11 December 2014

Improvements to Rail Replacement Bus Services

Over the Christmas period there will be massive disruption to train services through Forest Hill.

London Bridge station will not be serviced by Southern trains from 20th December until 4th January.
Overground will be operating an increased service with at least 4 extra trains per hour operating to/from Crystal Palace, rather than New Cross. Southern tickets will be valid on suitable Overground routes.

No services will operate through Forest Hill between Thursday 25th and Sunday 28th December.

On 27th and 28th December there will be a replacement bus service operated by Southern to London Bridge. As a result of lobbying by Forest Hill Society this replacement bus service will be increased from 4 buses per hour to 10 buses per hour (6 buses to/from London Bridge and an additional 4 to/from New Cross Gate). LOROL are providing an additional bus service between New Cross Gate / New Cross and Canada Water for passengers for the Jubilee Line.

However, passengers from Forest Hill/Honor Oak Park should consider if other routes would be better for them. There are frequent bus services to Waterloo on the 176 and 172, to Blackfriars on the 63, and the Catford Bridge, Catford and Crofton Park train services should be running a normal service.

More advice from TfL regarding the December works can be found at:


Beyond this, from 12th January 2015, there will be no SouthEastern services calling at London Bridge (they will run 'fast' to/from Waterloo East). Interchange at London Bridge to the Jubilee line will be possible for journeys to Waterloo, Southwark, and Charing Cross. We are awaiting confirmation regarding changing at Canada Water on Southern tickets for access to these stations (at present this would not appear to be a permitted route, but will they really stop us?)

06 December 2014

Forest Hill Society Member’s Profile: Hilary Satchwell, Chair, Planning Committee

By Helen Wicks (Communications Committee)

Hilary Satchwell joined the Executive Committee of the Forest Hill Society in 2008 and now chairs the Society’s Planning Committee. The Society has benefited from her architectural and urban planning expertise on a number of projects – most notably her contribution to the Forest Hill Pools’ proposals – and, most recently, from her role in facilitating the Forest Hill Town Centre Design Charette.

Originally from Hayling Island in Hampshire, Hilary studied architecture at Plymouth University, where she met her husband-to-be. As a result of her interest in urban design, she found a job in London in 1996 with an architecture and urban design practice called Tibbalds TM2. In 2003, Hilary, together with three female associates, successfully took over part of the company, which then rebranded itself as Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design. Ever since, Hilary has been a director of Tibbalds and worked on a broad range of master-planning, urban regeneration and design strategies.

Hilary’s impressive ability to bring people together and find common ground to reach consensus was tested in the early days of consultation with the stakeholder group who had differing visions of what should have been included in Forest Hill’s swimming pools project. The final proposal, which was ultimately developed by Lewisham Council, was pretty much universally supported and has resulted in two wonderful swimming pools for the benefit of the Forest Hill and surrounding communities.

Hilary has lived in Taymount Rise, Forest Hill since 2006. Working in South East London opened up a part of London with which she was not familiar. She was attracted to Forest Hill because of the affordable house prices at the time, and which offered better value-for-money than other parts of London. She loves Forest Hill’s friendly, stable and diverse community, and its green spaces and good transport links. Her two young sons attend Horniman Primary School and are very happy there. Hilary is now looking at secondary schools for her eldest son, and has been very impressed with what she has seen at Forest Hill School.

Hilary’s interests include ‘making things’, which started when she was a schoolgirl and had a Saturday job in a fabric shop. She then followed her family’s tradition of sewing and craft as a hobby and now has a large cupboard full of ‘projects’ awaiting completion! Therefore, it’s no surprise that her favourite shop in Forest Hill is Stag & Bow in Dartmouth Road. She likes the ethos of the shop, which features crafts and textiles, and has taken part in one of its lino printing workshops run by Cyrus Colquitt.

Hilary is also interested in mid-20th century design. She often takes her children to design shows and museums, and senses that her eldest son has a real eye for furniture design in particular. So, the design gene looks like it will continue into the next Satchwell generation!

Investing in Our Public Green Spaces

By Alona Sheridan (Chair, Friends of Mayow Park)

The budgets for the UK’s public parks have nationally seen significant cuts in recent years according to the 2014 Heritage Lottery Fund report. It found that 86% of park managers have had budgets cut since 2010 and almost half of councils are considering selling their green spaces. At risk are parks’ opening hours, funding for infrastructure maintenance, care of plant beds, reduced grass cutting, and loss of staff.

