Showing posts with label newsletter0310. Show all posts
Showing posts with label newsletter0310. Show all posts

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

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

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.

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

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
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,

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 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.