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

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.  


OuterBrockley said...

This is a well written argument, but that cannot disguise that it is almost entirely NIMBYism

Brockley Nick said...

That doesn't invalidate any of the arguments. And see point two, the BXAG are not knee-jerk oppositionists.

lll said...

Accusations of nimbyism are a kneejerk response. If a nuclear plant was proposed to be placed there, you'd have same the accusations flying round.

Bobby Hutton said...

NIMBYism regardless of anti veneer, full stop.

lll said...

Where are your counter arguments Bobby?

Anonymous said...

Well thought and argued response!! Thank you very much to the BXAG for taking the time to evaluate the proposal more seriously than the Bobby Huttons of this blog.

Brockley Kiwi said...

Things are never clear cut ...

People are very quick pull out the NIMBY accusation.

The reality is that there is element on NIMBYish in everyone to varying degrees it's just that some are more vocal about. I don't think people should be criticised for expressing concerns about developments that they feel will be detrimental to their neighbourhood.

At the end of day it is up to council to look at the arguments for and against a proposal and decide on balance what is the best outcome for society (not one particular group). In this case, this includes balancing the concern of local residents against the best way to provide a very necessary service to those less fortunate.

Anonymous said...

The whole of 410 Lewisham is not all One Direction, there are a number of medical & council services housed within the complex.

So One Direction does not need a building the size of 410 Lewisham High St.

Anonymous said...

How can it be in the wrong place if it's nearer to where these patients reside?

How can it be claimed 410 Lewisham High St is a non residential area, some people need to get out more.

410 used to supply medication, that has been moved to Deptford dramatically reducing incidents.

Could that be what the SNT were referring to?

If there are shops in Brockley Cross supplying drugs maybe the area needs the unit to reduce the drug related violent crime in the area?

Anonymous said...

Who says is near where the patient reside? Statistics please, rather than anectodes. The Council should be more transparent about the selecting process. This is suppose to serve all people in north lewisham, but not well placed for public transport.

Do you mean it is near the many undisclosed hostels?

Anonymous said...

In my view this is are no benefits for either the users of this centre, or the local community.

It's as simple as that.

Aricana said...

Thanks BXAG for reviewing this proposal. I do wish that the Council was required to present their research findings along with their recommendations.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes Nimbvyism has a good point to it.

Such a place shouldn't be in a residential area fullstop.

Anonymous said...

To anon re facts...the BX report states 2 local shops sell drugs...who to visitors from outer space.

How many instances of brutality does it need in Brockley to make people they have a problem on their doorstep and this centre can activately reduce those incidents.

Don't know about NIMBY's more like a HISSing fit, Heads In Sand Syndrome.

Why not locate GP surgeries away from residential areas, you never what disease some patients are carrying, to encourage them to visit residential areas is outrageous.

If people would care to read various health reports relating to Lewisham they'd get all the facts they need.

Anonymous said...

Aricana....there have been numerous reports some before the Mayor, the fact you choose not to engage in the democratic a simple serach on the Lewisham Council website is a problem of your own making.

none said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brockley Nick said...


"Personally, my main issue is that BXAG acts as de-facto community representatives who are self-appointed. They do some good for the community, granted, but should not be seen as the sole mouth piece for Brockley residents and should be given no more say on an issue that me and my Brockley based friends."

They're no more 'self-appointed' than you or I are when we express our opinions. They're just some people who know a lot about BX, have worked hard to make some improvements and have taken the time to meet with people, listen to arguments and reach an informed conclusion. Their argument carries weight accordingly.

Brockley Nick said...


"the BX report states 2 local shops sell drugs...who to visitors from outer space."

That was my addition and refers to matters approximately 3 years ago. As to who they were selling to, it mainly appeared to be people who drove by and double parked in Brockley Cross.

"If there are shops in Brockley Cross supplying drugs maybe the area needs the unit to reduce the drug related violent crime in the area?"

Or maybe we could police the area properly? As far as I can see, in so much as BX crime is drug related, it's gangs fighting over turf rather than addicts trying to find money for drugs.

50/50 said...

@inmendiaries. Yes the BXAG is not the sole voice, nor does it claim to be. It is open to all though, including you. There are a number of ways of lobbying for a particular issue, your councillor or a vote every four years if you're happy that it's sufficient influence. This blog is also a voice, it only represents those who post or comment, including you. There's nothing sinister or untoward in either organisation, do you suppose that you and your friends should have special emphasise?

