Brockley Cross Crisis Point: The Council Responds

A couple of weeks ago, Brockley Central was hit by a dose of what we like to think was swine flu, but was more likely simple man flu. For a couple of days, we were largely house bound, only occasionally leaving home to replenish our stocks of juice, DVDs and medicine. This incarceration brought about a touch of Rear Window-style paranoia, which led to us photgraphing horrific crimes against parking in Brockley Cross.

We published these photos over four days and pointed them out to the Council, asking whether they planned to do anything about the regular, flagrant and dangerous parking abuses that were afflicting the area. They kindly agreed to provide a response.

It's worth stressing before we get to the response that what we absolutely were not asking about was whether new parking controls could be introduced. Instead, what we wanted to know was whether the existing ones could be properly enforced. After all, you don't need special rules to stop cars parking on the pavement. Here's what we wrote on day one:

"It should not require new legislation, restrictions, studies, consultations, funding or any of the other usual reasons why things don't happen. Fixing the problem could even be revenue-generating.

"What we need is traffic wardens. Ruthless, efficient traffic wardens, incentivised to punish transgressors. Traffic wardens who circle Brockley Cross like jackals. A few weeks of this treatment should sort the problem out. It could be done tomorrow, if the will was there."

So with that in mind, the third paragraph in the response from the Council published below is really the only one that matters - and whilst it's encouraging that they have confirmed they will take action to enforce the rules in Brockley Cross, it would be nice to know what this means in practice. We've asked whether they can provide any more details. The first two paragraphs are interesting for those wondering whether a CPZ is on the cards for the area (answer: no). Here is their response:

"We have no current plans to look at parking controls in the Brockley Cross area. We have not received any complaints about parking pressures in the roads around Brockley Cross. Early in 2005 the Council carried out a widespread parking consultation. The purpose of this consultation was to identify areas of the borough where there were pressures on parking and where residents supported the development of parking controls. The consultation included the Brockley Cross area. There was no majority support for further consultation on controlled parking in your area at that time and therefore no consultation was planned.

"However I have passed your concerns to the Parking Implementation Manager who maintains a database of concerns expressed on parking issues and this is used to inform future work programmes. We would only consider introducing parking controls over an area around a parking attractor - a station / shops/ college and such a scheme would only be implemented following extensive public consultation. It is likely that any plans to consult on parking controls would require the approval of Mayor and Cabinet.

"In the meantime I have asked out parking team to enforce against any parking offences that are taking place in the areas you describe."

I Love Brockley Fun Run 2009

The Hilly Fields fun run is taking place this Sunday, with runners warming up from 9.45am. Organiser Erin writes:
The aim of the I Love Brockley Fun Run 2009 is to encourage a family atmosphere as well as an event for regular runners to enjoy. It is also a great chance to learn about your local community as well as fundraise for our large community-led project; The Brockley Common!
The Fun Run 2009 will be a friendly and relaxed morning of running and walking for all ages and abilities for a wonderful local cause. After the success and fun of last year’s race, we are looking forward more crazy costumes and running fun!
Running in the one of the best parks in South East London this is a safe introduction to racing for all ages as well as a chance to meet your neighbours and enjoy an extremely picturesque landscape with a spectacular start and finish.

The event is held in association with Brockley Cross Action Group and a donation will be made from the entry fees from each runner to the charity. Your entry details will be passed to Brockley Cross Action Group for the purposes of sending you fund raising material but will not be shared with any other organisation/company.

A limited edition t-shirt as well as a medal and a goodie bag are included free with your registration price.
Standard entry - £5.00
On the day registration - £10.00
Children (under 12) – free entry (child t-shirt £5.00)

Lewisham College move postponed

Lewisham College's ambitious expansion plans, which involve relocating from its Lewisham Way location to a new site in Deptford, have had to be postponed.

According to this report, Lewisham College is one of nine London education institutions to miss out as a result of the Learning and Skills Council reassessing how much money it has available to spend on capital investment projects.

The plans would have freed the Lewisham Way site for redevelopment, with a mixed-residential plan the most likely outcome.

Lewisham College will have to reapply in the next funding round in 2011-12. The Lewisham Way site will remain open until further notice.

Thanks to Max Calo for highlighting the article.

[Note: Brockley Nick here. In the interests of transparency, I should declare an interest in this story. One of my company's clients in my day job is the Learning and Skills Council, for whom we help to promote the value of training to SMEs. I am not involved with capital funding, however.]

Little Treasures #4: Ashby Mews Mural

Pick your way down the cratered mews, past charred workshops, overflowing skips and one, immaculately-kept home, to find this excellent graffiti.

Mock Brockley

Local film-maker Fred Rowson is planning a mockumentary film set in and around Brockley. We can't decide which is a better name for it: a Brockumentary or a Mockley.

The plot is Hancock meets Kick-Ass meets Mayor Bullock, as a "would-be Lewisham hero, with no powers has decided to quit. The film is about his last week on the job."

He is keen to involve some BC readers in its production and has asked whether any of you would like to volunteer to play a few roles.

In particular he's looking for:

"A cornershop/cornershop owner who wouldn't mind playing him/herself, some sort of local youth group, with members sort of 16 - 20ish, male and female, who would be interested in getting involved with a couple of reasonably big parts, and some smaller parts. No acting experience strictly necessary and, to some extent, the less the better. Would be a good opportunity to get people of that age involved in filmmaking. Beyond that, I'm also looking for a middle aged man, and, importantly, various abandoned buildings/alleys/backyards in any and all states of dilapidation that the owners wouldn't mind us taking over for the afternoon.

"The dates are, roughly, between the 10th and the 16th of August, and reasonably flexible (especially in exigent circumstances)."

If you're wondering whether Fred is worthy of your dramatic talents, then check out some excerpts of his recent work, 'The King of Deptford Creek' here.

If you're interested, please email us at the usual address [] and we'll pass on your details.

Follow Brockley Central on Twitter now - before it's too late!

In a very interesting article about the impact of Twitter and Facebook on the blogosphere, the Guardian's Charles Arthur believes that the blogosphere is shrinking and that only the strong will survive as more people publish via these newer forms of social media. Now this is first and foremost a plug for our Twitter feed [Click here to follow Brockley Central on Twitter] but we also have a question - what local blogs are rusting away to obsolescence?

Andrew Brown called it quits on his excellent Lewisham blog last year, are there any other notable departures we should mourn?

Here are the relevant passages from the Guardian:

The long tail of blogging is dying... Anecdotally and experimentally, they've all gone to Facebook, and especially Twitter. The New York Times also noticed this trend, with a piece on 9 June about "Blogs Falling In An Empty Forest", which pointed to Technorati's 2008 survey of the state of the blogosphere, which found that only 7.4m out of the 133m blogs it tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. As the New York Times put it, "that translates to 95% of blogs being essentially abandoned"...

Why? Because blogging isn't easy. More precisely, other things are easier – and it's to easier things that people are turning. Twitter offers instant content and reaction. People are still reading blogs, and other content. But for the creation of amateur content, their heyday for the wider population has, I think, already passed. The short head of blogging thrives. Its long tail, though, has lapsed into desuetude.

Brockley Common redevelopment hit by asbestos setback

It has already been discussed in a few places on Brockley Central, but this update on the progress of the Brockley Common project from the BXAG website is worthy of its own post.

