24 October 2009

200th Anniversary of the Croydon Canal

Over 120 people from the Forest Hill Society and Sydenham Society celebrated the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Croydon Canal with a walk from Sydenham station to Forest Hill station, via the last remaining section of the canal in the area in Dacres Wood.

Steve Grindlay provided the historical details with stops along the route and a talk and slide show at the Hob.

We had traditional bargeman's songs along the route provided by Andrew King, including a special song composed for the opening of the Canal 200 years ago!

After the walk many of us went to the Dartmouth Arms, where a traditional bargeman's lunch had been prepared of beef or vegetable stew with beer.

If you have other good photos from the day, please send them in for us to include on the website, and we hope to make the slide show available soon. In the meantime, you can read the article on the history of the Canal from our latest newsletter.

16 October 2009

Introducing the new Chairman

Last night's AGM saw the election of the new chair of the Forest Hill Society, Richard Hibbert.

Richard has been on the Executive committee for the last year and is also on the Forest Hill Ward Assembly Coordinating Group.

We wish him congratulations and a successful year ahead.

TfL Presentation to the Forest Hill Society

12 October 2009

Meet the Manager - Southern Railways

This Thursday, 15th October, Southern Railway are organising one of their regular 'Meet the Manager' sessions on the London Bridge station concourse from 7:30am - 9:30am. We would like as many people as possible to join us to explain to them why cuts to services is unacceptable. We hope that a large number turn up so that Southern Railway management will see the strength of feeling from their passengers. Additionally we have invited the press and local politicians to join us to hear the views of passengers.

Please join us on Thursday in opposing these cuts.

In December 2009 Southern Railways plan to cut our direct evening service (and Sunday service) from Charing Cross, running all trains from London Bridge. This is a well used service and provides a direct connection from the West End after 7:30pm. As this is an off-peak service we reject Southern Railway's claims that there is no capacity through London Bridge.

In May 2010 Southern Railways plan to reduce evening peak services and daytime services from London Bridge by over 30%, from 6 trains per hour to just 4 trains per hour. They will continue to run 6 trains per hour in the morning, meeting the demands on the line, but will not provide a similar service in the evenings, hoping that customers will switch to East London Line services or put up with serious overcrowding.

You can also join over 1,200 other people and sign the petition at http://nototraincuts.notlong.com

09 October 2009

Horniman Gardens Redevelopment

Below is the Forest Hill Society response to the planning application submitted by Horniman Gardens:

Members of the executive committee of the Forest Hill Society met with representatives from the Horniman to discuss their plans. As a result we would like to provide some feedback on the planning application.

We generally welcome the the planning application for Horniman Gardens which will improve many aspects of the gardens. The changes to the bandstand and the surrounding area will substantially improve the views across London which make the gardens so special. The improved access and integration of the animal enclosure will also enhance the gardens particularly for visitors with young children.

However there are some comments that we would like to make that may further improve the plans for redeveloping the gardens.

1. The positioning of the new community education building appears to leave a narrow path to the west which leads to the entrance to the animal enclosure and to the meadow field. Due to the topography of the area and the trees and shrubbery this narrow path may look as if it goes nowhere, despite being a major route around the park. This could present some safety and security concerns, as well as obscuring the entrance to the enhanced animal enclosure. We would recommend adjusting the positioning of the education building so that it is slightly higher up the hill (to the east), leaving more space for this path.

2. The sunken garden is an important feature of the park and is enjoyed by older members of the community, who are able to sit on the many benches available and enjoy the flowers. It is important to continue to provide a bright, well planted, space in this section of the park that can be enjoyed throughout the spring and summer. A water feature in the centre of the sunken garden is most welcome but should not be to the detriment of the high quality planting that has long been a feature of the gardens.

3. There are some concerns about the number of trees and lampposts positioned around the bandstand which may obstruct views of the bandstands from the avenue leading from the museum and London Road, the trees may also limit the views of the bandstand during concerts. Some trees in this space will help break up the large empty space, but putting lamppost between them seems to turn the area into an obstacle course. A better solution would be to provide lighting incorporated into the branches of the trees together with less obtrusive lighting around the edges of the area.

We hope that Lewisham planning department, together with the Horniman Gardens, can consider these issues and whether the implementation of this development may be further improved in line with our suggestions. Subject to these points, we recommend that the planning department approve this planning application and we wish the Horniman great success in raising funds to make these enhancements to the gardens, which are well loved by all in Forest Hill.

Tyson Road Application Rejected Again

We are pleased to report that following our objection to the proposed development on Tyson Road and almost 350 letters of objection from local residents, that Lewisham council planning department have rejected this development for the following reasons:
The outline proposal, for which scale, appearance, layout and access fall to be determined would, by reason of the layout, height, design, fail to complement or, moreover, be compatible with the scale and character of the surrounding environment, resulting in an un-neighbourly form of development contrary to URB 3 Urban Design, HSG 5 Layout and Design of New Residential Development and HSG 8 Backland and Infill Development in the Councils adopted Unitary Development Plan (July 2004).

We applaud this decision by the planning department but there is a strong possibility that the developer will now appeal to the planning inspectorate. We hope that, should this happen that the inspectorate will reaffirm the decision of the planning department and back the views of local residents.

Many thanks to all those who wrote to object to this planning application.

02 October 2009

New Gate for Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

Saturday, 3rd October – 5pm. Official opening of the new fencing and gate at the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve.

Do join the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve as they celebrate the culmination of several years’ hard work. No longer will this fantastic piece of urban nature be hidden behind tatty, municipal fencing. It now has an entrance to be proud of, designed by Jacob Twyford and hand made in wrought iron and welded steel by local blacksmith, Steve Capper. The reserve will be open from 3.00pm and there are plans for a party with music and more after the opening. There is an exhibition of children’s drawings and a sculpture in lead made by girls at Sydenham School - all used as inspiration for elements of the gate design.