When I wrote about parties
Someone always died
- Ice T, OG Original Gangster
Being called an OG of anything is the greatest accolade I could have dreamed of. So let me share with you this bit of puffery that appeared in today's Evening Standard, suggesting that hyperlocal blogs are the harbinger of house price rises and picking on this area among a handful of fast-risers:
Nick Barron, the OG of local bloggers, has been posting since February 2007 and what Brockley Central lacks in swishy web design [fair], it makes up for with comprehensive coverage of all things south-east [sometimes too comprehensive for some tastes].
It helps that there’s so much going on here to write about [it doesn't always feel like that]. Brockley’s charms in no particular order include: abundant parks, good rail links, the Grade II-listed Rivoli Ballroom and the tagliolini al ragú at neighbourhood Italian Le Querce.
The paper notes that house price rises have risen by 8.44% in the last 12 months. I'm not sure if they are trying to pin that on BC.
For the full piece, click here.
When I wrote about parties
Some encouraging news for the future of our high street.
The restaurant space at St Cyprians is not the only stretch of Midtown Brockley Road that has been under threat. The former home of Gogi's off licence had been subject to an application to convert it into a studio flat, but BCer Jennifer has confirmed that this application has been rejected.
I was planning to run an article chiding Brockley MP Vicky Foxcroft for her reticence to declare her position in the unfolding Corbyn car-crash.
After fellow Lewisham MP Heidi Alexander spearheaded a mass revolt by the Parliamentary Labour Party the situation has become so farcical that it's untenable not to pick a side - she either remains a loyal whip or resigns the role. However, this article in The Telegraph perhaps explains her reluctance to speak out. The paper reports:
Labour MPs have been forced to call in the police over death threats in the last 48 hours after they refused to back Jeremy Corbyn, The Telegraph has learnt.
Vicky Foxcroft, a Labour whip, received a call to her constituency office which said: “If she doesn’t support Corbyn I will come down to the office and kick the f*** out of you.” Police officers had to rush her office, close the shutters and attempt to trace the call after the man said he was on his way and hung up.
It's time for well-meaning left wingers to stop enabling this kind of behaviour and admit that their support for Corbyn is lending legitimacy to some deeply unpleasant hardliners that have reattached themselves to the party. Anyone serious about Labour ever winning power again needs to bail on Corbyn now before the brand is completely destroyed. It may already be too late.
Noak Bakehouse & Brew, the Mantle Road cafe, has closed.
It wasn't the easiest of starts for the business, after the departure of their chef ahead of opening forced a rethink (from pizza place to pastries) and despite earning a loyal following during the daytime, they had struggled to establish themselves as an after-work destination.
The team tells me they are currently reviewing their options. It's a great pity to see it close, but during their short tenure, they established Mantle Road as a day-time hangout, which is progress for this stretch of SE4.
Saturday: 2 July 2-8pm
Sunday: 3 July 2-8pm
Monday: 4 July 5-8pm
For full details of this wonderful weekend, click here.
Posted by Nick Barron on 28.6.16
The resignation follows fellow Shadow Cabinet member Hilary Benn's sacking last night and Britain's vote in favour of Brexit. Alexander wrote:
It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to you to resign from the shadow cabinet.
The result of the referendum last week means that our country is facing unprecedented challenges.
Those who will be hit hardest by the economic shock associated with the vote to leave the EU need a strong opposition, as do those communities who fear rising levels of intolerance, hatred and division.
More than ever, our country needs an effective opposition which can hold the government to account and which is a capable of developing a credible and inspiring alternative to an increasingly rightwing and backward-looking Conservative party.
As much as I respect you as a man of principle, I do not believe you have the capacity to shape the answers our country is demanding and I believe that if we are to form the next government, a change of leadership is essential.
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to serve in the shadow cabinet.
Alexander did a solid job during her brief tenure and Corbyn is the most incompetent party leader since IDS - quickly proving himself to be insular, egocentric and fundamentally thick.
It's unfair to blame Corbyn for Brexit, as a large minority of Labour voters would have voted to leave in any circumstances and his "seven and a half out of ten" position on the EU was a fairly accurate reflection of Labour voters' sentiment. But now is a time for leadership and Corbyn is no leader.
And if you needed any further evidence of the necessity of Alexander's decision, rumours are now swirling that Diane Abbott is to be Corbyn's new Shadow Foreign Secretary.