Debate is good.

Anyway.... I'm not horrified if it goes there (I live 5 mins away) so long as its properly monitored and run. Although bit bemused about why it's felt it has to relocate in the first place? Is it actually a money thing? In five yers time if it has to move will it simply not be replaced? We should all remember that treatment for addicts makes us all safer, again if properly run.

Welcome to 2011 said...

Looks like inmediares wanted to post that little bit of snark anonymously and used his google account by mistake.

Anonymous said...

@BN 15:19

Your post both restates the argument that there is insufficient need in the immediate area for a drug treatment centre then comments that there are at least two businesses in the area openly dealing drugs. Two other commenters noted this. The defense of your inconsistency (which reveals the nimby underbelly of the petition) is rather flimsy. If the two businesses were openly dealing drugs years ago, why bother mentioning it?

The best argument I see against the proposal is the point about the lease which suggests that this particular site (though nothing to do with the area) may not represent best value for money.

BXAG represents the agency that gentrifying areas can muster (and thus make things a lot nicer, no question) as opposed to those areas without the influx of wealth and class advantages that gentrification brings. BXAG will therefore probably win this battle and push the treatment centre to some area where residents are less organized and less vocal with less agency.

50/50 said...

To the last anon.....I didn't actually understand any of that.

Brockley Nick said...

"If the two businesses were openly dealing drugs years ago, why bother mentioning it?"

You misunderstood the point I was making. I only told that story in order to point out that the BXAG are not hysterical anti-drug moralists. They were realistic about Brockley X when we talked about its future with the Council three years ago.

Anonymous said...

I think the Council PRs at at work on this website.

AnonOne said...

Unfortunately I couldn't make the BXAG AGM, but this question may have been posed already. Is anyone aware whether the Council considered alternative locations to Shardeloes Road before settling on that site?

Debating the relative dis/advantages of 410 Lewisham High Street and Shardeloes seems a bit restricted. There are plenty of properties to let in the north of the borough. Many or indeed all may be less suitable than Shardeloes, but I'd like to see evidence that the Council has explored other options, and the reasons for rejecting other sites.

@BXAG if anyone's reading this: have you put in any FOI requests to get further information?

Sandy said...

BXAG is not about gentrification. it's about making the place look and feel a bit better for all of us that live here by doing things like the christmas market, doing up the common, fun runs and things.

I have helped out the BXAG a few times over the years when I've had time, picking up litter from the garden beds.

I remember one time I was doing work like this with them around station and a young woman just from the train paused, watched us and then asked "Are you lot on community service?" . I was bit surprised but then burst out laughing and said "yeah I suppose in a way we are." an explanation of what BXAG do and trying to encourage her to get involved with the next bit of work followed.

BXAG comments on pretty much most if not all things that happen on Brockley Cross this is no different and in this case their view is what it is.
Statistics showing a need would be helpful though.

ex-user in Brockley said...

"make the place look and feel a bit better for all of us that live here"

are there not people who would go to this centre that live in Brockley? Are their rights being ignored? Hopefully it's going to make their life a whole lot better if they have a treatment centre and why shouldn't it be near Brockley Cross?

People who undertake rehab are people just like anybody else who lives in Brockley. The narrow-mindedness of people is shocking and revolting.

This 'debate' is little better than the 'debate' about travellers being allowed occupation in Ladywell - and what it shows up is the petty self-centredness of many residents.

shame on you all

Shhhh! they're out to get me! said...

"I think the Council PRs at at work on this website."

if so they need to do it better.

lll said...

Shame on people for having an opinion different to yours? Yes, let's move on shall we.

"are there not people who would go to this centre that live in Brockley?"

Well there's no statistics available, to indicate level of local demand. Also it's for people that live in New Cross, Deptford and North of borough who have a need of this service.

Anonymous said...

@ex-user: just a reminder this is not a center for Brockley users, it a center for Lewisham users.

So users will need to commute here. Certainly not the best location for commuting. Unless you propose that a center is opened in every corner of Lewisham in order to cater just for local users, your rhetoric is incorrect.

