Mountsfield Park cafe plan seeks Greater Brockley support

An artist's impression of the new cafe
The Friends of Mountsfield Park in Catford are trying to rally support for their scheme for a new cafe, which risk being blocked by the Council, despite the fact that the group stepped in to rescue the situation when the Council's own plans fell through. They say:

We have been campaigning for a cafe for years, and have been promised one by Lewisham Council – including as part of the Council redevelopment of the park that created the Community Garden and revamped the play area. But the Council were unable to follow through on their plan to build a cafe at that time.

Since then, we have worked with them to identify some funding – £50k – to launch a tender process to encourage an outside investor to build a cafe in the park.

A viable and attractive cafe plan is in front of Lewisham Council for approval right now – made by a local businessman who has worked closely with the Friends of Mountsfield Park. You can see the plans and some pictures of the new cafe here.

But the planning department at the Council is making unreasonable demands:

Firstly, they are demanding that the new design have a ‘biodiverse living roof’ to replace what they claim is a living roof on the existing, abandoned container units. In fact, the current ‘living roof’ is around a dozen unmaintained planters. We have offered to move these and add them to the Community Garden, so there is no loss of natural habitat, but the Council says this isn’t good enough.

Secondly, they are demanding that the new design meet the ‘BREEAM’ environmental rating of ‘excellent’, even though the Council was prepared to waive this requirement for the cafe they planned to build in Mountsfield Park! In other words, had the Council actually managed to deliver the cafe they promised in 2014, we would now have a cafe that didn’t meet these very high standards. The current proposal meets the ‘BREEAM’ environmental rating of ‘good’ with an aim to achieve ‘very good’. This means the current plans exceed mandatory standards by some margin.

If Lewisham Council turns down the current proposal – for what we think are spurious reasons – it could be years before another option is available and the money we fought to get the Council to commit to support the project – £50k – will be at risk.

We want the Council to take an intelligent approach, to look at the benefits a cafe would bring to Mountsfield Park: it will bring in revenue, encourage people to stay in the park longer and enjoy the Community Garden and play area, improve security by making the park more attractive to families, provide a place for dog walkers to get a cup of coffee, and it will mean that maintained toilet facilities are available in the park. These are far more important than a handful of planters!

We have until August 3rd to make our voice heard, so please add your signature to this petition. You can also email by 3 August 2016 with any further comments, thoughts, and experiences. All evidence is good evidence and will help us to make the case.

Oxjam New Cross

Oxjam is a live music night taking place on October 7th at the New Cross Inn. Organiser Katherine is looking for more local music talent. She writes:

Oxjam is a night of live performance featuring local talent! All funds raised on the door will go to Oxfam, suggested ticket price of £5. Full details here.

And if you want to perform, please get in touch with info! Line-up so far includes Billow Cloud, Torrente and Velodrome.

The Beer Shop Street Party, Nunhead

As Brockley awaits the arrival of two new bottle shops, Nunhead has organised a street party as a reminder that they got there first.

The Beer Shop team says:

We will have an outside bar, 2 food trucks, some entertainment and talks from breweries and food producers, a mini market of local traders from cakes to books to vinyl and some DJ’s. The outside bar is sponsored by Four Pure and the stage is sponsored by Shrunken Heads studio.

It is also the first day of London Beer City, a week long, London wide celebration of all things beer! And in aid of this, we have 3 exclusive colaboration brews with Bullfinch Brewery (SE24), Old Kent Road (SE16) and our Homebrew Club (SE15) that will be released at the Street Party. And the winner of our Homebrew Competition will also be announced.

Greater Brockley solar investment scheme opens for round two

Last year, a local group called SE London Community Energy (SELCE) successfully raised £250,000 to invest in solar energy projects in the Greater Brockley area [full disclosure: I was a small investor in the enterprise]. They are now seeking to expand by raising a further £120,000. SELCE Chair Camilla Berens explains:

Ashmead Primary School in St. John’s is now benefitting from a significant drop in its electricity bills thanks to the 184 solar panels that were recently installed on its roof areas.  Ashmead is one of four local primary schools to have benefitted from the pioneering work of a 15-strong renewable energy co-operative (which includes three Brockleyites) called South East London Community Energy (SELCE).

