Ride of the Halloween Biker Gang sweeps through Brockley

Brockley's at its most beautiful and evocative on Halloween, when fog and firework smoke wreathes grand old Victorian homes lit by intricately carved pumpkins.

But this year, the citizens of Telegraph Hill and Hilly Fields were terrorised by a huge biker gang that tore through their area, riding on pavements and across the parks and generally being selfish dickheads, as biker gangs are wont to do.

Remembrance Day Poppy Art Auction

I'm a local girl (Crofton Park) and have started my own business creating handmade Swarovski button art called Bijoux Buttons.

It's been going for 10 months and slowly building up a good following so I decided to donate a piece for charity.

I made a one off Remembrance Day Poppy design and will be donating 100% of the profits to the Royal British Legion.

I was inspired to do this after the huge response to the Tower Bridge ceramic poppies last year. I've had great support for the idea from Harry, manager of the SE London Royal British Legion fundraising office.

The piece is now live on eBay if people would like to bid for it. They have until Sunday, November 1st.

So Nisa Spar

The new Westside Spar opens tomorrow on Mantle Road and it's all anyone can talk about.

Its predecessor Nisa's grand opening was marred by the fact they got the area's name wrong - something which set the tone for the generally disappointing store experience that was to follow. The shop seemed optimised to flog as much chocolate as possible, to the detriment of everything else.

The new team is leaving nothing to chance. Not only have they installed a chiller from "gourmet grocers" Cook, but they've also hired "Corrie Butcher Ashley Peacock" to open the store tomorrow from 10am.

Archshark King launch night at the Ladywell Tavern

Ladywell-based Archshark King launch their debut album, Float & Kick, at the Ladywell Tavern tomorrow, Friday 30 October. Entry is free and there will be food and a special live set at 8pm from the act’s 11 musicians and singers. The evening also features food, lights, and festivity.

The album, Float & Kick, is now available at Bandcamp.

Don't say Daren, say Hovis

This is the Mock Tudor of outdoor advertising. Bill writes:

The old Daren Bread sign on Avignon Road (between Drakefell & St Asaph) has been painted over and replaced by a new one for Hovis Bread. This apparently has been commissioned by the new owners of the building.

 I feel this is a real tragedy but unfortunately, I don’t think much can be done to save the old sign as it is now painted over.

We are young

Young people are swarming over SE4 like locusts, kicking old people off their mobility scooters and shutting down the bingo halls as they go.

A study by Savills reckons Brockley is one of an admittedly very long list of London areas where Under 35s outnumber the Over 50s by a ratio of at least 2:1. The callow surge reached Brockley around the time of the East London Line's completion and overwhelmed the area faster than you can say "the new politics". The Telegraph reports:

In a land grab by the affluent U35s, reminiscent of the game of Risk, the wave of gentrification continues to sweep across London, leaving very few spots untouched and pushing up house prices.

As demand for new homes in the very centre of the capital slows, due to over-inflated prices and the impact of the Chancellor's stamp duty changes made last December, young techies and bankers have been making themselves at home in areas that, a decade ago, they would not have been seen in.

With thanks to Alastair.

Brockley's back gardens targeted by developers

A BCer who wishes to remain anonymous has been targeted by a property developer who's trying to buy a part of her garden, in order to develop housing at the back. She notes:

Since I don’t actually own the garden - the downstairs flat does - it’s a moot issue, and I am not sure how it would work in reality, as the houses are terraced and I presume access would only be gained via one of the mews (which is a long way away from where our property lies). Also, I’m pretty sure it would contravene the Conservation Area guidelines.

But interesting to note that Brockley is becoming so popular now they are trying to buy up our back gardens.

Brockley is blessed with very large gardens by the standards of zone 2/3 London and is prime territory for developers, but while BC supports filling in every bit of available brownfield land, the loss of these gardens would damage the character of the area, as well as starting a thousand wars between neighbours.

Catford Town Hall to become home to up to 60 artists

Tilt's design for Club Workspace in London Bridge
Lewisham Council has found the partners it needs to run the largest of its enterprise hubs, in Catford Town Hall. The Art Newspaper reports:

Catford, once considered a cultural backwater, will gain 10,000 sq. ft of new artists’ studios in April 2016, thanks to Bow Arts. The educational arts charity has won the tender to create workspaces, for between 35 and 60 emerging artists, on the fourth floor of Catford Town Hall. Designed by the Hackney-based practice, Studio Tilt, the project is being funded by Lewisham Council and the Greater London Authority’s High Street Fund.

Bow Arts is also partnering with the London Small Business Centre to develop the fifth floor of the town hall into a space to support creative start-ups. “Catford is one of those places to watch in London,” says Marcel Baettig, the chief executive of Bow Arts. “It is growing in reputation and confidence really fast and is becoming an exciting place to be in the arts.”

