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

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.

08 November 2021

Southern Rail Services – London Bridge to Victoria service update

 Plan to run service only during rush hours and at weekends

During lockdown, Southern services on the “loop line” between London Bridge and Victoria were suspended, leaving only two Southern trains per hour running between London Bridge and East Croydon. There was an expectation that the service would return to normal this autumn. But when the new Southern timetable was released two months ago, the loop line service began operating an intermittent service at weekends only.
A meeting with Southern to discuss the situation was convened last week with our local MP Ellie Reeves and the Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies. Present at the meeting from Southern were Olivia Barlow - Stakeholder Manager; Chris Fowler- Customer Services Director and Paul Codd - Stakeholder Manager for timetables.
The good news is that Southern intend to reintroduce services between London Bridge and Victoria on 4th January. However, this will only be a partial service, running throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday but only during rush hours on weekdays (7.30-9.30am and 4.30-6.30pm).
Train occupancy levels (which Southern presented at the meeting) show that passenger numbers remain stubbornly under 60% of pre-Covid levels. Southern also reported that they were suffering from significant staff shortages due to Covid-affected drivers having to isolate, and this is the main issue for reduced service, rather than budgetary constraints or train occupancy rates.
In the meantime, Southern’s advice is to travel to Norwood Junction and change there for trains to Victoria.

22 March 2021

Oh, Christmas Tree

By Jason Kee

The festive celebrations may have been muted this past Christmas, but the SE23 (and SE4) communities enjoyed some great festive cheer with this season’s Christmas trees.

The tree decorating in Forest Hill outside WHSmith, organised through the Forest Hill Society, reached new heights in 2020 in both stature and decoration. For the second year in a row, local resident Lee Jackson, of design firm Jackson Morgenstern, designed and decorated the tree creating a flourish of seasonal reds, purples and golds.

However, there was little danger of a repeat of the great Forest Hill Hat Caper of 2019. This time, in the place of a Santa hat, three owls topped the tree and kept a wise vigil over Dartmouth and London Roads and the station’s forecourt. The owls were named “Hoot, Ann and Nanny” through a Twitter poll-beating stiff competition from “Blythe, Mayow, Horniman”, “Owly, McOwl, Face” and “Goldie, Frankie, Mervyn”.

The Forest Hill tree was big this season, but it was surpassed in height by a beautiful specimen on Perry Vale in the ‘Village’. Organised by councillors for Perry Vale ward, the tree’s decorations were kept simple and elegant, with strings of white lights. 

Christmas trees also appeared by Honor Oak Park and Crofton Park stations, and were graciously donated by Crofton Park’s Clickmas Trees. These trees were a real community effort with decorations and lighting provided by local residents themselves. Some may have noted that the HOP tree was topped by a mischievous little elf that had its own Twitter account. @HonorOakElf kept the Twitter followers among us amused with some friendly banter with @tweet_owls, a Twitter account manned by Hoot, Ann and Nanny themselves. 

Despite the absence of lighting ceremonies or carol singing this year, the Christmas trees of SE23 and SE4 brought great joy to kids and adults alike. Thank you to everyone involved in organising these trees during a very difficult time for the community. 

Forest Hill
Image: © Jackson Morgenstern Ltd
Crofton Park
Image: © Jane Martin
Perry Vale
Image: ©    
Honor Oak
Image: © Nicola Johnson

01 April 2017

Honor Oak Park Needs U

Over the last few years one of the primary objectives of the Forest Hill Society has been to improve spelling and grammar in the local community. So we are delighted to announce that TfL has agreed that Honor Oak Park station will be renamed Honour Oak Park from 1st April 2018. We are now calling on Lewisham Council to act in the same way and rename Honor Oak Road and Honor Oak Park in line with the correct British spelling.

