The View, Adieu

The View at Hilly Fields was an ambitious plan to site a large cafe in Hilly Fields, at an alternative site to the one currently being considered by the Council. The proposal excited more reader comment than almost any other topic has done since the Gordonbrock controversy, but the team behind it have now notified us of the withdrawal of their plans.

The South London Press reports that four proposals for a cafe have been submitted by other bidders.

The View team write:

We apologise for the brief hiatus. Regarding our plans for a cafĂ©/bistro at Hilly Fields called The View…

Lewisham Council has now invited “expressions of interest” for the site at Hilly Fields. However, we have already outlined to you the reasons why we considered this to be totally unviable.

As we explained the ground is riddled with subsidence, due it seems to the saturation of clay and leaking drains, together with a badly designed block that the council was calling for us to totally rebuild - and at our cost. All on what Lewisham Council repeatedly claimed was ‘the same footprint‘. And with no added incentives. At least that is what we were constantly informed. These formed the reasons why we searched for a better site - and chanced upon the Old Refreshment House which had magnificent panoramic views.

We make no excuses for attempting to introduce something that was bold. Or that ‘swanky’ restaurant at mezzanine level, for which we make no apology.

We would though like to correct one additional assertion also given by Brockley Society... We have never attempted to mislead. We tried to engage with you openly and honestly as residents ourselves. We also presented to Brockley Central that which we presented to ‘Brocsoc‘, and we hope that you will draw your own conclusions on why it was presented in such a manner.

In fact, whilst the council claimed that it was inviting tenders for a rebuild, and on the same footprint (only), with a 20 year lease (only), we rightly assumed that this was “totally unviable”. However, it has now come to our attention that a different deal was being offered to competitors - reported in the Minutes of the Hilly Fields’ User Group ["

In return for initial investment the council could offer a long term lease with

an initial rent free period. This will be advertised in the first period to see if there are any objections. Should the council wish to progress then they will advertise for

expressions on their requirements. We were told there is no council money available for repairs and maintenance of the building or developing a Cafe." Friends of Hilly Fields. Minutes of meeting 8th June 2010].

Thank you to all for the input, and to Brockley Central for allowing us to occupy this platform, however brief.
Best wishes
John and Simon
Ex The View at Hilly Fields