The glory of Greater Brockley

Local designer Mike Hall has produced a beautiful illustrated map of Brockley in the style of Thomas Moule. His exquisite penmanship is like a form of automatism - the Greater Brockley mantra committed to paper, including Crofton Park, Ladywell, St Johns and Telegraph Hill. Brockley Central in map form.

Thanks to Mike for allowing us to reproduce his work here. Check out his blog for more of his work. We've also added his illustrated map of New Cross pubs to the New Cross section of Southeastcentral.

Honeypot Street Party

There's a street party outside the Honeypot on Upper Brockley Road, for those who like their royal occasions accompanied by a huge sound system. On Twitter, Luke reports that it's "MEGA" and is looking for people to skank with him. Skank on, sweet princes and princesses of SE4.

Brockley's pantomime villains prevented from gatecrashing fairytale wedding

When she arrived at the castle and found that it was Snowdrop, she stood petrified with terror. Then two iron shoes were laid before her, and she was forced to put them on and to dance at Snowdrop's wedding-dancing and dancing in those heavy shoes until she fell down dead. And that was the end of her.
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

They shan't go to the ball. Brockley's comedy anarchist Chris Knight is back in the headlines today after he was arrested ahead of today's Royal Wedding, at which he planned to present the glowing couple with a guillotine as a wedding gift.

The radical anthropologist and two friends were taken in to custody after police turned up at his Wickham Road palace and held him on "suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance and breach of the peace."

Tedious though Knight's stunts are, every wedding features a grumpy old relative who no-one remembers inviting and BC doesn't see why William and Kate's day should be any different.

Your own personal Gaia

God Entity: Bender, being God isn't easy. If you do too much, people get dependent on you, and if you do nothing, they lose hope. You have to use a light touch. Like a safecracker, or a pickpocket.
Bender: Or a guy who burns down a bar for the insurance money!
God Entity: Yes, if you make it look like an electrical thing. When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
-Futurama, Godfellas

The Goldsmiths research team Legible Landscapes have been back in touch to ask for more volunteers for their personal microclimate experiment, which we still don't understand, but which sounds fun.

So far, half of their subjects have been recruited via this site, so if you do agree to participate, you'll be in magnificent company.

They say:

We recently held a kick-off meeting with several Brockley residents who received research kits including a home safari packet for photographing colorful cut-outs of animals in different
habitats of their home. The research kit includes several such playful and thought provoking activities for thinking about the home as a microclimate and getting prepared for the installation of the digital devices.

We are still seeking participants from SE4, SE8, SE14 and SE23 and will be running another orientation meeting in early to mid May. Interested people should contact Kirsten at More information is available at


It appears that the comment function of the blog is not working properly at the moment, which means many or all of you may have problems posting comments. Sorry about that. In the mean time, the forum is working fine.

UPDATE: The problem is resolved, the commenting function is working normally.

The New Cross House - Opens May 9th

Ah, beer! So many choices, and it makes so little difference.

- Bender, Futurama

Get ready. The New Cross House is opening on Monday, May 9th.

We're hopefully going to get a preview of the new place, formerly known as the Goldsmiths Tavern, and will report back on its sights, sounds and smells, but you'll be able to experience them for yourselves very soon.

Loampit Hill shop redevelopment

Following a threatened forced auction of 63 Loampit Hill (a shop on the corner of Tyrwhitt Road), a planning application has been submitted to the Council for the decrepit building's redevelopment. The application describes the plans as:

The demolition of the existing extension and construction of a single storey extension to the rear of 63 Loampit Hill SE13, together with an extension to the side roof slope, installation of roof lights to the front and rear roof slopes, elevational alterations to the rear and new shopfront to facilitate conversion of the property to provide a shop and 1 two bedroom self-contained flat on the ground floor, 1 one bedroom self-contained flat on the first floor and a self-contained studio flat on the second floor.

There are no documents to sift through yet, so we can't comment on the plans, but something needed to happen to this site to stop it rotting away and it's good to see that the retail element will be retained. Together with the rejuvenation of The Talbot and the demolition of the WP Stone workshop, Brockley's most north easterly corner has finally shaken off inertia.

With thanks to Tyrwhitt Michael.

Southwark: Honor Oak Rec "least preferred" burial solution

The campaign to save Honor Oak Recreation Ground from being turned in to a cemetery secured an early victory last week, when Southwark Council resolved that it would be the least best solution to Southwark's shortage of burial space.

At a meeting on April 19th, the Southwark Council cabinet heard deputations from the Friends of Honor Oak Recreation Ground, Fairlawn Primary School, Hillyfielders FC and in light of the strength of public support for retaining the ground as parkland, resolved that:

Cabinet views the use of Honor Oak Park Recreation Ground as the least preferred option and will seek to work with Lewisham and other London authorities on joint solutions to the burial space shortage problem.

Congratulations to the campaigners, who now have to keep the pressure up to ensure that the ground is saved from death's icy clutches.

Lewisham Community Sport asked to pay for Hilly Fields access

What better way to secure an Olympic legacy for Lewisham than to start charging community sports organisers to use Hilly Fields?

The South London Press reports that Glendale, the Council's park management contractors, have asked Lewisham Community Sports, who run paid-for courses for kids in Hilly Fields, to pay £50 per week for use of the park.

We understand that Glendale has to save money and that the user-pays principle will have a bigger role to play in local service provision going forward, but this move is an ill-conceived distortion of that principle. Lewisham Community Sports are not the end users of the park, the kids are, and the point of their activities is to help children get in to sport, to improve their fitness and combat obesity, which are supposed to be key priorities for both the Council and the country.

For a not-for-profit groups, such costs can be prohibitive. If we want kids in Lewisham to get in to sport, and the benefits we bring, we should ideally be subsidising them, not charging them.

The revenue this could raise is minimal, the social costs of increasing costs for community sport projects are potentially huge.

Olympic tickets

The deadline for you to apply for Olympic tickets is 11.59pm tonight. Click here to apply.

