Ladywell Fields: Problems with street drinkers

In another update, the Ladywell Fields Users Group reports:

There have been serious problems of late with street drinkers by the ball court behind Albacore Crescent. Several incidents have been reported to the Police, including an alleged assault. The issue is being taken very seriously by the authorities and enforcement is ongoing.
If you have experienced or witnessed anything in this connection please talk in confidence with the Council's Antisocial Behaviour Team on 020 8314 6233.

The Brockley Brood

As we reported a couple of weeks ago, Jam Circus has introduced new children's workshops to their daytime schedule. For a long time, Brockley Central has been interested in the infantalisation of the area, both as a phenomenon in its own right and the way in which businesses in the area are responding.

Like Katy Perry on Sesame Street, the presence of children in supposedly adult Brockley haunts has proved highly controversial. But Jam Circus is demonstrating that activities for kids and grown-up venues can be as comfortable bed-fellows as Bert and Ernie.

So, we asked Polly from Jam Circus how they hope to get the balance right. Here's what she told us:

Does it seem to you like there are more and more young families moving in to the area?

Having only moved to the area recently myself, it's tricky to say. However i've been talking to a lot of parents recently and they tend to have moved here within the last couple of years from other parts of London, specifically on the basis that it's a great place to raise a family. I really strongly agree with this and with some good schools, fantastic options for after school activities and so many groups for parents and children to get involved with it's certainly becoming a better place to raise kids. There is even a group purely for parents with newly born twins. It's great!

Where did the idea for these workshops come from?

Mainly due to the increasing amount of parents and toddlers coming in during the day. Jam Circus have always had board games, books and toys for the kids but I wanted to offer something more and after talking to a couple of the regular mums, they were so excited with the idea of having something for the kids to do whilst they had lunch that I couldn't refuse! It's my first time organising events for children and Jam Circus is known for it's great night time parties but we are all really excited about making the daytimes just as important. It's so SO important to keep the Brockley and Honor Oak community feeling welcome at Jam at all times of the day and I think that the parents would agree that it's a great place to come to in the daytime with the kids, and in the evenings for dinner and a few cocktails, or a dance at the weekend.

Do you think we'll see more local businesses trying to cater for children and young families over the next couple of years?

I'd hope so. I think it's certainly the daytime target market in this area whether you like it or not! Whilst I can understand that some businesses might have concerns about kids running around, we have the right space for them and my team here are all fantastic with children and love to get involved. Parents like to have somewhere warm and welcoming to enjoy some time away from home both with and without their children and we are trying really hard to ensure that Jam Circus is top of their list of places to go.

Banksy or Phony?

Andrea has captured this piece of art in Brockley and posed the question on Twitter - real or fake Banksy?

Reader Offer: Half price tickets to "Deirdre & Me"

Brockley resident and actress Rachael Halliwell brings her one woman comedy 'Deirdre & Me' to The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, Feb 2nd-5th at 8pm.

It's the story of one woman's obsession with Deirdre Barlow from Coronation Street right up to the dramatic tram crash!

BC readers can get half price tickets (£5), subject to availability, by quoting 'Rover's Return' at the box office. The British Theatre Guide described the show as 'all round quite an accomplishment' and it's very much in the style of Alan Bennett and Victoria Wood.

- By the way, we share a lot of offers and promotions via our Twitter feed and Facebook group, so if you aren't already following us, please join today.

Ladywell Fields Tennis Courts Refurbishment - The Death of Grass

The tennis courts in the north field will be refurbished as part of the Parklands project. Works will take place during March and last 3-4 weeks. Due to the high cost of maintenance, the grass courts will not be retained, but two of them will be turned into new hard courts. The existing courts will be re-fenced and re-lined and are likely to have a new top surface too, if budget provision allows.

Digital Apprenticeships in Lewisham

Lewisham residents aged 16 - 24 are being given the opportunity to take a digital apprenticeship, giving them some of the skills they need to work in the creative industries, from digital design to content production.
Creative Process is running a pre-apprenticeship training course on 9th and 10th February 2011 for young people in Lewisham who want to work in creative or digital media companies.

Funded by Lewisham Council, this course will give young people an opportunity to learn more about Creative and Digital Media Apprenticeships. They will learn CV writing skills and interview techniques, and most importantly, have an opportunity to apply for 6 available jobs at some leading creative companies.
In a sector that still relies too heavily on unpaid internships that make it difficult for many young people to to break through, this is a great opportunity to get a foot in the door of one of the fastest-growing parts of the London economy.
Applicants must be Lewisham residents and British citizens and they cannot have a university degree.

New corpse for Nunhead Cemetery

Nunhead is not the new Notting Hill.