On June 16th, they Darien Goodwin, Head of Transport, Lewisham Council wrote:

The works in general are progressing well. The site was nominally split into two areas; the steps and the ramp, with the focus being on constructing the step structure as a priority. This was to allow the footbridge and ticket office to be re-opened earlier as it was possible to fence off this area on completion and continue with works to the ramp separately. The paving is currently being laid to the steps and ticket office access and it is intended for the footbridge to be re-opened at the end of the month (June 2009), weather permitting. The scheme as a whole is about 3 weeks behind schedule.

The original budget was estimated at £182k which included work to provide a route through the earthen mound and the creation of a DDA ramp with steps to the south and performance area atop the mound and northern stepped access. The budget was made up of nearly £8000 from the remainder of the Mayors Growth fund for the area, £146000 from the Council’s Others Services Capital Programme of which £71k would be reimbursed from the Department for Transport Access for all small schemes and £28000 from Section 106 funding. The Access for All money cannot be claimed until the ramp has been constructed and signed off by Network Rail and was allocated funded in the 08/09 financial year, but the council successfully managed to ensure that this was accrued for 09/10.

Despite carrying out a ground contamination survey prior to the commencement of works, during the course of construction near surface asbestos sheeting was found. As a result work was delayed while a specialist company was called in to carry out the safe removal of this material.

The cost of this amounted to £150k, which represented nearly 83% of the original budget. There will be additional costs incurred by the council's own contractor that are being determined. The implications of this has meant the council has had to review the project to ensure sufficient funding is available to make good the current works and open up the station access. Officers also need to ensure the costs are contained and that there will minimal additional costs for which there is no budget.

It is possible to provide the primary objective of the scheme, i.e. to provide DDA-compliant access by means of the southern steps and ramps, although funding will have to be identified and sought from the cost overrun of £150k, plus any other contractor costs associated with this . It is proposed to seek approval from Mayor and Cabinet on these additional costs from the existing OSCP funding, which would result in other potential station improvements not proceeding.
There is the concern that the northern section of the site could also be contaminated which would involve costly removal which is not budgeted for. As a result the council will complete the southern steps, the ramp and the piazza area only and will have to omit the performance area and northern steps. This decision has not been taken lightly, and will be a disappointment to the Brockley Cross Action Group who have put in so much hard work in working with the council in helping to deliver this important project, but in view of the current extensive cost overrun, the full project is not achievable at this time and any further work would require more detailed feasibility and an understanding of the total costs of providing the performance area and northern steps which is not planned or budgeted for.

Extreme measures

People say "Yo, Humpty, you're really funny lookin'" that's all right 'cause I get things cookin'. Ya stare, ya glare, ya constantly try to compare me but ya can't get near me.
- Digital Underground

Courtesy of our friends at the South London Press, via Annabelle...

Planning application for temporary Greenwich Market submitted

Greenwich's covered market is due to be rebuilt. The case for redevelopment is a little weak and there are some very valid concerns about the specifics of the plans, but one thing's for sure, it is not going to be a "Bluewater-like" development.

A few months back, the Greenwich Phantom provided a more nuanced analysis of the proposals:

"Much of the content of the proposal is tolerable - and some of it's even okay... the loss of those Edwardian buildings in Durnford Street so that they have extra rubbish-bin space is hardly a great excuse to demolish history and the removal of the classic cobblestones in favour of bog-standard paving is an unacceptable part of the deal."

For the project to go ahead, the market needs to be relocated, so here's the press release from Greenwich Hospital about those plans:

Greenwich Hospital, the naval charity, has this week submitted a detailed planning application for a temporary market within the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) which would operate for the two year period between January 2010 and December 2011 whilst the regeneration of Greenwich Market takes place.

Commenting today Martin Sands, Director of Greenwich Hospital said:

“I am delighted that after extensive stakeholder and community consultation Greenwich Hospital has been able to submit plans to Greenwich Council for the temporary market within the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College."

Subject to gaining planning consent from Greenwich Council, and scheduled ancient monument consent from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport; Greenwich Hospital intends to commence development work on the market regeneration in January 2010 and finish late 2011, with the hotel and market opening in early 2012. During the two year construction period the market will operate on Monument Gardens, an area of ground in front of the Pepys building and next to the Cutty Sark.

Greenwich Hospital very much appreciates the help that the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College has given to enable us to find a good solution for the temporary market.”

Commenting today, Nick Raynsford, MP said:

“Finding a home for Greenwich Market during any construction period has been a fundamental part of bringing forward plans for the market regeneration. I am delighted that Greenwich Hospital has been able to agree with the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College a site within the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College for a temporary market whilst the regeneration takes place. ”

Joan Ruddock's expenses: Full disclosure

The Telegraph has launched a database of MPs' expenses claims, including the Parliamentary authorities' redactions.

Joan Ruddock's claims can be seen here. For readers who aren't yet sick of the whole farrago (so that'll just be Brockley Kate, then), BC notes in particular the significant increase in incidental expenses between 2004/05 and 2005/06, steady growth in staffing costs (no family members employed), and introduction of postage and communications allowances.

The database isn't complete yet - the Telegraph will be adding to it for some time to come - but we thought we'd note it here for the sake of any of Ms Ruddock's particularly interested constituents who might be reading.

Hillaballoo, July 18th 2009

The gleefully eccentric Hillaballoo festival returns to Telegraph Hill on July 18th, 2009 from midday until after dark.

Although the full programme has not-yet been announced, this year's event will take place in the lower park and feature a contribution from the Horniman Museum, which will stage activities including planting food seeds in recycled containers, a hands-on mini-museum about food, ‘meet the gardening expert’ and an art installation of pledges to take more care of our environment.

Best of all, however, is the organiser's promise of "spectacular pudding art, by Ian."

Happiness in Lewisham

The Guardian has the list of Britain's local authorities, ranked by indicators of happiness, based on data provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

We can discount the opinions of the rest of the country because their sense of well-being is artificially inflated by projecting all their resentments on to London. But how does Lewisham compare to the 33 other London boroughs?

The data comes from a survey which we vaguely recall taking part in and - being an optimistic sort of website - we may have skewed Lewisham's results. But even so, Lewisham performs fairly poorly. Although it ranks 12th best for community cohesion it only comes 29th for a sense of belonging, 28th for volunteering, 15th for effective policing, 19th for courteous public services.

As a place to live, Lewisham ranks 18th out of 33 London boroughs.

However, in terms of the negative indicators on the list, Lewisham is better than the London average: 20th for anti-social behaviour, 22nd for drug abuse and 28th for drunk and rowdy behaviour (presumably helped by the dearth of nightlife in the area).

The one glaring black spot in Lewisham's performance is in response to the question about whether other people in the area treated the area with respect. Lewisham was the 8th worst borough and we strongly believe that that is a reflection of the general lack of attention paid to the public realm. Radio 4's Analysis this week looked at herd behaviour in people, and featured studies of littering. They showed that when there was graffiti present, the rate of littering increased hugely [one caused the other]. In other words, they proved what we all know - that if the Council maintains the public realm properly, people will respond positively - anti-social behaviour will decline.

This is the big challenge for Lewisham and for Brockley: restore pride to our streets by embracing good quality design and enforcing the basic rules - to create a virtuous circle of improved behaviour and reducing the amount of money spent on cleaning up people's mess. Some positive steps have been taken in Brockley, but the terrible state of Brockley Cross is just one example of how much there is still to be done.

