25 March 2010

Oyster PAYG Explained

Oyster is now valid on the trains as well as the tube, buses and trams, which is great news. Indeed an additional 500,000 journeys have been made using Oyster Pay as You Go every week on the National Rail network since 2 January. However, there have been a few teething problems, with a lack of Oyster readers at the local stations and some people have been over charged for their train journeys due to problems touching in and out.

At the moment you cannot buy an Oyster card at the station. LOROL (the people who operate Forest Hill station for TfL) are supposed to be upgrading the ticket counter machines by April so that they will be able to sell PAYG Oyster cards and weekly Travelcards on Oyster, but the machines will not be able to register new Oyster cards so you will not be able to buy Monthly or Annual season Travelcards on a new Oyster card. It is unclear whether you will be able to buy a Monthly or Annual Travelcard on a previously registered Oyster Card

In a series of posts, we will explain how things should work (below), how they may go wrong, how to get the cheapest fare and how daily price capping works.

So how should it work?

An Oyster card can hold a maximum of three Travelcards and £90 pay as you go credit on it. You can also add your Disabled Persons, HM Forces, Senior or 16-25 Railcard if you are eligible.

Bus and tram journeys are charged at £1.20 for adults or 60p if you are entitled to the 16+, New Deal or Bus & Tram Discount fare. You are charged when you touch-in on the Oyster reader. The amount deducted and the remaining balance are displayed on the reader when you touch in. There is no need to touch out when using buses or trams. The Bus & Tram Discount scheme is available to help Londoners on Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance and those who have been receiving Jobseeker's Allowance for a minimum of 13 weeks.

When travelling by tube, train or DLR using Oyster PAYG, you need to touch in at the start AND end of your journey. When you touch in, an entry charge is deducted from your Oyster card. This is known as the “maximum fare” which is currently £6 (peak) and £4.30 (off peak) within Zones 1-6. When you touch out at the end of your journey, the correct fare for your journey is calculated
and your PAYG balance is adjusted as appropriate.

You only need sufficient credit on your Oyster card to pay the minimum fare when touching in. In other words, your Oyster PAYG can go overdrawn but it will disable any Travelcard you may have on it until the PAYG balance is back in credit.

If you have a Travelcard on your Oyster, you will want to know how to combine your Oyster with PAYG

Oyster PAYG - What is the cheapest fare?

The Off Peak Day Return which used to be available on the trains has been discontinued with the introduction of Oyster PAYG. You can still buy a paper ticket, and we have tried to work out the various costs for you. There is still some confusion as to what fares will be charged for the East London Line, but at the moment, it looks as though we will be charged TfL rates for stations served by the ELL.

TfL have taken advantage of the flexibility of Oyster to introduce an evening peak period. As a result, the Peak Fare now applies Monday-Friday 0630-0930 and 1600-1900. Off-Peak fares are charged at all other times and on Public Holidays. The fare will be determined by the time the Oyster card is touched in, rather than the time of departure of the train, so be careful when travelling around 0930, 1600 or 1900.

As can be seen from the table below, the cheapest fare currently available is with a Gold Card discount followed by Oyster, with cash fares (Paper tickets) being the most expensive single fare.

JourneyOyster PeakOyster Off-PeakPaper SingleGold Card SinglePaper ReturnGold Card Return
Forest Hill – Underground 1-3£3.70£3.10£5.10£3.50£8.60£5.70
Forest Hill – London Bridge£2.60£2.00£3.10£2.05£5.30£3.50
Forest Hill – Victoria£2.60£2.00£3.10£2.05£5.30£3.50
Forest Hill – New Cross Gate£1.80£1.50£2.10£1.15£3.70£1.90
Forest Hill – Honor Oak Park£1.40£1.30£1.70£1.15£2.90£2.90
Forest Hill – Norwood Junction£1.80£1.50£2.10£1.40£3.70£2.45
Forest Hill – West Croydon£2.20£1.70£2.60£1.70£4.50£2.95

If the fares switch to TfL's Zonal system when the East London Line starts operation, then these fares could be reduced by up to £1 (However, fares to Victoria and London Bridge might increase by 10p or 40p, but this is unclear at the moment).

Does Oyster have a One Day Travelcard?

Oyster cards work slightly differently from paper tickets. Instead of buying a One Day Travelcard in advance, with Oyster you simply touch in and out on all your journeys but the amount you are charged each day is capped to the equivalent Travelcard. However, be warned that if you fail to touch out then you will be charged the maximum fare for that journey and it will not count towards your daily cap.

If you only travel on buses and trams between 0430 one day and 0429 the next, then your charges will be capped at £3.90 for adults or £1.95 if you are entitled to the 16+, New Deal or Bus & Tram Discount fare.

