Vote for our Best Local Newcomer 2017

Time again to vote for the prestigious Brockley Central Best Newcomer Award. Last year, Crofton Park bakery Cat Food won the vote in a crowded field and joined a legendary group of local businesses in our hall of fame.

The competition is open to any high street business that has opened in Brockley / Crofton Park, Ladywell or Telegraph Hill in 2017.

This year, we have a field of eight new local businesses vying for your love and support. And although the quantity of new entrants may have dipped, the quality is as strong and varied as ever.

Here are your choices:

Bella Nova - a new midtown cafe, blending tradition and experimentation
Bite Mi - a Vietnamese cafe in Brockley Cross, next door to previous winner Masala Wala
Gently - sister shop to previous winner Gently Elephant, bringing a grown-up mix to Crofton Park
Number 50 Friendly Street - a new cafe helping the St John's street live up to its name
Parlez - a family-friendly restaurant that completes the Coulgate Street reimagining
Pizza Verde (originally Pizza Man) - a gluten-free specialist takeaway on Lewisham Way
Rad Bikes - bike maintenance and accessories on Lewisham Way
Saka Maka - a fresh take on Indian food on Brockley Road

Please cast your votes using the options on the side bar. You have until the end of the day on January 1st 2018.

The previous winners are:

Best Newcomer 2016 - Cat Food
Best Newcomer 2015 - Masala Wala Cafe
Best Newcomer 2014 - The Brockley Deli
Best Newcomer 2013 - The Malaysian Deli
Best Newcomer 2012 - Gently Elephant
Best Newcomer 2011 - Brockley Market
Best Newcomer 2010 - El's Kitchen
Best Newcomer 2009 - The Orchard

Bella Nova, 304 Brockley Road

It's time to right a wrong and ensure that a new(ish) Brockley establishment gets a mention before the Newcomer of the Year vote.

Bella Nova opened in Midtown in the autumn and is one part Central Perk, one part greasy spoon, serving everything from lattes and ciabatta to full English breakfasts.

Please share your reviews here.

Lewisham Councillors call on Labour to change Pro-Brexit stance

Seventy Labour councillors from Lewisham, Lambeth and Southwark, unhappy at Labour's pro-Brexit policies, have written a joint letter to the party's leadership, asking them to change course.

Labour has struggled to spell out its specific position on Brexit and this letter is similarly vague, falling just short of calling for Labour to stop the Brexit process or push for a second referendum. Nor does it say anything about the single market or customs union. All they know is that they are not happy with the direction of travel. quotes signatory James Coldwell of Southwark council as saying:

"Leavers and Remainers alike now see that the reality of Brexit bears almost no resemblance to what voters were sold last year. In changed circumstances, Labour must have the courage to offer voters the chance to say whether they wish to go ahead with Britain’s exit from the EU. Staying silent up to now has damaged the Tories enormously. But if Labour continues to treat Brexit as an exercise in political point-scoring, future generations won’t forgive us."

Midtown elves transform Brockley Road tree

Another Brockley Christmas tree has been given a festive transformation. Its cheerless safety barriers are now beautiful. Thank you to the people who did this.

Ashmead School expansion plans revealed

A visualisation of the Lewisham Way elevation
The application for the expansion of Ashmead School is now available on the Lewisham Council website. The proposal is for:

"Construction of a three storey school building (use class D1) at Lewisham Way frontage of Ashmead Primary School, Ashmead Road SE8, to facilitate an increase from 1 to 2 forms of entry, together with removal of existing front boundary wall, creation of new entrance from Lewisham Way and associated landscaping and fencing and alterations to external play space."

The proposed building is big (doubling the school's capacity to help address the area's desperate need for more places) and the Lewisham Way access will mean the loss of the small area of green space on Lewisham Way. As a consequence of this incursion, The St John's Society is opposing the scheme in its current form. They say:

"As part of the plans to double the size of Ashmead School, the small public park on Lewisham Way shall be absorbed into the main school site and form part of the school’s new Main Entrance on Lewisham Way.

"Concerns about child safety aside, given Lewisham Way is one of the busiest and most polluted red routes in the Borough, should Ashmead become an academy then this land would be privatised and lost from public ownership forever (academy schools can become limited companies, and the Governing Body would then be free to sell this valuable land for any price it wished)."

Local residents have until January 3rd to comment on the plans. Click here to review the application.

Crofton Park Christmas Tree Transformed

Finally, the big society steps up!

After years of suffering under the dead hand of Lewisham Council, which each December provides the good burghers of Crofton Park with a dismal Christmas tree surrounded by Stalinist safety barriers, the citizens have taken matters into their own hands and transformed their tree into something to be proud of.

Joy to the world. Here it is. Well done people. Happy Christmas.

Crofton Park train campaigners aim high

Michael from the Cinderella Line campaign group, which campaigns for better train services through Crofton Park, writes:

Thameslink have proposed to run four trains to Crofton Park every hour at the weekend, which is great, but they are suggesting we'll have to wait until December 2018. Bah! Humbug! We think that's way too long to wait.

In the last round of their consultation, Crofton Park had the highest number of responses, closely followed by Nunhead in third place, and Catford in fifth. Brighton came in sixth and given how much trouble they have had over the last year it just goes to show what a sweet sound our community makes when it comes to singing from the same carol sheet.

But we need to raise our voices one more time while the weekend services are within our grasp.

We have to respond by 20th December so please get your vote in now.

