11 February 2019

Heathrow Airport: Flight Path Consultation

Below is a guide to the consultation by SE Londoners, for SE Londoners responding to the Heathrow Airport flight path consultation.

• Heathrow is planning for a  third runway in 2026 and, whether or not that goes ahead, it is redesigning all its flight paths. Where you live in London probably affects how you view this. We each have until 4th March to complete their online questionnaire. If you’ve ever been woken by planes from before 5am, or had use of your home disturbed by planes overhead many miles from Heathrow, this is a chance to join everyone else in having your say.
• Please don’t be put off  from saying anything by the length or detail of what Heathrow says. It’s doesn’t need to take long and it seems important that SE London interests are properly represented by each of us.
• Thinking about how Heathrow and London City airports affect our environment by flying over us, we’ve made some suggestions as to how SE Londoners might want to respond to individual questions. If you use these, great, if you don’t agree or have additional points that’s fine too.
• We hope that our suggestions bring out a lot of the key points for our area and that this might be helpful for those who don’t want to spend too much time on this.
• For each of Heathrow’s questions we’ve put a few brief comments from a SE London point of view, with suggestions as to what you might say. Our comments are in the yellow boxes on the following pages.
• Worth noting that there is significant opposition to Heathrow from London Councils and environmental groups, but the principles established in this consultation are expected to be used whatever happens so it seems worth getting our SE London voices heard.
• Links to the Consultation and Other Useful Sources
• The link to the online Heathrow consultation is here:- https://afo.heathrowconsultation.com/

Question Number
Our Recommendation
Additional Information
It seems essential that Heathrow does have a noise objective.
In its noise objective, LHR should put the health and well-being of London’s overflown communities as a high priority. Cost benefit to the wealthy airline industry is a lower priority than the long-term health and wellbeing of millions of overflown Londoners.”

We would like rotation/alternation of airspace and runways so that early morning wake-ups do not happen more than, say, once per week. They are currently from around 05:00am in SE London.
There should be managed dispersal or several rotating routes in each noise envelope and these should be as far apart from each other as is possible.
For weekends and evenings we seek the longest durations of respite possible to allow enjoyment of open windows and the outdoors.”

Click on your preference, but we feel none of these options works well for SE Londoners and we think the answer should be “No”. We explain why in 3b.
“Westerly operations means all  Heathrow arrivals will pass over north east and south east London including the very early morning flights from before 5am which wake us up and the evening flights which spoil enjoyment of the outdoors and continue to 11.30 at night.
We feel it essential that flights are dispersed more fairly between east and west, and a westerly operations preference will disadvantage SE London and anywhere east of the airport.
Westerly operations also overfly the low altitude route of London City Airport in our area, meaning that we are given no respite from one or the other.”

We think prolonged periods of single direction operation day after day require intervention if wind strength and direction allow.
This flexibility provides a particularly useful way for Heathrow to avoid periods of simultaneous overflights with London City Airport.
It also may prevent SE London having the early morning wakeup flights day after day when winds are set in one direction for days on end, and allow Heathrow to provide relief and sharing of impact.”

“We feel strongly that London City and Heathrow Airports should immediately begin planning flight paths together, co-ordinating operations and directional planning very closely to avoid crossing of flight paths and double overflight of SE London communities as both airports increase flight numbers.”

Probably “Option 2”

“These early morning start times are for communities near to the airport, SE London overflight will be approximately 10 minutes earlier. We think the later the better for everyone’s undisturbed sleep but there is not much difference here.”
From Heathrow’s presentations we believe that Option 1 will allow rotation so that we will get 2 weeks out of 3 with no flights 05.50am over SE London which is better, in those weeks, than we get now.
“There must be opportunity to commence operations much later than this if the 3rd runway goes ahead.
Airline industry business objectives to accommodate early morning flights cannot and must not be at disproportionate cost to the health and wellbeing of the communities over which they fly.
We think it unreasonable for SE London, many miles from Heathrow, to endure any overflights before 06:30 am.”

“We believe Heathrow should have and enforce the most stringent of aircraft environmental standards that will protect overflown Londoners as much as possible from commercial aircraft noise and pollution.
London Heathrow should adopt a world leading position on this issue.”