Whoever's in charge, it is hard to see how Labour reconciles its Europhile, cosmopolitan wing with its Europhobe vote in its historic northern heartlands. It's easier to imagine Labour becoming reduced to a London-only party than it is to see a unifying figure emerging from another leadership election.
The change of use of part of the ground floor of the former St Cyprians Hall, Brockley Road to facilitate the creation of a Class A1 (retail) unit. The proposed food store will be operated as a ‘local’ convenience store by The Co- Operative Group Food Ltd.
The store will take the form of a new format ‘ fresh ’ store, providing a good retail offer of fresh produce, including fruit/vegetables, fre sh meals, salads and breads as well as household essentials.
The creation of the food store and subdivision of the ground floor would marginally reduce the Class A2 ‘office’ from 33.0sqm (approved under planning permission DC/15/92982) to 19.5 sqm.
And the loss of this restaurant space is justified on the basis that:
The applicants have carefully analysed the local area and catchment before choosing the application site as a suitable location for a new convenience store. Whilst it is acknowledged there are a small amount of convenience stores already located within this catchment area, The Co -Operative Group Food Ltd. have no presence within this immediate area and therefore th e development proposal will provide additional choice to the local area and competition.
So that's the plan. In an area saturated with small supermarkets and without a single large restaurant space to boast about, the Co-Op wants to open a second store on Brockley Road, before it's even fixed its Crofton Park branch, which is by some margin the most useless high-street supermarket in the area.That would bring the tally of Brockley Co-Ops to three - the arguments about choice and competition are laughable.
The developer has not only produced a brooding, forlorn residential block, they are now trying to kill the one good thing this site had going for it, before restaurateurs have even been given the chance to make a success of it.
The Council should reject this unscrupulous rubbish out of hand and tell the offshore owners to deliver on their promise to bring some nightlife to this sepulchral stretch. This building has been abused for years. Now do it properly.
With thanks to Thomas.
Brexit may reduce our fair city to a smouldering pile of rubble, but by god, the shuttlecocks will still fly over Hilly Fields. Lee writes:
Great Badminton playing (beginners to advanced), excellent indoor facilities, with a fun, very active, friendly/ social club. All Levels Welcome!
Sundays, Saturdays | 11AM-1:30PM | 4 Courts | Singles & Doubles
Cost: 5 GBP in cash on arrival. Play for FREE every 4th Meetup
For full details and to sign-up to play goto:
DIRECTIONS: Prendergast School Indoor Sports Hall is on Adelaide Avenue SE4 1LE (facing Hilly Fields Park and not in Park), meet at main entrance gate (in front of traffic lights). Please whatsapp/call Lee on 07503-391-993 to be let in
EQUIPMENT: We have a few racquets to loan for free, otherwise bring your own. Feather shuttlecocks provided. Remember to bring a bottle of water!
BRUNCH/LUNCH: After Badminton join Club members for a well-deserved lunch at Pistachio Cafe in Hilly Fields Park - feel free to also bring your own packed lunch too!
|The Guardian's Brexit vote map|
Flooding wrecked the train service throughout South East London this morning. The ELL is going for a boil-dry solution.. @BrockleyCentral in case people were wondering about ELL problems, this is ACTUAL boiling water https://t.co/SkWiWXJHuC— Peter T (@Chimpman) June 23, 2016
Brockley Kate has spotted that the borough of Lewisham has recorded the highest increase in registered voters of any constituency in the country, ahead of today's EU referendum vote.
#EUref Counting areas with 15 largest % increase in electors since Dec 2015. Mostly London Boroughs and uni towns. pic.twitter.com/o5D6u57OEk— Stuart Wilks-Heeg (@StuartWilksHeeg) June 23, 2016
No 41 opened at the weekend and the owners say:Very smart looking new place under construction by Dalmain School @BrockleyCentral pic.twitter.com/wqBmUVRq6J— Molewife (@Molewife) June 10, 2016
Please come along and try our Monmouth roasted coffee and our Tea-pigs tea, you will not be disappointed. If you are hungry why not grab a bite to eat? Everything is made freshly on a daily basis in our kitchen, especially our scrumptious Mediterranean breakfast.
Local artist Alex will be making these Eric Carle-alike trees during performances in Hilly Fields Cafe for the rest of June. Alex says:
My Jazzy Trees are made using coloured Nepalese paper on South Indian Khadi paper, both handmade from 100% recycled cotton rags.
If you like these pictures, want to buy one or want me to make a special one with the colours of your home, please write to email@example.com
Colours for children and grown ups, they will bring you the summer.
