16 December 2009
- Are there any venues we haven’t yet visited which you would like to recommend?
- Do you think we should have a new start time? Currently we meet at 8pm.
- Do you think we should reduce the number of sit down meals? What alternatives appeal to you: morning coffee, a sandwich lunch, early evening drink, anything else?
The following article has just appeared on East London Lines
Funeral for last direct train to Charing Cross
Last Saturday commuters marched through Charing Cross station laden with an empty coffin to mark the end of Southern railway’s Charing Cross service.
The protesters, many dressed in funereal black, had travelled into the West End on the last direct Sydenham to Charing Cross train.
From here on Southern services will terminate at London Bridge, forcing commuters who board at Brockley, New Cross Gate, Honor Oak Park, Sydenham and Forest Hill to change trains for Charing Cross.
Commuters opposed to the cut argue Southern’s Charing Cross service was vital to residents of southeast London, a claim supported by figures from the Office of Rail Regulation which show nearly 11 million people used that stretch of line in the 2007/8 financial year.
Dan Woods, 31, played the accordian during Saturday’s memorial. He said: “The train service has been getting increasingly worse and increasingly crowded. Now I take my bike into town. They’re doing a great job of promoting cycling by making the train service worse.”
His partner, Amy Ip, 30, added: “We’re both actors. If we’re working in town, we depend on the Charing Cross service, especially at night.”
The weekend’s protest was organisd by a collection of Lewisham civic groups angry at the service cuts. A petition for their campaign NoToTrainCuts has attracted 3,000 signatures so far.
Southern’s Charing Cross service was axed to make way for Britain’s fastest commuter train, SouthEastern’s Javelin, which shuttles between London and Kent at 140mph and began full service on Saturday.
Despite the cessation of the Southern service campaigners do not believe the battle is lost. Barry Milton, Chair of the Sydenham Society, said: “We believe we can still get the service resurrected.
“We’re trying to get the mayor of Lewisham and our MPs to go to the Department of Transport. If they want to get themselves reelected they need to get in and make them change their minds.”
Southern also plans to cut the number of trains traveling to London Bridge in the afternoons and evenings from six an hour to four to allow for the East London Line overground service due in May 2010. The ELL will run eight trains an hour.
A Transport for London (TfL) spokesman said: “TfL is not cutting any services. We are in fact extending the East London Line and it is because of this Southern has decided it can afford to cut their trains as fewer people will be using them.”
Mr Milton disagreed: “We love the East London Line, it’s the best thing to happen to us for years, but it’s only going to serve 30 per cent of commuters. We believe the core service must be retained.”
Southern say the cuts are out of their hands.
12 December 2009
A funeral procession, complete with coffin, will assemble on Platform 1, at 1 pm, at Forest Hill Station and will take the following train (back coach) to Charing Cross to mark our tragic loss.
13:09 - Sydenham
13:12 - Forest Hill
13:14 - Honor Oak Park
13:17 - Brockley
13:19 - New Cross Gate
13:26 - London Bridge
Ironically we will have to change trains at London Bridge due to Engineering works.
13:38 - London Bridge
13:47 - Charing Cross
Everyone affected by the unfortunate occurrence will be welcome come to the to the funeral, suitably dressed of course.
Funeral directors: Brockley Cross Action Group, the Brockley, Telegraph Hill, Sydenham and Forest Hill Societies
04 December 2009
10am-5pm – All Inn One – Dancing on Ice. The car park will be transformed into SE23’s only ice rink with skates of all sizes available for hire. Father Christmas will be there, as will carol singers and face painters. Food and drink a-plenty!
Father Christmas will also be at Question Bar 45/47 Dartmouth Road between 2 and 3.15pm. He will then do a walkabout in The Town Centre. Festive singing will be provided by the Youth Choir from Living Springs International Church
12-5pm - Craft Fair at The Hob, 7 Devonshire Road.
12-5pm, The Honor Oak, 1 St German’s Road - Tea & Make. Craft and the art of making-do. PLUS Celebrity Christmas Light switch-on at 5pm! (Special guest to be announced.)
Saturday, 12th & Sunday, 13th December - The Havelock Open Studios. The artists invite you to join the excitement and show your support for creativity in the community.
