26 December 2014

Our Very Own Burns Night 2015!

Since 2009, the Forest Hill Society have celebrated Burns Night in late January and been delighted by the fine food from the Honor Oak and All Inn One pubs, and Canvas & Cream restaurant. In 2015 we will have our Burns Night feast at The Hill Lounge Bar and Kitchen on Dartmouth Road on Saturday 24th January. The Hill have run their own Burns Night ‘bill o’fare’ for a number of years and recently underwent a major refurbishment.

For those of you who are not Scottish (or at least a wee bit Scottish), I should probably explain what it is all about. Robert – or Robbie – Burns is the most famous Scottish poet and his most famous poem is Auld Lang Syne. It is a tradition on Burns night to toast the memory of Robert Burns but... it’s perhaps best not to say too much about his life now as you could find out more on the night (or Wikipedia).

However, Burns Night is not all about Robbie; it is an excuse for some good food, good company, a little alcohol and possibly some poetry, music or even some dancing. While we’re not planning any dancing, we should be able to cater to the other delights of Burns Night. Whatever our backgrounds, we would all undoubtedly enjoy coming together and sharing our common ignorance of Burns and his poetry.

If you are not sure whether you would enjoy our very own Burns Night, let me assure you, you will!

Tickets for Sat 24th January: Dinner costs £19.95 per person (excluding drinks) and starts at 7:30pm; must be reserved in advance from The Hill, 45-47 Dartmouth Road, 020 8699 5686. Please mention that you are part of the Forest Hill Society’s group.

11 December 2014

Improvements to Rail Replacement Bus Services

Over the Christmas period there will be massive disruption to train services through Forest Hill.

London Bridge station will not be serviced by Southern trains from 20th December until 4th January.
Overground will be operating an increased service with at least 4 extra trains per hour operating to/from Crystal Palace, rather than New Cross. Southern tickets will be valid on suitable Overground routes.

No services will operate through Forest Hill between Thursday 25th and Sunday 28th December.

On 27th and 28th December there will be a replacement bus service operated by Southern to London Bridge. As a result of lobbying by Forest Hill Society this replacement bus service will be increased from 4 buses per hour to 10 buses per hour (6 buses to/from London Bridge and an additional 4 to/from New Cross Gate). LOROL are providing an additional bus service between New Cross Gate / New Cross and Canada Water for passengers for the Jubilee Line.

However, passengers from Forest Hill/Honor Oak Park should consider if other routes would be better for them. There are frequent bus services to Waterloo on the 176 and 172, to Blackfriars on the 63, and the Catford Bridge, Catford and Crofton Park train services should be running a normal service.

More advice from TfL regarding the December works can be found at:

https://www.tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/improvements-and-projects/london-bridge-rail-station/december-2014-travel

Beyond this, from 12th January 2015, there will be no SouthEastern services calling at London Bridge (they will run 'fast' to/from Waterloo East). Interchange at London Bridge to the Jubilee line will be possible for journeys to Waterloo, Southwark, and Charing Cross. We are awaiting confirmation regarding changing at Canada Water on Southern tickets for access to these stations (at present this would not appear to be a permitted route, but will they really stop us?)

06 December 2014

Forest Hill Society Member’s Profile: Hilary Satchwell, Chair, Planning Committee

By Helen Wicks (Communications Committee)

Hilary Satchwell joined the Executive Committee of the Forest Hill Society in 2008 and now chairs the Society’s Planning Committee. The Society has benefited from her architectural and urban planning expertise on a number of projects – most notably her contribution to the Forest Hill Pools’ proposals – and, most recently, from her role in facilitating the Forest Hill Town Centre Design Charette.

Originally from Hayling Island in Hampshire, Hilary studied architecture at Plymouth University, where she met her husband-to-be. As a result of her interest in urban design, she found a job in London in 1996 with an architecture and urban design practice called Tibbalds TM2. In 2003, Hilary, together with three female associates, successfully took over part of the company, which then rebranded itself as Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design. Ever since, Hilary has been a director of Tibbalds and worked on a broad range of master-planning, urban regeneration and design strategies.

Hilary’s impressive ability to bring people together and find common ground to reach consensus was tested in the early days of consultation with the stakeholder group who had differing visions of what should have been included in Forest Hill’s swimming pools project. The final proposal, which was ultimately developed by Lewisham Council, was pretty much universally supported and has resulted in two wonderful swimming pools for the benefit of the Forest Hill and surrounding communities.

Hilary has lived in Taymount Rise, Forest Hill since 2006. Working in South East London opened up a part of London with which she was not familiar. She was attracted to Forest Hill because of the affordable house prices at the time, and which offered better value-for-money than other parts of London. She loves Forest Hill’s friendly, stable and diverse community, and its green spaces and good transport links. Her two young sons attend Horniman Primary School and are very happy there. Hilary is now looking at secondary schools for her eldest son, and has been very impressed with what she has seen at Forest Hill School.

Hilary’s interests include ‘making things’, which started when she was a schoolgirl and had a Saturday job in a fabric shop. She then followed her family’s tradition of sewing and craft as a hobby and now has a large cupboard full of ‘projects’ awaiting completion! Therefore, it’s no surprise that her favourite shop in Forest Hill is Stag & Bow in Dartmouth Road. She likes the ethos of the shop, which features crafts and textiles, and has taken part in one of its lino printing workshops run by Cyrus Colquitt.