El Barrio is a latino bar and club with a unique colourful, tropical and Caribbean style, which started in Edinburgh in 2000, mixing Latin music, chart and party anthems for all people.
The home of mojitos & fiesta will keep the Latin and Caribbean flavours 7 days a week bringing you salsa lessons, bands and the London's top latin djs playing Monday to Sunday.
Our signature design will have a large floor, VIP seating areas and a magnificent roof Terrace and Grill which will be opening soon.
El Barrio is located at 100-104 Lewisham High Street, SE13 5JH www.elbarriolondon.co.uk
We will be opening on July 8th.
mum2mum market is launching baby, children's and maternity nearly new sales in Honor Oak Park this summer.
Local families have the opportunity to clear out and sell their children's unused items or bag a bargain or two at the indoor pop-up market.
From buggies to bouncers, rattles to ride-on toys, cots to cradles. At mum2mum market there promises to be a huge variety of just about everything!
All under one roof at a fraction of the high street price.
For more information please see the Facebook event page.or email firstname.lastname@example.org
|Stalls at the 2015 Fayre|
By now you hopefully all know the deal: Food, craft and jumble stalls, inflatables, land-train, birds of prey (awesome) and jolly people with microphones whipping up a bit of audience participation in things. You won't believe you're in Zone 2 London.
Head along and pray for sun.
|A private viewing overlooking Hilly Fields|
This year, they will be exhibiting 4 artists' work in a private house overlooking Hilly Fields where you can mingle, drink tea, eat cake and buy art.
Sat 2nd July 1pm-7pm (Pop-up show)
Sun 3rd July 1pm-7pm (Pop-up show + Attic and Roof Terrace Tearoom)
For full details click here.
Time to talk about the EU referendum, because this vote will be on a knife edge and Lewisham is a swing state.
There's lots not to like about the EU, including an overpowered and unaccountable Commission, and a tendency towards pork barrel politics , visible everywhere from the distortions of the Common Agricultural Policy to the regular migration of MEPs from Brussels to Strasbourg and back again.
We can also ignore any pro-EU arguments that say "without the EU, we'd end up making decisions for ourselves that I don't happen to like". For example, anything about protections from the EU relating to working conditions and human rights. We don't need the EU to give us these things. We have a mature, pluralist democracy. If we want them, we can vote for them ourselves. Likewise, the UK is a net contributor and if we value the things that the EU is supporting, we can spend the money ourselves.
The real benefits of EU membership come from economies of scale in terms of trade, collaboration and common strategies and standards. This is what we stand to lose by leaving a frictionless union.
Take investment in science - an area where the EU has enjoyed remarkable success in recent years and where Britain punches above its weight. It's not a decline in funding that we should fear, but the lost opportunities to participate in EU-wide projects, to pool resources and work on problems together with the brightest minds across the continent. Next time there's a comet to be landed on, we may not be there.
As this graphic from the Economist shows, Britain has done disproportionately well out of the EU set-up. When we joined the EEC, our GDP per capita was well below the member average. Since then, we've become considerably richer than the average:
London is at the heart of this success. We are the business capital of Europe, dominant in finance, technology, law, media and a range of other fields. Our unique agglomeration sucks in talent and investment from across the continent, attracting many more European and global corporate headquarters than any other European city and putting our capital at the top of almost any economic development index you can find.
London is a victim of its own success, to be sure, with soaring house prices forcing people further out, but we need to do a better job of managing growth, rather than wrecking it.
Lewisham voters are lucky enough to live in a city at the height of its powers, enjoying relative success and prosperity. We've become complacent about our success and angry with our leaders - like Charlton fans under Alan Curbishley, who got so used to the comfort of the Premier League that they wanted to boot him out so they could climb to even greater heights. Today, the club languishes in League One.
It's not impossible to imagine a Britain that thrives outside the EU, but it seems much more likely that our hubris will lead to nemesis. At the very least, Brexit guarantees a few years of utter chaos, currency depreciation and economic slowdown. There need to be some bloody good reasons why we'd risk it. So let's look at the three key areas of the argument:
Brexiters claim we'd be freer to trade with the rest of the world, leading to long-term success. The EU hasn't stopped Germany selling cars or machine tools to China, and it hasn't stopped the UK rapidly growing its trade with the rest of the world in recent years. But exiting a free trade bloc and having to spend years renegotiating terms with the EU and the rest of the world would certainly do massive damage to our trade in the short term. More importantly, it would disadvantage us in the long-term. As Lord Mandelson said in his excellent speech to the EEF:
"Let me tell you a bit more about free trade agreements. I have negotiated many in my time as Trade Commissioner.
