07 September 2012

Forest Hill Pools pass final milestone

Lewisham Council have finally taken possession of the new leisure complex on Dartmouth Road and Fusion Lifestyle were given the keys on Tuesday.

We have been reluctant to post any updates recently given previous false starts, but the final fit out of the gymnasium and other areas now begins in earnest so that the pools can be opened before the official opening on Saturday 22 September.

There will be a day long feast of entertainment, activities and fun throughout the area. While Forest Hill Pools will be one of the main focus areas with taster sessions, tours of the new facility, exhibitions and more, there will be other activities going on.

Forest Hill Library will have a Victorian theme, with story telling sessions, the chance to record your memories of Forest Hill in days gone by and some creative writing opportunities. There will be entertainers throughout the day, traditional Victorian board games and free Victorian sweets.

The day will also be a chance to find out more about the Portas Pilot - an initiative to help regenerate the area and drop in on Sydenham School as they celebrate their 95th anniversary.

Forest Hill Traders will be launching their "Totally Locally" campaign (more on this later). Havelock Walk's artists will also have their amazing original art and design on display.

Truly a day with something for everyone.

06 September 2012

Lewisham Council calls for Expressions of Interest in Louise House

Lewisham council is calling for people or organisations with sustainable solutions to bring Louise House, a grade II listed building which is situated on Dartmouth Road between Forest Hill Library and the newly re-developed Forest Hill Pools, into use to step forward.

Anyone interested in putting the building to good use will need to submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) by 21 September.

The council is looking to secure a viable and sustainable long term use for this landmark building; a use which is not only financially viable but which is also compatible with the adjacent public buildings.

Louise House is owned freehold by the Council and the successful tender would need to provide a sustainable solution to bring the property into use. Lewisham are not in a position to offer financial support to a bidder either by way of capital or revenue contributions.

Full details regarding the tendering process can be found by clicking on this link

03 September 2012

30 years of conservation at Sydenham Hill Wood

Celebrate the 30th birthday of London Wildlife Trust's first nature reserve at free events starting this September. Sydenham Hill Wood, saved from a series of development threats in the 1980s, was opened as
a freely accessible nature reserve in the autumn of 1982, as one of the first steps by London Wildlife Trust to demonstrate people's desire to protect sites in the neighbourhood for wildlife.

Over the next few months London Wildlife Trust will be holding a number of public events to celebrate Sydenham Hill Wood's 30th birthday, beginning with an Open Day on Sunday 9th September. There
will be walks and talks to discover more about the Wood's wildlife and its history, as well as cake stalls and a chance to meet people who have been involved at the Wood down the years. The event will run from
12noon to 16:30 with the main congregation being situated at the top of Cox's Walk, near the footbridge.

Despite the development and upheaval since the 1850s Sydenham Hill Wood is home to a number of species of plants and animals indicative of an undisturbed, natural environment, including English bluebell,
wild garlic, wood sorrel, early dog violet, woodruff, wild strawberry and wood anemone, a member of the buttercup flower that takes a century to spread 2 metres across the ground. This diversity is all
the more impressive due to the Wood's standing within one of the world's largest cities. This underlines the importance of a long-term effort in conserving the Wood's ancient character. Surprisingly, Sydenham Hill Wood is home to a number of butterfly species, including the often unnoticed purple hairstreak, a canopy-dweller in old oak woodland.

Today the Wood is a popular place to visit, and is the focus for a devoted volunteer group that help assist the Trust in maintaining the Wood as a critically valuable nature reserve for central south London.

02 September 2012

A curious entomologist - free course

A one day introductory course offering the opportunity to learn the simple techniques of finding a wide variety of insects, collecting, examining, selecting sample specimens to be killed and preserved for future reference and identification.

You will learn the simple techniques of finding a wide variety of insects, collecting, examining, selecting sample specimens to be killed and preserved for future reference and identification. Led by Richard Jones who is a nationally acclaimed entomologist, a former president of the British Entomological and Natural History Society, This course is aimed at anyone with an interest who wants to expand their knowledge base. It offers hands-on experience of the best ways to find and capture insects, how (and why) to start a collection and how to go about researching and identifying finds.

Places are filling up fast, but we still have some spaces on 13th October 9.30-4pm.  If you are interested please email Nick Pond or call him on 020 8314 2007.

29 August 2012

Forest Hill Food Fair - 2nd September

Report on Portas Launch

With standing room only, a capacity crowd listened eagerly as members of the Core Team told them about the Portas Pilot and what it meant for Forest Hill, Kirkdale and Sydenham.

Liz Dart, Head of Community & Neighbourhood Development at Lewisham Council, started the evening off by explaining how the bid process had worked and what not to expect from a Portas Pilot; it was not about investing in infrastructure or the environment, it was about making our high streets lively, dynamic, exciting and social places that give a sense of belonging and trust to the community. One of the fundamental requirements for a Portas Pilot is a “Town Team”: a visionary, strategic and strong operational management team for the high streets. This is one way you can be involved.

£80,000 had been awarded for the pilot and this was backed by matched funding from Phase Two works at Bell Green (£100,000) and the High Street Innovation Fund (£15,000). The money will be used to back three projects which aim to re-instill a sense of place and vitality in our high streets.

