Ladywell Fields river clean-up this weekend

Rob writes:

As it’s going to be a wonderful weekend you might want to publicise the Ladywell Fields river clean-up on Sunday, 22 April.

I have been to probably 20 of these over the years and I can honestly say they are great fun - an opportunity to do some useful volunteer work whilst enjoying a different view of the world wading along the River Ravensbourne and enjoying Ladywell Fields in all its Springtime beauty.

Lewisham house prices defy London downturn

For more than a decade, Lewisham house prices have been rising faster than the London average as inner city living has become more fashionable and improved transport links have attracted people priced-out elsewhere. The result is that, from a low base, Lewisham has moved up the league table of London boroughs in terms of average prices.

So one might of assumed that Lewisham would be among the fastest-fallers as London prices have started to fall in the last year. But new data from the ONS shows that in 2017, Lewisham house prices continued to rise at one of the fastest rates in the capital as the most expensive boroughs dipped.

The ONS found that between February 2017 and February 2018 the price of the average Lewisham home rose 2.7% to £414,516.

Speculative hotspots like Westminster (-2.4%), Hammersmith & Fulham (-5%) and Tower Hamlets (-7.9%) have taken a hammering, while more affordable outer boroughs such as Barking & Dagenham (4.4%) and Redbridge (8.9%) have shot up. Lewisham remains in the top ten fastest risers.

Thanks to Monkeyboy for sharing the data.

Brockley Open Studios, June 30th - July 2nd

Printmaker Maria Munroe is one of this year's participating artists
The organisers of the Brockley Open Studios festival have announced the 2018 line-up of participating artists - 36 in total. They say:

A great variety of artists has signed up and you can expect to see artworks including paintings, prints wood work, textiles, ceramics, fire etching and many more.

This year, we are also offering workshops and activities provided by Caravan Arts and Aurora Options for you and your family to get involved.

For the full roster, click here.

Lewisham Place: Like Lewisham Shopping Centre, only slightly more lime green

The future of Lewisham Shopping Centre has been the subject of feverish speculation over the years: Would it be completely rebuilt? Submerged below ground? Turned into a gastrodome? Appended with a cinema?

The answer is none of these things. Instead, they're adding some green signs. Fromthemurkydepths reports:

Lewisham Shopping Centre owners Landsec have just gained approval from Lewisham Council for a series of upgrades.

The focus is mainly on improving the six entrances to the site, which itself appears to be renamed as “Lewisham Place”. The centre first opened in 1977 and has undergone internal refurbishment in recent years.

The planning application states: 

"The design for the six entrances is in line with the principles intended for the rest of the Shopping Centre which include the use if timber, natural stone and stainless steel as materials and shades of green and grey for the colour palette and graphics with the intention to brighten up and refresh the space."

The entrance closest to Lewisham station and new builds at Lewisham Gateway is to be upgraded. A new green wall is apparent above the canopy.

For the full, uninspiring story, click here. Thanks to Miles for the heads-up.

Knock-back for block plot on Lewisham High Street

BCer Ed writes:

A few weeks ago I was shocked and appalled to find my favourite go-to spot for giant pots of honey, enormous tubs of humus and unlimited plates of baklava was no more. The Turkish Supermarket on Lewisham High Street simply closed overnight.

This site has actually been targeted for major redevelopment, with the latest proposal recently knocked-back by Lewisham Council.

A couple of years ago planning permission was originally granted for a 4/5 storey block of 22 flats and 195 sq m of street-level commercial space at 223-225 Lewisham High Street – that’s where the hole in the street is now. But planning permission for a much bigger development, stretching from 223-229 Lewisham High Street has now been knocked back.

A planning application was submitted in July last year for 691 sq m of commercial space and 51 flats over 5-8 floors – but it was refused at the end of October 2017. These pictures show what they were hoping to build.
In her refusal letter, Emma Talbot, head of planning, gave three reasons why Lewisham Council had refused planning permission:

1. The size of the development would fail to provide a high quality design.

2. The proposed flats would provide “A poor standard of accommodation that would fail to provide long term sustainable housing”.

3. The development as a whole was over-development, with an unsatisfactory “compromised internal layout”.

In short – loads of poky flats.

Since that decision was made the site at 223-225 Lewisham High Street has been cleared, although no building work is taking place there yet. The TFC supermarket at 226-229 Lewisham High Street is still standing, for now.

I have not been able to find another re-submitted planning application for the whole site, so - big leap - I presume it is going through the usual scaling-down hoops before being resubmitted. (I am an amateur when it comes to planning applications - perhaps someone else can tell us more?)

It is worth noting that barely 30m away, on the other side of the street, there is a development of 40-odd flats with a now-empty ground floor. It used to be a Tesco, but it’s been sitting empty for at least a year, if not more.

A block further south is the highly regarded and award-winning Place Ladywell – a well thought-out scheme of social-housing flats, as anyone who lives there, or has walked around them on Open House Weekend, will know. The cafe is nice too and has become something of a community hub – as was the planning intention.

It is clear that getting the planning mix right is crucial for Lewisham, especially in the town centre. What’s more, the success of Place Ladywell proves that planning actually works. When done well it can and does revitalise areas that need it.

Well done to Lewisham Planning for knocking this development back – lets hope, and lobby for, something better and more appropriate for this corner of Lewisham High Street.

Comedy Into Brockley

Comedy Into Brockley is a new local comedy night produced by home brewing kings Water Into Beer and hosted by Kiwi comic Jez Brown.

The performances kick-off on April 21st and each is recorded as a podcast.

Homes proposed between Algernon and Embleton Roads

The proposed new homes and walkway
BCer Joe is unhappy with Lewisham Homes' plans for new homes across the back gardens between Algernon and Embleton roads in Ladywell. He writes:

"The plans build over the social housing garden contrary to the local plan [there is a strip of garden between the garages which will now be built on], they also provide less social housing than would be provided by building larger houses along the roads.

"The plans will block out the view of the sky in the back gardens they are building across and create a narrow alleyway between the roads in an area Regenter (who manage the existing flats) say is already bad for antisocial behaviour.

"The connection is no benefit to the community given that Ellerdale street already joins the roads a few meters away. Currently, the plans are set to be decided by officials rather than the planning committee despite having such an impact on neighbouring flats and houses.

