Forest Hill: Stag Don't

There are lots of brownfield sites in Lewisham which don't adjoin beautiful woodland. The protestors objecting to the development of new housing in Forest Hill happen to think it's better to start on those areas, before bulldozing this spot, which also happens to be an important home to man's best friend, the stag beetle.

We think they have a point.

If you want to know more and join the petition, please click here.

The Broca Food Market, 209-211 Mantle Road

The Broca Food Market, west of the station, is finally opening for business.

The sister business to The Broca cafe, its contents have remained a closely-guarded secret until now, but owner Erin has finally spilled the beans. It will be a "community green grocers and grocery store, selling a load of delicious fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs and milk from a kent farm co-op."

Its official opening is December 13th to coincide with the Christmas market on Coulgate Street.

The chip and pin machine isn't up and running yet, so it's cash only until the 13th.

Brockley Christmas Market, December 13th

Des from the Brockley Cross Action Group (BXAG) has written regarding the Christmas Market. He says:

"The final pieces of the jigsaw have been fitted and the Brockley Christmas Market is now a reality.

"It was very much touch and go for several weeks when we were told that we could not use Coulgate St as Network Rail contractors would be closing the street from the beginning of December. Other possible options were explored and eliminated, but a last minute change of plan means that the construction work is now delayed until January and we have the "green light" for the market.

"Last year's was good (about 1700 people attended), this year will be better. We are providing more stalls and live music throughout the afternoon culminating in a 'Switch on of the Brockley lights by actor Patrick Baladi [Neil from The Office and former flatmate of a friend of BC's] and a festive choir in front of the Brockley Barge.

"John Stainer School are working with the BXAG and will be providing part of the live music (a band composed of teachers & parents) and we have incorporated plenty of interest for children including lantern making and Santa and his elves in the grotto."

Des doesn't add whether the controversial "green" Father Christmas suit will return.

It means more because you made it yourself

Brockley Stone Circle, Moonlight - by Leo Stevenson, one of the gallery's member artists

Brockley will get an early Christmas present this year, when the long-awaited Tea Factory gallery opens for business.

After 14 months of hard work by volunteers (and the occasional setback), the Tea Leaf Arts group will open the 65 square-metre exhibition space to the public on December 6th at 10am.

The gallery will be run as a co-operative, staffed by members, meaning that visitors will be able to discuss the work on display with the creators.

Boris bins c-charge extension

"Nihilists! F#@k me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos."
- Walter Sobchack

In a move that will surprise no-one, Boris has announced he will scrap the western extension to the congestion charge from spring 2010. The NIMBY's NIMBY, he has once again proven himself to be very adept at not doing things.

If only we hadn't spent so long this morning sourcing quotes from the Big Lebowksi we would have some time to write about this topic. But we're sure some will have strong feelings about it nonetheless...

Where's the money, Lebowski?

Following the recent debate about this year's £10,000 localities fund, here's how it went down.

  • £200 to the Christmas Market
  • £500 to provide a Council services workshop for local people
  • £500 to find out if, where and how a community orchard could be created in Brockley
  • £1,500 to support and grow the Fun Run
  • £1,500 to create a street party
  • £3,300 for our friends the trees
  • £2,000 contribution towards improvements for Friendly Street Gardens
  • £500 for the Brockley MAX
So trees came out on top again, reflecting the balance of opinion on this site. The orchard was a project that got lots of people excited but now needs some more investigation before further funds could be committed. The Brockley burghers have also managed to support the existing local events calendar and a brand new one in the shape of a street party.

The meeting was attended by about 12 people and a general consensus was developed around the ideas. We understand that Ladywell have matched our figures for the fun run & brockley max.
There is a budget of at least £3,300 for new street trees, which will buy around 12-15 for the local area. Residents will be asked to submit nominations for individual spots that are most in need and the sites will be surveyed by Lewisham's tree experts for suitability. In the new year all suitable sites will be discussed with residents and the trees should be in by the spring.
Cllr Dean Walton said:
"A great range of existing and new ideas that should benefit from this year's Localities Fund. The fun starts on 13 December with the Brockley Christmas Market, a good 5 months to get in training for the Fun Run. Along the way we'll investigating whether we can have a community orchard in Brockley."
"Local residents will have a real say in identifying where the new trees will be planted both by nominating sites for consideration and then real participation in which of the suitable sites will actually get new trees. If all goes to plan there's every chance that the new trees will be in the ground by the spring."
"On behalf of the Brockley Councillors, I would like to thank the Brockley Central team and contributors for their help in getting the message about the Localities Fund out and about. Next year the Brockley Assembly will have to take a decision about how to spend Brockley's £50,000. I look forward to your input into that."

