Brockley Fruit and Vegetable Market, Brockley Road [Updated image]

New and improved image, courtesy of BC regular Fintan.

The infinitely resourceful Transpontine has unearthed this image of a fruit and vegetable market at 167 Brockley Road, circa 1890. That would place it next to the defunct holistic therapy centre in today's Brockley.

We love this image, partly because it reminds us how much we have lost and are trying to recover. It also acts as a gentle rejoinder to the school of thought on Brockley Central that things never change - and that hoping for better things is futile. The area - like all areas - is in a constant state of flux. We hope we're lucky enough to be in Brockley during an upswing in the area's fortunes. Saying that a shop is doomed to fail now because it was tried unsuccessfully 10 years ago is as meaningless as saying that a grocery is doomed to fail in 2009 because J Easton gave it a go in 1890.

Incidentally, if anyone knows what "The Pavement" that the poster refers to is, please let us (and Transpontine) know.

Building in Brockley's mews

BC has spotted a new planning application to build two houses in Ashby Mews, at the rear of Upper Brockley Road.

The scheme involves the demolition of two existing garages at the rear of 153 and 155 Upper Brockley Road, and their replacement with two 2-storey, 2-bed mews houses.

Construction work in Brockley's historic mews is controversial, because it arguably changes the area's character by removing green, leafy space and increasing population density.

There are quite a few similar sites in the conservation area which could be used for property development. On the one hand, London needs more affordable homes; but on the other hand, should we destroy the area's historic mews to create it?

What do BC readers think?

(Anyone who wishes to comment on this planning application can email planning including the Application Number, your name, address, comment and reason for interest.)

The South London Cultural Centre, Endwell Road

The South London Cultural Centre is otherwise known as 7 Shandon Court, Endwell Road, SE4 2NE.

The artists living there have this summer been organising a number of self-funded arts events, from film screenings to exhibitions.

Today, they're hosting a street stall, where the public are welcome not only to buy whatever they like, but also to sell it.

From tomorrow, the tiny venue will be given over to an exhibition called "Sexually Motivated." Click here to see the full programme.

Are there enough bins in Brockley?

"Mere opinions, in fact, were as likely to govern people's actions as hard evidence, and were subject to sudden reversals as hard evidence could never be. So the Galapagos Islands could be hell in one moment and heaven in the next, and Julius Caesar could be a statesman in one moment and a butcher in the next, and Ecuadorian paper money could be traded for food, shelter, and clothing in one moment and line the bottom of a birdcage in the next, and the universe could be created by God Almighty in one moment and by a big explosion in the next — and on and on."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Galapagos

Residents at the last Brockley Local Assembly highlighted the lack of public bins in Brockley as a problem and the Council has offered to consult more widely on this issue, to see if the rest of Brockley agrees.

They have created an online survey about local litter hotspots and would appreciate you taking the time to fill it in, to say whether you think it's a problem and - if so - where new bins are most needed.

Please click here to take the survey.

Crofton Park to Victoria trains - public consultation

Lib Dem prospective MP for Lewisham Deptford Tam Langley is encouraging people to make their voice heard as part of a TfL consultation about the potential loss of the service to Victoria from Crofton Park station. She writes:

Last night I met up with Caroline Pidgeon, our Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member responsible for scrutising Transport for London's plans.

There is good news and bad news about Crofton Park's trains.

The good news is TfL will be looking into the effect of cancelling plans to run trains from Crofton Park to Victoria, and we will have an opportunity to make our views known.

The bad news is we only have a few weeks to tell everyone else who lives in Crofton Park about what's happening, so that together we can show Transport for London how much we care about this.

Please join the campaign to save the link and sign the petition here.

Coming soon: Something

Listen: We are here to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different.
- Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake

There has been a lot of good news in Brockley recently. Browns of Brockley is mere days away, Brockley Mess is nearly ready to open and work to refurbish the Talbot is well underway. Who knows, we may even get a handrailing at Brockley Station before the new East London Line trains arrive?

The good news has been coming so thick and fast that we had been planning to write a new wishlist for Brockley. But before we sat down to write it, it was already out of date. For while we were dreaming up nice things in Brockley, someone else was actually putting a business plan together.

We can't tell you quite yet what Brockley is about to get, but feel free to have a guess what has made us so excited.

Greenwich Council rejects plans to redevelop Greenwich Market

Greenwich has turned down a wholly unnecessary plan to redevelop Greenwich Market. has the full story.

Save the forest in Forest Hill

Last year, we wrote about an attempt to develop a greenfield site in Forest Hill, which some local residents were fiercely opposed to. As the campaigners' blog shows, this is no scrap of wasteland, but a genuine beauty spot.

Earlier this year, Council officers decided to recommend the plans, but they were rejected by all eight councillors at a planning committee on March 31st 2009.