We feel that the currently proposed night flight ban of 6.5 hours is inadequate on health and well-being grounds.
Our preference would be for a night flight ban of 8 hours duration.”

“Much of SE London (e.g. Sidcup, Mottingham, Catford, Forest Hill, Dulwich, Herne Hill, Stockwell, Vauxhall) are overflown by both London City and Heathrow planes, sometimes at the same time. The two airports should work together now on revising both airports’ flight path design so that crossing of flight paths is minimised, and simultaneous overflight ended.
Heathrow planes should fly higher whenever crossing London City flight paths, so that London City planes can fly higher than the current 2000ft.”
This is about three runways, from 2026.

The main local factor we think is the interaction with London City flight paths over SE London as both airports have strong growth plans that affect SE London.

“Much of SE London (e.g. Sidcup, Mottingham, Catford, Forest Hill, Dulwich, Herne Hill, Stockwell, Vauxhall) are overflown by both London City and Heathrow planes, sometimes at the same time. The two airports should work together now on revising both airports’ flight path design so that crossing of flight paths is minimised, and simultaneous overflight ended.
Heathrow planes should fly higher whenever crossing London City flight paths, so that London City planes can fly higher than the current 2000ft.”
This is about two runways as at present.

The points about double airport overflight in SE London seem the same as in Q6, whether Heathrow has two or three runways.

To repeat, the main local factor we think is the interaction with London City flight paths over SE London as both airports have strong growth plans that affect SE London.

Fly higher for longer in South London – flights arriving over most of SE London need to be higher than proposed in order to reduce noise and create additional space for the low flying London City planes beneath.
As a general principle disperse flights fairly over all London communities so that noise and environmental impact is shared.
Concentrated flight paths should be separated as widely apart as possible with frequent rotation to give periods of relief to those on the ground.”

You may wish to consider any of the following issues:

Aircraft noise disturbance
       Enjoyment of outdoors – loud enough to stop conversation. Summer evening activities
       Enjoyment of indoors too, when doors/windows are open
       Early morning wakeups from before 5 am (Heathrow)
       Late night arrivals to 11.30pm (Heathrow)

Concentrated flight paths using new technology
        Across the world have created noise corridors, replacing aircraft dispersal and sharing of noise
       Create high frequency of overflights, same homes every time - London City 15 per hour at peak

Low altitude
       Low flights create louder disturbance. London City only 2000ft over SE London. Heathrow higher over SE London, but much bigger, louder planes.

Environmental pollution
       Low at ground level in east London, but will increase as the two airports expand


26 January 2019

Litter Tidy Up - 2nd Feb 2019

Volunteers from the Forest Hill Society will be tidying the green space beside Forest Hill Swimming Pool on Saturday, 2nd February, from 10am. We would welcome others to lend a hand and complete the task quickly.

Work is expected to last less than one hour.We have arranged to have litter pickers and garbage sacks to help us in this task, but we recommend that anybody joining in brings their own gloves.

18 January 2019

Planning Application: All Inn One, Perry Vale

There has been a planning application submitted in 2018 to demolish the All Inn One pub and build a six storey building with pub and hotel. The details of the application can be viewed on the Lewisham website.

The Forest Hill Society has written to object to this development for a number of reasons:
  • Scale and massing of the development
  • Concern over loss of pub amenity
  • Lack of details relating to the new A4 (pub/restaurant) unit 
  • Loss of character and heritage value of the pub
  • Negative impact on daylight to neighbouring properties

We have also asked for consideration of how the Perry Vale car park might be used and for consideration to be given to an improved crossing point on Perry Vale to service the hotel and local residents.

The full text of our objection can be read here.

15 January 2019

Lego comes to Horniman Museum from 16th February

From an ancient Egyptian pyramid to Old London Bridge, and from the natural wonder of a coral reef to the modern marvel of the international space station, travel through history and explore over 50 models made using half a million LEGO bricks.

Build your imagination at the interactive play areas, and don’t miss two special models of Horniman icons created especially for the show.