The reviews are in: Hereafter, the Clint Eastwood-directed supernatural thriller that stars Nunhead Cemetery, is a stinker.

The film, released this week has variously been described as "slow, ponderous and as shallow as it thinks it is deep," and "an unholy embarrassment." And while you might say the same thing of the Richard Curtis effort, it seems unlikely that Nunhead's gates will rival Hugh Grant's front door on the film-lovers trail any time soon.

Children's music workshop

Becky is launching a new children's music course, during Easter at the Telegraph Hill Centre. It's called Brockley Easter Music and prices start at £110 for the four day course.

She says:

I'm a local workshop leader and teacher in the Nunhead area, and this my first course locally, although I've run similar events back in Leicester.

It's a four day course for children aged 7 - 11, both those who play instruments and those who don't, and they'll be doing lots of creative music workshops to put together a concert performed on the final Saturday. I'll be leading the course with a band of experienced helpers helping out.

There's full details about the course on my website at, please could you let people know about it?

Greenwich Council approves cruise liner terminal and cable car

Greenwich Council tonight approved two major schemes designed to strengthen the Peninsula's tourist infrastructure in time for the London Olympics:

1. A terminal at Enderby Wharf capable of handling cruise liners and a new public space connected to the Thames Path.

2. A cable car, which will link the O2 with the Excel centre, providing a new river crossing and a connection with the Jubilee Line at North Greenwich.

Darryl from 853Blog has been providing a live Twitter feed from the Council meeting and reports that both projects were backed unanimously.

Both are expected to be ready in time for the 2012 Olympics, for which Greenwich is one of the host boroughs.

Brockley Cross: short-term gain and long-term pain

Brockley Cross Action Group member and Brockley Ward Assembly organiser Stuart Woodin is concerned about the long-term implications of the works scheduled for Brockley Cross and is urging other residents to attend tonight's Assembly to persuade the Council to rethink its plans.

He says:

I am pushing for a better engagement process and a stop to phase 1 works because I am convinced that better crossing points, any pavement width increases and tarmac width decreases, which many are asking for, will be resisted by Lewisham Council – for three reasons:
  1. It will force traffic into other rat runs and they would like to keep the existing one (e.g. my current road) - which is rather unfair on residents of Geoffrey Road who have suffered for long enough.
  2. Any pavement width changes, will have a bearing on how the main carriageway aligns with the double roundabouts and connects with Brockley Road and Shardeloes road. If you fix the double roundabouts you severely limit the scope to widen pavements.
  3. If you allow pedestrians to cross where they really want to, this affects functioning and white line positioning of the double roundabouts.
In other words these early works could stop us getting a half-decent scheme.

Whether or not you feel strongly about this issue, we strongly urge any Brockley ward residents able to go tonight to do so. They are really fascinating sessions that give you a new perspective on local issues. Everyone should go at least once.

Doctors in Brockley

Please use this thread to share advice and recommendations for local doctors operating in Brockley or the surrounding area.

The NHS has a comprehensive list of local GPs in the Lewisham PCT, click here.

Locally-listed centres include:

Brockley Road Surgery, 465-7 Brockley Road
Dr Berman and Partner, 58 Vesta Road
Hilly Fields Medical Centre, 172 Adelaide Avenue
Honor Oak Group Practice, 20 Turnham Road
St Johns Medical Centre, 56-60 Loampit Hill

Click here for a discussion of local dentist options.

To the Barrett Brownings! The Lewisham Library Read-In

Barbarella: That?! But nobody's done that for centuries! I mean, nobody except the very poor, who can't afford the pills and the psychocardiogram readings.
Mark Hand: Why not?
Barbarella: 'Cause it was proved to be distracting and a danger to maximum efficiency! And… and because it was pointless to continue it when other substitutes for ego support and self-esteem were made available...
Mark Hand: And now, Barbarella… don't you agree with me? That in some things, the old-fashioned ways are best after all?
Barbarella: What? Oh, that. Yes, I must admit it was rather… interesting. Still, I see what they mean by saying it's distracting.

Read-ins are planned across Lewisham libraries on February 5th as part of a national day of protest against threatened library closures.

The demonstrations will occur between 11.30am and 1pm at libraries including, Sydenham, Crofton Park, New Cross, Blackheath and Grove Park. Lewisham is trying to identify suitable not-for-profit partners to take them off the Council's hands.

See the Save Crofton Park Library group for details.

Woolwich Crossrail has 6 days to secure its future

One of only two Crossrail stations planned for South East London is in danger of being cancelled, according to a report in The FT today.

The paper says that if the Dft and TfL don't sign off on the plans to build a new station at Woolwich in the next week then the station could be mothballed or even scrapped.

