Brockley Station - The Future

Stuart from the Brockley Cross Action Group reports:

TfL have confirmed they they will be taking over the management functions at New Cross Gate, Brockley, Honor Oak Park , Forest Hill and Sydenham from the 20th September 2009.

When TfL assume control, the London Overground Rail Operator (LOROL) will deliver a programme of improvements including deep cleaning and refurbishment of stations, including floors, canopies and platform surfaces and station systems CCTV, PA , help points etc.

Please also note that BXAG members have recently:

Secured funding and volunteers from Goldman Sachs to develop 2 new stunning flower beds at the bottom of Mantle Road starting on the 11th June.

Secured the clearing out and fixing of drain in the old High level station entrance area by zebra crossing. Managing agents are open to us also softening the ghastly railings with some flowers or climbers.

Got the Brockley Common project back on track. All permissions are now secured and contractors should start on site in March. Most of the trees will be going, but the saplings we put in 3 years ago are all now doing well.

All of which is fantastic news for Brockley. With Brockley Common Phase 2 finally due to start and significant improvements promised for the station itself, Brockley's central gateway will be transformed for the better. The BXAG have been asked by TfL for their wishlist of improvements to the station and we will shortly publish their response and ask for reader views. There's also some exciting news about the next stage of their ambitions for Brockley Cross.

Thanks to Stuart for the update and for the hard work of everyone involved with BXAG.

Sim City: Bakerloo Line Edition

In question time with Mayor Boris yesterday he said: "We have got to improve the transport links in south London and we are looking at that now." Given that (having scrapped a couple of bridges and a couple of tram projects that would have helped) an extension of the Bakerloo Line is one of the most realistic ideas on the table and there was speculation in thelondonpaper yesterday that this is what Boris has in mind.

The project is uncosted and no preferred route has been identified, so an actual functioning line would be many, many years away.

Still, let that detail not stop us.

Above is a route preferred by the sort of people who enjoy discussing these sorts of things on specialist websites, heading south east from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham, via Peckham and New Cross Gate. This route would have the advantage that it would integrate with existing south east London transport hubs and serve a stretch of London with enormous regeneration potential (particularly along the Old Kent Road).

Lewisham publishes the North Deptford consultation report

Lewisham Council has just published a report on the local consultation process undertaken in North Deptford. You can download it here.

The area encompasses Convoys Wharf, which is arguably the Borough's most important development opportunity and the subject of a Richard Rogers masterplan that is currently on hold while the GLA conducts a review of whether the city's wharves merit greater protection as places of work.

It doesn't tell us what the results of the public consultation actually were, so we're not quite sure what the purpose of this particular document is, other than to reassure us all that the process was more involved that watching a copy of "The Tower". But it nonetheless provides a useful summation of just how much development is currently on the drawing board for this stretch of the Thames riverside.

The pictures they didn't want you to see

They all wanted 'em, but we've got 'em. Another Brockley Central photo exclusive. Revealed for the first time, for those who haven't already walked along Wickham Road themselves. The road markings that couldn't have caused more outrage if they'd been painted by Jonathan Ross and that 13-year-old dad themselves.

Now Brockley Central long-ago declared which side of the war on street clutter it would fight on, but we have to say this doesn't look as bad as we expected it would, based on the comments we've read here. Bearing in mind that fresh road markings always look migraine-inducing but quickly fade, it could have been worse. Having said that, the first photo does show a rather confusing jumble of lines and kerb.

We also agree with those who made the point that while they fiddle with Wickham Road alterations, Brockley Cross burns (literally at one point).

Thanks to Tressillian James for the photos.

The Standard: trains are crowded

The Standard carried a piece a few weeks ago telling us what we already knew about trains in Brockley, but this time giving us the bad news in graphic form. We thought it worth linking to.

In our experience, however, it has been a lot easier to board trains at Brockley since the New Year, we assume due to recession reducing the number of commuters.

Fire Engines at the Barge

BC regular Phil twittered us this morning to say that Fire Engines to say that Fire Engines had attended to a fire early this morning at the Brockley Barge.

By around 8am, there was little obvious sign of any problem, but we weren't really paying attention as we dashed for the train.

At 2.30pm we are finally getting around to writing about it. Sorry.

Yoga in Brockley

For Brockley Central, when it comes to Yoga, context is king. On holiday, overlooking a waterfall or a beach, good. In a Lewisham gym hall, staring at someone's sweaty back, less good.

But we've been meaning to create a thread to discuss the local options and when Joanna got in touch about her classes, it seemed the perfect excuse. Here's what she said:

"I run twice a week Yoga Vinyasa classes at Lewisham College (Tressilian/Lewisham Way building). Monday classes for staff (£10 membership from February till July 2009) 4.30-5.30pm and on Thursdays for students (free) 5.15-6.15pm."

"It's orgenised by myself and Students Union so I do it at as a volunteer. I am a contemporary dancer so I focus mainly on yoga asanas for people who are physically active but not only. I try to help people to improve their mental and physical abilities through the yoga practice. I am teaching my own style of yoga dance which fused both contemporary release dance techniques with Vinyasa/Ashtanga flow yoga movement. I teach yoga dance at Goldsmiths Club Pulse every Sunday at 10.15-11.15am. And I also give private yoga sessions, I can visit a customer or the other way around. A customer can come to my place.

