PG-rated Woodhouse

Woodhouse is a short film by local director Fred Rowson, which had its debut online today. Fred writes:

It was all shot in and around Brockley, and I consider it something of a paean to the area. Some insider local knowledge: the nature reserve where it all takes place is the New Cross Gate Cutting, and one of our locations (for the scenes set in the 1970s) is the house of none other than local blues [and bowls!] legend Billy Jenkins.

Once Bad Intentions

Once Bad Intentions is a novel set in Brockley and Lewisham. Written by local author Monique Dixon and set in the 1990s, it explores local gang culture of the time.

Click here to visit the website and buy a copy.

Le Delice building up for sale

The building that plays home to Le Delice cafe in Ladywell is up for sale. The 3 storey building also houses five flats and is on the market for £1 million with Home2U. Thanks to Miles for the heads-up.

Digital divide hits Brockley Cross

"The Brockley 27" in classic "angry local residents" pose for the Guardian
A few months ago, a friend who moved into the Dragonfly Place live-work development in Brockley Cross, mentioned that the residents were struggling to get any phone or internet access and we might look into the subject. Well, we should have, but we didn't.

Now, proving in a way that no amount of NSA revelations ever could, that there is still a role for professional journalists, the Guardian has covered the story. As the article tells, it has been seven months since the place opened and there is still no BT Openreach connection, which is not helpful for a development designed to attract small creative and tech businesses.

Read the full story and BT's excuse about blocked ducts here.

Coming soon: The Larder

The Larder is the new shop replacing El's Kitchen (71 Ladywell Road). Opening in April, it will continue to operate as a deli and will be run by two local people.

With thanks to LVIG for the update.

Dog unites man

Buddy Baker: Your world must be terrible. It seems so gray and bleak. How can you possibly live in a world without superheroes? 
Grant Morrison: We get by.
- Animal Man

Matt writes:

At lunchtime on Wednesday I was dropping my daughter's grandma (and her dog) off at Brockley station after a few days babysitting. Just as they were about to go through the barriers to platform 2 a large staffie, not on a lead, came racing under the barrier and attacked our dog, who is an elderly spaniel. It locked on and wouldn't let go for ages. It took four of us to get it to release eventually. It's owners weren't much help, offered a feeble apology and then disappeared.

It was a horrible incident which shook us all up, but massive thanks to the good Samaritans of Brockley who came out of shops and flats to help us, bringing water for our dog, calling the vet and making sure we were OK (apologies for my colourful language as I was trying to get the offending dog off).

One emergency trip to the vets later and Ellie the dog has been patched up, is on antibiotics and should be OK. It could have been much worse, (and fortunately my daughter was safely asleep in her buggy), but I urge responsible dog owners to be vigilant in the area, especially if you see another dog is off its lead.

Love Ladywell Day, April 5th

Damn Yankees, April 1-12

Brockley Jack Theatre
Tuesday 1 April to Sat 12 April 2014 at 7.45pm
Saturday matinees 5th, 12th at 2:45pm
www.brockleyjack.co.uk

Faust meets Baseball in this classic Broadway musical. As middle-aged baseball fan Joe Boyd trades his soul to the Devil in order to help his favourite baseball team beat the New York Yankees, hell literally breaks loose. Transformed into baseball sensation Joe Hardy, he takes the Washington Senators to new heights whilst discovering the true worth of the life he was so quick to leave behind.

From song writing duo Adler and Ross (the team behind ‘The Pajama Game’) this memorable score features ‘Whatever Lola Wants’, ‘Shoeless Joe’, ‘Who’s Got the Pain?’ and ‘Heart’. This Tony Award winning musical is brought to the London fringe in an exciting new form by Imperial Productions.

Currency of ideas

We just want to say thank you to whoever thought they would spend their time applying various kinds of sticky tape to this little part of Lewisham Way yesterday.

The Spirograph-meets-Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends pattern made our journey to work this morning that bit nicer.

We reckon 10 art follies are worth one new gallery in terms of our quality of life, while 20 might be worth a new shop selling useful things, 30 would pay for a new cafe and 40 guerilla artworks are probably the equivalent of a new bar or restaurant opening in the area. So in lieu of either of the latter appearing, this has provided about 1/40th of the joy, which is no mean feat for a bit of sellotape.

Go see it at the junction of Manor Avenue and Lewisham Way. Hopefully it's nothing to do with ley lines.

