04 January 2017

Burns Night 2017

One of the most fun events in the Forest Hill Society calendar is our annual Robert Burns Night Supper where we combine Scottish food, Scottish poetry, and a wee dram of Scottish whisky in a great evening.

This year, once again, the Forest Hill Society in conjunction with All Inn One, on Perry Vale, will be hosting a Burns Supper on Saturday 28th January.

There will be the traditional Address to the Haggis and the opportunity to listen to or to read from the works of Robert Burns. We will also have some local musicians to round off the evening.
The meal is from 7.30pm, and if you'd like to join us you must book in advance, please call the pub on
020 8699 3311 or email info@allinnone.org.uk to book. The cost is £19.95 per person for 3 courses and a very enjoyable evening. (Please let them know if you would prefer the veggy haggis to the meaty version).

Everybody is welcome; members, non-members, Scots, Sassenachs, and all friends of Scotland.

Early booking is recommended. Last year not everybody who left it until the last minute was able to get a seat.

28 November 2016

Christmas Tree Lighting and Carols

Join the Forest Hill Society and Churches Together in Sydenham and Forest Hill, for tree lighting and carols on Saturday 3rd December 2016 at 3:30pm

We will be officially switching on the tree lights outside Forest Hill station.

Followed by the official switching on of the tree lights in Kirkdale at 4:45pm.

23 November 2016

Christmas 2016 in Forest Hill, Sydenham, and Kirkdale

Your guide to all the events this December across SE23 and SE26.

Highlights in Forest Hill include:
  • Havelock Walk Winter Weekend - Sat 26th & Sun 27th Nov, 12-6pm 
  • Horniman Christmas Fair - Sat 3rd & Sun 4th, 10.30am-5pm 
  • Forest Hill Christmas Tree switch on and carol singing - Sat 3rd December, 3.30-5pm 
  • Kirkdale Christmas Tree Lights switch on - Sat 3rd December, 5pm 
With lots of other events throughout December.

18 November 2016

Havelock Walk Open Studios

Open Studios - 26th-27th November 2016 at Havelock Walk, off London Road SE23
More details at www.havelockwalk.com

10 November 2016

Proposal for a One-Way Scheme on Perry Vale

The Forest Hill Society has drafted a proposal for a one-way scheme for a small section of the Perry Vale road.

The premise of this proposal is that with some limited changes to the road/walkway layout, this area could set the basis for a more attractive location: for commuters, residents and businesses. While an outline scheme has been proposed, we would expect that a more detailed review (including a possible temporary trial) would be carried out by the appropriate planning and transport authorities prior to full implementation.

We invite you to consider the proposal (shared below), and to let us know your thoughts via the survey link.

We plan to then include all responses in a report, and possible Petition, to Lewisham council, as your views will bring some local context to the proposal in terms of local support, perceived benefits of the scheme and any potential issues.

Opportunity Statement
Perry Vale is the road adjacent to Forest Hill Station.
While in recent years the suburb of Forest Hill has undergone healthy regeneration (in part due to the improved connectivity of its rail station), it cannot be said that both entry points to local infrastructure hub have thrived to the same extent.

Perry Vale businesses naturally report high passing footfall, but note that the area does not yet represent a destination for retail or leisure.

We propose that there exists an opportunity to foster the kind of organic improvements in area that have so far eluded it: principally through reconfiguration of road usage.

There are already commercial developments underway which can contribute to the regeneration of this de-facto hub entry point, and we feel that the proposed changes presented here would impact positively on the character and utility of the area concerned, and reflect many principles of key London and Lewisham policies.

After much consideration, and discussions with businesses and residents, we invite Lewisham council to consider this proposal in its planning cycle.

Add caption


Please complete our survey to let us know your views.

Horniman Butterfly House

Horniman Museum and Gardens have submitted an exciting planning application to build a Butterfly House in the gardens, replacing the park keeper's house at the top of the animal enclosure.

You can view the planning application on Lewisham's website and comment on the application.

We hope to bring you more information on this great new attraction in the new year.

08 November 2016

Southern Rail - Consultation on Cuts to Services

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has launched an extensive consultation which sets out proposed changes to the timetable which will be operated by GTR in 2018 following completion of the Thameslink Programme.

These proposals include:
a) Diverting all our East Croydon services to West Croydon - making it take longer to get to Gatwick and other destinations in Sussex.
b) Reducing our peak services to London Bridge to four trains an hour (the same capacity as the rest of the day). These services would be replaced by five carriage Overground trains to Dalston Junction.
c) Increasing services via Crofton Park to four trains per hour

The Forest Hill Society opposes the first two of these changes and supports the third. But it is important that local residents respond to this survey to show the strength of feeling.

