24 May 2017

Parliamentary Election Hustings - 6th June

The Forest Hill Society and the Sydenham Society are organising an election hustings for candidates for our next MP on Tuesday 6th June, from 7:30pm at JK Banqueting Hall at 15 Perry Vale, SE23 2NE, in the centre of Forest Hill. 

Confirmed candidates attending:
    Shaun Bailey - Conservatives
    Ellie Reeves - Labour
    John Russell - Liberal Democrats
    Karen Wheller  - Green Party
    Hoong-Wai Cheah - UKIP

The venue is less than 1 minute from Forest Hill train station, is close to bus routes 356, 122, 176, 185, 197. Car parking is located 2 minutes away in the Perry Vale car park opposite Church Vale.

A full list of candidates standing in Lewisham West and Penge can be found here.

11 May 2017

Parliamentary Election Hustings - CANCELLED

Due to the horrific incident in Manchester last night and the suspension of election campaigning today, we have decided to cancel the hustings that was due to take place this evening.

We are looking to see if it would be possible to rearrange prior to the election and will keep you informed.

The Forest Hill Society and the Sydenham Society are organising an election hustings for candidates for our next MP on Tuesday, 23rd May from 7:30pm at JK Banqueting Hall at 15 Perry Vale, SE23 2NE, in the centre of Forest Hill.

Confirmed candidates attending:
    Shaun Bailey - Conservatives
    Ellie Reeves - Labour
    John Russell - Liberal Democrats
    Karen Wheller  - Green Party

A full list of candidates standing in Lewisham West and Penge can be found here.

03 May 2017

Edible High Road - Plant Give Away

Saturday 6th May from 2pm

The Forest Hill Society will be giving away plants to anybody who wants to grow some vegetables or herbs. The plants have been grown by the Horniman as part of courses and are surplus to requirements so, for the third year in a row, we are delighted to be giving them to local residents and visitors.

We will be at Forest Hill station from 2pm-4pm this Saturday and all plants are free. All we ask is that you look after them and then eat them!

Get there early for the best selection.

16 April 2017

Bell Green Aldi Planning Application

An application has been made for an Aldi store to replace the gas holders at Bell Green. You can view details of the planning application on the Lewisham Council website.

The Forest Hill Society has written in objection to this application. Our main reasons for objection were:
  • Removal of historical context for Grade II listed Livesey Memorial Hall.
  • Impact of local roads and pollution
  • Potential impact on town centres including Forest Hill and Sydenham
The full text of our objection can be found here.

If you wish to oppose this development you can send your objection to planning@lewisham.gov.uk or sign the petition that has been created.

07 April 2017

Dartmouth Road Improvement Notification Letter

Below are details from the contractor regarding the Dartmouth Road Improvements Works that will be carried out between May 2017 and March 2018. Full road closure will happen for six weeks from 9th January 2018.

A2216 Dartmouth Road

Work on the improvement of Dartmouth Road from A205 to Round hill Road will start on the 02nd May 2017 for 10 months. Kier Highway Services Ltd – London Highways Alliance Contractor are carrying out these works on behalf of London Borough of Lewisham.

The improvement work involve

·           Repaving footways, improving street lighting locations, new street furniture including landscaping and resurfacing of the road.
·           New public realm area outside of Heron House including seating and natural stone planters.
·           Re-positioning of existing signal poles and widening the existing Pelican crossing.
·           Installation of new entry treatments / speed tables within the side roads.
·           Installation of new parking bays.
·           Installation of new 20mph Speed limit.
·           Installation of additional bus stops.

 Where and when will the work take place?

This project is being completed in 6 phases:

·           Phase 1  will commence on 02/05/17 with the installation of new kerbs, footways, parking bays and granite raised entrance into Thorpewood Avenue. The works will start on the west side from Derby Hill up to Junction with Thorpewood Avenue. Access into Thorpewood Avenue will be via a diversion route that will be signed. Two-way manual traffic control will be implemented, to enable safe and efficient working on Dartmouth Road.

·           Phase 2  – will commence on 16/08/17 with the new kerb, footway and parking bay works continue on the east side from Thorpewood Avenue up to Dartmouth Place. Raised Granite entrances into Clyde Terrace and Dartmouth Place. Access into Clyde Terrace and Dartmouth Place will be signed via a diversion route. Two-way manual traffic control will be implemented, to enable safe and efficient working on Dartmouth Road.

·           Phase 3 – will commence on 20/07/17 with the new public realm area on the east and west sides of the road. The public realm extents are from Derby Hill to Centaury Yard. You will see installation of new kerbs, granite paving footways, street furniture and landscaping. Two-way manual traffic control will be implemented, to enable safe and efficient working on Dartmouth Road.