PLUS 11th December – 7-9pm - Opening Night. Barbecue, Music, Performance. They're also having a prize draw during the open studios to win one of three works of art - tickets £1 each. www.havelockwalk.com
Sunday, 13th December from 11am. Tree dressing in Mayow Park, by the pavilion. It would help us if you could bring any special scraps of fabric, coloured leaves, berries, paper, ribbon and glue with you. There’ll also be a Christmas Fair between 11am and 4pm with Father Christmas, a local choir and market stalls.
Sunday, 13th December – 3pm- 6pm. Horniman Gardens Carol Singing. Christmas really isn’t Christmas until you’ve sung your heart out at this fabulous annual event. The carols start at 5pm with the English Baroque Choir and Crystal Palace Band. But before that there’s festive fun with a FREE Santa’s grotto, refreshments, toy stalls, roasted chestnuts.
19 November 2009
17 November 2009
With the cross-party support of local politicians, the Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies have been running a campaign against proposed cuts to our service on one of Southern's busiest passenger routes. We have written to the Minister of Transport, both privately and in an open letter, requesting a meeting to discuss our concerns, but while we have had a reply, he has not yet agreed to a meeting. Over 1500 people have already signed our petition.
As a result, all the civic societies along the line will be leafletting their local stations demanding action. Brockley Central, Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies handed thousands of leaflets out today and HOPRA and the Telegraph Hill Society will leaflet Honor Oak Park and New Cross Gate tomorrow. We will be encouraging all the affected commuters to sign our petition at http://nototraincuts.notlong.com/ and write to their MP (either Joan Ruddock or Jim Dowd) asking them to raise this matter with the Minister for Transport.
What are the cuts?
In December, Southern Railways plans to cease service into Charing Cross station, terminating all services at London Bridge.. This is as a result of the DfT and SouthEastern Railways agreeing to exclusive access by SouthEastern Railways (also operated by Southern Railways' parent company GoVia). Southern have tried to smuggle this change in without any announcement; there is nothing on their website regarding this change in service despite the fact that they claim to have consulted widely in their official submission to ORR, the rail regulator. This off-peak service on one of south London's busiest lines has significant demand and there was supposed to be further investigation before the service to Charing Cross was altered.
As if this wasn't bad enough, Southern Railways plan to reduce the number of trains in the afternoon and off peak which serve the Sydenham line by making the Caterham and Sutton trains fast to Norwood Junction. This means that the number of trains will be reduced from six trains an hour to four trains an hour once the East London Line starts operation in May 2010.
Southern have previously argued that the Sydenham line requires eight trains an hour formed of 12 coaches in order to have sufficient capacity to take commuters to Central London, which is where the majority wish to travel. How can a reduction from six trains an hour to four be justified (regardless of the number of coaches)? They claim that we will have additional capacity, but official modelling of demand for the East London Line service predicts severe high peak crowding from day one.
The third threat to our services comes from the possible reinstatement of the South London Line service from Victoria to either Bellingham or London Bridge. One of the options currently being considered by TfL and Passenger Focus is to cancel our loop service from London Bridge to Victoria via Crystal Palace and replace it with one via Peckham Rye instead.
02 November 2009
26 October 2009
24 October 2009
16 October 2009
12 October 2009
10 October 2009
09 October 2009
Members of the executive committee of the Forest Hill Society met with representatives from the Horniman to discuss their plans. As a result we would like to provide some feedback on the planning application.
We generally welcome the the planning application for Horniman Gardens which will improve many aspects of the gardens. The changes to the bandstand and the surrounding area will substantially improve the views across London which make the gardens so special. The improved access and integration of the animal enclosure will also enhance the gardens particularly for visitors with young children.
However there are some comments that we would like to make that may further improve the plans for redeveloping the gardens.
1. The positioning of the new community education building appears to leave a narrow path to the west which leads to the entrance to the animal enclosure and to the meadow field. Due to the topography of the area and the trees and shrubbery this narrow path may look as if it goes nowhere, despite being a major route around the park. This could present some safety and security concerns, as well as obscuring the entrance to the enhanced animal enclosure. We would recommend adjusting the positioning of the education building so that it is slightly higher up the hill (to the east), leaving more space for this path.
2. The sunken garden is an important feature of the park and is enjoyed by older members of the community, who are able to sit on the many benches available and enjoy the flowers. It is important to continue to provide a bright, well planted, space in this section of the park that can be enjoyed throughout the spring and summer. A water feature in the centre of the sunken garden is most welcome but should not be to the detriment of the high quality planting that has long been a feature of the gardens.