The wide range of events and ticket price categories means that the application process is fairly complicated and you will need a Visa card. The BBC's James Pearce has written a helpful guide to the application process on his blog, which is worth consulting.

Brockley Central is excited just to be in the host city during the Games, but we also decided that we didn't want to miss the chance to actually go. With the exception of the equestrian events (which we just can't get excited about, despite the fact they're closest to us) we're agnostic about what sports we see. So our decision-making process was as follows:
  • We want to see a sport where Britain has a half-decent chance of winning a medal (so no beach volleyball)
  • We want to go to something in the Olympic Park itself, since it's the heart of the event (so no rowing or football)
  • We want to go to something outdoorsy, since we don't like sitting indoors on a sunny day and we're hoping that the London Olympics will have decent weather (so no cycling or swimming)
  • Our young kids, turned on to the Olympics via Mario and Sonic, are likely to get bored by sports that involve participants standing around a lot or which are determined by technical criteria, like who grabbed whose lapel first (so no track and field)
These considerations led us to the BMX events, so that's what we've gone for. What about you? We've added a poll to the South East London forum.

[Full disclosure, the consultancy I work for, Edelman, works for LOCOG, though not on ticket promotion]

Lewisham Gateway developers given until the end of 2013

It's been suspiciously quiet since grassy hummocks were laid on the proposed site of the Lewisham Gateway project - the much-delayed masterplan for the centre of Lewisham. Now, Estates Gazette reports that the developers behind the project will be given more time by Lewisham Council to sort themselves out:

Muse Developments and housebuilder Taylor Wimpey... which were selected to develop the Lewisham Gateway scheme in 2004, now have until the end of 2013 to finalise detailed planning approval for the first phase and to start work on site.

Brockley Central is coming round to the idea that this further delay is welcome. Since we first wrote about Lewisham Gateway, the start of the Loampit Vale redevelopment project has changed the terms of the debate.

By 2013, the first phase of Loampit Vale construction will be complete. We'll be better able to judge what kind of impact it is likely to have on the future of the town centre, both physically and commercially. If the flats sell out and the commercial space secures tenants, then Lewisham will have demonstrated its attractiveness as a location, making it easier for the developers to raise finance and for the Council to secure the right kind of development for the borough.

We've added a poll to the Lewisham forum - will Lewisham Gateway ever happen? Should it? Vote now.

Thanks to Tyrwhitt Michael for the heads up.

Latest ticket offers from The Brockley Jack Theatre

Darren from the Brockley Jack writes:

Buy One Get One Free for:
"The Public Eye" by award winning writer Peter Shaffer (Equus, Amadeus)

Concerned about the fidelity of his young wife Bloomsbury Accountant Charles Sidley retains the services of Mayhew and Figgis Detective Agency, enter replacement Detective Julian Cristoforou. Will Charles Sidley's increasing paranoia about his wife prove well founded? Or will Private Dick Julian Cristoforou's unconventional tactics unveil the actuality of a seemingly staid marriage. A farcical, sharp and moving play that is completely at home within the tumultuous hysteria of London's swinging sixties.

April 27 to May 7 at 8pm, Sunday matinee 1 May at 5pm
Tickets £12

Discount price of £8 for:
"Mary Rose" by J M Barrie (Peter Pan author)

In the grey waters surrounding the Hebrides, a fir tree and a rowan keep vigil over a mysterious island where spirits walk. In a Sussex manor house another ghost keeps watch, yearning for the return of her beloved boy.Mary Rose is a supernatural story of love, lost innocence and the parallel world where our departed ones are still present, just beyond reach.

May 10 to 14 at 7.45pm only

For all ticket offers please email: w
ith your name, date of show and number of tickets required. We will email you confirmation and you pay on the door.

St.Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church, Cranfield Road

St Gregorios is one of only two Indian Orthodox (or Malankara Orthodox Syrian) Churches in London, the other being in Blackfriars. The building was given to the Church by the Church of England in 2005 and had previously been a hall belonging to St Peter's Church, opposite.

The Brockley church is presided over by Vicar Rev Fr John Samuel.

The Indian Orthodox Church traces its origins back to St Thomas the Apostle in the first century.

For the Presbyterian Church of Wales click here.

Geoffrey Road development

Builders' hoardings have appeared at the site of 72-78 Geoffrey Road

Clearance has begun

As spotted by Fabhat on Southeastcentral, work has begun on Geoffrey Road to develop a new block of flats on the site of former garages at 72-78 Geoffrey Road.

Permission was granted back in 2008 and the builders have finally moved in in recent days, to clear the site.

Royal Wedding Street Parties

Brockley Central's still not sure what we'll actually see during the extensive coverage of the Royal Wedding.

A slow procession down some streets of London, with lots of aerial footage just like the Marathon last weekend, the ceremony itself (always boring even when you know the couple personally, we kept our own stripped down to about three minutes) and then lots of unbearable talking heads commenting in excruciating detail on every aspect of what we've just seen.

That's it right? We don't get invited to the after party? We don't see what happens in the honeymoon suite?

We expect to find the whole thing as teeth-grindingly dull as we did in 1981, only this time, we have the option of getting drunk.

Vinisha, Loampit Hill

2 Loampit Hill
SE13 7SW

Thanks to Niru, who sent us this great review of local Sri Lankan restaurant, Vinisha:

Shortly after moving to Brockley, my no-nonsense bookshelf-builder asked me where I was born and then pointed me in the direction of Loampit Hill to a row of Sri Lankan businesses. Since then I have been working my way through the menu of Vinisha.

Sri Lankan food is seriously hot. Ingredients such as dried Maldive fish and coconut milk differentiate it from Indian food and many dishes are fired by the startling combination of chilli, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, garlic, ginger and fennel seeds. But there are friendly entry-points. Hoppers, which are pancakes made from a fermented batter of rice flour, are excellent eaten with seeni sambal, a spiced onion relish.

