07 February 2021

Crime Update

The local Safer Neighbourhoods Team have contacted us to warn that the local area is currently suffering from a slight increase in motor vehicle crime. You can read their guidance here.


Always lock it

Fuelling up or popping back into your house to get something are perfect examples of how easy it is to turn your back for a moment and forget your vehicle is unsecured. So get into the habit of locking your vehicle even if you’re only going to be away from it for a moment. If your vehicle has wing mirrors that fold in automatically when locked, ensure you lock it properly. Criminal gangs are looking for vehicles like these where the wing mirrors are still out because it is clear to them that the vehicle has been left unlocked.

Close windows and the sun roof to prevent ‘fishing’

Leaving windows and the sunroof open invites fishing for items through the gap by hand or with, say, a bent coat hanger, which could also be used to unlock a door for them to get in. Thieves can be ingenious. Don’t give them the opportunity.

Secure your number plates with tamper-resistant screws

The easiest way to change the identity of a stolen vehicle or avoid speeding tickets and parking tickets is to fit stolen number plates. Using security screws to attach your vehicle’s number plates makes it harder for thieves to get your number.

Fit locking, anti-tamper wheel nuts to secure alloy wheels

Stolen wheels are valuable, either as parts or for their scrap value. Using locking wheel nuts reduces the risk of your vehicle’s wheels being stolen. 

Secure anything that’s on the outside of your vehicle

Anything left on roof-racks, tailgate racks, holiday top boxes or in tool chests are easily stolen when the vehicle is parked. The use of cable locks, padlocks and self-locking tools chests, which are secured to the vehicle, makes them more secure, but still, don’t leave things in them if you can avoid it.



Take it with you or hide it

Your mobile phone, coins for the car park, sunglasses, packs of medication or other items that can earn quick cash are irresistible to the opportunist thief. Remember, the cost of replacing a window is often much more than that of what’s stolen. And it should go without saying that wallets, handbags, purses and credit cards should never be left in an unattended vehicle. 

Hide electrical items and leave no clues

Leaving sat nav mounts, suction cup marks on windows or cables on view gives it away that you have left a sat nav, smartphone or other device in your car. Even if they can’t see the sat nav or iPad they might still break in to see if it’s stored in the car, out of sight.

Tool theft from vans

Vans are often targeted by thieves for the tools stored inside. If you have to leave tools in a van overnight, it's a good idea to mark them clearly with your name / company name and address using paint pens and seal with a clear lacquer spray. Alternatively, you can use a variety of other property marking systems. Items that are clearly marked are less desirable and more difficult to sell on. Consider using a lockable cabinet within your van to store tools – a number of security rated products are available. Small cameras are also designed to record inside vehicles. Visit Secured by Design for more details. You can also take photographs of items of value, make a note of the serial numbers and consider registering them online at a property register site.

Park in well-lit and busier areas

It can take less than 30 seconds to break into a vehicle. Parking in well-lit areas and busy streets increases the chances of a thief being seen, so they’ll probably steer clear.

Take your documents with you

Having a vehicle’s registration and insurance documents could let a thief pretend to be the owner. Which means they could sell it on quite easily. So, never leave any documents in the vehicle.

Catalytic converter theft

The precious metal in catalytic converters has led to an increase in their theft. To keep yours safe, ask your car dealer if they can give you any advice on locks or guards that are approved by the vehicle manufacturer. Alternatively, try to make sure your vehicle is parked in a garage overnight, or if you have a commercial vehicle park it in a secure compound. If this isn’t possible, park in an area that’s well-lit and overlooked and try to park so that the convertor can’t be easily reached by potential thieves. Vehicles that sit high above the road are particularly vulnerable.


06 February 2021

Laptops for Schools

One of our Forest Hill Society team has been refurbishing laptops & desktops for SE23 children in need of remote learning capability. Can we ask that any family and friends and/or anyone else out there who has a laptop stuffed in a drawer or a cupboard - would they be willing to donate it. We will collect, reconfigure, re-install and distribute where needed.
Base requirement is that it has a webcam and a power supply, and is powerful enough to run Zoom.
Every one means another child is linked in to remote teaching.
We have already collected and passed on more than 27 laptops and tablets that are now being used for on-line learning. A big THANK YOU to those who have already made contributions or are about to.

