Rage of the red lanterns

La Lanterna, the Brockley Road restaurant whose renovation stalled over a year ago, cutting a sorry dash on the high street ever since, is not on the market, despite its owners Biagio putting four of their other restaurants up for sale.

Property agents Restaurant Property confirm that it is not currently for sale. Expect it to sit there brooding for a good deal longer.

Funny laundering

Artmongers have added another splash of colour to South East London by redesigning the front of a New Cross launderette, having previously turned a house in to a clockwork toy and dumpsters in to cows and parcels

Artmongers at work

As they did with the key, they've employed a little optical illusion to produce a 3D effect, and created a glorious shop front, which, together with ReynA, has dramatically improved the feel of this parade.  

A Halloween Special at the Brockley Jack - The Dark Entry

Presented by Donkey Work

The Dark Entry is a new play based on a story from Canterbury's master Victorian raconteur Rev R. H. Barham's Ingoldsby Legends.

A chilling tale set during the upheavals of the Reformation, it follows an opportunistic cleric and his cook who meet grisly ends in a tale of misdeeds, mendacity and murder.

Donkey Work bring their own unique and eclectic style to the story.

Monday 31 October at 7.30pm & 9.30pm
Tickets £10, £8 conc., (suitable for over 12s)
To book online click here

The Wickham Arms - last orders

The Wickham Arms closes temporarily on Monday. The current landlord, the likeable Ted, will be leaving the Wickham Arms on October 31st. In a note to customers, he says:

"I feel sure that the Wickham Arms can only benefit by having new owners. The pub really needs a husband and wife team to bring it to its full potential so I hope that you will give them your full support, whoever they may be. 

"I have had some good times over the last 11 years and I hope some of you have too! I would like to thank you all for your custom, good company, and in some cases, friendship over the years."

The Wickham has been up for sale for a long time, and we know of at least three teams who were interested at various stages. It sounds as though new buyers have been found and we look forward to learning about their plans. 

The Wickham Arms is a handsome pub in a stunning location, with a big garden and a great terrace. It has more potential and is in far better condition than The Talbot was, when it was taken over and restored. However, it probably needs a complete change of direction in order to be viable in the long-term. 

It is possible for pubs to make money without selling food, but probably not on a quiet street in a residential area and especially not if your range of beers and wines is pretty limited. In recent years, the team made some minor changes in an attempt to broaden its appeal, but a more radical intervention is probably now needed. Hopefully, it can be modernised without losing any of its traditional charm and new customers can be wooed without alienating too many of its existing clientele. Nowhere did a better pub quiz than the Wickham.

Good luck to Ted and his family in any case. Bruise play tonight and Bobby Valentino plays tomorrow.

Da Art of Storytellin' (Pt. 1)

I say what's cooler than bein' cool?
- Andre 3000

Brockley Central's Twitter collective reached 3,000 today. If you haven't discovered Twitter, you are a luddite fool. If you have and you aren't following us, then you are missing a large chunk of the BC experience. We use it to plug each new story and key reader posts, plus good stuff from the South East London forum and the most interesting things tweeted elsewhere about Brockley.

Please follow us on Twitter, or on Facebook, where we're nearing 1,000. This is the land of a million drums.

BC competition: Win an I Broccoli Brockley Bag

To win this gorgeous I Broccoli Brockley bag courtesy of creators I Broccoli Brockley all you have to do is correctly guess what item is in Brockley Central's bag (that's right, we're presenting you with an open goal to abuse us). To enter, just email your answer to this address and the first correct guess will win the bag. If you don't win, you can always buy one for £4.50 by visiting their website or Browns of Brockley.

The competition will last until someone wins it.

Nisa gonna show everyone how bombad Nisa really is!

Bilbo Bagshot: The Phantom Menace was 18 months ago, Tim! 
Tim: I know, Bilbo, OK? It just... it still hurts! That kid wanted a Jar Jar doll!

The new Nisa supermarket opening in Jude Court on Mantle Road is being fitted out, with shelving currently being installed. It is going to be pretty big - it looks larger than the nearby Costcutter, for example - and should prove stiff competition for similar retailers in the area. 

Stream clean at Ladywell Fields

Volunteers are welcome for a community clean up of the stretches of river in Ladywell Fields this Sunday, 30th Oct 10am-1pm.

Meet at the cafe in the north (Ladywell) field. Arrive promptly so as not to miss the important safety talk from organisers Thames 21, who can provide waders, gloves and other equipment. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The Misty Moon gallery

Following the departure of art curators Tank from the Ladywell gallery that bears their name, Misty Moon Exhibitions and Events will be taking it over from December 1st. Misty Moon has previously hosted events at the gallery and it's good to have confirmation that the show will go on.

