Previously, in Brockley: 2008 recapped

The time has come to review 2008, just as we did 2007. Before we sat down to write, our recollection of the year was that it was defined by frustrations and setbacks, but while it's true that the tail end of the year brought some bad news, the overall story has been far more positive.

Although it has undoubtedly been a very difficult year for many, Brockley has remained fairly insulated from the extraordinary economic shock waves that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the dramatic scenes that this brought with it, just across the river.

The loss of Moonbow Jakes, James Johnston, Cafe Neu and one or two other businesses has been offset by the arrival of the Broca Food Market, the Deptford Deli, Geddes Salon and others.

None of this 'gentrification' has come at the expense of Brockley's sense of community - the calendar of local events has swelled with the addition of a Fun Run, a Film Club, the Ladywell Christmas Market, the Local Assemblies and even a Ukulele group. The Brockley community gallery did open, although there were many times in the year when it seemed an unlikely prospect - likewise the 2008 MAX.

Several local institutions were restored or saved in 2008, including the Brockley Jack pub and theatre, the Ladywell Tavern and the Rivoli Ballroom.

While much of Brockley Road (and Brockley Cross) remains in wretched (shaming) condition, the gradual improvement of the Crofton Park parade has demonstrated that progress is possible and need not mean the destruction of the area's existing character. It's a model which we hope will one day be applied to the rest of the high street.

The Talbot and the Common were delayed but the East London Line project made steady progress and it cannot come too soon as Brockley's train service is bursting at the seams, just as TfL forecast that it would.

Those overcrowded platforms are a sign of the area's growing vitality and rising profile and they - rather than recession - will be the forces that shape Brockley's future.


The Rivoli got protected status, much to the annoyance of its owners, but we said goodbye to Cafe Neu.


We learned that Meze Mangal was planning a patisserie for 'the summer' - but by December, the Sea Container would remain defiantly in its usual place. The Brockley Common project officially stalled, but it was confirmed that the station will eventually become fully accessible.


Crofton Park got a boost for its rail services. With the Brockley Jack Theatre's future assured, a new Film Club was born. Ladywell residents kicked up a stink over the PFI refurbishment of local council housing stock, which proposed ripping out wooden window frames and putting in plastic ones. It would not be the year's last complaint about this programme...


Brockley hosted its first fun run in Hilly Fields - an event set to grow in 2009. Developers unveiled plans for a new street in Brockley where the St Martin's Yard scaffolding yard currently stands, a project that will provide homes for small businesses as well as people if it goes ahead. The "Tesco effect" led to a new (and very good) Vietnamese restaurant on Lewisham Way. Brockley Central readers had to admit that Lewisham Council had a point when it marked some local trees for death, but there was good news for local flora as Pincott Place got a new park. Meanwhile, Brockley Kate got the keys to the blog.


Portland Bookmakers won the right to open on Brockley Road, while the Council launched timed refuse collections, which reduced the amount of rubbish stored on our high street.


The Deptford Project opened, The Ladywell Tavern reopened and the Summer Fayre, MAX and Open Studios created a full summer season. Although some were underwhelmed by the design, the new bins outside the post office showed small, low-cost actions by the Council can make a huge difference to our area - it just takes a little thought and care.


Speedicars took down their notorious sign and the big yellow danger signs proved to be as unnecessary and counter-productive as we thought. Gordon Brown paid us a visit, as did Lewisham's Deputy Mayor. Budgens taught Costcutter a lesson and Oscars opened.


An industrial unit in Ashby Mews burned down and the Conservation Area was spared a dubious "healthcare" development, but the United Services Club shut down. Crofton Park was terrorised by one of nature's deadliest predators.


The Mayor approved the Brockley Common project and Ladywell got its own Christmas market. The guys behind the Talbot project confirmed its delay.


The Council promised to do their best to dispose of Brockley Road's railing blight and the London Assembly asked us whether we were squashed. Brockley's growing number of young families prompted a new PowerPramming class.


The Broca shrugged off the credit crunch to open a new food shop in West Brockley but the owners of Dandelion Blue put it up for sale. Trees got another filip.


The community gallery finally opened but Moonbow Jakes announced its imminent closure and pledged to drink the bar dry on its final night (tonight). Brockley and Ladywell Christmas Markets made the most of atrocious weather and the news of a new deli in Deptford and optimism about the Talbot and the 2009 MAX helped to finish the year on a positive note.

So here we are. Predictions for 2009 coming up. In the mean time, we'd love to hear your highlights from 2008.