However, campaigner Veronica has been back in touch to explain that the developers have not been deterred:

"Loromah Estate has answered by submitting a new slightly revised building with notice going out to local residents during this summer holiday. Lewisham Council will make their decision on the 2nd of September and we need to get in as many objections as possible, hopefully before that date."

BC is not particularly familiar with this issue but surely the problem is not the type of development proposed, but that no development should take place there at all. The argument is the same as before: with so many brownfield sites in the borough begging for development, why bulldoze a well-loved spot of green?

Please visit the campaign website to see how you can help.

Fit for Sport, Friendly Gardens

Brockley Central was in Greenwich Market today, to witness an unfortunately underwhelming circus skills class, staged for the benefit of local kids. At exactly the same time, BC reader Amy was passing through Friendly Gardens, and reports the following:

"There were two nice kids running a "Fit for Sport" free sports club for kids between 3 and 8. It's running for the rest of this week between 10am and 1pm, yet there was no one there today at 12pm.

"Just wondering if you could put something up on the blog in case any parents with kids to entertain fancy it? Seems a shame when it's council sponsored and there is sports kit there yet there's no one using it."

Perhaps this publicity shot of Friendly Gardens on the Lewisham Council website, complete with dog poo poster natch, put people off...

Thanks to Amy for the suggestion.

Green Blackheath? Climate Camp protestors set up base on the common

So the latest Climate Camp has just been set up in Blackheath, down the road from SE4.

Will BC readers be heading down to get stuck in, or is it a big waste of time?

Edit: Lewisham mayor Steve Bullock used Twitter to comment: 'Climate change huge concern to me but do not believe irresponsible approach of the CC campers will win public support and make change happen.'

Edit: The Climate Camp twitter feed has explained that Blackheath was chosen because: "This has been a common that has witnessed many struggles. We need to protect our commons." And also "Local lib dem councilors have condemned us. What's that about?!" Was it Lewisham or Greenwich Councillors doing the condemning?

British Legion Club - residents call for action against anti-social behaviour

Some residents of Buckthorne Road have been in touch concerning problems with the British Legion Club, which you can see here:

A group of Brockley residents are campaigning for improvements to the British Legion club on Buckthorne Road - a quiet residential road in Crofton Park.

We are looking for support from other SE4 residents who may be affected by the many issues relating to this establishment. Recently the club's management resigned because they felt the club was no longer representative of the spirit of the British Legion and this absence management has created a vacuum which has allowed the existing anti-social elements to continue unchecked.

It is not uncommon now to find groups of teenagers drinking outside on the street at 11am and local residents are frequently having to deal with young lads shouting and swearing, bottles being smashed, rubbish being dumped on the walk ways and cars racing along a road frequently used by cyclists and mums taking their kids to and from school.

Residents now feel that without any formal management to complain to, they have no alternative but to contact the headquarters of the British Legion and to this aim have begun a petition asking for something to be done.

As the venue resides over a main cycle route and short-cut to a park, a cemetery and a primary school on what would be an extremely quiet road we were wondering if anybody has had any negative experiences that we could forward to the Legion management or in fact if anybody would be willing to sign a petition to call for a drastic improvement.

We have created an online petition for people to sign in addition to our traditional hard copy one; residents can sign here.

We have also created a communal email address should anyone wish to contact us or provide details of negative experiences they have experienced as a result of the issues raised.

El's Kitchen - Coming Soon to Ladywell

Ladywell Village Improvement Group member Eleanor Thompson is planning to open a food shop in Ladywell - El's Kitchen - and she's started a Facebook group to canvass local opinion about what sort of produce and services she should offer.

She's still in the planning stages but it's great to see more optimism from local entrepreneurs. Click here to join the group and tell her what you want to see in Ladywell.

The Chandos, Brockley Rise

BC review for this pub to follow. Please post your comments and reviews here.

High Street 2012

The London Olympic buildings are flying up with incredible speed and the park which will be left behind after the Games promises to be stunning. But beyond the venues and the transport infrastructure, evidence of legacy is harder to find. Many 'legacy' initiatives are simply repackaged plans or - as in the case of Forest Hill swimming pool - much-needed projects being hurried through in time to hit the 2012 deadline.