But they want even more! They continue:

A little while ago now, the Cinderella Line campaign and the local community successfully pushed for services into Victoria during morning peak times on a weekday. ​

That's helped curtail a lot of commutes but imagine if Southeastern trains on the Cinderella Line went to Victoria on a weekend too?

You can sign our petition for this change here.

Coming soon: Grounds and Grapes

The store front in HOP
Grounds and Grapes is a new coffee shop and bar that's taking shape in Honor Oak (41 Honor Oak Park). They've been recruiting for a chef and have launched a holding website.

To follow them on Instagram, click here.

Brockley Deli Break-In

The lovely Brockley Deli has suffered an attack this afternoon. So if you were wondering where to buy something nice this evening, you now know where to go.

Brockley Christmas Mystery #1

Mary writes:

I am trying to trace a friend of my mother's, who we last heard of living in Brockley some years ago. My mother is 90 and her friend is Lil (Lilian A) Clarke (nee Champion). I'd love to put the two ladies in touch again for a phone chat, if it is at all possible.

If you are, or have any information about, Lil please email Mary.

Christmas at St Hilda's

St Hilda's Church is on Brockley Road in Crofton Park, just past the Brockley Jack

The Balkanisation of Brockley

The proposed new boundaries
The deadline to participate in the Boundary Commission for England's consultation about Brockley's future place on the electoral map is December 11.

To recap, the proposal is to lump the northern end of Brockley in to a new constituency called Greenwich and Deptford, while Crofton Park becomes part of Dulwich and Sydenham and some other southern scraps of SE4 join Ladywell in Lewisham and Catford.

The Commission has been tasked with reducing the number of London constituencies from 73 to 68 as part of an attempt to slim Parliament down to 600 MPs.

To take part in the consultation, click here.

Chinese culture tasting, December 13

Brexit-proof yourself by learning about Chinese culture at the Goldsmiths Confucius Institute on December 13th. They say:

Are you interested in Chinese Culture? Have you been thinking about trying out Tai Chi, Chinese Dance, Calligraphy or Mandarin?

Goldsmiths Confucius Institute are holding a day of free Chinese Culture taster sessions on the 13th December.

Timetable for the day: 

Tai Chi 10.45-11:30
Calligraphy 12.00-12.45
Tai Chi 14.15-15.00 
Dance for Health & Wellbeing 15.15-16.00
Mandarin Chinese for beginners 16.00-16.45

Further details and tickets available here.

Crofton Park Vinyl

What a record looks like
Will writes:

We are setting up a vinyl record shop in Crofton Park Library. Most of the proceeds will go directly towards funding the running of the library and improvements to it.

We will be working closely with the already established and successful Crofton Books, who are also based at the library

There will always be low priced bargains whenever the library or book shop are open. For more collectible and desirable items, Crofton Park Vinyl will be exclusively staffed at the following times (as of Sunday 10th Dec):
Sundays: 1130-1330
Tuesdays: 1800-1900
Thursdays: 1800-1900

To help get us going we’re looking for vinyl donations. If you have a collection, big or small, that you no longer listen to, please bring it in, or we can come and collect. If you have items that are worth more than a few quid that you wouldn’t just want to part with, then we can sell them on your behalf for a commission, including a library donation.

If you want to know more or are interested in donating please contact me here.

Feral Horses in Deptford Market Yard

Feral Horses is a new art investment company, which allows everyday schlubs to take a punt with relatively small amounts of money.

The London-based fintech firm picks up-and-coming artists and allows its customers to buy and trade shares in their work, getting paid when the art gets rented or sold. They are currently staging an exhibition of some of their new talent in St Paul's House, Deptford Market Yard.

The show is open until December 15th, from 10am-5pm daily.

Shop Small in Brockley

I have recently changed jobs, moving to a new agency, which means lots of new clients I have to remember to disclose if I ever mention them. 

I am currently surrounded by lots of people working diligently to support American Express' Shop Small campaign (tomorrow), which gives Amex card holders £5 credit when they spend £10 in a small business. 

There are lots of participating local businesses, including the Brockley Mess, Brown's of Brockley, Meze Mangal, The Gantry and Aladdin's Cave. 

The offer starts tomorrow with Small Business Saturday and runs through to December 17th. To learn more about Shop Small and see the interactive map of participating businesses, click here.

Police seek South London sex attacker caught on Brockley CCTV

The police are asking for the public to help identifying a serial sex attacker, who was caught on CCTV in Brockley following an attack on a 15-year-old girl. The BBC reports:

CCTV footage has been released of a man police want to speak to about 25 sexual assaults of women and children.

The Metropolitan Police believe the offences, which have taken place across five London boroughs, were carried out by the same suspect.

The victims, aged between eight and 35, were attacked in daylight, usually during morning and evening rush hours. The assaults, in which victims were indecently grabbed, occurred between 16 October 2016 and 22 November 2017.

The force found CCTV footage from the latest attack in which a 15-year-old girl was assaulted in Brockley, south London, just after 08:30 GMT.

It shows the man police would like to speak to as part of their investigation. He is described as a white man, aged in his 40s, with blue eyes.

Out of the 25 females assaulted, 16 were young children. The other victims were aged between 16 and 35.

The offences were mainly carried out in the Lewisham and Greenwich areas, but police have received reports of similar attacks in Southwark, Bromley and Bexley.

Det Ch Insp Andrew Furphy, leading the investigation, said: "The offences have been traumatic for the victims, who have been young females going about their daily lives.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police have increased patrols in the areas where offences have been reported, and the force said it was working with local schools to reassure pupils and parents.

Click here to see the full video.