Hilary is also interested in mid-20th century design. She often takes her children to design shows and museums, and senses that her eldest son has a real eye for furniture design in particular. So, the design gene looks like it will continue into the next Satchwell generation!

Investing in Our Public Green Spaces

By Alona Sheridan (Chair, Friends of Mayow Park)

The budgets for the UK’s public parks have nationally seen significant cuts in recent years according to the 2014 Heritage Lottery Fund report. It found that 86% of park managers have had budgets cut since 2010 and almost half of councils are considering selling their green spaces. At risk are parks’ opening hours, funding for infrastructure maintenance, care of plant beds, reduced grass cutting, and loss of staff.

The HLF report sets out five key actions for parks to continue providing health and well-being benefits to communities:
• Renewed local authority commitment.
• Establishing new partnerships.
• Getting communities more involved.
• Collecting and sharing data.
• Developing new finance models and rethinking delivery.

The National Friends of Parks and Green Spaces is calling for the next Government in 2015 to hold a national inquiry into the funding and management of UK’s green spaces, and make it a statutory duty for local authorities to monitor and manage these spaces to conform to Green Flag standards, thus ensuring sufficient investment and resources for parks.

Urban parks are vital for physical and mental well-being; and as spaces for people and wildlife, particularly for people without gardens. In the 1980s and 1990s, parks declined due to a lack of adequate maintenance, became under-used and felt less safe, and vandalism became more prevalent. This should not be repeated.

Since then, Lewisham’s parks have seen investments and NFPGS groups work with the Council to ensure that these green spaces are valued. Currently, Lewisham has been awarded Green Flag status for 15 parks as well as Community Green Flag status for several community gardens. However, Lewisham Council has an unenviable task to make significant budget cuts to all of its services including parks.

Should NFPGS groups become more involved in Lewisham and be called upon to help in the parks’ management? Would that be desirable?

04 December 2014

Make Mine a Palace Pint, Please!

By Belinda Evans (Executive Committee)

Visiting the Crystal Palace Food Market last year I spotted a stall selling hop plants and, having always wanted to grow hops, I tried to buy some. But, unbeknown to me, the hops were part of a local community project called The Palace Pint; I wouldn’t be growing hops as a decorative part of my garden but growing hops to be made into real beer!


The Palace Pint project was set up in January 2013 by the Crystal Palace Transition Town group to encourage people to grow hops in their gardens to produce a tasty local beer. It was simple to participate in the project: I bought my own hop plant from the CPTT,  planted it and, at a specified time in late September 2014, harvested the hops; and then everyone’s hops were collected together to be brewed into truly local beer!

The hop plant was a dwarf variety (Prima Donna), which grows to 7-8 ft and is therefore suitable for most gardens and patios. Growing tips and advice were available from a Palace Pint Facebook page. In the autumn, Penge-based micro-brewery Late Knights turned about 10 kg of home-grown hops into Palace Pint beer, which apparently had an alcohol content of 4.5%. The brewery also donated a generous amount of beer, once it was brewed, to us growers for a ‘bit of a do’.

Growing hops as a novice was easy this year due to the great summer that we had. Luckily for me, I had planted my plant in a warm sheltered sunny spot as I unexpectedly ended up with a first harvest of ripe hops that completely filled my carrier bag!  Since the plant is a rhizome, I am hoping that I will see green shoots reappear next year and, once again, be able to harvest hops.

The Palace Pint is a great scheme to be involved in because:
• It gets people who might not otherwise consider wielding a trowel interested in gardening.
• The hops are easy to grow, look attractive, and smell wonderful once ripe.
• It’s a chance to meet other like-minded beer lovers (or even plant enthusiasts).
• It’s part of an exciting and growing grassroots movement which, from its Brixton origins in 2012, has already spread as far as Wales.
• We get to drink our own unique beer and have a great knees-up at the end of the season!

We spotted our Palace Pint for sale in pubs in Crystal Palace (Westow House, Grape and Grain), Brockley (Jam Circus), Forest Hill (All in One) and Balham (Balham Bowls Club), as well as at Late Knights’ own bars! I tried to sample our pint in the All in One but it had already sold out. Now that’s the sign of a good local pint!

For more info on the The Palace Pint: http://on.fb.me/1wIfrxD

Santa comes to Dartmouth Road

 
Sat 13th Dec - Santas Grotto will be open from 12 till 4pm
  • Workshop - 12 till 3 - Festive Animation with Karolina Glusiec
  • Workshop -  3 till 4 -  Make Christmas card's for your family and friends and make decoration's for us to hang up in the studio

Sun 14th Dec - Santas Grotto will be open 12 till 4pm
  • Workshop 12 till 4 - Come decorate a bauble and take it home to hang on your Christmas tree

Sat 20th Dec - Santas Grotto will be open 12 till 4pm
  • Workshop 12 till 3 - Festive Animation with Karolina Glusiec
  • Kids Christmas Disco - 4 till 6 - with the fab Trev The DJ

Sun 21st Dec - Santas Grotto will be open 12 till 4pm
  • Workshop - 12 till 4 - Festive drama/musical theatre workshops with Donald Waugh aka Snake Eyes in the original Alan Parker film BUGSY MALONE
  • Showcase - 4pm - A chance for everyone to watch what the kids have achieved at the workshops with Donald today

03 December 2014

Business Profile: The Framing Salon

Cyrus Colquitt, second from right, and staff at The Framing Salon
Helen Wicks from the Forest Hill Society met Cyrus Colquitt, the owner of The Framing Salon, over a drink in the Dartmouth Arms in Forest Hill to ask him about his new picture framing business, which is well placed opposite the pub and in relation to all of the other amenities that Forest Hill’s town centre has to offer.