You can view the application here.

Buro, Brockley Cross

Buro is a new co-working desk and studio space has opened in SE4.

The workspace is managed by the owners of the property, who themselves are self-employed South London professionals. Phil Fisk is an award-winning photographer who studied at Goldsmiths and never left the area, and his partner Sarah Greene an Events Director who made the move south of the river 15 years ago. They say:

“Our businesses needed a flexible office space for desks, a studio & meeting room with excellent local amenities and first-rate transport links: Dragonfly Place in Brockley fitted the bill perfectly. We are overwhelmed by the enthusiastic reception our new business has received locally”.

"Buro’s interior has been completely refitted and designed bespoke as a desk-sharing space for the contemporary working environment. Re-cycled materials have been used as much as possible: made to measure desks have been re-purposed from school chemistry lab desks, upcycled lamps come from Bambino in Crystal Palace. Buro caters to individuals, as well as small groups and the facilities will develop with the requirements of the users due to the adaptability of the working space."

Buro desks cost £250 inclusive of VAT, per month (£208.33 + VAT) which includes all utilities and Fibre Optic BT Infinity. Buro users benefit from discounts from other businesses operating in Dragonfly Place and Brockley.

For more details, click here.

Classic motorbikes in Greenwich, May 3

St Johns resident Will is organising this motorbike event. He says:

"I am running this event at Greenwich Market with my company, Urban Rider. My business is a specialist retailer of the world's finest motorcycle gear and we have partnered with Italian helmet manufacturer AGV in taking over Greenwich Market for an evening to celebrate motorcycle racing icons of the 1960s and 70s.

"It should be quite a spectacle and we would love local residents to attend, it is a unique opportunity to see some original race bikes and modern custom motorcycles. Even the Norton from the latest James Bond film, machine guns and all!"

The New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festival 2018

The New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festival (NXDfff) returns for its seventh year this spring with 33 free film events, 3 bike powered screenings, 9 new venues, Q&A sessions, DJs and docs. Something for every member of the community.

Launch night is at Peckham's Brick Brewery with Get Out, a late license bar, street food and music.

This year the festival features three outdoor bike powered screenings, including Sing at Pepys Park, Nacho Libre at Telegraph Hill Upper Park and Pirates of the Carribean at Folkestone Gardens.

NXDFF also has a pre-release screening of locally shot film, SINK, followed by a Q&A with writer/director Mark Gillis. Shot in New Cross, Deptford and Brockley, the film has attracted Mark Rylance as an Associate Producer.

The festival closes at Buster Mantis with a music themed documentary called Beats of the Antanov. The film depicts the Sudanese conflict in the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions, focusing in particular on the role of music in helping the affected communities to sustain themselves culturally and spiritually. Buster Mantis will host our last event and local DJ collective Bombotropics will provide global beats and melodies.

NXDfff is completely run by volunteers made up of local residents, students and community groups. NXDfff has a DIY ethos that encourages creative freedom: this year more than 30 people are curating film events with help and guidance from a core festival team.

For full details click here.

The Murder List

Brockley resident and NHS psychologist Chris Merritt has just published a crime novel called The Murder List, set partly in SE4. He explains:

"The main detective lives on Tressillian Road and there are a couple of scenes in Hilly Fields too. Other elements of the story are set around Crofton Park, Honor Oak and Deptford.

"It’s also been optioned for TV so we could be seeing some filming nearby in the future... Here is the book."

Parts and Labour Cycles

Rad Bikes has renamed itself Parts and Labour Cycles due to a trademark dispute.

You can now find the Lewisham Way bike maintenance shop online here.

The Crystal Palace Festival 2018, June 11-17

The Crystal Palace Festival returns in 2018 with headliners Stereo MCs and Polarbear.

One of the biggest free cultural events in south London, the arts and culture festival will take place across the Crystal Palace area from 11–17 June 2018 with the Crystal Palace park event taking place on 16 June 2018.

There were nearly 30,000 visitors to the 2017 event and organisers are expecting even bigger crowds on 16 June 2018 thanks to a line-up of music, spoken word, theatre, visual arts, family and community activities.

The week long festival includes mainly free events organised by local traders, pubs, community groups, schools and churches across 11–17 June 2018.

The festival’s outreach and participatory arts work has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England, Croydon Council and Bromley Council. Projects include an intergenerational dance piece that will culminate in a promenade performance in the park, and concerts by the London Mozart Players in local care homes, the park children’s farm and Crystal Palace railway station.

Full programme here.

Lewisham wins The World Cup of London Boroughs

"'With a mere ninety break-horse-power available, progress is too leisurely to be called fast, but on the motorway in fifth gear the Megane’s slow pace really becomes a pain. Uphill runs become power-sappingly mundane, while overtaking National Express coaches can become a long, drawn-out affair.' Not my words, Carol. The words of Top Gear magazine."
- I'm Alan Partridge

The wisdom of the crowd has been harnessed. The cow has been weighed. Lewisham has been deemed the best of all possible London neighbourhoods.

Tonight, Lewisham won the World Cup of London Boroughs in a grueling encounter with the overdogs of Lambeth. Lewisham won 56% of the nearly-12,000 votes cast.

This was the Twitter poll equivalent of England winning the World Cup by knocking out France (our neighbours Southwark in the first round), Argentina (the pampas of Camden), Germany (hipsters' favourite Hackney) Brazil (beloved by the chattering classes of Islington) and Italy (like Lambeth, littered with international icons) in the Final. An extraordinary achievement.
Of course, this was never really about which borough boasts the best nightlife, parks or attractions. But it was about which part of London could muster the most passion and enthusiasm from its residents. Lewisham owes its victory to the fact that its people simply wanted it more. And that's the best reason of all to win.

The greatest place to live in London is the place where the greatest number of people give a damn about their home.

Please be magnanimous in victory. They are hurting in Lambeth this evening.

Deptford Bites - New Saturday Market Launches April 7

Deptford Market Yard's food market has been a long-time coming but the team has finally announced a new regular Saturday event. They gush:

Deptford Market Yard is excited to announce a new weekly Saturday market ‘Deptford Bites’. Curated by London food event and market organisers Eat Me Drink Me, the weekly market will bring together the best produce and street food traders London has to offer, as well as a selection of craft stalls with a focus on South East London makers & designers.