The HLF report sets out five key actions for parks to continue providing health and well-being benefits to communities:
• Renewed local authority commitment.
• Establishing new partnerships.
• Getting communities more involved.
• Collecting and sharing data.
• Developing new finance models and rethinking delivery.

The National Friends of Parks and Green Spaces is calling for the next Government in 2015 to hold a national inquiry into the funding and management of UK’s green spaces, and make it a statutory duty for local authorities to monitor and manage these spaces to conform to Green Flag standards, thus ensuring sufficient investment and resources for parks.

Urban parks are vital for physical and mental well-being; and as spaces for people and wildlife, particularly for people without gardens. In the 1980s and 1990s, parks declined due to a lack of adequate maintenance, became under-used and felt less safe, and vandalism became more prevalent. This should not be repeated.

Since then, Lewisham’s parks have seen investments and NFPGS groups work with the Council to ensure that these green spaces are valued. Currently, Lewisham has been awarded Green Flag status for 15 parks as well as Community Green Flag status for several community gardens. However, Lewisham Council has an unenviable task to make significant budget cuts to all of its services including parks.

Should NFPGS groups become more involved in Lewisham and be called upon to help in the parks’ management? Would that be desirable? If you have thoughts on how to safeguard Lewisham’s parks, please contact me by email at alona@foresthillsociety.com

04 December 2014

Make Mine a Palace Pint, Please!

By Belinda Evans (Executive Committee)

Visiting the Crystal Palace Food Market last year I spotted a stall selling hop plants and, having always wanted to grow hops, I tried to buy some. But, unbeknown to me, the hops were part of a local community project called The Palace Pint; I wouldn’t be growing hops as a decorative part of my garden but growing hops to be made into real beer!

The Palace Pint project was set up in January 2013 by the Crystal Palace Transition Town group to encourage people to grow hops in their gardens to produce a tasty local beer. It was simple to participate in the project: I bought my own hop plant from the CPTT,  planted it and, at a specified time in late September 2014, harvested the hops; and then everyone’s hops were collected together to be brewed into truly local beer!

The hop plant was a dwarf variety (Prima Donna), which grows to 7-8 ft and is therefore suitable for most gardens and patios. Growing tips and advice were available from a Palace Pint Facebook page. In the autumn, Penge-based micro-brewery Late Knights turned about 10 kg of home-grown hops into Palace Pint beer, which apparently had an alcohol content of 4.5%. The brewery also donated a generous amount of beer, once it was brewed, to us growers for a ‘bit of a do’.

Growing hops as a novice was easy this year due to the great summer that we had. Luckily for me, I had planted my plant in a warm sheltered sunny spot as I unexpectedly ended up with a first harvest of ripe hops that completely filled my carrier bag!  Since the plant is a rhizome, I am hoping that I will see green shoots reappear next year and, once again, be able to harvest hops.

The Palace Pint is a great scheme to be involved in because:
• It gets people who might not otherwise consider wielding a trowel interested in gardening.
• The hops are easy to grow, look attractive, and smell wonderful once ripe.
• It’s a chance to meet other like-minded beer lovers (or even plant enthusiasts).
• It’s part of an exciting and growing grassroots movement which, from its Brixton origins in 2012, has already spread as far as Wales.
• We get to drink our own unique beer and have a great knees-up at the end of the season!

We spotted our Palace Pint for sale in pubs in Crystal Palace (Westow House, Grape and Grain), Brockley (Jam Circus), Forest Hill (All in One) and Balham (Balham Bowls Club), as well as at Late Knights’ own bars! I tried to sample our pint in the All in One but it had already sold out. Now that’s the sign of a good local pint!

For more info on the The Palace Pint: http://on.fb.me/1wIfrxD

Santa comes to Dartmouth Road

Sat 13th Dec - Santas Grotto will be open from 12 till 4pm
  • Workshop - 12 till 3 - Festive Animation with Karolina Glusiec
  • Workshop -  3 till 4 -  Make Christmas card's for your family and friends and make decoration's for us to hang up in the studio

Sun 14th Dec - Santas Grotto will be open 12 till 4pm
  • Workshop 12 till 4 - Come decorate a bauble and take it home to hang on your Christmas tree

Sat 20th Dec - Santas Grotto will be open 12 till 4pm
  • Workshop 12 till 3 - Festive Animation with Karolina Glusiec
  • Kids Christmas Disco - 4 till 6 - with the fab Trev The DJ