"I organise once a month yoga thearapy workshops here in area (place tbc up to number of people who signed on). Usually the classes attendance variates between 15-25 people. I studied Yoga in India and Contemporary dance in London so I apply into my teaching practice both eastern and western influences in connection to the body movement and breathing (pranayama).

"I've got dance theatre company running with my dance partner who also lives in the same area. We occasionally organise the performances during the Brorckley Max Festival at Brockley Jack theatre."

If you have any recommendations for local yoga classes, please post them here. Joanna's websites are here, here and here!

New pub "The Telegraph" opens on Thursday

A new pub in Telegraph Hill opens on Thursday night. "The Telegraph" on Dennett's Road was formerly the Earl of Derby and has been taken over by management who own a small chain of pubs, who appear to be taking the place up market and promise "high quality British cuisine" will be on offer. No strippers.

Doors open from 6pm.

If Brockley must have bollards...

...let them be bollards a bit like these ones in East Dulwich. A bit of thought and care and a lack of royal blue colour scheme makes a huge difference. A flat, smooth pavement would also be nice.

Mass transit porn

We ended up getting the train to New Cross last night, giving us the chance to try out the platform peep holes, which offer a tantalising glimpse of the new station.

London Reconnections also has a very nice photo of the East London Line snaking through the city.

The new Lewisham College

MacDonald Egan [the guys who are hoping to redevelop the Brockley Cross scaffolding yard] and Stanhope will lead a £165 million redevelopment of Lewisham College's campus.

The release states:

"Currently the College operates from two sites - in Lewisham Way and Deptford Bridge, but will relocate all its activities to a 350,000 sq ft campus at Deptford Bridge when construction of two new buildings is completed by September 2012.

"Once the campus is finished, the joint venture, known as Deptford Bridge Developments, will also develop surplus land sites vacated by the College's move. The approximately 7 acres of surplus land has the potential for about 500 homes and commercial space to complement the College and contribute to the wider regeneration of Deptford and Lewisham."

In other words, this is confirmation that from 2012 the Lewisham Way campus will be converted in to a residential development, with some commercial space, probably a mix of retail and office space.

Free cash for Brockley

At long last, the Brockley Station end of Brockley Road has a free cash machine. A lifelong dream of Brockley Central's realised, courtesy of the Post Office, next to Costcutter.

A cash machine has been installed on the exterior of the shop and will not charge its customers for use, which will be a boon for local customers and businesses alike.

As of this afternoon, it didn't actually have any cash in it, but you can't have everything.

Men of Honor

"This film was supposed to be my big break, and it turned out to be a big disaster!"
- Terry Flores (Jennifer Lopez), Anaconda

Venezuela. Oil rich. A picture of Bolivar practically everywhere you look. Officially home to the most beautiful women in the world. Custodian of nightclubs where a stumbling Englishman's bad dancing will be indulged by said beautiful women for about half an hour until they get bored.

A place where (as any student of the film Anaconda will tell you) psychotic snakes are likely to stalk you for hundreds of miles. A place where Brockley Central had arguably its best holiday ever, sleeping under the stars on Los Rocas, having our rum nicked by our safari guide in Los Llanos and watching Universal Soldier 2 more times than is healthy in Isla Margarita.

These, we suspect, are not the facts that Venezuela Information Centre wishes you to be aware of. They are screening a film at the Honor Oak Pub, so you can all learn about Hugo Chavez and why the US-led military-industrial complex is out to get him, or as David Aaronovitch put it:

"To varying degrees in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, the same national-Left populism is today in power. Industries are nationalised, oligarchies are excoriated, journalists are traitors and behind every reversal and problem is the demonic power of the Great Gringo in the White House. Powers are sought by the populist presidents, which, while they are argued to enhance the power of the people, unarguably enhance the power of the president."

The event is a free showing of the film Tocar y Luchar (To Play and to Fight) about the Venezuelan youth orchestras, introduced by Nestor Lopez of the Embassy for Venezuela. Organiser Fergus explains:

"The documentary portrays the inspirational stories of world class musicians trained by the Venezuelan system, including the Berlin Philharmonic’s youngest player Edicson Ruiz and world renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel. With interviews with many of the world’s most celebrated musicians including the great tenor Placido Domingo, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Guiseppe Sinopoli, and Eduardo Mata, To Play and To Fight is an inspirational story of courage, determination and ambition. Our screening of the film will be introduced by Nestor Lopez from the Venezuelan Embassy in London."

The screening takes place on Wednesday 4th March 7.30pm at THE HONOR OAK Pub, 1 St. German's Road London SE23 1RH For info:

Deutsche Bank launches good cause fund for Lewisham

Voluntary and community projects in Lewisham are among those that can apply for support from the Deutsche Bank and Capital Community Foundation small grants fund for 2009.