Lewisham police numbers down by 68 since 2010

The London Assembly Labour group have released figures showing the fall in local police numbers since 2010. They say:

Latest figures released by the Mayor of London show that 68 police officers have been cut in Lewisham, a drop of 10% since May 2010. The latest figures show that despite the Mayor’s pledge to increase police numbers, the opposite is happening on his watch.  The cut in police officers comes after criticism of the Mayor’s new Local Policing Model which Len Duvall AM argues is eroding neighbourhood policing in the borough.

The number of borough-based police officers in Lewisham has dropped from 680 in May 2010 to 613 in January 2014.  Across London, the number of police officers has declined by 3,111 (9%).

Join the rebellion - fight the Death of Star Canteen


Lewisham Council-backed pop-up restaurant the Catford Canteen is closing. Funding for the project is due to finish at the end of this month and the canteen is due to close, despite its popularity.

However, the Council owns the premises it uses and Canteen-superfan Helena thinks it's time to lobby the Council to extend its support, at least until new tenants for the unit are found. She writes:

If there is enough public protest at this, then we might be able to convince the council to keep this wonderful initiative going. I'm not affiliated with them, I just think it's a great place.

Please tweet @lewishamcouncil, @cllral (the local deputy mayor) and @catfordcanteen to ask them what we can do to keep this project going. Use #savecatfordcanteen . You can also emailcatfordregeneration@lewisham.gov.uk with your views.

Pub n Play at Jam Circus

Sally writes:

Pub n Play is a new soft play session taking place at Jam Circus, launching on Thursday 3rd April, 12-5pm. We create a soft play room for 0-4 year olds, weekday lunchtimes and afternoons, so that parents can meet their friends and other parents, enjoy the food and let their kids burn off some energy afterwards in the play room!

It's almost impossible to take a toddler anywhere where there isn't something for them to climb on, it really reduces your number of options for places to go! 'Pub n Play' is a great way to allow mums and dads with young children one of the little treats they used to enjoy.

Follow us on Facebook here.

Mud Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen has sprung up next to the Hilly Fields cafe. Launched as part of the Wild Play Day programme, paid for by a Big Lottery Changing Places grant and run by the Friends of Hilly Fields, it was built to encourage different kinds of children's play, beyond the confines of the playground. It will be used to stage a range of events in  future. Rachel from the Friends writes:

The mud kitchen is intended to stay on site and has had lots of positive feedback. We have a heavier top on order which we hope will be attached to logs, so not as easily movable. They couldn't make the heavier one in time (as it is non standard). The two thinner ones will then go to Chelwood [nursery]. 

Bay thieves wing it

John writes:

Between 9pm last night and 8am this morning someone stole the bay tree from outside our house on Manor Avenue. It was a moving-in present and has been sitting there welcoming people to our house for 3 years.

It is around 4ft, has a very round top, was in a green ceramic pot and enjoyed getting dressed up for Chistmas. If someone spots it or is offered it please let us know (email here). The sneaky tree thief may have even changed its pot.

BXAG opposes car-buncle

The Brockley Cross Action Group - a community group initially founded to help improve the state of this blighted junction - has confirmed its opposition to the current plans to redevelop the Brockley Cross car dealership.

The scheme is a hideous mishmash of architectural concepts and the developers are trying to squeeze too much on to an admittedly awkward site. The land needs redevelopment and the car lot brings little to the area.

As for the ground floor commercial space, it either needs to be done really well, to attract a decent business to this challenging location, or to be scrapped completely. The space currently proposed is a sop to the Council that would simply create another empty unit. Brockley Cross doesn't need more commercial space, it needs better commercial units, created by developers who are actively interested in attracting businesses.

The Montague Arms Returns

The Montague Arms (289 Queens Road, SE15 2PA) is back and reassuringly eccentric.

The New Cross pub many thought lost forever when its former owners died reopened last week, festooned by its new team with homicidal foxes, gas masks and machinery. Its steampunk aesthetic is accompanied by a commitment to an eclectic range of ales and live music.

This Tuesday (March 25th) they will be hosting the pre-launch of New Cross band Thidius' new EP.

Swift conservation in Brockley

Rupert writes:

A public talk about swift conservation has been arranged for Tuesday, April 1st, in the St Peter's Church Hall on Wickham Road, 7.30-8.30pm.

Swifts are a fascinating and mysterious bird, one of the sights & sounds of a quintessential British summer. They are annual visitors to Brockley, arriving each May from Africa, and breed in many of Brockley's old Victorian houses. However they are in decline and need our help if they to continue gracing the skies above Brockley each year.