At the end of last year, SELCE raised an impressive £250,000 to install solar arrays on the four schools through a ‘community share offer’. This type of share offer is rather like ‘crowdfunding’ but SELCE offers investors annual interest payments of four percent - which is an attractive proposition compared with the interest offered by most high street savings accounts or ISAs.

The co-operative’s aim is to develop renewable energy that is not only generated locally but that is also owned and governed by the people who use it. Any surplus it generates from the solar projects is ploughed back into SELCE’s sister scheme which runs pop-up energy advice cafes that are designed to reduce fuel poverty in SE London. so far, the team has put in over 6,000 volunteer-hours to bring the projects to life and SELCE has won some VIP supporters.

SELCE is now hoping to raise a further £120,000 to install solar arrays on three more local primary schools. The share offer closes on August 4th and the minimum investment is £250. Share can be withdrawn after three years and investors who retain their shares will receive 4% annual interest for the 20 years of the project.

Our team is already over half way there, with £80,000 in the pot.  This is the last opportunity, for the foreseeable future, that local people will be able to support SELCE and get a ‘thank you’ in the form of annual interest payments.

The government recently changed the rules relating to subsidies for renewable energy projects like ours and we’re urging everyone to make the most of our community share offer while they can. We hope that SELCE’s offer will attract even more positive interest now that the prospect of negative interest has appeared on the horizon.”

You can find more information on SELCE and its share offer on its website or on the Crowdfunder website.

The European Capital of Vibes

To celebrate its longer daytime opening hours, Lewisham street food phenomenon Model Market has created a new muralpaying tribute to the official European Capital of Vibes. They say:

Inspired by similar murals in Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon, we wanted to produce an artwork that captures the unique atmosphere of our favourite little bit of south east London.

We collaborated with Bread Collective, a network of artists and creatives, to create a mural featuring Lewisham’s local landmarks, including the Horniman Museum, Rivoli Ballroom, Lewisham Clock Tower, Goldsmiths University, the DLR and - of course - the 436 bus. Take advantage of our new daytime hours by bringing the whole family down on Saturdays. Soak up the sun and dig into our delicious street food.

Now celebrating our third year at Model Market, we’re proud to welcome over 4,000 people from the area every weekend. Doors open every Friday from 5pm till 1am and every Saturday from Midday till 1am.

A Strange New Experience in Brock

Eamon writes:

Having recently pulled off a 1940’s film night screening  “Odd Man Out” at the Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery Chapel,  I have  teamed up with the Brockley Jack Theatre to pilot a series of films for  the area - starting with 2 films in the first week of August.

On Tuesday 2 August (7.45pm), we are showing the classic British black and white horror – “The Innocents” (1961). As something of a contrast, on Thursday 4 August (7.45pm), we are showing the very recent “10 Cloverfield Lane” (2016).

Each evening there will be a brief introduction to the film to whet appetites. Tickets are £7 for each film or you can purchase a ticket for both nights for £12 – via the Brockley Jack Theatre website.

The idea here is to generate interest for a local film season -  hopefully starting in the Autumn.  We are keen to hear any suggestions for films that the community think would play well in future.

Please post your suggestions here.

Brockley's Town Centre

The development of 180 Brockley Road has created the closest thing we are ever going to get to a coherent town centre around Brockley Station, so it's worth reflecting on the finished product. 

The building links Coulgate Street and Brockley Road, while the improvements to Coulgate Street have opened up the East Side entrance to Brockley Station.
The new block is, in my view, a mini triumph. The building creates a handsome new stretch of high street that combines symmetry and variation while the materials complement the surrounding buildings without trying too hard to fit in. The angles created by the roofline at either end of Coulgate Street are spectacular, but they don't distract from the charm of the original cottages. Only the value-engineered brown balconies let it down.