The Brockley Cross Shuffle

"The classical model of rational expectations may be a worthwhile theoretical hypothesis, but does not describe the real world very well."

A while back, we wondered aloud how smart Brockley Cross landlords were. They priced-out the incumbent flower shop, Nicki Fianders, in the hope of attracting higher-paying tennants to a failing stretch of shops bordering the double roundabout.

It is now six months since the old shop closed and, despite a makeover, there is still no new shop in place (six months lost rent). But now, finally, it is being fitted out. Ominously, the workmen have just installed a glass screen (complete with a little slot) over the new counter. It's doubtful that any business requiring an impenetrable barrier between shopkeeper and customer is going to take the area upmarket in the way that the landlords perhaps imagined when they evicted the florist. Still, the new owners will doubtless be able to swap customer-care tips with 'Duke' opposite.

Meanwhile, the old Nicki Fianders sign has appeared above the neighbouring shop, previously occupied by the now-defunct Yana, through whose doors we never saw a single customer pass.

Greenwich Park and the 2012 Olympics

Greenwich is London's greatest park. It offers the best views in London, houses some of the city's most important historical buildings, is framed on all sides by beauty and offers a stunning undulating landscape of almost infinite variety.

We grew up next door to it and have spent more time in it than any other public space we can think of. We remember one particularly fierce winter when people flocked to the slope in front of General Woolfe with their sleds, plastic bags, tin trays to take advantage of huge snow drifts. That day was the first time we ever saw a pair of skis. We remember how upset we were when the snow cleared to reveal a muddy brown gash that we thought would never be repaired.

We love Greenwich Park and we hate to see it come to harm. We hope we've made that point clear.

The campaign group No to Greenwich Olympic Equestrian Events (NOGOE) is opposed to Greenwich Park being used as an Olympic venue and has come up with almost as many objections to the plans as we've had emails and leaflets telling us about the impending destruction of the park we hold so dear.

Here are their concerns in brief:

1. The park will be damaged by the event and that the cross country race route will go through sensitive parts of the park
2. Parts of the park will be closed for months in the build up to the games to allow for the construction of a temporary venue
3. The whole park will be closed to non-ticket-holders for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics
4. There will be traffic congestion in Greenwich during the Games
5. The Park is small compared with venues for previous Games
6. There will be no tangible legacy from the Games for the park

Consequently, they want the event to be held in someone else's back yard.

At yesterday's public consultation in Greenwich Park we spoke with a LOCOG official whom we know from our previous job. In response to points 1-3 this is what she said:

1. LOCOG will be working with the Royal Parks to ensure that damage is minimal - some low branches along the course will need to go, but the long-term effects on the park will be negligible. The route isn't fixed and it's likely that they will avoid the flower garden, which seems to be the primary concern of many who've raised this issue

2. A small part of the park on the north side will be closed for several months before the Games. But the rest of the park will remain open as usual

3. All true and unavoidable for logistical and security reasons

These three issues are really the crux of the matter. The loss of our park for a month in four year's time seems a reasonable price to pay - everyone will have plenty of time to work out how to find Blackheath or Hilly Fields by then. As for the damage, well the Park has coped with film festivals and marathons in the past and the sledge-ruined slope did recover. Greenwich will also recover from this.

The other points are all irrelevant distractions or part of a much wider question of whether you want London 2012 at all.

Regarding point 4, it's true that London's entire road system will be redrawn for the duration of the Games and this is likely to have all kinds of interesting knock-on effects for the city. Greenwich will not be alone and nor is severe congestion in Greenwich unusual. The Games are timed to take place in the holidays, which - as previous Games have shown - usually tempers the effects of a Games. Likewise, non-Games tourists usually arrange their trips to host cities to avoid the Olympics, so the net effect on visitor numbers for this period is minimal.

Point 5 seems particularly silly. Blogs like this one are suddenly fretting about what the international equestrian authorities may or may not think of the plans. If the IOC (who are not renowned for letting host nations offer sub-standard venues) are happy with it, that should be enough for us to discount the argument.

As for point 6...