Come and discover more about these wonderful birds from one of our foremost swift experts Edward Mayer - and find out how you can help them! The talk is aimed at anyone with an interest in birds and looking after our wildlife. The talk is free, but we are asking for a voluntary donation of £3 to cover our costs. Any profits will go to swift conservation in Brockley!

We have plans to create new nesting sites for swifts in Brockley. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome to attend! Please arrive between 7.15 - 7.30 on the night.

New deli to replace El's Kitchen

A new deli will open in place of El's Kitchen in Ladywell, which closed recently, after its founder decided it was time to sell-up. El has confirmed the sale has gone through and the re-opening will take place shortly. More details soon.

Rivoli Most Wanted

Muppets Most Wanted gets a selected release this weekend. Among the celebrity cameos is the Rivoli Ballroom, whose velvety walls are the perfect setting for a Muppet musical. It shows up several times in this trailer and if Statler and Waldorf aren't featured as Brockley trolls, then they have missed a trick.

Fly my pretties

Stag Beetle Season approaches (they start to fly in May) so it's worth celebrating the fact that not only is South East London one of the world's most important habitats for stag beetles (thanks to our big gardens and plentiful supplies of rotting wood) but that Hilly Fields itself is a stag beetle centre of excellence.

This innocuous site in the park's wooded south east corner is a dedicated Stag Beetle Loggery.

Canada Water and the Old Kent Road targeted for intense development

The Mayor of London is currently consulting on proposed alterations to The London Plan - including creating new "opportunity areas" in Bromley, Old Oak Common, Harrow & Wealdstone and most significantly for us, Canada Water and the Old Kent Road.

The LP is a high-level blueprint for the future of our city. It's the reason why new office developments are increasingly clustered around main rail stations and why inner London brownfield sites have been targeted for high-density development.

"Opportunity Area" designation would mean intense and accelerated development at these locations. In the case of the OKR, the Mayor envisages a minimum of 2,500 new homes and 1,000 new jobs being located here. For Canada Water it means at least another 800 new homes and a huge new King's College campus.

The OKR designation would lend further weight to the case for a Bakerloo Line extension, which is being touted around by the Mayor, but remains unfunded. For a weeping sore like the OKR to be turned in to a residential area will require something dramatic to happen, like running the Bakerloo Line east from Elephant and Castle straight down its length, before going on to New Cross, Lewisham and Ladywell or perhaps Peckham.

The Mayor is expected to trail his infrastructure strategy in the coming weeks and publish it in the Autumn. That strategy will set out what investment is required for London to grow its population to 10 million.

World Book Night in Greater Brockley

Lewisham and Crofton Park are vying for your attention on World Book Night, April 23rd. First up, Lewisham Council writes:

The award winning Glass Mill Leisure Centre in Lewisham has been chosen by The Reading Agency as the London venue to host a World Book Night event.

The event will include performances and readings from award winning crime author, Dreda Say Mitchell and Nadeem Masood, author of ‘Making Pandemonium’, an insider’s account of being a volunteer performer at the London 2012 Olympics. 

World Book Night, now in its fourth year, is run by The Reading Agency, the charity with a mission to give everyone an equal chance to become a reader. 12,500 copies of 20 specially printed World Book Night titles, totalling 250,000 books, will be given by a network of volunteer reading enthusiasts and institutions focusing on reaching 35% of the population who don’t read for pleasure.

The Crofton Park Library team says:

For this year's World Book Night, the reading groups and book clubs of Crofton Park will be celebrating together. It is an opportunity for bookworms to meet each other; make new friends; share what they have been reading over the past year; and be inspired to try new genres and authors.

The celebration will be held on Wednesday April 23, at Crofton Park library at 8 pm. Each.group should bring one copy of each of the books they have read over the past year. (If you read them on Kindle or borrowed them from the library, can you bring a print of the cover?) it will be exciting to see what the other groups have been reading and to share recommendations.

There will be a quiz, loosely based on this year's world book night books. You can see which ones here: http://www.worldbooknight.org/books.

Although books are provided by Lewisham Council, Crofton Park library is a community library, run by the community for the community. The library relies on donations of books that can be sold to raise funds to keep the library going.

Everyone is invited to bring unwanted books to the library on April 23. Allison Davis, the library manager, has suggested that there is a book swap and the remaining books will be donated to the library.

