15 December 2010

Bring and Take Event - 16 January

This is a fun event to promote recycling, reuse and reduction of waste. Simply bring along any items you no longer need between 11.00 and 15.00 on Sunday 16 January 2011 and swap them for things you do - completely free! Articles should preferably be easily portable and in good condition. Items such as books, CDs, DVDs, clothes, plants, lamps, kitchenware, bikes and other unwanted goods can find a happy home.

Reaching New Heights

Some of you may have noticed the Christmas Tree in Forest Hill this year.

After last year's miserable effort (despite being very generously sponsored both financially and in goodwill by the local Winkworth office), we were determined that the tree should be one to be proud of and worked with Lewisham Council's Town Management Team and FHTA to ensure a great finished product this time.

Last Thursday a number of Forest Hill Society members met the Lewisham Lighting team and their cherry picker and proceeded to add baubles, tinsel and extra lights to the tree.

From this

To This

Our thanks to Winkworth for sponsoring last year's tree and buying lights for it, FHTA for the extra lights to replace those which were stolen, Liz Bannister and the Town Centre Management Team and Alan Agent and the Lighting Department for making this possible.

14 December 2010

Fuller Oyster Facilities available at local stations

After a year of lobbying, we have just been informed by TfL that passengers can now purchase a Monthly ticket on Oyster directly from the ticket office or Ticket Vending Machines at the London Overground stations on the Sydenham line. No longer will you have to go to London Bridge or a station north of New Cross Gate.

If a passenger requires an Annual season ticket on Oyster however, they can request it from the station but it would have to be collected the following day (or later). TfL apologised if staff have been advising passengers to travel to another station as this is not the case and LOROL has confirmed that the staff have been re-briefed them so this should not happen again.

While not ideal, this is at least progress.

10 December 2010

Pools Update from the Stakeholders Group

Last night (09/12/10), we had our first meeting with the team from Willmott Dixon, the construction firm selected to build the new Forest Hill Pools. Penelope Jarrett reports.

The team of four senior managers gave us a presentation starting with the 148 year history of the firm, pictures of pools they have built previously and other Lewisham buildings they have worked on: Hither Green Primary School, Crossways Academy and Goldsmith’s College.

In addition to the normal project team, they have a leisure sector specialist and they assured us they will be working closely with the architects, Roberts Limbrick. Lewisham Council
will also be retaining independent experts to monitor the building services.

The team presented diagrams showing how the phases of the build will progress. The enabling works will involve moving office workers into the first floor of Louise House, which they will refurbish to make it usable (roof and window repairs, making the electrics safe). There will still need to be temporary structures in front of Louise House to hold the toilets, showers, drying area and canteen for the operatives. These are too specialised to fit into Louise House, and it was also thought inappropriate to have muddy boots going in and out of the building all day.

Willmott Dixon told us they pride themselves on the good quality of the welfare provision
they make for their staff, a good health and safety record, their sustainable construction methods and engagement with the local community.

Sustainable construction includes working to an Energy Performance Certificate rating of B or above, using recycled materials in the building itself and diverting 85% of the waste from landfill (aim is for 100% in 2012). Some months after handover, they do a post-occupancy evaluation, which includes ensuring the occupants know how to get the best out of the building in the most efficient way.

Engagement with the local community includes communicating with local residents (e.g. Derby Hill Crescent, Salcombe House) over when work will be taking place and who to contact if there are problems, providing work experience for local schools, offering to support an associated community project (they will be looking for ideas here) and willingness to attend Forest Hill Society meetings if invited.

Expected Timetable
Commence 4/1/11, complete 23/4/12 i.e. 68 weeks.

This will be broken down into:
4 weeks - Enabling work
24 weeks - Demolitions and alterations to existing building
18 weeks - Substructure works
18 weeks - Superstructure and envelope works
25 weeks - Pool plant installation
36 weeks - Finishes
42 weeks - Swimming pool fitting out and testing
30 weeks - External works and landscaping

Mathematicians amongst you will have noticed that this adds up to considerably more than 68 weeks so I assume some of these activities will be taking place alongside each other!

After this date, Lewisham will supervise fit-out and commissioning in partnership with whomever has won the tender to run the new pools. They have already begun the tendering process and have a shortlist of interested parties who will be invited to submit business plans next year. They are optimistic about the quality of the tenders, and an opening date in the summer of 2012.