Congratulations on your new shop, The Framing Salon, at 10 Dartmouth Road. How long have you been open? It’s all very new. We opened in July 2014.

Are you new to retail? No. I also jointly own Stag & Bow, a haberdashery and craft shop, with my partner Pascale. But when this charming little shop at number 10, next door to the Stag & Bow, became available it was an opportunity not to be missed, giving me the chance to upscale our existing framing business.

Why did you choose retail as your business? At one family Christmas, when giving out our handmade presents, Pascale’s father quipped: “you should open a shop”. It played on our minds and Stag & Bow was born. It made perfect sense to bring together our skills and histories, and we were looking for a way to manifest them. Having both grown up in SE23 and been excited about the regeneration of Forest Hill, we had eyed up number 8 Dartmouth Road for some time. Fortuitously, when we went to view it, the landlords were very keen for us to take it.

Why did you decide to specialise in picture framing? We felt the framing married well with all that was Stag & Bow, at the same time bringing together many of my skills and passions. Having always framed our own work, we inherited some amazing equipment and, after training in the subtleties of conservation framing, we were off!

While Stag & Bow has a fabulous website, is that right there seems to be very little information online about the Framing Salon - not even a website? Yes, you are right. We have not marketed or launched the Framing Salon in the conventional way. Part of that is because I have been focusing on setting up the shop and employing people, and I also still have responsibilities within Stag & Bow. Although, after two years of framing within Stag & Bow, the service had considerable awareness locally. Interestingly, I’m pleased to say, we have been very busy with lots of orders with only our beautiful frontage and interior promoting us. But, rest assured, I am developing a website!

Why did you decide to start your businesses in Forest Hill? Pascale and I both grew up in Forest Hill. Although we moved away in the in-between years, we were drawn back here. We loved the area, we lived in Forest Hill, and our children went to local schools - so it was the obvious location for work.

Whom do you employ? I was very lucky to find Flynn, an artist who brought with him plenty of experience and a keen eye for detail, after he worked at Honor Oak’s picture framers until the landlord pulled the plug. We also have Emi, a very promising apprentice who is also an artist and ex-Sydenham School pupil. So, we are a very creative and local team.

10 Dartmouth Road is tiny. How do you manage in such a limited space? Yes, it is small, but we all fit in. Having designed and built everything myself, it functions very well and is a lovely space to work in - I look forward to getting there every morning! Now that the workshop is in full production, the next phase of the project is to start having art exhibitions, too, with mid-range prints for sale as well as the time-honoured rarities we already have for sale in our print browser. I am extremely excited about the gallery element and have a list of amazing artists who I shall be showing, cutting my teeth in the ‘art game’ before looking for another space in Forest Hill to show work - I like the look of the recruitment office next door to the old Blue Mountain!

Do you have a background in woodworking? Yes. I had pretty much of an apprenticeship in traditional woodworking at the small ‘alternative’ school I went to, thinking I would make furniture forever, but then life happened! I went on to study sculpture at Camberwell College of Art and, more recently, I taught Design and Technology at Bacon’s College in Rotherhithe. My woodworking skills also came in very useful when fitting out our Stag & Bow shop. However, whilst establishing the business, I needed to work; so I continued with my own business, designing bespoke furniture and taking on other commissions.

Are you involved in the Forest Hill Traders’ Association? Yes, I am, and they are a very committed group of retailers who are passionate about Forest Hill’s town centre and want the best for Forest Hill. They employ lots of local people as well as run successful businesses. It’s a large group and not everyone agrees with everything but it is important that the Forest Hill traders have a voice. The successful SEE3 initiatives and subsequent new businesses have brought a new dimension and added value to the well-established, successful retail businesses in Forest Hill.

What advice would you give to other retailers in Forest Hill? I am a real fan of shop-window dressing. I am very proud of the Stag & Bow window displays, which we regularly change to make passers-by curious and want to come inside! I also think the external shop frontage and signage is worth investing in. A number of shops in the high street have benefited from the upgrading of their shop fronts and it all helps to make Forest Hill look smarter and less run down. I am a firm believer in old-fashioned customer care - making customers feel welcome and providing an honest, quality service.

01 December 2014

Police Safer Neighbourhoods Team email updates

Forest Hill police provide updates and crime alerts to residents registered with them. To register please fill out this form and send it to ForestHill.snt@met.police.uk 


Below is the text from the most recent update:
I am writing to inform you of a recent spate of Burglaries and motor vehicle related offences that have occurred within the Forest Hill area of Lewisham. Could I ask that you as a homeowner or business person within Forest Hill be ever vigilant as we approach Christmas.
If you are a home owner, could you ensure that expensive Items such as lap  top computers or tablets are not left in view of windows when you leave the home . Could you also ensure all windows and doors are locked if they have these fitted. Also make sure you set your alarm if you have one. As we near Christmas, please be mindful of leaving presents on display in windows as well.


