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16 July 2010

Forest Hill Assembly Feedback

We were asked by Lewisham Council to gather the views of local residents about the effectiveness of local assemblies. These are the results of that survey:

Top Priority: Town Centre

Weighted Priorities (100% = everybody's top priority):

  • 84.3% - Town centre (empty shops)
  • 59.4 % - Lack of community facilities
  • 56.5 % - Environmental issues
  • 49.3% - Parking and traffic enforcement
  • 41.7% - Youth provision
  • 8.7% - Other


Other priorities

  • Safer pedestrian crossing over the A205 by WH Smith. It is very dangerous and unpleasant crossing this road, particularly with children.
  • A)Fastfood restaurants/ restaurants and their rubbish. B) Public waste being removed from the bins and then the plastic bag left overnight to be ripped open and spread over the streets again.C)High quality Secondary school provision.
  • crime and youths/gangs loitering by chicken shops etc.take away cartons and empty drinks containers being discarded in the street
  • Ease of crossing the main roads (which are very dangerous) to the town centre.Smartening up the whole area! They did it in East Dulwich, thy can certainly do it in FH!
  • Enforcement of planning restrictions.
  • Enter Forest Hill in 'Lewisham in Bloom'. Get Greenscene/Enviroworks to grow 15000 plants for free distribution
  • It is about time Lewisham stopped Developer's destroying Forest Hill's distinctive character. In particular the Planning Department should be clamping down on garden grabbing and overdevelopment.
  • It would be good to have a regular visible police presence
  • Less traffic enforcement, more parking spaces. More parking spaces will stimulate trade.
  • more seating on pavements for older folks who need to sit and rest a while when out shopping etc.
  • Pedestrian crossing in Perry Vale near shops and near station.
  • Pedestrian crossing places at all sets of traffic lights across the borough: two crossings are particularly dangerous: Lewisham High Street crossing Courthill Road, and Sydenham High Street crossing Newlands Park.
  • Potholes
  • Provision of local tennis courts in the area
  • south circular!
  • stopping developers converting gardens into houses, and large houses into multiple flats - our local primary fairlawn is massively oversubscribed also - speed controls/enforcement on honor oak road - traffic still very fast
  • The condition of the roads around Honor Oak Park (eg. Tyson Rd, Dunoon Road, Devonshire Road, Honor Oak Rd) and the constant increase in street furniture.
  • Lack of GP surgery in Forest Hill ward and the largest area in Inner London without close proximity to a GP.
  • Public art in the town centre
  • Town Centre – improve streetscape and reduce street clutter
  • Personally, I think there are other pots of money providing youth opportunities, and I think doing something about the empty shops should take higher priority. An idea about having pictures in the empty shop windows advertising the Horniman is the sort of thing assembly funds could cover. It is also a way of lobbying or putting pressure on the town centre manager. it all relates to the immediate environment too - though by environmental issue they could mean things like recycling. It is not clear. Parking and traffic are also environmental issues.
  • Lack of community facilities will be partly addressed by the new Pools!
  • Overall appearance of the town centre: dirty and cracked pavements, litter, uncoordinated, unnecessary and repetitive signage.
  • Street cleaning. The cleaning of roads and pavements, particularly the south circular.
  • Refurbishment of the railway bridge.
  • Implementation of the recommendations in the street furniture report and a widening of the scope of the survey to the surrounding town centre streets.


