Showing posts with label newsletter0312. Show all posts
Showing posts with label newsletter0312. Show all posts

19 March 2012

St George's Food Fair

On Sunday 22 April,10 until 4, we are holding a Food Fair in the forecourt of Forest Hill Station.
We are busy putting together a group of the finest local food producers and retailers to bring real quality food right into the heart of Forest Hill.
Alongside On THe Hoof's coffee stall, we'll have hot food and great drinks from Fleisch, Forest Hill's newest caterers.

Honor Oak's recent newcomer Hills & Parkes will be selling their delicious home baked pies and a range of superb English cheeses. Their new chef is cooking tartlets filled with lemon/rhubarb and custard/choc/strawberry and savoury flavours too.

Mridula Baljekar's Kitchen will be selling their Pure & Fresh range of spiced fruit chutneys. Using no artificial additives or colours they have an unmistakably delicious Eastern quality.

The fruit and vegetables are supplied by Perry Court Farm in Kent and the recipes are then developed and cooked by Jacqueline Evans & Mridula Baljekar in Mridula Baljekar's Kitchen. Sean 'Egg Boss' Lawson will be selling his six flavours of Scotch Egg, to eat on the day or to take home for a delicious lunchtime treat and Pimento Hill will be bringing the Caribbean to Forest Hill with their sauces, seasonings and jellies. Let's hope they bring the sunshine too!

Local Dulwich favourites Franklins will be offering wonderful deli produce, both local and from around the world and there will also be stalls from artisan bakers BreadBread and the Forest Hill Cake Company to round off our list of quality food merchants.

There will be music and entertainment throughout the day, so mark the date in your diary and come and experience 'all the fun of the fair!'
With thanks to the Station Operators LOROL.

12 March 2012



Join us on our Woodland Walk. Starting from London Road, Horniman Gardens lower entrance, bottom of Sydenham Hill (not Sydenham Rise). A guided walk will take us through Sydenham Woods looking at the disused railway line and spring flowers. 'Pissarro's bridge' is shown to the right.

Join us for Forest Hill in Bloom 2012!
Meet at 2.30pm, Sat 28 April, at the station forecourt. Bring gardening gloves, trowel and a plastic bag.
We will be holding a similar event in Honor Oak Park (timing to be confirmed)

Development News

Recently there have been several planning applications for high street developments to which the Society has objected. This may seem at odds with our intention of championing the local shopping areas, so we thought we should explain why we have taken this position.
In Dartmouth Road there were applications to change the use of three separate retail units into a financial service, an office, and a bar. Although they have been empty for years and it is great news that new businesses want to open here, we were concerned about the loss of units for retail. Lewisham has guidelines about maintaining a mix of uses in town centres to encourage shopping. We expect that the new swimming pools will increase passing trade and help to revitalise Dartmouth Road, so we don't want too many retail units to disappear.

In Honor Oak Park we objected to two applications on the shopping parade. The first was Domino's Pizza wanting to open a pizza delivery outlet in the former Old Bank restaurant. There was a lot of local opposition and we took the view that it was poor use of a prime location, and there were concerns about parking and noise from the delivery bikes. Lewisham refused the application on those grounds. The applicant appealed against the decision. This was dismissed on the basis of unsatisfactory parking for the delivery bikes.

The second application on the HOP parade was for three units to be combined into one unit for a supermarket (thought to be a chain) with flats above. Local opinion was divided: some feared a supermarket would be detrimental to existing shops, while others thought it would benefit the parade by encouraging more people to shop there. We came to the conclusion that the new unit would probably be good for the area, but some of the flats above had poor layouts and we therefore submitted an objection setting out our concerns about that. Lewisham are yet to decide whether to grant the application.

See for all applications in which we have been involved.

Neighbourhood Planning

Over the past few months things have been moving forward on the proposals for the SE23 and SE26 Neighbourhood Plan. Now that the Localism Act has become law (November 2011), we have a better view of what is required and the regulations that will control the process of creating a Neighbourhood Plan.
The exciting thing about Neighbourhood Planning is that it has the potential to give real control to communities in helping shape their area. It also places a responsibility on Local Authorities to support communities in producing neighbourhood plans.

We have been meeting with Lewisham Planning Officers to discuss ideas for the area the plan will cover and how we can work closer in the future on this and other planning policy documents.

