Showing posts with label honor oak. Show all posts
Showing posts with label honor oak. Show all posts

01 April 2023

FoHo Coins - Launching The Local Crypto-Currency


Combining the ideals of local currencies such as the Brixton Pound with innovations in blockchain technology, the Forest Hill Society is excited today to announce the launch of a new hyper local crypto-currency for Forest Hill and Honor Oak - the FoHo.

FoHo coins will be accepted at virtually all local shops with the current rate of exchange standing at 10,000 coins for a Ferfect Chicken Box. But that price is expected to pass the 1,000,000 coin mark before the end of April - showing that now is a great time to invest in FoHos (and in chicken boxes).

Locals will be able to buy FoHo via the universally popular PayByPhone parking app which can also be used to 'pay' for free parking in local car parks. Mining FoHo coins is also particularly simple, our new FoHoApp will generate 0.01 FoHo for every footstep taken along one of Forest Hill or Honor Oak’s shopping streets, or 10 FoHos if you arrive at a shop by bicycle. 
Ms A Showers, a local crypto enthusiast, said that the idea of FoHo coins was somewhere between SoSo and HoHo.

More details on how to become a FoHo miner can be found here.
* Press release issued by the Forest Hill Society on 1st April 2023. Some of the details in this article may not be valid on any other day of the year.

06 March 2023

Honor Oak and Crofton Park CPZ Consultation

Lewisham Council have been asking residents for their views on their proposals for street enhancements and CPZ across Crofton Park ward.

Details of the consultation can be viewed at , although the consultation has now closed.

The Forest Hill Society wrote outlining some of the concerns we have heard from local residents and members:

We acknowledge that the London Borough of Lewisham has declared a Climate Emergency and is keen to implement changes that will help to deliver on the commitments that were made to reduce the dependence on cars, and their toxic effects, in our area of London.

With this in mind, we would like to raise some points in response to the ongoing consultation that is currently underway mainly in the Crofton Park ward around Honor Oak Park, which is therefore relevant to the members of the wider Forest Hill Society. We are writing to you directly as the format of the consultation does not adequately take note of responses from those who are not directly resident in that area, but we feel that this is very relevant to the work of the Society.

1. We are concerned that the current structure of the consultation could create more problems for the wider area. The selection of a single, limited area between two train stations, but only covering some of the surrounding streets, risks displacing cars onto other local streets and not fixing the issue. In particular, Devonshire Road already has a traffic and a parking issue, and it is on the boundary of the area proposed for the CPZ, and so this is highly likely to be exacerbated. This may also be true on other boundary roads such as Westbourne Drive and Church Rise. We believe it would be unfair to implement any CPZ intervention without completing the consultation in the surrounding areas as well, and to implement all areas at once, if this is to go ahead.

2. We are also concerned that the goals of the Sustainable Streets initiative are incomplete. While we welcome the improvements that might arise from a reduction in cars parking on our streets, this needs to be accompanied by investments in active travel and making streets safer for walking and cycling if residents are to switch away from cars.

We recognise the benefit of better cycle parking provision, more car club bays, clear sight lines at corners and tree cover, but these cannot be done without considering the wider implications of safe cycle routes, traffic calming, reduction of rat-runs, and other interventions to increase green spaces and rain water absorption. We understand that Lewisham is considering these separately under the terms of "Healthy Neighbourhoods" but they are not included in the current consultation. This is likely to cause confusion and duplication if the investments from both programmes are not coordinated. We believe that the two programmes need to be implemented together so that residents get the benefit of better, safer and less congested streets, not simply the disincentive of parking permits and charges.

3. In practical terms, we would like to request that any contracts that are signed with third parties for parking enforcement are made fully transparent. Just like with private parking enforcement, there is the potential for a conflict of interest for a business that is rewarded for issuing fines instead of for achieving the Sustainable Streets goals, and could result in low levels of trust and satisfaction, undermining the Council's goals. It is important that the incentives of all parties are aligned, and transparent, and the revenues raised are similarly reported in a transparent way so that residents can see a direct link between this additional revenue source and the benefits in their own streets.

The Forest Hill Society will, of course, continue to engage with the consultation processes in the rest of Forest Hill in Stage 2, and may expand on these points in that process, but we hope that the above issues will be taken into account in the review of Stage 1.

27 April 2022

Information for New Residents

One Tree Hill, Honor Oak

:tada: Welcome to Lewisham

View over Honor Oak Reservoir, photo by @Mike_Hemmings

:newspaper_roll: In the Media

Horniman Museum, Forest Hill

:information_source: General Information

Photo by @clausy

8e46f14a-8119-4a2c-8233-e2e746ef13ac_large_lewisham-logo Council Services

Article first published on forum based on user contributions.

