East London Line Mystery

Before I moved to Brockley, I imagined that the imminent arrival of the East London Line (2010) in the area would be universally regarded by local people as A GOOD THING. But there's a strong undercurrent of discontent that can be found on sites like Movethat about the ELL.

The objections are centred around the belief that (because there will be no new track built), the service to London Bridge will be reduced and instead the public will be 'forced' on to the line that goes 'from nowhere to nowhere'. I'll come on to the usefulness of the ELL extension in a moment, but, so far, the first assertion seems to be groundless.

According to Alwaystouchout.com [http://www.alwaystouchout.com/project/3] the frequency of trains to London Bridge will actually increase from 5 to 6 per hour between 2007 and 2010. This will be complemented by an additional eight trains per hour on the East London Line. True, there will be one train fewer per hour to Victoria (from 3 to 2) but that service is only enjoyed by those who like travelling from A to B via Z (aka Croydon).

As for the East London Line going 'nowhere' - that's only if you discount East London and the City (to which it provides a direct link). It also intersects with the Jubilee Line and, as such, provides a quick route to Canary Wharf and the soon-to-repoen Dome. In the long-term, the East London Line will form part of the new orbital rail route, creating convient links to a range of areas like Islington and Clapham.

Finally, although the East London Line won't technically be a "tube" it's still generated a lot of buzz and interest in Brockley, which even those people who shudder at the prospect of a Tesco Metro or an All Bar One arriving, should welcome.

If I've missed something and you know of actual plans to cut rail services from Brockley, please let me know.

Tell it to the judge

Here's the letter I sent to the Clark to the Licensing Justices about the application to turn the Homeview video shop in to a betting shop. I'll shed no tears for Homeview - I'm relatively new to the area and missed any glory days it may have had. It's a doomed business model. And I've got no problem with gambling. My objection is based purely on the fact that there are a million other things the street and the area could do with more. It's a great spot and I'm amazed no rival offers for the site have come forward. If anyone wants to go in to business with me, let me know!

Dear Sir / Madam

I am just writing to object to the application above.

My objection to a betting office is that they diminish the character of a street, adding nothing to the streetscape or community life. Betting shops block up their windows with promotions and branding and often feature dark and uninviting entrances, which don’t encourage passing trade or bring new visitors to the area.

Brockley is a rapidly-improving area, but the decision to grant another betting office license would, in my view, show a shameful lack of ambition for the high-street. I believe that this section of the high-street has at least as much potential as that around Crofton Park, which is far more vibrant at present.

The proposed site is extremely prominent, which means that a betting shop would be especially disappointing. Brockley appears to have a growing proportion of young families (like mine) and a betting shop does nothing for these people.

In summary, I believe that by granting a license, you would be missing an opportunity to stimulate regeneration in Brockley and serve the best interests of the local community.

Thank you for your consideration of my letter.

Best wishes

I got a letter of acknowledgement and invitation to the hearing in response.

There's still time to object - write to:

The Clark to the Licensing Justices
Greenwich Magistrates Court
9 Blackheath Road
SE10 8PG Ref - Objection to application for betting office, 329-331 Brockley Road, London, SE4 2QZ

Brockley Common

I went to a meeting of the Brockley Cross Action Group meeting last night, to find out what their plans are for the area and see if there was any way I could help out.

It's a good group of people who actually seem to know how to get things done and have a clear vision for how they want to improve the area.

The plans for "Phase 2" of the Brockley Common development, on the wasteland by the station are really needed and will open up the land they've converted for "Phase 1", which at the moment is pretty inaccessible. I'd walked past it a hundred times and still wasn't clear how to actually get in there.

Brockley's lucky that it already has Hilly Fields and, to a lesser extent, Telegraph Hill, and I don't see the Common poaching many of their visitors any time soon, but it would completely transform the area around the station, which is currently such a poor advert for the area.