"They only start when the other side wants. They are very difficult to conclude. They always take longer than you think. The advantage is always with the bigger party. And to get what you want you have to concede far more than you bargained for. They are not a cake walk."
Even Brexiters have conceded this point and have fallen back on the argument that Brexit would force exporters to raise their game, because the EU has been 'too easy' a ride for them. This is not a reassuring argument. If you care about trade (and the jobs and growth that go with it) then you have to vote remain.
This has been the Brexiters' strong suit. Immigration from the EU has accelerated sharply in recent years and, while the net economic effect is neutral-to-positive, rapid immigration does create problems, putting deflationary pressures on wages in certain sectors and jobs and placing strain on public services.
Remainers can argue that the answer is simply for Britain to invest more in infrastructure and the public services but that carries with it political challenges, like increasing government borrowing or relaxing green belt protections around cities like London. The reality is that rapid immigration will always be hard to manage and the EU makes it harder to control.
I like London's diversity and its status as an international melting pot. But not everyone is so comfortable with change - or in a position to adapt to it as comfortably. If the speed of change is too unsettling for you, then Brexit might make sense. But here, I'd offer two caveats:
Firstly, London's economy is built on immigration. So whether you are in work or reliant on state support and the taxes that pay for it, clamping down on immigration could have a material, negative impact on your standard of living.
Secondly, many Brexiters have acknowledged how important immigration is and have tried to argument that the real problem with the EU and immigration is that it favours European migrants over those from India, China and elsewhere. In other words, Brexit would probably have a minimal impact on total immigration, but the countries of origin might be different. That seems like a very weak argument in favour of Brexit.
Meanwhile, traveling among, working in or retiring to EU countries will become much more complicated.
If sovereignty matters above all to you, then Brexit offers the restoration of British democracy and the hope of better decisions being made. But, the EU will go on making laws that will effect our lives and which will be forced upon us by trade agreements. We will have surrendered our voice in these processes.
We'd also lose some ability to shape international co-operation. The EU helps us respond more effectively to issues that cross borders, from climate change to defence.
If democratic reform is an itch we want to scratch, there are lots of domestic issues we could be focusing on first, from voting reform and devolution to the role of the House of Lords and the Queen as Head of State.
I will thus be voting "remain" but please share your views below.
Want a free Flic button so you can fight danger?
My firm, Edelman, is working with the Swedish makers of airbags for heads Hövding to map London's cycling danger zones using data from cyclists, captured with a sexy Flic button like this, which can be attached to your handlebars:
As a first step, 500 digital buttons have been distributed to members and supporters of the London Cycling Campaign, But I've managed to grab two - this one for me and one for another BCer.
I know a lot of you are keen cyclists so if you'd like to be part of the campaign, please email me here to apply for a button. I'll pick a winner by next Sunday and get it to you.
The News Shopper reports:
"The owner of a Brockley garage has been sentenced after admitting MOT fraud, which saw 27 cars pass the test without being inspected.
"Spyros Katchis, owner of Dundalk Motors Testing Ltd in St Asaph Road, was found issuing MOT certificates without carrying out the physical test after a member of the public tipped off the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)."
For the full story, click here.
The local pub renaissance continues. The Royal Standard on Tanners Hill, the hostel bar that has been frustratingly closed to the general public for years, is currently being refurbished as a gastropub. The management says:A fresh lick of #paint for our #relaunch! #royalstandarddeptford #gastropub #exteriors #pubsoflondon #deptford #pub pic.twitter.com/yaPQS5WVGI— The Royal Standard (@TRSDeptford) May 31, 2016
"We are currently closed for renovation and are due to relaunch in June. We will be introducing our exciting new menu along with choice craft beers.
"During these final stages of the refurbishment we will be posting photos of the project to keep you updated and give you a taste of what’s to come. So make sure you follow our page and keep your eyes peeled."
Follow them here to get more details. Thanks to George for the heads-up.
The response to the work has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic, but some are questioning whether you can have too much of a good thing.
I think one item of street art is a delightful curiosity, quite a bit of street art is de trop, but a massive amount of street art becomes a tourist attraction.