Sun 21st Dec - Santas Grotto will be open 12 till 4pm
  • Workshop - 12 till 4 - Festive drama/musical theatre workshops with Donald Waugh aka Snake Eyes in the original Alan Parker film BUGSY MALONE
  • Showcase - 4pm - A chance for everyone to watch what the kids have achieved at the workshops with Donald today

03 December 2014

Business Profile: The Framing Salon

Cyrus Colquitt, second from right, and staff at The Framing Salon
Helen Wicks from the Forest Hill Society met Cyrus Colquitt, the owner of The Framing Salon, over a drink in the Dartmouth Arms in Forest Hill to ask him about his new picture framing business, which is well placed opposite the pub and in relation to all of the other amenities that Forest Hill’s town centre has to offer.

Congratulations on your new shop, The Framing Salon, at 10 Dartmouth Road. How long have you been open? It’s all very new. We opened in July 2014.

Are you new to retail? No. I also jointly own Stag & Bow, a haberdashery and craft shop, with my partner Pascale. But when this charming little shop at number 10, next door to the Stag & Bow, became available it was an opportunity not to be missed, giving me the chance to upscale our existing framing business.

Why did you choose retail as your business? At one family Christmas, when giving out our handmade presents, Pascale’s father quipped: “you should open a shop”. It played on our minds and Stag & Bow was born. It made perfect sense to bring together our skills and histories, and we were looking for a way to manifest them. Having both grown up in SE23 and been excited about the regeneration of Forest Hill, we had eyed up number 8 Dartmouth Road for some time. Fortuitously, when we went to view it, the landlords were very keen for us to take it.

Why did you decide to specialise in picture framing? We felt the framing married well with all that was Stag & Bow, at the same time bringing together many of my skills and passions. Having always framed our own work, we inherited some amazing equipment and, after training in the subtleties of conservation framing, we were off!

While Stag & Bow has a fabulous website, is that right there seems to be very little information online about the Framing Salon - not even a website? Yes, you are right. We have not marketed or launched the Framing Salon in the conventional way. Part of that is because I have been focusing on setting up the shop and employing people, and I also still have responsibilities within Stag & Bow. Although, after two years of framing within Stag & Bow, the service had considerable awareness locally. Interestingly, I’m pleased to say, we have been very busy with lots of orders with only our beautiful frontage and interior promoting us. But, rest assured, I am developing a website!

Why did you decide to start your businesses in Forest Hill? Pascale and I both grew up in Forest Hill. Although we moved away in the in-between years, we were drawn back here. We loved the area, we lived in Forest Hill, and our children went to local schools - so it was the obvious location for work.

Whom do you employ? I was very lucky to find Flynn, an artist who brought with him plenty of experience and a keen eye for detail, after he worked at Honor Oak’s picture framers until the landlord pulled the plug. We also have Emi, a very promising apprentice who is also an artist and ex-Sydenham School pupil. So, we are a very creative and local team.

10 Dartmouth Road is tiny. How do you manage in such a limited space? Yes, it is small, but we all fit in. Having designed and built everything myself, it functions very well and is a lovely space to work in - I look forward to getting there every morning! Now that the workshop is in full production, the next phase of the project is to start having art exhibitions, too, with mid-range prints for sale as well as the time-honoured rarities we already have for sale in our print browser. I am extremely excited about the gallery element and have a list of amazing artists who I shall be showing, cutting my teeth in the ‘art game’ before looking for another space in Forest Hill to show work - I like the look of the recruitment office next door to the old Blue Mountain!

Do you have a background in woodworking? Yes. I had pretty much of an apprenticeship in traditional woodworking at the small ‘alternative’ school I went to, thinking I would make furniture forever, but then life happened! I went on to study sculpture at Camberwell College of Art and, more recently, I taught Design and Technology at Bacon’s College in Rotherhithe. My woodworking skills also came in very useful when fitting out our Stag & Bow shop. However, whilst establishing the business, I needed to work; so I continued with my own business, designing bespoke furniture and taking on other commissions.

Are you involved in the Forest Hill Traders’ Association? Yes, I am, and they are a very committed group of retailers who are passionate about Forest Hill’s town centre and want the best for Forest Hill. They employ lots of local people as well as run successful businesses. It’s a large group and not everyone agrees with everything but it is important that the Forest Hill traders have a voice. The successful SEE3 initiatives and subsequent new businesses have brought a new dimension and added value to the well-established, successful retail businesses in Forest Hill.