One notable exception to this is the High Street 2012 project being run by Tower Hamlets and Newham Councils, which aims to maximise the regenerative benefits of the work by rennovating their local high-streets, improving their look and feel to attract more tourists in the short-term and strengthen communities and attract investment in the longer-term. Here's what they're going to do, from Whitechapel to Bow:

- Decluttering
Improving the street�s visual appeal and coherence

- Historic building enhancements
Restoring and improving the historic fabric of the street and reusing abandoned or partly vacated buildings

- Lighting strategy
Defining a unified system for lighting the High Street�s carriageways and pavements, historical assets and special spaces

- Green thread
Introducing new trees and planting, green roofs and walls

- Street surfaces and cycleway Improving the material quality of the street and, in the longer term, forming a new �cycleway�

- Wayfinding
Aiding the intuitive use of the street and wider-scale movement

- Community projects
Keeping the community involved in delivering the High Street 2012 project and celebrating its history and cultures

The strategy is simple and is based on many of the principles Brockley Central has been banging the drum for in Lewisham: get rid of the clutter and invest a bit of money in improving the quality of our main streets. Remove railings, repair pavement, regulate parking, enforce conservation area guidelines on our high streets and increase street trees and planting.

Lewisham Council does some of these things, of course, but not in such a coherent and way and not with any particular deadline in mind.

We're not an Olympic borough, but Lewisham has been trumpeting its status as a "gateway borough" for 2012. Currently, the stated five point plan for attracting a slice of Olympic action includes "improvements to Lewisham Town Centre" and the "development of Convoy's Wharf." Even in the most optimistic scenario, neither of these will be complete by 2012. But in a year or two, simple things could be done that would make a huge difference: pavements could be relaid, planters installed, shop fronts improved, rusting railings, street signs and furniture could be removed completely.

If Lewisham really wants some trickle down benefits from the Olympics, then it needs to follow Tower Hamlets and Newham's lead by creating a high-quality environment in all of its key centres. But we need to hurry.

Simply Red and Green, Luxmore Gardens

August 29th and 30th, 2pm – 5pm
Luxmore Gardens, SE14

On Saturday, Brockley Central went along to the Tea & Make fete – a jolly, village green-style affair on the front lawn of St Saviour’s, Honor Oak. Children drew monsters, adults ate chocolate and vice versa. It’s just one of the many local community arts and crafts events that seem to have proliferated in the last few years.

Next weekend, you can help redecorate Luxmore Gardens as part of an event organised by the Lewisham Arthouse and funded by the Brockley Assembly, called ‘Simply Red and Green’. Organiser Sara explains:

We hope to welcome members of the community of all ages along to help turn the gardens into a work of art!

Everyone is invited to see how a visually stunning installation emerges. Lewisham artists will create an exciting, red sculptural installation made of discarded fabrics, tired old cloth, any unwanted material that will be painted simply red and set against the park’s existing natural green.

Placing colours together can intensify each another. This is called ‘simultaneous contrast.’ In other words ‘it can make your eyes go funny!’

Apart from the RED installation other activities such as making animals, flowers, caterpillars, butterflies, and birds will take place, which will be artfully added aside other surprises.

Back the Surrey Canal Road Station Campaign

Poor old Millwall - few parts of inner London are so poorly served by public transport. A huge chunk of Lewisham Borough, which includes a major stadium, is practically untouched by the rail network, as you can see here.

No one likes them, but on this occasion, they do care.

The second phase of the East London Line extension - which would link New Cross with Clapham Junction - was recently given the go-ahead. However, at this stage, there are no plans to include Surrey Canal Station along the route. Trains would pass right through on their way to Peckham.

Lewisham Council is supporting a campaign called "A Key Station For Our Area" that aims to reinstate Surrey Canal. The campaigners say:

Almost 10,000 new homes are going to be built in North Lewisham all within walking distance of where the new station was originally planned. In addition up to 6,000 new jobs will be created within the station�s catchment area. It has been calculated that a new station would actually be used by between 1.6 and 2.4 million passengers a year.

So a new station has always been planned for this critical part of the new rail link for years � and �7 million of funding has been set aside by the Department for Transport as a major contribution towards the estimated total cost of the station of less than �10 million.

The campaign aims to put pressure on TfL to re-look at the business case for the station and to highlight the benefits of the station to the local area. These include increased access to jobs and employment, improved transport solutions on Millwall match days and enhanced transport routes within the Borough.

Local residents, business owners and other supporters are being urged to join the campaign by signing the online petition, registering their support on the website or picking up one of the leaflets which are available across the Borough.

Whitechapel's £250m transport interchange

While Brockley struggles to install a handrail for the new steps leading to the station ticket office, Whitechapel Station is being remodelled as part of a £250m project, which will create a new interchange between the East London Line, the District Line, the Hammersmith and City Line and Crossrail, when it opens in 2017.

Aedas and Mott MacDonald are working on the design solutions, but these are the concept visuals they have released. The project highlights the fact that the East London Line will connect directly with Crossrail, creating an important new transport hub and a host of new public transport options for Brockley commuters.

Endwell Court improvements

Endwell Court is the block of flats on the corner of Mantle Road and Brockley Cross. Until recently, it looked abandoned and unloved, but it was in fact home to four 3-bed flats and is now covered in scaffolding, to allow refurbishment work to take place.

