27 June 2017

Challenge launched to create a vision for future development of Forest Hill town centre


Discourse Architecture*, working with the Forest Hill Society, call for a debate about the future of the area around the station and a challenge to uncoordinated commercial development

A review of opportunities to reconfigure Forest Hill town centre will be presented at Forest Hill Ward Meeting at Sydenham Girls' School at 7.30pm on Tuesday 27 June. In consultation with the Forest Hill Society, Discourse Architecture propose that currently under-used sites around the station should be developed as part of a coordinated vision, which improves the environment for local residents and businesses. They argue that without a new approach unsatisfactory piecemeal development will continue unchecked. As part of their study they have researched the history and development of Forest Hill, from the short-lived canal, which was replaced by the railway, and the three stations of increasing magnificence to the current unprepossessing station, built after bomb damage to the last Victorian station. Discourse Architecture, who include local resident Simon McCormack, Michael Badu and Italian architect Bruno Tonelli, have prepared the proposals out of a sense of frustration that the absence of an ambitious strategy is creating a vacuum and that a once-in-hundred-years’ opportunity to improve the town centre will be lost.

View a map with all the images here.

Ideas include:
- A new main station building on the site of WH Smiths with step-free access to the shortened existing pedestrian underpass
- Reducing parking adjacent to the main station and creating a west-facing parade of shops and cafes with housing above. New buildings will be set back from the South Circular, which will be lined with trees
- Improved parking on the sorting office site at lower ground level, with housing at upper ground level and step-free links to the main station and Forest Hill Pools
- Making a new Perry Vale station entrance with lift access to platform level
- Creating new housing on the triangular site currently occupied by the former coal depot    Consideration of  an alternative approach retaining the Victorian coal depot, perhaps as a market or hub for start-ups
- Making the S Circular end of Perry Vale one-way to promote a better street environment for local people and businesses
- Creating an improved connection between the existing alley and the main station: improved sight lines and possibly some Havelock Walk style studio buildings

Public feedback is invited on the proposals, which can be viewed above, in an exhibition at Forest Hill Library from 28 June to 6 July. It is proposed to incorporate the feedback in a revised proposal that can be taken forward for consultation with Lewisham Council, TfL, Railtrack and other interested parties.

*Discourse Architecture was established in 2016 by Michael Badu, Simon McCormack and Bruno Tonelli to create a platform for people with an interest in the built environment to exchange ideas. Michael and Simon live locally while Bruno is based in Brescia, in Northern Italy. They communicate via email and Skype with occasional face to face meetings. Their work on Forest Hill is unpaid

23 June 2017

How to be a Curious Entomologist

Insects are everywhere. They are so many, and so varied — fascinating, beautiful, mysterious, bizarre. Through their mind-boggling biodiversity they offer us a window into the ecological complexity of life on Earth, and give us a powerful insight of the workings of the natural world. But their small size means they can easily be overlooked or ignored. However it doesn’t take much specialist equipment to have a closer look.

Using simple methods and materials provided, this 1-day workshop will look at techniques to find and observe a wide variety of different insects, then how to preserve sample specimens for examination under the microscope.

In the morning, we’ll tour the reserve, finding and discussing the many different insect groups — looking at their structure, behaviour, life histories, and some easy identification pointers. In the afternoon, during the laboratory session, there will be the opportunity to look at some in more detail, and consider how studying insects can contribute to our understanding of nature, and the contribution it can make through citizen science.

Curious? Why curious? Entomologists might, at first, seem a bit eccentric, but they pursue their study of the natural world with a passion fuelled by curiosity.

Richard Jones is an acclaimed expert entomologist, a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and a former President of the British Entomological and Natural History Society. He writes regularly for BBC Wildlife, Countryfile, Gardeners’ World and Sunday Times. He has written several books on insects, including Extreme Insects, The Little Book of Nits, House Guests — House Pests, and Call of Nature — The Secret Life of Dung.

£35 for the one day course
Booking essential via nick.pond@lewisham.gov.uk