The market will showcase street food sensations such as the flavour-punching Northern Thai food by KraPow LDN to the sophisticated Oyster Boys who will be serving freshly shucked oysters and made to order Bloody Mary’s from their retro food cart, guaranteed to get you back on your feet after one too many on a Friday night. After spending much of her childhood in Deptford, Zoe Adjonyoh from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen will also return with her out of this world Ghanaian creations. And finally, for your sweet fix, the market will welcome plant based, dairy free, Black Mylk Ice cream. Its ice cream is handcrafted using a blend of homemade cashew nut milk and coconut milk, with colours and flavours selected from seasonal ingredients – from Honeycomb and Pine nut and Miso Caramel & Pecan to Ceylon Cinnamon & Walnut, you will be spoiled for choice.

‘Deptford Bites’ will feature a mixture of permanent Saturday traders and a rotation of guest vendors. It will be a place to browse and buy artisanal fresh ingredients with everything from bread and cheese to olives and farm produce. And there’ll be a craft and design area where you can pick up unusual gifts, with a focus on makers and designers in the South East London area. The launch day market includes popups from perfumier Maya Njie, prints from Catford Creative and Deptford’s very own Stray East with their gorgeous homewares.

To mark the launch and celebrate the thriving local community, Grace Dent will be curating a series of talks covering subjects such as the changing face of Deptford and the rise of Veganism. Starring household names such as Jay Brave, Zoe Adjonyoh and Grace Dent herself as well as local London voices from the Deptford area including resident Adrian Luckie from Mama’s Jerk and Deptford Esquire’s Saima Arshad.

There will be live music every week and of course an opportunity to re-visit the excellent permanent Deptford Market Yard tenants; it’s the perfect place to grab some food and drink, stock up for the week and browse the craft stores on a sunny Saturday.

The World Cup of London Boroughs Final: Lewisham vs Lambeth

Going in one more round when you don't think you can - that's what makes all the difference in your life. This is it, one last push and bragging rights over all of London are ours for the next four years.

Lewisham was written off from the start. They said we were underdogs, has-beens, suburban no-hopers. Lambeth, pumped up on steroids and Russian money, promised to break us. But the moment of truth is here. No pain.

Please vote now.

Rebel Base


Mothers is a new album from 'in analysis', a music project created by Brockley songwriter David Schweitzer. He explains:

We create songs based on stories contributed anonymously by members of the public.

In February 2017, we invited people to write about their mothers via an anonymous form on their website. We received a number of interesting, frank and heartfelt stories.

Using these contributions as raw material, in analysis wrote the eleven songs on this record, which are performed by the band and a number of guest vocalists.

The fact that you have no idea who wrote the stories – and know nothing about their age, gender or background – means you really have to focus on the key emotional ideas they communicate.

While the words have nearly always been changed to create the lyrics for the songs, we’ve tried to make sure the songs stay true to those central ideas.

We think that this has resulted in is a warm, honest, emotional and sometimes humorous set of songs. And while many of the stories are quite specific, we hope that the songs will resonate with a wide range of listeners.

You can listen to the record on Spotify, but we’ve also released a limited edition yellow vinyl record edition with lyrics and also lovely illustrations by Mary Richards (another local resident). These are £12 from our website or can be bought from the Gently or Gently Elephant shops in Brockley. Any money from sales goes to Mind and the Samaritans.

The World Cup of London Boroughs: Lewisham vs Islington

Twitter polls, bloody hell.

Lewisham is now through to the semi-finals of the World Cup of London Boroughs, having had the toughest route to the last four. In the first round, we squeaked past Southwark, then we trounced Camden (the borough I would most like to live in, if I couldn't live in Lewisham) and won comfortably against Hackney in the quarters.

Now, we face the fight of our lives against imperious Islington. With 19 hours to go and over 3,000 votes cast, Islington is edging it 51% vs 49%.

Victory for Lewisham would guarantee an all-South final, as Lambeth face Greenwich next.

Please cast your vote. After missing out on the Borough of Culture we need this.

The New Battle of Lewisham

This weekend, the Observer has been documenting the growing power of Momentum within the Labour Party, casting the spotlight on Lewisham, which has been a key battleground between traditional Labour activists and Momentum members.

The paper's political editor Heather Stewart follows Heidi Alexander MP on the campaign trail and examines attitudes towards Corbynism among local voters and members:

Alexander says Corbyn is “Marmite” in Lewisham East. “Even amongst Labour voters, the range of views in this constituency at the last election was [like] nothing I’ve ever experienced,” she says. “You had people who loved Jeremy, people voting for Labour despite Jeremy – and a whole load in the middle who just wanted to kick the Tories out.”

But there could hardly be a better illustration of the power shift under way than a public meeting later the same day in nearby New Cross, in the neighbouring constituency of Lewisham Deptford, where Vicky Foxcroft is the MP.

Labour’s candidate for the directly elected post of executive mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan, has come along to be grilled by members of the local Momentum group. Many of them backed an alternative candidate, Paul Bell – and are calling for the post to be abolished – but Egan is keen to win them over.

More than 40 people of a range of ages are perched on chairs in New Cross Learning, a former council library, now staffed largely by volunteers. Sharing the platform, and kicking off the discussion, is Jill Mountford – a combative and controversial local figure. As a prime mover in a group called the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL), she has been suspended from Labour, and remains outside the party...

For Alexander, in Lewisham East, the influx of new members has sometimes represented a direct challenge. She was the first member of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet to tender her resignation in the “coup” against him in 2016.

Afterwards, she endured a stormy CLP meeting in a hot and overcrowded hall followed by months of wrangling with local members who objected to her decision.

“There was a hardcore of Momentum who thought, we’ll take over the constituency and we’ll get rid of Heidi,” says the then chair of the CLP, who does not want her name to be published for professional reasons...

For the full article, click here

Brockley home worth two in Southern Hemisphere

Hahei Beach
New Zealand is the Brockley of the Southern Hemisphere. Slightly overshadowed by brash cousins across the water to the north, but full of people making wearable art, building their own homes and perfecting the art of coffee making. Like Brockley, New Zealand has a surprisingly rubbish pub scene, but makes up for it with a disarmingly good food scene.