During the bidding process, Paris was the favourite and most Londoners we met were inclined to believe the bookie's verdict. The UK had submitted half-arsed bids from Birmingham and Manchester in the past and lost by a mile. The same would happen with London.

Paris was promising to stage the beach volleyball competition beneath the Eiffel Tower - what could London offer that was so dramatic? Well, one of the answers was that Greenwich - a world heritage site - would host the equestrian events. Not quite as iconic perhaps, but a far more lovely setting. Together with Wimbledon, Wembley and Lords, Greenwich was part of a package that showed London was serious about staging the Games and putting on an event that would show the city and the Olympics in the best possible light.

So when we received the first of the many emails and leaflets we've had from protesters about the plans, which allege serious damage to the park with "no tangible legacy", our response has to be: "Apart from hosting the Olympics on our doorstep you mean?"

So what if they aren't offering us the sop of some new park benches? What does that matter compared with showing the world how beautiful south east London is or being able to take our kids to the Games or tell our grandchildren about the brief moment where the world came to play in our park?

If you don't believe in the romance of the Games and want something more tangible then how about the massive international media exposure that Greenwich will be given, the number of tourist itineraries it will appear on and the opportunity for the borough to refer to itself as 'Olympic' forever more.

Still not bricks and mortar enough for you? The massive regeneration of East London simply wouldn't have happened without the Olympic catalyst. Anyone who believes it would have gone ahead anyway should consider the fate of Lewisham Gateway. Without Greenwich as part of the bid, our initial case would have been that bit less compelling - we may not even have been awarded the Games.

There are plenty of people who don't like the Olympics and don't think we should be hosting it. We get that. But that argument's moot, to say the least. It's happening. The question now is how we make the most of it.

Here's what we think should happen:

  • The equestrian events should remain in Greenwich Park and we should all learn to love it and make the most of this extraordinary opportunity
  • Campaigners should be consulted on how to manage the event as sensitively as possible, maximising access and minimising impact
  • The course should be changed to avoid the flower gardens - easily done according to LOCOG
  • LOCOG should offer some more tickets to local people - ideally via the local state schools
  • Local campaigners should switch their focus to working out how we can secure some physical improvements to the park or the surrounding area in return for losing the use of our park for a few weeks in four years' time

Brockley in the media: The Sunday Times' "Buying and Selling"

A Brockley flat features in a piece on buying houses at auction in today's Sunday Times.

The writer visits places in Kilburn, Crystal Palace and Camberwell, before coming to her senses and checking out SE4:

"The third property I singled out was a lower-ground-floor flat in Brockley, a short drive to the southeast. It was on Wickham Road, a beautiful street lined with oak trees and impressive Grade II-listed homes. A five-minute walk from Brockley station (a stop on the East London Line extension, due to open in 2010), the flat was in a Victorian brick house with a jolly red staircase."

But like many Brockley landlords, the owner hadn't bothered to do some basic improvements before putting it on the market:

"It was not quite so jolly inside: the walls were filthy and cracked, and the smell of damp was overpowering. The flat had gone on the market at £190,000 in March, but was going to auction with a guide price of £110,000-£120,000. The owners, who lived in the country and had been letting out the flat, appeared to have put little effort into making it attractive to potential buyers. The ceilings were fairly high for a lower-ground-floor flat and most of the problems were cosmetic: the kitchen cupboards were filthy, while the garish bathroom decor, all fake marble tiles, dirty pink cupboards and swirly bronze handles, made me want to run a mile.

"Dealing with all this would cost a lot of money, but given that one-bed flats in the area sell for upwards of £180,000, it still seemed a good deal..."

And guess what? The flat failed to reach its reserve price at auction. So instead of a property supplement writer living in the area, we have an empty, mildewed husk.

As an anon points out in 'Suggest a Topic', the final twist is an apocalyptic note from a 'former estate agent', who took a folder of hyperbole with him when he cleared his desk:

"I wouldn't waste your hard earned cash on areas like Brockley. Wait another year and you will find you can afford Clapham and Battersea. Wait another two years and you will find you can afford to move to Fulham. Happy hunting from a former estate agent.
Lawrence, London, UK"

Brockley Central moonlighting

We promise this is the last thing connected to our day job that we plug for a good long while, but if you've been wondering why recent entries have been a little light on prose and you're hungry for more, then allow us to introduce C&binet, where we'll be blogging from time to time.