If you are a business person, make sure again, all items of value or keys are not left on display or easily within reach if you leave the counter or shop front.
If you own a car, please when leaving it unattended, remove all items from within the car such as bags, phones and in particular sat nav or phone cradles. On this point, if you do remove the cradle, please rub the remaining sucker ring mark from the glass as well. We have also had a number of registration plates removed from vehicles.
I do not wish to alarm you, but more to make you all aware that these types of offences are occurring within Forest Hill as they generally do on the run up to Christmas period.
If you wish to speak to me regarding this or any other matter, or should you wish to have your home security reviewed for free or wish to receive a free property marking pen, please, do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours sincerely, Michael Hill PC 195PL
Michael Hill PC 195PL (DWPC)
Forest Hill Safer Neighbourhood's Team A
Phone Number; 020 - 8721 - 2723

30 November 2014

Final Report from Planning Workshop

On the 23rd July 2014 the Forest Hill Society and See3 organised a workshop to look at the town centre of Forest Hill. The workshop was organised to facilitate a group of built environment professionals, architects and landscape architects who live or work in or near SE23 to use their time and skills to improve Forest Hill Town Centre. In particular, to build upon the many positive outcomes as part of the Town Centre’s role in SEE3, as one of the Portas Pilots.

The objective for the workshop was to help identify what works and doesn’t work in the town centre at the moment; to help develop a community led vision for change and action; and to develop creative ideas for making the town centre a better place.

Full details of the report are included here:


Next Steps:
The initial ideas coming out of the workshop and set out in this report are intended to spark debate, make people think differently about what we have now and what might be possible in the future.

What is clear is that over the past 10 years much has changed for the better in Forest Hill, key sites have been developed, the Pools have been rebuilt and reopened, and the Horniman continues to be a major attraction within the area. There has also been a change in the fortunes of the high street with new shops opening, a range of cafes and other new high street uses. However, there are other areas that have not improved, specifically including key linkages, the impact of the south circular and some prominent town centre sites - the main one of these being the station itself.

Following on from the workshop it is important that these initial ideas are tested, developed and given broader consideration by the community. These ideas and the professional expertise donated by members of the local community at the workshop have the potential to change our view about Forest Hill Town Centre and its surrounding links and connections.

It is now intended that this work informs the production of a new vision for Forest Hill. This will take considerable community effort, collaboration with a range of agencies and organisations to do this. It is something that the Forest Hill Society and SEE3 intend to lead on but this will only be achieved with the ongoing positive support, time and energy of our community.

The major longer term priorities identified from this work are:
1) A particular focus is the street works planned for Dartmouth Road and that has funding identified for it by Lewisham Council. These will be designed and developed from Autumn 2014 and the group involved in this design workshop, are keen to support this work. The idea from the workshop for a series of linked spaces, each with a different focus/character has a lot of potential to improve this busy and congested part of the 'high street'.

2) Creating a more positive arrival space to Forest Hill around the station, both on the London Road side and at Perry Vale. There is considerable potential here for both new development, improved and extended public realm and pedestrian space, and a more attractive built environment generally. This part of Forest Hill is widely identified as the least attractive and yet is how most people passing through on the South Circular see it.

3) Creating a much stronger and direct pedestrian and cycle route along the railway line towards Sydenham, with improved lighting, a clearer route and effective signage. This is a route that already exists but is poor quality and is identified as a significant missed opportunity.

4) To better support and integrate Perry Vale into the town centre, including specifically connections across the railway line and the qualities of the Perry Vale triangle. This might be through new bridge links, crossings, road closures, alternative uses on the Perry Vale Car park and improved station access. This part of the town centre benefits from development sites that could help deliver these opportunities and will need a carefully coordinated approach.

These and other priorities identified during this event and from other events will also be developed as part of the community led vision. If you have the energy, interest and skills to help with any of this work we would love you to work with us in doing so.

TfL’s Consultation to close on 7th December 2014 for Proposed Bakerloo Line Extension

For many years, the Forest Hill Society has advocated an extension to the Bakerloo line into South East London; and, in autumn 2014, Transport for London opened a consultation to get opinions about possible extensions.

TfL are essentially consulting on two routes, both of which go through New Cross Gate and Lewisham. The first route goes from the Elephant and Castle, down the Old Kent Road to New Cross Gate, and continues to Lewisham. The second route goes underground from the Elephant and Castle to Camberwell and then on to Peckham Rye, before heading up to New Cross Gate and Lewisham. Both of these routes would go underground rather than making use of existing, above-ground railway lines.

Beyond Lewisham there is the possibility of joining up with the existing Catford Bridge line and taking over the tracks that run to Hayes and Beckenham Junction. There is also an additional option to tunnel from Beckenham to Bromley’s town centre.

But don’t get too excited yet. Any extension would take years to build and would be unlikely to start before 2023. Consequently, the new line would not be expected to be operational until some time in the 2030s. This may seem like an awfully long time away but at least the ideas are being discussed, and this makes an extension more likely than it has been at any time since the 1930s or 1940s, when it was first proposed!