The fact that is near two schools also makes it an odd location. The existing center in Lewisham is well known for its antisocial behavior outbreaks. Certainly something mums and kids could do without

Westsider said...


"People who undertake rehab are people just like anybody else who lives in Brockley. The narrow-mindedness of people is shocking and revolting.

This 'debate' is little better than the 'debate' about travellers being allowed occupation in Ladywell - and what it shows up is the petty self-centredness of many residents.

shame on you all"

Three questions:

1. Are you saying there are never any problems associated with rehab centres?

2. Since there are sometimes problems, are you saying that people who live there have no right to express their concerns?

3. Since this is our public money being spent on providing a service to help people with addictions, are you saying it's wrong to discuss whether this plan would represent best value for money?

Anonymous said...

Good work BXAG ... hopefully we can stop this going ahead and make the council see some common sense ... Ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

There is a huge space at the waldron centre which has it's shutters permanently down. They should open up the rehab centre there. What's the point in spending loads of money on fantastic health facility for it to sit empty. Purpose built it will have all the methadone they need plus serve the wider community living in new cross and deptford. It ain't far and the exercise will do substance misusers good.

Lou Baker said...

It is good that some users are seeking help.

But why should people who have made the right choices in their lives be made to suffer for the sake of those who have made the wrong ones?

If there's a danger this will harm the quality of life of people who live here - even if it's only a marginal impact and even if it's only a few people - then it should not be built.

While I have every sympathy for users, you have got yourself in to your predicament. You can not have grown up failing to know that drugs can be harmful. And if you choose to do them anyway - well that is a lifestyle choice.

The rest of society already suffers from the crime and anti-social behaviour that occurs as a result of your lifestyle choice. We should not be made to suffer any more.

We need a few big rehab centres well away from towns and cities. In the middle of nowhere where users can be sent until they've quit. Far better than a place in a residential area surrounded by schools.

max said...

Lou, you beat me to it, I was about to write the exact opposite.

I think that rather than huge centres (ghettos) attracting lots of problematic people it would be better to have many small practices for the local junkies of each community.
What good would it be for any area if the local junkies would stop going to the substance abuse centre because they find it impractical to get there?

But the point raised by BXAG on the issue of the lease sounds very strong, so maybe this proposal is a no goer for this reason.

hill of beans said...

There used to be a drugs/rehab project above what was the florist on Brockley Cross; it was open two or three days a week and when it was drug dealers (and possibly buyers of methadone) hung about outside.

It would be interesting to hear what the Safer Neighbourhoods Team think about it as they will be the ones mopping up if problems like this occur.

Anonymous said...

Good like finding the safer neighbourhood team. Never seen any of them on the street.

Facepalm said...

"We need a few big rehab centres well away from towns and cities. In the middle of nowhere where users can be sent until they've quit. Far better than a place in a residential area surrounded by schools."

Another neat, tidy, reactionary post with no thought on how and if it would work. You can stop people buying and supplying drugs, how are you going to round them up and forcibly keep them in this mythical "other place" where? In the lake district? The brecon beacons? It would need to be somewhere where no one lives or your doing exactly what you are against. Moving an areas problem to somewhere where much would it cost? Doubt it would be cheaper. London has a problem, lewisham has a problem. It's ours. It's the nature of living in a society that we can't pretend others issues have no affects on us.

Build it there? Perhaps not but it's needed in lewisham. Also, it may be a shock to some but many addicts actually work for a living and don't steal or rob. You want to tip them out of work and transport them? Adding to the problem.

Lou, you're a very stupid man.

Tamsin said...

I work near 410 Lewisham High Street - compared wih Shardeloes Road it is not residential. And the bus links throughout the borough are excellent.

There is also much more space for the users of the service to hang around - in the patches of grassed area all along that bit of road south of the Hospital. Where would they go under the new scheme?

The point about the lease ought to be considered - the council have a record of spending capital money on premises that are then going to be out of use or demolished. And the fear that the service will then be removed entirely when the lease expires (not then the council's fault) is probably not just conspiracy theory.

The BXAG did indeed give the consultation an airing at its AGM - and the Council officers there continued talking throughout the presentations, despite being asked to keep slightly quieter.

max said...

@Tamsin, sorry, how's the argument in favour of users hanging out outside the centre?

Anonymous said...