More East London Line trains from December

TfL has announced an increase in services on the East London Line that is almost useful if you live in Brockley. From December 2011, trains on several routes across the London Overground network will run more frequently at peak times, evenings and weekends. Scheduled improvements include:
  • Two extra morning peak trains from Surrey Quays to Dalston Junction, Monday to Saturday
  • Four extra trains will run every hour between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington on Sunday mornings
The extra trains from Surrey Quays should make northbound journeys slightly less squashed for us from that point on, and it's encouraging to see them trying to squeeze more capacity out of the network this way. Perhaps more late night trains are not too far away.

Thank you to Monkeyboy for the news.

Anyone for ice skating?

As part of the (still taking shape) Brockley Design Festival, Hilly Fields tennis courts will be turned in to an ice rink (using synthetic ice) next month.

More details soon, but put the dates in your diary:

Saturday 19 November 12-7pm and Sunday 20 November 12-4pm

Brockley Society Annual General Meeting

Tuesday 8 November, 8pm
Brockley Social Club, 240 Brockley Road, SE4 2SU

The AGM +  elections to the committee will follow. Lots of opportunities to get involved in BrocSoc's many activities.

BrocSoc is also compiling a list of the artists, musicians and writers of Brockley – please come and add your suggestions to the collection.

Everyone is welcome in the BrocSoc big tent.

Police close Turnham Road [UPDATED]

On Twitter, Shona reports that part of the road has been sealed off by police and the staff of the Co-Op have been evacuated. It follows the shooting on the same road in the Honor Oak estate, earlier this week.

More details as they come in.

ReynA, 379 New Cross Road

Please post your comments and reviews about this New Cross restaurant / cafe / bar here.

Ladywell cash bonanza

Some localised Quantitative Easing is taking place. Ladywell now has a free cash machine. On Twitter, Lara confirms that the cash machine at the Post Office on Algernon Road lets you take out cash without charging you for the privilege. For a while it looked like paper money would be phased out altogether before this area got a free cash machine, but over the last few years, our financial system has entered the 20th century.

Halloween Gardening

Greens select Sedgeley as 10:1 outside candidate for Greenwich and Lewisham

The Green Party has selected Roger Sedgley as its candidate for Greenwich & Lewisham in the London Assembly elections next May. Announcing the decision, they put their 10:1 campaign (which seeks to limit the pay differential between the highest and lowest paid London government employees) front and centre. 

The Greens unveil their 10:1 campaign
Sedgley said:

"The very simple idea behind the 10:1 campaign is a way to help to narrow the huge gulf in London between those who have, and those who are less fortunate.

"Islington Council has already committed to it - its Chief Executive Lesley Seary earns no more than 10 times what Islington's lowest-paid worker takes home. I want employers across London to follow Islington Council's example.

"Green councillors in Lewisham successfully fought for a policy where all Lewisham Council workers and workers on outsourced contracts are paid at least the London Living Wage of £8.30 an hour. Greens will fight to put more money in the pockets of ordinary hardworking Londoners."

The campaign is an interesting one, although in effect, what it does is to cap public sector salaries at around £150,000. To put that in perspective, a study last year showed that 14 Lewisham Council (which wouldn't be included in the measures) employees earned more than £100,000 a year, while a 2011 report showed that 379 TfL employees earned over £100,000. 

New Cross People's Library

The New Cross People's Library team have been in touch about an upcoming event they're hosting on October 29th.  The library is volunteer run since the Council withdrew its funding for this and four other libraries in the borough earlier this year. 

Supported by Bold Vision, the group behind the Hill Station and a range of other great projects in New Cross, the team reports that they are attracting approximately 300 people a day, equal to the number it was getting before its closure, except that the new library is open for an extra day a week. They say:

Courttia Newland who's a brilliant South London-based playwright and screenwriter, is going to be reading from his work at New Cross People's Library (New Cross Road, www.nxpl.org.uk) on Saturday 29th October, 3pm. It's free. Courttia's latest play Look to the Sky is currently on tour with Half Moon. http://courttianewland.com/

This is part of our celebrations of Black History Month and one of several events we've put on in our community-run library in New Cross Gate since we reopened in August.
We are now open 4 days a week (one more day than when it was run by the council). And we've got an excellent second hand bookshop in the library, which we think has some of the most interesting and cheapest books in London. All of which we hope will encourage people to come to see us!

When Crofton Park Library is getting disappointing early reviews since its reopening, it's heartening to hear about this project's success.

Peckham Space OPEN Exhibition opportunity

Calling artists who live, work or study in SE14, SE15 or SE5. Peckham Space is pleased to announce its second OPEN exhibition and calls for artworks.

This unique exhibition will showcase artworks that have a connection to Peckham and will take place from 29 November - 17 December 2011 at Peckham Space on Peckham Square, London SE15.