So what’s in it for Forest Hill?
Clearly, the proposed routes do not come to Forest Hill. However, a route between Catford and Lower Sydenham is just on the edge of SE23 and if it was chosen we would lobby for a new station at Bell Green, which is a more suitable transport hub than Lower Sydenham. Peckham Rye is also not particularly far from the edge of SE23. Importantly, we would also have the option to change at New Cross Gate for faster routes to Waterloo, Charing Cross, and Paddington. This would be in addition to our links to London Bridge, Victoria, Canada Water, and the new Crossrail interchange at Whitechapel (which would probably provide a faster interchange to the West End, Paddington, and Heathrow).

Most importantly, a Bakerloo line extension should provide additional capacity to South East London’s over-stretched services, which are expected to be even busier in 2030.

Haven’t we heard all of this before?
There were plans for a southern extension to the Bakerloo line in 1931, 1947, the 1950s, and the 1970s but in the last 10 years the wisdom of the Bakerloo line extension has been gaining traction with transport planners across London. The introduction of the Old Kent Road as an area that could see massive regeneration, and funding from such a project at least partially funding the extension (as with the Battersea extension of the Northern line), makes this proposal even more cost effective than had already been recognised.

In addition, the Bakerloo line, just like the East London line 10 years ago, is the tube line that is most in need of modernisation, with very old rolling stock needing to be replaced in the next decade or two. Building an extension line and completely revamping the signalling and rolling stock as part of the same project makes sense, so there is a window of opportunity that has been recognised.

Alternative proposals
What has not been considered in the current consultation are other possible routes including a much longer tunnel that could take the tube further into South East London. Every area of South London thinks that the Bakerloo line should run close to them: proposals have been made to take the line to Streatham, Camberwell/Herne Hill, Greenwich, Honor Oak Park or even through Forest Hill.

The idea of tunnelling further out (for example, under Honor Oak), rather than taking over existing train lines, is a good idea but is likely to lead to a further delay in the programme while funding is fought over.

Unfortunately, none of these proposals are likely to be able to compete for the funding that will result from the regeneration of the Old Kent Road. For this reason, most people in South East London (including the Forest Hill Society) are now getting behind the proposed Lewisham extension; and there is a growing feeling that this part of the project should be pushed forward as soon as possible, with any further extensions to Catford and Hayes coming as a second phase, if necessary.

TfL’s Consultation closes on 7th December, so we would urge you to respond quickly and make your views known!

Chairman’s Annual Report 2014

The following is a copy of a printed report that was issued by Michael Abrahams at the Forest Hill Society’s AGM
2014 has been a good year for Forest Hill and a good year for the Forest Hill Society.

Environment 

For the second year in a row, we were awarded ‘Outstanding’ by London in Bloom on behalf of the Royal Horticultural Society for our planting around Forest Hill station and the town centre, as well as the Edible High Road’s sunflowers up and down the high street throughout the summer months.

Going into 2015, we are looking at ways to make Forest Hill even greener and more beautiful: including plans for a massive exercise in bulb planting for the Horniman’s Triangle, ensuring pavement trees are replaced on London Road, and continuing to maintain the plants around the station. We are already considering what would be good for next year’s Edible High Road; suggestions include fennel and other fast-growing and nice-smelling plants, as well as something more colourful.

Beyond green things, we are looking at ways to improve the look of the area above Forest Hill station’s underpass, and we are working with WH Smith and other local businesses to see how this major eyesore in the town centre can be easily dealt with.

Development and Planning

Fortunately, 2014 saw very few controversial planning applications, which left us more time to focus on long-term development of the town centre. In July, we brought together local experts in town planning and architecture for a workshop on the best ways to develop the town centre, for which local architect Ed Holloway has been assisting us with the writing up of our recommendations.

We are looking to put together a 10-year plan for the town centre’s development. What this will be, will be up to you.

Transport

If we ignore the impending ‘meltdown’ at London Bridge station, this has been a good year for local transport. Later this year, we will see the first five-carriage Overground trains running through Forest Hill, and we should see the completion of the lifts at Honor Oak Park.

After a number of years of lobbying by us and many other groups, the Mayor of London is consulting on a Bakerloo line extension to South East London. The preferred routes go to Lewisham and then probably down to Beckenham and Hayes, via Catford and Lower Sydenham. This has the potential to put South East London on the tube map and to greatly improve transport options for the area around the Old Kent Road, eastern Forest Hill, and other parts of Lewisham.

Communications 

We are back on track with four newsletters this year. The colour used in the latest one was so well received that we intend to continue using it. We have also sent out monthly news via email; and if we don’t have your email address, please let us know at email@foresthillsociety.com.

We have improved our presence on Facebook and continue to provide updates via Twitter, so please be sure to follow us at https://www.facebook.com/foresthillsociety and @fhsoc.

And finally...
A massive thanks go to everyone who has helped to make so many of our projects to be a success. Special thanks should go to Quetta, Jake, Hilary, Ed, Annabel, Alisa, and Belinda; but also to all of the other volunteers who have manned stalls, planted and watered flowers, erected gazebos and stages, delivered newsletters, and have helped the Society to thrive.

