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09 June 2016

A Folly In Forest Hill

The new notice board of the Forest Hill Traders Association at the station is a welcome addition to our neighbourhood. However, a few yards away, in front of WH Smith at the pedestrian crossing to London Road, is a minor blight on our streetscape. There are three poles, one with legitimate street signs and directions to bus stops, but the other two are inexplicable, misleading, redundant, or all three.

One of these puzzling poles has three signs: one to a Police Station which has been closed for three years; one to a Post Office in the vague direction of Brockley or Catford but which, of course, has been located right behind the sign inside WH Smith for about five years; and a broken sign to the Horniman Museum — or at least to the ‘Horni’ or the ‘Jseum’. Times move on and buildings and organisations come and go but this peculiar pole remains.

Even more baffling and irritating to me is the “Emergency Help Point” pole, with no explanation of who is responsible for it, who will help in an emergency and how. But what kind of emergency? Victims of crime, in a neighbourhood which no longer has a police station? Or Confused and Lost in Forest Hill with its misleading street signs? I have a picture in my mind of Lewisham Council providing this help point in the far-off days when money was less tight and of a Council employee, even now, sitting in a dusty office in a corner of Laurence House waiting patiently for the emergency calls which never come. But, I don’t even know if the Council is responsible for it. I have long resisted the temptation to press the button but maybe if I do, I will find out!

Article By Alistair Dey

1 comment:

ecossian said...

Lewisham Council is not the worst municipal offender, but our city fathers (and mothers) really do need to visit more European cities - even online. Barcelona and Berlin are prime examples of how to place street furniture and signage. In contrast, British local authorities prefer the barnacle theory of townscape, adding another sign/barrier/yellow line/post in the hope that a new problem is contained. Our streets are now littered with municipal junk. The moral? Less is more.