Brockley Central has previously speculated that the bit of Crossrail most likely to face cutbacks was the Abbey Wood spur.

Nunhead Community Choir

Diane writes:

We've been going now for just over a year and have lots of fun. We have just started a new term and would love to let Brockley residents know about our choir as they're welcome to come and join. We meet on Thursdays during term time at Ivydale School, Ivydale, Nunhead, from 8pm through to 9.30pm. We work each term towards a concert, our next concert date is Sunday 3 April 2010, Venue TBA.

Hill Station Book Sale, tonight from 6.30pm

There's a charity bring and buy book sale tonight at The Hill Station, Telegraph Hill, from 6.30pm - 8.30pm.

The emphasis is on the 'buy', rather than the 'bring', since the organisers claim to have "skip loads" of great books.

Southeastern's punctuality figures get cross-examined

The BBC reports that Sheffield University will scrutinise Southeastern's punctuality figures for 2010, which came in a fraction over the threshold at which the company would have to offer season ticket holders a discount.

Southeastern reported punctuality figures of a woeful 82.04%, 0.04% above the penalty level. The score takes in to account the performance of the under-used and brand-new high speed rail service they operate, which Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark says is inappropriate in any case, since it distorts the true picture for most commuters.

Is it safe for work?

Nicely shot film of Hilly Fields, with a funny pay-off. All in a good cause.

St Cyprian - Controversy over the lapsed

Blake: A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action. Attention - Do I have you attention? Interest - Are you interested? I know you are, because it's fuck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks. Decision - Have you made your decision for Christ? And Action.

When we first reported that St Cyprian's had found new life as a fundamentalist Christian church, it resulted in arguably the most heated debate in the history of the site, with some readers forecasting problems with anti-social behaviour.

Today, we received this message from Nick, who has been affected and wants to know the scale of the problem:

I'm a resident on Braxfield road and was just wondering if you had received any other notes from residents in the same area about the disruption being caused by 'gatherings' at St Cyprian's hall recently?

I understand this is now a temporary church and whilst I appreciate members of this church must meet to express their religion I am extremely disappointed with the complete lack of respect these people appear to have for the local residents.

The oversized meetings appear to be spilling out onto the road (probably because of the terrible state of the internal decor and lack of H&S) where people are creating a lot of noise, dropping litter, smashing bottles, sitting on people's front walls, blocking the road, taking up the resident's parking spaces.....the list goes on!

Would you be able to post a topic about this to see if anyone else in the local area is as equally frustrated with these meetings? Do you know of any contacts in the council who the neighbours could approach to inform them of these activities?

Thanks in advance

Work begins on west side housing development

Early-stage work to redevelop a brownfield site on the west side of Brockley Station has begun.

The site, which has an entrance on Mantle Road, runs behind St Norbert's Road, and is currently occupied by light industrial units, due for demolition in the next couple of months.

Wandle Housing Association confirmed today that the two residential blocks, which were given planning permission late last year, should be complete in summer 2012. The 32 flats will be for rental accommodation, allocated primarily by Lewisham Council.

The site will offer 'limited parking' and the buildings will be compliant with level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, with 20% of their energy needs being met through renewable technologies.

Thanks to C for the heads up on this story.

Lewisham's lost cinemas

The Brockley Jack Film Club has digitally recreated the lost cinemas of Lewisham, including the Ritz that used to occupy the MOT garage site on Coulgate Street (above).

It's a fascinating piece. Click here to see more.

Brockley on Facebook

We're now up to 325 on our Facebook group, which is OK, but only half as many as "I *heart* Blackheath." So please join Brockley Central today.

West Ham and Spurs chase London 2012 Legacy with Crystal Palace's fate in the balance

Full disclosure: Before we proceed, we should say we're about as conflicted as it is possible to be. Brockley Central is a Spurs fan, with friends who work at the club. In our day job, we work for Manchester City FC and LOCOG.

Next week, the London 2012 Olympic Stadium’s legacy mode will be decided, with two bids on the table: one from Tottenham Hotspur and AEG and another from West Ham United and LiveNation.

The Spurs bid involves relocating from White Hart Lane in North London to a new, purpose-built 60,000-seat home that would significantly expand the Club’s seating and hospitality. To compensate athletics for the loss of the Olympic Stadium, they would refurbish the existing athletics stadium at Crystal Palace as a 25,000-seat venue. Crystal Palace Football Club itself has spoken rather hazily of plans to turn the existing athletics stadium in Crystal Palace in to a new home for their club.

West Ham, by contrast, wants to relocate a short distance from the Boleyn Ground to a modified version of the just-built Olympic Stadium, which would reduce its capacity to 60,000, but retain the athletics track, thus honouring the spirit of the original Olympic bid, which promised a legacy for athletics at the heart of a regenerated East London.