·           Phase 4A – will commence on 06/11/17 with the new kerb, footway and parking bay works continue on the west side from Century Yard to A205 Junction. Two way Traffic control to be implemented, to enable safe and efficient working.

·           Phase 4B -. Will commence on 09/01/18 with the new kerb, footway and parking bay works will be installed on the east side between Century Yard and A250 Junction. This Phase will run concurrently with the phase below, under a road closure of Dartmouth road.

·           Phase 5 – will commence on 09/01/18 on Dartmouth Road, between A205 and Round hill Rd will have new Granite Sections installed into the carriageway. A road closure of Dartmouth road will be in force to through traffic for 6 weeks to enable the works to take place. The Granite sections will be built in localised road closures, to allow access to shops and facilities via either end of Dartmouth road. A letter and local engagement will be sent out 3 months in advance of works.

·           Phase 6 - will commence on the 07/02/18 on Dartmouth Road, between A205 and Round hill Rd, the carriageway will be resurfaced. Works will be completed over approximately 3 nights and involve a full road closure for the three nights. A letter and local engagement will be sent out 1 month in advance of works. 

01 April 2017

Honor Oak Park Needs U

Over the last few years one of the primary objectives of the Forest Hill Society has been to improve spelling and grammar in the local community. So we are delighted to announce that TfL has agreed that Honor Oak Park station will be renamed Honour Oak Park from 1st April 2018. We are now calling on Lewisham Council to act in the same way and rename Honor Oak Road and Honor Oak Park in line with the correct British spelling.

Initially there were some locals who expressed reservations at the addition of the U to Honour Oak, pointing out that this was an accepted spelling in the time that the first Queen Elizabeth is said to have visited the site. However, when concerns were raised in the Neighbourhood forum it was agreed that nobody wanted to attend a Neighborhood Forum, so the Us had it!

Parents at Fairlawn school have been quick to praise the move as they are fed up of trying to explain to their children why they are expected to spell correctly, when all the road signs are wrong.

And although most residents in Honour Oak and Forest Hill welcome this decision, over in Dullitch Village people are said to be mildly irritated.

The next stage in our campaign for better spelling will focus on London Road. Energie Gym might just about pass, but Ferfect Chicken is beyond the bucket.

If you have any comments on this proposal you should contact april.loofs@tfl.gov.uk or view our detailed plans for improving the railway at http://www.foresthillsociety.com/2016/04/croydon-canal-to-be-reinstated-after.html

22 March 2017

The Ultra Low Emissions Zone – What Does it mean for Forest Hill?

By Brendan Cuddihy, Transport Committee

Transport for London (TfL) currently has plans in place to implement an ‘Ultra Low Emissions Zone’ (ULEZ) in Central London by 2020. This would require all motorised vehicles entering the current Congestion Charging Zone to meet exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge.

Following the election of Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London, TfL has been consulting on both bringing forward the ULEZ plans and widening them to cover a much broader area of London. This is in response to growing concern over the effects of air quality on the health of Londoners. Many parts of London — including the South Circular where it passes through Forest Hill, Sydenham Road and the whole northern half of the London Borough of Lewisham — currently fail to meet legal limits for air pollution, most notably nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter. The pollutants come from many sources, but the dominant one is motor vehicle engines, especially those which are diesel-fuelled. The legal limits are based on research into the health effects of air pollution, and failing to meet them is causing thousands of premature deaths in London each year.

Last summer TfL completed a consultation on initial ideas for the ULEZ. There were over 15,000 respondents, a significant majority of whom supported greater action on air quality. More recently, TfL has recently concluded a second phase of consultation in order to start the statutory process required to change the initial ULEZ plans. The proposals included:

  • Introducing an ‘Emissions Surcharge’ (which is also being referred to as the ‘T-Charge’, where T is for toxic) in October 2017 for older, more polluting vehicles driving into and within Central London. This would cover just the Congestion Charge Zone.
  • Bringing forward the introduction of the ULEZ to 2019 instead of 2020.
  • Extending the ULEZ from Central London to all of London for heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches, as early as 2019, but possibly later.
  • Extending the ULEZ from Central London to the North and South Circular roads for all vehicles not meeting recent emissions standards as early as 2019, but possibly later.
For residents and businesses in Forest Hill, the impacts could be felt as early as next year if you drive into Central London and have an older vehicle. Those purchasing new vehicles in the foreseeable future, whether for business or personal use, might also be wise to pay heed to the emissions requirements in order to avoid incurring costs associated with the ULEZ. However, most impacts will be felt only when the ULEZ comes into force. If your vehicle doesn’t meet the required standards you will have to pay each day you drive into the area bounded by the North and South Circular roads; those living or having businesses inside this area may also have to pay a daily charge if their vehicle does not meet the required standards — even if it’s not driven each day.