The 2009 fund will focus on groups in Lambeth, Lewisham, Westminster and Camden and grants of up to £5,000 are available. Deutsche Bank is looking for projects which meet the following criteria:

· Applications with match funding or leverage potential, and good prospects for sustainability*
· Projects that are responsive to local issues
· Projects which might show a link with Deutsche Bank’s business, or provide an opportunity
for Deutsche Bank leadership (through employee volunteering for example)

Only groups with annual incomes of less than £150,000 can apply and their work must address some aspect of education (retention, achievement, progression) or community development (sport, outreach, employment, homelessness).

Your organisation will need to have the following elements in place prior to an application:

· A governing document (e.g. a constitution)
· An active management committee of at least three people (who are not related)
· Recent accounts (unless the group is new) and sound plans for managing your money
· A bank account in the name of the group, with at least 2 unrelated signatories
· An equal opportunities policy
· A safeguarding policy if working with children and/or vulnerable adults

They add that the grant cannot be used to fund:

· Capital costs or equipment purchase (you can ask for ‘consumables’ however)
· Heritage projects
· Spending that has already taken place (activities may take place from July onwards)
· Drugs related project
· Health related projects
· Projects working with under 11’s
· Individual sponsorship
· More than 30% of your total annual income

Please contact Cat Dix, Grants Officer, if you have any questions about the fund:
Tel: 020 7582 5117 Email:

We know that identifying sources of funding can be a big headache for community groups, so thanks very much to Drakefell Debaser for bringing this to our attention.

Download the form here and please let us know how you get on.

BXAG AGM March 17th

Des from the Brockley Cross Action Group has been in touch:

"The AGM of the BCAG is rapidly approaching (Tuesday 17th March) and we are seeking the views of local residents as to the key theme for the meeting and who they would like as a keynote speaker. We have put a few suggestions on the home page of our website and would appreciate it if your readers could join the debate."

Our suggestion would be to go for the big guy - Mayor Bullock. What about yours?

We went to the last one and would recommend them to anyone.

Brockley Central on Londonist

"Now you will see me one more time, if you do good. You will see me, two more times, if you do bad. Good night."
- The Cowboy, Mulholland Drive

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, you need to read something five times from five separate sources before you really believe it. So we've followed the Guardian review with an interview with the the nice people at the Londonist in a bid to bludgeon the charms of SE4 in to the consciousness of every Londoner.

New Cross poll of poles

Larry David: [watching Girls Gone Wild] You know what a woman would do if I ever asked her to lift up her top?
Jeff Greene: Why do you have to analyze this? Can't we just watch this?
Larry David: She would spit on me! If I ever asked a woman to lift up her top, she would kick me in the balls and spit on me!
Jeff Greene: We've waited a long time to see this and all you're doing is yakking. Be quiet, come on!
- Curb Your Enthusiasm

Very short notice but there's a public meeting being held by the Council tonight regarding New Cross pub the White Hart's plans to turn itself in to a pole dancing venue.

Monday 16 February at the Barnes Wallis Community Centre, 74 Wild Goose Drive, SE14 at 7.00pm. The centre is just off Dennetts Road.

Cllr Ian Page explains:

"There is no legal process under current licensing law to oppose the decision by the magistrates at the appeal hearing to allow the variation in the pub's licence. There is however a possibility that a change in the Licensing regulations in the near future may allow the council some leeway to oppose the licence in the future although nothing is certain.

"I think it will be well worth attending to show the strength of feeling and to explore any options for community opposition whilst we are there."

Brockley MAX - May 29th - June 6th 2009

If you would like to take part in this year's Brockley MAX arts festival, the policy document is now available to download here. This year the festival is being organised by Moira Tait and Tea Leaf Arts' Sian and Rebecca.

Moira says:

"If you are not an artiste, but would like to help, get in touch! There are loads of things that need doing. I’m looking immediately for someone to design the website, and a bit later on a PR person, someone to oversee delivery of programmes, organise the raffle prizes, or just be an extra pair of hands on the day.

"I’ve applied for funding and hope to hear by the end of March. If we get it, we will be holding the opening night at Brockley Station, the Children’s Art In The Park and Closing Night on Hilly Fields."

Chickens circle Brockley

760 outlets already, 300 more in the next 3-5 years.

It seems a mathematical certainty that KFC will come to SE4.

Mosaic meeting off

The mosaic workshop planned for tomorrow has had to be postponed as the artist has fractured their wrist and, rather than rearrange the bone fragments in to a delightful pattern, wants to let it heal. New details:

Saturday 28 February 2009
Time: 10am – 12pm
Honor Oak Community centre
50 Turnham Road

Horniman a cut above the rest for Valentine's

On Valentine's Day, could there be a more apt destination in south east London than the Horniman Museum?

Their latest exhibition starts on Saturday, all about Wycinanki - no, not a new web 2.0 social network, but the ancient Polish art of paper cutting. If you can't make it for Valentine's, then you have a while, as it's on until September. Could make a nice distraction over half term, and there are some children's workshops planned - see full details in the press release below.