With thanks to Peter for the tip-off.

400 Rabbits, Crystal Palace

Official photo
To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy, so last week we took a trip to Crystal Palace. Also, we were invited by sourdough pizza joint 400 Rabbits (30-32 Westow Street).

It's the kind of simple, playful, bright and tasty restaurant that Brockley ought to have but doesn't.

We tried the beef and chilli pizza, our dining companion had the courgette and garlic. Sourdough is infallible, so the base was perfect, and the topping ingredients were generous, without being overwhelming. A good pizza restaurant makes it look so easy, it's hard to imagine how anyone could get it wrong, and yet many local places show just how badly it can be done.
Unofficial photo, obvs
The desert and drinks menu are similarly simple and effective. Pudding? They've got ice cream - a few flavours, all gorgeous. Beer? A decent selection, albeit on a menu that features one choice per page, so you're constantly flipping back and forth to choose between Beavertowns and Weird Beards.

And that's it: Nice people, nice food, nice atmosphere, carefully curated drinks menu. Indistinguishable from pizza magic. If you're in the area, you should go. Otherwise, pray that Noak, which seems to be going for a similar effect, delivers the goods.

Pistachio, 319 Brockley Road

Pistachio, the cafe formerly known as Top Chef, and nothing to do with the one in the park, is now open. And if it's good enough for American people, it's good enough for you.

The menu suggests there's enough left over from the Top Chef era to satisfy the purists, but a few new tricks to entice a new generation of customers.

Reviews please.

Petition launched to save three Lewisham libraries

Lewisham Council recently launched a consultation, asking residents which of three unpalatable options is the best way to cut local library services.

A Unison-backed campaign, Save Lewisham Libraries, has launched a petition, urging people to say "none of the above."

Click here to sign the petition.

The Brockhill Crescent Smoke Monster Mystery

David Lives in Brockhill Crescent, West Brockley, in a house that backs on to allotments. The users of those allotments light bonfires on a regular basis, and the smoke keeps flooding into his house, which he says is affecting his health, as well as forcing him to keep doors and windows closed and block his vents.

He has tried contacting Lewisham Council and the DAGA allotment group, but says no-one can tell him who is responsible for the allotments and so he is hoping that BC readers can come to his aide.

If anyone knows who David can speak to about this - or if you are suffering from the same problem - please post below.

One Tree Hill Up Dawson's Creek

James Van Der Beek: I ordered you some food. I, uh, I don't really know what girls eat.
Busy Philipps: Oh, sweetie, we don't. We don't eat. We just live in caves, having our periods, until it's time to have sex with the first guy who buys us a wine cooler and reminds us of our dad.
- Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23

The vast majority of new businesses that have successfully opened in the area in recent years are places where people do things other than shop - cafes, restaurants, bars, salons, takeaways. Of those shops that have prospered, many offer places to sit and drink or draw people in with events.

Thanks to the rise of internet shopping, the spread of small supermarkets and the area's increasing appeal to city commuters who shop in town before heading home, there are fewer and fewer gaps that local retailers can fill. Meanwhile, Londoners' shrinking homes and rising disposable incomes mean they want more places to hang out locally.

A while back, BC had a mild Twitter tiff with the Chair of Lewisham Council, Alan Smith about this issue. The development of 180 Brockley Road (which has plenty of room at ground level for a supermarket, but not much space for anything else), we contended, was more evidence that the Council didn't doesn't do enough to encourage the borough's experience economy and puts too much emphasis on providing shop space that people don't really want. He shot back: "What applications for bars have we turned down?" Well, here's one they're doing their best to knee-cap. Kate writes:

"I am one of the three friends who have applied for planning approval to open a local drinking establishment in Honor Oak Park called One Tree Hill.

"We've been waiting to hear back from the council on their decision before responding so we could provide further information. Unfortunately, we have been contacted by a Lewisham planning officer who has informed us that he will recommend refusal of our planning permission from A1 use to A4 due to concentration of A3/4 uses on the street.

"This is obviously disappointing news to hear, particularly as the feedback we have seen on the local online forums have shown great support for this. We, like you, believe the local community would benefit from a new and additional place to provide a local night out."

"We've been given an extension period to provide evidence from an estate agent to show that we were the only interested buyers. We are hopeful that the result will be positive.

"We notice there has been speculation gathering recently by local residents so we intend to post to explain more about who we are and what we want to offer and hope we can show the council the local community is behind us."

So what do you think? Is Greater Brockley in danger of turning into Faliraki? Or would another bar be a welcome addition to the area?

Ashby Road development to deliver nine more homes

The former Council offices at 1-3 Ashby Road are now being converted into nine residential units. Previous attempts to turn it into a mental health centre fell through.