Both clubs have ageing stadiums and average attendances close to capacity. White Hart Lane is the worst major football stadium in London for public transport. For either club, a move will give them vastly improved transport links and a comparatively low-cost new home. If neither bid is successful, then the majority of the stadium will be removed in any case, and a roofless athletics bowl will remain.

Some have suggested that Spurs are hoping to strengthen their negotiating position with Haringey Council. The argument runs that the club has spent years working with the Council to develop a new stadium and have finally come up with a proposal that could work for both sides, but think they could squeeze further concessions from the Council and don’t really want to desert their historical home. We don’t subscribe to that view. The club has analysed its fan base and thinks there are as many supporters from East London and Essex who would find the Olympic Park much more accessible as there are north London fans who would be disadvantaged. The iconic location of the Olympic Park, its ability to support a much wider range of commercial activities and a shorter, cheaper construction programme must be incredibly appealing.

What’s in it for West Ham is less obvious. Football clubs like Juventus and Bayern Munich, with home stadiums built to host athletics, realised long-ago that they create a terrible atmosphere, hated by regular fans and armchair supporters alike. They don’t have the season ticket waiting list of Spurs and a lack of atmosphere could deter new fans from coming. They could be the Blackburn Rovers of the south and the only club in the Premier League with a running track, spoiling sight-lines for fans and reducing payments from broadcasters, who’ll be less inclined to show their home games.

Athletics wants the prestige of being located in the Olympic park and a venue capable of bidding for the World Athletics Championships. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the money to pay for any of this itself and athletics events don’t attract the crowds to justify a large stadium. Should London ever want to bid for the Athletics, then Wembley has been designed to allow a temporary athletics platform to be installed.

As for the suggestion that Crystal Palace is on the wrong side of town, that smacks of nothing other than vanity. London should have a high-quality athletics venue, but a rebuilt Crystal Palace venue could do the job very nicely, if Spurs are forced to deliver it before they can move in to their new home. Not only would it meet athletics' needs, but it could breathe new life in to a forlorn facility in South East London (which is the reason for writing this article).

Lord Coe supports the West Ham bid and his desire to stick as closely to the spirit of the original pledge to the IOC is understandable. However, as Qatar and FIFA are busy proving, lots changes occur between a bid being chosen and a major sports event being delivered. Indeed, the London Olympics already looks different to the one promised. The IOC extracts a high price from any host city and are getting a wonderful legacy in the form of the Olympic park. Better this country finds the solution that suits its own needs than be lumbered with a white elephant, which taints our memory of the Games and our view of the organisation that forced it upon us.

Whatever happens, it shows the wisdom of the ODA’s decision to build a modular stadium, short on architectural drama, but (relatively) cheap, flexible and recyclable, which means that London will pull off an almost unprecedented feat - building a venue specifically designed for two months of international sport that also works for the people of the city, forever after.

Brockley Cross: Road layout to stay, work starts Monday

Work to improve Brockley Cross junction will begin on Monday, January 24th and conclude at the end of February. Scheduled work includes some changes to the traffic islands, kerbs, and central islands.

In response to enquiries from Brockley Central, the Council has stressed that the scheduled programme will not include any work to improve the environment, such as paving and tree planting and that these works will follow later, once the response to the public consultation has been considered. But really, if all they wanted to know was where local people wanted them to plant the trees, they should have said so from the start, without the pretence of a serious consultation. The Council says:

The remedial works due to start on 24 January have been designed specifically to reduce the risk of traffic accidents at the Brockley Cross junction. They are not directly related to the recent consultation on “public realm improvements” which are intended purely to enhance the street environment. However, both sets of works will complement each other.

We are currently in the process of analysing the consultation results and where possible the preliminary design to improve the street environment will be modified to reflect the wishes of the local community. We anticipate final proposals will be ready in late March or early April.

It was always a long-shot that the Council would take seriously any alternative to the dreaded double roundabout. They have always been clear that they would not carry out any work that would interfere with traffic flows. Rethinking the junction and the relationship between cars and pedestrians in any significant way was too ambitious. BC is above all else pragmatic and we can accept that - though others will of course disagree.

However, the public response to the consultation overwhelmingly supported widening of pavements and central islands, which would have improved the safety and environment for pedestrians, without having any impact on the speed with which the junction can process cars. Such changes will now be impossible and the Council has obviously not allowed any time for those ideas to be considered, which is extremely poor form on their part.

Hopefully, issues such as the location of the pedestrian crossing and the provision of parking bays are still up for consideration. Otherwise, it was an expensive and time consuming way of finding out what type of paving stones we all like.