This is an exceptional opportunity to have your work seen by the selection panel consisting of leading gallery directors, tutors and curators from across London. The selection panel will include representatives from Space Station 65, Camberwell College of Arts, Peckham Space, Tate Modern

Selection Criteria
  • Your work must have a thematic connection to Peckham.
  • Your work must be two dimensional ONLY.
  • Your work must be ‘ready to hang’, ie: D-rings or wire on the back.
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you work, study or live in the following postcodes: SE15; SE14; SE5.
  • Your work must be under 0.50m x 0.50m in size.
  • You will submit one artwork only in protective wrapping.
  • Your work will not include exposed glass edges or sharp objects.
Submitting Artwork

Bring artwork to Peckham Space, 89 Peckham High Street, London, SE15 5RS on Saturday 19 November 11am – 4pm.

For all enquiries relating to Peckham Space OPEN email info@peckhamspace.com or call 0207 358 9645.

The Allotment - Business Time

The Allotment - the New Cross deli and grocer - enjoyed its first day's trading yesterday. What did you think? Please post your comments and reviews here.

Honor Oak shooting

Telegraph Hill Cllr Paul Bell says on Twitter:

Shocked: there has been a shooting this afternoon in Turnham Road on the Honor Oak Estate; 4 arrests. 1 victim in hospital - not fatal.

We will bring you more details when we can.

Jam Circus - Ghost Protocol

Lucy from Jam Circus has been in touch with an assortment of updates:

I wanted most of all to let you know about our big Halloween party this coming Saturday, which is themed to a travelling circus - think Victorian freakshow - we have a late license until 3am, D.J. and a troupe of sideshow entertainers. The staff will be in fancy dress, as will plenty of customers.

We also now have a weekly quiz on a Tuesday night where people can win baked goods, wine and money! It's always a really good laugh and it's not too serious.

We have a vintage clothes sale on a Friday afternoon which is happening up until mid November. We have a DJ every Saturday so people can come and boogie on down until 1am. On Sundays we always have live music and 2 for £9 on cocktails. So those are our fixed weekly events.

Finally, we have a new chef, Nicole, who is wonderful. She makes really hearty scrumptious food and doesn't scrimp on portion size!

Longer platforms: Longer trains, new timetable from December 2011

Mike reports that the platform extension work at Brockley Station is due for completion on December 5th, 2011, paving the way for longer, more evenly-spaced trains to London Bridge when the new timetable launches later that month. The new timetable means a net loss of one train as two poorly-used trains are cut while one is introduced to fill a gap. The Southern email states:

On the Sydenham route, we will be running longer peak time trains, with the 06.32, 07.02, 08.02 and 08.32 Norwood Junction to London Bridge and 16.36, 17.05, 17.36, 18.06 and 18.36 London Bridge to West Croydon services being lengthened from 8 to 10 cars.

An additional 09.36 Crystal Palace to London Bridge service calling at all stations will be introduced. This fills a 17 minute gap in the shoulder peak towards London Bridge on the Sydenham route.

The existing 17.25 and 18.24 London Bridge to Crystal Palace trains will be withdrawn due to low passenger numbers. The 17.19 and 18.19 London Bridge to London Victoria via Crystal Palace service will continue to operate as now as will the 17.36 and 18.36 London Bridge to West Croydon services which will be increased to run with 10 coaches. Coaches released from the withdrawn services have been redeployed to reduce overcrowding on other services on the Redhill route.

Overall, longer coaches on peak services, with two trains axed in the evening peak, however those longer coaches will compensate.

Mike has helpfully worked out when the new London-bound trains leave Brockley:

06.32, 07.02, 08.02 and 08.32 Norwood Junction to London Bridge
- from Brockley these are at 06.47, 07.17, 08.17 and 08.47
09.36 Crystal Palace to London Bridge
- will be a new train at 09.47 (with the existing 09.50 still running 3 minutes after)

The Jennings Report

Goodbye crumbly old E Coomes bookmakers, hello to Our Friend Jennings. The new shopfront on Coulgate Street is Typically Jennings - Just Like Jennings, in fact. Jennings, of Course is another bookie.

Dacres Wood Nature Reserve Open Day Today

The Forest Hill Society is organising a free event today from 11am to 3pm.

See the variety of plants and wildlife in this small reserve as the autumn sets in. Refreshments and local history talks in the field centre building.

Location: off Dacres Road, Forest Hill SE23

Brockley Cross Action Group opposes Shardeloes Road rehab plans

The Brockley Cross Action Group, which has for years campaigned for the Council to help the regeneration of Brockley Cross, has issued a statement about the substance abuse centre proposed for Shardeloes Road. They say: 

This is an extremely valuable service and one that is worthy of support in principle. That is not in doubt. 

The current service is located at New Direction, 410, Lewisham High Street. This serves users in the north of the Borough. Users in the southern part of the Borough have an equivalent centre in Forest Hill. Despite many successes with the current service the Council now believe they could achieve much more if the service for the north of the borough was better located. They think that a new service centre located in Brockley Cross would better serve users in Brockley, New Cross and Deptford. They justify the choice of Shardeloes Road as it is on a main road, it is close to Brockley Station and has frequent bus services. But do these brief statements in the consultation document really stand up to closer scrutiny?