Meanwhile, they are thinking of placing information displays in the library and arranging further meetings and site visits for stakeholders if interested.

Penelope Jarrett
Forest Hill Society representative on the stakeholder group

28 November 2010

PopUp Forest Hill

We have been hard at work organising a Pop Up event for Thursday night, 2 December 2010.

What started off as an idea with small ambitions has rapidly grown due to the phenomenal response we have had. The Mayor will be at the former Post Office to open the festivities at 3 pm and with over 50 events at more than 30 venues, there is something for everyone between 3 pm and 9 pm.

Highlights include the reopening of the Post Office as "The Sylvan Post" for the night, a performance in the Library by Buddhist monks from the Tskeramo Monastery, Drumming lessons at Robert Stanford, live music at Wetherspoons, The Hob and All Inn One and making your own Christmas decorations at Stag & Bow. If you don't know where they are, have a look at the website.

Why not pop along to Alhambra Home and Garden, Bunka or The Fitting Studio for some Christmas bargains (and 10% on the night off if you mention PopUp Forest Hill) and then have a meal at Question Bar who are offering 20% discount on the night.

Nip over to popupforesthill.wordpress.com for details of all the activities and venues or click on the map below to download your own guide to What's on Where.

23 November 2010

A light at the end of the Underpass?

Some campaigns require a lot of noise and public protest; others require quiet but persistant lobbying. Improving the underpass at Forest Hill is one of the latter campaigns which Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies have been fighting for some time.

The main problem is one of ownership. Network Rail, TfL, LOROL and Lewisham are all involved in some way and getting all the parties talking to each other and agreeing their responsibilities, liabilities and how to proceed has taken several years; indeed the Mayor of Lewisham commented on the snail's pace of progress at the October meeting of his Cabinet.

However, we have recently heard from Lewisham's Deputy Mayor that the lights (installed by Network Rail as part of the works carried out when the footbridge was being replaced but later disconnected) will be reconnected by the end of this week and that Shirley Broughton has just been appointed as the (long promised) Project Manager.

Progress on the replacement panels and resurfacing may have to wait a little longer, but we will keep the pressure up.

Ed: The lights were finally connected on 2 December and the underpass is now one of Lewisham's bright spots

19 November 2010

Construction contract awarded for new Forest Hill Leisure Centre

Lewisham Council has just released the following announcement:

Work is expected to begin in January on building a new leisure centre in Forest Hill following the award of a construction contract to Willmott Dixon.

Roberts Limbrick Architects will work alongside Willmott Dixon to create the new complex with two new pools and other leisure facilities on the site of the former Forest Hill Pools. The existing Victorian frontage of Forest Hill Pools will be retained.

Facilities in the new building will include a 25-metre pool, a 16.7-metre learner pool, fitness gym, two studios, community room and a café. The new development will include facilities and access for those people with disabilities.

Councillor Alan Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “I am delighted that we are now able to move towards the next crucial stage of this long-awaited facility.

“Willmott Dixon made an excellent and detailed bid and I have complete confidence that the company will meet the challenges demanded by this complex structural engineering project. The company clearly understood the constraints of the site and have taken an innovative approach to their site set-up.”

Councillor Chris Best, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “This whole project has benefitted hugely from close collaboration and partnership.

“The final design was very much the result of a strong working relationship between the architects and the stakeholder group that was set up by the Council to liaise closely with residents. Together we found a solution that meets the needs of the local community and recognises the limited space available.”

“We have an excellent design provided by Roberts Limbrick Architects and now with Willmott Dixon on board we have an excellent construction company to build it.”

“The two companies will now work very closely together to deliver the new facilities. Willmott Dixon will start work on the site from January 2011 and we fully expect the leisure centre to be open to the public by the end of 2012.”

Mark Tant, Managing Director at Willmott Dixon, said: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to create a fantastic new pool in Forest Hill. We’ve done a lot of work in recent years in Lewisham, such as Hither Green Primary School and Crossways Academy, and like those projects, we will aim to ensure our work benefits local businesses as much as possible through the sub contractors we use.”

16 November 2010

Perry Vale Fire Station - Planning Application

The Forest Hill Society has objected to the current plans for the development of the old fire station on Perry Vale. Details of the application can be read on Lewisham website and the full text of the Forest Hill Society's objection can be read here.