The closely related dosais are also satisfying. Once you’ve got a handle on these, I can recommend the authenticity of the biriyanis – hotter and sweeter than their Indian counterparts, and also that of the staple dish of Sri Lanka, the unglamorous sounding “chicken curry”. This gravy-heavy dish shows off the peculiar sour-hot tastes that typify Sri Lankan cooking best. Mop it up with cholesterol-raising puris and some plain rice.

You have to try very hard and have a glutton’s appetite to spend over a tenner per head here – I have, and have been pounding the hills of my newly adopted area in some sort of effort at counter-balancing the effects of this excellent find.

The No Campaign ad

We've had the ad from the Electoral Commission explaining the referendum, now here's the ad from the No campaign (loses points for use of Ocean Colour Scene). Erm, convinced by this?!

Here's a link to the Yes ad.

WP Stone building redevelopment

The former WP Stone workshop on Tyrwhitt Road has been demolished to make way for eight new flats in a development you can read about here.

Urban Green Primary

Urban Green Primary is a new local free school iniative, the third to have emerged in recent weeks. Conceived by a Brockley based team of parents and teachers, it will place more emphasis on teaching children outdoors, thus minimising the need for classroom space, keeping costs down and allowing children to be taught in smaller classes - such an approach could have rendered the great Gordonbrock outdoor toilet controversy moot.

They are trying to identify a suitable site in the local area so we asked a member of the Urban Green Primary team, about their idea, which sounds a little like a mash up of the Montessori method and The Dangerous Book for Boys:

Who are the team behind the proposal and who are the educators involved?

A group of local teachers – a senior leader, an early years specialist and a deputy head (who are also parents).

What is the motivation for the school - what issues are you trying to address in terms of local provision?

Huge lack of provision for primary places: shortfall increases year on year, last year 17 classes worth of children had to be educated in ‘bulge’ classes as there was no local authority provision, number expected to be even higher this year. The formal, indoors education children tend to receive in our schools only exacerbates the lack of outdoor experience and freedom our children currently have.

If you have a look at some of the links on our Facebook page you’ll see how much impact outdoor learning has on children: better concentration, self esteem, achievement to name but a few. Any adult can tell you that they learn best through real life experiences so why would we expect it to be any different for children?

We would still use the National Curriculum and levelling, but the freedom and high adult child ratios would allow the curriculum to be much more personalised. For example, if it was identified a child needed to develop ability to measure and use problem solving skills staff might plan opportunities for children to plan and make a den.

How do the economics stack up? How do you achieve small class sizes on state school budgets?

Due to free schools’ autonomy of budget there is a lot more flexibility on how to spend the budget. Another local school is a ‘foundation’ school, currently the closest thing to free schools and they choose to use their funding to make class sizes much smaller than in other schools. Due to the amount of time children will be spending outside we will save on some building costs.

We plan to involve children with growing and preparing a lot of their own food, which will also offset costs of school dinners. We also plan to utilise local expertise: this idea is still in the early stages but because it’s an idea that people feel passionate about we’ve already had offers of voluntary work: permaculture expert, artists, IT support, cooking workshops and so on.

We are aiming for a Reggio Emilia style environment where the children use found and real objects in their learning and much of the learning is outside, using the environment - eg no buying of expensive packs of specific, single use equipment, which has become a very large industry with many suppliers devising ever increasing ways to get schools to spend their precious budgets. This will mean that more of the curriculum budget can go on expertise (from visiting experts and visits for example) rather than equipment (other than essential equipment ie books, computers, cameras, sound recorders, tools and toys/equipment that are particularly useful and are multi-functional wherever possible). The children will also be encouraged and taught how to make their own toys - this in itself is a learning experience and can cover many aspects of the curriculum.

Teachers will be employed under the current School Teachers Pay and Conditions document and we commit to maintaining that regardless of what changes are made to it over time (unless the changes are favourable - when of course we will adopt them). We will restructure the way PPA time is organised. This costs a one form entry school with Nursery class the equivalent of four days of additional teacher time per week and is unpopular among teachers as it often creates more work than it relieves. We will not use Classroom/Teaching assistants, unless there is a child with significant SEND and their statement requires additional support from an adult. This enables us to make savings so that we can employ more qualified teachers and reduce class sizes to 15. With 15 children the burden of paperwork and admin for each teacher is halved, the ability of the teacher to speak to and analyse the learning and behaviour of each child, every day, is doubled. This also means that all children get more attention from their teacher and children with additional needs have those needs met more readily by their class teacher, rather than a Teaching Assistant.

What are the options in terms of location?

We were centred around Brockley, but location will really be determined on where we can get a site... suggestions of site from anyone on Brockley Central gratefully received!

The new London Bridge Station designs revealed

Well done to SE1 for getting the first images of the new London Bridge Station. While not as funkily futuristic as the spiraling ziggurat of the previous design, which included an office complex, we like this one a lot, especially the street level access at Tooley Street.

London Bridge is the last of the great London stations to get rebuilt and its disjointed layout desperately needs radical changes. Thameslink, which will create more cross-London services, necessitated a makeover.

On the south side, work is already well-advanced on the new bus interchange.

The complex, five year construction project, is planned to get underway fully in 2013 and is scheduled to be completed in 2018. Features and benefits include:
  • A new concourse at street level, with entrances on Tooley Street and St Thomas Street. As well as improving access to the station, this will help continue the regeneration of the surrounding area by better connecting north and south
  • The concourse will be filled with natural light, that will come through the canopies that will cover the platforms above, making a more pleasant environment for passengers
  • Step-free access to all platforms from the main concourse, making the station easier to use – especially for people with reduced mobility, or those with luggage or small children
  • Space for around two thirds more passengers than use the station today
  • An increase in the number of tracks going through the station from six to nine and a reduction from nine to six in the number of terminating platforms. This will enable eighteen of the planned 24 Thameslink services per hour to call at London Bridge

Squats of Brockley

Farnsworth: "Hey! Unless this is a nude love-in... get the hell off my property!"
Free Waterfall Junior: "You can't own property, man."
Farnsworth: "I can. But that's because I'm not a penniless hippie."
- Futurama
Former squat, Tyrwhitt Road

Despite the sad passing of the Elephant House, there are still some grand squats in Brockley. There's this former squat next to the Talbot on Tyrwhitt Road and the Manor Avenue United Services Club. But which others are there locally and what are their histories?