Five-carriage Trains on The Overground

From the beginning of December 2014, we are likely to see some of the first five-carriage trains on the Overground rail network appearing on Crystal Palace routes. During 2015, all trains will be gradually upgraded to five carriages, with an existing train being converted every two weeks.

This is great news for passengers on the Overground line, and will help to provide some of the additional capacity that is needed as a result of the changes being made at London Bridge station. We have previously reported that there will be no interchange at London Bridge for trains to Charing Cross for 18 months; in fact, transfers between Southern and SouthEastern networks is likely to involve walking via the Underground station when work starts on the redevelopment of platforms 6-8. However, tickets to London stations will be valid on Underground routes from London Bridge to Waterloo and Charing Cross stations.

We have found out that two trains will be removed from the morning timetable from Forest Hill to London Bridge: the 06:50 and the 08:31. Unfortunately, this will leave a couple of gaps in the timetable.

Please note that there will be no Southern services to or from London Bridge between Saturday, 20th December 2014 and Friday, 2nd January 2015.

£4.4m Redevelopment Planned for Horniman Museum

The Horniman Museum and Gardens has announced initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with a £3.1m grant for a major redevelopment of two of its galleries and an innovative community engagement programme.

The gallery redevelopment, which will take three years to complete, will transform the way the Horniman displays its Anthropology collection – a Designated collection of national and international importance comprising 80,000 items – by putting more than 3,000 of the collection’s artefacts on public view, many for the first time. It follows a three-year review project that revealed the strength and depth of the collection.

The project will also include:
• restoration of some of the original architectural features of the historic building
• a flexible, creative studio space for cutting-edge displays and artistic collaborations
• a new display exploring the history of founder Frederick Horniman and his family, and the origins of the collections and Museum.

Janet Vitmayer, Director of the Horniman Museum and Gardens, said: “This is wonderful news and the start of an incredibly exciting new phase in the Horniman’s history. With this redevelopment of our galleries, our public can look forward to seeing and interacting with world-class displays from many more countries and cultures. We want our visitors to be able to stand in our galleries, surrounded by objects and stories from around the world that will move, enlighten, fascinate, and inspire them.”

Alongside the HLF grant, the Horniman will need to raise an additional £1.3m from other sources including individual donors, corporate support, Trusts, and Foundations. The redevelopment is scheduled for completion in 2018.

For more info: www.horniman.ac.uk

Free Saturday Parking in Forest Hill

Lewisham Council car parks will be free all day Saturday on 6th, 13th and 20th December 2014. This includes Pearcefield Avenue and Perry Vale car parks in Forest Hill.

This will give you a chance to load up on goodies in the wide range of independent business around Forest Hill. More information on some of the local shops can be found at http://totally-locally.co.uk/foresthill/category/hidden-gems/

The car parks are less than 10 minutes walk from Horniman Museum and Gardens which holds Saturday morning markets and many other exciting events.

24 November 2014

Your Guide to Christmas in Forest Hill, Sydenham & Kirkdale

SEE3 has produced a guide to events happening in December 2014 across Forest Hill, Sydenham, and Kirkdale.

There's lots of events, fairs, and opportunities to shop locally, so take a look inside.



22 November 2014

Dates for your Diary

2014
Book launch, ‘Sydenham & Forest Hill Through Time’ by Steve Grindlay: Sat 29th November, 3-5pm. Kirkdale Bookshop, Sydenham.

Forest Hill Society’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony & Carol Singing: Sat 6th December. Forest Hill station’s forecourt, 3:15-5pm. Lighting at 4pm.

Traditional Christmas Fair: Sat 6th & Sun 7th December. Horniman Museum, 10:30am-4:30pm.

Crofton Park Ward Assembly: Sat 6th December, 11am, St. Saviour Church (on the corner of Brockley Rise and Herschell Road).

Havelock Walk Open Studios: Sat 6th & Sun 7th December; 12-6pm.

2015
Forest Hill Society’s Burns Night: Sat 24th January. The Hill Lounge Bar and Kitchen, 45-47 Dartmouth Rd., 7:30pm. £19.95; booking essential.

Forest Hill Ward Assembly: Tue 17th February, 7pm. Venue TBC.
Perry Vale Ward Assembly: Tue 10th March, 7pm. Venue TBC.

04 November 2014

Annual General Meeting 2014 - Minutes



Held at The Hob on 22nd October 2014


Welcome

The Chairman, Michael Abrahams, welcomed the assembled to the AGM, in particular the three Forest Hill Ward Councilors.  Apologies for absence had been received from Alisa Owens, the Vice Chair and Treasurer, and from Membership Secretary Belinda Evans, Quetta Kaye, Alona Sheridan and Jake Twyford.

Michael introduced local architect, Ed Holloway, who would describe the outcome of the workshop of local architects and town planners that had considered plans for the town centre.


Urban Design Workshop

Ed Holloway said the workshop had drawn on the part implemented Supplementary Planning Guidance from 2003, Neighbourhood Plans and a useful Street Clutter Report commissioned by the Ward Assembly.  Four development zones had been identified. 

1.    The Station front and London Road: There was potential to develop the area in front of the main entrance to the station.  New trees could be planted symbolizing Forest Hill, a piazza built and mixed use made of the rest of this important area, while maintaining drop off access to the station.