The location

The current Lewisham High Street centre is on a busy main road with a heavy footfall, a very urban site within a commercial parade of shops, close to Lewisham Hospital. In contrast Brockley Cross, although it has a small nucleus of shops, is a much quieter and more residential area.

The building

It is a very small building too, about 4 times smaller than 410, Lewisham High Street. Furthermore we have established that there are only 5 years left on the lease, after which time the landlord has stated his intention to develop the site. The building, vacant for many years, will require considerable funds to convert it to the new use. Will this be good value for money, given that it will have a maximum of 5 years use?

Community safety

The problem [of alcohol and substance abuse] is much greater and widespread in New Cross and Deptford [anecdotal rather than statistical evidence is used to support this claim]. It therefore makes much more sense for a support centre to be located where there is a greater demand and it is easier to get to. Our concern would be that by opening a new centre in Brockley Cross we would be bringing people with drink & drug problems into an area where they don’t currently exist. There are anti-social problems associated with the current centre in Lewisham, but it is in a non residential area where the impact is minimal and where such issues can be managed. The Lewisham Central Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT), who regularly deal with drinker-related incidents outside the existing centre, said they were “relieved” to see it go. An adjoining shop stated that police attend to incidents outside the Centre every week. Lewisham has a large Police Station.

Their statement concludes that the centre is proposed in the wrong location. They urge people who agree with them to make their feelings known by emailing DAATAdmin@lewisham.gov.uk

Given their mission, it is perhaps not surprising that they have concluded that this plan is the wrong one, but their arguments are worth listening to, for two reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, they are well-reasoned. They list the practical reasons why this location is not particularly suitable and we have reproduced the ones we think are most compelling. However, arguments against specific proposals like this are often met with accusations of prejudice and intolerance. So secondly, it's worth pointing out that the BXAG group are a fair-minded group who gave the plans their first public consultation opportunity (at their AGM). We once organised a walkabout of Brockley Cross with the BXAG and the then-Deputy Mayor and mentioned on the tour that there were at least two businesses in the area that openly dealt drugs. We were urged not to rush to judgement by the BXAG (we weren't actually judging them, just pointing out that it wasn't a sign of a particularly successful commercial centre). 

These are not reactionaries, they are people who care about their area and have taken their time to evaluate the proposal and found the arguments for it to be deeply flawed.  

Fence mending in Telegraph Hill

“Oh, come now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?” The brush continued to move. “Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?” That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth - stepped back to note the effect - added a touch here and there - criticized the effect again - Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said: “Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little.” 
- Tom Sawyer and the fence

Tamsin doesn't want you to miss your chance to mend a fence, no charge:

Dawn from Gardens for Learning will be leading a group to re-weave the fence in the African garden around the Equiano Plinth in Telegraph Hill lower park from 11am to 1pm on Saturday - all welcome to come and join in and learn more about the African planting.

Halloween Central

Homer: Yeah, that's right, Barney. This year, I invested in pumpkins. They've been going up the whole month of October and I got a feeling they're going to peak right around January. Then, bang! That's when I'll cash in.
- The Simpsons, Homer vs Patty and Selma

The Tea Partiers write:

Tea Dance for Little People plans to light up Brockley shop windows with Halloween pumpkin lights at 4pm on Monday 31st October when a precession of little Tea Dance Ghouls will meet outside the Brockley Barge before going back to TDLP for their Halloween party.

We are fundraising for our future family events by selling its community-carved pumpkins to local businesses. Local firms will be asked to donate £5 or more to receive their spooky orange friends.

TDLP will be hosting a four day Halloween party for under 8s, from the 28th–31st October. 

The party will be a spellbinding version of its daily activity with dedicated artists, dancers, storytellers and musicians entertaining the children every day. TDLP is working in partnership with Brockley Cross Action Group to raise awareness of family and community activity in the local area amongst businesses.

The news is timely as we had been wondering whether to try to organise a Halloween get together for local parents and children who wanted to do some trick or treating locally.

My Deptford High Street

Earlier this year, we bumped in to Rebecca Molina, the Deptford entrepreneur who helped create the Deptford Art Map, which itself morphed in to the South London Art Map. She said that the logical next step would be to create a resource which covered a much wider range of businesses in Deptford.

So here it is. My Deptford High Street, which describes itself as:

A business support website that enables local businesses and customers to work together to create a vibrant and sustainable community network representing the wonders of Deptford. The website is a social and local service for consumers and businesses alike. It makes it easy for local customers and local merchants to communicate directly with each other and share the information that’s important to them.

It's a beautiful site, as you'd expect from the designers of the Homemade London website, with great photography of the area- as brilliant an advert for Deptford, as it is for Deptford businesses.