Wycinanki: The Art of Polish Paper Cuts at the Horniman Museum

Wycinanki: The Art of Polish Paper Cuts

Horniman Museum, Balcony Gallery. Free Admission
Saturday 14 February – 27 September 2009

This exhibition, curated by Justyna Pyz, brings together 50 examples of the Polish folk art, Wycinanki, from the Horniman Museum collection, part of which was acquired in1963 from the Ethnographic Museum, Warsaw. The collection was originally assembled by the Polish Minister of Culture and dates from the late 1950s. Several new works were commissioned by the Museum in 2008 as part of its fieldwork programme; these include works by renowned artists such as Apolonia Nowak and Czesława Kaczyńska from Kurpie region and Helena Miazek from Łowicz, whose heart design was commissioned to mark the exhibition’s opening on Valentine’s Day.

Perhaps modelled on traditional Jewish papercuts, Wycinanki originated as an inexpensive means of decorating the homes of Polish peasants and were popular from the mid 19th century. They were generally made by women using sheep-shearing scissors and any readily available paper and replaced each spring when homes were whitewashed. With the advent of communism, Wycinanki were promoted by the new administration as an example of non-bourgeois art and enjoyed enormous popularity along with other forms of folk art. With the collapse of communism Wycinanki were assimilated into the Polish tourist industry as a traditional craft, they are now however enjoying a resurgence of interest from more radical quarters. The design of the Polish pavilion for the Shanghai Expo 2010 is based on a Wycinanki pattern whilst British artist Robert Ryan’s work has brought paper cuts to a new audience.

Some of the designs on display depict everyday rural scenes; these are valuable documents of social history showing a disappearing way of life. One of the paper cuts shows peasant women using traditional flax brakes to make linen, a practice which has now died out. The collection also includes geometric designs which were popular decorations in many homes. Wycinanki were also made for religious festivals and family celebrations; these designs have a set iconography, for example, cockerels for Easter. The paper cuts on display are from two different regions: those from Łowicz are multi-coloured and made from multiple sheets whereas those from Kurpie are made from a single sheet of coloured paper. Justyna Pyz said: “This collection of Wycinanki is remarkably diverse and represents a fantastic opportunity to discover a folk art which has flourished and continues to develop in Poland and which influences artists worldwide.”

Families with children aged 3 and up will have the opportunity to participate in Saturday art and craft workshops on 21 and 28 February from 1.30pm – 2.15pm and 2.45pm – 3.30pm on both days. Free tickets are available half an hour before the session starts from the Information Desk. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

In praise of binmen

It being Friday, and BC being in a mood of goodwill to all men (and women too, of course), we thought we'd be nice to Lewisham Council for a change.

The council has taken flak over a variety of issues on here recently, from the state of the pavements to its ill-advised housing PFI contract. But one thing Lewisham does well, in our opinion, is waste collection and recycling. And so we thought we'd give a word or two of praise for it.

Unlike some other councils, Lewisham still collects rubbish weekly. Its recycling services are very convenient, with plenty of communal bins available and the weekly collection - unlike that of other areas - doesn't require householders to bag items of varying types separately. Big green bins are available on request, and the bins and boxes are easy and simple to order. Fly-tipping (all too common, unfortunately) is cleared up quickly and we've never seen street cleaners so regularly in any other borough (though it's a shame that Brockley needs such regular cleaning).

But is this simply BC's sunny mood speaking? Is our satisfaction with Lewisham's binmen felt by our readers too? Or do you disagree?

Brockley artist network

We've been contacted by local artist Iwona, who's hoping to create a network for artists living or working locally.

We're aware of the Tea Leaf Arts Group and the creative community network in Telegraph Hill and we'll be putting her in touch with each of these, but her idea sounds more like an informal social group. If you'd be interested in joining please get in touch with her, or suggest other groups she may wish to contact, please recommend them here.

Hi Brockley

I want to start up an ideas sharing / support network of artists living in Brockley. The purpose would be to meet and discuss work, share ideas, and get feedback. The meetings could potentially take place every couple of weeks.

Now a bit about me. I am a performance and video artist and a recent graduate of Goldsmiths College. I have moved to London from Canada about two years ago. I am interested in exploring the dynamics of relationships, and expectations that various social situations produce.

If you are interested in being part of this, please get in touch with me at

ELL2 gets go-ahead

The East London Line extension to Clapham Junction has been given the green light, after negotiations between the Department for Transport and Transport for London were successfully concluded and a £79 million budget agreed.

The project is relatively straightforward and therefore, the projected completion date is 2012, in time for the Olympics. Provision for a new station at Surrey Canal Road is included but construction of the station is subject to a review by TfL.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “I am delighted that a long hard slog of negotiations between ourselves and the Department of Transport has borne fruit that will result in a superb new service for thousands of Londoners.”

Brockley residents will be able to get to Clapham Junction by changing at Surrey Quays.

BC Twitterers would have known this yesterday afternoon of course.

Suburban Bookie Perspective: Portland Bookmakers, Brockley Road

Despite the fact that we don't actually like the Urban Cookie Collective, they happen to be the music act that we have seen live more than any other. So the opportunity to squeeze a pun about their name in to an article was all the incentive we needed to run this piece.