Now you, can experience Brockley living upside down, by trading your house for one of two in New Zealand in a house swap that sounds too good to be true. Lynne writes:

We are visiting family and grandchildren who live close to Hilly Fields during July and August this year. We have a lovely family home close to two harbour beaches in Devonport, Auckland and a holiday home in beautiful Hahei Beach in the Coromandel . In exchange for 2 weeks accomodation in Brockley we could offer the use of our houses in New Zealand at a non simultaneous time to suit.

If you are interested to discuss further, drop me a line at

Barclays Crofton Park to close

The last bank branch in SE4 will close on July 6th.

Dent & McKenzie launch a new weekly market in Deptford

Grace Dent, critic, author and broadcaster, has joined forces with food-event guru Kate McKenzie to present Deptford Bites Live on Saturday 7th April 2018. This one-day festival of eating & drinking runs from 10pm to 4pm at Deptford Market Yard.

The event will mark the start of a new weekly market in the Yard.
On the 7th, Grace Dent will curate and host a series of talks which picks apart Deptford’s new status as ‘up and coming’ - including debates about gentrification, veganism and diversity in the restaurant industry. Still, the food should be good.

Free to attend.

Microbrewery plan for empty New Cross bank

Plans have been submitted to redevelop the old bank next door to the Venue in New Cross. The developers envisage:

"The construction of extensions at lower ground, upper ground and first floor levels to the side and rear of 329-331 New Cross Road, SE14 in order to facilitate its use as a restaurant (Use Class A3), a bar (Use Class A4), including micro-brewery and cellarage, and flexible space (Use Class D1), together with the provision of a landscaped courtyard at upper ground floor level bounded by absorbent acoustic panels, changes to door and window openings and an acoustic enclosure to the condenser unit."

The bank occupies a key spot in New Cross and has been closed for decades.

Thanks to Gill for the spot.

Seb Dance MEP - Lewisham for Britain in the EU, March 23

Do you refer to the Brexit referendum as 'only advisory', believe that people who voted leave are racist idiots who got fooled by a toxic combination of some numbers on a bus and the Russians - and that we should vote again because a good chunk of those dumbos have now died of old age? Then this is the event for you.

Fri 23 March 2018
19:00 – 22:00
The Talbot, Tyrwhitt Road

Lewisham for Britain is a campaign group that makes the case for remaining within the EU. They say: 

Join us for an evening of EU and Brexit discussion with the MEP Seb Dance.

Seb is one of London's MEPs, a proud Londoner and a passionate defender of Britain's place in the EU. A member of the Labour Party, he sits on a number of EU Parliamentary Committees and still believes the challenges Britain faces are better served by remaining in the EU.

Come and hear more from Seb on his views about Brexit as we discuss the twists and turns of the complex, febrile time we find ourselves in.

We are proudly unaffiliated to any political party, open to anyone who, like us, believes Britain needs to find a way to stay in the EU.

For more details, click here

Grandad's Shed, Deptford Market Yard

Grandad's Shed is the new private hire venue from Little Nan's bar in Deptford. Founder Tristan writes:

Our new arch in Deptford! Grandad's Shed is large and has the indoors / outdoors vibes, it's suitable for groups of up to 90.

Decked out with a tropical theme, this private party hire space is suitable for groups of 30 - 90 guests, and includes a sectioned off private Victorian cobbled courtyard to the front of the arch.

Little Nan’s is offering this space out for Free Private party hire to all South East London residents for groups larger than 40 guests. If your group is smaller than this number, then there is the option to reserve an area within our main bar arches next door.

Click here for details.

Catford Food Market opens March 25

A new monthly Council-backed street food market starts in Catford on March 25. The Catford Food Market team writes:

The Market, which kicks off on Sunday 25 March from 10am–4pm, will take place on the last Sunday of every month.

By implementing recommendations submitted at – the online engagement platform collecting people’s aspirations for the town centre – Catford Food Market aims to create real opportunities to develop and sustain new businesses, that complements the existing offer and meets local people needs.

International flavours offered by local traders include Caribbean fayre from Jerk Off BBQ, north east Indian delights from Raastawala, Japanese delicacies from Fuse Love and Italian inspired sourdough pizza from Van Dough.  There’ll also be cakes from Brett & Bailey and Miss Flits Vegan Bakes, and bread and pastries from Claude’s Boulangerie. Non-food treats include multicultural children’s books from This is Book Love and work by local Catford artists and designers including Hazel Nicholls.

You can also get your hands on Catford’s newest custom beverages including: Catford Cream Soda and Catford Cola as well as Tom Cat Six gin and Catford Pride pale ale, both of which launched popular drinks festivals last year.

For further information visit or email

Mama Dough, 40 Ladywell Road

Mama Dough, the sourdough pizza specialists from Honor Oak, have opened their Ladywell restaurant.

If you've had a chance to visit, please tell us what it's like.

Lewisham v Camden in the World Cup of London Boroughs

Alright Lewisham, let's roll.

We saw off the favourites Southwark in round one of the World Cup of London Boroughs, when no-one gave us a chance. Now we're up against the fancy-dans of Camden. You have 20 hours to vote on the Twitter feed, so please get on it.

Friendly Gardening

Friendly Gardens needs some love and affection

You shall go to the ball, four times an hour

The Cinderella Line campaign to improve train services through Crofton Park station will be celebrating a major victory from May, as frequency of service will be increased to four trains per hour during off-peak periods. They explain:

Despite a week of snow, nearly 100 local residents braved the weather and made it to the Rivoli Ballroom on Saturday to hear about the future of rail services at Crofton Park. For those who couldn't face the cold, or who made it but want to hear about it all over again, here are the highlights:

Local MP Vicky Foxcroft made the introductions and Michael from the Cinderella Line campaign talked about the achievements of the last few months and future plans.

Brilliantly, for the second and third rounds of the consultation, Crofton Park provided the highest number of responses across the whole network of 140 stations - beating Brighton, London Bridge and London Victoria in the 'having our say' stakes - a real tribute to Crofton Park power.

As a direct result: from May this year, we are getting FOUR TRAINS AN HOUR! This will effectively double our off peak services. In addition, we will also get two extra peak time services in the morning and two more in the evening, with scope for this to be increased in line with passenger needs in the future.