3. There are some concerns about the number of trees and lampposts positioned around the bandstand which may obstruct views of the bandstands from the avenue leading from the museum and London Road, the trees may also limit the views of the bandstand during concerts. Some trees in this space will help break up the large empty space, but putting lamppost between them seems to turn the area into an obstacle course. A better solution would be to provide lighting incorporated into the branches of the trees together with less obtrusive lighting around the edges of the area.
We hope that Lewisham planning department, together with the Horniman Gardens, can consider these issues and whether the implementation of this development may be further improved in line with our suggestions. Subject to these points, we recommend that the planning department approve this planning application and we wish the Horniman great success in raising funds to make these enhancements to the gardens, which are well loved by all in Forest Hill.
The outline proposal, for which scale, appearance, layout and access fall to be determined would, by reason of the layout, height, design, fail to complement or, moreover, be compatible with the scale and character of the surrounding environment, resulting in an un-neighbourly form of development contrary to URB 3 Urban Design, HSG 5 Layout and Design of New Residential Development and HSG 8 Backland and Infill Development in the Councils adopted Unitary Development Plan (July 2004).
We applaud this decision by the planning department but there is a strong possibility that the developer will now appeal to the planning inspectorate. We hope that, should this happen that the inspectorate will reaffirm the decision of the planning department and back the views of local residents.
02 October 2009
Saturday, 3rd October – 5pm. Official opening of the new fencing and gate at the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve.
Do join the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve as they celebrate the culmination of several years’ hard work. No longer will this fantastic piece of urban nature be hidden behind tatty, municipal fencing. It now has an entrance to be proud of, designed by Jacob Twyford and hand made in wrought iron and welded steel by local blacksmith, Steve Capper. The reserve will be open from 3.00pm and there are plans for a party with music and more after the opening. There is an exhibition of children’s drawings and a sculpture in lead made by girls at Sydenham School - all used as inspiration for elements of the gate design.
26 September 2009
The canal was intended to make the transportation of fuel (timber, coal, charcoal), building materials, foodstuffs and other goods more convenient than was possible on the roads. These goods were delivered to our area, and local produce sent to Croydon and London from a wharf near Sydenham Bridge and another near the Dartmouth Arms.
25 September 2009
The motion was put forward by Green Party Councillors Dean Walton and Darren Johnson of Brockley ward. An amendment put forward by Bellingham Councillors Ami Ibitson and Alan Hall (Labour) added the final paragraph concerning the South London Loop service via Denmark Hill.
Councillors Pete Pattisson (LibDem, Whitefoot), John Muldoon (Labour, Rushey Green), Philip Peake (LibDem, Forest Hill), Heidi Alexander (Labour, Evelyn) and John Paschoud (Labour, Perry Vale) contributed to the debate.
The Council RESOLVED that the following motion be agreed
- “This council calls on the Mayor to write to Southern rail, Transport for London and the Secretary of State for Transport to:
- Express the council's grave concerns about Southern's plans to reduce off-peak and evening peaktime services to and from London Bridge on the Brockley/Sydenham line from six to four per hour, a reduction of one third, and to oppose these service cuts;
- Ask for an explanation for Southern's refusal to attend a recent meeting with council officials and residents to explain the planned service cuts and invite them to a further meeting, to include the Mayor himself and ward councillors from affected areas;
- Seek a full explanation of the planned service cuts and clarification on the maximum capacity of the rail line for both East London Line and London Bridge services;
- While wholeheartedly welcoming the new East London Line service, oppose any reduction in services to London Bridge that are carried out purely for financial reasons rather than capacity reasons and lobby instead for the maximum possible services to London Bridge.
- That in the eventuality that it is shown to be unfeasible for the current South London Line ‘loop’ service between Victoria and London Bridge via Denmark Hill to continue to run to London Bridge to facilitate Thameslink works, to urge the reinstatement of the originally intended mitigating measure of diverting the South London Line to Bellingham, as recently recommended by London Travelwatch.”
22 September 2009
In December 2009 they plan to cut our direct evening service from Charing Cross, running all trains from London Bridge. This is a well used service and provides a direct connection from the West End after 7:30pm. As this is an off-peak service we reject Southern Railway's claims that there is no capacity through London Bridge.