The Long Halloween

If you like Halloween and you haven't had enough retro nights to last a lifetime then you are spoiled for choice this year. First up, the Rivoli plays host to Rouge, who say:

On October 24th, we are throwing a Halloween Night of the Glamour Ghouls!

Music is a throwback 1970's and 80's and disco ghoul funk night with DJ Kobayashi 'a horror journey into the sound blend of music'

Dresscode is terrifying 1970's 80's. Frankenstein will be seen or come as you are Pale Bohemian or Glamour Ghoul

The act on the night is Fast Dance Lane Band playing 1980's tracks, a London band of amazing musicians who have played with the likes of Steroephonic's, Dan Ackroyd from the Blues Brothers and Eska Mtungwazi.

Band times (amazing! not to be missed!): two 45min sets - 9.30 pm & 11pm  Details and tickets here.

Then, on Halloween proper, we have...

Refugee fundraiser, November 3rd

Rachel writes:

Come down to Lewisham Town Hall on Tuesday 3rd November from 6.30pm for a night of talks, music and food in aid of refugees in Calais.

Thousands of refugees are currently experiencing great hardships and risking their lives in desperate attempts to escape the terrible consequences of military interventions, civil wars and the economic exploitation of their countries.

Recent images of drowned children in the Mediterranean and the horrific tragedy of a lorry full of suffocated families have triggered the consciences of many people. It is clear that people throughout Britain of all faiths and persuasions want to help. There is much that can be done, practically, and to put pressure on our dithering politicians!

Recently peace activists from Lewisham and Greenwich CND and Lewisham Stop the War were at the refugee camp in Calais. The camp is cold and bleak, and the refugees living there are in urgent need of building materials so that they can build shelters to survive the winter. The only help they are getting is from fundraisers like this.

This event will include stories from the children of refugees who are living in Lewisham, entertainment from refugee musicians and information about the refugee camps and the ways we can help.

Tickets cost £4/£10 and money raised will go towards building semi-permanent structures in Calais to help refugees there survive this winter. To reserve tickets please email michael@lewishamstopwar.org.uk or visit our site.

Mighty Noak Trees Grow on Mantle Road

First glimpse of the Noak menu.

Coming soon: Buster Mantis

From Peckham and Brixton to Bermondsey and Waterloo, South London is criss-crossed with beautiful brick railway arches that now brim with cafes, bars and restaurants. Deptford's are not and the area is the poorer for it. But Buster Mantis aims to put all that right, while creating something that should prove to be a huge draw for the area.

Gordon writes:

My family and I are in the process of opening a bar under the railway arches in Deptford. Not the new Deptford Project ones, the other ones down the alleyway under the platforms. 

After far too long spent searching for the perfect premises in the perfect place, this photograph shows the dusty old warehouse that will soon be our bar. And it’s pretty damn big.

Buster Mantis will be a bar, café and creative space underneath two arches. The first will house the bar / dining area, the second the 'creative space'. 

We've been inspired to open Buster Mantis as we have simply yet to see anything else like it in London, much less in our area: a truly modern, intelligent Jamaican-influenced bar in which an interest in our food or culture is a bonus, as opposed to a necessity. We'd like to think there's something that will appeal to everyone, and our innate knowledge of the local area is an obvious advantage.

As far as influences, the obvious one is Bar Story in Peckham. We're in a railway arch and will be serving cocktails and displaying art, I don't think we can escape it. But I've always loved Bar Story, so any comparison would be very flattering.

The project's taking shape fast and you can find out more at our website.

Parents oppose Edmund Waller expansion as wrong solution to Primary places crisis

As previously reported, the Borough of Lewisham is suffering from a severe shortage of Primary School places, the result of a local baby boom, a growing population and the area's increasing popularity with young families.

As part of its belated response to the problem, Lewisham Council has proposed to double the size of Edmund Waller Primary School in Telegraph Hill. However, with the decision due to be made in December, a group of parents is campaigning against the changes on the basis that it will squash twice as many kids in to the same space, providing places in the wrong part of the borough, rather than where the shortage is most accutely-felt, around Ladywell, Lewisham and Hither Green.

Phillipa explains:

Living in Tyrwhitt Road, I am one of many families in Brockley that were affected by this years shortage of Primary School places.

Unable to get our daughter into any of the local schools, we finally settled on a place at Edmund Waller, but not after a fight. The school is absolutely fantastic and I feel very grateful for her place, but it is still almost 2 miles for us to travel every morning and by no means local having implications on our local support network and integration with neighbours and the local community - most of whom's kids go to nearby Ashmead, Myatt Garden or John Stainer.