This is the culmination of years of work from the campaign, but as Michael mentioned, although we have achieved what the campaign set out to do, there are still a lot of hills to climb and we are willing to keep pushing for further improvements to the services and the station, as always, with your support.

Lewisham Council unveils new rail strategy

Lewisham Station in the 25th Century
Lewisham's leading technocrat, Cllr Alan Hall, has published Lewisham's new rail strategy on his blog. He explains:

“Railways are incredibly important to Lewisham and have shaped our local communities. I have said we must be ambitious for Lewisham but local residents need to be involved in our decisions. I have asked that this important report be discussed at the next Sustainable Development Committee but I would welcome public comments on these new and exciting plans.”

“These include increasing frequencies on existing routes, adding new stations and supporting the Bakerloo Line extension – dubbed Bakerlooisham”

The report highlights the dramatic differences in connectivity between the well-connected northwest of the borough (Greater Brockley) and the desultory southeast, where, for example, Whitefoot has no stations at all.

Lewisham Council's 'vision goals' are as follows:

1.To provide better links and sufficient rail capacity between all areas of Lewisham Borough and central London employment areas.
2. To provide sufficient rail capacity between all areas of Lewisham Borough and East London employment areas.
3. To increase rail access to and from Lewisham’s growth areas.
4. To improve rail connectivity across the Borough, especially east-west links and services to the south of the Borough.
5. To enhance the quality of stations and provide step-free access at all station in the Borough.
6. To improve the connectivity between stations and their local areas.

Which is a nice wish list but doesn't provide a great deal of focus. Loads of trains everywhere is not really a strategy. But there are some nice ideas, including:

- Providing 'Night Tube' style services on the DLR to Lewisham
- Extending the Croydon tram system in to the south of Lewisham
- The reopening of the high level platforms at Brockley for trains from Lewisham to Victoria, natch
- The Bakerloo extension to Lewisham to be extended as far as Hayes at the outset (rather than at some unspecified point in the future)
- An extension of the London Overground from New Cross to Lewisham Station
- A new southern entrance to Ladywell Station

The document also sets out the Council's position about the future of Lewisham Station, which will require a major redevelopment to accommodate the Bakerloo and rising passenger numbers:

Through the study [“Lewisham Feasibility Assessment: Station, Platforms and Subways”], the Council has advocated for improvements to Lewisham station to enable local housing development and provide access to Lewisham town centre. These upgrades should be a requirement on the new Southeastern franchisee in order to secure any possible increases in capacity before major schemes can be delivered. Better access to National Rail services and DLR could be secured through minor projects in the interim. 

The option to extend the Overground should be secured through any station upgrade project. With development sites coming forward at a rapid pace around the station, the opportunity exists now to start safeguarding a future vision for the station. This will ensure that the station in the future can engage with the surrounding area rather than be an inward-focused transit interchange.

To read the full document, click here.

Much of this stuff may be wishful thinking, but I am glad this thinking is going on.

Lewisham commuter rebellion as passengers abandon train during Storm Emma

Passengers held outside Lewisham Station on a Southeastern train rebelled and fled the train during Storm Emma tonight. The Telegraph reports:

"In south-east London commuters took matters into their own hands, pressing the emergency door release and getting out onto the tracks when their train was held outside the station. As a result, all lines through Lewisham station were blocked.

"Southeastern Railway said the situation was getting worse "because several people are jumping off trains onto the tracks", warning that it would only cause further delays.

"Power was switched off on trains because of the incident and the police and fire service were brought in to help get people off trains."

Ian Thomas recommended as new Lewisham Council CEO

Ian Thomas, the man who led the response to Britain's worst-ever child sexual abuse scandal, has been recommended as the new CEO of Lewisham Council. The Council says:

The recommendation was made following a rigorous selection process by an appointments panel consisting of Sir Steve Bullock, the Mayor of Lewisham and a cross-party group of eight councillors.

The recommendation will go to Full Council on 14 March 2018. Organisations from across the Lewisham borough also took part in the selection process, including:
  • Lewisham Hospital
  • The police
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Phoenix Community Housing
  • SE London Chamber of Commerce
Ian’s work at Rotherham Council Ian is currently the Strategic Director for Children and Young People at Rotherham Council. Since becoming the statutory children’s officer for Rotherham in January 2015, he has been busy responding to the reports of Professor Jay, Louise Casey CB and Ofsted, in what has been the most challenging time for any council.

Under Ian’s leadership, children’s services in Rotherham have been transformed, improving from a rating of ‘inadequate’ to ‘good with outstanding features’ within three years. Ofsted report that there is now ‘a positive organisational culture’ in Rotherham.

At the same time, education standards have improved and, as lead commissioner for victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation (CSE), Ian has mobilised a response with partners which has resulted in 30 sex criminals being convicted, now serving around 400 years in jail between them. A range of community-based services are now in place to support around 1,100 survivors of CSE.

Ian was formerly Deputy Chief Executive and Strategic Director for Children and Younger Adults at Derbyshire County Council and Assistant Director (Social Care and Housing Strategy) at Trafford MBC.

Ian Thomas said, ‘I feel both humbled and privileged to be offered the role of Chief Executive of Lewisham Council. This is an exciting time for the borough, which has been well led by Dr Barry Quirk and Sir Steve Bullock over many years. I look forward to working with the new mayor, ward councillors, staff, partners and residents, to build on what has been achieved in the borough, address the challenges ahead, as well as seize the opportunities to improve the lives of all Lewisham citizens.’

In 2014, Ian was named by innovation charity NESTA and The Observer as of one of ‘Britain’s New Radicals’ for his creative ideas in raising aspirations for children in care. He holds a master’s degree in Developing Professional Practice (incorporating change management) and is a master’s-level qualified executive coach and mentor.

Lewisham parks top London ranking

Lewisham may lack a spectacular showpiece park, but its greenspaces have nonetheless finished joint-first in the inaugural Good Parks for London report, produced by independent charity Parks for London.

The ranking compares the London boroughs' parks, based on ten different criteria, ranging from public satisfaction to their role in hosting public events. Lewisham came top with Southwark and Lambeth.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone whose work helps to keep our parks special. Thanks too to Chris, for sharing the study.