Barbershopera - I could have married Kate

BC is a sucka for barbershop and this video starring Barbershopera was made by Telegraph Hill's own Barry Pilling. So enjoy.

Your chance to get involved in Brockley Max 2011

Helen writes:

Do you live in or around Brockley, Crofton Park or Ladywell? Do you want to meet some new people, have some fun and learn some new skills? If so, now is your chance to get involved in the 2011 Brockley Max Festival which will take place between 27 May and 4 June.

The Brockley Max Festival is an annual, community festival, now in its 11th year ( The festival is a showcase for a wide range of artists in all media, which provides an opportunity for the broad creative community in Brockley, Crofton Park and Ladywell to display its talents to the community and visitors. Our community is unique in having such a large number of artists and volunteers who kindly donate their time, skills and energy to make Brockley Max an exciting and inspiring event.

We welcome anyone who has some time to spare and would like to get involved. There are plenty of jobs that still need to be done for this year's festival, such as delivering programmes, taking photographs at events, helping set up, selling raffle tickets and stewarding at the Opening Night on 27 May and Art In The park children’s day on 4 June.

Visit the MAX website for details of how to get involved.

Tea Dance for Little People seeks cafe operator

Tea Dance for Little People, the new children's activity centre opening in The Tea Factory soon is looking for a partner interested in running the cafe element of the business.

TDLP plans to charge customers for entry in return for a programme of activities to entertain children throughout the day. The cafe will offer refreshments for parents and children alike.

If you're interested in being part of it, contact Sally for more details.

Crofton Park Co-Op expands

In theory, an organisation that doesn't have to pay shareholders ought to have a bit more cash to re-invest in its business, but in Brockley Central's experience, shopping at the Co-Op is like travelling back in time, to a simpler, less good time. The surest cure for nostalgia.

At some point in the early part of this century, they realised that it was time to try on the Co-Op bank's worthily-aspirational brand halo, gave themselves a nice new spring green makeover and started talking about ethical sourcing. And we almost believed they'd changed, until we stepped inside the Crofton Park Co-Op, the darkest, most poorly-stocked high street supermarket we've ever seen.

But now, it sounds as though the Co-Op may be ready to add some substance to their style. They're expanding sideways in to the recently-evacuated dry cleaners, hopefully a sign that they're going to put some effort in to this site at last.

Thanks to Alistair for the information

Yes or No to AV?

The Yes / No campaigns for the May 5th referendum on AV have stepped up a gear locally.

On Saturday, in Surrey Quays, we'd only just dodged Sally Gunnell on a scooter before we were set upon by the Yes campaign, whose argument was that "the trouble with First Past the Post is that they keep moving the goalposts." It was a bewildering double-whammy. At the same time, in nearby Lewisham, Conservative councillor Christine Allison and GLA candidate Alex Wilson doorstepped TK Maxx customers urging them to vote no.

There are lots of indefensible aspects of the British constitution: the monarchy, the unelected upper chamber, the fact that there isn't a British constitution. But BC can never really get exercised about any of them. Constitutional reform is what people get exercised about in lieu of actual ideas.

First Past the Post voting is the least of the sins of the British political system. BC prefers the smack of firm majority government to the slippery nature of coalitions. If you're going to rip it up and start again, why bother for the sake of a miserable half-measure like AV that, for example, will make absolutely no difference to the value of your vote in Lewisham?

According to a Guardian poll, the AV campaign is collapsing. The No vote has it by 16 points. But how will you be voting on May 5th?

UPDATED: Here's a sponsored video by the Electoral Commission to explain it all for you.

Greenwich cable car green lit

Plans to build a cable car across the Thames from the O2 to the Excel Centre have been green lit by TfL. Construction is expected to start this summer.

Concerns about the extent to which the public will recoup the initial funding we are contributing have been waved away in a bid to open the service in time for the Olympic Games, but that is a massive challenge, with even the TfL release admitting that that target "remains an extremely challenging timeline for a complex project." An article in Building on April 15th suggested that work could take two years.

The service will be able to carry up to 2,500 people an hour, providing a fun, but not especially useful new transport option for South East London and a new river crossing, which East London is desperately short of.

Much of the cost of the cable car will be met through sponsorship, similar to the Barclay's sponsorship of the Boris bikes.

The Amersham Arms to change hands

The Amersham Arms is to be sold.

The pub was bought by the owners of the Lock Tavern in Camden in 2007 and refurbished by them. The pub is, in Brockley Central's humble opinion, a great pub which the current owners did a good job of revitalising, helping to kick-start the area's nightlife renaissance.

However, the early ambition to turn it in to a leading music venue faded after a good start with acts like Hot Chip and while it still hosts some great events and comedy nights, live music has not flourished as the owners envisaged.

Brockley Central understands that a sale is imminent and that the prospective new owners aim to run operate a similar style of venue and we look forward to hearing more about their plans in due course.

With thanks to Pitta on Southeastcentral for alerting us to the story in the first place.

News from the South East London forum

The South East London forum passed another milestone this weekend, signing-up its 200th member. As well as breaking the story about The Old Bank, here are some of the things that have been discussed over the last few days:

So far, lurkers vastly outnumber members, but to join in the conversation, post a message or vote in a poll, you have to register, which takes two seconds and which doesn't require you to give any personal information away, just an email address to prove you're not a spam bot.

The Old Bank-rupt

Doug MacRay: No matter how much you change, you still have to pay the price for the things you've done. So I got a long road. But I know I'll see you again - this side or the other.
- The Town

As revealed by Aerostatic on the forum, the Old Bank in Honor Oak has closed, seized by bailiffs, who've made it even harder to enter than it was on Brockley Ben's recent visit.

St Hilda's fundraiser for Japan

Local resident Kana Okada is organising a fundraising event in aid of people affected by the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Taking place at St Hilda's Church, Brockley Road, on Saturday 23rd April from 12pm-4pm, the event will include a range of Japanese treatments, workshops and food, among other attractions.