More than 50 models will be on show, from individual pieces that will inspire visitors to build them at home, to awe-inspiring dioramas and mosaics. Visitors can build their own brick wonders in interactive play areas – including a graffiti wall, a tower-building challenge, a magnetic mosaic puzzle and big bricks for little hands – and the exhibition includes a mini-cinema showing short LEGO animations.

Further details from the Horniman website.

01 January 2019

Burns Supper - Saturday, 26th January

Once again, the Forest Hill Society in conjunction with All Inn One, on Perry Vale, will be hosting a Burns Supper on Saturday 26th January.

There will be the traditional Address to the Haggis and the opportunity to listen to or to read from the works of Robert Burns. We will also have some local musicians to round off the evening.

The meal is from 7.30pm, and if you'd like to join us you must book in advance, please call the pub on 020 8699 3311 or email info@allinnone.org.uk to book.

The cost is £21.95 per person for 3 courses and a very enjoyable evening. (Please let them know if you would prefer the vegetarian haggis to the meaty version).

Everybody is welcome; members, non-members, Scots, Sassenachs, and all friends of Scotland.

Early booking is recommended as places are limited.

19 September 2018

What a Busy Year It’s Been!

Over the past year, perhaps the most significant change to Forest Hill that the Forest Hill Society provided input on, was the improvement of Dartmouth Road. After being closed for construction for many months, and disrupting bus routes and access to shops, improvements — including wider pavements, additional parking bays and demarcated road-crossing zones — have resulted in a more pleasant experience for shoppers and smoother traffic flows.

Back in March, when we thought that the works were almost completed, the Society — together with Pauline Wright at Sugar Mountain, the Horniman Farmers’ Market and backing from Forest Hill Ward Assembly — organised a street party to bring people back to Dartmouth Road.

The street party was one of the most visible events organised by the Forest Hill Society in 2018, but also very visible has been the continued work on the flower beds and planters in and around Forest Hill station. As well as maintaining all of the existing plants, this year —with the help of local scouts — we installed a number of new planters on Perry Vale to complement the tyre towers we had already installed there. Adding all these plants and flowers continues to make Forest Hill a more colourful and welcoming place to spend time. My thanks go particularly to Quetta, Joseph, Sheila, John F, John W, Katherine, GoodGym and all the other people who have helped with planting and watering.

Earlier this year we organised a couple of walks through Sydenham Hill Wood, taking small groups of people to explore the flora, fauna and history of the local area (ably led by Alona and Andrew); and we have a similar walk planned for 23rd September, this time on One Tree Hill.

Other events included a hustings meeting for Lewisham's mayoral election, which we arranged with the Sydenham Society, and a Burns Night Supper at the All Inn One pub.

In addition, we worked behind the scenes on other planned changes for the local area. We responded to three consultations that threatened the future of our train services, the consultation of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone’s extension to the South Circular, and several planning applications for residential and commercial development in SE23.

Plans to demolish the Bell Green gas works were approved by Lewisham Council earlier this year, but they rejected pans for an Aldi store on the site. The Aldi application will now go to appeal at a public enquiry, to be held later this year.
We aided local residents in and around Sunderland Road and on Bampton Estate to oppose new flats that are inappropriate for their chosen locations. As a result, the Sunderland Road site now has a much more sympathetic scheme planned; and we await the council’s decision on the Bampton Estate scheme.

Alongside locally-based Discourse Architecture, we have been developing a long-term strategy for the future of Forest Hill’s town centre — especially the area around the station and the pedestrian connections between one side of the railway and the other. There are some great ideas in these proposals, but we now need to transfer them from the drawing board into reality.

All this work is made possible by members of the community, who together make a difference to the place we call home. We would love you to have your say and get involved in making Forest Hill an even better place to live and invite you to our AGM on 1st October.

Christmas Conservation Area

Edward (Ted) Charles Christmas was born in Lewisham in 1867. By 1871 his family was living above the stables of Prospect House, which is now 79 London Road (on the corner of Taymount Rise). Ted’s father was the gardener at Prospect House, and its garden extended from the rear of the house up Taymount Rise to St Paul’s Church. In his early years, Ted trained as a carpenter and then went on to install “sanitary plumbing”, electric bells, burglar and fire alarms, Lincrusta wallpaper and Roman mosaic tiles. However, his speciality was “artistic joinery” and there were, apparently, many fine shop fronts installed by him.

