13 November 2014

Book Launch: Sydenham & Forest Hill Through Time

Saturday 29th November 2014, 3-5pm, Kirkdale Bookshop, Sydenham
With author Steve Grindlay

04 November 2014

Annual General Meeting 2014 - Minutes

Held at The Hob on 22nd October 2014


The Chairman, Michael Abrahams, welcomed the assembled to the AGM, in particular the three Forest Hill Ward Councilors.  Apologies for absence had been received from Alisa Owens, the Vice Chair and Treasurer, and from Membership Secretary Belinda Evans, Quetta Kaye, Alona Sheridan and Jake Twyford.

Michael introduced local architect, Ed Holloway, who would describe the outcome of the workshop of local architects and town planners that had considered plans for the town centre.

Urban Design Workshop

Ed Holloway said the workshop had drawn on the part implemented Supplementary Planning Guidance from 2003, Neighbourhood Plans and a useful Street Clutter Report commissioned by the Ward Assembly.  Four development zones had been identified. 

1.    The Station front and London Road: There was potential to develop the area in front of the main entrance to the station.  New trees could be planted symbolizing Forest Hill, a piazza built and mixed use made of the rest of this important area, while maintaining drop off access to the station.

2.    Perry Vale and to the east of the Station: A new crossing over the railway line would link what felt like a separate area to the rest of the town centre and encourage greater use of the Perry Vale car park.  Also, there was potential for the north end of Perry Vale to be a pedestrian area with a street market.

3.    Dartmouth Road spaces: Themed public spaces could be developed, making better use of what was already there.

4.    Dartmouth Road/railway links: The area to the immediate west of the railway line had seen several new unconnected developments.  Improvements could be made to the footpath to make this area more accessible on foot and by bicycle.

A report of the workshop had been drafted and when completed details would be available on the Society web site.  Many of the ideas from the workshop could be implemented without major expenditure.  With a little more work, the report could be the basis for a submission from Lewisham for money from the new Greater London Authority (GLA) High Street Re-generation Fund.  This would be in addition to the Council’s successful bid for £650,000 from Transport for London to improve the north end of Dartmouth Road.

In discussion, the following main points were made:

·         More use was made of the Perry Vale car park when it was free possibly easing he pressure on local streets.  Options included lengthening the time parking was free, dividing the car park into pay and non pay zones and improving the road signs directing cars to the car park.

·         The idea of a new bridge over the railway line was welcomed.

·         There was support for better walking and cycle routes and for improved access for the disabled in the town centre.  Crossing Perry Vale outside the eastern entrance to the station was hazardous. 

·         How could the Horniman Museum and Park be integrated better with the town centre?  Options included Horniman style bollards up London Road and signs inspired by items in the museum’s collection.

·         There was concern about pollution including on Dartmouth Road.  The Society would continue to press for more hybrid buses to join the new 122 buses.  Ward Councillor, Paul Upex would raise the issue of new buses with Len Duvall, the GLA member for the Lewisham and Greenwich.

Chairman’s Report

Michael had prepared a written report, copies of which were available to the meeting.  He thanked all who had volunteered.  Michael especially thanked Annabel for the four excellent newsletters published during the past year, to Jake for his support to the music festival, to Quetta for the success of the planting at the station and the Edible High Road, to Hilary for organizing the Urban Design Workshop and to Alisa and Belinda for their contribution to essential administration.

Michael drew attention to the consultation regarding Hamilton Lodge, which was earmarked for the homeless, and also the consultation regarding the extension of the Bakerloo line.  Looking ahead, we should keep the Edible High Road going but consider new plants perhaps with more colour.  Michael closed by encouraging more people to volunteer with the Society.

Treasurer’s Report

Michael Abrahams presented the report in Alisa’s absence.  The Society has a healthy bank balance and brought in more than spent in 2013/2014.
Further details were made available at the meeting and are available to members on request.


By way of introduction, David McKenzie described what it was involved in being a member of the Executive Committee and its Sub-Committees. 

Michael Abrahams stood aside for the election of Chairman for the coming year.  Katrin Klinger proposed Michael as Chairman and this was seconded by Hilary Satchwell.  Michael agreed to stand again was duly elected as Chairman.

Michael Abrahams proposed that Alisa Owens be elected as Treasurer, John Firmin as Secretary and Belinda Evans as Membership Secretary.  All were prepared to stand and were duly elected.

The post of Communications Officer was left vacant. John Wysocki would however be editing the newsletter.

Existing members of the Executive Committee were willing to stand again and the following were duly elected:
Hilary, Quetta, David, John W, Penelope, Katrin, Alona, Jake, Sheila, Richard, Stefan, Katherine and Helen.

It was agreed that Brendan would join the Planning and Development Sub-Committee. Other can join sub-committees at anytime throughout the year, if they desire.

Other Business

In further discussion the following main points were made:

·         The platforms at Canada Water Station were overcrowded and dangerous.  This had been raised with LONDON OVERGROUND, who was responsible for the station.  The matter would be taken up by the Transport Sub-Committee.

·         The London Road – Dartmouth Road junction was dangerous for cyclists.  The junction was part of the TFL programme of consideration for 2015-16, when this might be addressed.