Tank - A farewell to art

Tank - the gallery space next door to the Ladywell Tavern - is hosting its farewell show in November. After more than two prolific years of eclectic and exciting shows, the gallery will be closing and Tank will metamorphose in to a virtual organisation, staging shows at a range of other venues. Curator Aoife has brought great joy to Ladywell and we hope her next events will be close to home.

Edward Chell Exhibition 11th-26th November 2011

Tank is excited to announce Viewing Stations, a solo exhibition of new works by Edward Chell, as our ultimate show at The Ladywell Tavern premises. After an industrious and successful two and a half years, Tank will be leaving the space and continuing as an independent curatorial organisation. Tank will now work closely with artists to create exhibitions in range locations. The private view will not only celebrate the opening of a great show by Edward Chell, but also the wonderful history of Tank within the space over the past few years. 

In this solo exhibition, Edward Chell investigates the landscape and flora of the motorway verge, exploring ideas about place, time and travel through oil paintings, customised road signage, digital prints and painted works on gesso panels.

Lewisham launches Shop Local project

Lewisham Council has launched a local deals service - like a hyperlocal version of Groupon - for Lewisham businesses to promote special offers to local residents. It's a smart way to support independent businesses in the borough, if they can build local awareness in the service and - from our conversations with one of the major daily deal services - South East London deals work well. Click here for full details:
Businesses in Lewisham can get ongoing exposure and attract new customers through Lewisham Council’s new deals scheme.
We’re asking businesses to offer a special discount for people who subscribe to the Lewisham Life enewsletter. All the offers will be listed on a secret page on our website that only members can access, and every future edition of our enewsletter will advertise the discounts scheme.
It’s up to businesses what discount they choose to offer. Possible examples include:
  • everyday service and product discounts (e.g. 15% off)
  • two for one offers
  • free initial consultations
  • party offers

Crofton Park Library - And that's the end of that chapter

Anyway -- because we are readers, we don't have to wait for some communications executive to decide what we should think about next -- and how we should think about it. We can fill our heads with anything from aardvarks to zucchinis -- at any time of night or day. 
- Kurt Vonnegut

The Guardian covers library closures today and mentions Crofton Park as a possible model for other communities whose libraries are threatened with closure. It says:

Disheartened observers... could find fresh encouragement by turning their attention to Lewisham, where the council has withdrawn funding from five of its 12 libraries. But all are still running. Earlier this year, the management of three of these libraries was handed to Eco Computer Systems (ECS), a local social enterprise that recycles computers. The libraries were rechristened "community hubs".

Founder Darren Taylor describes them as the natural expansion to his business, which donates 30% of the computers it recycles to needy individuals and community groups and ploughs its profits into IT training and other social projects.

The three libraries, for which Taylor's organisation has been given leases of up to 25 years, are combining traditional book borrowing with a patchwork of income-generating activities including IT and employment training, cafes, secondhand book sales and the rental of community meeting space. They are overseen by community hub managers employed by his organisation, helped by a pool of 120 volunteers. In the first weeks of the transfer to ECS, library staff showed the new managers the ropes but none of the council's librarians work there now. Fifteen staff have lost their jobs as a result of the council's withdrawal of funding from the five libraries.

So this is a good time to ask the question - how successful do you think the transition from Council to social enterprise has been? Have you used Crofton Park Library since the handover - and how does it compare?

With thanks to Mike.

Fusion to run nine Lewisham leisure centres

From the Fusion team...

Fusion Lifestyle, a registered charity specialising in providing high quality community sport and active leisure services, has been appointed by Lewisham Council to manage and operate six of its leisure centres and sports facilities, with a further three centres coming on board in the next two years. Fusion will also launch a customer bookings service to maximise community use of school facilities.

Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: "These are exciting times for sport and leisure in Lewisham. London 2012 is just around the corner and we are near completion of our transformation of sport and leisure facilities in the borough. We are keen to encourage Lewisham people to be more active and the plans to create better facilities with Fusion Lifestyle will go a long way to accomplishing this."

From 15 October, 2011, Fusion will take on the management of Ladywell Leisure Centre, Ladywell Arena, The Bridge Leisure Centre, Wavelengths Leisure Centre, Lewisham Indoor Bowls Centre and Forest Hill School Sports Centre.  Later this year Bellingham Leisure and Lifestyle Centre will be added, and on completion in 2012 Forest Hill Pools and in 2013 Loampit Vale Leisure Centre.

The relocation of the Wavelengths Library (housed in the Wavelengths Leisure Centre building at present) to the Deptford Lounge is due to take place this autumn and Fusion will finance a conversion of the existing library space into a high quality fitness suite.

Established in 2000, Fusion is a registered charity and has a strong track record of delivering recreational sport, health and fitness activities for local communities. It now operates fifty one sports and leisure centres in London and the South East including Croydon and Southwark leisure centres, Brockwell Lido and Hillingdon Sports and Leisure Complex.  