When you travel on the tube, trains or DLR, then the daily price cap is the same price as an equivalent One Day Travelcard for adults and 16+. The child fare is capped at half the Adult fare for peak and £1 for off-peak. The current Adult caps are

Zones CoveredPeakOff Peak
Travelcard 1-3, 1-4£8.60£6.30
Travelcard 2-6£9.00£5.10
Travelcard 1-6£14.80£7.50

Once you reach a cap, you must continue to touch your Oyster card on the card reader on every journey, to ensure you pay the correct fare for the zones you travel through. If you do not, you could be charged a maximum cash fare, a Penalty Fare or you may be prosecuted

However, the cheapest way to travel at the weekend or on Public Holidays is with a Network Railcard. This allows you to buy a Zone 1-6 Travelcard for only £5.00. The railcard itself costs £25 unless you are lucky enough to know someone with an Annual Gold card, in which case it will only cost £1.

Oyster PAYG - When do things go wrong?

There are a number of circumstances when you might not be charged the amount you expected or are used to paying with your old, trusty paper ticket.
  • If you don't touch in and out correctly, then you will be charged the "maximum fare" as the initial charge is not adjusted. Since the system only registered one touch, it cannot adjust your fare and you may pay more than you should. Your journey will not count towards your daily price cap as you have broken the rules.
  • If your journey takes longer than the maximum time allowed, then you will be charged two "maximum fares"; one when you touch in and the other when you touch out. Your journey will not count towards your daily price cap as you have broken the rules. The maximum journey times are shown below

    Maximum Journey Time (minutes)Mon-Fri 04:30-19:00Mon-Fri from 19:00 and All day SatSunday
    Within Zone 1 or 290100110
    Within zones 1 - 2 or 2 - 3 90100110
    Within 1 zones708085
    across 2 zones8090100
    across 3 zones90100110
    across 4 zones100110120
    across 5 zones110125135
    across 6 zones120132144
    across 7 zones130145160
    across 8 zones140155170
    across 9 zones150165180
  • Some journeys involve you changing station (for example, London Bridge to London Underground or Charing Cross to Embankment). These are known as "Out of Station Interchanges", or OSI, and you are allowed a fixed amount of time to make the change. This can be as little as ten minutes, but is typically longer. For example, when changing between National Rail and the Underground at London Bridge or Charing Cross, you have 20 minutes when transferring from Rail to Underground and 40 minutes when coming home (as you may have to wait for your platform to be announced). A full list can be found on London Reconnections. If you take longer than this, your trip will count as two journeys and it will cost you more.
  • If you decide not to travel having touched in, or your train is cancelled and you decide to take a bus instead, then you will be charged a 'Platform Fee' equivalent to the minimum fare (£1.40 at Forest Hill) provided it is between two and 30 minutes since you touched in. If you call the Oyster helpline, they will refund this at their discretion.
  • For some journeys, there is more than one route option available. For example, if you're going across London you may have the option of avoiding Zone 1. Pink Oyster Validators (rather than the usual yellow readers) have been installed at 11 stations so that you pay the lower fare. Simply touch your Oyster card on the pink validator to prove you used the cheaper route. The 11 stations are
    Blackhorse roadKensington (Olympia)West Brompton
    Gospel OakRayners LaneWillesden Junction
    Highbury & IslingtonStratfordWimbledon

If you feel that you have been unjustly overcharged, you should allow 48 hours before calling the Oyster helpline on 0845 330 9876 between 8am and 8pm. It is also possible to call TfL during office hours on 020 7222 5600 (ask for Oystercard Ticketing & Refunds)to avoid these charges if your calling plan includes geographic numbers.

Oyster PAYG - Can I combine PAYG with a Travelcard on Oyster?

Yes. If you have a Bus & Tram Pass on Oyster you can use Oyster PAYG for rail journeys or if you have a Travelcard then you can use Oyster PAYG to travel outside the area covered by your Travelcard.

The process is very simple, unless you are travelling from the zones covered by your Travelcard to a National Rail station outside your zones. In this case, you will need to enable something called an Oyster Extension Permit (OEP) before you travel. You do not need an OEP when travelling to a TfL destination. Bizarrely, we believe that this will mean that someone with a Zone 1-4 Travelcard on their Oyster will need to obtain an OEP to travel from Forest Hill to East Croydon, but not for travel to West Croydon (as it is run by TfL). TfL do not like OEPs and have asked the Rail companies to justify the need for them.

Although OEPs are free, you must have at least £1.50 pay as you go balance on your Oyster card to set an OEP. If you travel beyond the zones covered by your Travelcard without an Oyster Extension Permit you may be liable to a penalty fare or prosecution.