Vulcan Death Slip

Lewisham's preparations for the Beast from the East leave a little to be desired:

Official: Lewisham better than Southwark

Tim Roth, Siouxsie Sioux, Charles Babbage, Robert Recorde, Mary Wollstonecraft, Rio Ferdinand, John Boyega... Your boys took a hell of a beating.

The esteemed World Cup of London Boroughs competition is taking place on Twitter at the moment, with each of the 32 boroughs involved in a knock out tournament that pits them head-to-head in a public vote.

Lewisham's first round opponent was the much-fancied Southwark but after a slow start by our borough, we beat them by the narrowest of margins during a bout that drew 14 times as many votes as Croydon vs Havering:
Both boroughs would have been deserving finalists, but we're now through to face the mighty Camden in the Round of 16.

The South East London solar buyers club

Our local renewable energy collective says:

Brockley households are being given the chance to cash in on cheap solar power, thanks to a new community ‘buyers’ club’.  The not-for-profit project aims to bring households together so that they can use their collective purchasing power to knock down the costs of buying and installing solar panels on their homes.

The project is being launched by South East London Community Energy (Selce) at an evening event on Friday 2nd March in Greenwich. The local co-operative has already raised almost £400,000 to install solar arrays on seven local primary schools. Now it wants to help Lewisham's residents to ‘go solar’ as well. Residents living in conservation areas will also be eligible.

“Many people like the idea of installing solar panels on their roof but the costs and complexity can be off-putting,” says Selce’s chair, Camilla Berens. “Our new Solar Buyers’ Club will not only bring down the costs of the whole process but it’s also supported by quality installers.”

Selce is working with Community Renewable Energy Wandsworth (Crew) to launch the club. It is hoped that by teaming up with households in other parts of London, even bigger savings can be made. “The more people who club together, the lower the cost,” Camilla explains. “Participants will also benefit from government subsidies that are provided for small-scale solar generators. These subsidies are being withdrawn completely next year, so it’s a case of use it or lose it.”

The project has a feel-good factor as well. “The more solar energy we can generate as a community, the less we depend on climate-changing fossil fuels,” Camilla adds. “What’s more, £100 from each installation will go towards supporting Selce’s not-for-profit project to help low-income households who are being forced to make the choice between heating and eating.” So far, Selce’s pop-up energy advice cafes have provided advice and support to over 1,200 local people.

Selce’s Buyer’s Club event is taking place on Friday 2nd March 2018 from 7pm – 9pm at Mycenae House, 90 Mycenae Road, London, SE3 7SE. To book a site survey to assess the suitability of your roof for solar power, please email the project manager at  before March 2nd.

Judge: 'Irrational' Lewisham Council should not have allowed phone masts

Local Government Lawyer reports:

A London borough wrongly interpreted the General Permitted Development Order on the siting of radio masts, the High Court has said. Granting an application for judicial review brought by local resident Nigel Mawbey, Lang J said the London Borough of Lewisham had been wrong when it gave permission to Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure to erect the masts.

Mr Mawbey sought judicial review of Lewisham’s decision that the installation of mobile telephone apparatus on the roof of Forsythia House, which is owned by Lewisham Homes, was permitted development... He objected to the installation due to lack of consultation and that the masts were unsightly in a conservation area and posed a radiation health risk [BC's note: They're ugly, but they're no health risk]...

The judge said Lewisham and Cornerstone “have not been able to identify any reason why that balance of competing interests should not be given effect in building-based developments using pole mounts. “I have come to the conclusion that the claimant's interpretation, as supported by the Secretary of State, is correct. In summary, each central support pole comes within the definition of ‘electronic communications apparatus”.

Lewisham had reached an irrational decision by concluding that the support poles were not masts because they were not ground-based, and the scale and design of the support poles was not characteristic of a roof mast.

TfL rules out Lewisham Way Bakerloo station

According to 853, TfL has ruled out the idea of incorporating a St John's or Lewisham Way station into the Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham, which will open next decade.

I had no idea this was even thought a possibility, but now it isn't. Which makes more sense. However, 853 notes:

[TfL says] that existing plans to build stations at New Cross Gate and Lewisham will provide sufficient coverage for nearby areas of Deptford and Brockley.

But, according to its latest consultation documents, TfL is now considering building a station at Bricklayers Arms on the Tube extension, which would run from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham with two stops on the Old Kent Road and one at New Cross Gate. This follows two local petitions in the area.

TfL also says it is confident the existing bus interchange at Lewisham will be able to cope with the new route. TfL has been responding to issues raised in a consultation carried last year into the extension, which looked at station locations, sites where tunnelling shafts will be located, and plans to have the tracks run as far as the current Lewisham Council depot at Wearside Road.

Bricklayers Arms needs all the help it can get.

For the full details of what isn't happening, click here.

Thanks to JPM for the heads-up.

The Telegraph Hill Festival 2018

Sanjit writes:

The 2018 Telegraph Hill Festival is here, and takes place from 10 - 25 March 2018.  Telegraph Hill Festival is London's largest and best independent, self-funding, and volunteer driven festival, and one of the capital's best-kept secrets.

Athena Kugblenu at the 2017 Telegraph Hill Festival Comedy Night
The 24th Telegraph Hill Festival has more than 120 events, with 74 free of charge.  Events take place across Telegraph Hill, from St Catherine's Church to the Five Bells and Goldsmiths to The Telegraph pub.  There are lots of highlights, here are just a few...

  • West Side Story - a cast of 260 delivers one of musical theatre's most compelling story's across fours shows on 10/11 March 2018 at St Catherine's Church
  • On Sunday 11th March too, best-selling author and reluctant futurist Mark Stevenson puts our turbulent times into perspective with an accessible, funny and challenging talk and Q&A about the future of society and technology
  • Monday 12th March has - for the first time - a Comedy Impro Night featuring the Stephen Frost Impro All Stars in dazzling feats of inventive and surreal comedy, literally, making it up as they go along...
  • Moving Hearts: A Clay Workshop is on the afternoon of Tuesday 13th March and invites you to take part in an exploration of the issues of belonging and migration and help make some of the 1000 hearts needed for an installation piece in the Migration Museum in Spitalfields (free)... meanwhile in the evening we explore the Lost Island of New Cross, an illustrated talk exploring the history and mythology of the White Hart junction in New Cross Gate and its lost traffic island.
Open Mics, Poetry Slams, Caribbean Folksong, Quizzes, Music Jams, Disco Bingo, the welcome return of an uplifting evening of choirs at Telegraph Hill Sings, Exploring the Radical History of New Cross, Classics on the Hill (with the added pizzazz of an amazing light spectacular), experimental journeys in sound with Sonic Imperfections, Open Studios, a Woodland Folk Festival, A night of Jazz featuring world-class musicians... ever get the idea there might be something interesting here?