·         In some locations, new street lamps did not adequately light up the areas beneath them because of trees. 

·         Close links should continue to be maintained with other local civic societies e.g. those in Honor Oak and in Sydenham.

The AGM ended with a vote of thanks from the floor to the officers of the Society and to all who had served on the Executive Committee and its Sub-Committees during the past year. 

03 November 2014

HopCroft Neighbourhood Forum: First Meeting

Established in July 2014, the Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park Neighbourhood Forum (HopCroft Forum) will lead on pulling together a Neighbourhood Plan for the area to outline the future for Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park.

Starting with blank sheets of paper we would like to hear your views, ideas and aspirations for your Neighbourhood.

If you live or work within the Neighbourhood Area, or even regularly visit then please help us make them reality.

You are invited to Crofton Park Library (by Crofton Park station) at 7pm on Wednesday 5 November 2014, to start the process and hear about what is being planned.

There will be food and drink to help your ideas flow

Get in touch with us on:
Email: hopcroftforum@gmail.com

23 October 2014

ALBION MILLENNIUM GREEN: re-launching the Trust

Readers may know that the Green is owned by a local charitable trust formed in 1998 with the specific purposes of purchasing the land from the former tennis club trustees and protecting and enhancing the space for the benefit of the local community. The Trust has been moribund for several years but following welcome intervention by Lewisham Council a new set of trustees is about to be appointed from local community groups in the area and active Green supporters. The appointments will take place at the Trust’s annual general meeting and anyone living in the area is invited and very welcome to attend.

Albion Millennium Green Trust Annual General MeetingSaturday 1st November 2014, 11am
Forest Hill Pools, Dartmouth Road

The Friends of Albion Millennium Green group will continue to care for the Green and its upkeep, and will continue to organize and host the many events and activities which have become established as regular features.

Activities this year have included performances by the Bedlam Bunch for the Sydenham Arts Festival, several children’s birthday parties organized by local parents and visits by groups of environmentalists and botanists.

We took part in the Capital Clean-Up scheme with workday sessions clearing rubbish, chain link fencing and brambles. The Green is looking better than ever as a result, but also because local residents have devoted a great time of time and effort in mowing the grass and clearing the paths of weeds. Litter clearing helps too, and this year we have had less of a problem with dog mess as more people are clearing up after their pets.

Our fruit trees are thriving and although we had a large crop of blackberries they were rather small this year. Insects and birdlife abound as well as plants and vegetation. Anyone interested in bird watching would be most welcome to update the amazing list given to us in February 2013: www.amgfriends.org.uk

The Green is accessible from Albion Villas Road and the railway path which runs between Forest Hill and the iron bridge over the railway leading to Sydenham.

14 October 2014

Forest Hill Gardening

On Sunday 26th October we will be meeting in Forest Hill station forecourt at 2.30pm.  We will be cutting back the lavender and tidying up the planted area under the trees in the front of the station as well as the planters on the platforms, on the street corner near Barclays Bank and, depending on how many people turn out to help, weeding and seeding the planters under the trees near the Dartmouth Road Job Centre.

Preferable to bring gardening or other suitable gloves, secateurs or scissors and a spare plastic carrier for collecting weeds and clippings.  A trowel is also useful.

Note: As we will be working close to the main road and parking cars, this is not a suitable event for small children.

09 October 2014

Like us on Facebook

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Spooky stuff at Forest Hill Library

This Halloween the independent businesses of Forest Hill have teamed up with the Library to bring you a ghoulishly brilliant Pumpkin Making and Storytelling. Its happening on Friday 31st of October (of course!), from 4pm till 6.30 pm, and its absolutely free.

Ezra Collective - Live in Forest Hill station car park

On 21st September 2014 the Forest Hill Society organised a small musical festival in the Forest Hill station car park, with local bands playing. Here is the Ezra Collective:

Planning Application: 9 Gaynesford Road

A planning application has been submitted to convert the Red House on Gaynesford Road into six flats. You can read the details of the application here, or search for DC/14/88509 at http://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online-applications/

Below is the text of the response from the Forest Hill Society:

I would like to object to the above application on behalf of the Forest Hill Society.

This application is to make substantial changes to the main house built by Ted Christmas which is an important Heritage Asset in the local area.  We appreciate that this building needs an appropriate alternative use but we would wish that this is done in a way that is sensitive to the character and appearance of the existing building.

We understand that proposals are to be brought forward by the Council for a Conservation Area covering Gaynesford Road and the Christmas houses.  With this in mind it would be premature to give permission for changes to this building until this is confirmed OR the applicant should agree to treating the application as if it were in a Conservation Area already and submit an appropriate heritage assessment.

The changes will alter the property in a way that will harm its heritage significance.

In particular the replacement windows (it is not set out why these are required or whether they will be timber or another material), loss of key interior features and other elements of the proposals are unacceptable.

The internal circulation within the proposals does not respond to the character of the house with some flats not having access from the main entrance and needing to gain access by walking past the bedroom windows of other ground floor flats quite some way around the building.  This has an impact in terms of the rear garden not being private and for the use of residents and also being accessible by visitors.

The sizes of some of the units are below those set out in the London Plan Housing SPG.