In theory, you can get your OEP at any touch-screen ticket machine, Oyster Ticket Stop, Tube or London Overground station ticket office. However, until they sort out our local ticket counters, you will have to obtain your OEP from one of the local Oyster Ticket stops (newsagent) or the Ticket Machines outside the station. We have found that only one of the local Oyster vendors (Forest Hill Supermarket on Dartmouth Road) understands the process.

TfL recommend that you only obtain your OEP just before you need it as having an OEP enabled effectively turns your Oyster card into a PAYG card, but you can actually set an OEP at any time. However, once you have an OEP on your Oyster, you must touch in and out on every journey until you have touched out outside your Travelcard area in order to avoid paying the maximum fare.

If you fail to touch in and out on once you have set your OEP journey, then you will be charged the maximum fare. If this results in your PAYG balance being overdrawn (since it is possible for your Oyster card to go overdrawn when touching in), your Travelcard will be disabled until the PAYG balance is back in credit.

In summary:

  • If you have an OEP set on your Oyster card, then you must touch in and out on every journey to avoid being charged the maximum fare. OEPs can be removed or disabled at the Ticket Vending machines.
  • When travelling entirely within the area covered by your Travelcard, you do not normally need to touch in and out as you have already paid for your journey. The only exception to this is if you have set an OEP but have not travelled outside your area, in which case you must touch in and out on every journey
  • When travelling entirely outside the area covered by your Travelcard you simply need to touch in and out and do not need an OEP. The system knows that this is a PAYG journey and so will deduct the maximum fare when you touch in and credit your balance when you touch out
  • When travelling from within the area covered by your Travelcard to a TfL station outside your coverage you simply need to touch in and out and do not need an OEP. All TfL stations are gated and so you have to touch out to get through the gate
  • When travelling from within the area covered by your Travelcard to a National Rail station, you must set an OEP on your card before travelling. You must also touch in and out

New eco community building planned for Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

Following their successful new gates project, the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve are now setting out on a really grand scheme! They plan to replace the tired old pre-fabricated hut with a really wonderful exemplar of an ecologically designed building - a purpose-built visitor centre to serve the community for education, culture and fitness.

This is a hugely ambitious project and will only happen with your help. They want input on the design from as many people as possible and are organising some fun events to find out what you would like to see on the site, so come and get involved! Starting at Easter and running throughout the summer, they are organising a series of events. The first two will be on the 9th and the 11th April.

Huts, Hives and Habitats

Friday 9th April, 11.00 until 16.00

Aimed specifically at children and families, this is a day of exploration which involves making all kinds of dwellings; beehives, bird-boxes, insect hotels etc. There will be food and drinks available and staff to guide visitors around the reserve, looking at the frogs, newts and tadpoles and talking about all the different types of habitats that the different animals, insects and birds require. Staff will also be on hand to talk about the plans for the new building and to ask for suggestions, comments and ideas to contribute towards the planning process.

Open Day

Sunday 11th April, 13.00 to 19.00

There will be a BBQ, guided tours, guest speakers, music and a variety of activities to engage visitors of all ages and to get them thinking about the new building; it will be a really great day out!

STOP PRESS! The guest speaker has been announced as Dusty Gedge, the UK leading campaigner and promoter of living roofs. Dusty will be holding a great workshop on living roofs.

Please support the events on the 9th and 11th April and contribute to the design process. They need your help to achieve a really valuable building for the whole community.

For more details contact Jacob Twyford on 020 7851 2211, 020 8291 2272 or through the Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve website

23 March 2010

NoToTrainCuts! Petition Presented to DfT

Presentation of Petition
The Forest Hill Society has presented a petition containing 5594 signatures to Chris Mole MP, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department for Transport.

Commuters on the Sydenham line are protesting further cuts in their service to London Bridge when the East London Line starts operation on 23 May 2010. Having already seen their morning services reduced from eight to six trains an hour in December 2008 and the cessation of direct services to Charing Cross in December 2009, they face the prospect of a further cut in capacity in May when the afternoon peak service is reduced from six to four trains an hour.

The petition, which was collected by members of various civic societies along the Sydenham line, called on the Department of Transport to maintain the current level of service through Forest Hill and restore the evening service to Charing Cross. When pressed on the matter Mr Mole was unable to confirm when any review would take place, nor when the December timetable would be drafted. However, he did take on board the point that we required leadership from the DfT to resolve the pathways to Charing Cross. A copy of the covering letter presented with the petition can be downloaded from here.

Jim Dowd MP, Caroline Pidgeon AM and Councillors Alex Feakes, John Russell and Phillip Peake joined some of the petitioners at the presentation.