Initially there were some locals who expressed reservations at the addition of the U to Honour Oak, pointing out that this was an accepted spelling in the time that the first Queen Elizabeth is said to have visited the site. However, when concerns were raised in the Neighbourhood forum it was agreed that nobody wanted to attend a Neighborhood Forum, so the Us had it!

Parents at Fairlawn school have been quick to praise the move as they are fed up of trying to explain to their children why they are expected to spell correctly, when all the road signs are wrong.

And although most residents in Honour Oak and Forest Hill welcome this decision, over in Dullitch Village people are said to be mildly irritated.

The next stage in our campaign for better spelling will focus on London Road. Energie Gym might just about pass, but Ferfect Chicken is beyond the bucket.

If you have any comments on this proposal you should contact or view our detailed plans for improving the railway at

22 March 2017

A Recent History of Forest Hill Pubs

by Alistair Dey

When I came to live in Forest Hill in the early 1980s there were 14 pubs in the SE23 post code. I know this as I have a book from that time published by the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) entitled ‘Real Ale in South London’, which lists and briefly describes these pubs. Despite the nationwide demise of many pubs in recent years, Forest Hill has been less hard-hit than many other areas. There are now 13 pubs in SE23 — we have lost three and gained two pubs since the early ’80s.

The first of the three pubs which closed was Tyrols at 149 Stanstead Road, on the corner of Wastdale Road. This big pub was previously known as the Swiss Cottage and in the 1980s was a disco pub at weekends, which is when I occasionally visited it. The pub was demolished in 1990 and an apartment block now stands in its place.

The next to close was the Moore Park Hotel on Wood Vale, at the far western edge of SE23. This is the only pub of the 14 in which I never had a drink. It was closed in the early 2000s, and is also now a block of flats. The most recent one to close, in about 2010, was the Forest Hill Hotel, located in the quiet part of Stanstead Road on the way to Travis Perkins and Shannons. It is now a rather attractive block of flats.

The two pubs which we have gained are: The Capitol on London Road, which opened in April 2001 and, as many people know, was formerly a cinema, then a bingo hall; and the Sylvan Post on Dartmouth Road, which opened a couple of years ago in the former 1960s post office and retains many features of the original building. We could even say SE23 has 14 pubs if one includes the Perry Vale (‘Kitchen and Bar’), which opened in June 2015. This excellent establishment is listed in CAMRA’s What Pub website but I do not classify it as a pub — although there is perhaps a blurring of the lines now between pubs, bistros and bars. Similarly, in Honor Oak, the Two Spoons and Donde are bars as well as restaurants. So perhaps we even have 16 pubs/bars in SE23.

Of the other eleven pubs, I would say that the theme has been improvement over the years. Several have been extensively refurbished and some much improved since the 1980s. In this latter category, I would include:
  • All Inn One on Perry Vale, which was occasionally a bit rough in my early years in Forest Hill (though that did not prevent it from being my main local), but is excellent now.
  • The Dartmouth Arms on Dartmouth Road, which is pleasant and serves fine food now, unlike in the 1980s.
  • The Chandos on Brockley Rise, which was refurbished and reopened in September 2016 and is now (but was not always) a lovely pub
  • The Honor Oak on St German’s Road, which was extensively refurbished in 2006, 2014 and most recently in 2017.

Other pubs which were good in the 1980s and are still fine now are: the Prince of Wales on Perry Rise, which was my other main local back then and was renovated in 2013; The Signal on Devonshire Road, opposite Forest Hill station; The Bird in Hand on Dartmouth Road; The Hill, further up Dartmouth Road; and the Railway Telegraph on the corner of Sunderland and Stanstead Roads.

The remaining two pubs are ‘outlying’ ones, about which I have least knowledge: the General Napier on Bovill Road, Honor Oak Park and the Blythe Hill Tavern on Stanstead Road, almost in Catford. Both are traditional pubs serving the local community and are assets to the local area. The Blythe Hill Tavern has won several awards from CAMRA.