For those who would like to receive updates on this subject by the BXAG, or want to help out to organise the next Annual Christmas Market, the group has a facebook page and welcome anyone who wants to participate to their monthly meeting and activities

anon no7 said...

Aren't we forgetting the fact that people who are in treatment for their drug/alcohol problems, are not going to be off their face on drugs and alcohol?!

I know two people who've been on methadone treatment for many years, and their behaviour is in no way different from how you and I behave.

I bet the students who live in the Goldsmiths halls on Shardeloes walk along the road drunk or on drugs more often than most people in treatment for their substance misuse problems would...

Anonymous said...

Is there any way we can make a coordinated effort to object to this proposal? There seems to be a lot of people who think the same here - I'm thinking complaints made on this post won't achieve that much?

Anonymous said...

Is there any way we can make a coordinated effort to support this proposal? There seems to be a lot of people who think the same - I'm thinking hopefully complaints made by NIMBYS on this post won't achieve that much?

Wood for the trees said...

Well said Lou, I couldn't agree more.

Wood for trees said...

@Anon N07-Although I have some sympathy for people who have been drawn into the downward spiral of drug abuse, I do feel they have to take some responsibility for their predicament.
Even though they are in treatment and getting by on methadone, they still cost the country millions of pounds. A high proportion of users don't work, commit crime, fail to rear their children in a suitable environment/way, engage in anti-social behaviour and cost the average tax payer an absolute fortune.
I know some people posting on this thread see Users as victims but to be quite honest they are a menace.
I'm all for them getting treatment if that's actually what it is. But all too often treatment is just a bit of counselling dishing out methadone for all eternity. Methadone is as addictive as heroin and I have read that the amount of people that come off drugs through rehab is very low proportionately.
Handing out methadone and having drop in centre costs the community money. Why should people who have worked hard, bought they're own houses, contributed to the community through paying their taxes be made to suffer.
This drop in centre needs to be kept well away from Brockley X. If here's methadone to be had-just like benefits-they the users- will find a way to get to the places where they can be supplied with them. It is the one thing that we can be assured will motivate these people. make them travel-so what?

Lou Baker said...


Liberal reactionaries always throw insults - it's easier than making arguments.

We could stick the druggies on a ship - moored well off shore - or maybe there's an uninhabited island we could send them too. They can stay there until they're better.

You fail to realise that these people have caused their own problem. You don't accidentally inject heroin. It's not easy to snort cocaine unless you intend to do it. The message that drugs are dangerous is clear - you have to be a major numpty to miss it and if you choose to do drugs anyway? Well that's a lifestyle choice.

Why should the rest of us suffer because others have made idiotic choices with their lives. It's the same with smokers. As a nation we are mad to offer smokers free care on the NHS for smoking related illnesses. Mad. You're told it's dangerous if you choose to do it anyway - you shouldn't expect everyone else to pay to make you better.

And the same applies to the obese too. Eat less. Get off your arse. Do something sensible.

Pinkos love the idea that the state should be responsible for everyone and everything. That's pathetic. We should all take responsibility for our own lives.

Anonymous said...

"I do feel they have to take some responsibility for their predicament."

if you take this patently absurd suggestion and apply it to virtually anything anybody does with their life you'll be saying that Stroke victims should have their treatment removed because they've put too much butter on their toast for years and years, or people who sit in chairs should not have physiotherapy because their backs are playing up.

More abusive sectarianism from self-centred people.

Tamsin said...

@max. If the users are going to be hanging out and about around the Centre isn't it better to have one where there is space for them to do so off the road and off the pavement? On the other hand I don't know whether they hang around outside 410 Lewisham High Street just BECAUSE there is the space to do so. We need to know what the situation is at another centre where this is no such space.

What we don't want is a centre on Shardeloes and then the pavement becoming too uncomfortable or intimindating for other people to use or for the centre clients and their arguments to spill out onto the roadway - a danger to themselves and passing traffic.

max said...

@ Tamsin, I agree, we don't know that. Neverhteless my feeling is that they should be discouraged to hang around with each other.
It's not like NA meetings where they all support each other to stay off drugs, they're still in a precarious situation.

Lou, does self-rightiosness gives you a high? Lucky you it's legal.

fattyfatty said...