Our next steps include presenting our ideas to each Ward Assemblies in SE23 and SE26; identifying areas of funding to support our work with the wider community on the plan; and building up our database of people who are keen to help. We are keen to progress work on Forest Hill town centre, to gain a better understanding of what gives the area its special character, and how we can try and make sure that future development proposals support and reinforce what makes the area special.

If you can offer your time or skills to the Neighbourhood Planning process we'd love to hear from you. We will continue to keep you informed as work progresses over the coming months. Please email your details to with details of your interests, how you are able to help, or the issues we should be covering.


St Augustine's church in Honor Oak urgently needs £300,000 for essential repairs, or we may face losing this landmark building. Please go to
The deadline for donations is March, so please act fast!

Future of Police

Doubts have been raised by the Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel about the future of Sydenham Police Station on Dartmouth Road. The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (which took over from the MPA in January) are reviewing the entire property portfolio as part of a London-wide review of Police station provision.

The Metropolitan Police (MPS) may want to sell off the building to raise much needed cash and relocate the Forest Hill, Sydenham and Perry Vale Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) and the Rapid Response Team to Catford.

The Station may open only Part time to the public, but is home to our SNT. Relocating the SNT to Catford will result in them spending less time policing the very streets they are supposed to protect and is contrary to the idea of local policing. We feel that this is far from ideal and are calling on the MPS to review the situation.

Borough Commander, Detective Chief Supt Burton, will 'neither confirm nor deny' the rumours and will only say that there is a review of Police Stations happening across London that will look at counter provision across Lewisham.

The Forest Hill and the Sydenham Societies held a protest at the Station on 18 February, which was supported by Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick and are calling on their members to sign the petition available in local shops or online at and email Detective Chief Superintendent Jeremy Burton:

Raising the Roof at the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

The Nature Reserve is looking for volunteers to help build the new Green Oak Shelter.
Specialist green-oak carpenter and teacher Tom Trimmins ( is running carpentry workshops on Saturday March 3rd, 17th and 31st from 10.00 until 2.00 , cutting and shaping the green-oak frame for the building, making the mortice-joints and bracing pieces and forming the curved roof timbers. Work will carry on later into the afternoon for those with a passion and there will be other sessions on weekday evenings to continue the work learnt on the Saturday sessions.

Volunteers are also needed to clear the site and cast the pad-stones ready for the timber frame, so, if you don't see yourself as a carpenter but feel like some honest labouring, there's plenty to do.

The Oak frame will be erected on Sunday, 1 April. There will be a party to celebrate, so dig out your dancing clogs. There'll be hard work, music and food and drink. Families welcome to raise the barn!

There will be further hands-on workshops in May to build and plant the living roof (similar to the Horniman Museum). Guided by Dusty Gedge (, one of the foremost experts in green roof technology, this is the opportunity to learn all about this environmentally friendly method. Contact

Sydenham Garden

Established for ten years, this community project provides gardening and art therapy to local people with physical or mental health issues.

The new resource centre was opened in 2010 and the Garden is looking to expand to serve other community needs. The Gardens are actually just in Forest Hill, on Wynell Road, next to the Forest Hill Bowls club on the site of a, wait for it ... a former market garden (used up to the middle of the last century. The Gardens were proud to win a Lewisham in Bloom prize last year.

The charity has ambitious plans to grow food commercially at the former allotments in De Frene Road. Rubbish and debris has been cleared to get the land ready. In coming years you will dine in local fashionable restaurants knowing your produce is both fresh, local and supports the community. See for further details including how to get involved and open days.

New Community Orchard

The community orchard in Mayow Park was planted on Saturday 28th January 2012, after months of preparation that saw Friends of Mayow Park (FOMP) working with London Orchard Project (LOP) and Lewisham Council.

Numerous local adults and children helped, learning from LOP how to dig a square hole, mulch and stake the trees. Eleven trees were planted: ten trees were sponsored by local people and one was a gift. The Society sponsored the Brandy Pear tree, which is a medium sharp perry pear.

Six people volunteered to be orchard carers. They will receive basic training on care for the trees and will water them during the growing season for the first two years. A fruiting hedgerow was also planted. We look forward to autumn fruit harvesting and other celebrations annually. If you would like to be an orchard carer or would like to know more about the orchard. Contact FOMP on


In January, as part of their 'Mummers, maypoles, and milkmaids’ series, the Horniman Museum and Gardens presented an event on the traditional Twelfth Night celebrations. Some of you may have seen this for real at London Bankside, where The Lions Part performed a few weeks ago.