What advice would you give to other retailers in Forest Hill? I am a real fan of shop-window dressing. I am very proud of the Stag & Bow window displays, which we regularly change to make passers-by curious and want to come inside! I also think the external shop frontage and signage is worth investing in. A number of shops in the high street have benefited from the upgrading of their shop fronts and it all helps to make Forest Hill look smarter and less run down. I am a firm believer in old-fashioned customer care - making customers feel welcome and providing an honest, quality service.

01 December 2014

Police Safer Neighbourhoods Team email updates

Forest Hill police provide updates and crime alerts to residents registered with them. To register please fill out this form and send it to ForestHill.snt@met.police.uk 

Below is the text from the most recent update:
I am writing to inform you of a recent spate of Burglaries and motor vehicle related offences that have occurred within the Forest Hill area of Lewisham. Could I ask that you as a homeowner or business person within Forest Hill be ever vigilant as we approach Christmas.
If you are a home owner, could you ensure that expensive Items such as lap  top computers or tablets are not left in view of windows when you leave the home . Could you also ensure all windows and doors are locked if they have these fitted. Also make sure you set your alarm if you have one. As we near Christmas, please be mindful of leaving presents on display in windows as well.

If you are a business person, make sure again, all items of value or keys are not left on display or easily within reach if you leave the counter or shop front.
If you own a car, please when leaving it unattended, remove all items from within the car such as bags, phones and in particular sat nav or phone cradles. On this point, if you do remove the cradle, please rub the remaining sucker ring mark from the glass as well. We have also had a number of registration plates removed from vehicles.
I do not wish to alarm you, but more to make you all aware that these types of offences are occurring within Forest Hill as they generally do on the run up to Christmas period.
If you wish to speak to me regarding this or any other matter, or should you wish to have your home security reviewed for free or wish to receive a free property marking pen, please, do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours sincerely, Michael Hill PC 195PL
Michael Hill PC 195PL (DWPC)
Forest Hill Safer Neighbourhood's Team A
Phone Number; 020 - 8721 - 2723

30 November 2014

Final Report from Planning Workshop

On the 23rd July 2014 the Forest Hill Society and See3 organised a workshop to look at the town centre of Forest Hill. The workshop was organised to facilitate a group of built environment professionals, architects and landscape architects who live or work in or near SE23 to use their time and skills to improve Forest Hill Town Centre. In particular, to build upon the many positive outcomes as part of the Town Centre’s role in SEE3, as one of the Portas Pilots.

The objective for the workshop was to help identify what works and doesn’t work in the town centre at the moment; to help develop a community led vision for change and action; and to develop creative ideas for making the town centre a better place.

Full details of the report are included here:

Next Steps:
The initial ideas coming out of the workshop and set out in this report are intended to spark debate, make people think differently about what we have now and what might be possible in the future.

What is clear is that over the past 10 years much has changed for the better in Forest Hill, key sites have been developed, the Pools have been rebuilt and reopened, and the Horniman continues to be a major attraction within the area. There has also been a change in the fortunes of the high street with new shops opening, a range of cafes and other new high street uses. However, there are other areas that have not improved, specifically including key linkages, the impact of the south circular and some prominent town centre sites - the main one of these being the station itself.

Following on from the workshop it is important that these initial ideas are tested, developed and given broader consideration by the community. These ideas and the professional expertise donated by members of the local community at the workshop have the potential to change our view about Forest Hill Town Centre and its surrounding links and connections.

It is now intended that this work informs the production of a new vision for Forest Hill. This will take considerable community effort, collaboration with a range of agencies and organisations to do this. It is something that the Forest Hill Society and SEE3 intend to lead on but this will only be achieved with the ongoing positive support, time and energy of our community.

The major longer term priorities identified from this work are:
1) A particular focus is the street works planned for Dartmouth Road and that has funding identified for it by Lewisham Council. These will be designed and developed from Autumn 2014 and the group involved in this design workshop, are keen to support this work. The idea from the workshop for a series of linked spaces, each with a different focus/character has a lot of potential to improve this busy and congested part of the 'high street'.

2) Creating a more positive arrival space to Forest Hill around the station, both on the London Road side and at Perry Vale. There is considerable potential here for both new development, improved and extended public realm and pedestrian space, and a more attractive built environment generally. This part of Forest Hill is widely identified as the least attractive and yet is how most people passing through on the South Circular see it.