Of the 13 pubs in SE23, a few have changed their name in the last couple of decades: the All Inn One, which was previously known as the Foresters Arms; The Signal, which was the Pie & Kilderkin in the 1980s, then The Hobgoblin, and then The Hob, before becoming The Signal; The Hill, which was previously The Malt Shovel then Question Bar; The Honor Oak, which was previously known as the St Germain’s Hotel; and even the Chandos, which was formerly known as the Chandos Hotel.

Finally, of the 13 pubs, seven are located ‘centrally’, i.e. in or very near Forest Hill railway station; three are in or near Honor Oak Park; one, the Railway Telegraph is a bit further out; and two, the Prince of Wales and The Blythe Hill Tavern, are on the fringes of the SE23 post code. All of them deserve to be cherished.

11 December 2014

Improvements to Rail Replacement Bus Services

Over the Christmas period there will be massive disruption to train services through Forest Hill.

London Bridge station will not be serviced by Southern trains from 20th December until 4th January.
Overground will be operating an increased service with at least 4 extra trains per hour operating to/from Crystal Palace, rather than New Cross. Southern tickets will be valid on suitable Overground routes.

No services will operate through Forest Hill between Thursday 25th and Sunday 28th December.

On 27th and 28th December there will be a replacement bus service operated by Southern to London Bridge. As a result of lobbying by Forest Hill Society this replacement bus service will be increased from 4 buses per hour to 10 buses per hour (6 buses to/from London Bridge and an additional 4 to/from New Cross Gate). LOROL are providing an additional bus service between New Cross Gate / New Cross and Canada Water for passengers for the Jubilee Line.

However, passengers from Forest Hill/Honor Oak Park should consider if other routes would be better for them. There are frequent bus services to Waterloo on the 176 and 172, to Blackfriars on the 63, and the Catford Bridge, Catford and Crofton Park train services should be running a normal service.

More advice from TfL regarding the December works can be found at:

Beyond this, from 12th January 2015, there will be no SouthEastern services calling at London Bridge (they will run 'fast' to/from Waterloo East). Interchange at London Bridge to the Jubilee line will be possible for journeys to Waterloo, Southwark, and Charing Cross. We are awaiting confirmation regarding changing at Canada Water on Southern tickets for access to these stations (at present this would not appear to be a permitted route, but will they really stop us?)

03 November 2014

HopCroft Neighbourhood Forum: First Meeting

Established in July 2014, the Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park Neighbourhood Forum (HopCroft Forum) will lead on pulling together a Neighbourhood Plan for the area to outline the future for Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park.

Starting with blank sheets of paper we would like to hear your views, ideas and aspirations for your Neighbourhood.

If you live or work within the Neighbourhood Area, or even regularly visit then please help us make them reality.

You are invited to Crofton Park Library (by Crofton Park station) at 7pm on Wednesday 5 November 2014, to start the process and hear about what is being planned.

There will be food and drink to help your ideas flow

Get in touch with us on:

26 August 2014

Road Improvements to Brockley Rise and Stondon Park

Lewisham Council has secured funding from Transport for London through the Local Improvement Plan to develop proposals for improving the public realm along various sections of the ‘Brockley Corridor’ - the main north-south route between the South Circular and Brockley Cross.

They are now consulting with local people in order to gain a better understanding of issues within the Corridor and potential for improvements, in order to inform more detailed designs.

Full document is available at
And you can respond to the consultation at

20 August 2013

Improved Access at Honor Oak Park Station

On the 28th August, Transport for London will begin improvement works at Honor Oak Park station.
In order to ease congestion and reduce queuing at busy times, the gateline will be extended and repositioned within the ticket hall, doubling the number of gates. Extra ticket vending machines will also be installed to help reduce waiting time.

These improvements are part of an overall programme of works to increase capacity across the London Overground network, both in stations and onboard trains, with a new 5-car service due to arrive in 2015.