There will be cheese and wine. Entry is £5, payable at the door.

The Brockley MAX returns with an auction of promises

The Brockley MAX Arts Festival returns for 2014,after taking a year's break - Glastonbury style - to let the land and volunteers' energy-levels recover. Organiser Moira explains:

This year's MAX will take place from Friday 30 May with a spectacular opening night of music, and run until Saturday 7 June, details soon on www.brockleymax.co.uk

To build support for the festival and to help raise some funds towards hosting Brockley Max, we’ll be holding an Auction of Promises at the Ladywell Tavern on Friday 28 March from 7.30pm. More than 50 auction lots have been promised, ranging from the artistic to the creative to the frivolous. What’s more, we’ve lined up a celebrity auctioneer – none other than Bond Girl Caroline Munro.

Lots include one-off artworks by Caroline Underwood, a framed screen print courtesy of Slater & King and family portrait photos taken by Sarah Garrod. You can have afternoon tea at Pat A Cakes in Crofton Park or enjoy homemade cupcakes from Sucre a la Crème Bakery and Nandi Nandi.

Alternatively, why not bid on a fun night out? Try a night at the Brockley Jack Theatre, dinner at The Orchard, Jam Circus or Arlo & Moe in Brockley, at Le Querce,Donde Tapas or Hopscotch Bar in Honor Oak Park or Little Nan’s Bar in Deptford. InaPickle will even cook for you in your own home.

The Auction of Promises also includes music lessons, building and decorating services, sewing and fitness classes and a tour of Brockley Brewery. You can bid on jewellery from Paraphenalia, handknitted gifts or even a bouncy castle from Tippee Toes.

We’d love as many people as posible to turn up and bid – and to find out just why it’s such great news that Brockley Max is back!

If you can’t make the Auction, you can still support us here:
https://www.patchworkpresent.com/patchwork/raising-funds-for-the-brockley-max/19873

Plant trees in Blythe Hill Fields

Brockley's dog whistle

Another local blogger has smuggled Brockley places into Time Out's secret London series. Ellen Munro, who has devoted her life to Dogs on Trains, tells the site about The Lewisham (Brockley) micro library and Brockley Market.

Of our book box, she says:

‘This disused classic red phone box was brought back to life late last year in the form of a micro library. Shelves have been installed and filled with books. It’s open to anyone, 24 hours a day, the simple premise being that you take a book and replace it with one you no longer want. The shelves are always full and the books are always changing; here’s hoping it’s here to stay."

Click here for the full article.

Recycle more metal!

Lewisham Council is trying to get residents to recycle more metal. They say:

A new campaign has been launched to urge Lewisham residents to make their ‘metals matter’ by encouraging them to recycle more of the estimated 80 million cans, aerosols aluminium foil trays and the wrapping foil used in Lewisham homes every year.

Used metal packaging can be recycled endlessly into valuable new products saving energy and CO2 emissions compared to making them from raw materials. 

To mark the launch of the campaign, on Friday 14 March Lewisham Council held a recycling roadshow at Lewisham Shopping Centre, where Cllr Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, met children from local school, Myatt Garden. The children, under the guidance of art teacher, Karen Vost, were creating a magnetic sculpture from the assortment of cans, aerosols and tins recycled by residents. 

Research has shown that people aren’t always aware that their used metal packaging will be transformed into new valuable everyday items when collected for recycling. The new campaign aims to help people understand what can be recycled and explain what happens to the metals collected. 

And if all the metal packaging used in Lewisham each year was collected for recycling it would save around 4260 tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent to taking 835 cars off local streets. Aiming to spread this message throughout the borough, the communications campaign will reach more than 168,000 households with leaflets sent to every home.  

The 1940s House

Yet another reason to visit Catford

Brockley's pop-up du jour

Felix writes:

I am a chef and I have organized several dining events in my own home mostly as practice for the business side of running restaurants and cafes, albeit on a much smaller scale! I like to serve three courses with an emphasis on food that can be achieved in one's own home, but hopefully with the added benefit of having been prepared by a professional chef.

Now that I have moved back to Brockley after a couple of years in New Cross I hope to extend my guest list beyond my  friends and get some reliable, honest feedback on my endeavours!  I have a Facebook page where people are able to purchase tickets in advance.