Brockley Fun Run 2009

The Brockley Fun Run returns to Hilly Fields on July 5th.

Runners will set off ay 9am and the organisers and entry costs £5 in advance or £10 on the day. Forms are available from the Broca and the Broca Food Market. You can also register online here.

Not sorry enough

Last night, BC hosted a few clients at this debate between "bloggers" and "commentators" - a fairly false-dichotomy as the panel acknowledged. Among the newspapers taking part in the discussion about the growth of the bloggosphere was The Evening Standard.

What we would have said - had we had one more glass of wine - is that many blogs (this one, certainly) simply spring up as a result of market failure - filling the void of coverage provided by other sources.

And there can be no more graphic illustration of the market failure in London media coverage than the Evening Standard's support for Richard Branson's proposal to take the marathon away from boring old south east London. 853blog has the full story.

Brockley Honey: Robust and flowery, like the people

"Bees make honey and jelly? How come nothing humans make tastes good?"
- Fry, Futurama

We were tipped off about Brockley honey, by former Moonbow Jakes proprietor, John. He simply wrote:

"I was in Shop on the Hill buying veg when the lady delivering Brockley Honey came in with her supply. All I can say, having bought a jar, is it is fabulous and I recommend it to all."

Obviously, that was our cue to get in touch with Camilla Goddard, whose bees produce the stuff. In an interview today, she told us:

"I've been producing honey in South East London for some time, but this is my first year producing honey in Brockley. I live locally so when some land became available on Wickham Road, I took up the option to create an apiary.

"There are ten hives on the site and each is home to more than 30,000 bees. That's enough to create a small quantity of honey, which is sold at The Broca Food Market and The Shop on the Hill. The spring honey is out now, but there will be some summer honey coming very soon.

"Brockley honey has a robust taste, with a lovely flowery aftertaste. It's very different from the Greenwich honey I make.

"The bees fly in a 3 mile radius from the hive, so if your readers see any honey bees in their back garden, the chances are, they are from the Wickham Road apiary. You can help the bees by planting flowers. Crocuses are great in the early part of the year, lavendar, rosemary and in particular red or yellow flowers - the bees love them. People with pollen allergies could benefit from locally-produced honey.

"It's not really a commercial enterprise but I grew up on a farm and it always amazes me that there aren't more bees in the city. With numbers declining, I set it up as a conservation project, first and foremost."

"If anyone sees the bees swarming, please feel free to give me a call on 0207 638 6581 or 07984 682417 . I'll also be launching a website about the honey soon, called Capital Bee.

Lewisham: Conservation areas at risk

English Heritage has published a list of conservation areas around the country which it considers to be under threat. The good news for Brockley - we're not on it. The bad news for Lewisham - the Beckenham Place Park and Deptford High Street conservation areas are 'at risk'.

Nationally, the agency found that as many as 1 in 7 conservation areas are 'at risk'; the top threats - some of which Brockley conservation area residents may recognise - include:

- plastic windows and doors (83% of conservation areas were affected);
- poorly maintained roads and pavements (60%);
- street clutter (45%);
- loss of front garden walls, fences and hedges (43%);
- unsightly satellite dishes (38%);
- the effects of traffic calming or traffic management (36%);
- alterations to the fronts, roofs and chimneys of buildings (34%);
- unsympathetic extensions (31%);
- impact of advertisements (23%);
– neglected green spaces (18%).

As a result of the survey, English Heritage is launching a 'Conservation Areas at Risk' campaign to encourage residents, local groups and councils to focus on improvements.

Dedication's what you need

For two decades, elaborately-constructed domino rallies were the only things that sustained the viewing figures of Record Breakers. Since the programme's demise in 2001, there have been criminally few mainstream vehicles for the art. BC reader Clare aims to help put that right. She says:

As a longtime lurker on the site, I wonder if I can ask you to put up a note about this event being run by Station House Opera and Toynbee Arts?

Fancy building a giant Domino rally? As joint winners of the Bank of America Create Art Award, Station House Opera are creating a giant 10-mile breeze block domino rally across East and South East London on 26 July, and are looking for volunteers to help us do it!

The Station House Opera website explains:

"[The project] links the five ‘host’ boroughs of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, taking as its starting point the simplest of ideas… a line of dominoes.

"On Sunday 26th July, thousands of concrete blocks will be used to create a moving sculpture along a 15-kilometre route, unfolding over the course of the day.

"Beginning in Newham, the starting ceremony will see a structure of hundreds of blocks brought to life by a group of performers: changing, shifting and eventually setting in motion the slow toppling of blocks on their journey."

We're asking people, either in groups or individually, to give up around four hours to help lay out, topple and then collect up the blocks. An e-flyer for Dominoes volunteering can be found here...

After marshalling and clearing away their section of the route, all participants will receive invitations to our private party in Greenwich on the evening of the event, hosted by Bank of America and CREATE09. Sign up now to get your invite to the biggest after party in East London.

Hope you can help and that fellow Brockley residents are interested!

Opponents of the Lewisham Gateway redevelopment might argue that stacking giant breeze blocks next to one another through Lewisham town centre is the kind of follie that is soon to be replicated on a bigger scale. But as we're not one of its critics, we're happy to enjoy the dominoes for their own sake.

Frendsbury Herb Garden

Gareth, who runs the Frendsbury community garden project, will be working with volunteers to plant a range of herbs next weekend. You're invited to take part.

The planting will take place on Saturday 27 June 2009, between 11am and 3pm. The hands-on session will include ground preparation, planning, planting and caring for the herbs. Everyone is welcome. Refreshments will be provided. Disabled access.

For this workshop children under the age of 13 years must be supervised by a parent or responsible adult at all times. Please email Gareth Schweitzer to book a place.

Fashion and Art: The Best of Lewisham College

Over the next couple of weeks, Brockley residents will be able to sample the best of Lewisham College students' fashion and performance art work.

The Lewisham College Fashion Show

Students from Lewisham College’s Fashion Department will be taking their collections to the catwalk on Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 June 2009 for their annual Fashion Show.
Around 90 students from eight different courses will be showing off their creations at the end of year extravaganza.

Head of Fashion at the College, Mary Kay, says: “The Fashion Show is so great because it is inclusive; we celebrate the extraordinary work of all our students. The ‘Catwalk’ changes everything, transforming the student and putting each at the centre of some well deserved time in the spotlight. This makes all the difference to them.”

Final year Fashion student Amy Campbell, 19, is excited about showing off her collection. She says: “My final collection is inspired by Gothic and Victorian clothes. I’m really inspired by Victorian clothes, I like them because they’re complicated, and they give a good shape and silhouette. They also have great detail to them.

“Fashion is one of the best courses that Lewisham College offers. Actually making the clothes is my favourite part: seeing your drawings come alive from the page.

“In September I’m heading to London College of Fashion, but in the future I’d like to become a fashion designer. I want to bring Victorian style to the high street.” Project Runway eat your heart out.

The Fashion shows will be held on 24 & 25 June in the College’s Tressillian Theatre, 7pm. Tickets are £5.

The Lewisham College Visual Arts Exhibition

Lewisham College will be hosting five exhibition spaces containing an inspiring collection of the most fresh and exciting art and design talent in South London this month.

The exhibitions will display the work of students from the Visual Arts Department, and will host contemporary and experimental artworks that ask questions, challenge the viewer and push boundaries.