Comments about Forest Hill


  • Why can flower troughs not be placed on the railings in the town centre to enliven the otherwise dreary entrance into the centre of Forest Hill? I have been told that flowers were not allowed because the south circular is a red route. But the main traffic junction at Camberwell Green is a red route and the railings there are covered in flowers. Flower boxes are also attached to the railings at the Crystal Palace main traffic junction, near the bus terminus.
  • 1 The attempts over the years by local councillors to ensure that local shops are occupied has met with limited success and I feel that we should now encourage the landlords to convert the shops into residential accommodation. 2 Continue to exert pressure on the council to ensure that wheelie bins are not left on the pavements in Dartmouth and London Roads.
  • A butchers, bakers and greengrocers!
  • A quick look at the empty car parks tells you everything you need to know! Things should improve now that the free parking period has been extended behind Sainsbury's, this needs to be implemented south of the Railway station, too. Discussions with local shop-owners always come back to unaffordable business rates and limited parking. The new pools may help to revive our town centre, but Lewisham needs to commit to this and invest more in what could be a green jewel in the borough's crown!
  • Already mentioned. More parking facilities so that people can more easily shop in FH than anywhere else.
  • Am very exercised by the issue of litter. LBL is doing a grand job, but we've got to persuade our young people to use the bins. Could this be tackled through primary schools? Y6 children allowed to act as litter ambassadors/persuade local fast food outlets and shops selling sweets/crisps/coke etc. to provide bins/sponsor more litter bins.
  • Attracting quality businesses to the centre is key to regenerating the area. Forest Hill should be drawing in the types of small scale local retail outlets that East Dulwich now has in abundance, particularly food shops (butcher, fishmonger, delis, greengrocers, etc).
  • Believe a more varied choice of shops would be better - too many estate agents and hairdressers. Would not like any further 'supplementary' businesses being tacked on to shop fronts in London Rd,and do these have planning permission?
  • Better connections to the West End.Increase buses; set up a non stop bus service from Charing Cross, along the 176 route, with first stop at Goose Green and fewer stops on Lordship Lane.
  • Better public transport facilities late at night
  • Build an improved station at Forest Hill with more facilities.
  • Building local networks - various groups already in existence and helping them to interact or at least be aware of each other and able to work together as appropriate. Build a virtual Forest Hill on the Internet as a connection / information point.
  • Could the parking on the Perry Vale side of the station be free so that shopping could be made easier
  • Ensure local historical landmarks are retained,like Louise House, and trees planted to keep the area attractive and to attract new businesses, pubs and restaurants.
  • Forest Hill is already lovely, but what a pity the Cinema was turned into a Weatherspoon Pub. As it would have been a great cinema now and could have been like the cinema in Greenwich which has a cafe attached and a couple of cinemas within it. The cinema was a great loss to Forest Hill.
  • Forest Hill is one of a few places divided by the south circular. It also suffers by being chopped in quarters by the railway too.Because of the very real importance of the south circ to Forest Hill there NEEDS to be MORE OBVIOUS PARKING for passing traffic - to help small niche businesses thrive.Whilst it's all well and good for the eco-fascists trying to force everyone to walk, cycle and get on the train - that is not sufficient to encourage business to FH.Forest Hill should be treated as an exception to the general thought about discouraging car use - because cars are unfortunately so important to FH.
  • I chose parking as the most important issue because parking is needed for businesses to thrive and all else will struggle without thriving local businesses.
  • Ideally Forest Hill would be allowed to declare independence from Lewisham and be given control of its own destiny.
  • Improving the parking,continuing with the swimming pool refurb,having creative ideas about providing more youth facilities
  • Increase the little buses that come through Perry Vale to Station and onto Upper Sydenham. We still need an entrance for wheelchairs onto the station from Perry Vale side.
  • It has been good to see the Community Police Officers out and about. I hope this continues.
  • It would be good to get the commercial centre of Forest Hill looking like it was a thriving and interesting place to shop. Fewer closed shops, and more non fast-food shops would be great.
  • It would be worth seeing if anything can be learnt from the success of Lordship Lane - not sure if that area developed without any assistance from the council but it has made a huge difference to the area. Also, the main centre of the Forest Hill shopping area is around the station yet it is an ugly and depressing excuse for a building with an ugly car park attached - if something radical could be done to improve this (and I don't mean cosmetic things like flowers) it might start to act as a focus for regeneration.
  • it's a good place to live - but not yet a good place to shop. business rates need to be proportionate to turnover - shoestring start-ups and family-run businesses need to be sustainable, and high overheads are prime reason why they fail. how many years do we have to continue to walk past empty shops while just down the road east dulwich does it so much better??also - it's a good place for families so pls ensure that family homes are not continually converted into flats
  • Keep publicising regular arts events to draw people in. Have more craft or market events. How about a Forest Hill Festival?
  • Look at Lordship Lane and how that has transformed in 15 years. How can we do that here - sad though it may seem, being able to park briefly near the shops you want without getting a ticket helps. The darned south circular doesn't go through East Dulwich - can we minimise its impact somehow? Bulldozing the station and starting again?! Trees.
  • make entering F Hill from the south more enticing - we asked at F Hill assembly for signs on the railway bridge. Encourage small shops - butcher,baker, greengrocer and possibly upmarket charity shops. At present it looks pretty dreary to a newcomer, though the new coffee bars/deli add a welcome touch. Make it clear that parking at Sainsburys is now very cheap (or free!) Publicise Havelock Walk artists
  • More hanging baskets would cover the facades of empty shops. Encouraging more unique shops to take up the empty shop spaces.
  • More tree planting. Encouraging in people to create nice shops (and not burger joints). Mooted long ago, but the use of sculpture/signs/maps to lead people up to the Horniman museum.
  • More visible neighbourhood police at night as the Devonshire Road area, in particular, the bottom of Benson Road, car loads of black youths gather in their cars and in the spare land at the bottom for music and conversation sometimes way into the hours and keep the residents awake and the road is full of fast food rubbish and empty drink bottles.
  • Need to turn the South Circular into an asset rather than a liability; advertise what is available in Forest Hill, publicise locations and cost of parking using Lewisham banners and hoarding above underpass. Get shop owners to take responsibility for the areas in front of their premises (weeding, painting, litter)
  • Redevelop the town centre (i.e., intersection of London and Dartmouth Roads) to provide a public space that would become the centre of Forest Hill.
  • Regeneration of the centre of Forest Hill must be a key priority. Build on the Horniman Museum and Gardens and make the route from the station to the Museum a real focus. Once the new Pools come on line do the same along Dartmouth Road.
  • Reopening of Forest Hill Pools as a matter of urgency.
  • revisiting the improvement plan done some years ago, which had some good ideas. Walking around as a pedestrian can be unpleasant do an effort to make this better eg the connection between the two side could be some use the new railway bridge as a community crossing?Prioritise walkers when trying to cross the road. Until the pool rebuilt concentrate on the bit near the South circ. People do use sainsburys how can they be enticed to go elsewhere, ease of walking may help. Havelock Walk is a good example of improving the environment, I believe the Owner has some good ideas, eg removing unnecessary street furniture as it does feel cluttered. I know there have been experiments about taking out traffic lights, oxford street regent street junction.
  • Smaller estates should benefit from green spaces funding
  • Speed cameras and speed reduction measures (Your speed is XX, slow down!) on Perry Rise, behind the station where the sharp bend is.Letting derelict shops along Dartmouth Road and London Road out at cheap rents until market recovers.Pedestrianising (with bus and bike access) Dartmouth Road.
  • The balance of the shops is wrong.Lots of places to eat and drink but not enough shops that sell things.For example, I remember when we used to have a shoe shop.Part of the answer lies in our hands. We've got to use the shops that exist.I hope the new flats along the railway line will produce customers.
  • The most serious problem for me and for anyone who isn't a sprinter is to sort out the traffic lights at London/Dartmouth Rd junction of South Circular so that pedestrians can cross safely at the corner with the laundrette. More generally, the South Circular is an environmental hazard (not to mention its other evils which would require huge sums to sort out) so it should be a low-emission zone and that should be enforced.
  • The pavements could be better maintained and kept cleaner; shopfronts could be tidied up; and the station yard would be improved by planting trees.
  • Traffic in Woolstone is dreadful since the new health centre was built parking for residents is a nightmare.Where you have a amp drivers park so close up that it is almost impossible to drive out safely especially when vehicles have blacked out windows as does one car that is regularly parked outside our house. I even came home one day to find someone parked ON the driveway and was quite upset that I was annoyed
  • Trees more trees at the station not plastic hanging baskets!!I hate the flytipping there seems to be more and more of it ever since they ask a charge for collection.
  • Using the old fire station in Perry Vale as some sort of community cafe room.