C&binet is a project we've been working on for a while, helping to set up a new network for creative business people, starting with these people. And who's better-qualified to do that than a resident of the creative cluster that is SE4?

Writing for the c&binet blog versus Brockley Central has the advantage that we will actually be working, rather than simply pretending to work while nervously looking over our shoulder.

Although we will have to drop the "Brockley" bit from our pen name, we'll be trying to find a way to crowbar Brockley in to articles about IP protection and new business models for creative content owners. Wish us luck.

Brockley Mick

We've copied this conversation from the increasingly-unwieldy "Suggest a Topic" section. It was prompted by our prospective neighbour michael, whose enthusiasm is very moving! Welcome to Brockley...

I am about to move into area and am very excited about it. Could the good people of Brockley suggest their three favourite things to do in Brockley. Many thanks Michael (soon to be Brockley resident)
20 November 2008 10:51

Tyrwhitt Michael said...
Hooray At last someone to break the BNP monopoly and another Michael at that. Here we go with the first nominations1. Walk across Hilly Fields2. Drink and Quiz at the Wickham3. Shop in Deptford MarketLast one strictly not in Brockley but within walking distance of my end. Next nominations...........

Bea said...
Here's mine ...- the leafy streets and houses of the Conservation area (incl. walks across Hilly Fields)- shopping in places like Degustantion and Shop on the Hill- coffee / meals with friends in Toads Mouth Too or Aquarium and drinks at Jam CircusNext ...
20 November 2008 11:38

Lady said...
1. Sit down on Hilly Fields, maybe fall asleep if it's sunny enough(also remember the first Sat of every month for your baked goods (farmer's market)2. Browse and treat yourself at Mr. Lawrence's wine emporium3. Eat at Mezze Mangal or Longtimeand generally, 4. Try not to waste hours of your life on this blog
20 November 2008 11:40

lb said...
Mine are exactly the same as Lady's, although I tend to avoid the baked goods stall at the farmers market after witnessing a really unseemly, yet incredibly middle-class, bit of indignation over some quiche in the queue in front of me.Meze Mangal is well worth a look, as is Mr Lawrence.
20 November 2008 11:44

Tressilliana said...
1. Hill walking in SE4: you could do a good circular walk starting from Hilly Fields, going down to Blythe Hill Fields, possibly via the cemetery for part of the way, and then over to One Tree Hill and (for the truly energetic) home via Telegraph Hill. Lots of good views along the way and the autumn colours are great at the moment.2. Eating out: good recommendations above. For fish and chips (take-away only) try Fishy Business at the Brockley Road end of Harefield Road. Le Querce just south of Crofton Park is great. So is the Babur which is nearly opposite.3. Brockley Jack film club. We've only been once so far but plan to go again soon.
20 November 2008 11:54

brockleybiker said...
Experiance the crazy joy of Brockley X roundabout with its swiftly changing priorities.Another vote for Lawrences and Hilly Fields.
20 November 2008 11:57

fabhat said...
1.Hilly Fields in every season: favorites including the bench at the top with the wonderful views of south london, and the vicar's hill side secret trapeze bar suspended in a tree.2. Meze Mangal - friendly people and tasty food to eat in or takeaway.3. Walking along the wide, tree-lined streets and imagining the previous lives of the ginormous houses, on the way to a nice local drink at the toads mouth, or moonbow jakes...
20 November 2008 12:02

fabhat said...
On Le Querce - I went there last night and it was all very nice - lovely friendly service and very tasty and generous food - but the most suprising thing is the ice cream/sorbet menu. Flavours included: Garlic, aubergine, saffron, parsley or rocket, melon and cinnamon, banana ginger and cardomon and what was agreed to be the winner, strawberry and balsamic vinegar sorbet. Amazing!
20 November 2008 12:05

Tressillian James said...
1) Hilly Fields and the streets around2) the second hand clothes shop on Malpas way - real vintage stuff in good nick - and the lady was nice last time I was there.3)this isn't strictly Brcokley but it's what I love about it - the convenience of being near Greenwich, Blackheath, Lewisham, Deptford (inlcuding Wellbeloved's butchers) and only 10 mins or so from London Bridge. So after work or out in the city I can be back home quicker than friends schlepping it on the Northern line
20 November 2008 12:14

Brockley Broadband

No doubt frustrated at having to argue with Brockley residents at dial-up speeds, Chris has emailed to ask this question of BC readers:

"I live on Aspinall Road and I couldn't find any info on when/where/at some unspecified future date, we in Brockley might get fibre optic cable in our streets. Does anyone know? We are hoping to get faster broadband connection but find the adsl is very slow round here."