We don't much care for bookies and we weren't impressed with the way they went about securing their business in Brockley but nonetheless, there they are on Brockley Road, running a legitimate business, so it's about time we got around to giving its customers the chance to give their verdict on the service they offer.

We can't offer a review because we honestly wouldn't know where to start, but please feel free to post your comments and reviews here. How does it compare to the other local options?

Railway tree-felling petition

Following this recent article about residents' anger at the tree-felling that has taken-place along one of Brockley's railway lines, campaigners have launched a petition to save Brockley's "green corridor".

Oli explains:

"We're lobbying Joan Ruddock MP, the council and Network Rail. We'll be collecting signatures for a petition in person in a couple of weekends time, but I've also created an online version.
We've found out that Lewisham Council class the railway line along the back of St Aspash/Aspinall as a 'Green Corridor', we're really going to go for it!

"To those who wonder what the point of a petition is, given that the damage is done now, the aim is to publicise the wider issue to unnecessary tree-felling in future and to get some replanting done."

KFH: Brockley housing market report

"He's a creative, I'm a creative. We don't make steam engines out of pig iron in this country anymore yeah... we hang out, we fuck around on the playstation and we eat Ben and Jerry's. That's how everyone makes their money now yeah?"
- Jeremy, Peep Show

In a market report that could have been written by one or two of our more bullish correspondents, estate agentcy KFH has declared that the good times are rolling once more. We weren't aware that they even had a "Brockley Branch" but evidently this guy has his finger on the pulse.

Chris Early, Sales Manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward’s Brockley branch, comments:

"The last four weeks have seen a steady flow of business at a greater volume than experienced in Q4 of last year.

"Deals are being struck between serious buyers and serious sellers. There are also a lot of market watchers waiting for the right time to dip their toe in.

"Buyers should think long term about having a home rather than treating property as a potential cash cow. They must do their research and be prepared to negotiate for the right property.

"If I were buying in Brockley in the current market, I would be looking for a 3 bed Victorian home within a 0.5mile radius of Brockley station. There are a few on the market and they are big enough to house a family and stay in for the long term."


Here are a few scouting reports from BC readers that are fairly light on detail and therefore are best bundled together:

Mantle Road:

Catman reports that one of the units in the new build opposite the demolished Maypole is being fitted out with a counter being installed.

The Tea Factory:

Of all things, an estate agent has opened in the Tea Factory, Brockley Cross.

Dandelion Blue:

The 'we're on holiday, back soon' sign has disappeared from the front window of the Coulgate Street shop and the agents' sign above it suggests the lease has now been sold.

Crofton Park ward assembly report

Thnks to reader and twitterer Liz for the following report from the recent Crofton Park meeting:

Crofton Park held its third assembly at St Saviour's Church Hall on 31 January. Whilst attendance at the Saturday meeting was a lower than previous evening meetings, holding the meeting on a Saturday afternoon and the provision of a crèche meant some new faces were visible (and from the noise in the background the children seemed to enjoy it too!!).

Whilst the Assembly was still chaired by Cllr Sylvia Scott, this was the first assembly meeting where the Coordinating Group as a whole (with the help of Sarah Cooper from Lewisham Council) set the agenda and lead all of the activities on the day.

In ward news, ward councillors (Jarman Parmar, Jackie Addison, Sylvia Scott) announced the proposals that were funded by the 2008/09 Locality Fund. These included:

Sensory reading garden at Crofton Park Library - £3,000
Blythe Hill Fields Festival - £1,400 (The Blythe Hill Fields User Group)
Community Notice Board in Honor Park Road - £600 (Honor Oak Park Action Group)
Flower planters & baskets for Brockley Road & Brockley Rise - £2,500
Christmas lights for Crofton Park ward - £2,500

Everything you wanted to know about sax but were afraid to ask

Brockley Central has attempted to reunite people with cats, snakes and of course, a silver welly. Now it is the turn of the saxophone. Richard emailed us to say:

My 12-year old son left his (or rather, the school's) saxophone at the P4 bus stop in Crofton Park this morning. He remembered on his way to school, and rang his mum, who ran up to the stop, to find a note which read something like "to whoever left their saxophone at this bus stop - contact Catford Bus Garage - they will have it". However, on contacting the garage, they know nothing about it - apparently bus drivers are not allowed to take things back that are not actually left on the bus. So, someone has it, and it seems to me that they are probably honest, if they bothered to write a note.

I wonder could you post this on the blog, in the hope that the person who found it may contact me - my phone number is 07971 294652.

Good luck to Richard and son.

Magi on the move

Magi, the popular card and gift shop on Coulgate Street, will soon be moving to new premises on Brockley Road. They will be taking over the shop that Professionails nail salon currently occupies, next to Costcutter.

We'll keep you updated with any news we hear.

Lewisham Bridge School planning application

The planning application for a new school near Lewisham town centre has been submitted to Lewisham Council. The document describes the project as:

"The redevelopment of Lewisham Bridge Primary School, Elmira Street SE13, to provide a part three/part four storey all-age school (ages 3 -16 years) and a two-storey sports hall, together with landscaping including play areas, provision of 96 cycle spaces and 16 parking spaces."