19 March 2010

Two Hours' Free Parking at Sainsbury's

It may have been a long time coming, but starting today we finally have two hours free parking in the car park behind Sainsbury's on Pearcefield Avenue. The final approval was given at Mayor and Cabinet on February 10, 2010 after lengthy discussions between Lewisham and Sainsbury’s on ways in which the car park could operate better. A number of options were considered, however, the council has been clear that any changes should benefit the town centre as a whole, ensuring that the car park remains a facility for everyone to use.

As before, you MUST obtain a ticket from the machine in order to qualify for the free period since charges apply if you stay longer. Failure to display a valid ticket will leave you liable to a £50 Penalty Charge. The charges, which apply from Monday to Saturday from 8am until 6.30pm, are now
  • 0 - 2 Hours Free
  • 2 - 3 Hours 50p
  • Over 3 Hours £3.00

It is expected that at least 1200 people a week will benefit from this change. All we need to do now is sort out the signs so that people can find their way there.

18 March 2010

NoToTrainCuts! Petition

After many requests through various channels, we have finally been able to arrange for Chris Mole, (Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Department for Transport) to accept our petition. As we are not allowed to talk directly to ministers, Jim Dowd MP has arranged this handover for us.

With approximately 1666 paper signatories and 3412 online signatories, the total now stands at 5078 which is great news, but keep encouraging friends, neighbours, family and colleagues who may be affected to sign as well.

The handover will occur at 12:30 on Tuesday, 23 March 2010 at the Department of Transport on Horseferry Road

16 March 2010

Pool Designs Released to Public

While the Stakeholder's group (of which we are part) have been allowed to see the designs of the pool complex as they progressed, it is only now that the general public have been allowed to see the designs.

The new complex will comprise
  • 6 lane 25m pool
  • 16.7m x 7m learner pool, with limited spectating
  • Mixed changing village and group changing facilities
  • 278m2 Gym with approximately 70 stations
  • Two studios for aerobics or meetings
  • Community Room
  • Cafe with terrace and internal view to the main pool

Outside, there will be a coach drop off, motor cycle and bike parking as well as disabled parking for one vehicle.

You can download a copy of the display from Lewisham's website at http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/foresthillpools or our website

Don't forget to have your say in person at the following times:
Wednesday, 17 MarchForest Hill Station 4.30 pm - 6.30 pm
Thursday, 18 MarchForest Hill Library 9 am -8 pm
Friday, 19 MarchSainsbury's (London Rd) 5 pm -7 pm
Wednesday, 24 MarchForest Hill Station 4.30 pm - 6.30 pm
Thursday, 25 MarchForest Hill Library 9 am -8 pm
Friday, 26 MarchSainsbury's (London Rd) 5 pm -7 pm

We will then have the chance to meet the architects to provide feedback and discuss any concerns on Saturday, 27 March at Forest Hill Station from 10 am -3 pm

12 March 2010

Missing Girl

Police are appealing for any information concerning a missing 12-year-old girl from Brockley according to the News Shopper.

The News Shopper says that Keleigh Brown was last seen leaving her home on Salehurst Road, Crofton Park at 4.40pm on March 10th. She was wearing the Sydenham Girls school uniform, which is navy blue with black tights and black shoes.

Anyone with information should contact Lewisham Police on 07788 916 864, or 0300 123 1212 or Missing People on 0500 700 700.

10 March 2010

Horniman Museum features on 2012 Olympic pin set

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) have revealed the designs of the ‘Landmark London’ pin badges which will go on sale later this month. Each of the landmarks has now been re-created into a metal pin badge incorporating the London 2012 logo.

In September 2009 LOCOG and London Councils launched the ‘Landmark London’ competition in which Londoners were invited to vote for the most iconic landmark in their borough that they would most like to see featured in an individual pin badge. Winning landmarks range from visitor attractions, theatres and museums to windmills, clock towers and bridges. Residents of Lewisham voted for the Horniman Museum, beating the Lewisham Clock Tower, Laban College and Catford Cat.

A full list of winning locations can be found on the official website.

Sebastian Coe, Chairman of LOCOG presented each London Borough Leader with the first pin badge produced for their borough at a London Councils Leaders’ Committee and said “London is a fantastically diverse city and the variety of landmarks chosen by Londoners to represent their local areas highlights this perfectly. These pin badges are a fantastic way to showcase to the UK and the rest of the world what a wonderful city London is and I am delighted to see how proud people are of their city and specific borough. I hope they will wear their pin badges with pride.”

The Landmark London pin badges will be available for wider sale across London in the coming weeks from Runner’s Need, Crest of London, World Duty Free and the Museum of London.

09 March 2010

Dates for your Diary

Tuesday March 23rd 8pm – 23 Club drinks at Stone Bar, 68-70 Honor Oak Park.