The key concerns for the Society are lack of social housing, concerns over parking and internal layout, and lack of gardens or amenity space for the 13 flats in the development.

13 November 2010

Order a tree, support a school

Horniman Primary School have arranged for a supply of Christams trees which will help raise money for the school.

This year they are offering Nordmann Fir Christmas Trees for sale which are a popular, high quality tree, often described as non-drop; this is not strictly true but the Nordmann Fir does retain its needles better than many varieties and has a very pleasant soft, deep green foliage, smooth grey bark and a good triangular shape.

To order a tree please contact Tom Dunn on 07932 354 476 by Friday 28th November.

Trees can be ordered in the following sizes / prices (same as last year) and will be available to collect from Horniman Primary School, Horniman Drive, SE23 3BP from 9 am on Saturday, 11 December 2010:

5 ft£35
6-7 ft£40
7-8 ft£45
The 6/7 ft and 7/8ft trees could be anywhere within those ranges.

02 November 2010

A penny for the Guy?

picture by drm91

It's that time of year again and this year marks the 405th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, so where should we go to celebrate and enjoy the displays? There are displays on both Friday and Saturday nights, and if you are keen, you might be able to visit four displays due to our excellent transport connections.

Southwark Park

When: Friday 5th November 2010 Gates Open: 18:00
Display: 19:00
Admission: Free
Getting There: Overground to Canada Water

The Southwark fireworks display is nicely traditional as it actually takes place on Bonfire Night itself, November the 5th. In addition to the host of roman candles, waterfalls, comets and mortars, the Southwark fireworks display will have family friendly atmosphere sure to keep the kids well entertained. So dig out those hats and gloves, wrap up warm and head to a great fireworks display knowing full well you won’t be charged on the door. The event starts at 6pm, but the fireworks don’t start until 7pm so make sure you’ve picked yourself a prime spot by then – you won’t want to miss any of the great show.

Further details

Crystal Palace Park

When: Friday 5th November 2010. Gates open 18:00
Display: Children’s display 19:00, main display 20:30
Admission: £5.00 for adults, £3.00 for kids aged 5 – 13. Kids under 5 go free.
Getting There: By train to Crystal Palace or Penge West or by Bus routes 176 and 197

As well as the two fireworks displays, Crystal Palace Park is also playing host to a family funfair where kids can try out a variety of exciting rides. Traditional food and drink is also available at the Crystal Palace fireworks display, including autumnal treats such as a hog roast.

Further Details

Blackheath Fireworks

When: Saturday 6th November 2010
Display: 20:00
Admission: Free. Donations welcome on the night.
Getting There: 185 or 122 to Lewisham or alternatively, avoid the crowds and watch the display from Blythe Hill.

Lewisham's official display, paid for by the council. This event grows in popularity every year and attracts very large crowds. Refreshments and food stalls will be available throughout the evening and you can make the most of a complete night out with family and friends. Kids can also have a go on the rides at the family friendly funfair.

Please remember that it is illegal to bring fireworks (including sparklers) onto the heath, so leave your own fireworks and sparklers at home and enjoy the spectacular display safely.

Further Details


When: Saturday 6th November 2010. Gates Open: 18:00
Display: 20:00
Admission: Adults £5.00, children under 16 £3.00. Kids under 5 go free
Getting There: Bus route 194 from Sydenham or 354 from Penge West. SatNav:BR3 3PW.

Beckenham's Bonfire Night (organised by the Beckenham Round Table) returns to the Croydon Road Recreation Ground and will includes a funfair, complete with fairground rides for the little ones.

Further details

Brockwell Park

There will be no formal fireworks displays in Brockwell Park this year as Lambeth Council have decided to save money and concentrate on Clapham Common instead.

Further details

Lord Mayor's Fireworks

When: Saturday 13th November 2010
Where: River Thames, between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge
Display: 17:00
Admission: Free
Getting There:Train to London Blackfriars

If you miss all the events this weekend (or have not had your fill of fireworks), fear not! The Lord Mayor's inaugral parade takes place the next weekend and finishes spectacularly with a gigantic fireworks display launched from a barge located between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge on the River Thames. The fireworks display, which starts at 5pm, marks the end of the show and the beginning of a new mayoral year. It is widely expected to be one of the most stunning fireworks displays of 2010.

Further details