14 October 2014

Forest Hill Gardening

On Sunday 26th October we will be meeting in Forest Hill station forecourt at 2.30pm.  We will be cutting back the lavender and tidying up the planted area under the trees in the front of the station as well as the planters on the platforms, on the street corner near Barclays Bank and, depending on how many people turn out to help, weeding and seeding the planters under the trees near the Dartmouth Road Job Centre.

Preferable to bring gardening or other suitable gloves, secateurs or scissors and a spare plastic carrier for collecting weeds and clippings.  A trowel is also useful.

Note: As we will be working close to the main road and parking cars, this is not a suitable event for small children.

09 October 2014

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Spooky stuff at Forest Hill Library

This Halloween the independent businesses of Forest Hill have teamed up with the Library to bring you a ghoulishly brilliant Pumpkin Making and Storytelling. Its happening on Friday 31st of October (of course!), from 4pm till 6.30 pm, and its absolutely free.

Ezra Collective - Live in Forest Hill station car park

On 21st September 2014 the Forest Hill Society organised a small musical festival in the Forest Hill station car park, with local bands playing. Here is the Ezra Collective:

Planning Application: 9 Gaynesford Road

A planning application has been submitted to convert the Red House on Gaynesford Road into six flats. You can read the details of the application here, or search for DC/14/88509 at http://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online-applications/

Below is the text of the response from the Forest Hill Society:

I would like to object to the above application on behalf of the Forest Hill Society.

This application is to make substantial changes to the main house built by Ted Christmas which is an important Heritage Asset in the local area.  We appreciate that this building needs an appropriate alternative use but we would wish that this is done in a way that is sensitive to the character and appearance of the existing building.

We understand that proposals are to be brought forward by the Council for a Conservation Area covering Gaynesford Road and the Christmas houses.  With this in mind it would be premature to give permission for changes to this building until this is confirmed OR the applicant should agree to treating the application as if it were in a Conservation Area already and submit an appropriate heritage assessment.

The changes will alter the property in a way that will harm its heritage significance.

In particular the replacement windows (it is not set out why these are required or whether they will be timber or another material), loss of key interior features and other elements of the proposals are unacceptable.

The internal circulation within the proposals does not respond to the character of the house with some flats not having access from the main entrance and needing to gain access by walking past the bedroom windows of other ground floor flats quite some way around the building.  This has an impact in terms of the rear garden not being private and for the use of residents and also being accessible by visitors.

The sizes of some of the units are below those set out in the London Plan Housing SPG.

30 September 2014

Consultation on Bakerloo Line Extension

TfL are consulting on the possibility of extending the Bakerloo line into South London, something that the Forest Hill Society has long supported.

Below is the map of alternative routes going to Lewisham via Old Kent Road or Peckham Rye, and then possibly south of Lewisham on the existing Hayes Line through Catford Bridge and Lower Sydenham.

This would be a major benefit to Lewisham and areas in north Southwark and Lewisham borough, but is this the right scheme for the Bakerloo line extension. Have your say at: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/tube/bakerloo-extension

21 September 2014

Forest Hill Society AGM

The Forest Hill Society AGM will take place on 22nd October, upstairs at the Hob (opposite Forest Hill station).

We intend to present some of the findings from the design workshop that took place in July and provided some interesting ideas on the future of Forest Hill town centre. As well as presenting our conclusions, this is a good opportunity to share your thoughts on the future of the town centre, both in the short and long term.

In addition we will have elections for the committee and sub-committees for the Forest Hill Society.

Committee members don’t need to devote vast amounts of time to the Society, but if you are passionate about Forest Hill, then we would really like you to consider joining us and helping the Society achieve even more than we have already. In particular we will be looking for a new editor for the newsletter and a new secretary for the Executive. If these roles, or any others are of interest to you, please feel free to discuss them with Michael prior to the meeting.

It is wonderful that every year we have a number of new people who get involved and make a difference.

18 September 2014

Forest Hill Free Fashion Week Concert

Forest Hill Fashion Fest, Sunday 21st September, Forest Hill Station main car park.

All Change at London Bridge

2015 will be a challenging year for many commuters who use London Bridge on a daily basis. From mid-December 2014 most SouthEastern and Thameslink trains will not stop at London Bridge. SouthEastern trains to Canon Street will continue to stop at London Bridge for 18 months, and then the situation will switch so that the Charing Cross trains will stop at London Bridge, but not the Canon Street trains.

Southern trains will continue to terminate at London Bridge but there will be no interchange with trains to Waterloo and Charing Cross.

As a slight compensation for this loss of connection we will be getting longer trains on Overground, with 5 carriage trains (that's one additional carriage) being phased in from December 2014.

The train operators have told us that tickets will be valid on any reasonable route. The Jubilee line runs to Southwark, Waterloo, and from there the Northern and Bakerloo lines run to Charing Cross. This does mean that the Jubilee line is going to be exceptionally busy for more than a year, but this is the cost of major improvements to London Bridge and future interchange.