Over at Green Ladywell, Cllr Sue Luxton has written a brilliant summation of the issues the application raises, the most important of which is that Lewisham desperately needs a new secondary school, to reduce the number of kids which are forced to travel outside the borough to get an education.

Rotherhithe - Canary Wharf bridge scrapped

One of South East London's biggest, and most easily fixed, structural problems is the lack of river crossings, which results in a disconnect with the north of the city.

So, having already scrapped the Thames Gateway bridge and pulled the plug on the cross river tram, you might have hoped the Mayor would want to throw us a bone by supporting a bridge that even the Greens could get on board with.

A £65 million project to build a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf had been developed by Sustrans (the national cycling charity) and had been subject to a feasibility study by TfL, which concluded that the ideal location was between Durand's Wharf, a park on the Southwark bank, and Westferry Road. The planned lift bridge would have been able to raise itself to varying heights, depending on the nature of the craft passing underneath and would have linked to public transport networks on either side of the river.

But according to a Rotherhithe website dedicated to the project, Boris has decided not to fund it:

"A Southwark Council's Officer told participants of the "Transport Workshop" at the Canada Water Area Actions Plan (CWAAP) Public Meeting on 4 February 2009 that the Mayor of London has announced that Transport for London (TfL) will not be funding the Rotherhithe-Canary Wharf Thames Bridge Project. This is a great disappointment. Cllr. Paul Noblet and Simon Hughes MP have separately stated at last night's meeting that they will try see how they may help rescue this project."

Even with the Mayor's support, it's likely that the project would have been subject to revision, given the ambitious design and the delays that traditionally dog any London infrastructure project. However, the project had been gathering momentum and, since it would have provided an important new connection to Canary Wharf (a commercial district whose growth is being constrained by limited transport infrastructure), the project's supporters could have hoped to have raised some contributions from developers on both sides of the river. Without TfL backing, the project has no chance.

The decision to strangle the bridge at birth is more evidence that the Mayor doesn't do Keynesianism any more than he does East London.


Homer: I like pizza, I like bagels, I like hot dogs with mustard and beer...
Editor: I get the picture.
Homer: I'll eat eggplant, I could even eat a baby deer! La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la, who's that baby deer on the lawn there?
- Guess who's coming to criticize dinner

On Wednesday night, we tried out Aquarium for the first time. We're not very good at doing restaurant reviews, struggling to get beyond the "food good, drink quite good" template for which the BrocSoc Foxes are often lampooned. So here's our effort.

We shared a starter of deep fried brie, followed by peri peri chicken. Our wife had the gnocchi and our son had pizza. All were good - the chicken was more elaborate than we'd been expecting, but this too was good. Desert included ice cream and tiramisu, both of which were also good.

The decor is best described as being in a state of flux. It still has many of the features inherited from the days when it was Ecosium, but the furniture has been shuffled around, so the front room feels more like a bar. Indeed, although we sat on the sofas in the corner near the window (good for kids) for our meal, the people who sat next to us were a large group of people in their early twenties who were just enjoying a drink. We understand the plan is that the look of the place will change gradually and that's probably a good idea - currently, it suffers from an identity crisis.

The service was warm and friendly and the discussion between the chef and some of his customers at the bar added to the atmosphere of the place.

After the meal, we introduced ourselves to Halim, the new manager, who sent us this voucher offer for BC readers. He said that about a dozen people had already taken him up on the offer, which he was really pleased about, as he said one of his biggest challenges is to let people know about the changes that have taken place since he took over. Twelve sets of diners in just over two weeks is a great result and shows that BC readers will support local business.

We also took advantage of the free bottle of wine offer and in our view, the house red is perfectly fine.

We're currently taking soundings here about whether Aquarium should be the venue for Brockley Central Drinks V and it appears to be a popular option.

The wrong kind of snow

Australian with Spoon: You call that a knife? *This* is a knife.
Bart: That's not a knife, that's a spoon.
Australian with Spoon: Alright, alright you win. I see you've played knifey-spoony before.
- Bart vs Australia

Following this morning's pitiful display by mother nature, we thought this would be a good opportunity to remind ourselves what real snow looks like, courtesy of some late entries in the Brockley gallery. Thanks to Fintan and Marisa.

Ski Monday, by Marisa

Base camp, by Marisa

Stone Circle, by Fintan

Brockley Business: who do you love?

It's time again for Lewisham Council's annual competition "Who do you love?" which aims to celebrate the borough's best small high street businesses.

Last year we tried and failed to steamroller a Brockley business in to first place, but this year, traffic is double what it was, so come on people, vote here.

We learned of this via the Lewisham Council twitter feed, by the way. See, it's not all about reading what Stephen Fry had for lunch.

Brockley music past and present

There are a couple of articles kicking around on the internet right now, which local music lovers might be interested in.

Firstly, Transpontine has an interesting piece about Kate Bush's Brockley years here.