The entrance fee will be £1 and the organisers will be asking for donations for the other activities. ll the money raised will be donated to British Red Cross 'Japan Tsunami Appeal'.

The London Marathon

London Marathon 2010 hits Deptford Fun City by MusicTouristBoard

Prompted by a question on Brockley Central's Twitter, we're throwing open the question of where's best to watch the London Marathon locally.

Blackheath gives you the build-up, Greenwich is a short walk away and Deptford has its own sound system. Where will you be watching the Marathon - and which of you are running it?

Lewisham funding for car club expansion

Monkeyboy has sent us this news from TfL, which is bunging Lewisham Council some money to help pay for the expansion of the local network of car clubs, which help to reduce the pressure on parking and make infrequent car journeys more affordable.

Lewisham has been actively encouraging car club expansion for some time and although this money is a relatively small sum, when divided between all of the boroughs, 1,200 new bays across London should deliver a significant increase in car club membership. Here's the release:

In recent years TfL has funded the London boroughs to support the development of a comprehensive on street parking infrastructure for car clubs. There are currently 2,597 car club vehicles across London and over 141,000 members (Carplus, February 2010).

TfL has awarded an allocation of further funding for this to continue. £537,000 has been allocated between 23 London boroughs in 2011/12, with a further £480,000 available to 24 boroughs in 2012/13.

The following boroughs will receive funding: Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Havering, Hounslow, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Redbridge, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton (2012/13 only), Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and Westminster.

This programme is to fund the planning, consultation and implementation costs associated with the delivery of on street car club bays. Over 400 bays have been delivered in 2010/11 with the help of this TfL’s financial support. The combined programme for the next two years will see over 1200 bays delivered, significantly contributing to the Mayor’s target of expanding the car club network in London.

And on a related note, reader Daryl has just emailed to say that the Harefield Road Streetvan has been stolen...

Guest column: Controlled Parking Zones

Following an excellent column by Lewisham Council officer Nigel Tyrell about waste management, we're very happy to bring you this article by officer Lesley Brooks, who is responsible for the equally contentious topic of Travel Demand Management - in particular, CPZs. The article follows intense discussion on this site of the question of whether Brockley needs a CPZ and the Council's recent decision to increase charges for existing CPZs.

Here's what she says:

Good parking provision is crucial and effective parking controls benefit everyone. Of course, if you’ve just been given a ticket, or you are paying for a parking permit, you might not immediately see it like that. But, despite popular opinion, our work is driven by a desire to manage parking in the borough on a fair and consistent basis.

We aim to balance the needs of all road users and to manage the competing pressures to park on unrestricted kerbside space, especially in areas of high parking demand. The main interest to the Council is the impact parking has upon factors such as: congestion; carbon emissions and pollutants; safety; sustainable transport; business activity and town centre viability; and urban design, landscape and streetscape.

The Council manages parking on all roads in the borough except priority routes – usually A roads – which are managed by Transport for London. In areas where parking controls exist we manage permits for residents, businesses, visitors, carers and health workers. We also enforce parking in pay and display areas.

Car ownership is rising steadily, increasing the parking pressures on already overcrowded roads. In many places residents now find it difficult to park anywhere near their homes. This can present major difficulties for some people and can seriously affect their quality of life, especially for parents with young children, the elderly and for those with health and mobility issues. Areas where there is heavy pressure on parking space are often found near railway stations, shops, hospitals and colleges. Sometimes quite a large area is affected, but in other cases problems
are concentrated in just a few streets.

A Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) can sometimes resolve these difficulties. The main purpose of a CPZ is to manage vehicle overcrowding. They help to control intrusive parking by limiting parking availability and give priority to residents and businesses, whilst providing short term parking for shoppers, visitors and social users.

The Council also uses CPZs to help the regeneration of our local town centres. All space other than residents’ and business’ parking space in a CPZ is short stay space. This ensures that there is more space available for people making short trips to the shops or to use local facilities.

CPZs also help to improve the local quality of life by removing obstructive parking from junctions and corners and allowing free access for local people and the emergency services.

In designing a CPZ we seek to balance competing demands and the need for car parking space, priority is given in the following order:

1. Residents
2. Shoppers, visitors, those servicing local businesses and directly adding to the local economy
3. Local workers
4. Commuters

Higher priority is given within these groups for people with mobility impairment.

The introduction of a CPZ needs to consider parking demand, supply, pricing, safety, economic and financial feasibility issues, site characteristics and local features.

Local features that increase parking pressure are commonly known as parking attractors. When designing a CPZ these parking attractors will play a vital role within the CPZ design. When controls are placed around these parking attractors particular attention should be given to areas that are within a short walking or cycling distance away, from which people can park and then walk or cycle on to the destination. This brings areas up to five miles from a particular local feature into play – and pressures on areas even further away will increase as people become more willing to cycle further distances.

The Council only introduces CPZs where there is support from a majority of residents. We do not seek to impose controls where residents don't want them. And we certainly do not seek to use CPZs – or any other parking restrictions or traffic management controls – as a means of making money for the Council.

Indeed, the Council can only use any surplus income from on-street parking – that is to say, income over and above the cost of running the service – to pay for work to repair and improve the borough’s roads, and to make them safer. So all road users benefit from parking charges. An increase in income from these charges means the Council can reduce the amount of its general budget (paid for by all tax-payers) it needs to spend on maintaining the roads. The total parking income earned in the last full financial year, 2009/10, was £5.16m: the service cost £4.48m leaving a surplus of £680,000, which was spent on improved lighting (£530,000) and traffic management schemes (£150,000).

We have raised charges this year as part of a raft of measures the Council has agreed to meet the huge savings required of it in response to cuts in Government funding - £33m needed to balance the budget just this year. No area of service has been immune to savings or the need to increase income. I recognise the rise in charges in many cases has been steep. But we have set the new charges with reference to those charged in other parts of the capital. The new price for an annual residents’ permit, for example, at £120 is at the London median for 2010/11 – and that median will undoubtedly rise as other councils also feel the need to raise charges this year.