For tickets and full details, click here.

The Gape of Water

One Brockley man has been fighting an epic battle with the machine, trying to persuade Thames Water to properly fix the leaky water main near his house by Hilly Fields.

BCer Chris first reported the problem on January 4th and despite repeated visits and building works that have caused traffic disruption, the utility has merely been able to paper over the cracks.

To experience Chris' Kafkaesque nightmare in full, click here to read the month-long exchange.

Leatherwork at the Taproom

Ben writes:

I am doing a series of leather workshops, which are also an opportunity to check out the new Taproom in Deptford Market Yard.

I'll be teaching people how to make a simple leather glasses case or belt which you can take home. It's a beginner class - a good way to find out some basic techniques that may be the gateway to get you into a passion for making beautiful leather items.

The next class is 'how to make a belt' on Wednesday 28th February. The classes will alternate every two weeks from the 28th.

There are more details here.

Suffed at the Brockley Jack

by Lucy Joy Russell & Holly McFarlane
Tuesday 6 to Saturday 17 March 2018

A friend of mine has written a play running at the Brockley Jack in March, which aims to provoke a debate about infertility and IVF. The Stuffed team explains:

"There is a growing fertility crisis in the UK. Around 1 in 7 heterosexual couples, or 3.5 million people will have difficulty conceiving.  Since the 1970s male sperm counts are down nearly 60% across the western world and 20% of women born in the same decade reached 45 without having children.

"It’s not clear exactly what’s to blame. 20-30% of infertility cases are due to male factors, 20-35% are due to female, and 25-40% are due to combined problems in both parts. Up to 20% of cases remain 'unexplained'. But to try and cope, couples are increasingly looking for professional help to conceive and today 1 in 50 children born in the UK are the result of IVF, with many more receiving other fertility treatments.

"NICE guidelines suggest three IVF cycles for couples struggling with infertility. Yet few NHS trusts can afford to offer it and so people increasingly turn to the private sector – often with little understanding that expensive doesn’t mean effective. According to NICE, across the age range, 65-80% of IVF cycles will fail. These can cost anywhere from £3,000 to £15,000 and more.

"Yet discussion on the topic, while no longer taboo, is fraught with anxiety and superstition. People on both sides still don’t know how to talk about it openly. Those with children to those without, Doctors to patients, and people on the journey to each other. In a first for the topic in UK theatre, ‘STUFFED’ is a new comedy about IVF. It aims to demystify some of the challenges and offer a new perspective on an issue that is only growing.

"Playwright Lucy Russell said, “With Mother’s Day just around the corner, the world can often feel very much focussed on people having children. But the new reality is that most people will know someone who has difficulty conceiving - even if they haven't told them yet. Unfortunately, they may know nothing of the experience itself or be unsure how to ask. By showing there is a funny side to IVF we want to open up a conversation, not just about the trials and tribulations of IVF itself, but also of futures that don’t have children at their centre”

"Based on a true story, STUFFED the play opens at the Jack Studio theatre on Tuesday 6 March and there will be a post-show discussion involving the Fertility Network on Tuesday 13 March."

To buy tickets, click here.

Night tube ELL to run to Highbury & Islington from February 23

The East London Line night time service from New Cross Gate to Dalston is being extended two more stops. City AM reports:

The Night Overground service is set to be extended to Canonbury and Highbury & Islington from Friday 23 February after coming to the London Overground in December.

Since 15 December, there have been 24-hour services every Friday and Saturday between Dalston Junction and New Cross Gate. Whitechapel is still to be included as it waits until Crossrail works are completed.

Over 30,000 journeys have been made on the Night Overground since the service began in December [which is surprisingly few].

A Star Barbershop, 225 Lewisham Way

A post shared by A Star Barber Shop (@astarbarbershop) on
This new barbershop has just opened and is currently recruiting. Contact them here if you're interested in applying.

The Brockley Experiment

Barry Norris: Hey, listen up everybody, whoever's doing this, they're having a little fun at our expense.
- The Belko Experiment

The crazy cats at TfL have been freestyling around, throwing some stuff at the wall to see what sticks, and came up with the idea of making Brockley Station into a one-way access system, so that  people had longer journeys to reach their trains and fewer gates to pass through at rush hour.

Photo: Ruby Heera
Why this was thought to be an idea worth trying is known only to the imps at TfL but, one week in, the evidence is conclusive. It does not work.

As The News Shopper noted:

A “disastrous” new trial crowd management system at Brockley Station has left queues with hundreds of people outside the station. Introduced yesterday (February 5), the scheme means people can only enter the station via one of the entrances, with the exit being through the ticket hall. It has left queues snaking down the street at rush hours both mornings and has left commuters frustrated at a system many felt did not need fixing.

Out of interest, did anyone ever experience a peak time crowding problem at Brockley Station that they thought needed fixing (other than through the addition of more trains)?

The trial ends on February 16th.

Lewisham Council to decide fate of two towers this week

On Thursday, Lewisham Council will consider plans to redevelop the Carpetright site on Loampit Vale. The application, which has been recommended by officers for approval, is for:

"The demolition of the existing Carpetright building and the construction of two buildings of 16 storeys and 30 storeys in height comprising 899sqm non-residential floorspace comprising (A1) Shops, (A2) Financial & Professional Services, (A3) Restaurants & Cafes, (B1) Business, (D1) Non-residential Institutions and (D2) Assembly & Leisure uses and 242 residential units with private and communal open space, on-site energy centre, cycle parking and associated landscaping and public realm works."

Close the gap in Crofton Park

Reader Emily wants to do something about the large gap between the trains and the northbound platform. She writes:

"I am always a bit nervous of the gap - it’s huge - when I get on or off trains on the northbound platform at Crofton Park station.  I’m tall, wear sensible shoes with low heels, travel light, know the station well, but still get nervous. The platform at Crofton Park is curved and some of the doors on carriages further back from the driving engine are not visible to the driver, at least just by him just looking behind him.