Secondly, Brockley band The Alps have been interviewed about their involvement with music-finance website Slicethepie for this piece on the c&binet blog.

Brockley Station: Officially overcrowded

Brockley Nick stole our thunder on this one, but here's the more detailed post which we wrote yesterday and had scheduled for publication this morning ...

Thanks to a tip-off from Hither Green blogger Bagelmouse, BC has been having a read of the London Assembly transport committee's latest transport report. And it brings glad tidings, in the form of official recognition that Brockley's trains - along with those in neighbouring localities such as Forest Hill and Blackheath - are full to bursting.

"Overcrowding is most severe at a number of ‘pinch points’ on the rail network in London, where the busiest routes service extremely busy stations," the report's authors write.
"We have mapped the most severely overcrowded train routes in London, and found that the worst crowding on these routes occurs at East Croydon, Surbiton, Tottenham Hale, Forest Hill, Bromley South, Balham, Clapham Junction, Finsbury Park, Sydenham, Streatham Hill and Ealing Broadway stations. Our data analysis and call for evidence has identified that pinch points also exist at Highbury, Islington, Earlsfield, Putney, Brockley, Blackheath and Wandsworth Town."

The Brockley line is one of the 20 most over-crowded journeys in London in the morning rush hour, according to the report. The station saw over 800,000 entries & exits (a measure of useage) in 2007, and we don't think anyone would argue that use has decreased since then.

The 2007 figures have been used to calculate the avarage level of over-crowding on trains belonging to different operating companies (the PIXC figure, which is stated as a percentage of the train's capacity). Southern and South-Eastern, which serve Brockley Station, have average PIXC of around 3%.
But the Assembly wanted to highlight the massive variations which that average masks. So they looked at data on rush hour trains alone, and found that Southern's PIXC for these periods is 30%, and South-Eastern's is 28%. In other words, rush hour trains are carrying some 30 per cent more people than they can officially carry.
"A PIXC score of 40% (which is normal for London’s busiest trains) equates to around five passengers per square metre of available standing space. This measure more accurately reflects the experience of commuters", the report says.

Evidence presented to the Assembly includes quotes from local people such as: "The overcrowding on the Forest Hill-London Bridge line has resulted in me being unable to face the daily torture of commuting any longer."

And that's just the start of the commuting woes heard by the Assembly: "If they are able to board a train, London rail commuters often find their journeys extremely uncomfortable and perhaps even dangerous. Passengers reported that they regularly saw people fainting on crowded trains, especially during the summer, with one passenger saying she had fainted twice herself. Others reported being hurt by closing train doors because trains were too crowded, and seeing people fall into the gap between the train and the platform. Also mentioned was the phenomenon of ‘train rage’, when arguments break out between passengers over space on board. The Office of Rail Regulation, the national safety regulator, expressed concerns to the Committee about how crowding could present a risk to passenger safety."

The Report cites additional evidence from other research into London train travel: "Survey research by Transport for London, the Department for Transport and Network Rail showed that 66% of London rail passengers caught trains earlier and later than their preferred time of travel: when asked to explain why, ‘to avoid overcrowding’ was the second most frequent reason given by passengers. Other passengers told the Committee that overcrowding had caused them to leave their jobs or think about doing so, including those who said they would leave London."

The Assembly has responded by including Brockley on its list of places where "effort needs to be focussed" and expressed strong support for Phase 2 of the East London Line, among other projects.

It has also issued some recommendations for train companies and the Department for Transport, including:
- "It is imperative that if train operating companies are modifying timetables to cut expenditure, they do not exacerbate existing overcrowding."
- "Trains in London need to be appropriate for use on busy
commuter services. Operators should review the balance of seats and standing space on their trains, and the provision of first class accommodation. It is also evident that more handholds are needed on London trains to allow passengers to stand safely."
- "The Department for Transport should develop plans to lengthen all platforms at London Bridge to 12 cars long and implement these alongside current work."

However, even the East London Line isn't likely to be sufficient - Transport for London modelling data quoted in the report suggests that by 2026, the Brockley line will still be officially over-crowded.

Brockley trains overcrowded: official

The GLA's recent study of train overcrowding has revealed that Brockley is one of the capital's five most overcrowded stations, together with Blackheath, Bromley South, Sydenham and Forest Hill (what no New Cross Gate?).

While the study probably tells us little we didn't already know, the GLA's Val Shawcross has used it as evidence to argue against any possible reduction in train services as a result of the dip in passenger numbers caused by recession.

Here's the link, more later:

Twitter - 53 people can't be wrong

We are still grappling with how to harness the awesome power of Twitter at the moment. We flirted with the idea of fixing a snowball fight on Monday and spent most of yesterday boring people with our Mario Kart Wii frustrations. Meantime, we have been peppering people with stuff too inane for the blog, which is saying something.

If that sounds like your thing, please come and find us at

You'll all be on there in 3 months time anyway, so you may as well get it over with.

Frendsbury Gardens Mosaic Workshop

Frendsbury Community garden would like to invite you and yours to a free, family - friendly Mosaic Sculpture workshop.