The work is expected to take around three months and the station will remain open throughout the works and services will run as normal, however access to some parts of the station will be restricted at various times throughout the project, to allow work to be carried out to passenger areas.

Later this year, Network Rail will be carrying out further work at the station to install lifts as part of the Department for Transport’s Access for All scheme.

25 February 2013

A Lift for Honor Oak Park

The Department for Transport announced a few years ago that lifts would be installed at most stations on our line. Forest Hill already has lifts, and 2013 is the year for lifts to arrive at Honor Oak Park, Brockley, and New Cross Gate.

We have seen the proposed designs for the lifts (see below), and the plan is to place them at the top of each flight of stairs, to the outside of the stairs. They will take people straight down to either platform, where they will arrive underneath the stairs.

This won’t be a simple task as it will involve excavation of the embankment, the removal of three trees, and there is a possibility of having to deal with asbestos in the footbridge roofing, all while keeping the station open for passengers.

This work is expected to be completed by the end of this year, allowing easy access to the platform for wheelchair users, parents with buggies, and others with mobility difficulties. The only problem remaining will be the huge height differential between the platform and the train doors, especially at the south end of the platform, where the lifts are to be installed.

31 December 2012

Wishing you a happy 2013

2012 has been a fantastic year for Forest Hill and we hope that 2013 will continue to see the positive development we saw in 2012.

This year saw the reopening of the swimming pool, the completion of the Horniman Gardens redevelopment including their new education centre, a monthly food fair at Forest Hill station, and many new shops up and down the high streets.

The Forest Hill Society were able to play our part in the changes that took place in Forest Hill this year in a number of ways:

  • With local assembly funding we were able to arrange the installation of swings and table tennis in the Horniman Triangle
  • We have set up a monthly food fair, bringing people into the town centre
  • Our market stall holders have begun to set up a permanent presence in Forest Hill, with Aga opening a deli, and we hope Ruth and Nathan will continue the success of the pop-up butchery into 2013
  • We were instrumental in the successful bid for Portas Funding which will continue to build on the progress made in 2012, with more pop-up shops, more markets, and a town centre hub
  • We helped Dacres Wood gain a Friends group, with some great plans to improve this unique habitat in Forest Hill 
  • We were also able to help local businesses re-launch the Traders Association, and it has been great to see them working together to improve the attraction of the town centre
  • Finally, with the support of the local assembly funding, we have been able to brighten up the town centre and stations in Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park 

What's going to happen in 2013?
It is always difficult to predict the future but we can be sure of a few things;
On transport - Honor Oak Park station will have step free access (at least to the platforms - the gap between the platform and the train is another matter), and the subway in Forest Hill will be refurbished making the crossing of the railway a more pleasant affair.
We will continue to run monthly food fair (though not in January), with the SEE3 team running complimentary markets to make Forest Hill even more of a destination.
The success of new businesses, and the continued availability of empty units, should attract more new businesses to Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park. We know of a number of businesses currently looking for the right location in Forest Hill for their business, and the Forest Hill Society and SEE3 team are giving them every encouragement.

So we wish everybody in Forest Hill a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

09 October 2012

Planting at Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park Stations - 20th October

Forest Hill Society are planning autumn bulb planting and general tidy-up for the areas we've planted in Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park on Saturday 20th October 2.00-4.00pm, meeting in the forecourt of Forest Hill Station and Honor Oak Park station for simultaneous planting at both stations!

Could you please let us know if you are likely to be available as it is very useful to have an idea how many people might be helping -

We hope to see you on the 20th October, with gardening gloves, and if you can bring secateurs, trowel and a spare plastic bag. Many hands make light work - and it's fun!

23 August 2012

Thameslink Franchise

The Forest Hill Society has submitted a response to the combined Thameslink and Southern Franchise document provided by the Department for Transport.

