21 September 2009

Croydon Canal Bi-centennial celebrations - 24th October

Local History Event - Saturday 24th October 11am at Sydenham Station

Come and celebrate the opening of the Croydon Canal two hundred years ago. It passed right through Forest Hill and remains of it can still be seen today. We shall follow the route from Sydenham Station to Dacres Wood Nature Reserve, along the railway line, through Havelock Walk and up David’s Road.

Local historian, Steve Grindlay, will be on hand to explain the historical significance of this important transport link as we go along. We shall finish upstairs at The Hob (opp. Forest Hill Station) at approximately 1pm where Steve will do a presentation including many fascinating documents and images from the canal’s past.

This will take us through to approximately 2pm – lunchtime! We’ve come together with the Sydenham Society to organise a special version of the 23 Club. We’re calling it the 49 Club (combining SE23 and 26!) and it will take place at the Dartmouth Arms which will put some traditional bargeman lunch items on the menu especially for us. Please book directly with the restaurant on 020 8488 3117 if you’d like to join us for that part of the event.

To whet your appetite, Steve Grindlay has written this brief history of the canal. We hope it inspires you to join us on 24th October to hear more.

23 Club News : September 2009

Don’t forget to book for the forthcoming get-together at Babur – an exceptional Indian restaurant celebrating a remarkable 24 years in Forest Hill. It is more expensive than our previous haunts, but we believe you will not be disappointed. They have a lively website: www.babur.info if you want to find out more.

As you know in October we are joining the Sydenham Society – who were inspired by our 23 Club to start their own “26 Club”. Together we are going to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Croydon Canal (which used to go through the centre of Forest Hill). Please note the date is neither the 23rd or the 26th, but on this occasion Saturday October 24th. There is a walk and a talk before lunch – please see the attached information provided by the Sydenham Society. Early booking for lunch is a good idea as we and they expect this to be a very popular event.

Wednesday September 23 at 8pm : Babur – Indian with a touch of class
119 Brockley Rise SE23 1JP, 8291 2400 (look for the tiger above the door!)

Saturday October 24 at lunchtime : The Dartmouth Arms : Croydon Canal Celebrations
7 Dartmouth Road SE23 3HN, 8488 3117

Monday November 23 at 8pm : The Honor Oak pub
More information to follow in October.

Wednesday December 23 : Please note there will be no 23 Club in December

How the 23 Club works The Club is open to Forest Hill Society members and their guests. Please make your booking direct with the restaurant, saying you want to be seated with the Forest Hill Society or 23 Club group. Everyone orders and pays separately for their meal. Do please book so that the restaurant can arrange the seating in advance – thank you.

Mary Sutherland, 23 Club Organiser

12 September 2009

109 Kirkdale Planning Application

The Forest Hill Society has written to object to the proposed development at 109-111 Kirkdale.

Our main concerns are on the impact to the streetscape, access to the rear building, issues of overlooking, inadequate amenity space, lack of parking provision, and the effect this development could have on the redevelopment of the Willow Way site for employment use.

Details of the application can be found on Lewisham's website.
Full details of the letter of objection from the Forest Hill Society can be read here.

11 September 2009

20mph Zone in Forest Hill

Below is the Forest Hill Society response to Lewisham council's plans for a 20mph zone between Wood Vale and Devonshire Road.

The Forest Hill Society Executive, after reviewing the council’s own statistics and proposed plan, could not support this proposed 20mph zone as it is, nor could we support the road humps being introduced in this wholesale manner. There is widespread support for this view from the Tewkesbury Lodge Estate Residents Association (TLERA), although they will respond separately.

This view was confirmed by the council’s own statistics showing the maximum speed that 85% of traffic are travelling at along these roads are in most cases below the 24mph guidelines.

There were some strong views from the Executive committee that most people “would prefer that drivers kept their eyes on the road, and not their speed odometers”. There was general agreement that most people did not perceive a speeding problem in this area, and council statistics showed that there was not a significant accident problem either. One other view/comment was “the money spent on this consultation could be better spent on improving the bus stop at Sydenham Rise, which would only cost £8k-£10k and benefit the wider community greatly”.

Therefore, the Forest Hill Society asks that Lewisham Council abandon this proposed 20mph Zone and humps as is, and instead look at a more targeted, and better value for money approach summarised below:

  • Manor Mount - statistics shows that of 85% drivers are going below 23mph, which is well within government guidelines. The drivers going down the “wrong way” go at 30.9mph because they are trying to avoid being caught.
  • We believe it would be better to have temporary or permanent cameras in place on the one-way Manor Mount System, or a sign saying “mobile traffic enforcement cameras operate in this area” to discourage people entering the wrong way down this road, and thus bring speeds below 23mph and thus no need to introduce a 20mph zone on this street.
  • We support some limited speed restrictions or traffic calming outside schools, nurseries or places where known accident hot spots are, say at junctions. Although, as per council’s own statistics there is no widespread accident problem within the proposed 20mph zone.
  • Waldenshaw Road - This road does appear to have a minor speeding problem of average 27.3 for one-way and 31.5mph for the other, after looking at the Lewisham Council statistics. However, the Forest Hill Society ask that Lewisham Council look to other means of speed control, which does not involve reduction in parking spaces or road humps/cushions.
  • General - If against our recommendation the council does pursue their proposed 20mph zone, then we would be happy to work with Lewisham Council to come up with a sensible plan that is targeted and meets local needs.
In summary we welcome the opportunity to consult on this proposal, and ask that Lewisham Council abandon the proposal and implement the above suggestions as an alternative which will be just as effective, but not be anywhere near as costly to implement and run. The money could be better spent on other road improvement work and real safety measures.