3) Creating a much stronger and direct pedestrian and cycle route along the railway line towards Sydenham, with improved lighting, a clearer route and effective signage. This is a route that already exists but is poor quality and is identified as a significant missed opportunity.

4) To better support and integrate Perry Vale into the town centre, including specifically connections across the railway line and the qualities of the Perry Vale triangle. This might be through new bridge links, crossings, road closures, alternative uses on the Perry Vale Car park and improved station access. This part of the town centre benefits from development sites that could help deliver these opportunities and will need a carefully coordinated approach.

These and other priorities identified during this event and from other events will also be developed as part of the community led vision. If you have the energy, interest and skills to help with any of this work we would love you to work with us in doing so.

TfL’s Consultation to close on 7th December 2014 for Proposed Bakerloo Line Extension

For many years, the Forest Hill Society has advocated an extension to the Bakerloo line into South East London; and, in autumn 2014, Transport for London opened a consultation to get opinions about possible extensions.

TfL are essentially consulting on two routes, both of which go through New Cross Gate and Lewisham. The first route goes from the Elephant and Castle, down the Old Kent Road to New Cross Gate, and continues to Lewisham. The second route goes underground from the Elephant and Castle to Camberwell and then on to Peckham Rye, before heading up to New Cross Gate and Lewisham. Both of these routes would go underground rather than making use of existing, above-ground railway lines.

Beyond Lewisham there is the possibility of joining up with the existing Catford Bridge line and taking over the tracks that run to Hayes and Beckenham Junction. There is also an additional option to tunnel from Beckenham to Bromley’s town centre.

But don’t get too excited yet. Any extension would take years to build and would be unlikely to start before 2023. Consequently, the new line would not be expected to be operational until some time in the 2030s. This may seem like an awfully long time away but at least the ideas are being discussed, and this makes an extension more likely than it has been at any time since the 1930s or 1940s, when it was first proposed!

So what’s in it for Forest Hill?
Clearly, the proposed routes do not come to Forest Hill. However, a route between Catford and Lower Sydenham is just on the edge of SE23 and if it was chosen we would lobby for a new station at Bell Green, which is a more suitable transport hub than Lower Sydenham. Peckham Rye is also not particularly far from the edge of SE23. Importantly, we would also have the option to change at New Cross Gate for faster routes to Waterloo, Charing Cross, and Paddington. This would be in addition to our links to London Bridge, Victoria, Canada Water, and the new Crossrail interchange at Whitechapel (which would probably provide a faster interchange to the West End, Paddington, and Heathrow).

Most importantly, a Bakerloo line extension should provide additional capacity to South East London’s over-stretched services, which are expected to be even busier in 2030.

Haven’t we heard all of this before?
There were plans for a southern extension to the Bakerloo line in 1931, 1947, the 1950s, and the 1970s but in the last 10 years the wisdom of the Bakerloo line extension has been gaining traction with transport planners across London. The introduction of the Old Kent Road as an area that could see massive regeneration, and funding from such a project at least partially funding the extension (as with the Battersea extension of the Northern line), makes this proposal even more cost effective than had already been recognised.

In addition, the Bakerloo line, just like the East London line 10 years ago, is the tube line that is most in need of modernisation, with very old rolling stock needing to be replaced in the next decade or two. Building an extension line and completely revamping the signalling and rolling stock as part of the same project makes sense, so there is a window of opportunity that has been recognised.

Alternative proposals
What has not been considered in the current consultation are other possible routes including a much longer tunnel that could take the tube further into South East London. Every area of South London thinks that the Bakerloo line should run close to them: proposals have been made to take the line to Streatham, Camberwell/Herne Hill, Greenwich, Honor Oak Park or even through Forest Hill.

The idea of tunnelling further out (for example, under Honor Oak), rather than taking over existing train lines, is a good idea but is likely to lead to a further delay in the programme while funding is fought over.

Unfortunately, none of these proposals are likely to be able to compete for the funding that will result from the regeneration of the Old Kent Road. For this reason, most people in South East London (including the Forest Hill Society) are now getting behind the proposed Lewisham extension; and there is a growing feeling that this part of the project should be pushed forward as soon as possible, with any further extensions to Catford and Hayes coming as a second phase, if necessary.

TfL’s Consultation closes on 7th December, so we would urge you to respond quickly and make your views known!