Assembly Feedback


  • I think it is also good to take the opportunity of the ward assembly to learn about other things which are going on. I have already suggested that in Perry Vale we might invite someone from Hexagon Housing to talk about the time bank they are promoting for SE23, SE26 and I think SE22. The local credit union might be of interest to people too.
  • Timing of meetings - seems fine to me.
  • Would like to see town centre manager at more assembly meetings as I feel the empty businesses must be a key priority
  • Listen to what people who have lived in Forest Hill all their lives would like to see
  • make more order at meetings.people inclined to shout and chat!!
  • Make sure that known gasbags among community groups get the final slot! Evenings or Saturdays are good. Chairs need to be strict on time.
  • Needs to be in an evening after 7
  • Not attended yet, rather than never.
  • Nothing to offer
  • Preferably not in churches.
  • The meetings that I have attended have been well organised and have taken place at a convenient time (19-30). I prefer a location in the centre of Forest Hill.
  • The meetings that I have attended have been well organised and at a convenient time (19-30). The central location near to Forest Hill Station is a good venue.
  • These assemblies need child friendly supported areas,they need to be outside of working hours at the weekend.If these issues amongst others are addressed the assemblies may be better attended.Plus advertising in local shops etc.
  • They are fine. Maybe an odd weekend meeting would be easier to get to.
  • Vary when meetings are held eg different days of week including weekends
  • Very well organised; time and venue convenient.
  • Weekday evening is the best time - preferably starting 7.30 or 8.Good to advertise a few issues on which the Assembly will concentrate but have time for discussion of 'AOB'
  • well-run and relevant - only quibble some questioners occasionally ignored in favour of the more vocal - generally male

1 comment:

Ed said...

Ironic that the priority is town centres and business given the proposed cuts to the councils economic development 'programme'!