Local residents have been complaining about the underpass between London Road and Perry Vale for many years - indeed the Sydenham Society was campaigning on this issue long before the Forest Hill Society was formed.
Progress has been particularly slow because of ownership issues and the bodies involved; it has been unclear who has responsibility for what - Network Rail own the right of way, Lewisham are responsible for some bits and Southern / TfL have had an interest as station operators. However, it appears as though we may be making progress as Lewisham has finally settled an Asset Protection Agreement with Network Rail which defines the scope for the project and assigns responsibilities.
Lewisham have allocated a budget of £126,000 for the project which includes funds from the developers of the flats on Perry Vale (Section 106 monies). However, this is not enough money to pay for all the works which we would like.
At a recent meeting with the council, it was therefore decided that they should proceed with refurbishing the subway. It was agreed that it would be far more expensive to retrofit cladding to the ceiling than to repair the steps and handrails, especially as this would require re-engineering the cladding. The approved works will therefore include
- installation of new drainage channels to pathway and track bed
- resurfaciong of the footpath
- cleaning, repairing and painting over the mural ready for fresh artwork
- cladding the walls and ceiling of the section under the tracks (the part currently painted white).
The works will be carried out at the same time as the lighting is replaced under the Skanska PFI contract. At the moment, this is envisaged to happen some time after September, but the schedule for Year 2 of that contract has not yet been agreed.
In the meantime, Lewisham will keep the pressure on Network Rail to come up with funds to refurbish the steps at both ends, to include repairing and renewing the treads and replacing the handrails with DDA compliant grab rails at both ends of the underpass. You can help by writing to JIm Dowd at email@example.com, letting him know your feelings and urging him to raise the matter with the Chief Executive of Network Rail.