"To make things worse, the platform is often really poorly-lit after dark and I’ve heard people gasp - and not in a good way - as they step out into the void as they disembark on winter evenings."

"Crofton Park station is not unique in this regard.  I’ve long worried about gaps between platforms and the floors of certain models of newer trains at a number of stations.  Nunhead, Catford, Beckenham Hill - the only ones on that line that I use regularly and am au fait with - all bigger than I find comfortable, all with vertical gaps way bigger than I would like to lift a baby buggy or bicycle up or down from."

"These gaps can be fixed. The gap on Platform 4 at Elephant & Castle station used to be huge and I thought it was really dangerous as the platforms and trains were often more crowded than at the stations I’ve mentioned.  I was very pleased when I noticed that this gap was hugely reduced a few years ago - by adding a gently sloping platform on top of the existing platform to raise it and - possibly - extend it out towards the track.

"I would love it if there could be a discussion leading to change on this front. I think the recent tragedy could be a catalyst for a debate.

"It seems to me like it would be quite a cheap and easy matter to raise train platform heights.  It seems curious that so much effort goes into installing lifts and incorporating step-free access at new tube stations but nothing is done to just make access ‘step-not-too-huge’ at train stations."

"I would like to hear from other Brockley Central readers, to know if they share my concerns and would support a campaign to get something done?"

Campaigners fight closure of New Cross Gate post office

Councillor Brenda Dacres has launched a petition to fight the proposed closure of New Cross Gate Crown Post Office. She writes:

"On the 10th January 2017 the Post Office Limited proposed to close 93 Post Offices. Among those they wish to close is New Cross Gate Crown Post Office located at 199/205 New Cross Road, SE14 5DH.

"New Cross Gate Crown Post Office provides a vital service to the local community and beyond, and to loose such services will gravely impact those who need this local post office most. Among those will be pensioners and vulnerable people. This is a high demand, busy and heavily utilised Crown Post Office.

"New Cross Gate Crown Post Office is located in a central location in New Cross, at a major public bus interchange, where for local savers there is no alternative banking facilities.  It is used by a wide demographic of ages for postal services, saving, making payments, currency, passports service, as well as many other key services. In this part of New Cross there is no other banking or saving institutions, which adds to reason why the Crown Post Office at New Cross Gate would be a severe loss."

To sign the petition, click here.

Soc seeks ten to tend St John's strip

Chairman of the St John's Society, Roger Lewis writes:

One of our Society's planned projects is to turn the unkept section of land on St. John’s vale, adjacent to the station car park and below Cliff Terrace, into a landscaped green area. 

We are now in a position to apply for a licence from Network Rail to care for the land, but before we can do this we need to be clear that we have a large working group of volunteers to sub-manage this on behalf of St. John’s Society. 

This may include residents in St John’s or in Brockley generally, and will include a small time commitment of a half-yearly meeting, working days to work away on the site and also planning, design and health and safety matters. 

If you have green fingers or organisational skills and wish to be involved, please reply to this email or email me directly ( 

We can only move forward if can find ten volunteers to steward it through to completion, so please if you wish and have the time and resources to make a contribution, get in touch!

Brockley Brew School

The Brockley Brewing Company is running a one-day brewing class. They explain:

Head Brewer Jon Travis, will be leading the day, using the all-grain method of brewing, the Grand Master of brewing techniques! You’ll have a great brewing experience, whether you’re an absolute beginner, or have dabbled at home brew but need to pick up some expert methods and tips. All the ingredients you’ll use will be the highest quality Malt, yeast, hops and water. What’s more you’ll get to take home 10 Litres of your own hand-crafted ale for quaffing!

For details, click here.

Four Lewisham schools on England's 'under-performing' list

The Department of Education has published a list of London's under-performing schools. Four Lewisham schools feature on the list, making our borough's total second only to Lambeth's. The Mirror reports:

England's worst school have been revealed as official figures show 365 education centres have failed to meet the government's minimum standards. One in eight of England's mainstream secondaries were under-performing in 2017, according to new statistics. This is up from 282 schools , just under one in 10 - the year before. 

According to analysis of the data, it means 260,783 schoolchildren are now being taught at under-performing secondaries - about one in 12 (8.6%), compared to 206,991 (6.8%) in 2016.  Schools fall below the government's performance threshold if pupils fail to make enough progress across eight subjects, with particular weight given to English and maths.

The Department for Education said the rise in under-performing schools is because of technical changes to the points system used by government statisticians to calculate a school's performance.

The rise comes amid major changes to England's exams system, including the introduction of a new grading system, which has meant the data includes English and maths GCSE results awarded new 9-1 grades while other subjects received traditional A*-G grades.

School leaders said the new grading system affecting English and maths has complicated the way school performance is calculated, as it has to be worked out using a combination of old and new grading systems.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: "As the DfE itself says in today's statistics, these changes are the main reason why there has been an increase in the number of schools which are deemed to be below the 'floor standard' for Progress 8.

Lewisham's entries include two schools serving the Brockley area:

  • Sedgehill School
  • Forest Hill School
  • Prendergast Ladywell School
  • Addey and Stanhope School
With thanks to Daniel for the tip-off.

Brockley Station will go one-way from Feb 5-16

Kenny works for the London Overground and writes:

Aladdin's Cave could be lost to flats

A proposal has been submitted to Lewisham Council to replace Aladdin's Cave, the Lewisham Way treasure trove, with flats.

The proposed new development
The application is for:

The demolition of the existing structures and the construction of a part 3, part 4 storey building at 72 Loampit Hill, SE13 to provide a commercial unit (Use Class B1a) on the ground floor and eight self-contained residential units (Use Class C3), together with 20 cycle spaces, a refuse store, a communal garden and a wildlife ecology garden to the rear of the site.

Aladdin's Cave is one of a handful of genuinely unique local businesses and occupies a building that represents an important piece of local history. Its demolition would be a real loss to Brockley. As From The Murky Depths writes:

"The site was formerly Lewisham Road station on the little known Greenwich Park line which closed 100 years ago, though the station building is still in use by Aladdin’s Cave. It will be demolished under these plans despite being locally listed.

"The application states the building is beyond repair."

Thanks to Monkeyboy for the news.

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