Survey responses should be completed at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2018timetableconsultation
To help you respond to the large number of questions across all the Southern, Thameslink, and Great Northern Services, we have compiled a list of the nine questions we believe you should answer, with some explanation of each.

Q No.
Our View
We recommend you respond to this based on your circumstances, but in favour of later running services on Friday and Saturday
We support the introduction of late night services from London Bridge or Canada Water. However, early morning services may be important to you.
Please mention late night services on Friday and Saturday in the comments section of this question.
We recommend you select Yes
This supports services through Crofton Park
We recommend you support this
This supports services through Crofton Park
We recommend you support this
This supports services through Crofton Park
We recommend you select No
These services would replace Forest Hill services to East Croydon
We recommend you select No
This makes more services fast on our line rather than stopping at Forest Hill
We recommend you select No
Unnecessary duplication of London Overground services to West Croydon.
Enforced interchange at Norwood Junction, a station that has no step free access for interchange (on the way to Gatwick Airport).
We recommend you select No
These services world replaces Forest Hill services to East Croydon
We recommend you support SN3.1 and reject SN3.8. We also recommend you reject the reduction in peak hour services to London Bridge

05 November 2016

Forest Hill Society AGM Minutes

Held in Louise House on 20 October 2016

The Chairman, Michael Abrahams, welcomed everyone to the Society’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).  Michael began by inviting Tara Cranswick, CEO of V22 to brief the meeting on Louise House developments.

Louise House
Tara described the many improvements during the past year including the new landscape at the front connecting Louise House to the library, and planting in the garden to the rear.  Feedback from the public was important in guiding this work e.g. the need for wider pavements.  A grant had been obtained for the next big project, which is renovating the basement, and the improvements to Dartmouth Road scheduled to commence in 2017 would link Louise House, the library and Forest Hill Pools.  A highlight had been the Holiday Summer Club and this would continue next year.  The Society newsletter will keep everyone up to date on what’s happening in Louise House.

Forest Hill Library
The new Library Manager, Simon Higgs briefed the AGM on our community library which re-opens on 24 October run by a consortium comprising V22, the Forest Hill Society and the Trader’s Association.  The consortium really cares about the future of the library and literacy in Forest Hill.  There had been a fantastic response from the community.  A crowd funder target of £6000 had been reached in just two weeks.  Already 110 volunteers had signed up.  100% of the studios for rent had been let on day one.  A Friends Membership scheme was up and running and a web site, Facebook and Twitter accounts.  But more volunteers are needed. 

A Management Board is in place and Advisory Boards will be formed including one for young people.  Feedback from the public is critical if the community library is to be success.  Donations of books are welcome.  If they are not quite right for the library, books can be sold to raise funds. 

Forest Hill Society DevelopmentsMichael Abrahams summed up the year (a copy of his report was shared at the meeting). The library had been the focus – first the fight to keep it under council control and then working to make sure the library had the best possible future. 

The two big events had been a great success – the Burn’s Night supper, which would be repeated and the Society’s 10th anniversary celebration when Shakespeare “visited” Forest Hill in the shape of Teatro Vivo theatre group. 

Work on Dartmouth Road was set to begin in 2017 and now the Society had plans to improve Perry Vale for pedestrians and cyclists. 

The improvements at London Bridge station were now having a positive effect on train services but the latest consultation with Southern Rail indicated a reduction in peak hour services and no trains to East Croydon in 2018.  While Overground plan to run extra services these should not be seen as an offset for reduced Southern services, which have longer trains. The Society will submit a response to the consultation and individuals are encouraged to do so too.

The most visible part of the Forest Hill Society’s work in 2015-16 was its planting at the station and in the town centre; for the fourth year running Forest Hill was judged to be “outstanding” in the RHS awards. The new ‘Tyre Towers’ in Perry Vale were innovative and the Edible High Road tubs had been revived.  More volunteers are needed to help with planting.  Another session is planned for 29 October and there is a litter pick up on 12 November.  A workshop supported by local architects and planners had produced a design for a new building for the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve. Quetta Kaye’s Environment Committee Report was shared at the meeting.

In discussion, the following main points were made:
•    Trains – would direct services run again to Charing Cross?  Probably not, though the Society is keen to see late running services; a 24 hour Thameslink Service was relevant in this respect. 
•    The Tewkesbury Lodge Resident’s Association is concerned that tarmac laid up to trees leads to roots breaking up pavements.  This is unnecessary.  There are good examples elsewhere e.g. Court Lane where drainage is better and this should be the approach adopted elsewhere.
•    Cycling – a strategy being developed with the Sydenham Society will describe improvements for cyclists and pedestrians in the Forest Hill – Sydenham – Perry Vale area.  The strategy is to be discussed with local councillors. 