If you have a laptop of tablet that could be donated please email chair@foresthillsociety.com

Consideration for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood for Forest Hill

Members of the Forest Hill Society transport committee met with a small group of local residents and Sustrans to discuss ongoing concerns about rat-running in the local area bounded by Wood Vale, South Circular, Devonshire Rd and Honor Oak Park/Forest Hill Road. Local Councillors helped to facilitate the meeting. This was merely a kick off to understand what options were available in terms of investigating ways to mitigate volumes of non residential traffic in the area which is used for ‘popular’ shortcuts down local streets, addressing concerns about speeding, road safety, cycling and also accessibility. Various discussions and proposals for the area have been raised before, we’re now revisiting options.

We discussed Low Traffic Neighbourhoods  (LTNs), their benefits, but also concerns around LTNs and how they have been recently implementation and what could be done to avoid the backlash on future schemes. We also discussed alternative measures such as banned turns, single modal filters and no entry no exit roads.We agreed that the most likely solution to the issues would be through Lewisham council's existing healthy neighbourhoods programme. The Forest Hill area detailed in Lewisham's programme roughly corresponds to the road borders outlined above.

Sustrans suggested the best way forwarded would be a community led feasibility study into an LTN or other traffic restrictions in the Forest Hill. Evidence of community support for an LTN in the area will hopefully lead to Lewisham prioritising the area in their programme. Sustrans can put together a proposal for delivering this. The aim is to have Lewisham fund Sustrans to provide local community engagement and education prior to a formal consultation run by Lewisham. The objective here is to begin discussions and get local feedback on the options and proposals that Sustrans will recommend.
We would welcome thoughts from local residents in the comments or via email to email@foresthillsociety.com

22 December 2020

Planning Application: The Cedars, 34 Sydenham Hill

The Forest Hill Society has written to oppose the Planning Application DC/20/118980: The Cedars, 34 Sydenham Hill SE26 6LS, which proposes the construction of a part single/part two storey extension at the rear, terraces at lower ground level and the provision of associated car parking spaces and bicycle storage to provide 11 self-contained flats, together with the demolition of the existing Coach House and the construction of 8 two bedroom cottages and associated landscaping and parking area.

We welcome the principle of converting the main building into residential use and bringing this historic asset back into useful purpose, but have some concerns as to how and which heritage features will be preserved.

The Coach House is original to the 1890’s main building and makes a positive contribution to the Conservation Area in its own right, yet no justification is made to warrant its demolition beyond not fitting in with the appearance of the proposed modern terrace. No argument is made as to its structural soundness or otherwise, no justification advanced as to why it the existing cannot form part of any development plan, even though it is believed to have been in recent use as a single 4 bedroomed house. Again, we would welcome the involvement and report of Conservation Officers in this respect.

The proposed replacement of this single house with a modern terrace of 8 houses represents an increased footprint of some 70%, together with hard standing for much increased parking requirements and turning circle, with the removal of several established trees. The great bulk of this will actually be located in the rear garden plot of the Cedars House rather than the existing footprint of the Coach House.

The materials and design of the proposed terrace do not appear to relate in any way to the main house, failing to match or sympathise with the main house or that location in any way discernable.
The design of a long terrace, staggered down the slope will also form an impenetrable barrier across an important wildlife corridor further separating vital remaining green spaces in this area.

The description of the 8 proposed ‘almshouses’ is somewhat misleading. We are not made aware of any charitable purposes or proposals for social rent. Our understanding is that all will be available at market valuations and there are in fact no proposed affordable dwellings provided in the entire development scheme at all.

You can view the full response here.

05 December 2020

SEE3 Christmas Shopping Guide 2020

Residents of Forest Hill, Kirkdale and Sydenham should soon be receiving the SEE3 Christmas Calendar and Directory through their letterboxes. This annual calendar will include its most comprehensive list of businesses in Forest Hill, Sydenham, Kirkdale and Honor Oak.


