. The rise in violent crime, which is partly affected by the way figures are recorded, is a worrying reversal of recent improvements.

Lewisham is ranked "average" in terms of its overall crime rate, relative to the rest of London.

Click here for the full data set.

The HopCroft Twitter Walk, January 31st

The HopCroft Neighbourhood Forum is the group creating a neighbourhood area strategy for Honor Oak and Crofton Park.

Straddling two postcodes, it's an area that has more to do with ward boundaries than people's daily lives, so pulling together a coherent plan for both areas is going to take some work. One of their first orders of business is to map the areas and educate people about the issues. They write:

This is the first of our "get to know your neighbourhood" walks. We will walk through the different parts of our neighbourhood, and hopefully discover new spaces which we don't often visit. We'll snap some pics and tweet them along with our views on what we discover. Our tweets will appear in real time on our online map. 

The idea is to provoke discussion about the issues, as well as the things we love about our neighbourhood. We've teamed up with Stickyworld to set up an online forum where our tweets and views will be posted. This online map is for everyone living and working in the Crofton and Honor Oak Park Neighbourhood Area to come together and discuss openly how they'd like to see the Neighbourhood Develop.

Click here to get involved.

When we said fine, we meant worse than ever

Southern has confirmed that the reduced peak time evening service from London Bridge to Brockley and beyond will continue for the next four weeks - and let's face it, probably the next year.

Trains: Don't worry, everything's fine now

Robbie writes:

As a change from all the transport horror stories, it's maybe nice to notice that something has improved, if only slightly. The Victoria to Dartford train which stops at Nunhead and Lewisham (and lines up nicely for the Crofton Park train home) now runs in the evening til 00:09 on weekdays, and even now runs all day on Sundays. Only two an hour, but you can't have everything, eh?

Ladywell's pop-up community revealed

Lewisham has revealed its plans to create a temporary residential development on the site of the former Ladywell swimming pool.

The designs are considerably better than the early examples the Council cited and it's good to see this kind of innovation in the borough, but there has to be a question mark about how temporary this scheme will really prove to be.

Once it's been on site for four years, you have to ask how much appetite will there be to demount it - and if it isn't really going to be temporary, then is it a compromise too far in terms of form and function? If the Council can provide convincing answers, then this is an experiment worth trying. If they can't, then it's a poor way to cover up for a failure to produce a proper long-term plan by now.

The Council release says:

Lewisham Council has unveiled its plans for an innovative and flexible housing development devised in collaboration with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. The Council is responding to the ongoing high demand for housing in the Borough by exploring a short term option for use on the site of the former Ladywell Leisure Centre building.

The volumetric technology used in construction means that the development can be built faster and cheaper than if traditional methods were used, and the finished structure is fully demountable meaning it could be used over a number of years and in different locations across the borough. Plans are in the final development stages, and full details of the proposed scheme are available on Lewisham Council’s website.

Local residents will have the opportunity to ask questions of the architects at Lewisham Central Assembly on Saturday 24 January, followed by a special drop-in event at Lewisham library from 2-4pm.

The temporary scheme will be procured for a maximum budget of £4,300,000 and be on site for between 1-4 years. The first residential units could be occupied as early as late summer, providing 24 homes for local people in housing need, as well as eight ground-floor non-residential units for community and/or business use. 

All units exceed the current space standard requirements by 10%, helping the Council to meet an existing shortfall in both high quality temporary and two-bed accommodation whilst it develops new build and estate regeneration programmes for the Ladywell site and others.

Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “This scheme may offer a solution to an all too common problem that plagues many development sites, which often sit unused while complex regeneration plans are put together. When we have thousands of people on our housing waiting list and are paying out for expensive bed and breakfast stays that is a terrible waste. We are also showing with this partnership with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners that we can achieve real quality and value for money.”

Thanks to Brockley Kate for being first with the news, as always.

The New Cross-Lambeth North express: Number 53 depowered until March

The Number 53. King of buses. Growing up in south east London, it was the closest thing we knew to a loving god. Oh sure, Thor was more useful and the 54 was cooler, but the 53 - with its long, sinuous route - meant that it would soon appear by our side whenever we were lost and alone - our scarlet sentinel.