The Council only allows these 'consultation' processes to make the public feel like we actually have a voice. After that box is ticked, I bet they just do what they like anyway.

Headhunter said...

Well done BXAG... I have read with interest the articles and comments on this blog about this centre and whilst those in opposition present structured and well reasoned arguments, those for it seem to rely on 2 things, that the opposition are a bunch on "NIMBYs", and that they are narrow minded and should be ashamed of themselves.

Neither of these is a good reason to site this centre on Shardeloes Rd and are both simply attacks of the opposing view without any actual reasoning or suggestion behind them....

Anonymous said...

Headhunter: agreed!

A-Non said...

"...whilst those in opposition present structured and well reasoned arguments..."

Really? well yes, some do. Some simply don't think we should be helping and see it as a waste of money. Some think transporting them to some unspecified area for treatment is the best idea, some think it will lead to loads of junkies hanging around to get their needles. Ignoring the fact that there are adicta here already and they get their needles and Methadone in the same places you get you vitamins and Lemsip.

So the 'pro' voices are a mixture of the rational and the not so rational. I do so hate it when people try to polarise the argument, don't you HH?

Anonymous said...

Whether one likes it or not, our communities do need these sorts of facilities and they have to be sited *somewhere*. There are usually good reasons for proposing a particular site - cost, location, local demand etc. (the first of those usually being the clincher). Making out that this is an issue for New Cross and Deptford and thus NOT Brockley is absurd given the proximity and overlap of these areas just as saying that 'it's their own daft fault' that some people become addicts is an absurdly 'head in the sand' argument... I'd hazard a guess that if your own child, sibling, partner etc. needed to access this service you'd be up in arms if it wasn't easily accessible. As a long time Brockley resident I find such blatant NIMBYism a little embarrassing.

Anonymous said...


OK, I'll bite on the smoking reference, as a nicotine abuser.

Have you looked at the figures? The last expert estimate I saw was in 2009, when Oxford Uni researchers put the bill to the NHS from smoking at £5 billion. The Government received over £10 billion that year from tobacco duty and associated VAT (in one of the most blatant examples of double taxation).

Less quantifiable are the savings on pension and other old age benefits as a result of the average smoker dying earlier than the average non-smoker. Finally, an average non-smoker costs the NHS money, so this needs to be taken into account in the comparison.

On the other side, there are opportunity costs and possible hidden amounts (passive smoking being very difficult to assess).

But the gap between known figures is such that it is pretty clear smokers more than pay the additional costs to society of their habit. Which doesn't make it right - that's another issue entirely.

Anonymous said...

Re the lease of the property...if there's only 5 years left surely the rental will be cheap as chips, almost zero?

Why is a landlord waiting 5 years to do anything?

Anonymous said...

Have any of the anti's checked out the numbers or type patients or what stage of treatment they will be at?

Closed down GPs they attract people with diseases that could infect our children, also GP clinics encourge these sick people hang around the area.

Anonymous said...

I'd hardly call where it's to be located 'residential', between a timber yard and motor shop.

Look at the size of the building it ain't going to have scores of patients turning up and loitering outside.

Really people get a grip.

Anonymous said...

If you go to the BXAG link in the post you can leave a comment with BXAG - they are collating these to submit to the council in a block.

Headhunter said...

A-Non - No one here has yet said that it's waste of money to help addicts and basically that they should be brushed under the carpet, have they? Unless I missed something...

The point regarding transport is contentious as some suggest that a centre like this would get more "custom" if it were based in Lewisham, Deptford or New Cross rather than on a suburban street. if this is the case then those in need of its services will have to be "transported" to Shardeloes Rd.

Sorry but I have yet to see an irrational rant from those against, but plenty of knee jerk, broad brush assumptions from those for...

Anonymous said...

Here's the link:

NAT said...

@anon 13:10 That objection and others were raised to the withdrawal of treatment from smokers some time back.

The response was idententical.

Shardeloes Road Resident said...

I've just emailed the DAAT team stating my opposition and have registered to attend the meeting on Thursday. I'll be interested to see how many people, representing either point of view, actually turn up to talk about this.

Anonymous said...

Jeez...shootings & stabbings in Brockley and the locals get their knickers in a twist over a small number of people wanting to turn their life around.

Anonymous said...