The students are exhibiting in a broad range of mediums: installation, photography, graphic design, animation, illustration, textiles, sculpture, painting, video and printmaking.

“We are a very proud of the distances our students have travelled in their time at Lewisham College,” says Programme Area Leader for Visual Arts and Media Tanya Paget. “15 out of 16 Foundation Diploma students have accepted offers to study at a range of top Universities.”

The Public viewing will run between:

10am-4pm 26, 29, 30 June, 1, 2 July 2009, Lewisham Way Campus, Rooms B123/B121/B120/T29

Hilly Fields Summer Fayre today

A quick reminder that the Hilly Fields Summer Fayre is happening today, courtesy of The Brockley Society.

It's taking place between 12pm and 5pm, click here for more details.

Brockley Cross Crisis Point, Day 4

Here's another shot of creative parking in Brockley Cross. You might be thinking that we've chosen this shot because of the white van that's straddling the pavement for no good reason, but you'd be wrong! The worst offender in this particular shot is the blue Renault in the foreground, which may appear to be in use, but which is actually parked slap bang in the middle of the junction. Place all the bollards you like in Brockley Cross, this driver will find a way to park.

We hope to hear from the Council soon...

Joan Ruddock's expenses: Applying a fine-toothed comb

Having covered the 'big picture' non-story that is Joan Ruddock MP's expenses, BC thought we'd be thorough by having a quick look through the detail which has recently been released on the Parliamentary website.

Her communications allowance was mostly used for the obvious stuff - printer paper and ink, stamps, and so forth. A £140 camera and £540 on computer equipment from Dell are the most exciting items spotted.

Under the incidental expenses provision, payments are many and varied...
Catering. Someone called Stewart. The Laban Centre. Stationery, IT equipment and banners (which should perhaps have been accounted for under the communications allowance). Vodafone and BT. Office cleaning, insurance and electricity bills. Fair trade tea, a kettle and a fan heater. A fire extinguisher. Volunteers' travel costs, and someone on work experience. Payments to the Telegraph Hill Centre and St Andrews Centre for surgeries, and hire of somewhere called 'Albany Pineapple'. Purchase of a content management system and training for staff. Website hosting. £740 for an accountant. £275 petty cash over 11 months. £385 to Trinity Mirror for adverts in a number of publications (they seem to be job adverts). £200 to Lewisham Deptford Labour Party to cover a shortfall in consitutency office running costs. Oh, and £65 to Premier Shredding Ltd for the collection & destruction of 15 boxes' worth of materials ...

As an aside, BC notes that Ms Ruddock does indeed insist on being called 'Ms', to the extent that she amends forms which have 'Mrs' printed on them.

Brockley Cross Crisis Point, Day 3

Here's another shot demonstrating the blatant disregard for pedestrians exhibited by drivers in Brockley Cross.

The removal van is once-again sitting on the pavement, while over on the other side of the road, The Tea Factory's pavement (which for some reason was never finished properly) is squatted on by a mixture of private and commercial vehicles. As some readers have already noted, this happens all the time and forces pedestrians on to the (busy) road.

The Big Smoke at The Rivoli Ballroom

The Rivoli will be hosting a film night on July 2nd, to explore some of the less celebrated parts of London's history: Films from a Lost London

Lewisham Film Initiative and Creative Process in association with the Independent Cinema Office and BFI Mediatheque are organising the event, which will also feature live musical accompaniment from the London Breakbeat Orchestra.

The event will mark the launch of the LFI's Capital Fund and showcase the work of Lewisham's Heritage and Archive service.

Thursday 2 July Drinks from 7pm/Screening (45 min) at 8pm Admission FREE

Rivoli Ballroom RSVP essential by Tuesday 30 June. To register go to

Brockley Cross Crisis Point, Day 2

We're attempting to 'do a Daily Telegraph' with this story - ie: drip-feeding horrendous revelations on a daily basis until the public horror and outrage becomes so great that only complete reform will sate the clamour for change.

So here's another picture taken yesterday of Brockley Cross, following yesterday's pile-up. In this instance, you can see a little car owned by the plumbing office in Brockley Cross perched on the pavement for no good reason (it wasn't loading or unloading, it was there for several hours). But look beyond that and past the maroon van trying to negotiate the farcical double roundabout and you can see the self-hire removal van, owned by another Brockley Cross business, hogging the pavement on the far side.

The pavements of Brockley Cross are regularly used as overflow parking - it must stop.

Cllr Walton has already joined in the debate on the other thread, pledging to see what can be done to enforce parking regulations in the area. Thanks for his contribution, we'll be following this up.

Green shoots in west Brockley

Here's a photo of the new flower beds that have been created outside John Stainer primary school on Mantle Road by an army of volunteers, working with the Brockley Cross Action Group.

Around 30 people turned out over the weekend to get the job done, so thanks to them all for their hard work.

We should also give a plug to the Ladywell Village Improvement Group, which also organised a planting day recently. You can see their work here.

BBC Drama 'Fashion' Shoots at the Rivoli Ballroom

"Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique."
Mugatu, Zoolander

A BBC six-part drama, nominally about the fashion world is currently shooting at the gorgeous Rivoli Ballroom. We were told by one of the crew that the series was called Fashion and will be broadcast some time in the new year. We think that it is the same thing as "Material Girl", the working title for a drama that was announced by the BBC earlier this year. Fashion may be the series' new name.

In any case, it appears that SE4 was determined to be the perfect setting for a "romantic comedy about a young fashion designer battling an evil ex-boss, a sexy but devilish business partner and snobby fashionistas to get her break in work and love."

The Daily Mail has some pictures here.

With thanks to Marc, via Twitter.

Brockely Cross Crisis Point

Here is a photo of Brockley Cross, taken today. With the exception of the white van, all of these cars are 'parked'. Some are parked by the kerb or in the little bay which provides legitimate parking for two rows of cars. The rest are squeezed on to pavements or double-parked in the middle of the road. This is an entirely typical day. It's as though Operation Stack has been orgainsed in SE4.

In total, this arrangement creates five lanes of parked cars plus two lanes of moving cars - a seven lane nightmare that endangers lives and dooms this part of Brockley to crapiness and exhaust until the Council sorts it out.

And the problem is getting worse. TickleMe takeaway is proving to be a success, which is great, except that its customers are the ones double-parking on its side of the street. Nats's Bake and Juices' customers double park on the other side. Meanwhile, a self-hire van rental company has moved in to an office in Brockley Cross and the managers allow their vehicles to be parked on the pavement - we have seen people with pushchairs forced to steer in to the road just to get down the street.

The tale of Brockley Cross' aborted redevelopment is a long and depressing one and the only long-term solution to the traffic problems at this junction is to properly address the awful layout. We must sustain the pressure on the Council to do what they have been promising for years and fix Brockley Cross, for good.

However, until that happens there is the immediate question of what to do about the daily parking abuses that blight Brockley Cross. It should not require new legislation, restrictions, studies, consultations, funding or any of the other usual reasons why things don't happen. Fixing the problem could even be revenue-generating.

What we need is traffic wardens. Ruthless, efficient traffic wardens, incentivised to punish transgressors. Traffic wardens who circle Brockley Cross like jackals. A few weeks of this treatment should sort the problem out. It could be done tomorrow, if the will was there.