Please give concise answers to save the download time...

Cats: Lost and Found

A Brockley Fox (but not one of The Brockley Foxes) writes:

This cat has been seen in braxfield road over the last few weeks. I have lived here for 2 years now, and have never seen it before. It doesn;t appear to have a home, is getting thinner, and always seems to be outside whatever the time of day or the weather. It's very friendly, and my housemates and I have started feeding it, and giving it shelter.

Natrually we are keen to find its owners, or at least find somewhere that can deal with these things. Could you put a post on broc central please? perhaps someone in the area can shed some light?

We don't want to turn Brockley Central in to kitty corner, but this cat clearly needs a break and the poster made us laugh.

Transpontine: Brockley a no-BNP zone

Transpontine 's just searched the leaked BNP membership database and come to the same conclusions we did - Brockley is BNP-free. Ladywell and Crofton Park also yielded zero returns.

This heartening news offsets the fact that an extremely rude bloke we witnessed swearing at a couple of old ladies at our tube station ended up getting off the same train as us at Brockley tonight.

[Edit: we've found just one with an SE4 post code]

Brockley Ward £10K killer question

Cllr Dean Walton has kindly sent Brockley Central the details of each of the Localities Fund applications, which will be discussed this eventing at St John's Church. Your feedback and poll votes will be very welcome and will be fed in to the meeting before any decisions are taken.

On initial inspection, all the ideas seem to have some merit in our view - except number 7.

Here's Dean's note:

In no particular order, here are the proposals for this year’s Localities Fund. ‘Community Cohesion’ has really taken off as a theme this year which is very interesting.

1. Brockley Fun Run. This event received some money from the Localities Fund last year. The applicants say “The Fun Run was a real success last year and we need to create a bigger splash this year. It highlights the beauty of our local parks while raising awareness of the support it needs to create a better public space. We let the children under 12 run free to help engage the local schools. It also brings together two sides of Brockley, Brockley Cross and Ladywell to create better relations within the community. Last year, outsider runners accounted for 17% of runners as we are a certified runners world hill run. It creates a great PR opportunity for everyone in Brockley to use, as well as make people in Brockley feel like they are involved in their community.”

2. Brockley Christmas Market. Fairly self explanatory but the applicants say the benefits of the event to the local community “By encouraging people to shop locally. To demonstrate to stall-holders that there is a demand for a wider range of products and stimulate them towards opening retail premises locally.”

3. Brockley Max Festival. Taken straight from the application form “The Brockley Max has been running for 7 years and has proved very popular & successful in bringing the community together to develop, explore and celebrate the creativity in Brockley.” The applicants also provided some totally non-biased comments from local people about previous festivals – “‘Brockley Max was amazing! Brockley rocked large! Thanks to all the BMax crew for making all happen so beautifully - what an incredible accomplishment - and the fire works...WOW! What a fantastic part of town this is...!’ ‘I am just emailing to say congratulations and thank you so much for organizing the fantastic Brockley Max festival last Saturday and last week. Thank you very much for the memories and best of luck for the future!’

4. Street Garden/Party and other events in Brockley A series of events within the Brockley ward which promote cultural exchange across the communities in Brockley.The main event would be a street/garden party in Wickham Gardens. There would be satellite 'freecycle events', a free exchange car boot fair where people who wish to get rid of household items could freely exchange in a fun setting. We would engage an arts and crafts specialist to run an large "Art attack" style sculpture made of recycled/used materials from the ward.

5. Friendly Street Gardens/Brookmill Park Additional improvements to Friendly Street Gardens/Brookmill Park ideas. There is a programme to improve the park significantly over the winter, the fund could provide additional improvements such as a contribution to a trim trail or other equipment in the park.

6. Street trees – last year we planted a number of trees in Brockley. Street trees provided by Lewisham come with a proper guard and a watering and replacement programme in their first few years. They cost more than trees from garden centres but should last longer.

7. Additional publicity for the Brockley Assembly. The turnout at the last Assembly was lower than expected. Do people think it’s worthwhile to consider spending some money on publicising the Assembly further, or should we look to redouble our efforts through more informal networks and the like.