@anon 19:33

Let them turn their life around on the street you live on then. Having lived nearby an establishment like this before, I can tell you it is no fun to be hassled on your doorstep, or to have people pissing in your garden by people inebriated by drink or drugs, and staff saying there is nothing they can do or not taking your complaints seriously. It was a hellish experience and one I wish not to repeat.

AnonOne said...

The IMBYism above is as irrational as the NIMBYism.

With one or two ignorable exceptions, no one questions the overall social benefit of the centre. But also no one has been able to set out definitively the effect of such a centre on its immediate locality: there's some anecdotal negative evidence only.

My instinct is that the centre is one of many things which are a net social benefit, but come with costs to those on the immediate area. I'd like to be proven wrong. That the Council consultation focuses on the former, and lacks any reassurance on the latter, reinforces my instinct.

Even if true, I wouldn't necessarily oppose the location. To support it, I'd want to see evidence for why this is the best location.

To support or oppose without hard facts on these two points is an equally big leap of faith.

Lou Baker said...

@anon 1933 said:

"Jeez...shootings & stabbings in Brockley and the locals get their knickers in a twist over a small number of people wanting to turn their life around."

The problem is that a disproportionately high percent of those shootings and stabbings are ultimately linked to drugs. Even if an individual drug users doesn't shoot, stab, mug or burgle their habit helps support the rest of the criminal network that does do these things.

The down and outs injecting heroin on a dirty street corner might have to break in to homes to fund their filthy habit. The rich city type snorting cocaine might think their habit is crime free - they earn good money in their day job. But, in Mexico, hundreds of people have died horrific deaths so this gross habit can be indulged.

Now I believe there is a strong argument for legalising drugs. You would remove large swathes of the criminal element from the process and you'd be able to regulate the rest - and better target the help at those who need it. Until that happens drugs are illegal and people who take them are ignorant, selfish fools.

That's why decent upstanding law-abiding people don't want a treatment centre in their community.

Anonymous said...

"That's why decent upstanding law-abiding people don't want a treatment centre in their community"

That's an assertion, not a fact. What's 'your community'? Lewisham? telegraph hill? your house? London? Drug users and abusers don't live in a bubble, they are all around us. You've probably sat near them or worked with them. It's a very childlike, tabloid view of 'them' you have.

Drugs have not been legalised and the sunlit uplands of a rational drug policy is not here so what do we do in the meantime. Nothing?

A central fact is that some people who use drugs are bad people, most just drifted into it by stupidity. Most users have dabbled and quickly grew out of it. Its comforting to think it's a problem of people not like 'us', it enables us to pretend that they do not deserve help but that's not true and grownup policy recognises that.

We need them in Lewisham, drug users are in 'our community' so it needs to go somewhere. Lou's solution is not to have one anywhere, except on dartmore perhaps.

Silly and ill thought out, but keeps the reationary element in a froth so that's OK.

Anonymous said...

I suggest those of you with strong opinions attend one of the consultation sessions or write to the council to make sure your opinion is heard ...

Lou Baker said...

@anon 0935

Yeah - I really do think you should take drug users away from drugs.

You can't do that in a city. Take them far away from temptation to treat them. A much better solution.

As for 'just slipping in to drugs' - that is completely not the point. The point is that you know drugs can be dangerously addictive and to start slipping you have to put yourself on the slippery slope.

You seem to believe that individuals should take no responsibility for their own actions. That is completely irresponsible and wrong.

I don't want a rehab centre near a school. It's nowhere near my house but putting it anywhere close to kids is monumentally dumb. Because a collection of druggies will attract drug deals.

If there has to be a treatment centre anywhere in a built up area - stick it on an industrial estate far away from kids. And if the druggies have to travel a bit further - tough. You choose your lot in life.

Anonymous said...

Lou, I refer you to my earlier point. Your views are reactionary and unlikley to work. It may satisfy you to say 'tough, travel a bit' but that means many won't and will continue to be users with all the social and crime related issues.

Where is this industrial estate far enough away from you? Keep users away from drugs, how? Hardened adicts would rather sleep in a doorway, rob their parents or risk violence for their fix. Dealers will find them, users will find the dealers. We can't seperate users from drugs in prison, how do you suppose we do that on the street? Just frothing at the mouth and screeming 'outrageous!'is just anger devoid of an answer.