07 September 2021

Marvellous Greens & Beans

By Nicola Johnson

Opening a new business is a risk at any time. Some would say opening a business in the height of a pandemic and the middle of a lockdown is not just risky, it is crazy. Yet this is what three guys from South East London did. And over a year later, Marvellous Greens & Beans has become part of the fabric of Honor Oak Park.

Marvellous Greens & Beans are business partners Mat, Mattia and Berouz. Now in their early 30s, they are childhood friends. Mat and Mattia met as toddlers, then when Mat met Berouz at college, he introduced him to Mattia and the trio was formed.

They agree that growing up in South East London can be challenging for young men, but with their solid friendship and the values instilled in them by their families, they kept out of trouble. They fondly recollect hopping into their car for mini-adventures, driving for miles and parking up to embark on hikes through woods to find lakes and other landmarks they’d pinpointed on Google maps. Even back in those days, they would excitedly discuss going into business together, mulling over gaps in the market and Unique Selling Points, but their ideas never quite translated into actions and they each embarked on their separate careers.

Mat studied business, moving into hospitality and building a CV packed with managerial experience at London hotels. Meanwhile, Berouz worked his way up to managerial positions in the short-term rentals industry and Mattia worked for 10 years for an autism charity. Whilst on their individual career paths, Mat and Berouz started families and the trio remained firm friends. Then, in early 2020, Covid-19 struck and Mat and Berouz lost their jobs in the hard-hit hospitality sector. Although Mattia’s job was not affected, he was on hand to support his long-time friends, and the trio came together and reframed the pandemic challenges as an opportunity to finally fulfil their childhood dream of going into business together.

Passionate about great coffee, their aspiration was to open a coffee shop. But they realised the market was saturated and that it would be difficult to come up with a concept that stood out. They were attuned to the collective desire, resonant at the start of the first lockdown, to support communities and individuals facing restrictions and isolation, and the idea of a bespoke fruit and veg box delivery service was born. They then decided to open a shop too and invest in a top-notch coffee machine in a nod to their original intention.

When the unit on Brockley Rise came up, they jumped at the opportunity — they’d seen how Honor Oak had transformed over recent years and they instinctively felt it was a great community to invest in. It took just two weeks from getting the keys to open their doors, doing the entire fit-out themselves whilst being welcomed by locals passing on their daily lockdown walks, who’d heard about the shop via street WhatsApp groups and community Twitter accounts.

They quickly established themselves as a business selling good quality fruit and veg at competitive prices and, of course, great coffee. But it’s their congeniality and personal touch that makes them really stand out. When you visit Marvellous Greens & Beans, you feel amongst friends. The boys say it was important to them to place their personal values at the heart of the business, and they’ve done just this.

Touching stories abound of them surprising customers with impromptu deliveries or complementary coffees when they’ve heard that someone’s experiencing a challenging life event. Involvement in community initiatives has been a priority from the outset — they donate to FareShare, are in partnership with Lewisham Food Bank, fundraised to provide fruit to Stillness School pupils, and give out free fruit during the morning school run. Their creativity was showcased when they organised fun, interactive window displays and activities at Halloween and Christmas, to the delight of their younger customers.

Another Unique Selling Point is their fruit and veg box delivery service, which differentiates itself by its flexibility, again reflecting Marvellous Greens & Beans’ commitment to personalised customer service. They cater for weekly subscribers and one-off purchases and provide customers with as much freedom as possible — you can choose whatever you want, however you want it, with next day delivery for orders placed by 10pm.

Going into business with friends is undoubtedly challenging, but these guys have the most solid of friendships and an impressive ability to transmute challenges into growth opportunities. And growth is the name of the game for Marvellous Greens & Beans — with the opening of their second shop on Grove Vale in East Dulwich on 1 July, we ask them where they see Marvellous Greens & Beans in 5 years’ time. They say the dream would be to have at least a couple more shops, with a family of staff that embraces the trio’s ethos, whilst expanding their uniquely flexible delivery service beyond South East London and continuing to be involved in community projects.

Marvellous Greens & Beans is open weekdays from 8am to 7pm, and on weekends too. Next-day delivery is standard for all orders placed by 10pm.

72 Brockley Rise, SE23 1LN
Twitter: @MarvellousBeans

18 September 2020

The Great Big SE4 and SE23 Raffle

Back in April, when we were under serious lockdown, and virtually all local shops were shut, a couple of local ladies, Amanda Pearce and Nicola Johnson, had the excellent idea to run an online raffle: It would generate income for local business and offer prizes for people to look forward to after lockdown.

In total they sold over £17,000-worth of tickets, with all the money invested in future prizes from local businesses. 

As well as generating income for local independent businesses, it was a great reminder of all the wonderful independent shops in Forest Hill, Honor Oak, Crofton Park and Brockley. With hundreds of people entering the raffle to win random prizes, it was heart-warming to see such community spirit during the toughest of times.

Daily publicity for these businesses occurred via social media and provided information about which shops were gradually able to reopen.