The workshop will be run by an artist and the aim is for everyone to make pieces of mosaic and ceramics that will be build into the final sculpture in the garden .

Saturday 14 February 2009

10am – 12pm

Honor Oak Community centre
50 Turnham Road

Refreshments provided. Disabled access.

Spaces are limited, so please call Gareth on 020 8314 2071 to book or for more info.

Nursery planned for Manor Avenue - public meeting

60 Manor Avenue, February 4th, 7pm

Developers are planning to turn the former United Services Club at 60 Manor Avenue into a nursery, providing places for 64 children. Some local residents have organised a campaign in protest at the scheme, which they fear could place severe demands on the local roads. A meeting will be held on site at 7pm tonight to discuss the situation.

Our natural inclination is to wish new enterprise and investment in Brockley well, especially when it provides facilities for young families. We also dislike the reflexive negativity that often infects local protest groups, which are often composed of the kinds of people who would have found fault with the invention of fire or the wheel had they been around at the time.

However, in this case, we believe the protestors have a point. Manor Avenue is ludicrously clogged with parked cars already and the roads surrounding the station are also increasingly jammed. They are right to raise concerns about the extra demand for parking likely to be created by the centre's 18 full-time staff and non-resident parents who may drive to Brockley in search of a nursery in zone 2.

We think the development also poses a wider question about parking around Brockley Station - a subject which we plan to return to in the near future.

Lewisham Council screws the pooch

Lewisham Council has done the right thing in the war on dog poo - deciding to supplement the schoolboy stink line stencils with a more muscular approach, that will involve spot fines of £75.

However, the policy is only half the battle, enforcement is also crucial and we hope to see some "crack units" lurking around, waiting to pounce on irresponsible owners.

Here's the release:

A new borough-wide order giving Lewisham Council extra powers to take action against irresponsible dog owners has been approved.New legislation, under Section 55 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (2005) means that action and enforcement against people who do not comply with new rules can be taken. The new Dog Control Order was approved by the Mayor and Cabinet on 28 January.

Lewisham Council wants anyone who owns a dog to behave in a responsible manner, and the vast majority of people do. There are, however, a small number of people who do sometimes act irresponsibly. These are the people the Council will now be able to take action against, if they break the new regulations.

A new on-the-spot fine will come into effect from 6 April 2009 for anyone not complying with the new regulations, which will apply across the borough.

Lesley Seary, Executive Director for Customer Services, said: “The public has a right to walk around Lewisham without being afraid of uncontrolled dogs, or of stepping in dog faeces.“The adoption of the borough-wide order will enable us to take action against people who act irresponsibly by not controlling their dogs, or by allowing them to foul our footpaths and green spaces."

The adoption of a borough-wide Dog Control Order means that an on-the-spot Fixed Penalty Notice of £75 will be issued if people with dogs:

- Fail to remove their dog’s faeces from a public place
- Do not keep their dog on a lead in a designated area such as a park or open space - these will be sign-posted in public areas
- Do not put, or keep their dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officerPermit their dog to enter land to which dogs are excluded - these will be sign-posted
- Take more than 4 dogs onto land at any one time

Lost paws

Please help Tom find Daisy. She should be highly visible against the snow.

Countdown conundrum

According to the Guardian, the snow prevented David Cameron and Carol Vorderman's PR stunt at Haberdashers, planned for today.

"The Conservative leader, David Cameron, had to cancel a visit to Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham college, an academy in New Cross, south-east London, where he was due to highlight a package of proposals aimed at improving numeracy, including a maths taskforce headed by the former Countdown host, Carol Vorderman."

Vorderman is uniquely qualified to lead such a project, having capitalised on her adding-up skills to trouser a fortune plugging loan companies to the innumerate.

The day the earth stood snowy part 2

Like everything else, Brockley Central has ground to a halt as a result of the snow. We now have a bit of a backlog of stuff to get through and one very exciting story which Jon, Kate and I are currently sitting on.

But for now, snow.

Westside by Cat Man
Westside resident by Cat Man

Brockley Massive's massive snowman, Michael

Snow drift, Graham

Hilly Fields, Graham

The day the earth stood snowy

Work in progress, Hilly Fields
Sledging, Hilly Fields

Wickham Road

The line to Victoria

The view from BCHQ
This morning's snow flurry was matched by a flurry of emails from people we work with discussing whether or not they would be coming to work today.

The northerners amongst us were all desperate to tell us how hardy they were - they weren't about to be put off by a bit of snow and were already on their way, dressed only in vests, probably.

An hour later, those same people were reporting that they were stuck in a queue or their trains were halted outside a platform. The Londoners in the team turned on their wifi, made themselves a cup of tea and snuck outside to make a snowman.

Here are some of photos of the day. We're sure you can do better.

The right kind of snow

Southern Trains have suspended all services due to the snow, according to ThisisLondon.

All buses have been withdrawn from service too.

Looks like its a Hilly Fields day today. If anyone gets any great photos of Brockley in the snow today, please feel free to send them to us and we'll publish them here.

Why oh why didn't we have the foresight to buy a sledge?