But TfL is doing a Delilah to the 53, lopping off its route, so that from January 17th until March 29th, its journey will end at the fairly useless Lambeth North due to nearby roadworks.

Bus travel, already annoying at the best of times, just got worse. To do it without warning at a time when South East London's public transport system is in chaos, is ridiculous.

Bez, Nige and the real Brockley connection

Brockley, famous for the hard-headed pragmatism of its fringe party activists, has been revealed as the registered home of the mysterious Realists Party, which has come into conflict with the former Happy Mondays hype man Bez, who is attempting to stand as a Parliamentary candidate for the soundalike Reality Party.

The Independent, reports that the Electoral Commission has ruled that Bez's party sounds too much like the Realists Party:

The only available details about The Realists’ Party are that it registered in February 2012, it is based in Brockley, London, that its leader is Ms Jane Lawrence and it has a Treasurer and Nominating Officer...

The two other Reality Party candidates are Nigel Askew, a pub landlord in Ramsgate, Kent, is standing in South Thanet where Ukip leader Nigel Farage hopes to become an MP, and Jackie Anderson, who is listed as the ‘west Salford and Eccles’ candidate, although the constituency does not exist anymore.

Click here to learn (not much) more about The Reality Party, but better still, if you are involved with The Realists Party, please tell us about the Brockley connection. Thanks to Patrick for the heads-up and for putting us straight on the details of the story.

Lewisham: It's been emotional

Ned Flanders: How about it, Homer? Will you teach me the secret of your intoxicating lust for life?
- The Simpsons

Greater Brockley is stuffed full of self-centred, emotionally unstable, thrill-seekers according to a team of international researchers, who examined 56,000 Londoners who took part in the BBC's Big Personality Test between 2009 and 2011 to create a psychographic map of the capital.

Lewisham is among the most emotionally volatile boroughs, as anyone perusing the pages of Brockley Central might be inclined to agree.

The most important and least surprising finding was that there is a sharp temperamental divide between inner and outer London, providing more evidence that there are essentially two Londons. Inner London is populated by extroverts who crave experience and enjoy diversity and outer London is inhabited by Ned Flanderses - more agreeable and conscientious than we Homer Simpsons.

Click here for The Telegraph's interactive map.

Street Feast bids for new Lewisham home

Street Feast's grand plan for Lewisham town centre has taken a step forward with their application for a licence to operate in the centre of Lewisham.

Last time we heard, the pop-up operator behind #ModelMarket was looking to build a permanent roof-top venue above Lewisham shopping centre, which would feature a cinema, restaurant and lots and lots of food and drink.

This application for a music and alcohol licence to operate until 1am (Thursday - Saturday) and midnight (Sunday - Wednesday) suggests a seven-day Street Feast high above the Riverdale is coming. With a proven demand and a credible track record, this application will hopefully get approval and 2015 could be even bigger than 2014.

Thanks to @littlejungleman for the heads up.

Calling all Brockley baker cyclists

Fru T Bunn the Master Baker: What’s that you say? Where’s my wife? Don’t worry your pretty little biscuit head…”
- Viz

Brockley's master bakers, Coopers, have their roving eyes out for another employee to join their fold. They're looking for a part-time baker / cyclist hybrid, which we're sure Brockley is over-blessed with. If you want to apply, click here.

Secret House Party on Telegraph Hill

Little Nan, always much more than a hair and a smile, is giving genteel Telegraph Hill the Kid n Play treatment. She says:

South London's favourite Nan is turning her own home on Telegraph Hill into a Cocktail Bar for two weekends.

Little Nan invites you round to her childhood home in Telegraph Hill, New Cross for 4 nights of partying! You will be allowed a gimps into the personal world of Little Nan's Victorian built family home perched on Telegraph Hill.

The location is going to be a top secret until the day of the Parties. Please Text Tristan on the day to find out where to go on 07792205375.

Little Nan will will be opening her doors on Friday 30th & Saturday 31st January/ Friday 6th & Saturday 7th February 2015 from 7pm - Midnight.