With a mere ninety break-horse-power available, progress is too leisurely to be called fast, but on the motorway in fifth gear the Megane's slow pace really becomes a pain. Not my words, Carol. The words of Top Gear magazine.
- Alan Partridge

Friend of Brockley Central Fabhat writes to say:

Lewisham Council want to hear from people who are interested in Streetcar and will investigate installing new street bays in your area, if you email the council. There are a few bays in Brockley / St Johns - Reynards Close, Somerset Gardens, Lewisham Way, etc but it is getting harder to book a slot so it seems worth emailing the council if anyone wants more Streetcars...

The email address is:

Dance 2009, Lewisham College, June 16-18 2009

Courtesy of Brockley Central's new friends at Lewisham College, here are the details of Dance 2009:

Over 70 Lewisham College Dance students will be taking to the stage next week as part of their end of year performances.

Dance 2009, the spectacular end of year extravaganza showcasing the skills of the entire Dance Department will be held in the College’s Tressillian Theatre from 16-18 June.

A range of styles will be performed from jazz, contemporary, to dance theatre and musical theatre.

Dance Programme Area Leader Rebecca Litteck says that Dance 2009 has given the students a fantastic chance to work alongside renowned professional choreographers. She said:

“Working alongside professional choreographers has given the students a great opportunity to engage with the industry. We’re really proud of the show, it’ll be lively, exciting and dynamic.”

For the graduating students, this marks the end of a significant journey. Final year Dance student, Hannah Anderson-Ricketts, can’t wait. She said:

“Dance 2009 is the big finale. People can come and see what we’ve been doing – all of our hard work. This is what it’s all about.

“If you’re interested in coming to do Dance at Lewisham College then it’s a great way of seeing what the courses have to offer, and what you could be doing.”

Shows will be at 2pm and 7.30pm in the Lewisham Way Campus’ Tressillian Theatre, June 16-18 2009. If you wish to reserve tickets please email or ring 020 8694 3227.

Ticket are £6 in advance – reserved tickets must be paid within 3 days of booking.

Matinee tickets are free for all college, school students and OAPs.

Martin's Yard consultation published

A couple of weeks ago, Lewisham Council's planning committee considered the public consultation document prepared by Dialogue on behalf of MacDonald Egan, the developers of Martin's Yard in Brockley Cross.

We love this proposal, which will turn a scaffolding yard that currently occupies one acre of what is supposed to be our town centre in to a new street, which will improve connections between east and west Brockley, increase local employment opportunities and replace heavy lorries with homes. We love the beach hut aesthetic and the snaking road layout.

The feedback document contains an embarrassingly large number of quotes from Brockley Central readers and we hope the developers haven't damaged their chances by leaving the last word in the document to a comment from Catman (ne Andy Pandy).

The report to Council lists some of the concerns that have arisen during the consultation process - the most significant of which relate to loss of light for the Business Centre and residents of Drakefell Road not wishing to be overlooked (natch). None of this seems insurmountable.

We don't know what timeline the developers are currently working to, but clearly the project has been delayed by at least a year. We hope this latest development signals that it is back on track and we will try to bring you more information on the project as soon as possible.

The event of the summer? Hilly Fields Summer Fayre

Doesn't time pass quickly? It certainly doesn't seem like a full year since the last Hilly Fields Midsummer Fayre. But posters have gone up all over Brockley to publicise this year's event, which takes place this coming Saturday, 20th June. As ever it sounds as though it will be a fantastic day.

The ever-popular falconry display will be back, along with the steel band, salsa display, tug of war, dog show, animal farm, cake decorating competition (theme: 'summer picnic'), vegetable modelling competition, children's fairground rides, the tea & cake tent and a range of food stalls including West Indian, Thai, paninis & bagels, doughnuts, candyfloss, popcorn and of course the barbeque.
There will also be a photography competition (theme: 'summer fashion') and an open art competition with the theme of 'my favourite shoes' (any medium permitted).

Stalls are still available to book, and as ever, the Brockley Society is in need of helpers (you can contact them via their website). The event runs from 12-5pm. BC is so excited about this - we hope to see you all there!

Brockley Bites - PostScript edition

Coulgate Street resolution

Cllr Dean Walton has now confirmed the resolution adopted by the Brockley Assembly concerning the possible part-pedestrianisation of Coulgate Street, which we reported here. He says:

"The Assembly has voted to request the Mayor to investigate options for the pedestrianisation of Coulgate Street in consultation with residents, traders and other relevant organisations."

"The Assembly had a good discussion about the issues surrounding the pedestrianisation of the street. There were some early concerns about what the impact could be and whether it was desirable - however it is expected that these can be more fully explored along with the clear benefits in any consultation."

Hilly Fields Playground

Having written about the plans for the new Hilly Fields playground, we asked User Group member Polly how quickly it could materialise - incredibly quickly, is the answer. She says:

It should be ready for spring next year, if not earlier. We need a successful stage 2 lottery bid for some of the money, but we can progress a large part without delay from the existing funds.

The plans need turned into contract drawings with details on how it will be built, then tendered to the contractors. So we are looking at being on site around October. This would mean it being up and running in Spring 2010.

Life Drawing at the Tank Gallery

Aoife, curator of the Tank Gallery in Ladywell, followed up this recent article by telling us about the life drawing classes that are coming up:

We are running a few drop in life drawing classes on the 17th and 24th of June. The upstairs space has lovely light and space and is perfect for it so we are trying it out and hope to run the classes regularly in the future.

Walk in class: £6 per person. Some materials available but no boards or easels at the moment.

Brockley Common progress

The keener-eyed among Brockley Central's Twitter friends have noticed that they are still missing their trains in the morning, thanks to the closure of the bridge to allow for construction work on both sides of the track.

The bridge was due to re-open about now, but hasn't. We understand that construction on the common is running a little behind schedule due to the discovery of some contaminated soil (hopefully diesel rather than uranium) during the earthworks. It has now been removed and work is ongoing.

House prices - a new twist on an old theme

A while back, in one of our regular discussions about house prices, one reader tried and failed to start a discussion about the rental market, as they were a landlord in the area looking for some local insights.

As luck - or vigilant monitoring of the internet - would have it, a locally-based lettings expert and top-selling property writer, David Lawrenson of got in touch shortly afterwards, to volunteer his services. So here's a quick interview with him about his take on the Brockley rental market:

Tell us what you think of Brockley?
Of all the places in London I’d be most surprised if Brockley and the surrounding area is not an even more dynamic and happening place 5 years from now that is it today, which is one of the reasons I enjoy living here.

Much of the housing has improved over recent years and some of the smaller “high streets” in the borough have gentrified better than others with good interesting shops near Honor Oak Park station and Brockley. I love Hillyfields - what great views – and it is where I am involved as manager of a local boys’ football team.

What about the changes happening elsewhere in the borough?
I worry about the Mayor’s plans for central Lewisham. I cannot see why so many new flats are being built. People want houses with gardens not flats and I can only see more traffic as a result.

I bet that in another ten years time the Mayor will be making the roundabout even bigger to accommodate all the extra traffic, thus gobbling up even more of the centre of Lewisham. It seems nuts.

Of course, the big change happened almost nine years ago when Lewisham got the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) which instantly connected it to the glass “satanic money mills” of Canary Wharf - and more recently the London City Airport. That was a good thing as are many of the other things that have happened.