Sadly, not all shops have been able to continue after lockdown, and we have seen a few businesses, such as Rob’s Barbers, not reopening since lockdown, and the Dartmouth Arms closing its doors. 

The raffle, and the shop closures, are an important reminder that local independent businesses only survive if we use them.

Full disclosure: I won a voucher for drinks at Subplot 57, the bar underneath Leaf & Groove that has a newly opened garden space.

18 April 2019

Planning Application: Duncombe Hill Green

There has been a planning application for 7 two-bedroom flats on the green space at the junction of Duncombe Hill and Brockley Rise. You can read the full details of the application on Lewisham's website.

The Forest Hill Society has written to object to this planning application with concerns about:

  • Loss of Green Space
  • Impact on trees with Tree Preservation Orders in place
  • Poor quality of design and over-development

The full details of our objection can be viewed here.

01 September 2018

History walk through One Tree Hill - 23rd September

Andrew Orford and Alona Sheridan will lead us on a history walk through One Tree Hill on Sunday 23rd September, 2:30pm. Meet at Honor Oak Park station.

11 September 2017

Walters Way: 30th Anniversary

This year Walters Way in Honor Oak Park is celebrating its 30th anniversary — with a new book and a special Open House event.  Alice Grahame, author and resident tells us a bit more about these unusual houses.

If you have ever explored the Honor Oak area you may have seen the unusual box-like half-timbered houses that make up the Segal self-build estates. They are the result of an innovative housing experiment in the late 1970s and early '80s that was supported by Lewisham Council and led by pioneering, German-born architect Walter Segal. The scheme gave ordinary people from the council’s waiting list the chance to build their own homes using a technique designed by Segal.

The self-builders spent around 18 months building, mostly working evenings and weekends. Instead of bricks and mortar the houses were made from timber, panels and bolts — materials that were easy for novices to work with. The resulting homes were light and airy, and raised above the ground on stilts. The two most famous streets were named after their architect: Walters Way and Segal Close.

As a Segal resident myself, I was fascinated by the stories behind the houses. I did not build my own house; rather, I bought it from the original builder, who provided intriguing tales about the circumstances that made the scheme possible and about the experiences of the builders.

I set out to find out more and this resulted in a book: Walters Way and Segal Close, The Architect Walter Segal and London's Self-Build Communities, produced with Segal Close resident and photographer Taran Wilkhu. For the book we spoke to people who remembered working with Segal on the self-build projects. We included current residents, who explained what the houses were like to live in and about the strong community spirit. The book is now available in bookshops and online.
We hope that this book will generate interest in Segal and encourage people to consider self-build as a housing option. Self-build is sometimes pitched as a possible solution to London’s housing shortage. While the government has committed to enabling more self-build homes, it continues to make up a far smaller proportion of the housing stock than in other European countries.

One of the direct legacies of Walters Way is the Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS), a new community self-build project set up by Kareem Dayes, who is the son of one of the families who built a house on Walters Way. RUSS has been working with Lewisham Council to create 33 homes on a vacant site in Ladywell, and they  are currently crowdfunding to build a community space in the Segal self-build style. RUSS is a membership organisation and is keen for more people to get involved.

Walter Segal never saw the Walters Way scheme finished, as he died in 1985, two years before it was completed in 1987. This year we are celebrating 30 years since Walters Way was finished. We are having a special London Open House event on Sunday, 17th September. Both Walters Way and Segal Close will be open to the public, who will have the chance to see inside some of these unusual buildings. There will also be representatives of RUSS on hand to discuss their new self-build project and future plans for community self-build.

As part of London Open House on Sunday 17 September, Segal Close is open in the morning and Walters Way is open in the afternoon.
“Walters Way and Segal Close: The Architect Walter Segal and London's Self-Build Communities”, published by Park Books
Ladywell Self-Build Community Space Crowdfunder —
Rural Urban Synthesis Society —

Photo: Taran Wilkhu

02 July 2017

Garthorne Road Family Afternoon

Family fun on Monday 10th July from 3:30pm at Garthorne Road Nature Reserve

02 March 2016

In Search of the Lost Stations of Forest Hill

By Alistair Dey

One of the best things to have happened to Forest Hill in recent years was the opening of the London Overground line in May 2010. This has provided more travel options, opened up new places north of the river and attracted more passengers. The London Overground and National Rail go through the two stations in SE23 – Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park. Forest Hill Station, which opened in 1839, was originally known until 1845 as Dartmouth Arms after the nearby public house which still exists (though not in the original building) a few doors up from the station at 7 Dartmouth Road.
But there used to be two other railway stations in Forest Hill – Lordship Lane and Honor Oak stations. They were both on the now closed Crystal Palace High Level Line. Steve Grindlay’s article on this Line in the Summer 2014 (Issue 28) of the Forest Hill Society Newsletter gives information on the Line and the stations.