See their Facebook page for more.

Orange order for TfL's tangerine dream

Officer Gilpin: You ever hear the expression the simplest answer is often the correct one?
Detective Boney: Actually, I have never found that to be true.
- Gone Girl

The Transport Committee's statement in support of the Bakerloo Line extension also asks for some much-needed clarity in terms of the options to extend the East London Line south from New Cross.

The Bakerloo Line consultation makes an oblique reference to the idea, but gives no hint which way such a line might head and whether any other services might be sacrificed as a result.

The New Cross extension could head into Lewisham and, once there, the world is its Oyster.

London Assembly Committee backs Bakerloo Line extension

The Transport Committee of the London Assembly has announced its support for the Bakerloo Line extension to South East London, but has shamelessly copped out of backing one of the proposed routes (the Old Kent Road) over the other (Camberwell).

The letter, which you can read here, argues that whichever route is chosen, the loser should get some form of compensation (they specifically say they are not asking for compensation, but that's exactly what they are doing) in terms of alternative connections. The fact that they suggest reopening the Camberwell Thameslink station suggests they think the OKR route will be chosen.

So, another little step forward for the Bakerloo project, more momentum and more fence-sitting from politicians with one eye on the upcoming London election.

Monkeyboy, who sent us this news and who is something of a railways expert, reckons Crossrail 2 will get built before the Bakerloo. Brockley Central, who knows nothing about nothing, reckons that the Bakerloo extension will get built first. Who will win? Come back in 20 years to find out.

What next for Brockley Max?

While the Blythe Hill Festival is looking for new blood, the Brockley Max festival is looking for new ideas.

The challenge for any long-running event is to reinvent itself as the area evolves and draw new talent into its fold. It also needs to demonstrate its value to the community in order to secure its funding. Please take two minutes to complete their survey.

The Rivoli relocates to Walford

Stock Character 1: It's hardly the Rivoli is it?
Stock Character 2: Is the Rivoli still there?
- EastEnders

Last year, the BBC promised to gentrify Albert Square, to reflect the changing face of modern London. Last night, the first fruits of this strategy began to emerge, when Brockley's Rivoli Ballroom got a namecheck - its majesty held up in contrast to the abject party taking place in Walford.

Bring back real Walford! EastEnders hasn't been the same since the arrival of the East London Line.

It's 24 mins in, if you're interested.

Help make the Blythe Hill Festival happen

Capa: So if you wake up one morning and it's a particularly beautiful day, you'll know we made it. Okay, I'm signing out.
- Sunshine

The Friends of Blythe Hill Fields do cool stuff, helping to get funding for park improvements and throwing great events like the Festival. They are humanity's last best hope.

But due to some recent departures, they need new members fast, to help organise next summer's party. If you're interested, get along to their next meeting, 7.30pm, January 29th at the Honor Oak Pub.

Reduced peak time service set to continue

Southern has confirmed that, due to the ongoing Thameslink disruption, the reduced peak time train service from London Bridge to Brockley will continue next week - and likely a lot longer. They write:

These arrangements will remain in place between Monday 12th and Friday 16th January 2015. We continue to monitor the service at London Bridge and assess if any long term changes to train services are required.

Rush hour London Bridge service cut due to Thameslink disruption

The Thameslink upgrade work, which required the suspension of London Bridge train services over Christmas and which has caused severe delays to the services this week, since they resumed is going to cause further pain, with the announcement that Brockley will lose five rush-hour trains until Friday, and possibly for the longer term.

The announcement from Network Rail says:

"Over the festive break we undertook 16 days of work rebuilding two new platforms, removing and replacing 3km of track and installing new signalling into London Bridge. This work was completed on time.

"However, the new timetable has proved challenging to manage. We have reviewed this and made some immediate changes to a small number of evening peak services which will reduce the pressure on the infrastructure and allow us to deliver a more punctual service that passengers deserve. We will monitor the service this week and assess if any longer term changes are required.

"We have reviewed the operation of the station concourse, placed more staff at London Bridge, and implemented additional crowd control measures to separate passengers entering and exiting trains. By the end of the week, we will have additional passenger information screens, so the concourse is used more evenly.