Any other downsides to the area?
The only down real side of the area is potentially schools because it seems that many of the good secondaries are over-subscribed which will always put a bid of a lid on things here and may make people move out.

What about house prices and rents?
In terms of house prices and rent, the conservation areas in Lee, Brockley and Telegraph Hill (New Cross Gate/ Brockley) are already expensive relative to local areas (and are all near to green spaces), but in many other parts of Lewisham a decent one bed flat can be bought for under £160,000 and two bed terraces for under £220,000 while rents for a one bed flat average about £750 per calendar month and for a two bed terrace about £900 per month.

Still, these figures are still very low relative to other areas in North London that are as close to central London. Try getting a one bed flat for that in Kilburn or Islington and you’ll see what I mean.

The really big story is of course the extension of the East London Line from New Cross down to Brockley, Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill and Sydenham and then on to Croydon and Crystal Palace and making these areas more accessible to the northern edge of the City and to Highbury and Islington in North London.

As a property writer I like to keep quiet about our area though I mentioned it in my blog on 6th June 2009 whilst looking at how house prices locally seem to have already turned the corner.

There is no doubt that the East London Line will make this area a more expensive place to live, but I hope it won’t destroy its creativity and diversity.

Where is the market going for landlords?

Well, we have a very small rented sector in the UK that will continue to grow. A lot of the sector supports people on local housing allowance so that is not going to disappear unless the government builds a lot more social housing stock – a thing I think they should do but probably won’t.

Of course, there is more legislation now which the bad landlords will continue to ignore (just like they do all the rest of the legislation because it is too poorly and slowly enforced). If you are a good tenant you will get a good landlord and if you are a bad landlord you will get a bad tenant. Good and bad landlords find their equals in the tenants they get and the same goes for good and bad tenants.

Oh and I’ve got 20 copies of the latest print of my book to give away for just £1.50 each. Get in touch with me at my site!

Lewisham Gateway: A piecemeal approach?

Estates Gazette has re-visited its coverage of Lewisham Gateway and had a second (and much larger) bite of the cherry.
In a double-page spread in the current edition, the magazine claims that the project (currently comprising two major aspects: a Muse/Taylor Wimpey mixed use development, and Land Securities' re-development of the existing shopping centre) could be tackled in a 'piecemeal' way. The reasoning for this is mainly due to slow progress in delivering the major infrastructure investment needed to re-site the large roundabout by the DLR station - this is a pre-requisite of the Muse/Taylor Wimpey scheme.

Attention is therefore shifting towards Land Securities, and what can be done with the existing shopping centre.

EG reports: 'The fact that less than £16 million of public money has been earmarked for the [roundabout re-routing] scheme has not eased concerns about its viability. Neither has unsettling speculation about Taylor Wimpey's commitment, given its exposure to the housing crisis.
'There has been a growing feeling that the [Lewisham Gateway] project should be broken up and brought forward on a piecemeal basis, with the retail ambitions [for new shops in the Muse/TayWimpey development] put on ice. LandSec [the shopping centre developers] certainly appears to be veering towards this view now.'

Tom Venner, LandSec portfolio director, told EG: 'From what we gather of the Muse/TayWimpey plans, there appears to be inactivity still and no movement towards delivery of the project's retail element ... there is a lot that can be done with both the town centre without the need to extend the retail pitch.'

Land Securities is currently focussing on re-aligning its tenant mix in the shopping centre to meet the area's changing demographics - in particular EG cites research by Lewisham Council which the magazine said demonstrates growing gentrification by young professionals. EG says LandSec has seen 'a spate of lettings in recent weeks' and has appointed two agencies to help it secure tenants which will 'cater for the changing retail tastes of the catchment area'. More than 10% of the shopping centre's floorspace is currently under offer.

Additionally, EG reports that Barratt has submitted revised plans for the Loampit Vale site. Changes include a reduction in the height of some buildings, and a reduction in the number of flats from 819 to 788. The scheme also includes a swimming pool and office space.

Hilly Fields: State of Play

On Saturday, The Hilly Fields User Group showed-off their plans to remodel the dated playground at the top of the park. As you can see from this visual, the new park would constitute a radical and positive change, compared with the existing facilities. The idea of blending play with wildlife habitat is a great one.

Polly explains:

Here's the latest version of the playground plans. It will of course get some small changes and reworking as it is developed. We had a steady stream of people on Saturday coming to look at the plans and give their feedback, which was all positive.

To summarise, the key aims for WILD ABOUT PLAY, as the project has been named, are to:

1. Introduce landscape features from the park eg meadow and native planting into the play area
2. Create a space that changes with the seasons and where children are close to nature
3. Improve the biodiversity of park whilst encouraging close contact with nature as part of the play experience
4. Extend the use of playground to all age groups, particularly toddlers and the over 8s, creating a setting that allows children of all ages and abilities to play together
5. Create inclusive play experience welcoming for all children and their carers and parents.
6. Develop the sloping site with natural features and integrated equipment eg bridges, stepping logs, sand and water play ,etc
7. Work with local schools including the special schools to make artwork for use in the area possibly based on wildlife in park
8. Include local schools and environmental education staff at Lewisham Council to discuss planting and undertake community planting projects for area
9. Provide flexible space: storydeck / platform / stage for nursery groups or classes to use

European election results: How Lewisham voted

Turnout in Lewisham was low at just 31 per cent.

The Labour Party came in first, with just over a quarter of total votes cast. The Greens beat the Tories into third place, while the LibDems pushed UKIP into fifth. Around two thousand people voted for the BNP.

Those results in full:

The Labour Party 13,927 (26.3%)
The Green Party 9,435 (17.8%)
Conservative Party 8,440 (15.9%)
Liberal Democrats 7,197 (13.6%)
UKIP 4,710 (8.9%)
Christian Party 2,294 (4.3%)
BNP 2,083 (3.9%)
English Democrats 734 (1.4%)
Socialist Labour Party 661 (1.3%)
NO2EU 572 (1.1%) 243 (0.5%)
Socialist Party of GB 227 (0.4%)
Jury Team 161 (0.3%)
Yes To Europe 85 (0.2%)

Witcomb Cycles of Deptford moving to Wales

One for our cyclists, who have already started discussing this elsewhere - legendary bike shop Witcomb Cycles has closed its shop in Tanners Hill, Deptford, after 40 years of business, and have left a very positive note on the door saying that they are moving due to demand for their hand-built frames and the need for a proper factory facility.

Their blog explains all.

Another shop front poised to disappear on Lewisham Way

A planning application has been filed for 128-130 Lewisham Way, a retail unit currently occupied by Alcomax Lettings, to be converted into two flats. The shop is at the top end of Lewisham Way, opposite Ned's Beds - see it on Google street view. Alcomax has a second office on the corner of Lewisham Way and Rokeby Road, which was still open last time we looked.

In contrast, just up the road we noticed some new retail or office units have been created as part of a new-build development at the top of Tanners Hill, on the corner with St. Nicholas Street.

Seems barmy that shops on a bustling thoroughfare are being converted to flats, while retail units are strapped to the bottom of new build apartments on a largely residential side-street.

Earl Green and the Right Time @ The Ladywell Tavern

A quick plug for one of the bands who performed at the MAX on Saturday night and who've been in touch:

Our band is called Earl Green and The Right Time and we played at the Marquee of Moonbow on Saturday.