05 November 2020

Planning Application: 123 Devonshire Road

There has been a planning application for enlargement of existing planning permission on two additional storeys on the site of 123 Devonshire Road. The Forest Hill Society has written to the council recommending rejection of this application. The text of the letter is reproduced below:

DC/20/118644 | The erection of two additional storeys above the existing residential block to provide 6 x 2 bed flats with associated parking and internal refurbishment works with works to the fabric of the building and the provision of a new lift at Woodelm Court, 123, Devonshire Road, LONDON SE23 3LX.


I am writing on behalf of the Forest Hill Society regarding the proposed erection of two additional stories to existing residential block at Woodelm Court, 123 Devonshire Road SE23 (ref: DC/20/118644).


With regard to the proposed development we have a significant concern regarding this planning application. This relates to the increased mass and general bulk of the proposed top floor.


This application aims to increase the volume of the top floor to allow for 3 x 2 bedroom flats rather than the 2 x 2 bedroom flats in the 2017 application.


In 2017 the developer applied to add 2 more stories on top of the existing 3 floor block of flats. The plan was to step the new top floor in on all sides which would reduce the footprint giving space for 2 x 2 bed flats. This application dated 13th November 2017, was refused by notice dated 8th February 2018.


In February 2019 there was a successful appeal against this decision. However, in the Appeal Decision stated in item 8  " ...... the set back of the top floor would help to reduce its overall massing and general bulk, even with a small overhang of the roof and thus I am satisfied that the development would not have a jarring and incongruous effect."


This new 2020 application proposes to enlarge the footprint of this top floor by removing the step in on all sides so the footprint is the same as the floors below thus providing room for 3 x 2 bedroom flats. This implies that the block would now have a "jarring and incongruous effect".


We believe that granting an application for an enlarged top floor would be contrary to the judgement expressed by the Planning Inspector in the 2019 Appeal Decision.


Based on our above concern we ask that this application is refused.

26 October 2020

Christmas Quiz 2020

Following the success of our Summer Quiz during the first lockdown, we are back with the Winter Quiz on Tuesday 8th December (from 7:30pm).

To register your team go to Eventbrite 


The quiz is free to enter, however we encourage participants to support Lewisham Foodbank by donating here.

15 October 2020

Horniman’s Clock Faces Go Green for Parks

 Forest Hill’s Horniman Museum and Gardens will turn its iconic clock faces green tonight (14 October) to celebrate its 16th consecutive Green Flag Award.

The Horniman is one of more than 80 locations to GoGreenForParks, with buildings and landmarks lighting up in a nationwide celebration of great quality parks and green spaces
recognised by the Green Flag Awards, including the White Cliffs of Dover at Samphire Hoe, the London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Salford’s Media City.

Kirsten Walker, Director of Collection's Care and Estates at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, says: ‘We know how valuable parks and outdoor spaces are for people’s wellbeing, and this year they have been more important than ever. Our visitors tell us how much they value the Horniman Gardens as somewhere to enjoy nature, spend time with family and friends, be inspired by beautiful plants and displays, to exercise, relax and admire the views. Our Gardens and Estates teams have really done us proud this year, and we’re delighted to #GoGreenForParks to celebrate their hard work and the joy that the Gardens bring.’

The Horniman has minimised the environmental impact of taking part in #GoGreenForParks by adding coloured gels to existing lights, rather than using extra lighting and energy, in line with its Climate and Ecology policy. The green clock faces can be seen from dusk on 14 to 16 October.

Full details on the Horniman website.

13 October 2020

A new Chair for the Forest Hill Society

On 7th October the Forest Hill Society elected Claus Murmann as the new chairperson of the Society for the year ahead. Below is an interview with him to find out more about him.


 Q: How long have you lived in Forest Hill? 

My family and I moved here in 2011, so almost 10 years with 3 boys who all spent their teenage years here and all but the last one (17) have been happily dispatched out as adults.

We moved back to the UK after 11 years on the US East Coast where the kids grew up with a big backyard, a beach and schoolbus rides. Coming back to London was a crash course in city living and the 185. Prior to that I’d lived in Richmond for 10 years, grew up in Ealing from age 2 and rewinding right back to the beginning I was born in Germany. I do still speak German and my side of the family is all back over there now.