In response to the Council's plans, Cllr Johnson said:

"I am absolutely shocked at this. How can the council properly consider residents' concerns if they allow only ten days between the consultation ending and the work starting? Residents, traders and the Brockley Cross Action Group have expressed real concerns that the scheme fails to properly improve pedestrian safety in one of the borough's busiest junctions. The plans need far more work on them to be acceptable but clearly no-one is taking any notice of what residents were saying during the consultation."

Underground cinema in Brockley

What would have been really great is at the end of the film what the person had learned was: "You know what, 'there is nothing but fear, desperation and murder.'" Actually, the last thing that should have happened is that she goes back to America, she goes to Hollywood and Werner Herzog tells her that there is no God. The end.

The People's Picturehouse is an underground cinema movement, currently squatting somewhere in Brockley. They are planning a Werner Herzog double bill this Saturday, January 22nd, from 8pm.

They say:

The People's Picturehouse is proud to present: a Werner Herzog double bill.

This Saturday we will be showing Lessons of Darkness (52m) and Encounters at the End of the World (99m), by the very wonderful Werner Herzog.

Situated in a secret squatted location in Brockley, South London, the Picturehouse is run out of the old bar/ballroom area. Entrance is free and film fans should email for guestlist and address details.

Greenwich Market plans approved

Greenwich Hospital has secured planning permission to redevelop Greenwich Market, with a new boutique hotel surrounding the market itself.

The decision means that the banana warehouse and stables on Durnford Street will be lost, but local campaigners who opposed the plans are taking some comfort from the fact that they won some concessions from the developers, who will now retain the original cobbled floor and roof.

A new crescent street will be created leading from Durnford Street to the market which the inspector describes as as “imaginative and acceptable additional chapter in the market area’s evolution” that would provide “variety and interest”.

The redevelopment of the market, which has been strongly supported by the Greenwich Society and local MP, Nick Raynsford, will not begin until January 2013 at the earliest and traders will move to a new temporary market at Monument Gardens whilst the redevelopment is undertaken.

With thanks to Michael.

Brockley Assembly, January 27th

The next Brockley Assembly will take place on Thursday 27 January, 7.00-9.00pm, at Lewisham College, Lewisham Way, SE4 1UT.

This meeting is a chance to:

- Discuss how to spend the Mayors Fund 2010/11
- Receive an update on Council budget cuts
- Discuss changes to Coulgate Street
- Find out what projects have been funded from the locality fund

Transfiguration on the mount

The reason that I now believe in god and creationism and intelligent design is because of Professor Richard Dawkins. When I look at something as complex and intricate and beautiful as Professor Richard Dawkins, I don’t think that just could’ve evolved by chance!
- Stewart Lee

Brockley is not only cooler than Shoreditch, it is bigger than Jesus. Whereas he could only curse trees when they failed to cough up the good stuff, we turn them in to something radiant.

As in 2009, the Hilly Fields Christmas tree dump was transfigured in to a spiral pattern, a wonderful but fleeting creation, which has now been removed. Happily though, we didn't have to wait a few decades for anyone to record this divine miracle, Jennifer took pictures of before and after and kindly gave her permission for us to use this shot.

Brockley Road redevelopment begins

Demolition of the old buildings is currently taking place

The building bounded by Brockley Road, Cranfield Road and Harefield Mews is currently being redeveloped. The project involves the construction of 6 new flats and the refurbishment of two shop fronts at 169-171 Brockley Road - the Holistic Centre (which is in a particularly sorry state) and the Essence of India.

The current shop fronts will be reclad in timber, the air conditioning units removed from the roof, open mesh shutters installed, wooden sash windows will replace the uPVC ones and the brick work will be cleaned.

The storage and courtyard space on Cranfield Road has largely been demolished. The building programme should take approximately six months and when it's finished, let us hope we get something more like this and less like this.

DLR strike cancelled

Homer: Pretty soon, every boy and girl in Springfield Elementary School is going to come and see this thing.
Marge: Really? Why?
Homer: They're forcing 'em!

Sky News reports that:

A High Court injunction has prevented Thursday's planned Docklands Light Railway strike from going ahead.

The strike would have lasted until Saturday.

Missingmatosis: Lost rabbit on Wickham Mews

Now why couldn't you put the bunny back in the box?

We've reported the sad disappearance of various animals over the lifetime of Brockley Central, but never a bunny. Benna writes:

We lost a beautiful little grey and white Dutch rabbit by name of Pippin yesterday on Wickham Mews. He probably got whisked off by one of the local foxes but in case he was found by one of your readers I thought I'd drop you a line to let you know that you can put them in touch with me.