In the Our Lewisham, Our Say consultation last year many people said they would pay extra for services rather than see them cut. Raising parking charges is a way of making sure we can continue to invest in making our roads safer. However, councillors did agree other cost savings for the parking service. This will look at the provision of back office functions and will seek the removal of pay and display equipment as we roll out parking payments by mobile phone.

I hope that I have helped to answer some of your questions about parking and to respond to some of your inevitable frustrations. I look forward to your comments.

Fire at Brockley Cross launderette

Fire engines are currently on the scene at Brockley Cross, where a portacabin behind a launderette has caught fire. On Brockley Ben reports that Mantle Road, Endwell Road and Brockley Cross have been temporarily closed to traffic.

For a photo of the blaze, click here.

Vocational free school in Lewisham?

The News Shopper reports that a local group called Diaspora is hoping to open a free school specialising in Lewisham teaching vocational skills to boys. On their website, they say:

Lewisham is a large net exporter of pupils to other boroughs and also has one of the highest unemployment rates in London. Children are leaving primary school without the basic skills to follow the curriculum set in secondary school in turn this results in them leaving secondary school where without the relevant life skills for success.

The underachievement of White working class boys & Black British/ Caribbean boys is creating a cohort of excluded children, who are placed at a severe disadvantage when entering adult life. Parents and the community are eager for a solution.

Vocational learning at school is under-appreciated and under-provided in Britain, compared for example, with the German system.

For some people, the acknowledgement that different people have different aptitudes seems to be an admission of defeat - encouraging people to study plumbing rather than History is seen as pigeon-holing people, in a way that - say - encouraging people to specialise in music isn't. That's wrong-headed. So this is an interesting idea, although it comes with all the usual caveats about the viability and desirability of the free school principle.

Look East - the view from Hilly Fields of Loampit Vale

In the debate about the future of Lewisham town centre, one of the concerns raised by Brockley residents is that the tall buildings of Loampit Vale and Lewisham Gateway would forever wreck the view east from Hilly Fields. We’ve always been skeptical about this argument, but since construction began at Loampit Vale and Lewisham Gateway got grassed over for an indefinite period, the debate has settled down and we’d not thought much about it.
But Tuesday’s beautiful weather meant another trip to the wonderful playground at the top of the park and as we waited for our family to exhaust itself in the sandpit, we noticed that we couldn’t see the fast-growing towers or even the tower cranes building them – even when we stood on the bench at the highest point of the park (where we took the top photo). That’s not the only vantage point, so we walked towards the eastern edge of the park, where there is a gap in the trees and took the second photo. If you really want to see the buildings and the cranes you can, but Primrose Hill it ain’t.
Of course, there are more, taller buildings to come from Loampit Vale and Lewisham Gateway may one day surprise us all, but for most of the year (at least when the trees have leaves), from most vantage points, it seems that the towers will barely be visible. For those who really want to have their illusions that they don’t live in London shattered, you can still get great views of Canary Wharf down Tyrwhitt Road.

Would you borrow a book from these people?

The News Shopper has a great summary of the bidders vying to take over some or all of Lewisham's libraries.

There are two candidates interested in taking on all four libraries, including Eco Computer Systems, a computer recycling social enterprise which has been highly active in promoting its case and We Think, a group led by Lewisham Community Sports that aims to turn the centres in to broader activity centres aimed at young people.

We Think's Toby Chambers gets docked points for confusing "less" with "fewer" in his quote:

“There’ll be books there and computers. But it’s about redefining what a library’s role in society is going to be. We’re saying less is more - less books but more quality.”

Charity Family Services UK wants to use New Cross library as its new HQ.

Finally, pity poor Sydenham library, which has been targeted by the New Testament Church of God, whose presentation makes them sound as credible as this fictitious one.

Brockley FC

Germaine Arnold blogs about the things he finds in Deptford Market and has unearthed this hot ticket from the 70s - a Dinner and Dance in Sydenham in aid of the 50th anniversary of Brockley FC.

Today's Brockley FC says it was founded in 2007 while the only other similarly named club we know of is Brockley County FC.

Does anyone know what became of Brockley FC?

Nunhead delights

Suitcase Circus Children's Show, 3pm, 17th April, Buchan Road Hall, SE15 3HQ

The organisers promise "a delightfully heart-warming and interactive family-friendly spectacular" featuring an anarchic sock, the world's only acrobatic potato sack; Madame Teapot, the 'stainless steel diva'; and Dan Der Uras, a daredevil ski glove straight from the slopes of Switzerland and other accessory-based characters.

Ticket price: Adults £2 Children £1. Tickets available on the door or in advance at Nunhead Library.

For more details visit

Pull The Other One, 9pm, 29th April, Tenants Hall, 241 Peckham Rye, SE15 3AA

We're instantly suspicious of any comedy night that includes the word bonkers in its promotional material, but Pull the Other One sounds like an interesting mix of acts.

Operatic shadow puppetry, musician Earl Okin and "bonkers but brilliant Holly Burn" are among the attractions. Tickets £10. Email to apply.

The Brockley Common Meadow

The Brockley Cross Action Group writes:

The BXAG has received funding to create a community wildflower meadow at the north end of
Brockley Common. This will be of great benefit to bees and other wildlife and we hope it will become an eye catching blaze of colour for everyone passing by.

Come and help us create something beautiful!


Tools, gloves and hot refreshments will be provided – just bring stout footwear and warm clothing. Meet at the Broca Café. Come and join in!

Easter at Frendsbury Gardens

Brockley Central readers are invited to an Easter Fun Day at Frendsbury Gardens (Frendsbury Road) on Sunday 17th April, 11am till 2pm, to raise money for a Club House for kids.

There will be games, an Easter egg treasure hunt, free crafts, refreshments and a raffle with prizes kindly donated by local businesses, such as a dinner for two at the Royal Oak. There will also be stalls for hire.