And yes Lou, very few people decide to become addicts. Some do and they are responsible. They are also responsible for much of the crime that affects us so pretending that their problem is their problem alone is again no solution.

ex-user in Brockley said...

Lou, do you have any personal contact or one-to-one experience of drug or alcohol abusers? I suspect you don't because all of what you say is complete and utter nonsense.

It might, however, be prudent of you to examine your fantasy world with a professional because it may have adverse effects on your life in the future.

Lou Baker said...


As I said - send them to an island or an unfuelled ship moored well off shore until they get clean. Let the druggies fend for themselves. No dealers. The only crime that'll be committed is against fellow druggies.

Win win.

Lou Baker said...


I've made better choices with my life, thanks.

I've seen people start on that slippery slope and left them well alone. It is a personal choice and if you regret your choice, that's down to you. I have no regrets.

I don't see why I (and other law abiding citizens) should be made to suffer because people like you got it wrong. We suffer crime, anti-social behaviour and excess cost because of the selfishness demonstrated by you and other users.

In a laissez faire environment drug use and abuse has flourished. It's time to show users tough love. None of this namby-pamby 'rehab centre you can go to if you like'. Army style fitness training, early starts, hard labour until you're clean. Then you can rejoin society and start paying us back for the additional costs you've unnecessarily caused.

Lou-nacy! said...

So basically Lou you're saying send these druggies on a cruise or to a tropical island?! With a thrown in fitness course to boot!!!!
And who's going to pay for these luxury breaks then? Muggins here with MY hardearned taxes! That's who.

It's PC gone mad!!!

D said...

Lou - maybe if you were born to a crack addict and dragged yourself up in poverty then your 'choices' may have been a bit different? Any chance of opening that mind just a tiny bit?

ex-user in Brockley said...

So your commenting on something that you have no personal experience of Lou.

Why not drop into a rehab centre and offer your services as a volunteer? Then you'd be able to talk about it more sensibly.

Bored and tired said...

Lou I think you're trying too hard to wind people up now. Can I just point out that not all drug addicts became addicts because of a recreational habit? I know someone who is addicted to prescription drugs due to a long term illness. She has to go to a rehab centre too.

Wood for the trees said...

@Anon 15'09-"We can't separate users from drugs in prison".
Do you honestly believe that or do you think if there was the will to do so they could?
Cold turkey, solitary confinement-in prisons on remote islands yes, Boot camps, not qualifying for parole until you are drug free. No visits, regular drug testing.
The only reason drugs are available in prison is that the authorities know it keeps the prisoners quiet and relatively docile. Cold Turkey would probably up the suicide rate which is bad for prison PR.
A bit of tough love would do many of these people no end of good in the long run-the others I'm afraid are probably lost causes.
We are too soft in this country-the tail wags the dog. If you want to do drugs then expect to pay the penalty. Harsh measures maybe, but if it got people users off the streets and clean, they wouldn't be around to mess up other peoples lives-not least the children they seem to produce.

Anonymous said...

wood for the trees. That's just nonsense from start to finish, leave this to the grow ups.

Wood for the trees said...

@Anon 19.07-"Nonsense from start to finish"-Oh, you are so superior and dismissive.
I am dismissive of people who don't take responsibility for their own stupid choices and who are constant drain on society. If that's not grown up enough for you then fine.
You may be happy to pay for these losers to loaf around and ruin their children's lives, but I'm certainly not.
There is nothing wrong with tough love, you Pinko's just don't have the stomach for it.
Keep users away from drugs, get them fit, get them healthy and get them back to work-no excuses!

Bored and tired said...

Well, like I say, some people don't become addicts because of their own 'stupid choices' and they can't get fit and healthy because they have an illness that requires them to take prescribed morphine for their condition. Not everyone fits into your neat little box of 'loser'.

Wood for the trees said...

The vast majority of addicts make the choice to take recreational drugs despite the many warnings of addiction. It is their responsibility for their predicament not the tax payer's.
They also have a choice of whether or not they commit crime to fund their habit. They also have a responsibility to support themselves and their children. All too often they fail to do this.
A life of idleness and relying on state handouts to support their self-inflicted addiction should not be an option and not be tolerated. A time frame should be established as to when they are expected to get clean by and then a further time frame established for them to get back into some kind of work.
They did this in the US with regard to employment and the government insisted the unemployed made a contribution to society-even if it was sweeping up leaves. Idleness and free drugs does not help these people in the long term-they just exist.
I don't want them on my doorstep, I see them as a menace-not victims and they should be kept well away from a residential area.