The work includes re-roofing, replacement of the windows and exterior repair, as well as an internal redecoration, which should mean decent face lift, when the wrapping comes off in October.

With thanks to Lewisham Homes for the information.

Frank's Cafe & Campari Bar, Peckham

Frank's is a pop-up bar on top of a Peckham multi-story car park until September 30th - a "a red tarpaulin-covered wooden structure, designed by Antony Gormley's daughter Paloma and vaguely redolent of a primitive boat," according to the Guardian.

Despite the lacklustre review, Brockley Central still plans to make it along as we haven't had the opportunity to get drunk in a car park for about 20 years, but please let us know if you've been and what you thought?

Click here for the details.

Brockley County FC - Young Players Wanted

Brockley County FC is a football club with teams from Under-7 up to Under-11 in the Selkent League and is looking for new members.

The teams train in Hilly Fields on Saturdays and at Prendergast School on Tuesday evenings and the coaches all have FA Level 1 qualifications. If your child is interested in joining in click here to visit the Club website.

Brockley Station works update

PROSSER: Look. These plans have been on display at the planning office now for a year.
ARTHUR: On display? I had to go down to a cellar!
PROSSER: That's the display department.
ARTHUR: I eventually found them in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'beware of the leopard'.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Although often a controversial figure, Brockley Central regular Catman has succeeded where all others have failed and managed to extract some information from Lewisham Council about when on earth we might expect the work to Brockley Common and Station to be completed.

The project is now many months late and there has been very little visible sign of work being done, let alone progress. Occasionally, two guys might be seen stirring a tiny little pot of cement or moving something from one place to another, but given the extent of delays and the significant inconvenience the closure of the bridge and much of Coulgate Street has caused, one might hope for a little more urgency and some clear information about what is going on. Instead, Catman had to quote complaints policy rules to the Council before any information was forthcoming.

There is a lot more to be said in due course about how this project has been managed and what needs to happen next in order for the vision of an improved station and common to be properly realised. For now, however, here is the information from the Council about what they expect to happen next:

- The re-paving of Coulgate Street is to be completed later this month [all we've noticed so far is tarmac]

The coping stones to the ramp have not been delivered yet - although this does not stop the ramp from being useable [sic]. Delivery is expected in 4 - 6 weeks
- By the end of next week the paving works to the steps should be complete - weather permitting. Once the hand rail has been delivered it will be fitted and we can then open the steps

We are currently seeking estimates for the seeding of the banking


In recent weeks, we have had new neighbours move in on either side of us. Whereas the previous bunch were happy never to go in their gardens other than to install over-size satellite dishes, these guys both set about their lawns and beds with impressive vigour, quickly turning junk yards in to beauty spots. This is a classic example of a positive externality - an action by another person that benefits us (we now look out over nice gardens), without having to pay a penny.

On the other hand, the guy opposite's steadfast refusal to buy any sort of blind for his overlooked toilet window can politely be described as a negative externality.

What are the things that your neighbours do which improve or reduce your quality of life?

New campaign group demands status quo in Lewisham

"Nobody is saying that Obama is Hitler. What we're saying is that this health care plan mirrors Nazi Germany's and the Nazi Germany healthcare plan was the foundation from which they built the rest of their 'socialist paradise'."
- Rush Limbaugh

Lewisham Town Centre is trapped in a long-term spiral of decline. While the southern end still sustains a vibrant street market, much of the northern end is boarded up, driven through by heavy traffic or weed-on by drunks.

The Council believes that some drastic changes are necessary to revive its fortunes and that the unstoppable growth of the Canary Wharf estate, connected to Lewisham via the excellent and expanding DLR provides an ideal opportunity for reinvention.

Lewisham Gateway and Loampit Vale are among the major schemes planned, which will create approximately 2,000 new homes - bringing new people, life and spending power to sustain the retail and leisure facilities that are also planned. There are problems with the scheme (such as the unsatisfactory plans for Lewisham Bridge school) and disappointments, such as the fact that the new swimming pool could have been bigger. And of course, questions remain about the financial viability of the vision in the current climate - the current state of the housing market means that it may not generate the returns the developers need to justify the huge investment.

Ironic then, that the protesters from the "Central Lewisham Action Group" who kicked up a stink about the plans this week, should be pictured holding aloft "Build for people not profit" banners - as though the two things were incompatible.

Whenever we write about this subject, Brockley Central is always angrily attacked by protestors, who say that the arguments against the scheme are actually highly sophisticated and we don't give them enough credit.

Perhaps they are right - but on the other hand, all we ever hear from them are arguments like these, in the Mercury and News Shopper.