While that may sound onerous, the rationale behind adopting the ULEZ should not be forgotten. The plans will no doubt drive investment in cleaner vehicles across London, both by businesses and private owners, including in areas which are not directly affected. The result of this will be cleaner air for all Londoners and, hopefully, a fall in the number of people whose lives are tragically cut short by air pollution.

Above: Concentrations of annual average NO2 (Source: LAEI 2013)
Below: Proposed boundary of ULEZ on the North/South circular roads

A Recent History of Forest Hill Pubs

by Alistair Dey

When I came to live in Forest Hill in the early 1980s there were 14 pubs in the SE23 post code. I know this as I have a book from that time published by the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) entitled ‘Real Ale in South London’, which lists and briefly describes these pubs. Despite the nationwide demise of many pubs in recent years, Forest Hill has been less hard-hit than many other areas. There are now 13 pubs in SE23 — we have lost three and gained two pubs since the early ’80s.

The first of the three pubs which closed was Tyrols at 149 Stanstead Road, on the corner of Wastdale Road. This big pub was previously known as the Swiss Cottage and in the 1980s was a disco pub at weekends, which is when I occasionally visited it. The pub was demolished in 1990 and an apartment block now stands in its place.

The next to close was the Moore Park Hotel on Wood Vale, at the far western edge of SE23. This is the only pub of the 14 in which I never had a drink. It was closed in the early 2000s, and is also now a block of flats. The most recent one to close, in about 2010, was the Forest Hill Hotel, located in the quiet part of Stanstead Road on the way to Travis Perkins and Shannons. It is now a rather attractive block of flats.

The two pubs which we have gained are: The Capitol on London Road, which opened in April 2001 and, as many people know, was formerly a cinema, then a bingo hall; and the Sylvan Post on Dartmouth Road, which opened a couple of years ago in the former 1960s post office and retains many features of the original building. We could even say SE23 has 14 pubs if one includes the Perry Vale (‘Kitchen and Bar’), which opened in June 2015. This excellent establishment is listed in CAMRA’s What Pub website but I do not classify it as a pub — although there is perhaps a blurring of the lines now between pubs, bistros and bars. Similarly, in Honor Oak, the Two Spoons and Donde are bars as well as restaurants. So perhaps we even have 16 pubs/bars in SE23.

Of the other eleven pubs, I would say that the theme has been improvement over the years. Several have been extensively refurbished and some much improved since the 1980s. In this latter category, I would include:
  • All Inn One on Perry Vale, which was occasionally a bit rough in my early years in Forest Hill (though that did not prevent it from being my main local), but is excellent now.
  • The Dartmouth Arms on Dartmouth Road, which is pleasant and serves fine food now, unlike in the 1980s.
  • The Chandos on Brockley Rise, which was refurbished and reopened in September 2016 and is now (but was not always) a lovely pub
  • The Honor Oak on St German’s Road, which was extensively refurbished in 2006, 2014 and most recently in 2017.

Other pubs which were good in the 1980s and are still fine now are: the Prince of Wales on Perry Rise, which was my other main local back then and was renovated in 2013; The Signal on Devonshire Road, opposite Forest Hill station; The Bird in Hand on Dartmouth Road; The Hill, further up Dartmouth Road; and the Railway Telegraph on the corner of Sunderland and Stanstead Roads.

The remaining two pubs are ‘outlying’ ones, about which I have least knowledge: the General Napier on Bovill Road, Honor Oak Park and the Blythe Hill Tavern on Stanstead Road, almost in Catford. Both are traditional pubs serving the local community and are assets to the local area. The Blythe Hill Tavern has won several awards from CAMRA.

Of the 13 pubs in SE23, a few have changed their name in the last couple of decades: the All Inn One, which was previously known as the Foresters Arms; The Signal, which was the Pie & Kilderkin in the 1980s, then The Hobgoblin, and then The Hob, before becoming The Signal; The Hill, which was previously The Malt Shovel then Question Bar; The Honor Oak, which was previously known as the St Germain’s Hotel; and even the Chandos, which was formerly known as the Chandos Hotel.

Finally, of the 13 pubs, seven are located ‘centrally’, i.e. in or very near Forest Hill railway station; three are in or near Honor Oak Park; one, the Railway Telegraph is a bit further out; and two, the Prince of Wales and The Blythe Hill Tavern, are on the fringes of the SE23 post code. All of them deserve to be cherished.