Saturday, April 17th - visit Brogdale Farm in Faversham, Kent - the home of the National Fruit Collection.

Friday April 23rd 8pm: 23 Club St George’s Day : Dulwich Wood House

Monday May 3rd: May Day, Albion Millennium Green

Tuesday May 11th - Syd Soc Quiz Night
(in aid of Sydenham Garden)

Sunday May 23rd: 23 Club - East London Line : Launch Day. Details to be confirmed.
Normanton Street, SE23 2DS

General Meeting of the Forest Hill Society— Thurs June 10th, 7.30pm, The Hob

Tyson Road campaign goes national!

For the first time our volunteers have taken part in a public inquiry, held by the Planning Inspectorate. For four days, we presented evidence against a developer’s proposal to build nine blocks of flats on a green space between Tyson Road, Dunoon Road, Honor Oak Road and Fairlie Gardens. We faced intimidating cross-examination by the developer’s highly experienced barrister. We also cross-examined the developer’s own team of professionals. We now have to wait until April to hear the Inspectorate’s decision.

In 2006, 2008, and 2009 the housing developer, Loromah, proposed building 67-84 flats on this backland location. Each time, the developer was denied planning permission by Lewisham Council. Loromah then went to the Planning Inspectorate – a national body – to appeal against this decision. The public inquiry lasted four days, starting on Tuesday, 23rd February at Lewisham Town Hall.
Although this is primarily a case between Loromah and Lewisham Council, the Forest Hill Society was able to participate as a 'rule 6 party.'

Both Lewisham and Loromah had an impressive collection of barristers, architects and town planners. The Forest Hill Society had a mix of amateur and professional skills, all provided on a voluntary basis. John Hutchinson, a Forest Hill resident with much experience of conservation architecture, led our case with his views on the need for high quality designs in keeping with the character of the area.

John was followed by Michael Abrahams who presented evidence relating to access, crime and poor internal layout. These are major concerns for the Society given the current problems with anti-social behaviour around the Tyson Road Estate which would be right at the entrance to this development. The Society is also concerned that there are lots of hidden areas around the proposed development; behind shrubs, beneath balconies and in the undercroft car parking.

Andrew Wood, who has spearheaded much of the campaigning, then presented the evidence with the help of neighbours, relating to the biodiversity of the site. This included trees, stag beetles, visiting birds and the occasional bat. He expressed concern about the impact this development would have on the four groups of trees with Tree Preservation Orders. And what about the dead trees which are ideal habitats for stag beetles?

The Inspectorate was left in no doubt about the strength of local feeling. Cllr John Russell and several local residents whose homes would be directly impacted by the proposed development came and spoke passionately about their concerns.

Our team, along with Lewisham Council’s own barrister, also had the opportunity to cross-examine Loromah's witnesses.

The inquiry closed with the Inspector complimenting the work of the Forest Hill Society and its contribution to the inquiry process. She also welcomed the additions from all of the local residents who gave evidence and who observed the proceedings.

A big thank you to all those local people who attended throughout the inquiry, those who gave evidence, and those who advised in the run up to this inquiry. We would also like to thank Councillor Russell who not only gave his own evidence, but stepped in at the last minute to cross-examine Loromah’s team.

This inquiry has reaffirmed our position that this development will have a negative effect on the area and is not suitable for such a site.

Highlights of the Week:
  • John Hutchinson's reference to Walter's Way as the ideal type of development for this site (the inspector will be visiting this road).
  • Andrew Wood's rapid fire cross-examination of Mr Virtue, bringing into doubt the quality of the stag beetle assessment on the site.
  • General discussion of 'garden grabbing' referred to in the timely ministerial statement of 19th Jan 2010, provided in appendix to Forest Hill Society evidence.
  • Michael Abrahams's cross-examination of Mr Frost who could only think of similar gating techniques in inner city Manchester.

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

There are plans for a new exemplar building to replace the old hut at the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve. We want a sustainable, attractive building that will demonstrate the best in renewable technology as well as become a valuable resource for the local community and visitors from further afield. We have applied for funding for workshops to be run over Easter by RESET as the first stage in exploring and developing the possibilities. We have lots of ideas, but more are welcome.

If you might be interested in any aspect of this project - as potential user, adviser or helper - you can learn more at the AGM which will be held at the reserve on Sunday 14th March at 2pm. We are particularly keen for people who have skills in accountancy, communications, IT and plumbing systems for grey water! If you cannot make the AGM, watch out for notices about the workshops, or contact Forest Hill Society member Penelope.

Chair's Report March 2010

It hardly seems like yesterday since the last newsletter was hitting the doorsteps. It has been an interesting few months getting familiar with the workload and responsibilities of being Chairman; I have appeared on local TV and radio as well as in the local press pushing forward our agenda.