8. Paving Outside Brockley Road Post Office. Since the recycling binds were (thankfully removed) and the trees (from your localities fund) planted the pavements have been shown to be rather stained. If possible, would it be a good spend of money to bring the pavements up to scratch quicker than might occur under the usual replacement programme for Lewisham.

9. Council Services Workshop Organise a council services workshop to empower residents to become best ‘community activists’ by informing how best to contact the council and other organisations, how to complain and how to best get issues actioned and resolved. Knowing who , what and when. Lee Green Assembly has organised a social event -

10. Community orchard - may need to do some work on the site but find a site, plant some trees and within a year or two free fruit for local people; combine with a school perhaps to provide a means of guaranteeing the upkeep of the orchard over the years.

11. Music club/ clubs - mainly aimed at young people but suggested by one of Lewisham’s community wardens - guitar tuition, song writing tuition making and recording, making and recording own music, performing live to young people.

Some of the ideas proposed above may need a bit of further refinement, or it may be that in fact it’s not cash that’s need but the right combination of people. Your thoughts and contributions will be really useful to the local Councillors and Co-Ordinating Group who will be meeting at St John’s Church on Monday.

Applicants and any local people are very welcome to attend and contribute.

The Telegraph Hill Festival - planning meeting

The initial planning meeting for the 2009 Telegraph Hill Festival is happening tomorrow, November 17th at 8pm, at the Centre Lounge.

The Festival will take place March 13th - 22nd 2009 but the work starts now.

Sara Scott, Chair of the Festival says:

"We don't need a commitment from anyone at this stage, but if you have the beginnings of a new idea for the Festival come along and talk to those who can make it a reality.

"Or, if you want to help out or you're curious as to how it all works, please come along anyway. Everyone's welcome."

Dandelion Blue for sale [updated]

As has already been discussed in mournful tones elsewhere on the site, Dandelion Blue's lease is for sale.

The Coulgate Street shop placed an ad for its lease in the window a few days ago and we confirmed with the staff that the managers are trying to sell the place as a going concern. While we fret about the potential loss of a place that sells yummy stuff and lifts our spirits every time we come out of the station, the guys working there are concerned about their jobs.

We've not yet heard from the owners what has prompted this move, but obviously it's a very difficult climate for any small business to operate in. It appears to get regular footfall and we know we've put lots of our own money where our mouth is when it comes to supporting local businesses. Since it opened, we've always used it as a case study; as evidence that people in Brockley will shop local if they're offered the opportunity.

We hope that - as with Moonbow Jakes - if a sale does take place, it's to someone who wants to retain the good things about the place, while injecting new energy.


Owner Sandra has written to us to explain more:

We are closing Dandelion Blue at the end of January or it may possibly be sold before then.

This is because Pete is looking to move back to Scotland for personal reasons. I don't have the extra capital to buy him out, so unfortunately the shop will have to be closed / sold on.

The recession really has not had an input into the decision, in fact in this uncertain economic climate we are finding that we are getting busier as people look to treating themselves with drinks, food etc....rather than going out to bars, restaurants and the like. And as Christmas approaches, we have naturally seen increased footfall in the store.

Brockley twinned with East Manchester

Brockley Central has been doing a bit of work for Manchester City Football Club recently and we are hoping to pluck up the courage at some point to ask for an interview with Brockley's first son, Shaun Wright-Phillips, who is back in East Manchester, enjoying his football again.

The club will be giving the stadium a major makeover next year and has asked fans to contribute their memories of their first City game via a website. The best entries will then be immortalised with giant quotes and photography which will fill the stadium concourses.

So this part shameless plug for the site and part curiousity as to whether we have any Manchester City fans on Brockley Central - or anyone who grew up with Wright-Phillips?

The pastiche isn't a foreign country

After yesterday's debate about a new house proposed on Breakspears Road, regular poster TJ attended the BrocSoc meeting and has sent us an example of a house built on Drake Road, which is a clearly successful example of pastiche architecture (double height bays and all) and a model which the protestors hope could be followed in this case.

BrocSoc meeting tonight re. 47 Breakspears Road

The rather sorry site at 47 Breakspears Rd

Tonight, BrocSoc will be holding a planning meeting to discuss a controversial application to redevelop 47 Breakspears Road.

The BrocSoc site explains:

"Those of you who have been following this ongoing battle will be delighted to hear that we have another chance to put a stop to an extremely unsympathetic development."

There can surely be no one who will mourn the demolished house, which was a sorry-looking tumbledown. The issue is over the quality of the new design, which substitutes traditional bay windows for blocky efforts.

