BrocSoc backs mews action

The Brockley Society has joined the Brockley Cross Action Group in calling for the role of Brockley's many mews to be reimagined.

They are organising a Brockley Society Open Meeting on Tuesday, 20 April at 8pm to discuss the issue at the Brockley Social Club, 240 Brockley Road, SE4 2SU.

No-one has ever accused the Brockley Society of being idle dreamers - these are hard-headed defenders of the fabric of Brockley, for whom no change is acceptable if it risks damaging local quality of life. However, they recognise that the current approach to managing the mews is failing miserably.

Clare Cowen of the Brockley Society says:

"Brockley has a unique range of mews dotted round the conservation area. They can be an attractive and special feature, with artisan workshops, creative studios and social enterprises. Often they are a festering problem: nasty, scary dog walks amid noxious enterprises. Lewisham does not seem to have an overall view of how to manage them other than occasional fire-fighting (literally). A vision for their future needs to come from local residents and users who are familiar with the opportunities and problems they present. Tuesday's meeting aims to begin this."

Brockley Central believes that the mews represent an opportunity to address two of Brockley's biggest structural problems - a lack of public green space and a shortage of studio space for artists. An imaginative approach (perhaps learning from the successful precedent of the Coin Street community builders), bringing together local community groups, Lewisham Council and perhaps other local players such as Goldsmiths, Creative Lewisham and local enterprise networks could create something genuinely innovative that enriches the area's economy and quality of life. Or we could do nothing.

36 comments:

love detective said...

is "a shortage of studio space for artists" really up there in the top two of brockley's biggest structural problems?

Brockley Nick said...

@LD - a shortage of local businesses is a big problem. Local employment means daytime trade for shops and other kinds of local businesses, which means more successful high streets, etc.

And since no-one is betting on metal foundries to return or proposing to build any major office complexes, small scale enterprise is the way forward. In this respect, Brockley needs to play to its strengths, which is to cater for the artists, craftspeople and other creative business entrepreneurs that live locally but often have to work elsewhere due to a lack of available space. Brockley could form a creative triangle with New Cross and Deptford.

Headhunter said...

I agree Love Detective. All I can say is OMG!!!

The other Brockley nick said...

I live in a house in Brockley with a mews at the end of my garden and its such wasted space. A friend of mine who lives in Hampstead has an ingenious solution on his block - all the houses got together and pooled the end sections of their gardens to create a private, safe mini park for the residents. Its ace - kids can go and play together, people can have BBQs and get to know their neighbours easily, but its all safe with no cars, and most houses can see what's going on from their windows. Excellent.

Mews at Ten said...

Isn't a mews a former stables? eg the mews building was where the rich folk kept their horses and the stablehands slept in the accomodation above?

Where are the mews buildings in Brockley? I seem to remember some narrow roads behind the post office?

Headhunter said...

The mews buildings themselves were never built in Brockley as the area was developed at the time railways were taking over from horses and traps as the main transport to central London and other places. Brockley was an early commuter belt in effect, with moneyed City workers taking the train to the City.

The other Brockley Nick - That all sounds very communal and lovely but why not just keep your garden as your garden to do with what you please and take your kids to the local park to let them play with other kids? Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with people "pooling" their gardens, I just don't see the incentive to chop the end off your garden to allow other people's kids to play there... Perhaps not very neighbourly of me but there are perfectly good communal parks.

Pete said...

That's a bit miserable HH! What's the point in leaving the space derelict? I can understand your concerns with regards noise etc but a nice little park for the people who live in the houses backing onto the mews? What's not to love about that idea?

M said...

Sounds a good idea to me - so does developing the mews into workshops, studios etc. Some of them are just dumps (literally) at the moment but they could be so much more.
As the co-owner of a small creative business I might even be in the market for a studio at some point.

patrick1971 said...

I saw this thread and my first thought was, "Headhunter won't like this..." :-)

Headhunter said...

Pete - Got no problem with people pooling their gardens, just wondering why, not trying to say it shouldn't happen.

If Broc Soc is backing this then I need to learn more about these proposals, but I remain sceptical for the moment. If it's simply a case of replacing derelict buildings and the use of the new buildings is defined clearly so that they don't a some point slip into commercial or residential use then possibly.

I just don't have that much faith in the authorities giving 2 hoots a few years down the line and actualy acting on problems. One of my parents neighbours neighbours applied for planning permission to build a garage on part of their garden. They got permission and built an enormous building which is clearly used for residential purposes, very badly disguised as a garage. However now the building is there, the local council are not interested. As far as they're concerned the hoops have been jumped through and the deal is done.

Brockley Nick said...

@HH - "If Broc Soc is backing this then I need to learn more about these proposals.."

So, one community group tables an idea and you declare yourself implacably opposed to the idea without knowing anything about it, another community group (with some overlap of members and objectives) tables effectively the same thing and you say you'll have to look in to it!

Are you admitting you were a bit knee-jerk first time around?! ;)

TJ said...

Broc Soc are not backing anything a the moment - Broc Soc are holding a meeting on Tuesday at the Social Club to discuss the Mews - all opinions and ideas to be considered.

Remember we are all Broc Soc memebers - so come along if you want to discuss.

I personally really like the idea fo keeping the spaces as green as possible - and making them miniparks sounds interesting

Brockley Jon said...

All of the mews I ever walk down in Brockers have a sort of "am I supposed to be here?" feel about them? It would be good to encourage people to look at them as 'their space', and use them as routes on their walk to the shops, and maybe create cycle routes through them, if it makes sense. Of course, security concerns would have to be addressed.