Suffice to say here that the two lost stations were both built in the 1860s during the heyday of railway expansion, partly to carry visitors to the Crystal Place -  which had been relocated from Hyde Park to Sydenham in 1854. The two stations were both closed on 20 September 1954, several years before the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. It seems that the High Level Line was never quite as successful as hoped. The destruction of the Crystal Palace in the fire of 1936 and the damage and disruption caused by the Second World War were blows which sealed the eventual demise of the Line and the stations.

Lordship Lane Station

With Steve’s article in my rucksack, I set off to locate the two stations. The former Lordship Lane station was located just to the west of Sydenham Hill, and south of London Road, where Sydenham Hill meets London Road. This is the point where London Road becomes Lordship Lane at the junction with Wood Vale, virtually opposite the blue sign that says Welcome to Lewisham. The streets which now occupy the former station are Lapse Wood Walk and North Crofts, Sydenham Hill which both have SE23 post codes but are in the Borough of Southwark, not Lewisham.

In his article Steve states that nothing, apart from sections of the embankment, now survives. This is true and if you did not know a station had been there I doubt you would know that the embankment was once part of a railway station and line. The Green Chain Walk now rather incongruously weaves through the houses and apartment blocks here.

Lordship Lane is the station which was famously painted by Camille Pissarro in 1871 from his viewpoint on the railway bridge which still exists in nearby Sydenham Hill Woods (see above). The painting is commonly known as “Lordship Lane Station, Dulwich” and I have also been to an exhibition where it was described (presumably mistakenly) as “Lordship Lane Station, Upper Norwood” (which is where Pissarro lived). These possibly reflect that in 1871 Forest Hill was not yet a widely recognised district of London.

Honor Oak Station (without the Park)

Wood Vale would once have been one of the best served roads in London for railway stations. With Lordship Lane station at its southern end, it also had Honor Oak station at its northern end. Honor Oak station was the next station from Lordship Lane on the Crystal Palace High Level Line going towards London. The line went over London Road on a bridge and Honor Oak station was located just to the east of Wood Vale and between it and the flat part of Canonbie Road where they meet Forest Hill Road, opposite Brenchley Gardens. No trace of the station remains, although as with Lordship Lane station, there are some traces to be seen (with a little imagination perhaps) of the railway embankment in Buckley Close and the Wood Vale Estate. Apparently, the old station master’s house remains nearby on Canonbie Road.

So nothing much remains to be seen of the two lost railway stations on the western edge of Forest Hill but it was interesting to explore and see, as far as possible, exactly where they were and what they are now.

17 June 2014

Honor Oak Pub to Reopen

Reports on Twitter confirm that the Honor Oak Pub (corner of Brockley Rise and St Germans Road) will be reopening as a Gastropub in August this year.

Last year the Forest Hill Society successfully applied to Lewisham Council to have this pub listed as an Asset of Community Value. We believe this has helped ensure it's survival as a pub, after rumours were received of interest from a supermarket chain.

This news comes hot on the heals of news that Sainsbury's are no longer interested in taking over the Windmill pub in Kirkdale. The Sydenham Society are taking the lead in ensuring the best use is made of this Asset of Community Value in SE26.

20 March 2014

Response to Proposed Crofton Park and Honor Oak Neighbourhood Plan Area and Forum

Below is the text of the Forest Hill Society submission regarding the Proposed Crofton Park and Honor Oak Neighbourhood Plan Area. Further details of the proposed forum and boundaries can be viewed on Lewisham council website.

The Forest Hill Society is the local amenity society for the SE23 postcode area which is run by the community for the community and has over 400 members.  It works to make the whole of Forest Hill 'an even better place to live' in a range of ways, including through involvement in the planning system, transport issues, environmental improvements, community events and working with a range of other groups and organisations.  The SE23 postcode area includes the neighbourhood of Honor Oak Park and we have many members that live in this part of the area.

Over the past 3 years the Forest Hill Society have been involved in various workshops, discussions and ideas around neighbourhood planning in SE23 and nearby, including meeting with the Council.  Our current approach is to work positively on ideas for improving key parts of the area that need it most and to see whether a neighbourhood plan is the effective way of achieving change on a case-by-case basis.  The Forest Hill Society is positive about the potential of neighbourhood planning and would like to support and work with any group or community within or around SE23 looking to improve their area. 

In relation to the current applications for the Neighbourhood Plan boundary and Neighbourhood Forum we have a number of concerns and we to object to both applications as they stand at the moment.


We are concerned that the boundary does not represent a neighbourhood as it actually functions and excludes many residents who rely on and use key parts of the planned area.  As the proposed area is currently set out, and taken together with the proposed constitution which states that the neighbourhood plan is for the benefit of the inhabitants of the area, this would mean that many people who associate with either Crofton Park or more particularly Honor Oak Park but who do not live in Crofton Park Ward would be excluded both from membership of the forum and more importantly from voting in a future referendum.