If you've found the rabbit, please email us and we'll reunite Benna and bunny.

Brockley Cross, 2070s

After we brought you the ghost of Brockley Cross' past, here's what could yet be to come.

A designer, who does not wish to be named as she says she should have been doing proper work rather than messing about with this, has send us this mock up of what a single roundabout solution could like.

BC is always happy to concede that things may be more complicated than they appear, but for the love of Pete, can anyone tell us what is wrong with this more elegant solution? The roundabout itself needn't be raised, so long vehicles could drive over it to negotiate the tight corners. The twin roundabout would of course disappear, she's just left them in for reference.

She's also extended the pavements in the yellow-shaded areas. That looks nice but the one on the left looks like it would make turning left up the hill pretty tricky.

Demolition at Convoys Wharf

Demolition specialists Keltbray are currently working at Convoys Wharf in Deptford to clear the site ahead of possible redevelopment of the site, as described here.

The work represents a significant statement of intent from the developers, who claim to be able to fund the long-awaited scheme once planning permission is secure. Work began in November and is expected to take six months.

In a letter to local residents, Keltbray explained:

The work will comprise of the removal of the asbestos materials including small areas of lagging and the roof sheeting, followed by the careful dismantling of the few brickwork structures and the other steel framed buildings. The ground floor slabs will largely remain in place at this time to allow access around the site.

We will be leaving the buildings adjacent to The Master Shipwright House and the buildings forming the site boundary on Princes Street and Watergate Street until the latter part of the contract, so that they can act as a screen to the main dismantling works. The listed Olympia Warehouse is being retained and protected during the demolition works. Following the completion of the demolition Stage 2 of the archaeological investigations will be commencing.

Lewisham Free School campaign

A group of parents in Lewisham is campaigning to create a Free School in the borough, hoping to address the shortage of primary places by creating a parent-run institution, teaching the Montessori method.

Little more than a month in to their campaign, the "Primrose House" group doesn't yet have a proposed site or a detailed plan, but does have a Facebook group.

Lewisham Council has failed to provide an adequate number of primary school places and suffered setbacks to its plans for Lewisham Bridge and Gordonbrock schools, meaning the problem will become more acute.

The government's argument is that parents should have the power to address exactly these kinds of failures by establishing their own, publicly-funded schools. Critics of the idea say that they divert resources from the rest of the system, could facilitate selection by proxy, that Free Schools in Sweden have not delivered significant improvements in educational standards and that recruiting and training good teachers is the key factor in successful systems.

For more information about the Montessori method, click here or play spot the odd one out on this list of famous Montessorians.

With thanks to Tressilliana.

Extend the 63 bus route to Honor Oak?

Tonight's Crofton Park Transport Users Group will hear from Peckham campaigners who want the 63 bus route extended from Forest Hill Road to Honor Oak Park, to connect it with the local facilities and of course the East London Line.

Aside from adding a few extra passengers to local train services (the connection might be less useful once the ELL extension to Clapham via Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye opens in 2012 anyway), are there any significant pros or cons for local people to this proposal?

Brockley's 'booming' rental market

Having recognised that talking up house prices in London is a lost cause at the moment, the local estate agents have turned their attentions to the rental market. The South London Press today quotes no less an authority than Housemartin's Estate Agents, who says:

“Since August last year we’ve seen a 40 per cent increase in young professionals coming in from other boroughs looking for places to rent, as Lewisham is cheaper and has good transport links thanks to the opening of the East London line.” He said a two-bedroom flat in Brockley would have cost £235 a week in August but was now £285.

The Brockley Cross Action Group's Des Kirkland endorses that message, although the photo chosen by the paper to illustrate Brockley must make the casual reader ask why.

Brockley Cross, 1970s

Marty I had a horrible nightmare. I dreamed that I went... back in time. It was terrible.
Lorraine Well... You're safe and sound now, back in good old 1955.

- Back to the Future

There are two types of architectural mistake: The first type are those that with hindsight were clearly flawed, but looking at historical photos, you can understand how planners at the time were seduced by their ambition or beauty - things that worked before people moved in and ruined them by using them in ways they weren't supposed to. The Bullring and Rotunda in Birmingham or the elevated walkways of the City seemed to herald a bold, modernist future.

The second type are those projects that were always hideous, and no amount of historical empathy can help you understand what people saw in them, like Robin Hood Gardens.

BrocSoc's Rob has sent us this photo from the early 1970s that proves that Brockley Cross belongs firmly in the second category. It has always been horrible. The idea that 40 years on, with the Council's attention finally focused on improving the site, they would opt to keep the same basic layout, is perplexing.

The pavement was in a better state back then, though.