Q. What do you do when you are not running the Forest Hill Society?

I work in the City for a bank albeit more on the tech side in data, analytics and cloud adoption. I’ve done a variety of roles ranging from program management through product management, IT architecture and what I would describe as translating between the business and technology. Lots of facilitation between different parties to get stuff done basically. My background originally was an aerospace engineering degree so I like to joke with people who say ‘well it’s not rocket science’ when there are problems that need solving… to atone for my City job I volunteer a couple of times a week at the Lewisham Foodbank on the cycle delivery squad.

Q. What is your favourite thing about Forest Hill?

Well, it used to be Sugar Mountain I’m not ashamed to admit. I love the access to parks, open spaces and even nearby woodlands - from a location perspective you’re almost equidistant from the West End, City and Canary Wharf (especially on a bike). I think it’s a lovely diverse community: I’ve met people who will share everything from gardening tips to power tools or give up their time to help others and improve the area.

Q. What is your favourite cycle route from Forest Hill?

Ah, you know I’m an avid cyclist. Fear not, I am also a car enthusiast. But to answer the question, simply my commute: over the top of the hill, Wood Vale, Peckham Rye (the shopping street is great now it’s been closed to everything but bikes and pedestrians - there’s always someone signing or a band playing, street barbecues - transformational improvement), then past the Peckham library, up the old canal path and Old Kent Road, then over to London Bridge with it’s new segregated bike lane (yay) and into the City. I still do it regularly to get some lockdown exercise and often meet my wife after her work day up in Angel.

Q. What most impressed you about the Forest Hill Society?

Getting real things done. I see markets, people planting flowers, things changing for the better, support for local business and a general policy of positivity as well as keeping the history of the area alive through educational talks, support for the library etc.

Q. What is your top priority in the role?

I would look for ideas to solve the somewhat impossible problem of the Station access on both sides: pedestrian crossings & timings - I know it’s already on the list. Overall I’d describe myself as a good listener with no political affiliation meaning I’m not coming in with an agenda. I cycle but I also drive and also (used to) use the Overground regularly at weekends. Transport always seems to feature high up on the priority list for people. 

Aside from that I think we can help support local businesses as much as possible especially as we come out of lockdown - and back in again?

Q. If you could change one thing about Forest Hill, what would it be?

Apart from demanding Sugar Mountain re-open? I maybe hinted at it above, but I think rebuilding  the whole station complex as a workable town centre would help focus some regeneration of the area and remove a proper eyesore. Again I know there are plans for this so it would be great if we could make it a reality.

Q. What else would you like to confess?

Apparently I buy too many records and have too many bicycles. I hold the privileged position of being on the moderation team for one of the local forums and enjoy taking an active interest online. If I appear to be overly pro road safety campaigning it’s because I’ve had 2 free rides in an ambulance in the last 3 years after altercations with motor vehicles. And finally I’ve been married for over 20 years to my wife who is just the best.

08 October 2020

Transport Concerns from Forest Hill

At our AGM on 7th October, we were delighted to welcome Ellie Reeves MP to speak and take questions. A number of people expressed concern about the lack of train services through Forest Hill at weekends due to engineering works and the 'temporary' loss of all direct Victoria service, which is a well used route by many Forest Hill residents.

We are pleased that Ellie has written to TfL raising the issue on behalf of her constituents. Below is the text of her letter to members of the Forest Hill Society and we look forward to hearing when the services will be more adequate for residents.

Dear Society Members,

Many thanks for inviting me to speak at your AGM. I am always glad to attend and be involved in these community based events particularly during this challenging time.

I am aware that many of you raised the issue of a lack of weekend Overground services from Forest Hill station, and I have also been contacted about this issue by other constituents. 

I fully appreciate that these closures have significantly reduced your transport options at a time when we are all being encouraged to use our cars less. Furthermore I am also aware that this reduction of services to two trains an hour may have ramifications on passengers ability to social distance whilst using these services. 

I have written to Transport for London on your behalf, in my letter I have outlined your case and have requested an update on when regular weekend Overground services from Forest Hill will resume. I have also asked them to respond, more generally to the individual concerns raised by many of my constituents on this issue. 

I will of course let you know as soon as I receive a response. I will also write to Network Rail and the Department for Transport. Please be assured that I and my team will continue to follow up on this issue to ensure that Forest Hill receives an adequate service from London Overground and all other forms of public transport.

Best wishes,
Ellie Reeves

Member of Parliament for Lewisham West and Penge