Now, less than 6 weeks into the first term, we hear that Lewisham Council plan to expand Edmund Waller into a 4 form 'super school'. Not only will this have disastrous implications to the resources and quality of the school, a school which is now thriving thanks to great leadership, but it goes absolutely no way to addressing the real issue with Primary School places in Lewisham, an issue which is concentrated in pockets of Brockley - namely Ladywell and Hilly Fields, as well as parts of Lee and Hither Green.

Once again I find myself part of a campaign, but rather than NIMBYs simply opposing change to their beloved school, this is a group that have first hand experience of how wrong Lewisham Council are getting things, just as they miscalculated when they rebuilt Ashmead as a single form school a few years back and allowed Prendergast Vale school to remain single form during its rebuild despite plonking hundreds of new homes on its doorstep.

Please can readers do everything they can to support our campaign to protect Edmund Waller from expansion and force the Council and the Government to address the real issue of Primary School places in this popular London borough.

Click here to sign our petition.

Ladywell Christmas Market - take part

El writes:

Calling all crafters, makers and artists! Ladywell Christmas Market is looking for artists, craftspeople and designers to sell their work at the market on Saturday 5th December. We are looking for unique, innovative and eclectic items created by people who live or work in the local area.

Ladywell Christmas Market attracts hundreds of people from SE13 and SE4. You’ll find more than the usual Christmas cheer at the market, with the sights and sounds of a traditional Christmas fair offering the best in seasonal produce, presents and treats for friends and family. And it will be more than a market – we will be keeping you entertained with carols, musicians, dancers and a visit from Santa Claus!

If you are interested in having a stall please email el@elskitchen.co.uk for a booking form no later than 2nd November.

Jeremy Corbyn: Our Part in His Downfall

Lord Warner of Brockley has resigned the Labour whip, denouncing the Corbyn-led Labour Party as "not credible". In his letter, he says:

"I have watched for some time the declining quality of the Labour party’s leadership, but had not expected the calamitous decline achieved in 2015. The Labour party is no longer a credible party of government-in-waiting. The approach of those around you and your own approach and policies is highly likely to to worsen the decline and in the Labour party’s credibility.

“I fear for the future of the Labour party if your supporting activists secure ever control of the party’s apparatus and process, and the role of the parliamentary Labour party diminishes further in the selection of a leader and the formulation of policies likely to win an election.”

Lord Warner was a health minister during the Blair administration and has been criticised in the past for his links to companies that stand to profit from the liberalisation of NHS procurement. His decision reinforces the trend for all major political moments of the modern Labour era to be about Greater Brockley, one way or another:

- Tom Watson owes his deputy leadership of the party to campaign manager and Brockley Councillor, Baroness Kennedy

- Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander is a Lewisham MP and arguably the most senior woman on Corbyn's front bench

- Brockley MP Vicky Foxcroft has joined his team of whips to help bring order to a bloody-minded Parliamentary Labour Party

CPZ consultation planned for Brockley

On the SE23 Forum, the high-born of Forest Hill have been discussing a Controlled Parking Zone consultation for their area.

In passing, they also mention one planned for the area surrounding Brockley Station, defined as "bounded between Avignon Road and Wickham Road and between Brockhill Crescent and Vesta Road." Foxberry Mike, who sent us the link, has provided this unofficial artists' impression of the area under consideration.

According to the thread, the consultation will launch next month and follows the approval of the Council's CPZ strategy in 2013.

CPZs are always controversial and have knock-on effects beyond their borders. The Ladywell CPZ eventually necessitated expansion further into Lewisham. With another consultation planned for the area between Lewisham Way and New Cross Road, it's possible that most of Greater Brockley could become a CPZ soon. Mike says:

"I am pretty sure the station is the main contributor to the car parking growth as in the evening it is still pretty easy to park close to home, but with the proposed big reduction to parking on Coulgate Street (and the new flats being built there), I suspect that will mess up the evening parking more – although a CPZ won’t solve that due to operating hours being in the daytime.

"But the loss of spaces will make it even more impossible during the day of course, and will probably be the tipping point for me saying yes (reluctantly) this time round."

Made in Brockley - Online Now

Made in Brockley, the online store that sells only locally-designed or produced goods is now live.

With eight different participating designer / makers contributing homeware, cards & prints, children's gifts and food, the projects is off to a strong start, but there's so much talent in Brockley, that they've only begun to scratch the surface and more sellers will be added over the coming weeks.

If you want to become a seller, click here. If you want to browse and buy click here.

Ladywell - the God of the Gaps

More awesome local street art - this time on hoardings in Ladywell and created by bAMBOpINK.

Two more trains to Crofton Park by 2018

Getting reliable information about what is actually going to happen to our rail services in the future is needlessly and infuriatingly difficult, so we're reduced to leaping on vague scraps of information given out by customer relations teams on Twitter.