We continue to pursue the campaigns against the cuts in service on the trains, the Tyson Road development and in support of the pool redevelopment. We are also working to secure improvements to the town centre and the station.

We have had a very constructive meeting with TfL and LOROL (London Overground Rail Operations Ltd) regarding the East London Line, which is planned to start service on 23 May. While they were unable to confirm fares due to ongoing negotiations, it is probable that we will pay standard TfL fares, which means that fares to existing rail stations along the ELL will drop.
The Society presented a very professional defence against the planning appeal for Tyson Road, winning plaudits from both the planning inspector and the developer's QC. I would like to thank all those who invested their time and effort in preparing and presenting the case against development.

We are actively working with the Stakeholder's group to try and ensure that the new pools provide the facilities and ambiance which we all hope for. Please make sure that you attend one of the consultation events and provide feedback.

Looking to the future, we will carry on working with politicians from all parties to keep the train cuts at the top of their agenda. Despite one party recently claiming me as one of their own, I am deliberately politically unaligned so that I am free to pursue our aims, whatever they may be.

I hope I'll get to meet many of you at our social events and at the General Meeting on 10 June.

If you wish to speak with me, you can e-mail richard@foresthillsociety.com

Albion Millenium Green - The Next Decade

Ten years ago the Albion Millennium Green Trust was established to protect and preserve this tiny green oasis, tucked away at the end of Albion Villas Road, off Sydenham Park Road. Now with the help of Nature’s Gym volunteers, they’re planning for the next decade.

Nature’s Gym is organised by Lewisham Council and is designed to help people improve their fitness by getting involved in conservation work in the parks and green spaces around the borough. They can also organise environmental projects tailored for specific local groups, like the Albion Millennium Green Trust.

So, on a damp January morning, despite snow still lying on the ground, ten bold members of Nature’s Gym gathered to attack, hack, sift and generally sort out the litter and undergrowth in preparation for the Trust’s spring programme. More ground preparation work was carried out in February.
If you’d like to get involved in the next Nature’s Gym day at the Albion Millennium Green, do come along on April 8th 11am-2pm where they’ll be carrying on the good work and preparing six plots on the west side for MAY DAY!

Bank Holiday Monday May 3rd will be a fun day. To mark the Green’s tenth anniversary, a small orchard of six heritage apple species are going to be planted at the west end of the Green. Several local eminences have already agreed to be official tree planters. We may get a surprise celebrity!

Starting at 12 noon, the programme will be:
12.00-1.00 - tree planting
1.00-2.00 - bring-your-own picnic lunch;
2.00-3.00 - traditional May Day Morris dancing.

The Dacre Lady Morris dancers will give two performances and then invite audience participation in two teaching sessions.

Come along to mark this historic occasion. Bring friends and family, food and drink, skittles, boules or cricket bats and have a really fun celebration of May Day and the continued success of Albion Millennium Green!

To find out more about Nature’s Gym, you can visit the Lewisham Council website or email them at greenscene@lewisham.gov.uk

New Public Art in SE23

Local artists, Artmongers, have been selected to create a new piece of public art in Forest Hill. The Sainsbury’s footpath commission is the second piece of art aimed at enhancing the walking route from the Station to the Horniman Museum.

The artwork will celebrate the museum’s collections and take account of the history and characteristics of the local area. Local residents will be involved in research and design through a series of workshops being held at the Horniman.

The initiative has been funded through planning obligations agreed with Sainsbury’s in relation to the refurbishment of their London Road store. Decorative Newsfeeds, an online LED work, was commissioned for the store window in 2004 and a third project will be developed in the summer. Fabrication of the footpath commission is due to be started in April and then installed in May on the wall along the footpath linking London Road to Sainsbury’s car park at the back of the store.

31 artists applied to undertake the commission and the public were consulted on four shortlisted designs. Artmongers were selected on the strength of their imaginative response to the brief. The artist collective has produced some of the most memorable pieces of public art in Lewisham including the Feed the Cows wheelie bins at New Cross, the Brockley Key and two large murals in Deptford. Inspired by ideas of transformation within the Horniman’s collection, this project promises to transform the wall in a humorous and dramatic way.

Transport Update

We all love Forest Hill, but we do occasionally need to leave and that’s when it’s helpful to have good train services and road links. The Society’s Transport Committee is extremely busy at the moment as it grapples with the coming of the Overground, road improvements and car parking.

East London Line Overground (ELL)
Test trains are already running through Forest Hill and we are pretty confident that services from Crystal Palace and West Croydon will start on May 23rd. The new services will provide a significant increase in capacity with eight ELL trains per hour in each direction. The big question remains as to how many people will actually want to use the new trains to go to Canada Water, Shoreditch High Street or to the delights of Dalston Junction.