The juxtaposition of modern and period architecture can look stunning and it's what London is all about. But the new designs appear neither fish nor flesh; neither respectful enough to pastiche the neighbouring buildings nor bold enough to excite.

The result is a disappointing botch job and though we'd rather see something than nothing on that site, we can't see why the BrocSoc campaigners couldn't get their way whilst still enabling a developer to turn a profit that would make a rebuild viable.

If you want to go along, the meeting is at 7.00pm, St Andrew's Church, on the corner of Brockley Road and Wickham Road.

Update by Brockley Jon:

To save you wading through the planning docs, here's what is proposed for he development:

47 Breakspears Rd plans

Here's a side by side comparison:

47 Breakspears Rd plans

Celia Hammond Animal Trust, 233-235 Lewisham Way

Rosie from Celia Hammond has been in touch to ask us to plug their website and to woo you all with these two furry characters, who we think are called Tara and Tessa.

The centre cares for stray animals and tries to find them a home as quickly as possible. Rosie says:

"Also, if you fancy posting this message as a topic to inspire people to comment on their cats, you may like to feature a pic of the two lovely kittens we're fostering at the moment as they're looking for a home together (we can't keep them as we rent and have no cat flap). They were rescued as feral 8 week old kittens from Thornton Heath backin July and are now beautiful, affectionate 5 month old kittens.They've both been neutered and microchipped and are available for viewing in St Johns. Go on... how can you resist?!"

We're happy to plug the centre, not least because we've only ever had stray cats as pets and they've all been lovely. Besides, Brockley Kate would probably never forgive us if we turned down the opportunity to feature a photo of cats.

Boris: East London Line 2 is the "Way to Go"

Today, Mayor Johnson launched his vision paper for the future of London transport, entitled "Way to Go", with encouraging signals about the second phase of the East London Line extension.

One of its headline commitments is:

"Improving the journeys of rail passengers through the continued development of the London Overground network to form an orbital rail equivalent to the M25, and the roll-out of Oyster across the private rail franchises."

Creating an orbital rail service entails extending the East London Line again, from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction, creating a complete circuit of zone 2-ish parts of London.

The specific commitment in the full document is about as concrete as is possible in a vision document, stating "now is the time" to develop the "potential of the overground".

ELL2 has always seemed like a no-brainer: a low-cost project which will maximise the benefits of the other overground investment projects and free up some capacity on overstretched overland services. Today, it moved a lot closer to reality.

Brockley Fireworks

Our highlight of 2007's Brockley Max was final-night fireworks in Hilly Fields, which were glorious and atmospheric. To our knowledge there are no public events planned in Brockley tonight. But we've had this request via email for help from Finn:

"Don't know if this is the right forum to ask this question, but can you see the Blackheath fireworks from the top of Hilly Fields? Have an 8 month old baby this year and the walk to Blackheath at that time isn't an option. Looking for something closer to home."

Brockley: It's all about oil

And, in a throwback to a darker political era, we got this - slightly baffling - request from Jacqui via email today:

"I wonder if anyone knows of a freight ( not sure if that the right word) company that can collect my friends' olive oil in Spain. I would like to bring over a barrel for the delight of all and sundry in Brockley and beyond, but need to know a): how do we get an acutal barrel and b) the name of a company that ships from Andalucia.

Look forward to some enlightenment!"

We don't really know what to say.

Brockley: The Audacity of Hope

“It requires no courage nor prescience to predict disaster. Courage is required of the man who, when things are good, says so.”

- JK Galbraith

Since the Obama victory seems to have lifted the hearts of all except the most curmudgeonly of Brockleyites, we thought it would be good to ask you all to name one thing that you are hopeful of - related to Brockley or not.

Broca's Pendulum

The owners of the Broca's new sister shop in west Brockley are remaining hush-hush about what their new place will offer. Recently however, runes have begun to appear on the outside of the shutters: robots, snowflakes and wheelbarrows but no coffee cups.

So what do these arcane symbols tell us about The Plan? And what role do Brockley's Knights Templar play in all of this?

Dos Tias Tapas Bar, 37 Deptford Bridge

A cafe / tapas bar hybrid that serves delicious food in a friendly, no-frills environment. Tucked away just beside Deptford Bridge DLR, it easily holds its own against more polished Spanish restaurants in Greenwich.

Tel: 020 8469 8114