Tressilliana said...

Wood, where do you stand on NHS treatment for fat people, smokers and people who've suffered sports injuries etc?

Wood for the trees said...

@Tressilliana-As far as smokers are concerned, I honestly believe they shouldn't be offered treatment. There are warnings on cigarette packets-the whole point of smoking is to feed an addiction once one hs been established.
Fat people should get treatment as there are genetic reasons for people being fat-although many do not help themselves through poor diet.
Sports injuries are different as, like most injuries, they are not self-inflicted. That said, I would be happy to pay an extra NHS insurance premium if I was going to play sport.
Smokers get addicted to cigarettes despite the warnings. Drugs are illegal in this country and highly addictive-very different to over eating or playing sport.
People need to take responsibility for their own choices in life. If a fat person continues to over eat then treatment should be withdrawn.

Shard lover said...

Could the Brockley Cross Action Group please start an opposition again[st] the actual drug dealing that happens all day long at Brockley Cross? That actually concerns me more than a rehab centre.

At least with the rehab centre you get the feeling that we might finally see a few more police foot patrols about. And I for one would welcome that.

Regarding the location of the rehab centre, you don't need to be a medium to predict that there will possibly be a few accidents with people high trying to cross the worst double round-about in the universe. As a resident of the street, it really doesn't feel like the right area for this type of service, 2 childrens day cre facilities, a redisential street, an area that could so without this type of non-development, and very greasy footpaths do not scream out 'rehab centre' location, location, location.

BXAG, I like how you have developed your arguments.... do you think it is plausible that the freeholder is likely to get preferential treatment for future development plans given the 'community service' they have provided by leasing their building for such a project?

Why can't you find evidence that is statistical rather than anecdotal, surely, the council are you some sort of imperialistic arugment too? Can you not use the freedom of information act to access the research they have done to support their plans??

Lou Baker said...


Well said. Though I'd be harsher on fat people than you.

@DC 1654

I have every sympathy for any child born to druggie parents. I have always said that we need to get policies on kids right - all kids. Such kids should be removed from their parents until their parents are clean and be looking after in loving household instead. As a country we miserably fail vulnerable youngsters. We should treat the poor little mites like kings and queens - give them the best of the best in terms of opportunities. But the thing we must give them most is love and attention. And that probably means removing them from their parents. Adoption is a possible option.

You are right. Some people become addicted to prescribed drugs. Easy solution: stop prescribing them.

I'm not saying send them to a tropical island. Somewhere off the coast of Scotland would be good. Maybe a disused oil rig or tanker? I am not thinking luxury here. Just somewhere well away from impressionable youngsters.

Headhunter said...

Shard Lover - not to mention the open drug dealing that occurs outside Supercuts near the War Memorial... I think Lewisham Mayor vowed to eradicate this but it continues....

Headhunter said...

Arggh! Just made a massive comment on here in response to Wood and it's disappeared....!

Dicon said...

My wife and I live about 130m from the proposed site and
we have 2 small children.

Everybody I have spoken to who has lived near a rehab
centre tells me they bring loitering, anti-social behaviour
and needles in the street. I'm also concerned about
Brockley becoming a centre for drug users, more dealers
moving in and there being violent conflict between them
and with existing drug dealers.

The proposed location is a minute commercial area in
the midst of a large residential area. I fear that this
technical non-residential status will trump the reality
of the residential location which includes schools and
child-care centres.

The 'consultation process' so far does little to promote
faith. Firstly, few people in the immediate area say they
got the 'consultation document'. The document doesn't
ask residents how they feel about having a rehab centre
on their doorstep, it only asks them if they want better
drug rehab facilities in the area. Last Thursday the
council representatives didn't bother waiting round for
the evening session when most residents came. Also
the charity workers that did come said that no alternative
location had been selected and it would take them a
year to get this far with another.

Best, Dicon

Anonymous said...

How can you put a drug rehab centre less than 100 yards from a major drug den??

(yes, the yellow and green place that was recently raided and was then back up and running the next day!)

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