This year's contributions have helped Brockley pass through to the uncanny valley, so that we are now London's leading street art destination. Given that nearly every artwork adorns somewhere that was previously grotty, the Street Art Festival has been an unalloyed good.
In time, the Brockley Street Art Festival will surely grow in to the Venice Biennale of spray paint.
"The people have spoken, the bastards."
- Dick Tuck (as told to me by Rhymer)
A new online forum for Forest Hill / Honor Oak has been launched. This one's called se23.life and serves as an alternative to SE23.com
The founders believe the clean look and superior functionality of their forum will attract a new community and it has got off to a decent start in terms of the number of posts generated (albeit, a high proportion come from the mods themselves).
New entrants in the hyperlocal space are always welcome, but when so much debate has gravitated to local Facebook groups, it's tough to build a foothold. Paul Milnes, the moderator of the Telegraph Hill Forum, recently announced a plan to close it, writing:
"I've been looking at activity on the forums, and it's becoming increasingly rare. Telegraph Hill now has its own Facebook page and noticeboard, and the Centre, the church, the cafe and the Festival all have their own web sites. In the light of this, I think it's a good idea to discontinue the forums and make the Telegraph Hill web site a simple portal to all the other sites, including the FB page."
Established communities that have built critical mass, like the East Dulwich Forum, should continue to prosper, but can a new entrant survive when Facebook is wiping out huge chunks of the open web?
Taking part in a referendum debate organised by the New Cross Road Baptist Church (466a New Cross Road, June 7th, 7.30pm) will be Labour Councillor Joe Dromey, Vicky Foxcroft MP, Paul Oakley (UKIP), John Hamilton (People Before Profit) and representatives from the Greens, LibDems and the Conservative Party.
If you can't make it down, don't worry, I'll be creating a thread next week on BC where we can all hash it out and come to a neat consensus about which way to vote.
The Crystal Palace pizza restaurant blends great design with a delicious and minimalist menu to create the perfect pizza restaurant. The team says:
We are opening on Evelina Road on the site that used to be the awesome Bambuni who are moving to a new location just down the road.
Expect our 48 hour fermented London sourdough pizzas, lots of craft beers (draft, canned and bottled), GELUPO Gelato and Allpress Espresso UK coffee.
We are hoping to be open in August but we do have a bit of work to do. As soon as we have a date we let you know.
And still no decent pizza place in Brockley. Amazing.
At one point, its neighbours at London Particular were hoping to resurrect it, but if anyone knows more about what's happening here, please let us know and I'll update the article.
Last November, the Council launched a large consultation, covering multiple areas of the borough, proposing Controlled Parking Zones, including one that would have radiated out from Brockley Station and another to cover the whole of St Johns.
The Brockley consultation produced an 80% "against" result, and the official report comments that:
"The only streets in favour were Coulgate Street, Jeavon Mews and Meadows Way; however, these results each represent only one or two responses from each of these streets. Jeavons Mews does have a response rate greater than 10%, which would normally meet the criteria for a CPZ, but, given that this is based on only one response, no CPZ option is presented for this street.
"A high number of responses (361) were received from outside the study area. The majority of these were from streets adjoining the study area expressing concern that, should a new CPZ be installed, they would be impacted by any displacement of parking."
Although there are some real issues with parking in streets around the station, a CPZ always looked like a sledgehammer to crack a nut and, given the problems that the Council's other CPZs have created, this result is thoroughly unsurprising.
However, the Deptford South (St Johns) consultation, which produced a response rate about half that of Brockley's, came down in favour of a CPZ, with 53% of respondents supporting one. An overall majority is enough for the Council to trigger a CPZ.
As a result of these votes, the Council decided on April 25th that no CPZ would be implemented in Brockley, while a new CPZ will be introduced in the whole of the Deptford South Study Area and be extended to include Somerset Gardens.
Thank you to Rhymer for the prod.
As promised, the Brockley Street Art Festival murals have begun to appear. They will not rest until every ugly shutter in SE4 has been given an aesthetic reprieve. Here's Essence of India on Brockley Road:
@brockstreetart @BrockleyCentral @LewishamCard @Ldncallingblog new work by "Disk" pic.twitter.com/VwycqzAzjJ— Lionel Stanhope (@lionel_stanhope) June 1, 2016
In the evening, there will be DJs and a bar, while throughout the day, a cafe and jerk chicken stall will be open.
Turner Prize-winner Jeremy Deller has also selected a piece of work from each studio to curate a 'two-minute tour'.