The next event is on the 13th April and will be priced at £17.50 for three courses (byo)  and the menu is as follows:

  • Langoustine bisque risotto 
  • Braised beef, seared pigeon, mash, broccoli
  • Chocolate Fondant, coriander ice cream,  peanut praline

The Broca Ensemble at the Union Chapel, March 15th

Brockley guitar band The Broca Ensemble plays the beautiful Union Chapel venue in Islington this weekend. They were, apparently, formed via a notice posted on Brockley Central. So they must be good.


Click here for the gig details.

Three things

Auction & Table Top Sale 
St Stephen’s CE Primary School, Albyn Road, SE8 4ED
Saturday 15th March 2014, 10.00am – 12.00 noon

The Ladywell Ward Assembly
Prendergast-Hilly Fields College Hilly Fields, Adelaide Avenue, SE4 1LE
Thursday, 20th March, from 6.45pm

Every Picture Tells a Story
The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford, SE8 4AG
Performances: Saturday 22 March at 12.45 and 13.45 (performances last approximately 30 mins). Exhibition: Saturday 22 March until 31 March

An exhibition of photographs by acclaimed photographer Chris Schwarz opens at three Lewisham venues - The Albany, Lewisham Library and Lewisham College– in March 2014. The images record Lewisham and Deptford in the 1970s and 1980s and the work of The Combination Theatre Company and were taken by Chris when he was photographer in residence at The Albany. They provide a fascinating legacy of the changing faces of Deptford over a 15 year period. Performances by the award winning Deptford Stories Theatre Company interpreting some of the photographs.

Brand Zenubian

Sunrise Ceramics, the former Ladywell pottery shop, has been replaced by Zenubian (218 Algernon Road), a gift shop specialising in "conscious..fair trade..ethnic..new age..." fare. The shop is currently being refitted, with the opening day imminent.

Follow them on Facebook here.

Six life models in search of an artist

Susie and Jenny have everything you could ever need to run life drawing classes, except for a teacher. They write:

Artists!

We are hoping to start a life-drawing class - we have a venue (very near Brockley station)and can find participants but we need a teacher!

Please contact jennymiller.barefootopera@gmail.com

The Brockley Noise Action Group

The Brockley Noise Action Group (BNAG) is a group set-up to address noise problems related to Heathrow Airport. They have already enjoyed some success in highlighting the problems night-flight trials created for this neck of the woods, but thanks to low flying aircraft, this is a group that never sleeps.

They are holding an open meeting at St John's Church Hall (St John’s Vale, SE8 4EA) on Tuesday 18th March at 7.30pm. They say:

The purpose of the meeting is to provide a forum for local residents to discuss the impact of increased noise from aircraft on the local area.  Rick Norman, Head of Noise, BAA has agreed to attend, and we will also have Councillor Darren Johnson, John Stewart from HACAN, and a representative from Joan Ruddock’s team present. 

Please join us. 

KR's Barber Station - now open

KR's Barber Station is a new gentleman's establishment at 308 Brockley Road (Midtown). Run by Musa, it appears, despite its hipster-friendly logo, to be traditional-enough to reassure even the most-ardent anti-gentrifier: Hot towel shaves, flat tops and beard trimming all available!

Follow them on Facebook here.

Vintage Tea

Hilary wants to tell you about her new Brockley venture called Tea for Two. She writes:

I hire-out out vintage crockery (tea cups mostly) to friends and friends of friends. I have just launched my new website as I'm trying to grow the business. I would love local people to hear about it.

Basically, I want to help throw tea parties that make people happy! I'm not a caterer, but my website explains where the idea for the business came from and I know there is a market for it - particularly for people doing weddings and parties on a budget.

I work at a higher education college by day and have an MA in community work so I am keen on the 'social capital' side. If there are any charities that want to use it for free, I am potentially up for that.

Vintage Jam, March 15th


London's housing types mapped

Via the Guardian's London blog comes this image from the prolific team at estate agents Savills, who've mapped London's housing tenure by three main types: social rented (green), private rented (blue) and owner occupied (red).

There are perhaps few real surprises in terms of the overall distribution but we'd expected more of Lewisham to be social rented accommodation. The contrast with neighbouring Southwark is marked. Likewise, it's interesting to see that the map of Lewisham only really turns red in a band from Crofton Park up to Forest Hill and around through Catford towards Greenwich borough.

The summer of cycling begins

Summer officially dawned this weekend and we are guaranteed at least six months of unbroken sunshine in Brockley, from here on. So it is with exquisite timing that two cycling announcements were made today.