Peter Kay, Fusion’s Chief Executive said: “Lewisham Council has firm vision for leisure in the borough and the team at Fusion is looking forward to delivering some exciting developments over the next few years.  As a registered charity, we are committed to reinvestment, and providing the local community with high quality services at a price people are willing and able to pay”.

Find Kevin

Alexandra has asked us to help in the search for her friend Kevin, who has gone missing from his home in Croydon. She writes:

First of all please keep your eyes open.

Kevin could by now be anywhere in the UK, he does not have his passport with him. Although from South London, he has links in Lancaster and is fond of the South Coast.
We need national press coverage if you work for the media there is an Editorial available for publication.

Facebook: Please post this link on your facebook page and share it with your friends. Please ask your friends to share then link also.


Twitter: @bigchefkevoir We need you to Tweet like crazy and post to Celebs and ask people to Re-tweet. Please Tweet to media outlets local and national please refer back to @bigchefkevoir and use #KevinBoyleMissing

Pls RT? Chef Kevin Boyle from Croydon @bigchefkevoir has been missing since 12th Oct #KevinBoyleMissing http://bit.ly/nq3tZG


DIY DJ, October 27th

DIY DJ at the Ravensbourne Arms:

Everyone can be a DJ at a new South London vinyl night. The organisers of unique music night DIY DJ are asking everyone to scour their record collections and playlists for tunes with a ghostly connection and bring them along to The Ravensbourne Arms in SE13 on Thurs Oct 27th from 8pm onwards (entry free).

Deptford in bloom

Two new cafes have recently opened in Deptford: Blooming Together and Deli-X.

We meant to get some photos of both this weekend, but we didn't get further than Brockley Market, so you'll have to make do with reports from some other local blogs.

Crosswhatfields reports:

We popped in the new Deptford High Street cafe Deli-X on Saturday. It's where the Bear Space cafe used to be. The space has been opened up, with the delicatessen stuff at the front along with beautifully displayed fruit and veg, and the main seating area behind some book shelving, stretching out to the back doors which open onto patio garden as before.

Blossoming Together, a new 'craft cafe' and art gallery which opened a few weeks ago at the bottom of Tanner's Hill, in the premises of the former Deptford Deli.

Do click on the links, because the photos are great. 

Both are within a stone's throw from a Tesco Metro branch on Deptford High Street and like The Allotment in New Cross (which has today confirmed its opening day as October 24th), suggest that high street supermarkets and independent food businesses can, like the human being and the fish, co-exist peacefully.

Half-term Halloween

St Andrew's Centre, Brockley Road, SE4 2SA 
25th - 26th October 9.30am - 12.30pm 

Two day fun filled spooktastic adventures- jam packed with drama, music, dance and arts and crafts. Lots of half term fun! Nothing too spooky- suitable for 3.5-8 year olds.

Visit the Brockley forum for full details.

Brockley Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool

Lewisham Council has launched a naming competition for the new leisure centre and swimming pool being built at Loampit Vale. They say:

The flagship leisure centre is due to open to the public in the first half of 2013. One of the UK’s leading specialist architects, LA Architects, is leading on the design while local artist Phil Coy is working on plans for the façade to be used as an art installation.

Work on the new leisure centre is progressing well and, as it begins to take shape, the Council is starting to thinking about what to name it.

The Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, said:  “The building will take pride of place in our plans for the regeneration of Lewisham town centre and the design is intended to complement and enhance the river and social space running through Cornmill Gardens.

“The façade of the building will be a cascade of colour and light and we want the name to reflect the vibrancy and energy that the building will introduce to the area.  The new facility will provide a real focal point for residents, somewhere they can meet and socialise as well as experience first-class leisure facilities.

“Ideally we’d like to give the centre a name that reflects the new spirit of regeneration and that encapsulates the social nature of the centre.  Of course, we can think of our own name but Lewisham is home to so many creative people that it would be a waste of talent not to tap into that.”

The centre will include an eight lane competition pool with a moveable floor at the deep end to allow additional water area for teaching, a
 teaching pool, two dance/exercise/aerobics studios, a fitness suite with 100 stations, a health spa, a climbing wall, a creche and a cafe.
Ideas for naming the centre, together with a short explanation for your choice of name, can be emailed to sportandleisure@lewisham.gov.uk

If they want this thing to be a hit, then the right name seems obvious to Brockley Central, but what are your suggestions?

Big Draw returns to Goldsmiths, Oct 22nd

Goldsmiths, University of London is pleased to announce its annual Big Draw event will take place this year on Saturday 22 October.

As part of the national Big Draw campaign, Goldsmiths is inviting families from the local area and further afield to take part in the event from 11am-4pm in its Great Hall.