In May 2010 Southern Railways plan to reduce the PEAK SERVICES (as well as off-peak services) from London Bridge by over 30%, from 6 trains per hour to just 4 trains per hour (the same as the off-peak service). They will continue to run 6 trains per hour in the morning, meeting the demands on the line, but will not provide a similar service in the evenings, hoping that customers will switch to East London Line services or put up with serious overcrowding.
We call on rail authorities and local politicians to support our calls to maintain 6 trains per hour in the evening peak and direct services from Charing Cross in the late evenings.
Please sign the petition at http://nototraincuts.notlong.com
21 September 2009
- Dartmouth Road including swimming pools, library and Louise House
- Thorpewood Avenue - Christmas Houses and 1930s semi-detached houses
- Benson Road
- Round Hill - Christmas Houses and apartment block plus Sir Christopher Wren church spire.
- Thorpewood Avenue - continuation to include additional houses
- Waldram Park Triangle
- Rockbourne Triangle
- Tyson Road and Honor Oak Road - including green space behind Christian Fellowship Centre
12 September 2009
11 September 2009
- Manor Mount - statistics shows that of 85% drivers are going below 23mph, which is well within government guidelines. The drivers going down the “wrong way” go at 30.9mph because they are trying to avoid being caught.
- We believe it would be better to have temporary or permanent cameras in place on the one-way Manor Mount System, or a sign saying “mobile traffic enforcement cameras operate in this area” to discourage people entering the wrong way down this road, and thus bring speeds below 23mph and thus no need to introduce a 20mph zone on this street.
- We support some limited speed restrictions or traffic calming outside schools, nurseries or places where known accident hot spots are, say at junctions. Although, as per council’s own statistics there is no widespread accident problem within the proposed 20mph zone.
- Waldenshaw Road - This road does appear to have a minor speeding problem of average 27.3 for one-way and 31.5mph for the other, after looking at the Lewisham Council statistics. However, the Forest Hill Society ask that Lewisham Council look to other means of speed control, which does not involve reduction in parking spaces or road humps/cushions.
- General - If against our recommendation the council does pursue their proposed 20mph zone, then we would be happy to work with Lewisham Council to come up with a sensible plan that is targeted and meets local needs.
Most importantly we are expecting East London Line trains to start running to Forest Hill from June 2010, or possibly a bit earlier.
But on the railway system every silver lining appears to have a cloud and we have learnt that Southern intend to cut some services from Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park from December this year. This is despite intense lobbying by the Forest Hill Society and Sydenham Society over the last two years.
From December 2009 we will no longer have any services to or from Charing Cross. All trains to Forest Hill will start or terminate at London Bridge. This is a real shame as, in the evenings when these trains run, most passengers are coming from the West End. The Route Utilisation Strategy of 2008 described this service as 'well utilised' (meaning that there are usually people standing on most evening trains). Southern claim that their sister company South Eastern require the tracks between Charing Cross and London Bridge for Kent services, but at off-peak evening times there is clearly spare capacity on these lines, just as there is today for our direct services from Charing Cross.
From May next year Southern are planning to reduce daytime off-peak services to Forest Hill from 6 trains per hour to 4 trains per hour. This is not good, but it is not a disaster, as it is relatively recently that these services were increased to 6 per hour, and at off peak they are not always entirely full. However, in the last month we have confirmed with Southern that it is not just the off-peak services that will be effected - THEY ARE PLANNING TO CUT PEAK EVENING SERVICES AS WELL. This decrease to 4 trains per hour will hit passengers travelling all day after 9am, right through the evening peak. Frequent users of these evenings services will confirm that they are already running at maximum capacity, and the removal of 30% of trains is likely to be a real problem for passengers from London Bridge.
This cut in peak services will take effect from May 2010, before the East London Line is scheduled to be running, and even when the East London Line is running it is unlikely to be carrying 30% of existing passengers at peak times - even if everything works perfectly from day one. We know that there is 'surpress demand' on our line, meaning that if there were more carriages and trains then 40% more people would be travelling on our line.
The Forest Hill Society has asked Southern to reconsider these cuts to our services and we have been speaking to politicians to see what can be done before the all important date of May 2010, when we lose 30% of our trains.