Throughout Forest Hill, Ted Christmas and his construction company built a number of houses and converted other properties to flats. Many of these houses form the basis of the Forest Hill Conservation Area, which includes properties on Thorpewood Avenue, Round Hill and London Road. Unfortunately, there has not been any protection for the houses in the Perry Vale area that form a key group of Christmas houses.

His best-known and one of the earliest developments is located between Perry Vale and South Road in Forest Hill. In 1901, he completed 108-116 Perry Vale: five substantial, detached houses called Linstead, Ashdale, Ulverston, Rosaville and Aberleigh in honour of his wife, Laura. A couple of years later, 131-153 Perry Vale were completed, their names spelling “Ted Christmas”. Round the corner, 72-64 Sunderland Road spell “Grace”, his daughter’s name. He also built houses in Gaynesford Road and several other groups of houses in this area. They are distinctive, and easily recognised.

As a result of concerns by local residents, Lewisham Council are now consulting on creating a new conservation area to recognize and protect these houses alongside a number of other architecturally significant buildings in the area. The conservation area would stretch from Perry Vale to South Road and from Sunderland Road to Church Rise — a small area, but one which includes some lovely buildings.

As well as protecting these Christmas houses, the conservation area makes note of some important memorials in the graveyard of Christ Church on South Road. Of particular interest is the 15-foot obelisk memorial to George Baxter (1804-1867), the inventor of colour printing; and Joseph and Edward Tetley, the founders of Tetley Tea, which was just one of the tea brands owned by Forest Hill residents in Victorian times (another notable brand being Horniman Tea).

More information about Ted Christmas can be found on local historian Steve Grindlay’s blog at:

18 September 2018

Horniman’s New World Gallery

By John Firmin

Successive generations of families from Forest Hill and beyond have enjoyed the Horniman Museum’s collections and gardens. The museum has now brought together in its new World Gallery over 3,000 objects from around the world that explore the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

The World Gallery continues Frederick Horniman’s ambition “to bring the world to Forest Hill”. At the entrance to the gallery is a series of audio-visual digital installations that show people from the Horniman’s community groups, volunteers, collectors and anthropologists talking about objects that have personal meaning to them. Next to the displays are objects selected for their emotional resonances — can you connect with them? Just imagine what it was like 2,000 years ago using the black obsidian mirror on show, and peering at your image in its dark depths.

Next, you find yourself in the first of the five Encounters areas, each corresponding to a continent. Check out the head-hunter ornaments in the Asian area. Before the arrival of Christianity, hunting heads was essential if a man wanted to gain the respect of his community. Each would try to outdo the other in the extravagance of the ornaments they attached to their garments.

Across the aisle in the African area are fascinating objects from across the continent. Check out the monkey crossbow belonging to the Mbendjele people or the life-size camel with its carefully crafted saddle — do you think it would have been comfortable to ride? Have a browse around the Nigerian market.

In the Oceanian area, children will be fascinated by the projection of the ocean onto the floor showing fish swimming. Imagine travelling from island to Pacific island in the small canoe on show — it must have felt tiny to be in it at sea.

The focus of the American area is on native Americans and people of the Arctic. Listen to stories and touch the material used to keep polar hunters warm while they stalked their prey.

In the European area is to be found the Horniman’s own cloutie tree. In Britain in ancient times, scraps of fabric were tied to trees growing near sacred wells or springs as part of a healing ritual. You are invited to write down your wish and attach it to the tree — maybe it will come true! From Eastern Europe there are quirky Turon masks embodying the dark forces of nature — objects I associate with Africa rather than Europe.


The gallery culminates with the Perspectives area, which presents objects in a variety of categories such as Textiles and Curiosities. It poses questions about how we classify the world around us, who decides what a thing is and whose knowledge is important. You are invited to add your perspective on what you have just seen.

Flying above all these wonderful objects is a beautiful display of kites and banners hanging from the newly renovated ceiling vault. Collected and commissioned from Guatemala, China, London and beyond, these emblems signify our human instinct to come together in celebration, play or protest.

If you haven’t already done so, take yourself and your family to the Horniman to see the new World Gallery. It’s well worth the experience!