"To avoid a repeat of the last two nights' disruption, we have made some immediate changes to a small number of evening peak services, which will reduce the pressure on the infrastructure and allow us to deliver an improved service.

"The trains that are being withdrawn are five London Bridge to West Croydon services. They are: 16.36, 17.06, 17.38, 18.06, 18.36. Three West Croydon services into London Bridge are also withdrawn: 17.12, 18.13, 17.42.

"We are withdrawing these services as alternative routes are available for passengers who normally take those trains. Passengers for Brockley, Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill and Sydenham will have a half-hourly service."

Sport Hilly

Needs more kettlebell 

Oliver writes:

"I live in the local Brockely area, up by Hilly Fields and am looking to get in touch with some like minded people interested in kettlebell and functional fitness. I train often up on hilly fields and it would be nice to train with some other people, learn from their skills, and in general integrate with the community a bit more."

Email him here if you want to fix something up.

Brockley Badminton is Back

Brockley badminton restarts this Thursday 8 January at 20:00 Askes Sports Centre in St Asaphs Rd. Come one, come all.

Catford kickabout

A meet up for Brockley and South East Londoners who want to play fun and friendly-spirited football locally. Please join and come along. Starts January 10th. Details here.

Standard: Brockley is a hotspot for 2015

When your humble hyperlocal blogger is running from meeting to meeting, wondering how he's going to squeeze in a trenchant post or two, puff pieces about Brockley in the Evening Standard's Homes & Property section are like manna from heaven - particularly when they include incendiary phrases like:

"The charms of Brockley lie almost exclusively within its main conservation area, a network of wide, tree-lined avenues surrounding Hilly Fields..."

Anyway, the paper has nominated Brockley as one of four London property hotspots to pounce on in 2015 and thus "get in early" while it's in the "early stages of an upward curve." Early would have been 2005, but still, it's nice to have Brockley's "batch of lively new shabby-chic bars and cafés selling organic food, plus delis and a micro brewery" recognised.

The paper's explanation for Brockley's hotlist status is:

Brockley, postcode SE4, was discovered by young upwardly mobile commuters back in the Eighties, but the Overground extension through this leafy swathe of south-east London has been a game changer, bringing hipsters from Dalston, young professionals working in the City and West End, and families priced out of Greenwich and Blackheath.

Click here for the full article. Thanks to Alastair for the heads-up.

TfL launches Ultra Low Emissions Zone consultation

TfL has launched a public consultation on its plans to create an Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London. Air pollution is a major killer in London and the capital has regularly failed to meet European air quality standards, so drastic action is required. 

A ULEZ would be similar similar to the Congestion Charge zone, requiring non-compliant vehicles passing through it to pay for the privilege. It would require taxis and buses to become zero-emission. TfL explains:

The ULEZ would take effect from 7 September 2020, and apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is proposed the ULEZ standards would be based on ‘Euro standards’, these are also used in the Londonwide LEZ. These are European standards that define the limits for exhaust emissions for new vehicles sold in EU member states.

To check the required standards and have your say, click here, but as ever with TfL's consultations, BC's overwhelming feeling is "yes, very good, hurry up.".

The Unhunger

Sarah: Is it a love song?
Miriam: I told you, it was sung by two women.
Sarah: It sounds like a love song.
Miriam: Then I suppose that's what it is.
- The Hunger


The Brockley singles scene is back and unhungry for more! Julie and Sophie writes:

It's been a fairly long hiatus, but Brockley's supperclub for single people is back, and with a new name 'Unhungry'.

We've got a Facebook group (that's closed so your friends don't know you've joined), and we've got two new dates in the diary:

18th JAN – BRUNCH 12pm
18th JAN – DINNER 6pm (early doors as it's a school night)

It's £25 for four courses and a cocktail (and BYO wine), and is first come first served, but we have VERY limited spaces, so book early.

Coming soon: A new skate and BMX shop for Deptford

CURVE has teased us with the news that they are taking over a shop on Deptford High Street to turn it into a skate and BMX shop.