Cuts to Southern Railways Services to Forest Hill

The East London Line is creeping closer to Forest Hill and changes are already underway. From 20th September TfL will take over management of the stations on our line including Honor Oak Park and Forest Hill. Already at Forest Hill we are seeing the footbridge replaced by a new, disabled accessible, footbridge with lifts to both platforms. Passengers with limited mobility will still need to access the station through the main entrance, rather than the Perry Vale entrance, but from there both platforms will be accessible with or without stairs.

Most importantly we are expecting East London Line trains to start running to Forest Hill from June 2010, or possibly a bit earlier.

But on the railway system every silver lining appears to have a cloud and we have learnt that Southern intend to cut some services from Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park from December this year. This is despite intense lobbying by the Forest Hill Society and Sydenham Society over the last two years.

From December 2009 we will no longer have any services to or from Charing Cross. All trains to Forest Hill will start or terminate at London Bridge. This is a real shame as, in the evenings when these trains run, most passengers are coming from the West End. The Route Utilisation Strategy of 2008 described this service as 'well utilised' (meaning that there are usually people standing on most evening trains). Southern claim that their sister company South Eastern require the tracks between Charing Cross and London Bridge for Kent services, but at off-peak evening times there is clearly spare capacity on these lines, just as there is today for our direct services from Charing Cross.

From May next year Southern are planning to reduce daytime off-peak services to Forest Hill from 6 trains per hour to 4 trains per hour. This is not good, but it is not a disaster, as it is relatively recently that these services were increased to 6 per hour, and at off peak they are not always entirely full. However, in the last month we have confirmed with Southern that it is not just the off-peak services that will be effected - THEY ARE PLANNING TO CUT PEAK EVENING SERVICES AS WELL. This decrease to 4 trains per hour will hit passengers travelling all day after 9am, right through the evening peak. Frequent users of these evenings services will confirm that they are already running at maximum capacity, and the removal of 30% of trains is likely to be a real problem for passengers from London Bridge.

This cut in peak services will take effect from May 2010, before the East London Line is scheduled to be running, and even when the East London Line is running it is unlikely to be carrying 30% of existing passengers at peak times - even if everything works perfectly from day one. We know that there is 'surpress demand' on our line, meaning that if there were more carriages and trains then 40% more people would be travelling on our line.

The Forest Hill Society has asked Southern to reconsider these cuts to our services and we have been speaking to politicians to see what can be done before the all important date of May 2010, when we lose 30% of our trains.

Other sites commenting on this issue:

24 August 2009

Forest Hill Conservation Area Consultation

Lewisham Council are consulting regarding extending the Forest Hill Conservation Area.

There will be a Public meeting and exhibition to discuss the conservation area with council officers and the consultants who have prepared the appraisal and its recommendations.
Saturday 5 September 2009, 12noon - 3pm
Forest Hill Library, Dartmouth Road

More information about the Forest Hill Conservation Area and the proposals can be read on the council web site.

20 August 2009

Honor Oak Road Traffic Lights

We received news today that, following representations made by the Forest Hill Society to Transport for London regarding the junction between Honor Oak Road and London Road, the traffic lights and traffic management system have been adjusted to allow a more responsive green time for Honor Oak Road, allowing more time if needed for this road. Hopefully this should remove the excessive queuing on Honor Oak Road.

They have also adjusted the overall amount of green time given to each set of traffic signals which are linked along the South Circular in Forest Hill. This has been increased allowing the signals in Forest Hill to automatically increase the overall green time in the area when needed.

Hopefully these changes will have a positive effect on traffic coming through Forest Hill. Let us have your feedback on whether these changes have the necessary improvement, especially as we go into September with more traffic on the roads.

15 August 2009

Tyson Road Planning Application 2009

The Forest Hill Society has written an objection to the latest proposal for 69-74 flats on a backland site behind Tyson Road and Honor Oak Road.

You can view the planning application on the Lewisham website and can view the details of our objection here.

In summary:
1. Poor design
2. Poor access
3. Over-development
4. Reduction of green space
5. Does not fit with the character of the area

More photos of the site on Flickr

You can sign the petition that local residents have set up. Alternatively send your own objection to planning@lewisham.gov.uk

04 August 2009

Jerk Cookout Festival

Date: Sun 9 August
Times: 1 - 6pm
Venue: Horniman Gardens

Come to the biggest and best Jerk Cookout competition live from the Horniman Gardens. Relax in our award-winning green oasis, listen to sizzling live music, sample the finest Jerk in south London from the many stalls competing, and buy fantastic gifts.

The Forest Hill Society will have a stall, so look out for us and buy an SE23 fairy cake or our special gingerbread people!