Participants had their chance to join in, including a traditional Wassail to bless the coming year's apple harvest. Fruit is abundant at the One Tree Hill allotments, where they carry out their own Wassail, helped by cider (the product of the previous year - see photo to the left) every autumn. For further details including open days see

Environment & Leisure

The Environment & Leisure Committee continues to work to promote SE23 as a green, clean and exciting place in which to live, work and play.

Volunteers worked with Lewisham's Nature's Gym to plant hedgerow whips and create a stag beetle loggery in the Horniman Triangle on Saturday 18 February and we ran our fourth Bring and Take Day on February 25, this time at Holy Trinity Church hall in Sydenham Road.

Following the success of the Christmas tree-lighting event in the station forecourt, we are working to use that space again on Sunday 22 April for a St George's Day themed food market featuring the 'best of English produce'.

Our gardening volunteers are hoping to improve on our 2011 In Bloom 'thriving' award by adding summer planting to brighten the station platform planters and, in the nearby town centre, new planters will be added and planted up on April 28th. New granite planters will also be installed at the entrance to Honor Oak Park station.

A joint trip is being planned with the Sydenham Society for a guided tour of Lullingstone Castle and its World Garden in Kent on Saturday, May 12th. Anyone wishing to help or join in with any of the above activities please contact

Swinging in Forest Hill

Five swings were recently installed in the Horniman Triangle Play Park as a result of our work; two for toddlers, two regular swings and a crows nest, which is suitable for children with disabilities. These will provide many years of enjoyment for younger generations.

Last June, bids were requested for the Forest Hill ward's Assembly Fund. Various people suggested on local forums that the Horniman Triangle could do with some swings, especially for the younger children.

Following some procedural 'hiccups' we were permitted to make a bid, and therefore visited play parks throughout London and researched suppliers. This was successful and £9,500 was allocated from a combination of the Assembly Fund and Localities Fund. The Council agreed that they would deliver the project, which allowed the monies to go further as we would not have to pay VAT on the equipment.

A big thank you to all those involved in this project.

A further £4,000 has been allocated from the Assembly Fund to provide two all-weather table tennis tables which will be installed near the Cafe in April.
Together, these projects represent an investment of over £13,000 and are the most expensive projects delivered by the society so far.

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.

Changes to the 63 Bus Route?

The 63 could be extended along Forest Hill Road and Honor Oak Park to Brockley Rise, to allow residents on the Southwark side to use London Overground services from HOP (part of an election commitment by the Labour Party in the Mayoral elections).

This may cause additional traffic issues, with added delays by using Honor Oak Park which suffers from traffic jams during the rush hour, along with potential infrastructure issues at Brockley Rise which already has the 172 and P12 buses parked on the local roads. Honor Oak Park is currently served by single decker buses, although double decker Route 363 serves Wood Vale, which is less busy in comparison.

Residents in Forest Hill Road already have a regular service to Peckham Rye station which will be connected to the East London line in December when the final phase of the extension opens between Surrey Quays and Clapham Junction, also a regular service on Route P12 which can be boarded in Brenchley Gardens or at the very end of Forest Hill Road for Honor Oak Park.

Exciting Times at the Horniman Gardens

Jenny Seymour, Development Officer at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, updates us on the redevelopment project.

The project is now in the final stages. New ramps and paving has improved access to the Sunken Garden, the bandstand has been restored to its elegant 1909 condition with new glass screens, and the Learning and Community building – the Gardens Pavilion - is complete.

We are now moving on to the planting stage and as the new areas take shape, we are able to offer items for 'naming' in return for a donation. You can donate a tree or picnic bench in memory of a loved one, in celebration of a marriage or simply to mark many happy years spent here!

There are a number of items and areas you can 'donate' (see the 'support us' section on for the full list). Included in the cost of these items is a discreet plaque acknowledging your support.

There are 12 new picnic benches located on the Bandstand Terrace, costing £500 each. Eight plane trees are available on the Terrace, which will provide shade on hot summer days. They are £1200 each. A ‘Sound Corner‘ (see picture) beside the Bandstand Terrace features five sculptural musical instruments—costs to donate them is available on our website.

This is a wonderful way of helping, whilst you and your family enjoy a lasting record of your support. If interested, please speak to us at: 0208 291 8169 or