Summary of Our Recommendations

1.                 Thameslink stopping service on the Sydenham corridor as outlined in the 2007 Route Utilisation Strategy.
2.                 Continued connections from Forest Hill to East Croydon.
3.                 Plans for the introduction of 12 carriage trains on the Sydenham corridor.
4.                 Minimum services frequencies of 4 trains per hour at Crofton Park.
5.                 Inclusion of minimum specification for off-peak services, including maximising the central Thameslink corridor beyond the primary Thameslink routes.

Full submission can be read at

02 June 2012

Newsletter: Development News

There has been progress on the application for 55-59 Honor Oak Park (the former Honor Oak Tandoori) to turn three shop units into one. The Council held a public meeting on 19 April, to which both objectors and supporters attended. A short additional consultation period was added because the address on the paperwork didn’t include no. 55 and was therefore incorrect.

It has been confirmed that Sainsbury’s want to open a convenience store in the new unit. Some objectors are concerned about the effects of a supermarket chain on existing grocery shops, and some are against supermarket chains in general. However, in planning rules competition to existing businesses is not a valid ground for refusal.

Issues that are valid in considering planning consent are traffic and parking. The meeting heard that deliveries would be made via the front of the store, by four vans a day, outside of peak hours. Parking was not thought to be a concern because there are already short-term parking spaces along the parade. The neighbouring funeral directors need to maintain access to the rear of their premises during the building work and assurances were given at the meeting that this would be accommodated.

There are arguments that having a major supermarket chain on a high street can have a positive effect for local businesses because it increases footfall and can bring extra custom to nearby shops. Plus, such stores have a free cash machine and this makes it easier to access cash that can be spent locally. Examples are cited where existing competing businesses have survived and even thrived by adjusting their offering to complement a new supermarket. However there is no certainty that all local grocery stores would survive and it's understandable that local traders fear they may lose customers and their livelihoods.

20 April 2012

News and Events - April to May 2012

We have been extremely busy in the past three months, pushing forwards various projects including our "Portas Pilot" bid.  If you haven't seen the video yet, then please watch it on Youtube and then and 'Like' it.  The link is
This month there is plenty going on:
Sunday, 22 April 10am-4pm Forest Hill Food Fair at Forest Hill Station
We will have a Market at the station, with eight stalls selling various produce and a taster trail involving nine pubs, cafes, restaurants and a sweet shop offering small portions for you to try - go along and sample those restaurants you haven't yet tried