2.    Perry Vale and to the east of the Station: A new crossing over the railway line would link what felt like a separate area to the rest of the town centre and encourage greater use of the Perry Vale car park.  Also, there was potential for the north end of Perry Vale to be a pedestrian area with a street market.

3.    Dartmouth Road spaces: Themed public spaces could be developed, making better use of what was already there.

4.    Dartmouth Road/railway links: The area to the immediate west of the railway line had seen several new unconnected developments.  Improvements could be made to the footpath to make this area more accessible on foot and by bicycle.

A report of the workshop had been drafted and when completed details would be available on the Society web site.  Many of the ideas from the workshop could be implemented without major expenditure.  With a little more work, the report could be the basis for a submission from Lewisham for money from the new Greater London Authority (GLA) High Street Re-generation Fund.  This would be in addition to the Council’s successful bid for £650,000 from Transport for London to improve the north end of Dartmouth Road.

In discussion, the following main points were made:

·         More use was made of the Perry Vale car park when it was free possibly easing he pressure on local streets.  Options included lengthening the time parking was free, dividing the car park into pay and non pay zones and improving the road signs directing cars to the car park.

·         The idea of a new bridge over the railway line was welcomed.

·         There was support for better walking and cycle routes and for improved access for the disabled in the town centre.  Crossing Perry Vale outside the eastern entrance to the station was hazardous. 

·         How could the Horniman Museum and Park be integrated better with the town centre?  Options included Horniman style bollards up London Road and signs inspired by items in the museum’s collection.

·         There was concern about pollution including on Dartmouth Road.  The Society would continue to press for more hybrid buses to join the new 122 buses.  Ward Councillor, Paul Upex would raise the issue of new buses with Len Duvall, the GLA member for the Lewisham and Greenwich.


Chairman’s Report

Michael had prepared a written report, copies of which were available to the meeting.  He thanked all who had volunteered.  Michael especially thanked Annabel for the four excellent newsletters published during the past year, to Jake for his support to the music festival, to Quetta for the success of the planting at the station and the Edible High Road, to Hilary for organizing the Urban Design Workshop and to Alisa and Belinda for their contribution to essential administration.

Michael drew attention to the consultation regarding Hamilton Lodge, which was earmarked for the homeless, and also the consultation regarding the extension of the Bakerloo line.  Looking ahead, we should keep the Edible High Road going but consider new plants perhaps with more colour.  Michael closed by encouraging more people to volunteer with the Society.

 
Treasurer’s Report

Michael Abrahams presented the report in Alisa’s absence.  The Society has a healthy bank balance and brought in more than spent in 2013/2014.
Further details were made available at the meeting and are available to members on request.


Elections

By way of introduction, David McKenzie described what it was involved in being a member of the Executive Committee and its Sub-Committees. 

Michael Abrahams stood aside for the election of Chairman for the coming year.  Katrin Klinger proposed Michael as Chairman and this was seconded by Hilary Satchwell.  Michael agreed to stand again was duly elected as Chairman.

Michael Abrahams proposed that Alisa Owens be elected as Treasurer, John Firmin as Secretary and Belinda Evans as Membership Secretary.  All were prepared to stand and were duly elected.

The post of Communications Officer was left vacant. John Wysocki would however be editing the newsletter.

Existing members of the Executive Committee were willing to stand again and the following were duly elected:
Hilary, Quetta, David, John W, Penelope, Katrin, Alona, Jake, Sheila, Richard, Stefan, Katherine and Helen.

It was agreed that Brendan would join the Planning and Development Sub-Committee. Other can join sub-committees at anytime throughout the year, if they desire.


Other Business

In further discussion the following main points were made:

·         The platforms at Canada Water Station were overcrowded and dangerous.  This had been raised with LONDON OVERGROUND, who was responsible for the station.  The matter would be taken up by the Transport Sub-Committee.

·         The London Road – Dartmouth Road junction was dangerous for cyclists.  The junction was part of the TFL programme of consideration for 2015-16, when this might be addressed.

·         In some locations, new street lamps did not adequately light up the areas beneath them because of trees. 

·         Close links should continue to be maintained with other local civic societies e.g. those in Honor Oak and in Sydenham.


The AGM ended with a vote of thanks from the floor to the officers of the Society and to all who had served on the Executive Committee and its Sub-Committees during the past year. 

03 November 2014

HopCroft Neighbourhood Forum: First Meeting

Established in July 2014, the Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park Neighbourhood Forum (HopCroft Forum) will lead on pulling together a Neighbourhood Plan for the area to outline the future for Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park.

Starting with blank sheets of paper we would like to hear your views, ideas and aspirations for your Neighbourhood.

If you live or work within the Neighbourhood Area, or even regularly visit then please help us make them reality.

You are invited to Crofton Park Library (by Crofton Park station) at 7pm on Wednesday 5 November 2014, to start the process and hear about what is being planned.

There will be food and drink to help your ideas flow

Get in touch with us on:
Facebook
Twitter
Email: hopcroftforum@gmail.com

23 October 2014

ALBION MILLENNIUM GREEN: re-launching the Trust

Readers may know that the Green is owned by a local charitable trust formed in 1998 with the specific purposes of purchasing the land from the former tennis club trustees and protecting and enhancing the space for the benefit of the local community. The Trust has been moribund for several years but following welcome intervention by Lewisham Council a new set of trustees is about to be appointed from local community groups in the area and active Green supporters. The appointments will take place at the Trust’s annual general meeting and anyone living in the area is invited and very welcome to attend.