If anyone is interested in renting a table for the day they can ring Ema directly on 07956 956 116. For further information ring that number or email:

This is also another opportunity to plug the Frendsbury Gardens Bug Club, who meet once a month and whose recent achievements include the construction of a Bug Hotel, bird feeders and spider web frames. Follow them on Facebook.

Micro to Macro, Toads Mouth Too

Gill Hickman, stalwart of the Brockley Open Studios and director of the artist-run Skylark Galleries at Gabriel's and Oxo Tower Wharf, has organised an exhibition at Toads Mouth Too, 188 Brockley Road.

Called Micro to Macro, the exhibition began in March and runs until April 30th. There are 21 pieces of art including embossed collages and textured paintings of cells and of planets and stars, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first space flight.

Greenspaces: Luxmore Gardens

Last weekend, under a brittle sky, we visited Luxmore Gardens - a rare occasion when we didn't overshoot its concealed entrances.

We sat for a while in the monochrome park, parallel to an old man nursing a can, still. At the far end of the Gardens, a few teenagers hung out soundlessly. Aside from the dog poo and some litter, they were the only signs of life in the half hour we were there. As we left, a guy with a Staff let it dump on the steps up to Rokeby Road.

In a ward starved of green space, a large urban garden like Luxmore could and should be much better, but it needs more love and more people.

Forum update

We're now at nearly 150 registered users on, Brockley Central's sister site and local forum. A few people have experienced problems registering via email, so we've removed that step, you can now register without submitting your email.

Click on Recent Activity to see what discussions have been added or updated and Current Visitors to see who's online. At the time of writing there are 52 visitors but only one member, so many of you are yet to take the plunge. In order to post a message, please register today and discuss all of those things you've been cross with Brockley Central for not writing about.

Brown of Brockley - Heroic Self Sacrifice

The material prosperity of a nation is not an abiding possession. The deeds of its people are.
- GT Watts

Postman's Park on King Edwards Street in the City is an elevated park built on top of the buried bodies of 19th century Londoners, during a period when the need for the living to have recreational space was considered greater than the desire for the dead to have somewhere to decompose in peace.

The park is most famous for GT Watts' 1900 Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, which celebrates heroism in everyday life.

Friend of BC b. spotted this tribute to Alex Stewart Brown of Brockley on the Watts Memorial wall.

Serious incident closes Brockley Road [UPDATED]

Brockley Road was taped off this morning, following a serious incident near the Esso Garage. Uncofirmed reports on Twitter suggest it was a stabbing. We will try to confirm the details later.

UPDATE: The News Shopper confirms that a stabbing took place at approximately 9.20pm and a man in his late teens is in a serious condition.

Photo courtesy of Mike Winship.

Elephant & Castle shopping centre to avoid demolition

Plans for the regeneration of the Elephant & Castle, gateway to the south, appear to be unraveling, with the owners of the shopping centre reportedly considering abandoning plans to demolish it.

Despite installing the world's most elaborate roundabout crossing scheme to make the area more pedestrian friendly, plans to make significant changes to the road layout have been scrapped, while new height limits introduced by the Mayor have caused problems for the cluster of tall buildings and related open spaces envisaged by the original master plan.

Despite these setbacks, it appears that Oakmayne Plaza, a mixed use scheme that includes a Bermondsey Square-esque development, including a cinema, hotel and public square, is finally getting underway, having lain as a sad pile of masonry on the New Kent Road for many years.

What's different about

We've had a few questions about how the forum differs from Brockley Central. The answer is probably best illustrated with some examples of the kind of discussions that have taken place on Southeastcentral since its launch yesterday.

Over 110 people are now registered and threads include:

So it's working and allowing a much broader range of local topics to be covered, but a forum needs you to contribute, there are still far more readers of the forum than there are registered users. Please sign up, take part and spread the word.

Conway in two pictures

Here's the new strap line for Conway, Lewisham's favourite construction and maintenance contractor (top picture): Great people, great work.

The bottom picture shows a large Conway storage unit, that's been there since they finished the first stage of the Brockley Cross works, some weeks ago. Since we recently learned that the next phase of work won't begin for a while, we hope that the great people of Conway will come and remove their junk from our pavements soon.

Thanks to Fintan for the top photo.

Hillyfielders FC: For whom the ball tolls

We've covered the shameful threat to Honor Oak recreation ground before but now we've been contacted by Brockley resident Jenny O'Connell who explains the impact it would have on children's sport in the area:

I help run a football club called Hillyfielders FC. We use to be based at Hilly Fields (hence the name) a few years ago we had to move due to the amount of children we were getting so the only open space avaliable within walking distance and which wasn't occupied was Honor Oak Park. We have many children from SE4 and surrounding areas who are a part of HFC.

I don't know if you are aware but Southwark (who own the land) want to use Honor Oak Rec for Burials as they are running out of space. This would mean that HFC would no longer have a training ground or a home ground (as we play our home games there at present).

Please sign the petition to save Honor Oak rec now.

Deptford Train Station redevelopment begins

As the Deptford Dame has already reported, years of reading the tea leaves about whether Deptford Station would ever get built have paid off - not only will it get built, work is underway right now. The work is important, not only for the passengers who use its narrow unforgiving entrance, but also for the centre of town, for which the new station is a key element in its development.

The Council says:

The development, which is being funded jointly by Lewisham Council and through the National Station Improvement Programme includes:

  • Constructing a new station building, including a modern ticket office, a ticket window for people with disabilities and improved passenger information.
  • Installing two new staircases as well as two new lifts to create step-free access between the station entrance and platforms.
  • Removing the existing canopies along both platforms and replacing them with longer canopies to provide passengers with better protection from the weather

The new station is expected to be open in November this year while the full work programme, which is being carried out by VolkerFitzpatrick on behalf of Lewisham Council, is expected to be fully completed by summer 2012. The station and key facilities will remain open to passengers throughout the construction.