This year’s event ‘Explore The Big Draw’ will encourage children aged from 3 to 14-years-old to take part in drawing and storytelling activities led by PGCE Art & Design and PGCE English students.

The children will get to explore a treasure island where they can help 'shipwrecked' PGCE students make rafts and build shelters. Then they can travel across a 'linking bridge' ­- mapping their journey along the way with poetry and stories - to an exciting city where they will get the chance to help build a new civilisation.

As well as the typical drawing tools of chalk, pens and pencils, the student teachers are planning to make the day as inspiring as possible by using helium balloons, audio/visual equipment and much more.

The 2010 Big Draw event 'Blurring The Big Draw' attracted more than 600 visitors and received the Highly Commended Award 2010 from the Campaign for Drawing in its Drawing Inspiration Awards.

To get more information, please visit www.gold.ac.uk/bigdraw

I.C. Slater

Slater & King's Ladywell emporium is now open. Glen sent us this photo and describes the shop as 'fantastic':


New ELL station for Surrey Canal agreed

It's not often that Brockley Central gets to apologise for our undue pessimism, but it looks like the huge masterplan for Surrey Canal, including a new station on the East London Line, is to get the go ahead, despite our fears that the developers would struggle after public funding was denied for the station. The News Shopper reports that Lewisham Council granted planning permission this week and the developers have agreed to underwrite a new station:

A MASSIVE £850m development around Millwall’s football ground has been approved - with the developer agreeing to fund a new station. Lewisham Council’s strategic planning committee resolved to grant developer Renewal's applcation at a meeting on October 13.

Campaigners launch petition against Ladywell camp site

Residents of Church Grove in Ladywell have launched a petition against the Council's plans to develop a camp site at the end of their road. They say:

This is absolutely not about prejudice towards travellers. It is about access, safety and common sense. The proposal is simply absurd. Travellers' caravans are typically 2.55 m wide. Access on our road is 2.5 m. The site is on a flood plain, in a conservation area and can only accommodate five pitches. It does not meet the needs of travellers. 


Austerity Brockley

The Tesco cash machine on Lewisham Way is leading a resurgence in cash machines dispensing £5 notes, as a response to these austere times. The ATM gets a name check in a report on Thisismoney on the trend:

The number of cash machines that dispense £5 notes has seen a huge surge in the last two years, with 3,954 ATMS now dispensing fivers according to research.

This compares to just 670 ATM machines stocking the notes in 2009 as the popularity of the £5 note continues to grow with economic uncertainty lingering in the UK.

What are the other ways in which Brockley has responded to austerity?  

Brockley Cross bin laden - update

Following the discussion about bin bags being torn open in Brockley Cross on a regular basis, the Council has investigated and Nigel Tyrell, Head of Environment reports:

Members of our enforcement team have now made several visits to the area looking at the refuse disposal, including the trade waste arrangements. They have also spoken to the business’ about their customers dropping litter.

Officers were really pleased to find that a large majority of business’ have trade waste arrangements They have found a few business’ which don’t and they have been warned. So far we are pleased to confirm that one of the business’ has subsequently arranged for a trade waste contract. 

Further visits will be ongoing to make sure all the traders get rid of their waste in the proper way. If the traders continue to trade without any contract then enforcement action is the next step.

Our Cleansing Team have jet-washed the pavements around the litter bins. The Cleansing Team will also continue to monitor over the weekend and see if an initial improvement has been made following the visits.

Great to receive such a quick response from the council - we hope that the businesses failing to deal with their rubbish properly respond equally quickly.

Sim-phony - play with Brockley's orchestra

Isobel (oboe) wants you to know that you not only have a chance to play in Brockley's resident classical orchestra, but to determine its fate:

Brockley’s symphony orchestra, Harmony Sinfonia, has just celebrated its second birthday. But we don’t think Brockley knows about us yet. Did you know, for instance, that we are looking for more string and brass players?

We don’t audition – you just have to be able to keep up! We have our 7th concert coming up next month (19th November at St Peter’s Church in Wickham Road) featuring the fabulous Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with soloist Simon Hewitt-Jones and Sibelius’s Lemminkainen Suite Swan of Tuonela thrown in.

Some of us played a few under-rehearsed tunes down at the new Saturday Market the other week - thanks for listening. We came along because we wanted to remind you that Harmony Sinfonia rehearse and perform in SE4 – and basically, we’re yours!

We’d really love to know if there are any pieces you’d like us to play, or any venues you’d like us to perform in, as an orchestra or in smaller groups. We'd be very happy if you'd support us by following us on twitter @harmonysinfonia and liking our Harmony Sinfonia Facebook page. And you can find out more about us (and buy cut price concert tickets) on our website – www.harmonysinfonia.co.uk.

Tá Na Deptford

Emma, Creative Director of Tá Na, writes:

"We are Tá Na Deptford - the South East performance-based group in Deptford. We have started our new term of activities and between now and Christmas we will be running free performance workshops at the Amersham Arms in New Cross every other Monday (next one Monday 24th), and hosting portrait and life drawing classes from our studio at The Old Police Station (every Thursday starting from today).

