BXAG calls for more trains, family homes, studios, shops and green spaces

The Brockley Cross Action Group (BXAG) has responded to Lewisham Council's core strategy consultation, arguing that it demonstrates a need to reinstate the Upper Level train station at Brockley Station, connecting Brockley directly with Lewisham and Victoria:

The Lewisham Borough Wide Transport Study (2010) shows that for Brockley to New Cross Gate the expected increase in passenger numbers is 24.6% by 2026 with a total of 19,620 travelling in the AM Peak. Morning volumes and increases further down the slow up-line (Honour Oak and Forest Hill to Brockley stretch) are much bigger. Table 7.6 shows crush capacity compared with 2006 level (at 159%) back up to 118% by 2016 and 125% by 2026. However this is based on 18 trains per hour in the AM peak period. We understand this isn’t correct and the actual planned figure is 14 trains per hour. This is 22% less capacity at morning peak than stated in the evidence – even though the study rather depressingly concludes:

(In Lewisham), “Brockley station will continue to have the highest volume over capacity proportion, whilst services from New Cross and New Cross Gate towards London Bridge will remain overcrowded in 2026.”

There remains a significant demand within Brockley and beyond for a direct train link to Victoria.

They have also made a range of other recommendations with which Brockley Central heartily agrees. These include:

- Tighter restrictions on family homes being converted in to flats, to allow for more young families to remain in the area:

The evidence base shows that 41.5% of all market households (in Lewisham) are families (one or more child) and 30% are unsuitably housed and most of these are concentrated in north of borough. In addition 36% of people in Lewisham want to move compared with 27% in the rest of south east London and nearly a half of these want to move because they want/need more space.

Given that there are so few sites where 10 or more homes can be built, we feel both the evidence base and the Core Strategy itself is not ‘Sound’ in this respect and we would like to see stronger policies to address this within district and local hubs which are under particular pressure from market trends like this including Brockley Cross.

- More emphasis on the development of shopping streets like Lewisham Way and Brockley Road, to anticipate lower reliance on car-trips to supermarkets and a greater demand for local highstreet facitilities. They argue that Lewisham Council's view of the shops and services these high-streets need is too narrow. The Council's emphasis on shops for 'everday use' dooms us to more newsagents and takeaways:

We would like to see the evidence base for essential community infrastructure applied more dynamically to the hubs, for example identifying the importance of having a community centre, doctors surgery, post office and fitness suite as well as, “an adequate range of shops to meet everyday needs”... and would argue here that retail provision at local hubs should be allowed to develop more flexibly than policy 2D suggests to allow, e.g. clothing, consumer electronics, banking and jewellery to flourish in such locations if there is market interest.

We would also like to see more support for traders and more links with strategies such as the Shop Front Improvement Pot which could be linked to Brockley station approach improvements as suggested in the current Town Centre Management strategy.

- The development of Brockley's Mews as creative industry hubs, using them to provide more studio space, which is hard to find in the area:

Given the apparent density of artists and artisans living in Brockley Cross and the wider Brockley, we would like to see the emergence of a mews development framework which could provide the focus for an exciting new ‘cultural clusters’ in these areas of the borough.

- The conversion of more small areas of unused land in to green spaces, to address the shortage of green space in the area:

We note that Brockley Cross continues to be in an area of Local Park Deficiency. The Action Group, with support from the Council has worked hard to transform Network Rail wasteland into accessible public open space (Brockley Common). There is a similar, large empty (for several decades) Network Rail site on the corner of Endwell Road and Mantle Road which might also help to meet this policy, but which isn’t identified in the open space study.

The reinstatement of the Upper Level link is one of the BXAG's long-standing aims.