What didn't happen in 2016

Before I write the Brockley Central review of the year, I thought it would be worth reflecting on three things that don't appear in the 2016 round-up. These are stories and themes that were staples in previous years, but were happily absent in the last twelve months:

Brockley murder

With depressing regularity each summer, as the nights grew longer and warmer, a gang-related grievance would escalate to produce a fatal stabbing somewhere near Brockley Station or Brockley Cross. Often, this would be followed days later by a deadly reprisal.

The normalisation of spaces that were once designated drug-dealing hangouts has reduced the opportunity for conflict, while zero-tolerance policing has dispersed the gangs. As a result, 2016 was the first year in the history of the site that I haven't had to report a Brockley murder.

It may be a statistical blip, but let's be grateful for small mercies.

Grumbling about rude station staff

The comment threads used to be littered with complaints about the attitude of Brockley Station staff, who were variously described as rude, inert and generally incompetent.

By contrast, staff now regularly receive compliments for their cheer and professionalism, even in the face of massive disruption to the Southern service. New management of the station has transformed the mood and no-one who has been bid a hearty goodnight at the ticket barriers as they leave the station will ever feel the same about their commute again.

Protests about big brands

Co-Op, Sainsbury's and Costa all moved in to the area in a big way in 2016. Once, this would have triggered demonstrations, petitions and apocalyptic predictions for local independent businesses. This year, the complaints never rose above a tut.

Possibly, this is due to changing demographics, maybe the ideological battleground has shifted - but most likely it's because we've had a decade of local evidence to suggest that chains and indies can live side-by-side after all.

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