"We are also trying to promote costume hire, we have already sourced lots of Halloween goodies and will be running an event from the studio for anyone interested in getting dressed up with us - theatrical make-up and all!"

Monday 24th Oct, 7th Nov, 21st Nov: PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP at The Amersham Arms 7pm-9pm. 
We will be training participants in the performance methods of Brazilian street theatre company 'Ta Na Rua'.
FREE ENTRY for everyone who wants to watch or perform. Click HERE for f/b event.

Every Thursday ARTS SOIREÉ: The Studio (The Old Police Station). 7pm-9pm.
Come discover your inner artist by experiencing portrait/ life drawing through performance!
The Arts Soireé will run every week from the studio, tickets £8 in adv, £10 on the door. However to launch our latest creative venture next weeks (13th) will be FREE OF CHARGE! Click HERE for f/b event.

6pm- 1am The Old Police Station
Come on down to The Old Police Station this Halloween to dress up in our vast costume collection before freaking out at the Halloween Hoodoo Party! Click HERE for f/b event.

Breakspears Road flashers

You're watching Futurama: the show that does not advocate the cool crime of robbery.
- Futurama

Siobahn writes:

I live on Breakspears Road in Brockley and I just want to raise awareness to anyone who lives in the area and walks home late at night. Over the last 3 months myself and my friends have experienced 3 very similar incidents of two men walking Breakspears road and exposing themselves to us. We have reported each incident to the police but I was shocked when my Landlady mentioned that it had happened to someone she knew 2 years ago.

Write Now 3 at The Brockley Jack

The Jack Studio has launched Write Now 3, the theatre’s annual New Writing Festival. The festival is designed to discover new writing talent and give emerging playwrights the opportunity to see their work performed.

To celebrate contemporary writing south east of the river we are looking for three previously unperformed scripts from playwrights with a strong connection to this area. The selected plays will be given a full production for a week each at the Jack Studio Theatre during April 2012.

During the month long festival there will also be a series of workshops, events, play readings, short plays and discussions with playwrights. There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved and take part. Guidelines and application forms can now be downloaded from the theatre’s website: www.brockleyjack.co.uk

The deadline for this year’s applications is Friday 25 November 2011.

West Ham plans for Olympic Stadium collapse

The DCMS has confirmed that West Ham's plan to buy the Olympic Stadium has collapsed. Instead, a statement released today says:

The stadium will now be retained it as a public asset, and the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) has been asked to start a new process to secure tenants for the stadium.

Athletics will remain at the heart of the facility, as has been promised as part of the 2017 World Athletics Championship bid, but the OPLC will also seek leasehold football tenants as well as considering alternative options. This ownership model is used very successfully in other stadiums in the country and across Europe and is also in keeping with other venues in the Olympic Park.

Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said:

“The process to sell the stadium has become bogged down.  We are acting today to end the legal paralysis that has put that legacy at risk.  Ending the current sale process and looking for a leasehold solution will remove the current uncertainty and allows us to help secure the future use of the Stadium with more confidence”. 

Back in January we wrote that the West Ham plan was a bad one that might need to be revised, although we didn't anticipate how quickly the whole thing would unravel. This is what happens when people try to play politics with a major stadium. There was a plan on the table from Spurs, which would have delivered a regenerated Crystal Palace (great news for South East London) and found a credible legacy use for the Olympic Stadium.

The new plan, which insists on retaining a major role for athletics at the Olympic Stadium, looks doomed to failure from the start.

What now?

Kathy: We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we've lived through, or feel we've had enough time.
- Never Let Me Go

At the beginning of the year, our list of predictions for 2011 included the start of two projects: Martin's Yard and the Hilly Fields cafe. With construction at an advanced stage at the Yard and the cafe forecast to open next year, two of Brockley Central's longest-held ambitions for the area are due to come true shortly.

These are two bits of physical infrastructure that will change the way people relate to this area. The cafe should encourage people to linger longer in the park and attract more visitors to the area. Martin's Yard should create a significant small business cluster in Brockley for the first time. 

So what next? We know of two projects, which are potentially very exciting and which we help to bring you confirmed details of soon. But what single thing would you like to see happen in Brockley that would change the area for the better? 

London Overground Game Theory

Blogger Brendan Nelson has written the definitive guide to getting a seat on the London Overground at rush hour. Lots of people had pointed us to it on Twitter, but we hadn't got around to doing anything about it before it appeared in tonight's Evening Standard.

If you want to understand "the occupants' deceit" or master "360 degree combat", click here. Our only advice is avoid the 8.28am northbound and steer clear of the disabled access doors (unless you're disabled) because the layout of the carriage at this point doesn't allow commuters to fan out so easily.