Firstly, Lewisham Council has promoted its new cycle loan scheme. For an initial £10, you can try a bike for a month - if you like it, you can buy it at a discount. Details here.

Secondly, the Mayor of London's latest cycling plan, unveiled today, will focus virtually all spending on three boroughs: Kingston, Enfield and Waltham Forest. They will get £30m to create "mini-Holland" projects, delivering "transformative" infrastructure projects that will afford cyclists in London greater protection.

A bone has also been thrown to South East London in the form of a new "Quietway" route from Waterloo to Greenwich (home of the Mayor's cycling Tzar, Andrew Gilligan), which will deliver "direct and continuous routes on low-traffic back streets and will open later this year." Bloomsbury to Walthamstow will also be delivered this year, with a further six routes covering all points of the compass have been selected for accelerated delivery next year.

The New Cross blog reports that slowly, very-slowly, the New Cross cycle "superhighway" is also taking shape, with options to provide segregated cycling currently being explored by TfL.

Code & Coffee, March 12th

That's not the way the world really works any more. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do. 
- Karl Rove

Clustering is a collective act of faith, which means that labels make history. Now, Silicon Double Roundabout (like Silicon Roundabout, only twice as good, natch) is a thing - and just in time to save Tech City from "slow decline".

Local tech company ONEIS is hosting a meetup for local companies called Code & Coffee at Brockley's new small business community Dragonfly Place, which has presumably sorted out its telecoms problems now. The organisers say:

Code & Coffee is a cool meeting for those who like coffee and love writing code. The idea is simple. Just come along and you may find other developers writing some code before going to work while drinking some coffee.

There is no agenda. Come along, bring your laptop, meet other developers, write some code (if you want) and have a coffee. Doors open at 7:30am and close at 9:30am, but you can come and leave whenever you like. You must register beforehand. Contact phone number: 020 7047 1111.


Full details here.

Made in Brockley masterpiece for Breakspears Road

In contrast to the sorry mess proposed for Brockley Cross comes this plan for a 5-bedroom house on an empty plot on Breakspears Road, submitted for approval recently.
Conceived by regular BCer Richard and designed by local architect Gruff, the plan is a hybrid house - Victorian replica at the front, modernist at the back. The approach respects the Conservation Area while allowing them to have some fun with the interior spaces. The result is about as good as anyone could ever hope for and will clean up a spot which had become a dumping ground for anyone with an old tyre to chuck.

This is how you do pastiche - go big or go home. Richard is spending a lot of money to get the details right - embellishments that the Victorians used to knock out in the thousands now have to be specially-made. In the long-run, however, paying attention to the detail is probably a pretty good investment.

It's the kind of ambitious design we forecast for 2014, but one which complements the character of the street. More of this sort of thing please.

Brockley Cross development plans revised

Parkhill Group, the owners of the Brockley Cross car lot, have submitted a revised application to turn it into flats.

The project has gone through a number of different iterations - all of them ugly. This one, produced, the developers say, in response to feedback from the Brockley Society, is perhaps the ugliest yet.

The car yard is a waste of space and contributes to the overall ugliness of this spot. It should be redeveloped and it should be primarily residential. But this thing is surely not the way forward and unless something high quality is built the risk is surely that it would just add another empty retail unit to this location.

With thanks to Jack for the heads-up.

Residential proposal for Brockley Police Station

Brockley Police Station has been sold, but its sui generis planning status means that the buyer will have to get Council approval for its conversion plans. So we asked the Council for a comment on whether planning officers had a preference for its redevelopment - the area would benefit from more high quality space for offices, retail, dining, drinking or even a gym.

Like many readers, we hope that at least some of the space will be given over to one or more of these uses. This is a rare opportunity to build something different in the area and the Council have significant influence over what gets built. So here's what we were told:

“We are keen for the locally listed building to be retained and have received a pre-application enquiry proposing residential use. The Council assesses every application on its own merits. Any potential use would need to be assessed against the impacts not only upon the locally listed building, but also the local area.”

So there we go. It's going to be flats.

FFWD the Revolution

Amanda writes:

In the hundredth anniversary year of the opening of Deptford Central Library, a FFWD the Revolution is a performative tour and publication by Ruth Beale that will chart the the history of the building, the uses of each space, and the political ambitions of its occupants.

Combining new writing and archive material, the work encounters presence and absence, ambition and legacy, from the Carnegie endowment to 75 years of public library service, from a brief occupation in the early 90s as a venue for raves to community protest, and the last 20 years' tenure as an artists' studio cooperative.