We have been campaigning against the reduction of train services to London Bridge from the present 6 trains an hour to four trains an hour from the date of the opening of the ELL. The only exception will be during the morning peak when there will be six trains an hour to London Bridge. Our efforts resulted in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on 5th February when our MP, Jim Dowd, made a lengthy speech about train services in the area. He told MPs that members of the Forest Hill Society wanted to know why the ELL should not be reduced rather than the service to London Bridge until it becomes evident that there is a greater demand for services on the ELL.

Despite Jim’s actions, it seems probable that the new timetable will come into force as planned.
The direct service to Charing Cross ended before Christmas in spite of our campaign to save it. We marked the event by staging a mock funeral on the final day of services to the West End. This received considerable press coverage and a spot on the evening TV news.

Problems with the introduction of Oyster are too complex to go into here – suffice it to say that the Society has been meeting TfL and London Overground Rail Ltd (LOROL) to try to get them resolved as soon as possible. We have also lobbied successfully to keep the exit from Forest Hill Station onto Perry Vale open whenever trains are running.

We have been contributing to a study initiated by the Perry Vale Assembly to look at traffic and pedestrian issues in Perry Vale and Perry Rise. This has included walking the street with consultants and a film crew looking at all the potential trouble spots. The consultants will be reporting back and debating the issues at a couple of public meetings.

Car Parking
We are pleased to report that as a result of pressure from the Society and others, the Council has reached agreement with Sainsbury’s to provide two hours of free parking in the Pearcefield Road car park which should encourage people to do more shopping in Forest Hill. We are pressing for better signage to Forest Hill car parks with signs that emphasise the free parking period rather than the fact that they are Pay and Display.

If you have any transport or road related issues that you would like the Society to take up on your behalf, please email Andrew.

Visit to see Brogdale in Blossom

Can it be possible that spring is here? To celebrate, we’ve joined forces with the Sydenham Society to organise a trip on Saturday, April 17th to Brogdale Farm in Faversham, Kent - the home of the National Fruit Collection.

The aim is to arrive at Brogdale by 11.00 and have a cup of coffee; do the guided tour of the collection of blossoming fruit trees (approx 1 hour); lunch in the Brogdale cafe and either browse the rest of the site at leisure or linger in the gift shop. You can read about the farm at www.brogdalecollections.co.uk

We’re going in individual cars rather than a coach but the idea is that drivers with spare capacity offer lifts to other members. Contact should be made with Jackie Aldridge to let her know how many to expect.

Green Chain Walk Extended

During the summer, Forest Hill will be joining the Green Chain network, opening up some of London's best opportunities for recreational walking.

Stretching around South East London in a great arc from Crystal Palace to Erith, the Green Chain Walk was London's first long distance footpath. Whilst the 'main line' to Erith is some twenty one miles long the entire system accounts for just over forty. Its popularity lies in the remarkably pleasant landscape through which it passes. It's possible to walk miles without evidence that you're in a city and the views extend right out to the North Sea.

The new Forest Hill route will roughly follow the old railway line from Nunhead to Crystal Palace. There'll also be a branch to Dulwich Park for the Picture Gallery.

The extension will go through Nunhead Cemetery, One Tree Hill, both the Camberwell cemeteries, Horniman Gardens and Sydenham Hill Woods Nature Reserve.

The new footpath has been under consideration for some years so we’re delighted it’s now so close to becoming a reality.

There are free guided walks on the Green Chain throughout the year but meanwhile you can see how SE23 fits in by going to www.greenchain.com
Happy walking!

23 Club update

We’re trying lots of different ideas for the 23 Club this year. Some ideas will prove more successful than others but we do hope you’ll keep supporting the Club and pass on your suggestions to the organiser, Mary@foresthillsociety.com.

Our second Burns Night evening on January 23rd at All Inn One was fun with a good turnout too. Is there a large Scottish population in SE23?! There were a lot of kilts on the night – setting the scene for the haggis, neeps and tatties and a wee dram.

Tuesday March 23 : Stone Bar : a new Caribbean style bar in Honor Oak. 68-70 Honor Oak Park SE23 1DY : 020 8291 1447. Manager: Dominic www.stonebar.co.uk. Meet between 6-8pm for drinks (no booking needed) – tables will have 23 Club ID. If you decide to stay and have supper you don’t need to book. Menu info is on the website.

Friday April 23 : St George’s Day : Dulwich Wood House 39 Sydenham Hill SE26 6RS. The chef is preparing a St George’s Day menu (flamed dragon steaks perhaps?) Please book direct: 020 8693 5666 : 8pm : ask to be seated at a 23 Club table.