Although the ground floor units of 180 Brockley Road offer an underwhelming mix new businesses, another empty unit has been created by the station, which is begging to be filled by a foodie business. Next month, Degustation will re-open as a bottle shop. The Coulgate Street cluster will then be nicely balanced with restaurants (The Gantry, Mo Pho, Nu Spice), a pub (The Barge), cafes (Browns, the Broca), shops (Salthouse Bottles, Sainsbury's), and services (taxis, architects and estate agents).
Perhaps best of all though is what has been done to Coulgate Street itself. Once upon a time, this was Coulgate Street. Now, the bounteous green borders of Brockley Station have been joined by nice wide pavements, while the provision of fewer spaces for cars and more places for bikes has created a much calmer, prettier and more versatile gateway to the neighbourhood. Cafe culture has bloomed.

Brockley's lost railway

Geoff Marshall has produced this short film for Londonist, tracing one of London's lost railways from Nunhead to Greenwich Park via Brockley Station. The line closed in 1917.

Thanks to Lionel and Littlejungleman for the heads-up.

Vinted pops-up in August

A month ago, the idea of one specialist booze emporium opening in Brockley seemed improbable. Now, we have three opening soon and they are currently springing up at a rate of two a day.

Vinted is a pop-up that's occupying Noak for a short while while the former bakery has a rethink about its future direction. 

Launch night is Thursday August 4th and will be selling wines by the glass throughout the month, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Follow them here for more details.​

Salthouse Bottles opens in September

Coulgate Street deli Degustation is being replaced by a new bottle shop led created by a dream team of local entrepreneurs. Richard Salthouse writes:

We are pleased to announce that Salthouse Bottles is soon to open in Brockley (South East London), offering the best of British beers and ciders in bottle, can and via growler-fill, as well as a select range of wines.

We will be focused on providing a selected range of quality drinks and the best possible service to our customers.The store will stock over 100 bottled and canned beers and ciders, including permanently-available and rotating selections, new releases, limited edition brews and seasonal specials. There will be a growler-fill counter, where customers will be able to fill their branded swing-top bottles from an ever-changing selection of up to six draught beers and ciders.

Beer styles will range from everyday pales to challenging sours and celebration stouts.Ciders will be selected from the best of the UK’s longstanding and newest producers, always made from pure UK apple and pear juice –nothing from concentrate!

There will be a number of carefully chosen wines, including those that are natural and biodynamic. The selection available will rotate throughout the year and we hope to include some English sparkling wines.In the fridges and on the shelves will also be all-natural soft drinks, gift cards and branded goods.Customers will have the opportunity to order mixed cases of bottles; for themselves or as gift boxes. The store plans to cater for party orders, helping to select products and to then deliver to the customer (minimum spend and/or postage will apply).

Throughout the opening weekend (8th-11th September), free samples of wine and beer will be available to all customers.

Salthouse Bottles online store will follow, expected to launch late 2016. The online store will include the full in-store range and will offer delivery, collection and online vouchers.

The store is founded by Richard Salthouse, Ross Brown and Charlie Shaw. Richard will be the manager of the store, having previously worked for Antic London as the general manager of The Royal Albert (New Cross), Catford Bridge Tavern and The Antelope (Tooting). In these roles Richard has had the enviable task of selecting eachpub’s range of guest cask, keg, bottled and canned beers. Ross is the owner of Browns of Brockley coffee shop, founded in 2008. Charlie is the owner of Flock & Herd butcher’s shop,founded in 2012 on Bellenden Road, Peckham.

Foxcroft declares for Smith

Brockley and Deptford MP Vicky Foxcroft has declared her support for Owen Smith in the upcoming leadership election, stating that while she broadly supports Jeremy Corbyn's policies, his leadership is shambolic.

In a letter to supporters, the party whip writes:

"I believe we need to provide a credible alternative to the Conservatives... Quite frankly, at the moment, we are a mess, a shambles. A strong leader is needed to pull this together... [Jeremy] has principles, he is honest, but I believe it's time for him to go."

Neighbouring Labour MP Heidi Alexander, backed Smith at the weekend. Corbyn will be re-elected.

East London Line part-closure, July 30 - August 7

Thanks to Monkeyboy for sharing this

No Brockley or Honor Oak train services today

Main line and East London Line services through Brockley Station are still disrupted following the emergence of a gaping 50 feet-deep hole beneath the tracks at Forest Hill yesterday.