"The high-rise aspects of the projects are very disturbing. We don't want another Croydon."

Croydon's development was blighted not by a few tall buildings but by the decision to build it around the needs of the car - a problem which also afflicts Lewisham currently. Lewisham Gateway will fix that.

"The population density will be greater than Mumbai."

Our house has a higher population density than Mumbai too. The comparison between a relatively small area of land that happens to have some tall buildings on it and one of the world's biggest mega cities is ludicrous - you don't measure urban densities over such a small area. Other high-density hell holes that the protesters may wish to invoke in future include central Paris, Manhattan and Rome.

"We feel that it's not right to put these forward piecemeal."

The parcels of land involved may be subject to separate planning processes but the future of Lewisham town centre has been developed in an holistic fashion.

"These are huge developments and there's no guaranteed infrastructure."

We're not sure what they mean by infrastructure, but of course the DLR expansion is nearing completion and, from December, there will be a significant increase in the number of trains running Lewisham to Central London as a result of this reshuffle. The developments themselves will create new public amenities, including a major leisure centre and some decent public spaces, of the sort Lewisham town centre currently lacks. The plan is conceived to deliver a shot in the arm to Lewisham as a shopping centre, providing new retail space as well.

There is a sensible debate to be had. So let's have it.

WP Stone Factory to be redeveloped

The owners of the WP Stone Factory, 2a Tyrwhitt Road, have submitted plans to redevelop the site as a building containing eight two-bedroom flats. The designs achieve such high density by adding another floor to the building.

The building was originally built to fabricate steel but has fallen in to disrepair, as operations have had to move to a more appropriate and efficient site, outside of London. The building has long been regarded by correspondents on Brockley Central as something of an eyesore, albeit part of our industrial heritage.

Clearly, the building has no future as a factory and the reinvention of The Talbot means that this is the ideal time to redevelop a key brownfield site. But we're not sure that this is the right solution. Architecturally, it seems neither to respect the original building nor start afresh and the density of the proposal could be a cause for concern.

BrocSoc is among the groups being consulted, but what do you think?

Behind closed doors

This year's London-wide Open House event is due to take place on 19th and 20th September, and three Brockley properties are participating. They are:

- The Stone House on Lewisham Way;

- Lewisham Arthouse on Lewisham Way;

- Crossways Sixth Form on Sprules Road.

Other nearby properties which are taking part include the Horniman Museum, St Pauls Church in Deptford, the Art In Perpetuity Trust in Deptford, and St Margaret's Church, Boone's Chapel and the Manor House Gardens Ice House, all in Lee.

Booking is essential for some of the sites, check the Open House website for details.

There are plenty of other intriguing buildings in Brockley which BC would love to see participating in Open House. Which ones would BC readers nominate?

The Crofton Park Youth Forum, August 26th

The first Crofton Park Youth Forum takes place on Wednesday 26th August, 3pm - 5pm at St Hilda's UnderCroft, Stondon Park Road.

The Crofton Park Assembly has allocated £12,500 of Mayor's Funding for youth provision in the ward, with the premise that projects are to be developed and decided by young people in the ward, through the youth forum. Anyone in the area aged between 11 and 19 years old is encouraged to attend and get involved.

The young people who join the forum will also have an opportunity to get involved in a youth film project and receive training in public speaking and presentation skills.

The youth forum is also supported by The Pen, JUMP, St Hilda's and Lewisham Youth Service.

Black Pope In Brockley

And, at the end of the date, the other time, she-she said something that was—if she was kidding was very funny. On the other hand, if she wasn’t kidding, she’s not fun, she’s stupid, and kind of a racist.

BC regular Drakefell Debaser has spotted some new art in Brockley, at the western entrance to Brockley Station.

We assume it's a literal imagining of a black pope of the Catholic church, but given that we missed the furry subtext in this one, perhaps it's the Superior General of the Society of Jesus or something to do with the Church of Satan.

Whatever the case, it's better than the "our church can make you rich" billboards that are ever-present in SE4.

Tea & Make, Brockley Rise, August 22nd

Tea & Make Craft Fair
August 22nd, 11am-5pm
St Saviour's
Brockley Rise
SE23 1JN
£1 Entry

Cassie has been in touch regarding an event she'll be taking part in next Saturday. The Tea & Make craft fair is a "celebration of regionally-made craft and making-do."

The fair will be an opportunity to buy work from a great range of local small businesses and to have a go at making everything from monsters to kites. True to its name, there will also be lots of tea (and chocolate).

Check out the range of exhibitors on their blog.

Tea & Make was founded this year and was co-founded by local interior stylist Sally Curtis. The event is supported by the Honor Oak pub and Cassie will be selling her greetings cards.

Ladywell Fields Improvements

The Ladywell Fields Masterplan

[Left] The river now. [Right] The new boardwalk.