Saturday, 28 April 2pm - 4pm Honor Oak Planting Honor Oak Park Station
Join us as we start this year's "In Bloom" effort with planting at Honor Oak Park Station.  All you need is a little enthusiasm - we have four planters to plant and may try to clear the weeds by the bins too.  Beginners welcome.  If you cannot make it on the day, please contact to get involved with the watering and nurturing of the plants.
Sunday, 29 April 11:30am - 3:30pm Birds of Prey Devonshire Road Nature Reserve, 170 Devonshire Road, SE23 3SZ
The Devonshire Road Nature Reserve are hosting another of their successful "Birds of Prey" days.   There will be flights at 12 noon and 1:30pm, with tickets limited to 80 per flying session (Adults £3, Children £2, Family £8).  The reserve will be open until 5:30pm.
Some photos from a previous event can be seen here.
Sunday, 29 April 2:30pm - 4pm Forest Hill Planting Forest Hill Station
Come along and build on last year's success.  We only have two new planters to plant as two have been damaged in storage, but we need to tend to the existing beds as well.  Beginners welcome - all you need is a little enthusiasm.  If you cannot make it on the day, please contact to get involved with the watering and nurturing of the plants.
Saturday, 12 May 10:25am Lullingstone Castle outing Meet at Catford Bridge Station
Lullingstone Castle is one of England's oldest family estates, dating back to the time of Domesday.  Henry VIII and Queen Anne were both regular visitors.  In addition to the Manor House and Norman Church, the World Garden is a special attraction.
The Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies are arranging a joint trip.  If interested, please contact Quetta by emailing Departure will be 10.25 a.m. from Catford Bridge station to Eynsford.  This is one station beyond Zone 6 so a ticket for the extra should be purchased at Catford Bridge if using a Travelcard.
Light refreshments are available on site or at the Country Visitors' Centre a short walk away along a path beside the River Darent - or take a picnic with you.
Please book your ticket with Quetta the week before the visit - i.e. between Monday April 30th and Saturday May 5th so that we can qualify for the Group rate (£6, in additon to train fare).   
Saturday, 12 May 11am - 3pm Sydenham Garden Spring Fair 28A Wynell Road, SE23 2LW
Sydenham Garden's annual Spring Fair takes place on Saturday 12th May 2012, 11am to 3pm.
They are a community charity and part of their mission is to involve the local community in their project, which offers therapeutic horticulture and creative opportunities to promote the physical and mental wellbeing of residents. There will be a stall aimed at promoting wellbeing and breaking the taboo about talking about mental ill health - their clients will be running many stalls at the event.  Go along and find out more about who they are, what they do and why.
Saturday & Sunday, 12-13, 19-20 May 11am - 6pm Open Artists Havelock Walk and others
Various artists are opening their doors as part of the Dulwich Festival.   
Almost all venues are open on the first weekend and many are also open on the second. A few venues are open on the second weekend only. For easy reference in the booklet and on the maps, green denotes venues open on both weekends, blue those open on the first only and yellow those open on the second weekend only. There is also an alphabetical list of artists at the back of the booklet.  Full details can be found at

12 March 2012

Thameslink Extension - Good or Bad?

From 2019 the Thameslink extension will greatly improve services from London Bridge to Kings Cross and beyond. How will this affect us? Today developments can be seen above Borough Market where a new viaduct is being constructed to relieve congestion on this section of tracks.

In 2008 the South London Route Utilisation Strategy recommended that Thameslink services should stop at Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill and other stations on our line, replacing 4 out of 6 of our existing peak services. This gave us hope of a direct trains to Kings Cross, possibly all the way to Bedford.

However, Network Rail and the Department for Transport no longer appear to favour Thameslink services stopping at Forest Hill. Although no final decision has been made, all reference to stations between New Cross Gate and Norwood Junction has been removed from information about the Thameslink upgrade programme and renewing franchises. Without public consultation a decision may have been made.

Commuters and/or passengers would still be able to benefit from increased interchange opportunities at London Bridge after 2019, which should improve journey times to Kings Cross and other parts of the City. However we are not sure if there will continue to be any direct services to East Croydon, or if all the East Croydon trains will be fast to London Bridge, possibly with a stop at Norwood Junction. We already have some trains via East Croydon and these are very useful for passengers heading to Gatwick Airport, an additional change at Norwood Junction as well as East Croydon would increase the inconvenience for many people on our line.

In the short term there is a threat that services into London Bridge may be reduced in frequency, with more 10 carriage trains to partially compensate. The reason for this is the rebuild of London Bridge Station. As a result there will be fewer terminating platforms, particularly during the redevelopment. Previously the suggestion in the Route Utilisation Strategy was that the Forest Hill services should be extended to 12 carriages and reduced to four trains per hour (even in the morning peak). Since then some of our Southern trains have been extended to 10 carriages but many still run with 8 or less during peak times. Evening services have already been cut back to four p/h, although there are six p/h in the morning.

Perhaps we shouldn't complain too much... We have more trains to more destinations. This year we started to get longer trains - up to 10 carriages, and it seems increasingly likely that East London Line trains will be increased from four to five carriages. Our services are now slightly less crowded. Lifts are planned for Honor Oak Park.

But it does seem that ignoring Forest Hill from the Thameslink programme is a missed opportunity. Instead of increasing direct destinations for an area of South London, the Thameslink trains will only directly benefit the Home Counties. We should probably be thankful that the old Thameslink carriages (with little legroom) may be distributed to our line to increase the length of our trains.