Note: Rob wasn't sure of the provenance of this photo, which he acquired off Ebay, so apologies if we are violating anyone's copyright, please let us know.

Boxing clever - A la carte at home from Babur

Brockley Nick here...

When local bloggers get too good, we simply absorb them. That's why we're pleased to welcome the latest addition to the Brockley Central family: Brockley Ben, a leading food blogger in his own right and now our resident restaurant reviewer.

Frankly, food and drink reviews have always been one of Brockley Central's blind spots - we usually run out of ideas after saying that it tasted nice. Jon and Kate have made a few valiant efforts and we've had a couple of great entries from Honor Oak Zoe, but new blood is needed. So here he is, starting with a subject that we can't believe we've never written about, given how much we use it - Babur's takeaway service:

Brockley Central loves a curry as much as the next blog but is not always in the mood to traipse to the far end of Brockley Road to savour Babur's unquestioned quality. This year's typical British summer makes the trek particularly unappetising, but sometimes - more or less twice a week as it happens - only a curry will do. And so the hand reaches for the trusty bundle of take-away menus and the mind once again wonders where the speed-dial instructions are.

Until recently the choice has usually been between Cinnamon, which boasts a few interesting Southern Indian specialities, and Essence of India, which is bog standard UK curry-house fare - and none the worse for that. Babur's own delivery option (apparently linked to the restaurant in name alone) has always felt a bit of a poor relation to the restaurant itself and has quietly fallen off the roster.

Babur, though, could never be accused of resting on its laurels (its regular special menus and loyalty scheme are testament to that) and has recently relaunched it a la carte delivery service. Previous attempts to try this service have been met with mixed results: confusion as calls went to and fro between restaurant and take-away kitchen, no clear idea of which dishes were available and overlong delivery delays.

This time, though, they've done it properly: a cut-down version of the main restaurant menu on a smart flier, a single number to call and a professional, confident tone when you do. They'll even take the plastic if the PDQ machine is available. But best of all you get a fancy box!

Highlights from the first couple of test runs have included venison chapli (spicy patties), multani soole (char-grilled paneer), dum-cooked rabbit and hara cholliya te paneer, a deeply rewarding dish of chickpeas and paneer in a Punjabi marsala that's billed as a side-dish but is a meal in itself.

Prices seem to be about 8o to 90 percent of the restaurant menu (starters £4.50 to £5.95, mains £9.50 to £13.50). Delivery is free and there's a minimum order of £20. And there's a 10 percent discount if you go and pick up your fancy box yourself.

Highly recommended.

Photogenic Brockley

Brockleyite Lucy is asking BC's photographic community for help.

I am half of a little bespoke fashion company ( making wedding dresses and evening wear mainly, and we need to shoot our new collection, do you know of anywhere that we might be able to shoot that is local and pretty/interesting/grand looking? I am lookng potentially for an indoor and an outdoor site.. open to any suggestions!

I have a really good photographer lined up, and around 3 models and a hair and make up artist so there would be a group of possibly 8 of us.

Please can readers help?

Cue joke from the BDS in 5, 4, 3, 2...

Jam Circus children's days

We've been forecasting for a while that local businesses would start working harder to accommodate the growing number of young families in the area. Now, Jam Circus writes to let us know about their new children's activity days, starting soon:

From Friday, January 21st, Jam Circus will be starting children activity workshops with this week being an 'Under the Sea' theme. There will be a story telling followed by a chance for the children to get messy with some paint and glitter and make some wonderful artwork. The workshops will be run by Rebecca Harrington who runs sessions at St Hilda's church and has been holding workshops all over the south east previously.

It's £1 a child and there will be two session with a small break inbetween, things kick off at 11am. There will be the usual yummy lunch menu served from 12-3pm and for the children taking part in the art work, we'll be offering lunchboxes for £2 per child. We're aiming for the under 5's at the moment but hope to branch out in the future.

This is very much a test run of our new activity days and a good chance for parents to come along and have a chat about what they'd like to see in the future. Also for anyone with any incredible entertainment or art type skills who want to lend a hand - this would be the perfect time to come and have a chat!

Jude: The obscure set of commitments

Lisa Well who's your booking agent?
Mike She, she knows… actually I don't have west coast representation as of yet
Lisa Well who was your agent back east?
Mike I sort of free lanced on my own kind of a thing

- Swingers
Lewisham Council has confirmed that the Jude Court (nee Bridge House) development does not carry with it any specific obligations to improve access to Brockley Station on the west side.
Obviously, the removal of the scaffolding and the reopening and repair of the pavement outside the station will significantly improve the current approach to the station, but the Section 106 agreement carries with it no obligations to make other cosmetic improvements.
Instead, there is a more general obligation to:
Undertake an Environmental Improvements Scheme to a value of £30,000 after the costs for the footway reinstatement works have been subtracted.
£5,000 will also be contributed to improvements for local cyclists and £10,000 for "town centre management".
We hope to report specifically how the money will be allocated, in due course.