In response to huffy Tweets by Crofton Park commuters fed up with lousy service, Thameslink appears to have confirmed that there will be two more trains per hour calling at the station by 2018. That would be a 50% increase in capacity and take the service up to a respectable frequency.

The Blackheath Fireworks 2015

Lewisham Council have confirmed that Blackheath Fireworks is once again set to entertain thousands of people this year on Saturday 7 November at 8pm.

This fantastic event is still one of very few London fireworks celebrations which is free to enter and annually attracts over 80,000 people from all over London. Lewisham Council is once again working with a range of partners to keep this hugely popular event going.

L&Q, Royal Borough of Greenwich, Glendale, Hamptons International, The Clarendon Hotel and The Crown Pub are all contributing donations and support and there is still time for more businesses to get involved.

Richard Southall, Assistant Director, L&Q South East Neighbourhood said: ‘At L&Q Housing we’re pleased to once again be able to support Blackheath Fireworks. It’s a great community event that brings the whole borough together and helps to make Lewisham a fun place to live.’  

The dazzling display, which this year will be designed and fired by Greenwich based Emergency Exit Arts, will start at 8pm. Visitors to the event can also enjoy a funfair from 12 noon and a wide variety of food stalls and bars will be open from 5pm.

Cllr Chris Best, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Older People said: ‘Once again we are proud to host Blackheath Fireworks and visitors can look forward to another spectacular display. Despite budget constraints which are being felt by all councils, we remain one of a handful of boroughs offering free entry to our display. However, this would not be possible without our sponsors and we’re grateful for their support again this year. Donations from residents and visitors also make a significant contribution and we are asking people to continue donating online and on the night - if every attendee donated £1, this would secure the future of Blackheath Fireworks in 2016.’

If you are planning to attend the event please show your support and donate now online at www.lewisham.gov.uk/fireworks, in person at Age Exchange in Blackheath Village or in the collection buckets at Hamptons International branches in Blackheath, Greenwich or Dulwich.

The Lewisham Police Cadets, Lewisham Council staff and community volunteers will also be lending their support by collecting donations on the night.

Tesco cans plans for Lewisham superstore

Tesco has sold 13 development sites across London, including its Lewisham plot, on which it had planned to expand its current superstore. The move is part of Tesco's retreat from large format stores and its need to repair its finances.

Health and Safety gone wild in Ladywell

Anchorman: Simpson scandal update: Homer sleeps nude in an oxygen tent which he believes gives him sexual powers!
Homer: HEY! That's a half-truth!
- The Simpsons, Homer Badman 

Labour's Mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan, has vented his fury about a health and safety poster at Ladywell Station.

We're not convinced that this is a) sexist or b) an issue worthy of his time, but if this is what it takes for a Mayoral candidate to turn their attention to South East London transport issues, then so be it.

Coming soon: Out of the Brew

Out of the Brew is the replacement for Cafe Crema at 306 New Cross Road. It's going to brew both coffee and beer and the team are making full use of the garden, which is welcome in an area still tragically short of outdoor hangouts, despite the best efforts of the New Cross House.

Click here to join their mailing list.

Ron blows the Brockley Thistle Whistle

Thistle be interesting. Ron is trying to track a former resident down from the time when Scottish culture dominated Brockley, just as the Krankies ruled the airwaves and Runrig ran riot in the charts. He writes:

My name is Ron Newman and I'm a volunteer at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London (the RHC). One of the In Pensioners, William Watt BEM, who originates from Aberdeen, has asked me if I would be able to trace a good friend of his whom he knew in the 1980s, called Richard and who lived, at that time, in Brockley, South London.

Richard played in the 80s in a pipe band in London called the Brockley Thistle. I wondered if any members of Brockley Central would be able to confirm whether the band still exists, as I have been unable to find any current references to it on the Internet, and/or would remember Richard or know his whereabouts.

If you think you are - or know of - Richard, please contact Ron at this email address. In any case, if you know anything about the Brockley Thistle please let us know what they were like.

Brockley becomes a Spar town

Peter writes:

I recently took over the Nisa store on Mantle Road Brockley. We are changing the store to a Spar as we feel this brand will bring the something different that people seem to be asking for on Brockley Central.

As part of our changes we are recruiting for someone to work in our new food-to-go department in our local food store. Duties include:

  • preparing the food counter, serving the customers and closing down the food to go area
  • preparing freshly made sandwiches, wraps and pizzas
Full training will be provided on site. You will need to be flexible in your working shifts as sometimes you may need to cover people at short notice. We are looking for someone who is willing to help grow the food to go area, someone who is friendly and outgoing. There are three shifts available each day as follows 6.30am to 1pm, 12pm to 6pm, 5pm to 10pm.