Sunday May 23 : East London Line : Launch Day! The Sydenham Society is arranging entertainment in one of the new ELL carriages on a specific train, timing as yet to be decided. We are invited to join in and travel with them to Dalston and back.

Forest Hill Pools — Latest Design Details

As we reported in January, the architects Roberts Limbrick have been selected as the preferred architects to deliver the detailed design for our swimming pools on Dartmouth Road. This Gloucester-based practice has built Leisure Centres and swimming pools before and is familiar with the engineering and design problems. They presented their thoughts and plans to the stakeholders group and to the Forest Hill Ward Assembly on 1st February.

If you cast your mind way back, you may remember a point when the Council presented us with three design proposals by different architects. The most popular (although we were told at the time it was far too expensive) was from architects Allies and Morrison which proposed a rectangular building with a wave shaped roof. Roberts Limbrick are working with this vision.

They suggest orientating the two pools in the same direction as the current pools but with the changing area in between. This would enable both pools to be lit by natural light from windows along the walls. The teaching pool would be more enclosed with a flexible exercise room above. A gym situated above the changing rooms would get natural light from over the larger pool which would be double height.

There would be two entrances, the current one on Dartmouth Road and another on the side by Kingswear House next to a new cafe. This would lead to a public area or mall behind the cafe and the superintendant’s house. There would be disabled access and coach drop-off in front of the Dartmouth Road entrance. There would also be some disabled parking but no other onsite parking as the site is too small.

The stakeholders and those attending the assembly had a number of questions about the parking, service, safeguarding pedestrians, the material to be used, and environmental issues: some of the roof may be green (sedum or grass), the pools would be covered when not in use to conserve heat, sustainable energy sources have been discussed.
From a visual point of view, the greatest problem is likely to be the relocation of some of the plant to the front of the building over the cafe. The architects will have to work hard to ensure this is not ugly and intrusive next to the Victorian building.
On the positive side, the firm does seem willing to engage with stakeholders and the public and now is the time to make your views heard before planning permission is sought later this year. Do you have a burning issue you would like us to raise? Do you want to be able to watch your kids while they are having lessons? Do you want Unisex changing, or a changing village? Whatever it is, please contact us via the Forest Hill Society.

Friends of One Tree Hill - Annual Meeting and local history talk

One Tree Hill lies at the northern end of a prominent ridge of hills that has marked the boundary between kingdoms, counties, manors and ancient parishes for many centuries and has been an open space since time immemorial. In 1896 a golf club attempted to enclose the hill.

Local people campaigned successfully and on 7th August 1905 One Tree Hill was “opened to the public, and dedicated to their use, forever”.

The talk will cover the history of the hill, real and fictional, and describe the successful campaign to save it. For further details, contact Sandy.

Toilet Facilities to be built in Horniman Triangle

This was an issue which concerned a great many of us when Forest Hill Beach (the popular sand pit opposite the Horniman Museum) opened last Easter. There were no toilet facilities and this caused considerable problems for young children who couldn’t be expected to make it all the way to the Museum’s toilets when the time came. So the excellent news is that there will be new toilets next to the café in the Horniman Triangle in mid-Summer.

This has become possible because the Forest Hill Ward Assembly agreed to spend £3850 on the architects' designs. The designs were discussed at the last Ward Assembly on Monday 1st February with residents choosing the design which proposed attaching the toilets to the existing café building.
The current plan is for there to be two small toilets and a larger disabled cubicle which would include baby changing facilities. There will be a RADAR key available from the café for those who don’t have one and want to use the baby changing facilities.

The council is including the full £80,000 for the cost of building the new facilities in the new parks contract and the architects are expecting to complete their work and send it for planning permission in April. Lewisham Council is hoping that the building can be finished for mid-summer.
We’re grateful to the local residents and councillors who petitioned and campaigned for these facilities and hope they will make everyone’s life easier when they’re down at the beach.

05 March 2010

Forest Hill Pools Consultation

Initial Pool Frontage
Lewisham Council have just announced the following dates for a consultation on the design of the new pools.

You will be able to see the plans online or in person at the following times:
Wednesday, 17 MarchForest Hill Station 4.30 pm - 6.30 pm
Thursday, 18 MarchForest Hill Library 9 am -8 pm
Friday, 19 MarchSainsbury's (London Rd) 5 pm -7 pm
Wednesday, 24 MarchForest Hill Station 4.30 pm - 6.30 pm
Thursday, 25 MarchForest Hill Library 9 am -8 pm
Friday, 26 MarchSainsbury's (London Rd) 5 pm -7 pm

We will then have the chance to meet the architects to provide feedback and discuss any concerns on Saturday, 27 March at Forest Hill Station from 10 am -3 pm