Perry Vale Proposed Improvements
Rob Owen described a proposal to make the north end of Perry Vale one way as a means to re-generate the area to the east of the station (a draft opportunity statement was shared at the meeting showing the proposed new configuration).
There was lots of support for the proposals at the meeting.  The area for development could be extended to the car park.  One way north was probably the best direction of travel.  The proposals might include improvements to shop fronts too.  Could the bus stop be nearer the station?
Councillor John Paschoud supported the proposals.  He was happy to discuss them with fellow ward councillors and with the Lewisham Highways Department.  This work was probably suitable for the “Minor Works” Programme, which made it a realistic proposition. 

Treasurer’s ReportMichael Abrahams presented the report.  Accounts were shared at the meeting.  While spending had exceeded income during the past year the Society had a healthy bank balance.  Income from membership fees was constant.  Significant items of expenditure were on the Shakespeare on the High Street (also supported by a Ward Assembly grant) and a financial contribution to Forest Hill Fashion Week.

ElectionsThe following were re-elected:
•    Michael Abrahams as Chair
•    Alisa Owens as Treasurer
•    John Firmin as Secretary
•    Belinda Evans as Membership Officer

An additional 14 members were elected as ordinary members of the executive committee.

Other Business
Street Lighting – To save £165,000 Lewisham is to reduce street lighting in residential areas it seems without consultation (councillors have not been consulted either).  Apparently, there was a pilot in 2015 when three streets in each ward were chosen.  The lack of consultation is regrettable given the concern about the risk of rising crime and road accidents resulting from less street lighting overnight.  Will this be extended to walkways like the one beside the railway?  Might businesses be persuaded to sponsor lighting in certain roads?  Maybe they would consider reducing the lighting for fewer hours?  If the system is such that individual lights can be controlled this may provide scope for a compromise.

Do we have an update on the plans for the old police station?  An application to convert the site into housing including social housing has been accepted.

24 October 2016

Press Release: Forest Hill Library Reopens Today

Forest Hill Library reopened by a sweet-shop owner, a fishing-tackle entrepreneur, and Bertrand Russell’s grandson

Forest Hill Library in South London re-opened today, 24 October 2016, as a community library with specialisms in philosophy and the visual arts. A counterpoint to the fate of so many similar libraries across the country, the building will continue to act as a community hub and library, with events for children, facilities for jobseekers and activities for pensioners, but will have some unique features which will make it a destination for people from across the capital.

The Grade II listed Forest Hill Library originally opened in 1901, and has been under the management of the London Borough of Lewisham for many decades. The successful community bid to run the library was put together by V22 – the art organisation based in neighbouring Louise House; the Forest Hill Society – the main residents’ association in SE23; the Forest Hill Traders’ Association – a local business forum; along with several concerned individuals.

Plans for the building include:
•    a specialist art library
•    a philosophy collection put together by the Philosophy Foundation, along with a range of philosophy events for schools, young people and adults
•    new second language sections in the children’s library
•    a collections curator who will take advantage of the 5 million-plus books available through the Lewisham Library and Information Service and the London Libraries Consortium to create browseable displays, including a monthly crowd-sourced theme
•    a dedicated schools’ co-ordinator
•    a continuation of existing events such as the origami club and under 5s stories and songs, as well as new events inspired by the partners, the community and tenants

The Forest Hill Library building will be staffed by volunteers, 110 of whom have already signed up. The initiative is being kick-started by a Crowdfunder campaign and Friends of Forest Hill Library scheme which has already raised several thousand pounds in a few weeks with enormous community support.

The London Borough of Lewisham’s library service will continue to provide advice, training and access to books from its own collections and the London Libraries Consortium. Under-utilised space upstairs will be let as offices and deskspace to generate income for the building. Anchor tenants the Philosophy Foundation will be based there, alongside local creatives, freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Tara Cranswick, CEO of V22 said,
“In a city as glorious as London, and a community as active as Forest Hill, it makes perfect sense for neighbours to come together to save this vital piece of community infrastructure and to transform it into a unique resource. Although Lewisham has had to make difficult decisions due to funding constraints, the approach it is taking does seem to be positive and proactive.”
Head of Library Services for the London Borough of Lewisham, Antonio Rizzo, commented,
“What the Forest Hill community has achieved through the library building is remarkable for two reasons. It reaffirms the stake they have in this valued and much loved building and pushes the boundaries of what can be achieved when people come together. The Library Service is excited about the opportunities that this collaboration brings”.
Michael Abrahams is the chair of the Forest Hill Society and has lived in Forest Hill since 1979. Michael was the initial Chair of the Forest Hill Society and has chaired the group between 2006‐2008 and again since 2013, he is also a member of the Forest Hill Assembly Coordinating Group. Michael is a professional online Product Manager with 15 years’ experience in on‐line information systems.
"We have been delighted by the response from the community to this initiative, with lots of people volunteering to help make this a great community library. We are proud to be working with V22, with their experience of managing studios and listing buildings". - Michael Abrahams

Simon Higgs is co‐owner of The Archie Parker coffee shop on Dartmouth Road among other business ventures.  Simon is on the executive board of Forest Hill Traders’ Association and will be integral to setting up the day to day running of the new Forest Hill Community Library. We are delighted that an eminent local entrepreneur and businessman is willing to devote his time to making the community bid a success.