Forest Hillhole creates (more) Southern chaos

Rham Jas: You'd be surprised what you'll be willing to do, when the Lamia comes for you.
- Drag Me To Hell

A gaping chasm has opened on the site of an ancient Indian burial ground in Forest Hill, spawning travel chaos on Southern and ELL routes. The Evening Standard writes:

The hole, reported to be 50ft deep, is affecting two railway tracks between East Croydon and London Bridge and trains are currently suspended.

It is set to cause chaos for commuters travelling home this evening and passengers are being advised to take alternative routes.

Thanks to Monkeyboy and Fabhat for the warning.

Big Name Bottlers

Salthouse Bottles is a new beer shop opening soon in Brockley. No, not that one.

The brainchild of a team with an impeccable local pedigree and led by Richard Salthouse, formerly of Jam Circus and The Royal Albert, it promises to be good.

More details soon. Click here to follow them on Twitter.

Superhumans at The Rivoli

Channel 4's new Paralympics trailer is out. 2012's Public Enemy comfortably beats 2016's Big Band sound but this one has the Rivoli Ballroom and Brockley Central is contractually obligated to document any appearance of the velvet walls.

After the Avengers, this is the second superhuman team to base themselves there.

Thanks to Transpontine for spotting it.

Heidi Alexander backs Owen Smith

“All I kept thinking about, over and over, was 'You can't live forever; you can't live forever.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander, whose resignation from Shadow Cabinet helped to trigger the upcoming Labour leadership election, has thrown her support behind challenger Owen Smith, declaring her support at this morning's launch.

Eagle's campaign has been a damp squib and Smith looks like the best candidate, but Labour's at an impasse and the smell of almonds is all about.

Neither Brockley MP Vicky Foxcroft nor Lewisham West MP Jim Dowd have joined the fray.

The Lewisham 3 Peaks Challenge – 16 July

The Lewisham 3 Peaks Challenge is a sponsored walk taking place on 16 July 2016, starting at 11.00am in Hilly Fields Park, SE4. It will follow the route of the new 3 Peaks Green Route, which links up the hilly parks of Hilly Fields, One Tree Hill and Blythe Hill with the shops and cafes of Crofton Park, Honor Oak and Ladywell.

A group of local residents has produced an illustrated map and guide to the walk with funding from Ladywell Assembly. The 5-mile circular route passes through parks and historic cemeteries, as well visiting some popular shopping streets, with plenty of pubs and cafes for refreshment stops.

The guide includes interesting historical information and suggests what to look out for along the way. For people coming from outside the area – or who want a short cut - there are plenty of transport links to join the route.

To launch the new walk, residents have teamed up with the Stephen Lawrence Trust and For Jimmy. A sponsored walk on Saturday 16 July will ‘christen’ the circular route and raise money for the charities.

Money is also being raised from the donations received for the maps and from sales of a special limited edition ‘Lewisham 3 Peaks Challenge’ t-shirt. This has been designed by Guardian cartoonist and local resident, Martin Rowson.

Further information available on Facebook or Twitter. You can also sign up to raise money for the charities at:

Brockley GO

The Nostalgia-Telly industry of 2030 will have trouble putting together "I Love 2016".

This summer's diet of football humiliation, Islamic terrorism, the Zika virus, Brexit and left-wing political implosion will be hard to make banal jokes about.

But Pokemon Go promises to be the year's hula hoop and it's no surprise that in a year when reality has been so awful that the opportunity to augment it has produced the biggest craze.

The mobile game overlays Pokemon onto the streets around you and designates certain spots as 'gymnasia' where players can battle the creatures they capture.

Among the local battlegrounds are Breakspears Mews and Luxmore Gardens, while Brockley's street art features prominently in the game, including the Brockley Cross tiger and the Shardeloes Road poem. The game has earned some notoriety for sending players into dubious locations, so if you spot any quirks in the mapping, please share here.

Noak reopening

Noak has pivoted again... The Mantle Road bakery recently closed but is reopening shortly in a new incarnation. The owner writes:

Our new menus will have a modern focus and reflect the Australasian training of the new kitchen team. We are so excited to show you what we can do. We really believe you'll love it.

