06 March 2021

Forest Hill History Panel


On Tuesday 20th April (7:30pm), the Forest Hill Society is organising a panel discussion on the 20th Century history of Forest Hill. We are bringing together a group of people who live or have lived in Forest Hill since the 1920s. They will share their recollections of Forest Hill before and after the Second World War and how the area, the shops, and the transportation system has changed over the last hundred years.

As well as our panel, attendees are encouraged to share their own memories or ask questions about how the area has changed.

The event will take place on Zoom and pre-registration is required via https://shorturl.at/xFOR2

07 February 2021

Crime Update

The local Safer Neighbourhoods Team have contacted us to warn that the local area is currently suffering from a slight increase in motor vehicle crime. You can read their guidance here.


Always lock it

Fuelling up or popping back into your house to get something are perfect examples of how easy it is to turn your back for a moment and forget your vehicle is unsecured. So get into the habit of locking your vehicle even if you’re only going to be away from it for a moment. If your vehicle has wing mirrors that fold in automatically when locked, ensure you lock it properly. Criminal gangs are looking for vehicles like these where the wing mirrors are still out because it is clear to them that the vehicle has been left unlocked.

Close windows and the sun roof to prevent ‘fishing’

Leaving windows and the sunroof open invites fishing for items through the gap by hand or with, say, a bent coat hanger, which could also be used to unlock a door for them to get in. Thieves can be ingenious. Don’t give them the opportunity.

Secure your number plates with tamper-resistant screws

The easiest way to change the identity of a stolen vehicle or avoid speeding tickets and parking tickets is to fit stolen number plates. Using security screws to attach your vehicle’s number plates makes it harder for thieves to get your number.

Fit locking, anti-tamper wheel nuts to secure alloy wheels

Stolen wheels are valuable, either as parts or for their scrap value. Using locking wheel nuts reduces the risk of your vehicle’s wheels being stolen. 

Secure anything that’s on the outside of your vehicle

Anything left on roof-racks, tailgate racks, holiday top boxes or in tool chests are easily stolen when the vehicle is parked. The use of cable locks, padlocks and self-locking tools chests, which are secured to the vehicle, makes them more secure, but still, don’t leave things in them if you can avoid it.



Take it with you or hide it

Your mobile phone, coins for the car park, sunglasses, packs of medication or other items that can earn quick cash are irresistible to the opportunist thief. Remember, the cost of replacing a window is often much more than that of what’s stolen. And it should go without saying that wallets, handbags, purses and credit cards should never be left in an unattended vehicle. 

Hide electrical items and leave no clues

Leaving sat nav mounts, suction cup marks on windows or cables on view gives it away that you have left a sat nav, smartphone or other device in your car. Even if they can’t see the sat nav or iPad they might still break in to see if it’s stored in the car, out of sight.

Tool theft from vans

Vans are often targeted by thieves for the tools stored inside. If you have to leave tools in a van overnight, it's a good idea to mark them clearly with your name / company name and address using paint pens and seal with a clear lacquer spray. Alternatively, you can use a variety of other property marking systems. Items that are clearly marked are less desirable and more difficult to sell on. Consider using a lockable cabinet within your van to store tools – a number of security rated products are available. Small cameras are also designed to record inside vehicles. Visit Secured by Design for more details. You can also take photographs of items of value, make a note of the serial numbers and consider registering them online at a property register site.

Park in well-lit and busier areas

It can take less than 30 seconds to break into a vehicle. Parking in well-lit areas and busy streets increases the chances of a thief being seen, so they’ll probably steer clear.

Take your documents with you

Having a vehicle’s registration and insurance documents could let a thief pretend to be the owner. Which means they could sell it on quite easily. So, never leave any documents in the vehicle.

Catalytic converter theft

The precious metal in catalytic converters has led to an increase in their theft. To keep yours safe, ask your car dealer if they can give you any advice on locks or guards that are approved by the vehicle manufacturer. Alternatively, try to make sure your vehicle is parked in a garage overnight, or if you have a commercial vehicle park it in a secure compound. If this isn’t possible, park in an area that’s well-lit and overlooked and try to park so that the convertor can’t be easily reached by potential thieves. Vehicles that sit high above the road are particularly vulnerable.


06 February 2021

Laptops for Schools

One of our Forest Hill Society team has been refurbishing laptops & desktops for SE23 children in need of remote learning capability. Can we ask that any family and friends and/or anyone else out there who has a laptop stuffed in a drawer or a cupboard - would they be willing to donate it. We will collect, reconfigure, re-install and distribute where needed.
Base requirement is that it has a webcam and a power supply, and is powerful enough to run Zoom.
Every one means another child is linked in to remote teaching.
We have already collected and passed on more than 27 laptops and tablets that are now being used for on-line learning. A big THANK YOU to those who have already made contributions or are about to.

If you have a laptop of tablet that could be donated please email chair@foresthillsociety.com

Consideration for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood for Forest Hill

Members of the Forest Hill Society transport committee met with a small group of local residents and Sustrans to discuss ongoing concerns about rat-running in the local area bounded by Wood Vale, South Circular, Devonshire Rd and Honor Oak Park/Forest Hill Road. Local Councillors helped to facilitate the meeting. This was merely a kick off to understand what options were available in terms of investigating ways to mitigate volumes of non residential traffic in the area which is used for ‘popular’ shortcuts down local streets, addressing concerns about speeding, road safety, cycling and also accessibility. Various discussions and proposals for the area have been raised before, we’re now revisiting options.