Crofton Park Transport

The Crofton Park Transport User Group is comprised of local residents, campaigning for better services. In particular, they want:

  • Better local services, including Sunday services
  • Improved reliability, punctuality and safety
  • Better facilities at railway stations - including access and information.
Their next meeting takes place on Tuesday 18th January at 7.30pm at the Ackroyd Centre, Ackroyd Road, Brockley Rise.

They will be joined by campaigners working to extend the 63 bus route to Honor Oak Park Station. If you'd like to support their work, please go along, or visit their website for more details:

New Cross fire: Memorial service and commemorative plaque unveiling

Tomorrow, a church service will be held to remember the victims of the 1981 New Cross Fire, 30 years on.

The church has a strong connection with the young victims as many of them attended the youth club there. In October 2002, Lewisham Council installed a special stained glass window in their memory.

Speakers at the service include George Francis, Chair of the New Cross Fire Parents Committee, Sir Steve Bullock, and Joan Ruddock MP for Lewisham Deptford.
Date: 16 January 2011, 3pm
Venue: St Andrew’s Church, Brockley

Then, on Tuesday, a plaque will be unveiled to commemorate the site at which the fire took place. The ceremony will be attended by local councillors, dignitaries and members of the public. Families of the victims will speak at the event before unveiling the blue plaque.
Date: 18 January 2011, 2pm
Venue: 439 New Cross Road, London, SE14

Transpontine has more on the history and impact of the fire.

Labour councillors respond to Brockley Cross plans

Local Labour Councillors Vicky Foxcroft and Jimi Adefiranye have submitted a joint response to the Brockley Cross consultation, calling for greater attention to be given to pedestrian safety.

Their submission is the result of feedback they’ve had from the local community and echoes many of the points made by the Brockley Cross Action Group. Vicky points out that in their conversations with the Council officer leading the project, he confirmed that there is scope for significant change to the plans and that late submissions to the consultation will be accepted.

She says:

Myself and Councillor Jimi Adefiranye have responded to the consultation regarding the proposed changes to the Brockley Cross junction. In doing so, we have tried to take on board as many people’s views as possible. We believe that it is good news that at long last funding has been secured to improve this area. However we have the same concerns as many residents in the area.

We believe that the new scheme should have greater concern for the pedestrians who have to cross here on a daily basis. We believe the new scheme has to take due regard for the safety of all.

We have also asked for feedback as to why they haven't considered changing to one roundabout, and we want to know why they don't believe this would be viable. I have been informed that this is due to safety reasons and we have requested more information on this.

We are in touch with council officers and other organisations who are involved in developing this. We have been informed that this is very much at the consultation stage and that they will endeavour to ensure people’s concerns are addressed.

If anyone wants to contact me about this, please come along to my surgery on the 1st Saturday of the month at Little Gems Nursery just off Malpas Road and the 3rd Saturday of the month at Addey and Stanhope school, just off Tanners hill. Alternatively I am happy to meet people at other times if they want to call or email me.

In the future we will be receiving a presentation from them, hopefully in March to give feedback on the consultation and how they believe we should go forward with this. If anyone is interested in attending this, please contact me and let me know. Numbers are limited, but we will endeavour to try and ensure as many people who want to be present are able to be. Alternatively you can call us on 0208 314 6899 or email me at with your views.

In particular, the Councillors raised three key points, which we have edited for reasons of space:

Safety and Pedestrian crossings

When talking to residents they would like to see crossings available at each entrance of the junction.

We also have an increase in the number of people crossing here, due to the fact we now have the East London line at Brockley station.


Is it not possible to have one roundabout, rather than the two that are currently used? It is felt that this may make the junction safer.

Many people find the junction confusing and quiet often there is confusion with traffic about who has the right of way.

Wider Streets

Numerous people have mentioned widening the streets around Brockley cross to make the area pedestrian friendly, this should be considered as part of the proposals.

DLR strike, January 20th -22nd

The Wharf has details of the DLR strike, planned for next week. It reports:

The RMT union has instructed its members not to book on for shifts on the network between 3.59am that day until 3.58am on Saturday, January 22.

Hilly Fields orchard, January 15th

Transition Brockley is organising a community planting day tomorrow, at which everyone is welcome. The orchard is being planted to promote the growing of fruit locally (in an area which previously had many fruit orchards), to provide habitat for wildlife, and for people to enjoy.