Anonymous said...

The mews being in use will help security, or at least make feel safer rather than looking like a blade runner set

Headhunter said...

Jon - I don't think anyone is just supposed to wander into the mews, they're not public land as far as I know, they're owned by the people whose land they back onto. At least that was my impression. They're not public highways and byways....

Nick - No my response was not knee jerk. If anything your rose tinted view was. You essentially admitted in your final comment that you knew nothing about this and clearly haven't thought anything through. I simply aligned myself with Broc Soc because I have agreed with their views in the past. Don't know much about BXAG apart from that they want to re construct BX.

Anyway it appears your article is badly informed and that Broc Soc has not in fact declared that it is in favour of building in the mews.

Nice but dim said...

the article dosn't say that the brocsoc are in favour of building in the mews. Are you Reading the same piece?

drakefell debaser said...

HH, what do you think should happen to the mews?

Anonymous said...

Brockley Bowl Bowling Alley?

Anonymous said...

Let's open up a co-op shop!

Headhunter said...

Not the bleedin' Co Op again... Someone bloody open a Co Op and let's get that off the to do list...

Headhunter said...

Sorry missed your question DD. I'm not sure anything needs "doing" with the mews. As far as I'm concerned they're fine as little green tracks along the back of people's gardens. Personally I don't understand this need to develop and "do something" with spaces like this. OK I agree that some ofthe buildings along some of them are very dilapidated, so I suppose there could be some scope to replace those with something better. Along Ashby Mews for example.

I just think it's opening a can of worms. I would trust Lewisham Council as far as I could throw them to police the use of buildings constructed along the mews. I can see potential conflict between neighbours and "artists" cum businesses trying to open up. As I outlined on the other thread there are already issues on certain mews with illegitimate business operating, creating disturbance.

I just think there's plenty of brownfield land across Lewisham that is crying out to be developed without trying to cram buildings along the back of people's gardens.

If we really have to do something, perhaps there's some mileage in this communal garden/park idea?

Headhunter said...

Anyway I understand that Broc Soc hasn't specifically said that it supports construction along the mews. Might head along to that meeting to see what's being discussed.

welcome to 2010 said...

headhunter read the article again and tell us all where it says that they've backed plans to build on the mews.

Headhunter said...

Welcome to 2010 - read my previous comment

Brockley Jon said...

@HH, ah, that would explain the lack of use. I always assumed they were sort of closed to vehicles but public right of way. Oh well, I've obviously been trespassing those times that mooched along them!

welcome to 2010 said...

headhunter: "Anyway I understand that Broc Soc hasn't specifically said that it supports construction along the mews. Might head along to that meeting to see what's being discussed."

Yeah, I read it. Still doesn't change the fact that you said the article was "badly informed" when it didn't say the things you said it was. Or was that last post an attempt at an apology?

Westsider said...

@BJ - don't think it's you being thick. Headhunter, what makes you think you own the street that your back door opens on to? Do you own the street outside your front door? It's a public thoroughfare. If it was private we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

welcome to 2010 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charlie said...

I'll be honest but I think having a business at the end of the garden would devalue the property, because the relative tranquility will be disturbed.

Headhunter said...

BJ and Westsider - I'm not sure on this but I'm sure I remember something about it in the documents when I bought my flat, that the mews tracks are collectively owned by the people whose land they back onto. I'm pretty sure they are not public roads in the same way the tarmacked roads out front are, they're not public rights of way.

In fact many of them are blocked off by locked gates installed by residents, certainly the stretch of mews my place backs onto is not accessible to motorised traffic unless you have a key to unlock the gates.

Having said that I don't think anyone ever gets stopped from walking dogs etc along them...

Headhunter said...

OK, OK, I apologise. I read something into the Broc Soc article which wasn't there. It was a continuation of the banter Nick and I had following the BXAG thread which ominously suggested providing more studio space along the mews, which to me suggested increased building on what is currently quiet garden space.

Happy now Welcome to 2010? Hmmm? You always seem to swoop in at the last minute with a "yeah, nah, told you so, nah..." gloaty comment...

Anonymous said...

Living in a Mews property I know that as the roads (if you can call them that) themselves are private and their upkeep is not part of the council's remit. This has led to them all being in disrepair. Not necessarily a bad thing although it is interesting that in the Conservation area it appears that it's only the buildings that people such as the Broc Soc want to keep undeveloped.

Anonymous said...

If you have bought a mews house, you knew what the deal was. You've got a house in nice area on the cheap often at the inconvenience of others, so don't moan about your roads, you should be thankful that the developer was even allowed to build there.

Anonymous said...

Walking by a Garage in one the mews that create so much discontent I realised one thing:

If their clients cannot park in front of the garage or on the roads nearby, I bet that these illegal businesses would not survive very long.

So why not finally ask for a nice Parking Permit scheme all around the Brockley Conservation area and adiacent areas?

Often the mews are so narrow that should have only double yellow lines...

Unknown said...

(If their clients cannot park in front of the garage or on the

So why not finally ask for a nice Parking Permit scheme all around the Brockley Conservation area and adiacent areas?

Often the mews are so narrow that should have only double yellow lines)

I can see why you would want to remain anonymous you odious little man.

Anonymous said...

Please help to get rid of the illegal garage one way or another. They are a nuisance and must be brought down. They open all hours of the day, make a mess and a lot of noise.
Many thanks in advance for your assistance.

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