"Membership of the Forum is open to those who live or work in Crofton Park Ward and to the area's elected representatives."

In this case the proposed NP boundary reflects the Ward Boundary for Crofton Park Ward.  There is no reason for the Neighbourhood Plan to be this boundary as within Metropolitan areas there are no set rules for how a NP boundary should be set.  We can see that boundaries need to be somewhere but in order to be effective, both in their preparation and their ratification these should reflect functional neighbourhoods or communities.

Our particular concern in this case is that the NP boundary does not reflect the neighbourhood or community of Honor Oak Park as it only includes land to the east of the railway line and not the other half of this community to the west.  This is a problem because one of the key areas that could really benefit from the potential opportunities that neighbourhood planning could secure is Honor Oak Park and the important local shopping centre that is located along this road.  As it stands the boundary would mean that the many residents of Honor Oak that do not live within Crofton Park ward would not be able to influence, contribute to or vote on key changes that might be proposed through the neighbourhood plan for this area.

A key open space (Honor Oak recreation ground) that is used principally by residents of Honor Oak Park is also excluded from the NP boundary.  Other parts of Honor Oak Park e.g. One Tree Hill, are also closely associated with this area but we can see that they also have a wider significance.

There is also a concern that the southern part of the proposed Neighbourhood plan boundary may be functionally part of Forest Hill rather than Honor Oak Park.

At a recent Crofton Park Ward Assembly meeting we understand that residents who did not live within the ward (but who live very close to the boundary) were not allowed to be part of the discussion about the proposed Neighbourhood plan even though they had come along specifically to find out more about it.   It would therefore seem that the NP boundary being following Ward boundaries might actually create more problems than it solves and end up marginalizing residents who would be impacted on by the plan but who don't live within the identified area.

It is interesting to contrast this approach to the NP boundary and forum application with that for Grove Park which is also on your website and which does appear to have covered these issues in some detail.

We would suggest that as an authority it may also be worth Lewisham considering separating the approval of an NP boundary with that of the neighbourhood forum.  This is the approach being taken in at least one other London Borough (Westminster) and it allows the boundary application and debate to focus on whether it covers a functional neighbourhood, before the application is considered about whether the proposed forum membership and constitution is inclusive and appropriate in those specific circumstances and for the approved boundary.

As part of our consideration of the NP proposals for Honor Oak Park and Crofton Park we have spoken with a number of FHS members and residents who live within the proposed NP area and nearby.  It appears to us that this concern about the boundary is one shared by quite a number of local people.


We are concerned about the wording of the proposed constitution in that it only includes those that live and work in the area and does not take account of the fact that the NP boundary does not reflect a functional neighbourhood and that it is in a complex urban area of overlapping places and functions.  The Grove Park application does at least appear to have considered these issues.

It is not clear how the NP Forum intend to include, work with and take into consideration the views and contributions of people living nearby the NP area and who will rely on, use and feel part of key centres within the NP area on a day to day basis (principally Honor Oak Park local centre).  To some extent this will always be an issue in high density urban areas but is a particular problem in this case because the NP area does not accurately reflect one or more functional neighbourhoods.  

We are aware that there is a duty to consult with neighbouring groups and statutory consultees as part of the regulation 14 consultation set out in the Neighbourhood planning regulations. However, this stage of consultation is too late for any meaningful opportunity for neighbours to influence the vision and objectives of the plan as it is only undertaken once a plan is written and ready to be consulted on.  It is also unlikely that neighbouring residents would be consulted at this stage as the focus is really on neigbouring authorities and organisations.  

In parished areas outside of major cities it may well be appropriate to focus the neighbourhood forum on only those who live or work in the Parish as there is more likely to be lower density, rural or peripheral areas around key areas of focus, such as towns or villages or local centres.  However, in urban areas such as this, with a number of overlapping communities it is important to both consider and reflect how people relate to and use an area, as well as take account of this 'overlap' and propose how to address it in the constitution of the neighbourhood forum.

Unfortunately we understand that whilst the draft constitution says lots of positive things about working with local groups and being inclusive we have concerns that this may not reflect the intention of the some of those in the group when it comes to including groups who operate partially within and also outside of Crofton Park Ward (such as the Forest Hill Society).  We are concerned that any neighbourhood forum needs to be inclusive of individuals and groups who are wholly within the neighbourhood area and also those who operate partially within it too, such as the Forest Hill Society, or who live nearby. 

We would ideally like some assurances, if this application is approved, that the Forest Hill Society, as a key civic group and local stakeholder with members in a large part of the proposed NP area would be able to contribute to the plan and to work collaboratively with the forum.  We think that best way to achieve this is if the Forest Hill Society and other groups are listed in the proposed constitution of the Forum as one of a number of groups that will be consulted with and engaged with as the plan develops, and ideally be involved in Forum meetings.   We would be happy to look to identify Forest Hill Society representatives who are also residents within or nearby to the Neighbourhood Plan area.