The majority of construction work will take place from 8am-5pm Monday-Friday and 8am-1pm on Saturdays. Some night work will be necessary but any residents likely to be affected will be kept informed. In order to help answer residents’ enquiries, VolkerFitzpatrick has organised an Open Day on Friday 8 April from 10am-4pm. The Open Day will take place at Unit 4, Titan Business Estate, Finch Street, SE8 and will also provide an opportunity to view drawings, plans and a model of the new station.

Alan Smith, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Regeneration at Lewisham Council, said: “The new railway station is a key element in our plans for Deptford’s regeneration. The idea is not only to update and upgrade the station for the benefit of local residents and businesses but also to create an excellent first impression for people visiting this increasingly attractive part of the borough.

“We plan to install lifts, glass facades, improve lighting and extend canopies to provide better protection from the weather. The station will lead onto a new public space created on the site of the currently-derelict station yard off Deptford High Street. This will allow access to the Victorian railway arches which will be converted to provide studio space for local artists.”

Jim Munro, Contracts Manager at VolkerFitzpatrick, said: “The new, modern entrance will significantly improve accessibility for local residents and visitors, whilst the sensitive restoration of the arches and carriage ramp, which date back to the 1830s, will also ensure the station retains some of its rich history.

“Some night time works will be required when we need to work on the railway line itself; this must be done at a time to minimise train disruption. Local residents will be informed of any out of hours works well in advance.”

Children's Cafe for Brockley Cross

The Tea Factory is getting a new occupant. Tea Dance for Little People is a cafe designed for children, opening in the building's long-vacant corner unit this summer.

The ambitious business is the brain child of Brockley resident Sally-Anne Donaldson, who moved in this week and is working with Tea Leaf Arts and Green Tea Architects to create the space.

The site says:

Donaldson decided to combine her profession as a dancer with her love of coffee and create a space where you can jump on the sofas. This is a café with a difference. Enjoy good food and drink whilst specialist dancers, musicians and artists encourage physical and creative development with your little ones through play, exploration and interaction.

BC has been arguing for a couple of years that it was only a matter of time before a family-friendly cafe opened in Brockley to cater for the growing army of young families in the area although this is a considerably more elaborate proposition than we envisaged.

Lewisham People's Day stall applications

The Council has published details of this year's event. They say:

Lewisham’s annual party in the park, one of the largest and longest running free festivals in south London is taking place on Saturday 9 July in Mountsfield Park, Catford, SE6. It promises to be a fun filled day for everyone, with a great line up of music, art, sport, food and much more.

This year Lewisham Council plans to increase the level of sponsorship and commercial income for People’s Day and, with this additional support, intends to stage another great festival together with the thousands of local people who help to make the event a success every year.

People’s Day also plays host to hundreds of voluntary groups and charity organisations who use the event to promote their services, fundraise or as an opportunity to meet some of the 25,000 people who visit the festival every year. Applications are welcome from groups, new and old, and there is still time to apply for a space at the event.

The closing date for stall applications is Friday 15 April.

To apply for a stall contact: 020 8314 7321 or
For more information go to:

Introducing South East Central: Because other opinions are available

Trent: Look at this, okay? I want you to remember this face, here. Okay? This is the guy behind the guy behind the guy.
- Swingers

Brockley Nick here.

The speed of innovation in social media is eye-watering. Empires are built and destroyed in months, not decades. YouTube was founded in February 2005 and within two years it was sold to Google for more than 1.6 billion dollars. MySpace lost 10 million users in January 2011 alone.

So only four years after people started asking for it and two years after we decided we had to do it, Brockley Central has built a forum. It's called and it covers the areas that this site tends to focus on: Brockley, Deptford, Ladywell, Lewisham and New Cross. It also has sections to discuss wider South East London issues, such as politics, transport and local services.

Brockley Jon built it and gave it a snazzy logo. Since Sunday, we have been trialling it with BC's Twitter and Facebook friends, to see how it works and get feedback. It's not perfected yet and over time we'll be adding features and making it look prettier but so far the platform is performing really well for first the 70 members.

People seem to like its social networking elements and ability to track conversations, while the structure works well for now and we will make changes as we go along. People don't appear to have encountered any problems registering (which is quick and painless) and even George Hallam should approve - the software is made in Britain.

What does it mean for Brockley Central? Mostly, nothing - we'll continue running stories and debates on this site exactly as before. The two sites are designed to be complementary.

Blogs are far better than forums at breaking news and focusing on key issues. But I appreciate that not everyone wants their local debate strained through Brockley Central's unique filter of reason, optimism, balance, insistence on facts and belief in objective truth. As a blogger, I'm also essentially a gatekeeper for all kinds of things I don't need to be - from lost memory cards to Bridge Club meetups. Forums are great ways for people to organise themselves and debate the things that they're really interested in.

On South East Central, there is no above and below-the-line hierarchy - Brockley Nick is just regular schlub Nick Barron, a de-powered Superman tasting his own blood for the first time in an Alaskan diner. Those readers who complain that BC does not precisely mirror local society or reflect their preferred agenda will find it much easier to do something about it.

Having said that, I expect there will be some side effects. Hopefully, the main effect will be to make Brockley Central bigger than ever. will become a source of stories and traffic for Brockley Central (and other local sites).

On the other hand, some of the discussion that currently takes place on Brockley Central will probably gravitate towards the forum - things like tradespeople recommendations are better managed on a forum while its wider reach means you'll be able to source a broader range of opinion.

Why aren't the two sites integrated properly? Blame Google for not creating a plug-in forum for Blogger and us for being too lazy / scared to tackle the monster we have created - shifting thousands of articles and hundreds of thousands of comments on to a new platform that could cope with both formats was too daunting.

A positive consequence of this approach is that the forum has a name and an identity of its own. It means that people who don't live in this part of South East London but want a local forum of their own can have one, without having to type the word Brockley in to their browser, which would simply rub salt in the wounds of anyone not lucky enough to live here. We can add new areas to the forum as and when users demand them. We've had questions about Catford, Bellingham, Forest Hill, Honor Oak and, er, Rotherhithe already.

So, please try it out and tell us what you think. And above all, start using it. It's your turn now.