Ed Holloway, a local architect, then explained the first of the three principle projects outlined in the bid. Jack & Jill are to be two community hubs in Forest Hill and Sydenham. These will be located in currently empty units and renovated by local tradesmen while training some young people (NEETs) to learn a skill. The hubs will be used as a base for the Town Team to interact with the community, showcase local businesses and run business workshops among other uses.

Due to a technical hitch (we had an old presentation up), Louise Brooks, a marketing professional then introduced The Shop Revolution. This project will refurbish up to 12 units for a series of PopUp events with the aim of stimulating demand for empty units. The Shop Revolution will work with Landlords and potential businesses to ensure that we get the right mix of businesses. The Shop Revolution will also work with landlords to find meanwhile uses for premises while looking for long-lasting tenants, maybe under the terms of a meanwhile lease. The ultimate aim is to designate our high streets as a destination – somewhere worth visiting – to bring in visitors from outside the local community.

Richard Hibbert, Chair of the Forest Hill Society, then presented Market Makers. This project will enable the running of a market in each centre. There are already two fledgling markets – the Forest Hill Food Fair on the first Sunday of the month and the Girton Road Car Boot sale on the second Sunday – but it was upto the communities to say what sort of market they wanted. This would be determined by people coming forwards with ideas for stalls and markets and through engagement via the Jack and Jill community hubs.

Councillor Chris Best then summarised the evening, encouraging people to get involved. It was only through community involvement that the pilot would be a success. It was up to you to be involved in the Town Team and shape the future of your high street.

Thank you to everyone who showed up at the Launch Event last night. It was great to see such enthusiasm and so many new faces. We look forwards to seeing you again in the near future. If you filled in a questionnaire, then we will be in touch once we have processed them. If you haven’t filled one in yet, then sign up for our newsletter and we will be in touch shortly.

As promised, a copy of the presentation can be downloaded here. Apologies to those at the back of the Pavilion who could not see the slides.

Reproduced from SEE3.co.uk

24 August 2012

Anyone for Table Tennis?

A table tennis table has now been installed in the Horniman Triangle between the cafe and the sandpit. This was funded by the Forest Hill Ward assembly following a bid from the Forest Hill Society.

Please come along and give it a try!

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 http://www.freewebs.com/foresthill/Thameslink%20Franchise.pdf

Mayow Park Beach - Wednesday 29th August

Greenwich and Lewisham Young People's Theatre present: 'Coming to a beach near you'
Mayow Park, Wednesday 29th August, 1pm-4pm

20 August 2012

Forthcoming Events - August 2012

On Thursday 23 August, you will get your first chance to find out more about the Portas Pilot.  As you may have heard, Sydenham, Kirkdale and Forest Hill were successful in the second round of bidding.  The Town Team (called SEE3) will outline the three projects which have received funding and explain how you can get involved.  Come along to the Horniman Pavilion at 7:30pm to find out more.

Our next Food Fair will be on Sunday 2 September at Forest Hill Station, with its blend of fresh and hot foods.  Come along  between 10am and 2pm to give the new vendors a try as well as supoprting the regular stall holders.  We are delighted to say that the first of our stall holders will be opening a shop on Dartmouth Road in September and another couple are looking for premises.
On Saturday, 8 September, we will be holding a public meetng at 2pm to establish a Friends of Dacres Wood group.  This will be held at the nature reserve in the Field Centre which is accessed down the driveway next to Homefield House.
Sunday 9 September will see TheLittleGreenSccreen screening the second of their open air cinemas as part of Showtime at Grow Mayow. 'Garbage Warrior' will screen at 7:30pm, with upcycling art sessons with the Skip Sisters atrting at 3pm.
Saturday, 22 September should see the official opening of the pools.  It is frustrating that the pools are not yet open, especially given the false starts and media coverage, but we are assured that progress is being made and Willomtt Dixon should hand the building over to Lewisham and Fusion Lifestyle soon. They are still running ahead of schedule, albeit slightly later than had been hoped.
The Executive Commitee has been working flat out for the last two years on various projects.  Our AGM will be in October and we need fresh blood to reinvigorate us with their ideas and enthusiasm.  If you are frustrated about transport, planning or environmental issues or can simply offer your support to help, then please contact me via email@foresthillsociety.com.  We would also benefit hugely from having someone with PR, publishing or legal expertise on the committee as well.  The Olympics ambassadors demonstrated the depth of community support in the UK; lets make the Olympic legacy a community one a well as a sporting legacy.
If you have any ideas for how the Assembly Funds should be spent this year, bids must be in by 31 August for Forest Hill (up to £2000), 14 September for Perry Vale (up to £2000) and 12 October for Crofton Park (up to £500). Contact email@foresthilsociety.com for an application form and further details.
The nice folk over in Sydenham are looking for images to do with Sydenham for their Greyhound Wall Competition.  If you would like to have your photo preserved for posterity, then head over to whatifsydenham at whatifsydenham.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/be-part-of-the-greyhound-wall-artwork/ for further deails. You can submit an entry providing you or the subject matter have a connection to Sydenham.