The Lewisham Council website now has details of their plans to improve Ladywell Fields. They say:
The Council has secured almost £2m funding from the London Development Agency to invest in Ladywell Fields and along the Waterlink Way. The project will transform the central and southern parts of Ladywell Fields, which are currently underused, fragmented and featureless open spaces.
The project will:

- increase use and enjoyment of Ladywell Fields
- improve habitats within the park
- improve safety
- provide additional flood water storage

Designs will be submitted for planning approval in November 2009, and works should take place on the site from May 2010 to March 2011.

What we did on our holidays

As a result of writing this blog, we cannot avoid seeing everywhere through a Brockley prism. So, while in France last week, the main thing we wondered as we traipsed through town after town is: why are there so many shops while we in Brockley fret over the viability of a tiny handful of independents on our high streets?

The British economy is the one supposed to be afloat on an ocean of consumer debt, the French barely know which way around to hold a credit card. And the French have embraced the hypermarket with greater relish than us - Carrefour is bigger than Tesco and every French town is surrounded by US-style commercial sprawl. Despite all this, even the most deserted French town seems to be able to support a range of shops that would be the envy of a UK town twice the size. In Paris, high-end furniture shops outnumber high-end furniture buyers by a margin of at least two-to-one.

Due to Brockley Road's ongoing challenges, we spent a disproportionate part of our holiday pondering the question. The only explanation we could come up with was inertia - for a country founded on revolutionary fervour, France is almost immune to change:

Fiddle with the car radio for more than 10 minutes and you can be sure of finding Phil Collins, UB40 or Dire Straits. Johnny Hallyday is always on the cover of Paris Match. Some variant of the Crystal Maze is always on TV. Girls dress the same way now as they did when we were trying to pull them. Lucky Luke is still being used to sell junk food to kids.

The shops are there because they always have been. And no hypermarket, internet retailer or banker is going to tell them it should be any other way. It is a nation of Sounds Arounds.

Browns of Brockley - coming soon

Browns of Brockley is the new name for the shop on Coulgate Street, formerly known as Dandelion Blue.

Brockley Central briefly caught up with new owner, Ross, on Sunday. Here's what he told us about his plans:

Like Dandelion Blue, Browns of Brockley will be a deli. He hopes to open soon, possibly by the end of this month. However, there will be some key differences, aside from the new colour scheme.

Ross is planning to offer a wider variety of fresh produce and to alternate the stock more often. We can also expect the pricing structure to be a little different - if one criticism was levelled at Dandelion Blue more than any other, it was that many customers felt it was too expensive. We can still expect some high-price, high-quality items, but there will be a more affordable range alongside them.

He's also planning to make the shop a little more experiential, with tastings, demonstrations and talks, from time to time.

We hope to bring you a fuller interview about Ross' plans in the near future. In the mean time, you can follow him on Twitter here (and of course, follow BC here).

KFH: Demand outstripping supply in Brockley

Estate Agents KFH are continuing to push Brockley in their analysis of the London property market. Their latest press releae, issued today, says Brockley's popular with first-time buyers and demand is outstripping supply...

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

“The property market here has remained strong over the last four weeks. We have seen the
lower end of the market pick up with sellers and buyers below £200,000 being very eager.

“First time buyers are loving Brockley at the moment, mainly because of its great prices and
great transport links. Buyers are becoming increasingly aware that they may have missed
their chance to buy at the lowest point of the market.

“Prices are beginning to rise in Brockley, sealed bids are back and every new instruction we
take on is rising in price. Stock is moving very quickly, and with interest rates still low, it is
unlikely that there will be a large influx of properties coming onto the market. Demand
will still outweigh supply for some time yet.”

Fires of Development Hell Burn on Malpas Road

A typical fire on the site of 232 Malpas Road

A resident of Upper Brockley Road has been in touch regarding the large fires that are regularly lit on the site of the old scaffolding yard, 232 Malpas Road. The smoke from the burning industrial waste comes in to their home as often as three times a week, making the whole place reek. Combined with the illegal fires in neighbouring mews, it's very bad for the local air quality in a city where air pollution is a major killer.

She writes:

"I am sure we are not the only ones being affected and wondered if you could add a posting to the site so if other neighbours want to complain then they can contact Lewisham environmental protection. We have already complained and will be complaining again following another large fire being lit recently, which led to the fire brigade being called again! Smoke filled gardens and burning waste is not what any of us want."

If you've been affected and would like to complain, please call 0800 80 70 60 to speak to the Environment Agency incident hotline or call the Lewisham Council switchboard and ask to speak to the Environmental Enforcement Group.