We would welcome the opportunity to engage with this forum and have previously made some attempts to do so.  We very much want to work with any Neighbourhood Forum in the development of a Neighbourhood Plan that serves local people and seeks to improve an area.  We believe the spirit of Neighbourhood planning should be about inclusion, collaboration, and a best practice approach to working community issues. We do not believe it should be about the idea of perceived 'exclusive' control of an area by one group.

We hope that the concerns we have about the current proposals are clear to you in this letter. We would be very happy to discuss these with you further if this would be helpful.

15 February 2014

February Newsletter: Pizza Restaurant adds New Flavour to the Old Bank

The Old Bank site on Honor Oak high street has been un-utilised for a number of years and the last potential opening was an application by Dominos Pizza to convert the site into a takeaway and delivery shop. The Forest Hill Society in unison with local residents campaigned to stop the planning application. Our main reason for objecting was the poor use of a prime location which we felt should be a retail unit.

There were also concerns around parking and the noise generated by bikes serving the shop during peak hours. There were over 300 objections to the application and thankfully the Domino’s application was rejected. Although Domino’s went onto appeal this decision, through a series of demonstrations outside the restaurant, Dominos’ remained unsuccessful.

Residents had nothing against takeaways but we felt sure that this key location would be better placed as a restaurant rather than a hub for a take way delivery service.

Indeed we are delighted to report that an independent pizza restaurant/cafe called SODO has now opened on the site. This is exactly the outcome we wanted, even if it took three years for it to happen! It provides a better future for Honor Oak with a selection of top quality restaurants in a small area of South East London.

SODO announced ‘SO DOUGH’ (as in sour-dough, the traditional pizza base) opened in early February. This is the third venture from SODO, the original is in Clapton and there is also a concession at The George & Vulture pub in Hoxton. The whole ethos is based around offering the best and freshest pizza, working with local suppliers and creating a fun experience for the customer.

At University, Dan Birch the founding director worked in a kitchen and hated the fact that so much was processed and deep fried. He came across somewhere selling pizza and loved the freshness and theatre of it and this is what restaurant is all about; the pizzas are made on order in front of the customers and the kitchen is an integral part of the experience.

They came across The Old Bank site very much by accident although they were actively hunting for new sites across London. They thought the building was ‘amazing’ and immediately fell in love with it describing it as ‘a big old building with bags of character’. Dan and his team have renovated the majority of the existing features including fireplaces, brick walls and old tiles and have incorporated them into the d├ęcor. They have created an interior that’s in harmony with the building and which brings to life the period features that remained hidden for many years.

In addition to the restaurant, there is a bar with seating and space for between five and seven people. The idea is that people can just pop in for a drink or actually eat at the bar, much like you might eat tapas in Spain. If you don’t fancy eating out, you can call the restaurant for a pizza and then pick it up between five and ten minutes later. The pizzas only take a minute in the oven so this is fast (and fresh) food at it’s best! At a maximum, the take away process may take twenty minutes but that’s only to be expected on a packed out Saturday night.

The most popular pizza at the moment is called the ‘Winter Goat’. This consists of mozzarella, tomato, caramelised onions, goat’s cheese, olives and walnuts. Prices range from between £6 and £11 depending on the toppings but the average price is £8/£9. All the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced and indeed they are currently looking for local suppliers in the area.

Dan is not from SE23 so I asked what he has come to like about the area and his answer was ‘the community’ which will not surprise us Forest Hilliers! He says the reception has been really supportive and that people could not wait for them to open.

It’s clear that SODO will be a great success if his passion for freshly made pizza and the support of the local community is anything to go by. The restaurant is now open, three days a week between 12pm – 11pm and once everything is fully up and running, they plan to open six days a week.

07 February 2014

Proposed Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park Neighbourhood Forum

Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park

A local Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park community group has submitted two applications to the Council:
  1. to become an officially designated neighbourhood forum called Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park neighbourhood forum, and
  2. to designate a geographical area as an officially recognised neighbourhood area.

The council would like to hear your views on the proposals, especially  including feedback on the following issues:
  • Does the proposed neighbourhood area boundary shown on the submitted map align with your own understanding of the local neighbourhood? and
  • Do you agree with the purpose and objectives of the proposed neighbourhood forum as set out in the forum’s constitution?

Please email all comments on neighbourhood planning applications along with your full name and address to:

14 November 2013

Honor Oak Pub to reopen in March 2014 (Updated)

East London Lines is reporting that the Honor Oak pub, on Brockley Rise, will reopen in March 2014.