Albion Millennium Green Trust Annual General MeetingSaturday 1st November 2014, 11am
Forest Hill Pools, Dartmouth Road

The Friends of Albion Millennium Green group will continue to care for the Green and its upkeep, and will continue to organize and host the many events and activities which have become established as regular features.

Activities this year have included performances by the Bedlam Bunch for the Sydenham Arts Festival, several children’s birthday parties organized by local parents and visits by groups of environmentalists and botanists.

We took part in the Capital Clean-Up scheme with workday sessions clearing rubbish, chain link fencing and brambles. The Green is looking better than ever as a result, but also because local residents have devoted a great time of time and effort in mowing the grass and clearing the paths of weeds. Litter clearing helps too, and this year we have had less of a problem with dog mess as more people are clearing up after their pets.

Our fruit trees are thriving and although we had a large crop of blackberries they were rather small this year. Insects and birdlife abound as well as plants and vegetation. Anyone interested in bird watching would be most welcome to update the amazing list given to us in February 2013: www.amgfriends.org.uk

The Green is accessible from Albion Villas Road and the railway path which runs between Forest Hill and the iron bridge over the railway leading to Sydenham.

14 October 2014

Forest Hill Gardening

On Sunday 26th October we will be meeting in Forest Hill station forecourt at 2.30pm.  We will be cutting back the lavender and tidying up the planted area under the trees in the front of the station as well as the planters on the platforms, on the street corner near Barclays Bank and, depending on how many people turn out to help, weeding and seeding the planters under the trees near the Dartmouth Road Job Centre.

Preferable to bring gardening or other suitable gloves, secateurs or scissors and a spare plastic carrier for collecting weeds and clippings.  A trowel is also useful.

Note: As we will be working close to the main road and parking cars, this is not a suitable event for small children.

09 October 2014

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Spooky stuff at Forest Hill Library


This Halloween the independent businesses of Forest Hill have teamed up with the Library to bring you a ghoulishly brilliant Pumpkin Making and Storytelling. Its happening on Friday 31st of October (of course!), from 4pm till 6.30 pm, and its absolutely free.

Ezra Collective - Live in Forest Hill station car park



On 21st September 2014 the Forest Hill Society organised a small musical festival in the Forest Hill station car park, with local bands playing. Here is the Ezra Collective:

Planning Application: 9 Gaynesford Road

A planning application has been submitted to convert the Red House on Gaynesford Road into six flats. You can read the details of the application here, or search for DC/14/88509 at http://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online-applications/


Below is the text of the response from the Forest Hill Society:


I would like to object to the above application on behalf of the Forest Hill Society.

This application is to make substantial changes to the main house built by Ted Christmas which is an important Heritage Asset in the local area.  We appreciate that this building needs an appropriate alternative use but we would wish that this is done in a way that is sensitive to the character and appearance of the existing building.

We understand that proposals are to be brought forward by the Council for a Conservation Area covering Gaynesford Road and the Christmas houses.  With this in mind it would be premature to give permission for changes to this building until this is confirmed OR the applicant should agree to treating the application as if it were in a Conservation Area already and submit an appropriate heritage assessment.

The changes will alter the property in a way that will harm its heritage significance.

In particular the replacement windows (it is not set out why these are required or whether they will be timber or another material), loss of key interior features and other elements of the proposals are unacceptable.

The internal circulation within the proposals does not respond to the character of the house with some flats not having access from the main entrance and needing to gain access by walking past the bedroom windows of other ground floor flats quite some way around the building.  This has an impact in terms of the rear garden not being private and for the use of residents and also being accessible by visitors.

The sizes of some of the units are below those set out in the London Plan Housing SPG.

30 September 2014

Consultation on Bakerloo Line Extension

TfL are consulting on the possibility of extending the Bakerloo line into South London, something that the Forest Hill Society has long supported.

Below is the map of alternative routes going to Lewisham via Old Kent Road or Peckham Rye, and then possibly south of Lewisham on the existing Hayes Line through Catford Bridge and Lower Sydenham.

This would be a major benefit to Lewisham and areas in north Southwark and Lewisham borough, but is this the right scheme for the Bakerloo line extension. Have your say at: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/tube/bakerloo-extension


21 September 2014

Forest Hill Society AGM

The Forest Hill Society AGM will take place on 22nd October, upstairs at the Hob (opposite Forest Hill station).

We intend to present some of the findings from the design workshop that took place in July and provided some interesting ideas on the future of Forest Hill town centre. As well as presenting our conclusions, this is a good opportunity to share your thoughts on the future of the town centre, both in the short and long term.

In addition we will have elections for the committee and sub-committees for the Forest Hill Society.

Committee members don’t need to devote vast amounts of time to the Society, but if you are passionate about Forest Hill, then we would really like you to consider joining us and helping the Society achieve even more than we have already. In particular we will be looking for a new editor for the newsletter and a new secretary for the Executive. If these roles, or any others are of interest to you, please feel free to discuss them with Michael prior to the meeting.

It is wonderful that every year we have a number of new people who get involved and make a difference.