24 August 2009
Forest Hill Library, Dartmouth Road
20 August 2009
We received news today that, following representations made by the Forest Hill Society to Transport for London regarding the junction between Honor Oak Road and London Road, the traffic lights and traffic management system have been adjusted to allow a more responsive green time for Honor Oak Road, allowing more time if needed for this road. Hopefully this should remove the excessive queuing on Honor Oak Road.
They have also adjusted the overall amount of green time given to each set of traffic signals which are linked along the South Circular in Forest Hill. This has been increased allowing the signals in Forest Hill to automatically increase the overall green time in the area when needed.
Hopefully these changes will have a positive effect on traffic coming through Forest Hill. Let us have your feedback on whether these changes have the necessary improvement, especially as we go into September with more traffic on the roads.
15 August 2009
04 August 2009
Times: 1 - 6pm
Venue: Horniman Gardens
Come to the biggest and best Jerk Cookout competition live from the Horniman Gardens. Relax in our award-winning green oasis, listen to sizzling live music, sample the finest Jerk in south London from the many stalls competing, and buy fantastic gifts.
31 July 2009
The recommendation from the South London RUS – for further investigation around off-peak services to Charing Cross - was done in the context of the new Southeastern timetable for December 2009 (incorporating the high speed service) and the new South Central franchise.
During the development of the Southeastern December timetable it was identified that in order to make it workable there would be significant limitations on the ‘through London Bridge’ pathways available for other TOCs. There are implications for the First Capital Connect service particularly in the peak at London Bridge, and for Southern off peak services to Charing Cross and Waterloo East.
As a result, the Department for Transport did not specify that South Central franchise services should operate through to Charing Cross from December 2009. Subsequent scrutiny of the off peak timetable by Southern has confirmed that it is not possible to run Southern services through London Bridge into Charing Cross given Southeastern’s timetable specification from December.
As you know we use our passenger loading equipment to help specify how many carriages should go on each train and if carriages should be moved to better cover passenger demand. This we did during the current franchise deploying additional carriages to the Sydenham line in the morning peaks for example. We will continue to do this as normal but in general terms there is no reason for us to reduce the number of carriages on this route simply because the service will start and finish at London Bridge rather than Charing Cross.
26 July 2009
I read in the Southern Stakeholder Briefing that Southern now intend to stop running direct services between Charing Cross and Forest Hill. On behalf of the Forest Hill Society I wish to express my disappointment at this decision and ask Southern to find ways to reverse this decision before December 2009 when we will lose these services.
In the 2007 draft version of the South London RUS which stated in option 20.4 (p176):
“At present 2 tph direct services operate from Charing Cross to the Sydenham line between around 19:30 and shortly after midnight. These services are very well utilised. On Sundays they operate all day.
Retaining or running additional direct trains to Charing Cross would provide improved journey opportunities for all stations on the Sydenham route and alleviate crowding at London Bridge.”
The final version of the RUS concluded that regarding this option (p145)
“Not recommended for peak services. Further investigation recommended regarding off peak services.”
It is clear that this service, which transports passengers from the West End to South London suburbs, is a well used service at off-peak times. Removing this half-hourly evening service has no practical benefit in reducing congestion or improving journeys for other rail users.
It is recognised that most evening travel in the South London area originates from the West End, not from the London Bridge area. The link from Waterloo East and Charing Cross to Forest Hill provides a convenient service that matches passengers’ travelling patterns. Rather than scrapping these services you should be considering running them all day on Saturday as well as the current Sunday timetable.
The Forest Hill Society is aware that it would not be possible to run these services during peak times, but there is capacity between London Bridge and Charing Cross for the evening and weekend services, as demonstrated by their existence today. Even with the introduction of new services on the South Eastern timetable from Charing Cross, there is still off-peak capacity from Charing Cross that Southern should be utilising for the services via Sydenham.
I would like to ask what further investigations have been carried out into maintaining these off-peak services, as recommended in the RUS? Why have stakeholders not been consulted about this decision prior to the announcement by Southern? And how we can now get Southern to reverse this position before this important service is lost?
I would also like to ask what length the planned services will be from London Bridge in comparison to the services from Charing Cross, as the reduction in the number of carriages on these off-peak services would be another blow to passengers from Forest Hill and our neighbouring areas.
I hope that you will give this issue your urgent and serious consideration so that you can avoid a big disappointment for a large section of your passenger base.
Vice-chair, Forest Hill Society