The amount of hours available will depend on the shift you can do and what your preference would be. Please email CV to k.patel1@btconnect.com

New late night service planned for Lewisham DLR

TfL's plan for light railway growth, which incorporates two new trains per hour on the ELL, also proposes late night services on the DLR, from 2021. They say:

Night services on DLR are planned for 2021 after the Bank station upgrade works are complete, and the current franchise and City Greenwich Lewisham Railway Lewisham route contract have ended. 

Night services are planned to operate from Bank to Lewisham and Bank to Canning Town/Woolwich with a four trains per hour service operating on each route. In early 2015, frequency doubled in the late evenings on Bank-Lewisham and off peak on the Woolwich route.

The document notes that, as with the ELL, this area is a major driver in the growing demand for rail journeys. It says:

Seven stations have contributed 50 per cent of DLR’s growth over the last four years. These are Woolwich Arsenal, Stratford, Bank, Canning Town, Shadwell, Heron Quays and Lewisham... Growth has been strong on the Stratford-Canary Wharf/Lewisham route.

ELL: Two more trains each hour from 2018

TfL has confirmed plans to introduce two more East London Line trains between Dalston and Crystal Palace from 2018, which would increase the frequency of ELL trains through Brockley at peak time from eight trains per hour to ten. 

The scheme to deliver a 25% capacity increase on the line has been necessitated by the phenomenal growth of passenger journeys on the East London Line, which has outstripped the rest of the London Overground network (see below). 
In 2014, East London Line trains were lengthened, to add 25% more capacity, but even this has not proved enough as Greater Brockley continues to draw more and more commuters into its gaping maw. As Huw Edwards, head of programme delivery at London Overground, commented:

“If we stretched and sweated the fleet, we believe we could be running an 18tph service between Shoreditch and New Cross Gate. But the reality is, that’s not where demand is – the demand is south… so the next discussion to be had with the industry is ‘can we sweat two additional paths south of New Cross Gate’.”

The new service from will be introduced in 2018 subject to the availability of paths being confirmed by Network Rail.

Thank you to Monkeyboy for the intel.

Suspected bomb find closes St Asaph Road

The discovery of a suspected WWII unexploded bomb at John Stainer Primary School forced the evacuation of homes on St Asaph Road this afternoon. The evacuation order has now been lifted.

On the Brockley Central Facebook page, James points out that this location is recorded as having been bombed. Bombsight notes that a high explosive bomb fell between Oct. 7, 1940 and June 6, 1941.

TfL proposes changes to the A20 (Lewisham Way)

Proposed changes to Lewisham Way
TfL has launched a consultation about proposed changes to Lewisham Way, Loampit Hill and Loampit Vale. The proposals include a number of improvements, but also the world's most gratuitous "traffic smoothing" project. The key changes involve:

  • Merging some of the existing pedestrian crossings along the A20 so crossings are more evenly spaced and creating a new signalised pedestrian crossing on Loampit Vale at the junction with Jerrard Street. Overall this results in the loss of one pedestrian crossing. 
  • Upgrading all pedestrian crossings to include countdown timers to ensure a safer and consistent standard which is easy for pedestrians to use 
  • Safety measures at side road junctions including narrowing the entrances, installing raised tables and providing ‘Keep Clear’ markings on the road 
  • Changes to bus lanes, including extending the bus lane along Loampit Vale by 300m towards Lewisham Town Centre to reduce potential delays to bus journey times, and replacing a 100 m section of bus lane opposite Lewisham College with a section of advisory cycle lane to create more space for cyclists and general traffic

TfL seems determined to strip Lewisham Way of one of its traffic crossings, by hook or by crook, even though the congestion that road suffers from is entirely related to the massive junction at the bottom of Loampit Hill.

Matt sent us the link to the consultation and notes:

This new proposal removes the crossing at Tresillian Road, relocating it east between the church and the nursery and "combining" it with the Tyrwhitt Road crossing which will be moved west. 

It will affect adversely children travelling north to Ashmead and St Stephens and south to Prendergast. It will impact people walking to St John's station from south west of St John's Vale. There is no provision made for cyclists turning across traffic.

Lewisham policeman fired for racist texts during London riots

A Lewisham police officer has been fired for sending racist texts during the London riots of 2011, which engulfed this area. The Guardian reports:

PC George Cooper, 41, who worked for the armed parliamentary and diplomatic protection unit (SO6), and Lewisham-based PC Stephen Newbury, 49, were found by a panel to have sent “racist and discriminatory” messages.

Both were dismissed from the Metropolitan police without notice following a public misconduct hearing on Wednesday. The misconduct hearing was told that at the height of the 2011 riots in London, Newbury was sick with tonsillitis when he was asked him if he was at work.