While we suffer through the rebuilding and diversions, we can look forward to 2019 when connections at London Bridge via Thameslink will make crossing London a little bit easier. The Thameslink programme is also expected to double the number of trains using Crofton Park, with 4 trains per hour expected to stop there.

More needs to be done to improve train services in Forest Hill and the Mayor of London has recently published a 25 year plan for transport. We will examine some of the ideas in that document in the next edition of the newsletter.

16 September 2014

SE23 Lolly Business Goes National

A new exciting business has been launched in Forest Hill:  Helen Wicks from the Forest Hill Society met Lucy Woodhouse, co-founder of ‘Claudi & Fin’ at the Tea Pot CafĂ© in Forest Hill.  

Lucy, together with her business partner Meriel Kehoe, have not only recently launched their new unique Greek style frozen yoghurt lollies but have won a competition to supply the lollies exclusively to Sainsbury’s.  Both women live in SE23.

Helen:  Congratulations on your success. It would be great to share your story... why ice lollies?
Lucy:  I love ice lollies...always have done.   I wanted to find a healthy lolly option for my daughter and I looked around in the chill cabinets in the supermarkets and could not find a healthy ice lolly. Most of the brands I found contained huge quantities of sugar and unnatural ingredients.  I also love Greek yogurt so decided to set about making my own ice lollies and experimented using natural ingredients at home.
The great thing about ice lollies is that small children can hold a chunky stick, thus become independent eaters very quickly.  When I gave my daughter, Claudia, her first homemade ice lolly and saw the joy on her face - I knew I was onto a winner!   It then occurred to me that there is a gap in the market!

Helen: How did you meet Mariel, your business partner?
Lucy: We both have young children whom, you won’t be surprised to know are called Claudia and Fin!   We met at a playgroup opposite Fairlawn Primary school in Honor Oak Road.    We got on really well and we both wanted to find something to fit around our children, which meant working from home.  Making ice lollies was a perfect solution. So one day, over egg and chips in Dulwich Park, I pitched the case to Meriel for an ice lolly business! 

Helen:  Have you always lived in SE23? 
No, I am originally from Derby but moved to London for work and lived in several rented flats. In 2003, I read an article in the Evening Standard about Forest Hill, I had never heard of Forest Hill but like the sound of it, so decided to pay a visit and as soon as I got off the train, I knew I wanted to live here.  I rented near Horniman Gardens, then Tyson Road and eventually bought my first home not far from Honor Oak Park Station.

Helen: Was it an easy decision to leave Morrison’s and start up your own business?
Lucy:  I lived above our family fruit and vegetable shop from the day I was born for seven years and am from a family of entrepreneurs so it was probably going to happen one day! My previous work in branding, marketing and manufacture certainly helped to make me feel it was possible. Support from family and friends, the flexibility around childcare and finding a great business partner in Meriel, all helped.

Helen: How did you start up?
First of all, in my kitchen, we experimented with lots of ingredients and tested the finished products on various children and also gave samples to play groups.
We market tested the branding of our product. We sent on-line surveys to friends and friends of friends.  We received over 200 responses.   As a result we were able to improve the images used on our packaging. We were told that the characters looked sad so we made the eyebrows look more appealing!   The British Library in particular was an excellent source of information and free reports.

Helen: Did you receive any professional support?
Lucy: Yes, one company that was particularly useful were the Enterprise Nation, an organisation that helps ‘start ups’. The advice we received there from Emma Jones was incredible and the website is full of really useful tips, well worth the small fee of £20 per year membership. Tony Goldsmith from South East Enterprises was also brilliant, he helped us with our business planning. 

Helen:  Wow!  An exclusive contract with Sainsbury’s!  What a fantastic achievement, how did that come about?
Lucy: I just saw the competition on the ‘Start up Britain’ website, now ‘Centre for Entrepreneurs’ and we decided to enter and we were one of four companies to be offered a contract.  It was very competitive, with over 400 food start-ups competing.  Ten were shortlisted and we all had to pitch our product to a panel, in Dragon's Den style.  We launched our Claudi & Fin Greek Style Frozen yoghurt lollies in multipacks of 4, in Sainsbury’s in May 2014. 

Helen: Are you still making the lollies in your kitchen?
Lucy: Sainsbury’s have worked with us to find a manufacturer who complies with the strict standards required. We did have to compromise however and the product is unfortunately not organic but still contains nearly 20% fruit, and vitamin D.

Helen:  Is Forest Hill Sainsbury’s stocking the lollies?
Lucy: Unfortunately no, but the lollies are on sale in larger Sainsbury’s, including Sydenham and Dog Kennel Hill branches.

For more information visit: Claudi & Fin website: www.claudiandfin.co.uk