With a growing number of bike shops in the area, a few good skate parks around and a whole fixie of hipsters in the hood, this move makes sense and will add a new dimension to the high street.

The Beer Shop London, 40 Nunhead Green

During our 2014 round-up, we got very excited about the stream of positive local booze stories that the year produced. It was remiss of us not to mention a new micro-pub that just opened in Nunhead - The Beer Shop London at 40 Nunhead Green.

It opened over the Christmas period, stocks an excellent selection of locally-brewed beers, including Brockley's own, and our Nunhead correspondent says that it's tiny, friendly and good value - though despite the name, it's easy to go in and not realise that it's actually a shop as well as a pub.

To visit their website, click here. For more about the idea behind the pub, visit The Peckham Peculiar, who've already nabbed the best headline.

The Brockley Deli welcomes newcomers

Zoltan from the Brockley Deli writes:

Thank you very much to everyone who voted for us for the Newcomer of the Year Award. One of the ways I'd like to thank our customers is to offer the Brockley Deli as a space for groups meeting in Brockley.

So if you want a place for your group to meet - whether it's a Knitting club, Book club or Justin Bieber fanclub (maybe not this one) - please call me for available times and details on 020 8694 9899. There will be group discounts on your coffee and cake!

Happy Mondays returns for 2015

Happy Mondays comedy at The Amersham Arms returns with a new year line-up that includes brilliant Lewisham-based comedian Sara Pascoe, among a host of other big names.

12th Jan - Josh Widdicombe & Aisling Bea
26th Jan - Robin Ince
9th Feb - Sara Pascoe
23rd Feb - James Acaster
9th Mar - Katherine Ryan & Bridget Christie
23rd Mar - TBC

More details and tickets at; www.happymondayscomedy.com

Sunrise Cafe and Grafix Signs close

Sunset
Sunrise Cafe and Grafix Signs on Lewisham Way, opposite the Arthouse, have closed, joining the New Cross Bargain Centre, which has been vacant for some time. Grafix Signs looks like it might be reopening in some guise soon. Sunrise Cafe has been gutted.

Telegraph Hill fireworks

For future reference. We regularly get asked about the best locations from which to watch the NYE fireworks and our recommendation is to head up to Telegraph Hill, where the views and the company are both great. Kai has captured this year's display in this time-lapse video.

2015 Predictions - Kaiseki

These are BC's predictions for 2015. In order to discount them, click here to see how our 2014 predictions fared.

Relevés

Brockley Cross is not the new Lewisham Way. Last year, we said the new Meze Mangal would give Lewisham Way a wider lift. We were wrong. This time, we think The Brockley Deli will deliver a fillip to the Cross. There is a vacant unit ready to occupy and another that is currently being refurbished. Much depends on the Council standing strong against developers who want to replace Birds Dress Agency with flats and turn the car forecourt carbuncle into something worse.

Secondo

Last year's "restaurant" prediction flopped, but we're doubling down. More space is coming on stream and we suspect at least one of the area's existing restaurateurs is ready to give up the ghost and free up a restaurant unit for someone with a clue. Two new restaurants in 2015.

Su-zakana

Everyone wants it. There are lots of nearby alternatives. It's probably not going to happen, but what the hell - 2015 will be the year that Brockley gets a gym. That requires something substantial to get built or refurbished - the sorting office is probably still vulnerable to the Royal Mail's modernisation plans. Alternatively, perhaps Ladywell Baths could accommodate something. This is our outside bet for 2015.

Futamono

As predictions go, this is an empty vessel, into which we expect exotica to be poured. Last year, we got #ModelMarket in Lewisham. This year, someone's already plotting a late night coffee and tea bar in Deptford. So we're predicting that something other than the usual bar / cafe / shop / restaurant / salon will be opened in Brockley. Something strange and wonderful.

Savoreux

With all the big stuff being flung up in 2014, we can expect more of the same this year. This means the completion of the West Side story, as some version of this beast on Mantle Road gets underway. This side of Brockley Station deserves something decent to be built. The precedents aren't promising.

Brockley Central Label Cloud