Our hours, initially, will be 8am - 4pm, seven days a week. We have a strong plan to be open for dinner as well, and will aim to launch this by 1 October, latest.

Having looked closely at our use of space and resources, we have made the decision to work closely with a small-scale bakery based in south-east London, who will supply us with bread for retail as well as for our own kitchen.

We are still passionate about bread-baking. But we have made this a longer-term goal, and will be working to get the cafe menu and service to a very high standard before returning to home bread-baking. We'll still be baking pastries and afternoon cakes, though. Cinnamon buns will be back!

If you are an experienced chef (commis, CDP, or sous level) or floor-service professional, we would love to receive your CV at

Coming soon: Aloosh

Maddy's Fish Bar in New Cross, which closed last year, has been replaced by a Lebanese grill called Aloosh. Nice to see life return to this spot. Thanks to Whaity for the news.

Duke: An Apology

Yesterday, I did Duke, the Brockley Cross convenience store, a disservice, by suggesting it had closed. As this Tweet shows, Duke lives on after midnight.

Four of our dogs are missing

BCer Sara had her dog stolen and is helping to track down the Cruellas who took them. She writes:

My dogwalker's white fiat Diablo van was stolen in Streatham, Glennie Rd which had 5 dogs in it! Just before 11am. 

The men driving the van are letting the dogs out of the van in various places, probably on their way out to the country. One dog was let out in Bishopthorpe Road Sydenham 11.15 and is now safe in the vets.

We are looking for 4 dogs, Tilly Nina Lilly and Mattie.

Please share, tweet, Instagram, email and text Call me on 07798606455 if you have any information whatsoever. 

Coming soon: Waterintobeer

Brockley is brewing a beer ecosystem.

Waterintobeer is a new beer shop, hoping to open on Mantle Road next month. Tim explains:

Our beer shop will be located on the west side of the station in the old dry cleaners. We'll be selling bottles and cans of real ale and craft beer, homebrew equipment and ingredients, plus books about beer. 

We hope to put on various small scale events such as meet the brewer and tasting events. We plan to open mid August, dependent on the license being approved and works being completed on the premises. 

I have an allotment around the corner from the shop and have 14 hop plants (among other things) growing on it at the moment, which I plan to either make a batch of homebrew using only Brockley grown hops or get the professionals in to do the same...

Visit their website here to learn more.

Campaigners fight loss of New Cross bank to betting shop

BCer Danja writes:

To balance the very welcome redevelopment of the White Hart, an application has gone in to make the ex-Barclays Bank on the other side of the junction a Coral betting shop, which would be a massive waste of this gateway site for the New Cross Gate high street.

The applicants failed to display a planning site notice so the public consultation period has officially closed, although there is some pressure being exerted on the council to re-start that period for the non-compliance with the site notice requirement.

The application is going to planning committee because a Councillor has called it in.  There's a petition been set up here for people to register opposition on the basis that there are already two other nearby betting shops, the proximity of local schools and hostels and the loss of local amenity.

Please show your support for the campaign and sign the petition.

Boost recycling in Hilly Fields

Chris has launched a petition to persuade Lewisham Council to improve recycling rates in Hilly Fields. He writes:

Lewisham council has a terrible reputation for recycling. This is worse in its parks where the council no longer even separates waste for recycling. There are not enough bins already and they are not emptied often enough.

We need more bins that should allow us to separate out recyclable rubbish so that cans, glass and cardboard can be kept apart from food waste. And we need those bins emptied before they overflow. I volunteer to empty bins in Hilly Fields so I know how often people have separated out their recycling and put them in different bags next to already overflowing bins.

The Friends of Hilly Fields support this campaign.

Please sign the petition and let's see some action.

The Ladywell

BCer Paul reports:

"The Ladywell Tavern is now part of the Laines pub group and is listed as The Ladywell. The other pubs in the chain are not too bad so it could be a good thing.

"They are also hoping to knock down some outbuildings to expand the beer garden."

BCer Charlie adds that the immediate impact is that the Tuesday night pub quiz has been cancelled and prices have gone up. Hopefully they were getting the bad news out of the way while we were all talking about Brexit and we can look forward to a raft of positive initiatives in the future.