We forgot to announce from the stage that we'll be playing next Saturday night, June 13th at the Ladywell Tavern. Just wondered if you might be able to put a post up on Brockley Central. It's free to get in and we'll be on about 9.30pm.

It's a proper late gig - we can play till midnight - The Night Time is The Right Time!

The Ladywell Tavern, 80, Ladywell Road, Ladywell, London SE13, 020 8314 2801.

And the walls came tumbling down

Those of you who have followed the long saga of the tumbledown wall on the corner of Wickham Rd and Cranfield Rd will, we hope, be gripped by the latest dramatic instalment in the story.

The wall partially collapsed last spring, and has remained derelict since - although after some months of BC's whingeing the council's PFI contractors (who are responsible for the site) put up some white boarding to block the gap.

And there the matter rested for many months.

With spring comes fresh hope, and action. But unfortunately it's not exactly the kind of action we'd hoped for.

Workmen are, as BC types, demolishing the remaining standing sections of wall. We hope and pray that this is a prelude to re-building the entire wall, but frankly given the way things have gone so far, we can't be sure. We have of course asked Lewisham Council what's going on, and will keep you posted if they get back to us.

In the meantime, enjoy the remaining wall while you can.

Edit (10/6/09): Our contact at Lewisham Council has been in touch to say that PFI contractor Equipe is taking the whole wall down in order to re-build it using a mix of existing cleaned bricks and some new ones. Sounds like good news to us!

Brockley Assembly helps Coulgate Street pedestrianisation plan take a step forward [UPDATED]

Last week's Brockley Assembly voted to investigate the feasibility of the part-pedestrianisation of Coulgate Street.

Part (rather than full)-pedestrianisation is the preferred option because of the mix of retail and residential uses on the street and because of the desire to provide reasonable car access to the station itself. However, there was broad support for creating a new layout and surface, which would give much greater priority to pedestrians, creating a more pleasant space adjacent to the new-look Brockley Common, acting as a green gateway in to Brockley.

Part-pedestrianisation could involve restricting cars only at certain points on the road or at certain times of day. Ideally, the scheme would involve creating a shared surface, relandscaped with new paving, layout and planting.

We've asked Cllr Walton for the form of words used on the motion, but Assembly-level support means that the Council will conduct a feasibility study, which is a vital step in its implementation.


UPDATE: Amanda, a BC regular who attended the meeting adds her report:

I think the assembly process is maturing and is coming into it's own. It was very good turn out, at least 50 people from across the ward, good given that there were two very attractive events competing for locals attention from the max that evening.

The format was straightforward; there was series of ideas that sought money from the Mayors fund - 50k. They ideas were briefly presented by locals or outlined by councillors Darren Johnson. People sat at the tables the raised hands and asked questions about the feasibility and practicality of the ideas they were answered and then there was vote. People raised hands whether they for, against or further investigation of the ideas.

The ideas:

Clay awareness project an artist project on clay linked into 2012.

Deep street Cleaning - select an area that requires the attention of the council cleaning team.

Community Allotment - choose where to locate

Pavement replacement- intially this seemed a bit boring, but the idea was to incorporate themed design in certain pavements that could be part of a treasure/tourist trail hunt. It's happened successfully in northern towns.

The talk went onto the state of pavements being a responsiblity that the council/highways should be taking care of anyway, so seperate from this fund application. A chap on my table raised the issue of having to walk round the local streets with his back doubled to avoid the low hanging trees and the bumpy tarmac being a trip hazard because of bulging roots. He cited Manor Avenue between Ashby and another road as being particularly bad for this.

Also there was an idea a Colour theme day in Luxmore Gardens, for the people that live around there. Intitally the proposer described it as "The Big Orange day" and most of the questioned were about: Why orange, the colour has political and commerical implications that some thought were a deal maker. The were general support for the idea but with further investigation centered choosing another colour.

Most of the ideas were supported or there was a request for further investigation. Loads more was said such as the pedestrianisation of coulgate proposal, but someone else might want to summarise that.

Brockley MAX - how was it for you?

The 2009 Brockley MAX was the biggest ever and the organisers are already looking forward to 2010.

Please use this thread to share your highlights of the festival and let the MAX team know what you'd like to see next year.

Cafe Orange - the future's bright?

Courtesy of the Telegraph Hill newsletter and BC regular Tamsin, here's a message from the Telegraph Hill Centre, who are trying to convert the now-defunct Cafe Orange in to something useful.

It’s there for the taking… there’s a way to make the Telegraph Hill Centre work for us all. And we’d love you to be part of making it happen…

Heard rumours about Café Orange? A small group of us have been working on this and we want to include you in the conversation. Join us for a free coffee and pastry on Saturday 20 June 11am—2pmin front of the former Café Orange to find out more.

Would you like more childcare facilities on Telegraph Hill? A shop? A café? Somewhere for young people to hang out? Studios to rent? Somewhere to rehearse or even record your music? A space where you can bump into friends and neighbours because you’re popping in to pick up some milk, have a coffee, look at an art show or collect your child from a guitar lesson?

The long term bold vision is to rebuild the space to provide a landmark setting for these activities. Meanwhile let’s use the Centre for connecting, resting, working and supporting
each other.

Decisions are yet to be made so you can get involved too. Together we can make anything happen.

Let's Move To Deptford

In 2007, Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre condemned newspapers like The Guardian of being "patronisingly contemptuous of... ordinary people."

Some weeks back, The Daily Mail came to Deptford and served up what can only be described as a patronisingly contemptuous article.

For a feature it's planning about ordinary life in Deptford, The Guardian's currently asking people who live there what they like and dislike about it:

Do you live in Deptford, south-east London? Do you have a favourite haunt or pet hate? If so, please write, by next Friday, to

The sandal-wearing bastards.

Anyway, feel free to influence the piece - 'proximity to Brockley' ought to be perfectly acceptable as a plus point.

With thanks to Monkeyboy, who does exist.

Brockley to central London - by superhighway

Boris Johnson has announced his plans for cycle 'superhighways' connecting outlying areas of the capital with the centre by blue-painted, dedicated bike lanes.

Route 5 will run from Lewisham through (the northern reaches of) Brockley along the A20 and A202 (Peckham, Camberwell, Vauxhall) to Victoria, connecting with routes 6 and 7 which will provide access to the heart of the city (via Elephant & Castle).

BoJo promises the routes will be 'cycle-dedicated, safe and convenient'. Critics say they will be little more than glorified cycle lanes. What do Brockley's teeming hordes of cycling commuters think?

Stop wriggling and let me love you

Artist Chris Getliffe has been blogging about the creation of his new mural, commissioned as part of this year's MAX, with the theme chosen by Brockley Central readers.

His work replaces the Hendrix mural, lost to vandalism. Thanks to Chris for his work. We love it.

Brockley MAX: Hilly Fields tonight

Below is the final line-up for the Marquee of Moonbow at Hilly Fields, the first of three nights in the park, which will close the festival. Thanks for all your reports from events happening across Brockley, it's clear that this has already been a great year for the MAX.

Funds have been tight, but in terms of return on investment, we can't think of a better way to use the locality funds. Hundreds of pounds of public money invested in the MAX must have generated tens of thousands of pounds of ecconomic activity in Brockley and engaged huge swathes of the local community. Sadly, one of the most popular features in recent years - the Hily Fields fireworks - won't be happening this year as funding was not available. Hopefully, that can be put right next year.