"You say the word 'library' to people and they understand, they know about closures and under-funding, of libraries being turned into glorified cafes and gyms. However, the people and businesses of Forest Hill have gone a step further than just knowing about the threat to our library, they have really rallied behind us and wanted to help, be it by volunteering or donating, everyone wishing they could do more; it is a contagious momentum, heart-warming and inspiring." - Simon Higgs

Pauline Wright is the owner of Sugar Mountain on Dartmouth Road, an executive member of Forest Hill Traders’ - "I am absolutely thrilled that our community partnership bid was the winning bid for our library.  All of us bring something different to our group and together I feel we make the perfect team to create something special for Forest Hill library. I am extremely excited about giving the local kids a voice in how we run the kids library and the input from them has been phenomenal. We are all very aware this is a tough task to take on but we are all very passionate and committed to this and are not taking it lightly!" - Pauline Wright

John Russell (7th Earl Russell) is a Liberal Democrat politician. He is the son of Conrad Russell, 5th Earl Russell, grandson of Bertrand Russell and great-great-grandson of John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1864 to 1865. John has been a Forest Hill resident for over 16 years. He served as a Liberal Democrat councillor on Lewisham Borough Council 2006-10 and was the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Greenwich and Lewisham Greater London Assembly seat in 2012.

"I am delighted to be involved with this innovative community project. Libraries are gateways to learning and personal development. I am thrilled that the whole Forest Hill Community has come together to support the community library. The closure of our library would have left a gaping hole in our community. We plan to make this the best possible community library that we can; working directly with local residents we will plan services to strengthen and enhance our community. We passionately believe that a well-run and responsive community library is a powerful tool to help empower individuals and to raise the educational attainment and emotional wellbeing of our residents" - John Russell

The Philosophy Foundation 

The Philosophy Foundation is an award-winning educational charity based in Forest Hill, raising aspirations and attainment through doing philosophy in schools, communities and the workplace. The Philosophy Foundation trains and accredits philosophy graduates to facilitate philosophical conversations in a variety of community settings, but with a focus on primary schools.

Founded in 2007, The Foundation began working with 5 schools in Lewisham, but now conducts philosophical enquiries in over 40 schools around London on a weekly basis, reaching over 7,300 children every year, and working in a variety of settings including high-security prisons, hospitals and special educational needs schools.

In their capacity as the Library’s anchor tenant, The Philosophy Foundation will be ‘philosophers-in-residence’, renting office space on the premises, as well as running workshops and philosophy sessions for children and adults, and helping to create and look after the philosophy section of the library. This new specialist section will not only comprise academic philosophy books, but also popular philosophy books, and picture books for doing philosophy with children.

"Having worked in schools across Forest Hill for the past 13 years, we are really pleased to finally have a base in the community and are excited about the opportunities this will bring for introducing philosophy – and its benefits – to a wider audience." - Emma Worley, COO

16 October 2016

Halloween in Forest Hill

Kids Lantern Making Workshops
Tuesday 25th Oct - 2-3pm - The Archie Parker
Wed 26th Oct - 2-3pm - Sugar Mountain
Thurs 27th Oct - 2-3pm - The Archie Parker
Fri 28th Oct - 2-3pm - Sugar Mountain

Fearsome Philosophy Tales
29th October, 5pm-6pm: the Philosophy Foundation will be running Fearsome Philosophy Tales for young people (7-12) at the Library.

Come and see some scary stories at Forest Hill Library, run by The Philosophy Foundation team.
They will tell some ghoulish tales and frightening fables, teasing out some thoughts from the children’s brains around questions like: what is courage? what is fear? how do we know things … and what is that knocking under the floorboards?
(Parents welcome, but must stay as silent as the grave)

Pumpkin Carving
 at All Inn One - Saturday 29th - 12pm-2.30pm
Ideal for entry in the Sylvan Post Pumpkin Competition at 3:30pm (see below)

Halloween at Devonshire Road Nature Reserve31st October, 5pm-9pm
A mix of activities for families

Horniman Halloween Fair
Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October

    'Curse of the Mummy’ performances by Tea Dance for Little People
    Wild Fangs Creepy Creatures Cave
    Spooky Halloween Trail
    Halloween Face Painting
    Family Art Fun: Halloween Pumpkin Masks
    Arts and Crafts Market
    Farmers Market (Saturday only)

More details on the Horniman web site.

Sylvan Post