A statement from Punch Taverns said: "With the Honor Oak currently being closed for trade, we are aware that there may be some concern regarding the future of the pub. We can re-assure the community that we see the pub very much part of the long term future of Punch Taverns and we are planning a £350,000 investment and refurbishment beginning in January with a gala reopening in mid March."

After closing in May, The Honor Oak was the subject of a campaign by the Forest Hill Society to turn the business into a co-operative pub. The co-operative would have required Punch Taverns to consult the group on any sale, giving the community the option to take over the pub before it could be sold to another buyer.

Richard Hibbert, the chairman at the Forest Hill Society, said: “That’s excellent news. A much-loved pub by the locals and one that was very good at one stage. I’m sure it will have a bright future.”
Update: The Forest Hill Society has received confirmation from Lewisham Council that on 13th November 2013 the Honor Oak Pub was added to the council's list of assets of community value.

Now that the property is included on the Council’s list of assets of community value, if the Owner subsequently decides to enter into a relevant disposal of it, it will be required to notify the Council in writing under Section 95(2) of the Act. For the meaning of “relevant disposal” and for when a relevant disposal is entered into, please see Section 96 of the Act.

On receiving notice of a relevant disposal, the Council will then update the entry in the list for the property to reveal that notice has been received, give written notice to the Forest Hill Society (as the community nominee who originally nominated the property to go on the list) and will also publicise the proposed disposal in the locality. 

03 October 2013

The Honor Oak

The Honor Oak on St German's Road was one of Forest Hill's better pubs until recently. Unfortunately, the last tenants ran the pub into the ground and have allegedly stripped it bare - including removing all the radiators.

After being approached by several members of the Society who were concerned that The Honor Oak might follow the same fate as The Windmill and The Forest Hill Hotel and be converted into flats or a mini-supermarket, we recently applied for the Honor Oak to be listed as a community asset.

If approved, then should Punch Taverns decide to sell the property, the community will be offered the right to buy the building. If you'd like to get involved and hear about the journey, please join the mailing list at

The table below summarises the ‘assets of community value’ nominating and bidding process in four simple stages.

Stage one: Identify an asset for nomination
If an eligible community or voluntary group thinks that a local asset meets the definition of an ‘asset of community value’ they can fill in an application form and ask the Council to list the property as an ‘asset of community value’. If the nomination meets the relevant criteria and is approved by the Council, the asset will be included on the list. A list will also be compiled for any unsuccessful nominations that do not meet the criteria.

Stage 2: The owner wants to sell their asset
If the owner wants to sell their asset they must notify the Council, which will then notify the community group that nominated the asset and publicise the proposed sale to the wider community. If within six weeks of informing the Council of their intention to sell their asset an eligible community interest group does not come forward, the owner is free to sell their asset for a period of eighteen months from the date that they notified the Council of their intention to sell the asset.

Step 3: A designated community group wants to bid for the asset
If an eligible community interest group does express an interest in bidding for the asset, this group or groups will be granted extra time to prepare a business plan and gather the finance needed to purchase the asset. All in all, the time-frame for groups to put together their bids is six months starting from the time the asset owner informs the Council of their intention to sell the asset.

Step 4: The point at which the asset is to be sold
The six month window of opportunity is only for eligible community interest groups to put their business plans together and gather necessary funding. Once the six month window has expired, the asset owner is free to sell their property to who they want. They are under no obligation to sell the asset to any eligible community interest group or groups who bid to purchase the asset.

25 April 2013

An Eventful Time

Potting Up for the Edible High Road
Saturday 27 April, 10.00am, Devonshire Road Nature Reserve
Potting up and decorating of the fruit trees. Please come along if you can lend a hand potting up to 70 trees prior to the official launch of the Edible High Road in Forest Hill and Honor Oak.
Organised by Forest Hill Society and Lewisham Gardens

Open day at Dacres Road Nature Reserve
Saturday 27 April, 12-3pm, entrance via Catling Close, off Dacres Road SE23
As Dacres Wood Nature reserve is a bit of a hidden gem, there's a plan to have regular open days on the last Saturday of every month from spring to autumn. The next one is this Saturday. There will be refreshments and tours of the reserve, and opportunities for those visitors coming with sturdy gloves and secateurs to help with some conservation work.
Organised by Friends of Dacres Wood

Sydenham Market - street food, craft & vintage
Sunday 28 April, 10am-4pm, Sydenham Station Approach
Organised by SEE3

Forest Hill Food Fair
Sunday 5 May, 11am-3pm, Forest Hill Station
A Forest Hill Society Event

Syd Soc event: visit to the Brunel Museum & Thames Tunnel, Rotherhithe
Friday 17 May, 10am
The Brunel Museum in historic Rotherhithe is directly above the Thames Tunnel which opened in 1843. We'll be taking part in a one-hour tour of the tunnel, followed by a visit to the museum and lunch at the nearby Mayflower pub. The cost of the visit is £6, payable in advance. To book your place and arrange payment, please email jacquelinealdridge [at]
A Sydenham Society Event

Edible High Road Launch Day
Saturday 18 May, 1pm, Forest Hill Station
Official launch of the Edible High Road, with a celebrity guest!
More details at
Organised by Forest Hill Society and Lewisham Gardens

14 March 2013

Roaring Hot!