17.45-18.15 Film Band - First Set

18.15-18.30 DJ Saffrolla warm up set

18.30-19.15 Poetry - Jazzman John Clarke // Daniel Maitland // MC Isabel // David Bottomley // Ronnie McGrath // Kathryn Oreilly

19.15-19.45 Film Band - Second Set

19.45-20.00 DJ Saffrolla

20.00-20.40 Poetry - Second Set

Jazzman John Clarke // Joe Duggan // MC Isabel // David Bottomley // Ronnie McGrath // Kathryn O'Reilly Comedy Set

Jessica Fostekew // George Ryegold // Rosie Wilby // Nick Helm

22.20-23.00 DJ Saffrolla

Play it and they will come

Well that was bloody brilliant.

We'd like to say thank you to The Ladywell Tavern for hosting us, to Moira and the Brockley MAX team for creating the festival, to Brockley Jon for organising the night, to the musicians for performing for free - Louise & Irene, Rob Marr, Skinny Lister and Dune Lake (who also provided a lot of the equipment and technical help) and of course to all the people who turned up and gave their support.

We've no idea how many of the people even knew what Brockley Central was, but we're glad they came and it was nice to put more faces to names - Monkeyboy, Maradoll, Bagelmouse and Fabhat.

We also dragged a large contingent of people from work along, ostensibly because Irene is one of our colleagues but actually to convert them to South East London and guarantee at least some crowd. Weaned on Oyster and Revolution, they had to be herded on to an overground train, grumbling all the while. They came expecting the Wicker Man but found Local Hero.

As we stood by the bar, we were introduced to some people with an exciting business idea for Brockley and we did what we always do in those circumstances - we urged them to take the plunge on the basis that there is latent demand for more good businesses in Brockley. Last night, wedged amongst the Brockley massive, this line of argument hopefully sounded more a little more credible than usual.

At closing time, we walked home over Hilly Fields, dogger-free, dark, beautiful. Stars shone in the cloudy night sky.

Brockley voters flock to the polls

If you're registered to vote but aren't sure which polling station to use today, this list might help (NB: PDF document). (Woulda worked better as a map, Lewisham Council - maybe next time?)

Lewisham town centre re-development progress

Lewisham Council's ambitious town centre re-development plan has come a step closer: developers Muse and Taylor Wimpey have secured outline planning consent and signed a Section 106 agreement for the Lewisham Gateway scheme.

The developers have reportedly commmitted £25 million in upfront infrastructure funding as part of the S106 deal. Public funding will include £4.3 million social housing grant and £9 million of single regeneration budget funds from the London Development Agency, Estates Gazette has reported.
The terms of the planning consent require some 20 per cent of the housing created to be social housing, according to EG.

The infrastructure funding will be used to re-route the A20 by removing the major roundabout which currently dominates the area. This will enable developer Land Securities to extend the shopping centre and build 500 flats, a large food store and a department store.

The council has also recently granted a compulsory purchase order for a 4.9 acre site around the high street.

The next step for the council is to open negotiations with Transport for London about the creation of a new 'bus layover facility' on Thurston Rd, the EG report said.

Euro Election Fever! Who's Winning the Spin War?

If she wants a PR War, then she can have a PR War... I'll Mandelson her! Nobody wanted New Labour, Jeremy, but now we all know how it works.
- Mark, Peep Show

A conversation has started up on another thread about which parties have been most active in Brockley in search of our votes on Thursday, so we thought we'd give it its own home.

Brockley Central has not received any political leaflets during the campaign, although we are regularly contacted by our Green Councillors. With the exception of Heidi Alexander, the Greens are the only ones who've ever bothered with the blog.

Of course, we have also seen the daft posters by the Christian Party in Brockley. Um, that's it!

MPs' expenses: Joan Ruddock's performance

The Telegraph has got around to having a look at our local MP's expenses, and doesn't seem to have found a huge amount.

The paper reports: 'Joan Ruddock claimed £235 for training on debt advice provided by Shelter, the charity, in May 2008. Confirmed she paid tax on reimbursed accountacy fees .'

This last sentence suggests she is among many MPs who claimed back the cost of their annual accountancy work; controversy has focussed on whether MPs have, as required, paid tax on any reimbursed accountancy fees. According to the Telegraph Ms Ruddock did comply with this rule.

Ms Ruddock is married to Scottish MP Frank Doran. On his expenses, the Telegraph reports: 'Frank Doran names a farmhouse north of Aberdeen as second home and claims around £500 a month in mortgage interest payments. Claims £1,200 for work on his trees .'

It seems reasonable for Ms Ruddock and Mr Doran to make their main home in London and thus the second home claim in Scotland makes sense. The £1,200 payment for work on his trees is perhaps more dubious - is it incurred 'wholly, necessarily and exclusively on parliamentary duties', as the rules require?

But, all in all, these two don't appear to have performed too badly - and given the ongoing political bloodbath, that may considerably improve their career prospects.

The Marquee of Moonbow at the Brockley MAX

This year, the Brockley MAX festival culminates at Hilly Fields, with three nights of comedy, music and drink under the stars at the Moonbow Marquee. Organised by former Moonbow Jakes proprietor John, the Brockley MAX site has the full line-up, but here are some of the highlights from The Festival Folly Stage...

Friday, 5th June, 5.45pm onwards

The night starts with a set by The Film Band, who will play music from classics such as Lawrence of Arabia and Midnight Cowboy. Poetry and DJ sets will be interspersed by comedy from Jessica Fostekew, George Ryegold, Rosie Wilby and Nick Helm.

Saturday, 6th June, 11.45am onwards

Entertainment will run throughout the day, opening with performances from Damien Renouf and Ceri James and running in to the evening with Billy Jenkins and his band, the Queen's English and Blues singer Earl Green before the fireworks at 11pm.

Sunday, 7th June, timing TBC

The final day is given over to some outstanding classical musicians, including soprano Sally Silver, chamber music from The Greenwich Trio and pianist Julian Jacobson.

Entrance Fee: £4 per day or £10 for all 3 days.

The licensed bar will be serving cocktails, Pimms, casked bitters, Mr Lawrence's famous cider and ice cold bottles of beer.

Crofton Park shooting reported

The South London Press reports that:

"A 15-YEAR-OLD girl was shot in the back in an incident that led to 17 arrests.

"The teen was rushed to hospital after the shooting in Brockley at around midnight on Saturday night.

"A total of 17 youths, most of them male, have been arrested and bailed over the incident in Foxborough Gardens, near the junction with Chudleigh Road."

Mantle Road planting project

Rob and Rupert from the Brockley Cross Action Group have organised for the two islands on the Mantle Road junction to create an eyecatching, wildlife-friendly gateway into Brockley.

A team of volunteers will be on site to complete one of the beds on Thursday, 11 June (all day). BXAG and other community volunteers are doing the second bed, outside the Brockley Food Market on Saturday 13 June (1.00-5.00pm) and Sunday (3.00-7.00pm).

Rupert explains:

"We need some serious action and support from BXAG members and our friends in the community to make this a success and a fun weekend!

"Remember even an hour will help us, but we really do need commitment to get this done, so an afternoon (or both!) would be great. If you have any health issues then there will be lots of none back breaking jobs to do as well!

"We really need to 10-12 people each day to make this an easier task and bring out the community spirit."

If you're interested in taking part, please email us at and we'll pass on your details.