We discussed Low Traffic Neighbourhoods  (LTNs), their benefits, but also concerns around LTNs and how they have been recently implementation and what could be done to avoid the backlash on future schemes. We also discussed alternative measures such as banned turns, single modal filters and no entry no exit roads.We agreed that the most likely solution to the issues would be through Lewisham council's existing healthy neighbourhoods programme. The Forest Hill area detailed in Lewisham's programme roughly corresponds to the road borders outlined above.

Sustrans suggested the best way forwarded would be a community led feasibility study into an LTN or other traffic restrictions in the Forest Hill. Evidence of community support for an LTN in the area will hopefully lead to Lewisham prioritising the area in their programme. Sustrans can put together a proposal for delivering this. The aim is to have Lewisham fund Sustrans to provide local community engagement and education prior to a formal consultation run by Lewisham. The objective here is to begin discussions and get local feedback on the options and proposals that Sustrans will recommend.
We would welcome thoughts from local residents in the comments or via email to email@foresthillsociety.com

22 December 2020

Planning Application: The Cedars, 34 Sydenham Hill

The Forest Hill Society has written to oppose the Planning Application DC/20/118980: The Cedars, 34 Sydenham Hill SE26 6LS, which proposes the construction of a part single/part two storey extension at the rear, terraces at lower ground level and the provision of associated car parking spaces and bicycle storage to provide 11 self-contained flats, together with the demolition of the existing Coach House and the construction of 8 two bedroom cottages and associated landscaping and parking area.

We welcome the principle of converting the main building into residential use and bringing this historic asset back into useful purpose, but have some concerns as to how and which heritage features will be preserved.

The Coach House is original to the 1890’s main building and makes a positive contribution to the Conservation Area in its own right, yet no justification is made to warrant its demolition beyond not fitting in with the appearance of the proposed modern terrace. No argument is made as to its structural soundness or otherwise, no justification advanced as to why it the existing cannot form part of any development plan, even though it is believed to have been in recent use as a single 4 bedroomed house. Again, we would welcome the involvement and report of Conservation Officers in this respect.

The proposed replacement of this single house with a modern terrace of 8 houses represents an increased footprint of some 70%, together with hard standing for much increased parking requirements and turning circle, with the removal of several established trees. The great bulk of this will actually be located in the rear garden plot of the Cedars House rather than the existing footprint of the Coach House.

The materials and design of the proposed terrace do not appear to relate in any way to the main house, failing to match or sympathise with the main house or that location in any way discernable.
The design of a long terrace, staggered down the slope will also form an impenetrable barrier across an important wildlife corridor further separating vital remaining green spaces in this area.

The description of the 8 proposed ‘almshouses’ is somewhat misleading. We are not made aware of any charitable purposes or proposals for social rent. Our understanding is that all will be available at market valuations and there are in fact no proposed affordable dwellings provided in the entire development scheme at all.

You can view the full response here.

05 December 2020

SEE3 Christmas Shopping Guide 2020

Residents of Forest Hill, Kirkdale and Sydenham should soon be receiving the SEE3 Christmas Calendar and Directory through their letterboxes. This annual calendar will include its most comprehensive list of businesses in Forest Hill, Sydenham, Kirkdale and Honor Oak.


05 November 2020

Planning Application: 123 Devonshire Road

There has been a planning application for enlargement of existing planning permission on two additional storeys on the site of 123 Devonshire Road. The Forest Hill Society has written to the council recommending rejection of this application. The text of the letter is reproduced below:

DC/20/118644 | The erection of two additional storeys above the existing residential block to provide 6 x 2 bed flats with associated parking and internal refurbishment works with works to the fabric of the building and the provision of a new lift at Woodelm Court, 123, Devonshire Road, LONDON SE23 3LX.


I am writing on behalf of the Forest Hill Society regarding the proposed erection of two additional stories to existing residential block at Woodelm Court, 123 Devonshire Road SE23 (ref: DC/20/118644).


With regard to the proposed development we have a significant concern regarding this planning application. This relates to the increased mass and general bulk of the proposed top floor.


This application aims to increase the volume of the top floor to allow for 3 x 2 bedroom flats rather than the 2 x 2 bedroom flats in the 2017 application.


In 2017 the developer applied to add 2 more stories on top of the existing 3 floor block of flats. The plan was to step the new top floor in on all sides which would reduce the footprint giving space for 2 x 2 bed flats. This application dated 13th November 2017, was refused by notice dated 8th February 2018.


In February 2019 there was a successful appeal against this decision. However, in the Appeal Decision stated in item 8  " ...... the set back of the top floor would help to reduce its overall massing and general bulk, even with a small overhang of the roof and thus I am satisfied that the development would not have a jarring and incongruous effect."


This new 2020 application proposes to enlarge the footprint of this top floor by removing the step in on all sides so the footprint is the same as the floors below thus providing room for 3 x 2 bedroom flats. This implies that the block would now have a "jarring and incongruous effect".


We believe that granting an application for an enlarged top floor would be contrary to the judgement expressed by the Planning Inspector in the 2019 Appeal Decision.


Based on our above concern we ask that this application is refused.

26 October 2020

Christmas Quiz 2020

Following the success of our Summer Quiz during the first lockdown, we are back with the Winter Quiz on Tuesday 8th December (from 7:30pm).

To register your team go to Eventbrite 


The quiz is free to enter, however we encourage participants to support Lewisham Foodbank by donating here.