He texted: “Off mate, though had shit loads of missed calls. Papa Lima [Lewisham] can burn as far as I’m concerned, along with all the spades.”

Newbury was found to have sent 24 inappropriate text messages to another serving officer, while Cooper sent eight such messages. Most of the messages were not revealed in the hearing and Scotland Yard refused to release further details of their content.

Black and white kitten found

Andrew writes:

FOUND (evening 6th Oct) friendly black and white kitten in Tressillian Road near Harefield Road. No collar.

Will take to Celia Hammond if the owner not found as we have two resident cats already.

Andrew 07759 415629

Oculus Shift

Dr Emma writes:

Would your child like to take part in exciting research? Seeking 7-10 year olds, born preterm..

I am a researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London, currently running a pilot study to determine the role of oculomotor control (i.e. eye movements) in cognitive and motor development. I am seeking children aged 7-10 years that were born preterm (less than 35 weeks gestation) to take part in a short study (max. 45 minutes). Any expenses will be covered.

Your child would be asked to complete two tasks: one measuring vocabulary and the other using an 'eye tracker' to analyse eye movements (i.e. tracking ability, attention). The eye tracker is non-invasive - it is just a small camera placed under a computer monitor. Children often enjoy seeing how this cool technology records their eyes!

This could be a perfect activity to get involved with during the October half-term. Your child will receive a 'young scientist' certificate on completion, and we have lots of lovely stickers for them also!

For further information about the study, please contact me on: e.sumner@gold.ac.uk

Myatt Garden Winter Craft Market, November 7

Myatt Garden Primary School (Rokeby Road) is launching a new winter craft market to raise funds. There is already a wide variety of sellers lined up and you can browse and shop between 12-4pm on November 7th.

Especially the ones who buy overpriced cereal!

Bahar Mustafa, a 28-year-old student diversity officer at Goldsmiths, has been charged by police with sending a threatening communication and is set to appear at Bromley magistrates court on 5 November.

Mustafa gained notoriety for using the hashtag #killallwhitemen on her Twitter account and was accused of racism for asking white men not to attend a students’ union meeting intended for ethnic minority women and “non-binary” attendees. She is an employee of the independent students’ union, elected by union members - not Goldsmiths itself.

EastLondonLines reports:

Bahar Mustafa, the Goldsmiths’ Student Union Welfare and Diversity Officer, has been charged with sending a threatening and offensive communication.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “A woman interviewed under caution regarding a complaint of racially motivated malicious communication made on a social media network has been summonsed to court.”

One of the charges is for sending a communication conveying a threatening message between November 10 2014 and May 31 2015. The second charge is for sending an offensive message via public communication between the same previous time period.

Mustafa has previously offered the following defence in response to her critics:

"I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men, because racism and sexism describe structures of privilege based on race and gender.

"Therefore, women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist, since we do not stand to benefit from such a system.”

Coming soon: Noak Bakehouse & Brew

Lots of people have been getting excited by the sight of ladders and paint pots behind the shutters in the shop that used to be The Broca Food Market on Mantle Road and have been asking us what's going on.

As trailed here for a few months, this is going to be a new restaurant called Noak Bakehouse & Brew and the team are now hard at work on the fit-out. They are aiming to be open within a matter of weeks and have promised a full update when work is a little more advanced.

A new restaurant in the centre of Brockley is a rare and wonderful thing.

Red State: The cost of Lewisham's one-party dictatorship

Claire Temple: Ok, but what does that look like? Like what do you actually see?
Matt Murdock: A world on fire.
- Daredevil
World on Fire: One-party Councils tend to be more at risk of corruption
A report commissioned by the Electoral Reform Society has found that "one-party Councils" are 50% more at risk of corruption than politically competitive ones and that the national cost of the procurement inefficiency these Councils breed could amount to £2.6 billion.

They don't come any more uncompetitive than Lewisham, which currently has only one non-Labour councillor and which has given Labour every year since 1971 (other than in 2006, when Labour was the biggest party but didn't have overall control).

Lewisham residents of all political hues have been worried for some time about the lack of proper accountability that Lewisham's unbalanced political map produces. The ERS are not saying anything, they're just saying...

The research, by University of Cambridge academic Mihály Fazekas for the ERS, examines over 132,000 public procurement contracts between 2009 and 2013 to identify ‘red flags’ for corruption, such as where only a single bid is submitted or there is a shortened length of time between advertising the bid and the submission deadline. These are brought together in a Corruption Risk Index to give a measure of councils’ risk of corruption in public procurement.

Further evidence of the link between weak electoral accountability and higher corruption risk is supplied by a comparison of average price savings in procurement. One-party councils typically achieve lower price savings in procurement – 2.2% compared to 6.2% achieved by competitive councils.