The problem is made all the more depressing by the fact that the site has been the subject of repeated planning applications, to convert it to office use - the most recent of which was rejected in May on the following grounds:

1) The proposed development by reason of its scale, bulk and location would appear as obtrusive and overbearing from the neighbouring properties

2) The proposed second floor balcony areas would result unacceptable loss of privacy to the neighbouring residential properties

3) The proposed development by reason of its location within the site would present an unacceptable relationship to the existing townscape

You can see the designs for yourselves here. We don't much care for them, but the roof line is not much higher than the existing houses on Malpas and lower than that of Upper Brockley Road, so we don't understand why the scale is deemed unacceptable. Set back from the road, it wouldn't appear to have much of an impact on the townscape, which makes objection three a little odd.

With this project stuck in development hell, the development rejected time and again by the Council, the alternative is the status quo, which is a delapidated wasteland, where people have been able to light fires with impunity.

Meanwhile, a "to let" sign stands outside the site...

East London Line Goes Live

The Newham Recorder reports that it's time to give up weeing on the East London Line between Dalston Junction and New Cross Gate. The big switch-on has taken place, with 750 volts DC surging through the track, suggesting that the project is progressing nicely. Go easy out there, we don't want to find ourselves having to write a retraction like this any time soon.

Creative Mums Network, August 12th, Jam Circus

The Creative Mums Network will be having its first meeting at Jam Circus this Wednesday, 7.30pm.

The network has now attracted around 70 mums from Brockley and beyond and network organiser Nicola is planning to meet with some of the members for an informal get-together and a chance to discuss how the network will take shape.

Nicola says:

"Since I first wrote about the network a few weeks ago, it seems to have struck a chord with a wide variety of women. The network is now nationwide, but the first meeting will be in Brockley. If you'd like to be part of the network and join us on Wednesday, please email me or sign up to the Facebook group."

Say you'll be there*

The performance of all Lewisham councillors has been published and BC notes that Brockley's three representatives have a mixed record.

Darren Johnson attended all nine full council sessions in 2008/09, missed two of four overview & scrutiny committee meetings, attended the only elections committee meeting, missed seven of 15 licencing committee meetings and eight of 14 licencing (supplementary) committee meetings, and attended all three Brockley Ward Assemblies.
Total score: 29 of a potential 46 meetings attended (63%).

Romayne Phoenix missed one full council session of nine, missed three of four overview & scrutiny committee meetings, attended all three standards committee meetings, missed four of 11 healthier communities select committee meetings, attended all seven children & young people select committee meetings, and missed one of three Brockley Ward Assemblies.
Total score: 28 of a potential 37 meetings attended (76%).

Dean Walton attended all nine full council sessions, missed two of four overview & scrutiny committee meetings, attended all eight planning committee meetings and all four strategic planning committee meetings, missed one of nine safer & stronger communities select committee meetings, attended both constitution working party meetings, and attended all three Brockley Ward Assemblies.
Total score: 36 of a potential 39 meetings attended (92%).

(* = Apologies for the Spice Girls reference ...)

Olympic Javelin causes south east London train reshuffle - delivering St Johns timetable boost

Hank Scorpio: By the way, Homer, what's your least favorite country: Italy or France?
Homer: France.
Hank Scorpio: [chuckles] Nobody ever says Italy.

- The Simpsons

We're just back from France, where the trains are fast, the main streets are treated with respect by the council but not the dog owners and you can order any meal you like, so long as it's duck. We'd like to offer one quick addition to a story kindly provided by Brockley Jon in our absence last week.

The re-organisation of the Brockley timetable, which could see us lose the direct service to Charing Cross (with trains terminating instead at London Bridge) from December, was prompted by the introduction of the new high speed trains that will serve Kent and eventually the 2012 Olympic Park.

As the BBC reported in May:

Some rail services are to be axed when new high-speed trains are introduced in parts of south-east England. The launch of "javelin" trains on commuter routes in December will force the withdrawal of a small number of services, train firm Southeastern said. They include Maidstone East via London Bridge to Cannon Street and Charing Cross. Other timetables will change.

St Johns is among the stations directly affected, with an overall increase in peak-time services likely. Currently, 30 trains run to central London between 07.00 and 10.00. This looks set to rise to 36 trains, although this increase comes at the price of the direct service to Charing Cross.

This reorganisation will force knock-on changes to the Southern timetable, including that for Brockley and Honor Oak, as Jon reported. Though the loss of Charing Cross services is certainly annoying, spare a thought for those using stations like Blackheath, where services may be reduced during the peak period of 8am-9am, as a result of the changes. The theory is that Blackheath commuters will benefit from greater capacity further up the line, as people in Kent re-route to the Javelin services. Personally, BC would sooner have a higher frequency service than the possibility that fewer trains might be less crowded.