Ruth Beale is the current Graduate Studio Bursary Artist at Lewisham Arthouse.

Wednesday 16th April 2014
Book launch: 6-9pm
Tours: 8pm, 8.30pm
Tours are free but ticketed. Visit 44wd.eventbrite.co.uk to book a place.

www.lewishamarthouse.org.uk

Goldsmiths to transform St James Hatcham church as next wave of New Cross redevelopment begins

For a while, we've been alluding to the fact that Goldsmiths would be stepping up its plans to invest in its campus, which occupies much of central New Cross.

The redevelopment programme is not only a priority for Goldsmiths, but for local residents, who want the empty high street properties brought back into use. BC is on the Council of Goldsmiths and we're really excited by what's coming, which will add a lot more to the area than just new retail units.

Following the recent opening of a new music studio on New Cross Road, Goldsmiths says:

Goldsmiths, University of London has unveiled a number of building projects which will transform their single-campus site in the heart of New Cross.

The announcement comes as contractors begin work on the first of these developments – interior re-design of St James Hatcham, a 19th century church building bought by the College in 2011.

An impression of the new interior of St James Hatcham church
The development will see the building transform into a space that can be used flexibly for teaching, exhibitions, performances and studios.

The Hatcham project forms just one part of a wider vision set out in the College’s updated Masterplan – of a flexible, sustainable campus with visibility of key activities and function set within an identifiable and coherent public realm. The plan has been drawn up by architects McAslan and the Estates team in consultation with staff, students and the wider College community. It is in the final stages of development as the College continues conversations with Lewisham Council on the overall scheme.

A number of key projects have already begun, including:

o   Renewal of the flagship Richard Hoggart Building on Lewisham Way, including a new bright and welcoming entrance and the opening up and landscaping of the forecourt to provide social seating and performance space

o   New Music studios at 286 New Cross Road which provide a creative space for research, performance and recording where musicians, both Goldsmiths students and members of the public, can make professional-level recordings using state-of-the-art equipment.‌

o   The installation of a new café in the Rutherford Building which houses the library and computer laboratories.

The College has significantly increased its investment in the estate in recent years – spending £5m last year, almost four times more than previous years. This investment is set to continue with the following plans in the pipeline:

o   The creation of a new art gallery on campus, using the water tanks in the former Laurie Grove baths. The College will be launching a design competition next week.

o   Continuing our strategy of disposing of outlying properties to enable us to concentrate on our on-campus developments and to review our accommodation strategy with a view to accommodating more on campus in the longer term.

o   Repairs to the front elevation of the Deptford Town Hall Building, following recent repair works to the rear of the building, and continuation of the works to the nearby shops to make them safe

o   Facilitating a variety of ‘pop-up’ projects in the shops on New Cross Roads, following the success of the recent New Cross Records pop-up shop.

Skye Nightclub

Follow them on Facebook here.

Floodgates opened to poles

Lionel sent us this picture of a new outbreak of signs in Hilly Fields, which he says appear next to lamp posts every few metres.

Without wishing to sound like Nigel Farage ourselves, this is everything that is wrong with public spending. Unnecessary, unaccountable, ugly and in an age of austerity, unfathomable.

Whoever thought spending money to let us know that the footpath is for walking on may just as well have drafted a 500 word article for the Daily Mail, urging Osborne to cut deeper. 

Brockley Gruffalo Found

His eyes are orange, his tongue is black,
He has purple prickles all over his back.

Where was he found?
Here, by this roundabout
And his favourite food is Jerk Bagel.

Brockley Rog found this toy in Brockley Cross and put it on the wall next to Tickle Me.

Just follow BC and soon you'll see, Everyone is aware of he.

The Telegraph Hill Festival 2014

The THF team writes:

Now in its 20th year, The Telegraph Hill Festival has been an integral part of the diverse arts, music and performing scene in New Cross.

From 21st March to 6th April 2014 Telegraph Hill Festival will present stunning and varied work encompassing fine art, installation, performance, food related activities, pop-up diners and more.

Artists exhibiting their work through Open Studios include Durgesh Srivastava, the noted abstract expressionist and installation artist (still working in her 80s), Mira Jurcova's web based Gallery of Broken Promises, Andrew Clarke's collages inspired by urban life, Gill Roth’s figurative drawings plus a huge range of affordable ceramics, photography and craft items.