East Side Sainsbury's opens tomorrow

The new Sainsbury's at 180 Brockley Road opens tomorrow. Not one to get excited about, but at least it means that this key site will cease to be a building site. We get our pavement back. There's also a free cash machine, but these days BCers can't move without tripping over the things.

Thanks to Kyle for the update and the photo.

The Beast of Brockley Cross beaten

After Lewisham Council rejected an attempt to convert a Brockley Road shop into an apartment, here's another welcome verdict from their planning department. The ugliest proposal ever to grace these pages, 1-1a Brockley Cross, has been rejected again. The refusal states:

"The scale, massing and design of the proposed building fails to respect or enhance character and appearance of the area and would be harmful to the Brockley Conservation Area [now go back and do it again properly, or better still, give it to someone that knows what they're doing]."

Brockley Cross is slowly dragging itself up by its bootstraps and this project would have been a disaster.

Thank you to Rhymer.

Noak to reopen

Noak, the Mantle Road bakery, which recently was forced to close, has announced that intends to reopen. A post on their website says:

Things will soon be cooking & happening at Mantle Court. Please watch this page and our social media accounts for dates and events. 

If you are a food/hospitality trader interested in appearing short-term here, please get in touch! It's

Celebrate Brockley's Rock Birthday today

The Brockley's Rock team celebrates
Kyriacos writes:

We, at Brockley’s Rock, are all very excited to celebrate our 5th Birthday on the 4th of July (where did the time go!). We owe a huge thanks for the ongoing support from our customers and the wider Brockley community.

 We have been feeling nostalgic remembering our first day, 4th of July 2011, when we were expecting a quiet day just getting used to our surroundings, but when it hit 5PM we had queues lining out of the door. We couldn’t have asked for a better start!

The support we've received has enabled us to develop new and exciting ideas, from Beer Batter Mondays, courtesy of Brockley Brewery and their delicious pale ale, to Gluten Free Tuesdays to make sure we have something for everyone. So from all of us at Brockley’s Rock we just want to say one last big thank you by having a big 5th birthday offer for all our customers with ‘fish & chips for a fiver’ and ‘kid’s fish and chips half price’ (valid for Monday 4th July, our birthday!).

We couldn’t have done it without you and can’t wait for what the next 5 years will bring!

The Royal Standard reopens

Having previously served as a common room for a hostel, The Royal Standard, on Tanners Hill, opened this weekend as a fully-fledged pub.

It's been given a pop-art makeover and a new food menu, which is a little thin in terms of veggie options but otherwise stacked with pub classics.

Gill writes:

"Went last night for the opening and had a great time. Food was delicious and the full menu looks good, friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere - what more could you ask for?"

Hilly Fields picnic tomorrow

The Dove of Peace brings cocktail sausages
This event has been quickly organised as a response to the vote to Leave the EU and the anxiety it has provoked about rising hostility to immigrants.

One of the saddest consequences of the Brexit vote was the effect it had on EU citizens who have chosen to make the UK their home. 

My Spanish housemate suddenly worries whether the people she serves in a local pub want her gone. A European couple on the train this morning were wondering whether they would need to leave the country. And a smashed window at Donde in Honor Oak almost broke the local internet with speculation that it must have been a hate crime. It may have been. Or it may have been something else. We should avoid hysteria and guard against confirmation bias.

There were lots of reasons why people voted to Leave a European superstate. Immigration is a complex issue and those who worry about it are not simply racist. The result has not validated xenophobia, nor will it necessarily lead to a rise.

So this event, on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme should be a reminder that this is a strong community, largely at ease with itself (and one that was produced one of the top 20 majorities in favour of remain), rather than a shelter against the darkness. Plus, a picnic is always fun, even if God has sent heavy rains to punish us for our hubris. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream, July 5-23

Following a sellout run at the Catford-Upon-Avon festival, Wildcard bring their inaugural production of one of Shakespeare's most popular plays to the Brockley Jack Studio.

Set in The Dukes Oak, a magical woodland pub, this show explores the darker aspects of power, control and obsession, as well as the lightness that makes this such a successful comedy.

For tickets (£14 / £12 concessions), click here.

Brockley Central Label Cloud