As the Standard reported, although there are significant net benefits for South East London commuters as a result of the new service, many stations in South East London will suffer reductions. You can review the draft Southeastern service levels here.

Plonkers of Brockley unite

London is not known for its fine wineries, but this hasn’t stopped people down the road in Tooting Bec growing their own grapes in their back gardens, and coming together as a collective to press and bottle them, creating their own Tooting tipple. Founder Richard Sharp has since started a London-wide cooperative, The Urban Wine Company, and they're recruiting.

It all seems like exactly the sort of thing that the gardeners of Brockley would be interested in, and the perfect excuse for a wine tasting tent at the next Hilly Fields Fayre. We know there are plenty of secret gardens in Brockley, but what about vineyards? And has anyone given wine making a go?

Jerk Cookout at the Horniman Museum, this Sunday, 1 – 6pm

This Sunday, the grounds of the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill will be taken over by about 10,000 people (is there room?) all in search of the world’s finest jerk dishes. Jerk has some close links with Brockley - it's the home of possibly London's only jerk-bagel shop, and who could forget the legendary Eternal Jerk shack.

It's not just jerk though, there is live music, crafts, a funfair, and even a world record attempt at the largest mass electric slide! BC will have to learn how to do the electric slide first. Here’s what the press release says:

London’s Finest Jerk Chefs Compete in the Cookout (judging from 4-5pm)
25 chefs will set up in the Horniman Gardens and compete to be named creator of the tastiest jerk dishes. Each chef must submit one traditional jerk dish and one with an unusual twist (previous entries have included a jerk pineapple). A panel of judges including GMTV’s Charlene White, Brenda Emmanus from BBC London will test all the entries. Many stalls will have their own recipe jerk sauces on sale to allow visitors to recreate their favourite dish at home.

Music on the Bandstand 1pm – 5pm
Reggae from Levi Roots, African drumming from Nzinga plus gospel and steel band. Hosted by Donna Spence.

Electric Slide Formation Dance British Record Attempt, 5-6pm
Social Enterprise Fun2Dance hopes to set a new British formation dance record by gathering 5000 people together to do the Electric Slide. Money raised through the participation fee (Adults: £5, Children: £3) will go towards the Mary Seacole Trust’s appeal for a memorial statue in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital and the Black Cultural Archive’s new heritage centre in Brixton.

Children’s Funfair
Bouncy castle, face painting, storytelling in the yurt, old-fashioned sports day (egg and spoon / sack race)

Craft Market
23 art and craft stalls including jewellery, cards and unique gift ideas.

As always with anything Horniman-related, you can keep up-to-date via the excellent and witty Horniman Twitter feed.

No more trains to Charing Cross?

Our friends at the Forest Hill Society recently published a reply they received from Southern Railways to their letter criticising Southern's plans to stop off-peak direct services on the Sydenham line to Charing Cross.

This would affect services at evenings and weekends to Charing Cross, after December this year. A good outline can be found in the Forest Hill Society’s original letter to Southern.

The summary of Southern's response is that given analysis of the proposed Southeastern timetable for 2010, it just isn't possible to continue running Southern services through London Bridge to Charing Cross. So, you can almost certainly say bye-bye to an easy train ride home after an evening in the West End.

The good news is that that they do not plan to reduce train length as a result of them terminating at London Bridge.

Brockley on t' internet...

The Brockley Central team have noticed some frivolous Brockley-related links recently, so we thought we'd share them:

The station that Brockley never had:

Brockley Green is the perfect picture of a bustling railway station - steam locos, accessible platforms, trains with free seats - oh, and it's a model made by John Wass of Hull, set along the high-level line from Lewisham to Nunhead.

Street life:

We think this might have been posted somewhere in the comments before - the YouTube video Streets of Brockley offers an alternative view of Brockers (mainly of the Senol Fish Bar). Also features as a bonus track on the album titled Hardest in the City.

Best merchandise ever?

BC spotted this toy lion for sale on Amazon for £9.99. Good to see that Brockley's so popular that we've got our own merchandising range! Yes, T-shirt is included!

What snippets of Brockley have you found lying around the internet?

UPDATE - Ghostly behaviour at the Brockley Jack:

The wonders of YouTube bring us more Brockley-related goodness, this time in a low budget Most Haunted-style production from the Paranormal Channel - Demon at the Brockley Jack! Lots of shakycam and bleeping abound, as two blokes walk round the cellar of said pub in the dark bumping into crates of Magners – scary stuff indeed! Next Derek Acorah will be paying us a visit, and when he does we'll grab an exclusive interview.

Readers note, this and the Streets of Brockley clip are about the only Brockley-related videos on YouTube, so the door is wide open for some veg-growing / honey-making / ping-pong-playing / pram-running / canvas-painting Brockley clips.