Just a hop away from Forest Hill on the train - or a short but lovely walk via the spectacular outlook from One Tree Hill - Honor Oak Park's high street offers another clutch of independent shops, coffee shops and restaurants to explore.

We moved to Forest Hill just over a year ago.  Busy repainting what felt like every wall in the house,  we hadn’t  ventured 'over the hill' very many times. But with a New Year's resolution to put down the paint brush and get out more, a dark Saturday evening in January seemed the perfect moment to try out Babur - especially with the news that it had recently been awarded Zagat 2013 London 'Best Indian Restaurant'.

On arriving, the first surprise was finding a tiger on the roof of a restaurant in Brockley Rise. (Babur is derived from the Urdu word 'babr' meaning 'tiger', Wikipedia tells me, so a week after our visit, this brilliantly over-the-top ornament makes sense!) The surprises continue inside - this is much more than your ordinary Indian restaurant. Bare brick walls, polished walnut tables,  intriguing art - a relaxed, stylish and welcoming place.

We're offered an inventive list of cocktails to kick off our evening. And the menu is pleasingly brief - no compendium of 1001 curries - instead, an intriguing range of dishes which all have something a little different or unusual about them, from South Indian style mussels in a coconut milk, mustard seed and curry leaf broth or tamarind-glazed quail breast as starters, to steamed spice crusted shoulder of lamb (allegedly marinated for 100 hours!) or pan seared bream with black mangosteen, coconut and Malabari masala.

There’s a great choice of vegetarian dishes too. And with main courses, there's a suggestion of the wine that will best accompany your food. It's all incredibly well thought through - the only disappointment of our meal is the clove-smoked buffalo curry, one of the mains, which seems rather heavy handed on the cloves to the exclusion of everything else. We will know for next time – and there definitely will be a next time - Babur isn't the cheapest evening out, but it feels really special, the food is excellent, and the service is friendly and attentive.

Sitting at our table, I found myself already plotting who I could bring back, and when. But before that I need to decide what's next on my list - Le Querce, apparently another of the star restaurants in Honor Oak, The Sylvan Post , Dartmouth Arms or Canvas & Cream in Forest Hill, That’s Amore in Kirkdale, or Trattoria Raffaele in Sydenham—so much choice!

If our evening at Babur is anything to go by, some great nights out at local restaurants and pubs lie ahead.
Review by Catherine Wood

12 June 2012

Newsletter: Tube Could Come to SE23 (Again)

Following an earlier article on a possible DLR connection Michael Abrahams gives our views on how we could be connected to the Bakerloo line.

The first option for the Bakerloo Line is the Honor Oak Park route. This would be underground as far as Catford Bridge and then join the line at Lower Sydenham. This route has the added benefit of adding new stations in areas with relatively poor train connections (Burgess Park and Peckham Rye Common).

While this could come into conflict with the DLR plans, this is one of our favourites and would relieve pressure on our increasingly crowded existing services.

Option 2 is a less favoured Tulse Hill route.

Option 3 is the preferred route for Lewisham Council. It provides a new underground route to Lewisham from where it would follow the Hayes Line via Catford. It is possible that as part of this route there could be an interchange with New Cross Gate and a new station at Bell Green, so this route could be adjusted to be of benefit to Forest Hill residents.

There are two further routes to which we would like to see consideration given. A route via Crofton Park would be the shortest tunnelling option, extending the Bakerloo line to south of Camberwell, where it would join the existing train line from Denmark Hill, via Peckham Rye, Nunhead, and Crofton Park, to Catford. This would make better use of the Crofton Park line, and allow for a possible extension to Bellingham and Bromley North.

A reliable tube service from Crofton Park would reduce demand at Honor Oak Park and Brockley, which would help slightly with the capacity. Unfortunately an interchange station between the Forest Hill line and the Crofton Park (Bakerloo) line is unlikely.

A fifth option could be best for us. This would loosely follow the 176 route from Elephant & Castle, stopping at Camberwell, Denmark Hill, East Dulwich, Barry Road (either end), Forest Hill, and Bell Green (and possibly beyond). Here it could interchange with the DLR line allowing both lines to go south of Catford without using the same track. This option provides the most interchange options of all routes. It has the potential to make more difference in journey times and options for the largest number of South East Londoners, relieving congestion both on our existing train line and buses. It surely makes sense in terms of regeneration. On the downside the length of tunnelling could be prohibitive.

The DLR and the Bakerloo extensions will significantly improve public transport in South East London. This is a discussion that will continue – please tell TfL and the Society what you think!