* We would like to see Thameslink trains serving our community directly;
* We value the direct connection to East Croydon;
* We strongly oppose any permanent loss of service and are concerned at any temporary loss of service, due to the inconvenience that this will cause;
* If Thameslink trains don't call at Forest Hill then there is even more reason for reinstating the late evening and weekend Charing Cross service;
* We would like to see more trains in peak hours extended to 10 carriages with further consideration to 12 carriage trains as demand dictates.

08 December 2011

Busy Time for Planning

Your society has been very active looking at the many new applications for developments in the local area. Below are just a few that we have closely looked at with local residents.

The Old Bank (Honor Oak Park)
There were over 300 objections to the application by Dominos Pizza to convert the Old Bank restaurant to a pizza takeaway and delivery shop. Our main reasons for objecting were the poor use of a prime location which should be a retail unit. There were also concerns about the parking and noise generated by motorbikes which would serve the shop during peak hours, and changes to the signage that could be out of keeping with the area.

We were pleased that the council officers rejected this application and hope that the site will be back in use as a restaurant or retail unit soon.

Dartmouth Road
Two applications to convert retail units (A1) into offices (A2). Although this would bring empty shops into use, the council has policies to protect retail units in core shopping areas and conversion to offices would have a detrimental impact on this shopping area. We have therefore asked the council to reject the change of use.

Dartmouth Road has far too many empty shops. We hope that the opening of the pools next year will start to see a revitalisation of this important part of the town centre. Many members are concerned about the impact of empty shops which is why we successfully bid for funding to produce bright images for some of these empty shops. We are currently working with Horniman Museum on a range of images for shop fronts that will showcase the museum in the high street.

Hindsley Place / Westbourne Drive
A previous  application for a six-storey building on this site was withdrawn by the applicant after concerns from neighbours. A new application was submitted for a three and four storey building on this site. This would include seven live/work units built by Jeff Lowe, who has a proven track record of delivering high quality live/work units in Havelock Walk and in other locations in Lewisham. We believe this is a good use of the site and have written in support of this development. It is rare for the Society to positively support applications but we consider that this will provide an additional hub for live/work in Forest Hill and will help develop Forest Hill as an artistic area.

David's Road
The Society objected to plans to demolish the gym replacing it with seven flats, as this provided poor quality living accommodation with a lack of natural light and windows facing onto the pavement. If you have concerns about planning applications in the local area please contact us at

Even better connected SE23

The transport committee remains active on many fronts. We continue to be a thorn in the side of the authorities on both the Forest Hill Station underpass and the rail bridge. The promised repairs to the underpass were well below the expected standard and we have now enlisted Cllr John Pashoud in our dealings with the council, and in turn, Network Rail. The repainting of the railway bridge also failed to meet expectations, and we are putting pressure on for this to be completed.

Honor Oak Park Station
Again, ongoing work has fallen well short of our expectations, in particular the embankment and the work on the platforms, which remain tatty. We'll ask Network Rail about landscaping plans for the embankment – if not, then we will be applying pressure to get this important wildlife reserve reinstated.

Lifts are still due at Honor Oak Park Station, probably in 2013 however, the lifts are of limited value if a step ladder is still required for the less agile to get onto and off trains! The step onto trains on platform one must be one of the largest on the network. We will shortly be down with our measuring stick, but it feels like a foot (24 cm). This presents a real challenge for anyone with luggage or a buggy let alone those with less mobility. Not really a good enough answer in the 21st Century.

As we go to press we are considering responses on a number of issues raised with LOROL – later running of trains, fare avoidance, longer platforms, five car trains and the staffing of the new Surrey Canal Road station.

We'll report in the next edition but meanwhile please do share your views with us.

More tranquil times at Honor Oak. (picture courtesy of Steve Grindlay)