The Electoral Reform Society use the report to argue the case for an end to first past the post Council elections. In the meantime, Lewisham's opposition have to raise their game.

Lewisham launches new consultation on the future of our libraries

Lewisham Council has launched a consultation about further changes to the borough's library services, as part of its bid to deliver cost savings. The library service has been asked to deliver £1m of savings over the next two financial years.

In short, the Council proposes three options:

A) to sub-contract library services to a private provider
B) to reduce opening hours
C) to convert more libraries to the community-led model, which is in place at libraries like Crofton Park. The libraries in Deptford, Lewisham and Downham would be preserved as Council-led "hub" libraries, while Forest Hill, Torridon Road and Manor House libraries would become community libraries.

In BC's view, reducing opening hours is totally unacceptable if libraries are to remain a useful study resource. The groups that have kept Lewisham's "community libraries" open deserve great credit for their hard work and ingenuity, but these libraries are ersatz in comparison to the Council-led ones, getting by on meagre resources. This would be a poor option.

The consultation notes that Lewisham Council does not favour option A) because it is unlikely to deliver the scale of savings that the others promise, but for library users it is the least worst option and might deliver some service improvements.

To take part in the consultation, click here. Thank you to Sara for the link.

Solar for schools share offer launches

The SE London Community Energy Share Offer is now open, giving you the chance to invest in a £250,000 solar energy project, which aims to return 4% per annum to investors for 20 years while saving local schools money on their electricity bills. It's a canny way of cashing in on Feed In Tariffs before they are nixed, while doing good. 

The minimum stake is £250 and you can invest here.

Peace marchers and police seek solutions to Turnham Estate deaths

The mother of schoolboy Shaquan Fearon, who was killed in a knife fight on the Turnham Estate, led a peace march through the area today.

Click here to watch the BBC's report from today's march.

Meanwhile, police staged an appeal for witnesses to last week's fatal car crash outside the same estate, during which a mob threw missiles at a fleeing car.

DCI McHugh said: "Firstly I would like to hear from anyone who saw the mint green Vauxhall Corsa on the Turnham Estate prior to the collision.

"Several people rushed to help Nassem and there are some who have yet to speak with police. We know the incident was also witnessed by other passers-by and residents in the area and again, we would encourage anyone who saw anything or has any information to come forward. Please do not assume that we already have the important information that you hold.

"We are keeping an open mind about the motive for this incident. Please do the right thing and be assured we will treat all information in the strictest confidence."

Anyone who can help should contact the incident room on 020 8785 8099 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

ASC Open Studios, New Cross

Saturday 3 October 12-6pm

Another major arts community is opening itself up for the Deptford X Festival. Zeitgeist Arts Projects explains:

ASC Open Studios houses a wide range of artists making painting, drawing, sculpture, film, installation and photography. Our Open Studios event is a fantastic and rare opportunity for members of the public, artists, curators and collectors to visit our studio building, see the range of work being developed and buy works directly from the artists.

ASC Studios (Bond House, Goodwood Road) are located between New Cross Gate Station (3 mins walk) and New Cross Station (7 mins walk).

The Propeller Foundry Open Studio, October 3-4

Acme Studios is a wonderful 1920s industrial building on Childers Street, Deptford, which houses the Propeller Foundry, an artistic community stretching across a vast space. Tomorrow, it throws open its doors to the public. The organisers say:

This weekend, 80 artists will be opening their doors in Acme's biggest studio building. Built as a ships' propeller foundry, the building was also used as a paper bag factory before Acme began converting it into studios in 1990. On display will be a wide range of artistic practice in studios of different shapes and sizes.

The event coincides with the nearby Old Police Station's annual open studios which forms part of the Art Licks Weekend.

The open studios also coincides with the week-long Deptford X festival.

Click here for more details.

I still believe in a place called Ladywell

Brockley's most-prolific street artist, Lionel Stanhope, has used up another few cans creating this on hoardings in Ladywell.

Wünderlust - Opening October 9th

Mountain Man: I bet you can squeal like a pig. Weeeeeeee!
Bobby: Weee!
Mountain Man: Weeeeeeee!
Bobby: Weee!
- Deliverance

The team behind Brockley Market hot dog purveyors Fleish Mob have taken over the Big Red bus (30 Deptford Church Street), giving them the perfect excuse for more Teutonic word play: The pop-up is called Wünderlust and their opening night party is October 9th.

They promise "a seasonally changing menu, with the finest rare breed meat, fresh fish & seafood cooked over wood, English cheeses, Kent Charcuterie, beers made from within 4 miles of the bar, natural & unfiltered wines and artisan cocktails."

Wünderlust will run until the end of 2015. If they don't have a Wünderbar, we'll be disappointed. Check out their website here.