Performance has always played its part in Telegraph Hill Festival. This year Annie Get Your Gun will play at St Catherine's Church and feature a cast of more than 150 people ranging in age from 5 to 80. Telegraph Hill Festival's legendary Comedy Nights have hosted Jenny Eclair, Arthur Smith, Lucy Porter and Stephen Frost, compered by the ever lovely Phil Nice. This year’s Comedy Night promises much.

There will also be a 'beaming and bouncing' laser light show at the top of Telegraph Hill, using the roof spaces of Telegraph Hill Centre. Come and see and all will be revealed…

With around 60 other events including a Tea Dance, a reggae sound system, community cooking workshops, retro gaming, a dog show and numerous free family friendly events there will be something for everyone.

Full details are available from the Telegraph Hill Festival programme.

New Cross and Hither Green - A foreign land for Farage

This weekend, Nigel Farage told his party conference in Torquay that parts of Britain have become "unrecognisable".

Curiously, he chose a train journey from Charing X to Kent to illustrate his point, claiming that he rode through London Bridge, New Cross and Hither Green to Grove Park before his nerves were calmed by the sound of English being spoken, saying:

"Do I think parts of Britain are a foreign land? I got the train the other night, it was rush hour, from Charing Cross. "It was a stopper going out and we stopped at London Bridge, New Cross, Hither Green, it was not til we got past Grove Park that I could hear English being audibly spoken in the carriage. "Does that make me feel slightly awkward? Yes it does. I wonder what is really going on. I am saying that and I am sure that is a view that will be reflected by three quarters of the population, perhaps even more."

The idea that London is a great black and brown "other" is a popular one with UKIPers (and much of the rest of the country) but his example is as incredible as David Cameron's 'black man in Plymouth' story, since any journey out in to the Kent countryside is dominated by white English people, who get on at Charing X and thus ought to have been a reassuring presence for him during his trip - they didn't all embark at Grove Park.

Tourists increasingly hang out at London Bridge and foreign students sometimes swamp New Cross, but Farage describes a train carriage we've never seen. As for Hither Green, it's a happy hunting ground for native-Londoners priced out of other parts of London.

There are disturbing scenes every Friday night at London Bridge, featuring people who speak in unknown tongues, but they're pissed-up Brits on their way home, after a night at the Barrowboy & Banker. Some great British traditions don't change.

Brockley Brewery's One Year Birthday Bash

The Brockley Brewery team say: "We're having our first music event with local musicians playing at the brewery on Friday 14 March. Limited tickets (advance purchase only), so be quick!"

Brockley Market reaches BBC Food and Farming Award Finals


Brockley Market has reached the final of the BBC Food & Farming awards in the 'Best Market' category, having been shortlisted alongside two other British markets. The BBC and its judges, including chef Richard Corrigan, visited the market yesterday and will reveal their verdict at a ceremony in Bristol on May 1st.

Brockley Market's fish stall Veasey & Sons has also reached the final of the 'Best Retailer' category & while Street Food trader 'Tongue & Cheek has been shortlisted in the best street food or takeaway category. Good luck to all three of them.

The FT on Lewisham: The new Hackney

The FT has more research from estate agents Savills, who claim that London's 'mid-tier boroughs', including Lewisham, Ealing, Barnet and Tower Hamlets - where housing stock and transport links are good - will see the biggest house price rises in the capital over the next five years.

The paper's profile of Lewisham, says we can look forward to welcoming Hackney's sloppy seconds, as the borough becomes the "on-trend place to buy south of the river". It claims:

Lewisham is the natural heir to Hackney. Both boroughs were once home to tatty, forgotten housing stock, reputations for crime and substandard transport systems. But prices in Hackney have soared in the past five years, jumping 12 per cent in the past year alone, according to the Land Registry, as artists, trendy twenty-somethings and families looking for something a bit livelier than humdrum suburbia have flocked here.

Lewisham, now benefiting from the East London Line, which passes through Shoreditch in Hackney down to Forest Hill and Sydenham, is drawing those same punters farther south, where three- and four-bedroom homes are just about still available for under £500,000, although prices are rising rapidly. “The media and arts crowd are often the pioneers of gentrification,” says Lucian Cook of Savills. “Hackney is a very complete borough in that it has great period properties, beautiful parks and great shops and restaurants. Lewisham is similar in that it has great housing stock and has the parks and shops of Dulwich nearby. Now that it has the transport links too, it has taken over from Peckham as the new on-trend place to buy south of the river.”

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