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Thameslink 2000 now becomes Thameslink 2018! North-south rail link is safe but will open at same time as Crossrail.

The £6bn Thameslink north-south link through the capital is safe from cuts, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has announced. But the project will not now be completed until 2017-8 – opening at roughly the same time as the east-west Crossrail project is completed.

The newly revamped line – so long delayed that the project was initially called Thameslink 2000 – will enable passengers to travel directly from Sydenham station to Thameslink stations north of the river (via London Bridge). Existing lines from both south and north of London will feed into the network meaning that passengers from Sydenham will be able to travel to destinations such as Peterborough or Cambridge without leaving the Thameslink system.

 What Thameslink and Crossrail will mean for local passengers:

  • The ability to travel directly from Sydenham to Thameslink stations north of the river

  •  Direct access to Farringdon station giving links to Crossrail and underground network

  •  Brand new station at Whitechapel giving step-free access to Crossrail, Hammersmith & City and District lines.

John Bull, the respected rail commentator who runs the London reconnections blog sums up the situation:

“Overall, it is important to keep in mind the positives, and the confirmation that Thameslink will go ahead is most definitely a huge one. In addition, Hammond also confirmed a number of electrification schemes that will be of benefit to London and its surrounds – notably between London and Reading, Didcot, Newbury and Oxford all of which should be completed by 2016.

Given the potential for wholesale cuts, therefore, which had left many commentators (this author included) fearing the worst, today has represented another good day for London’s transport infrastructure. It is easy to pick at the details, but there are few who, pre-CSR, would have thought it likely that London would emerge with its Underground upgrades, Crossrail and the Thameslink project intact. Common sense, of course, indicated that they should all proceed, but it would not have been the first time that common sense had fallen victim to financial or political necessity.

So whilst it is easy to look upon today’s announcement as a re-announcement rather than an announcement – an exercise in confirming that which was already taking place – it is worth bearing in mind that this is ultimately very much a positive thing for the capital.”

Thameslink regional map 2018

Crossrail map

New Whitechapel station lower concourse
Whitechapel proposed ticket hall
New Farringdon station - Smithfield entrance

Club 26 visit the Geffrye Museum – Friday 26 November

One  of London’s best-loved museums, the Geffrye is now easily accessible as it is adjacent to the new East London Line station at Hoxton.

 This Friday Club 26 takes a trip to the museum to visit the exhibition “400 years of seasonal Christmas traditions in English homes” and to have lunch in the recently refurbished cafe. For more information about the Geffrye Museum go to: 

Meet at Sydenham station at 11am on Friday.

Paying more than our fare share? Are 2011 travel price hikes justified?

We’ve all heard the news about above inflation travel price rises in the New Year. But are inner suburban areas like ours getting a particularly rough deal? 

In January, single tube and bus fares are set to rise sharply — by 5.5% and 8% respectively:

Cost of a single central London tube journey            Cost of a single central London bus journey 

                      2010    2011                                                                               2010    2011

Oyster         £1.80   £1.90                                                          Oyster        £1.20   £1.30

Cash             £4.00   £4.00     A rise of 5.5%                       Cash            £2.00   £2.20    A rise of 8 %

Now comes the really bad news for our area.

Currently there are six different one-day travelcards — in January there will be just three. The only one day cards  available, peak or off-peak, will be for zones 1-2, zones 1-4, and zones 1-6. This is bad news if you currently use the Zone 2-6 travelcard, which enables you, for example, to travel from Sydenham to Canary Wharf via Canada Water without going into zone 1. This card is being scrapped forcing you to buy a travel card which includes zone 1 even if you never travel into zone one. When the Zone 2-6 One Day Travelcard is withdrawn you’ll be forced to buy a 1-4 zone card instead. That’s a massive 57% fare increase off-peak, and an astonishing 67% increase for the all-day user.

If you are thinking – so what, I never buy a One Day Travelcard anyway, think again. You’ll be paying a great deal extra, indirectly at least, through daily price-capping. Pay-as-you-go price caps are always set to match the relevant Travelcard, so if a paper Travelcard disappears then so will the matching electronic price cap.

For example, if you use your Oyster to swan around in Zones 1-5 all day, you currently never pay more than £12.60. Once the Z1-5 Travelcard vanishes you’ll have to pay up to £15.00 instead, which is the Z1-6 cap. Over a week, a month, a year, that’ll really add up. Or consider an Oyster user who makes four off-peak Zone 2-3 tube journeys in a day, each costing £1.80. At the moment the price cap kicks in at £5.10, which means the fourth journey is free. Once the Z2-6 Travelcard vanishes the price cap leaps to £8.00, which means the fourth journey costs full price.

Hardly a fair deal for local travellers!

We are indebted to the irrepressible Diamond Geezer —surely the most characterful blog in Britain—  for his analysis of coming price rises.

Public art competition at Greyhound development- an update

The developers of the Greyhound site in Sydenham have incorporated in their plans a bespoke design and installation of a piece of public art to cover the north elevation wall of the refurbished Greyhound pub. This wall will form one side of a public walkway from Spring Hill to the public space around the pub.

A competition to design the public artwork is being organised by the Sydenham Arts Festival (Visual Arts Team) in association with the Sydenham Society.

“Registrations to enter the competition continue to flow in but there are still two weeks left before the registration closing date if it has slipped your mind. Just email your details by 22 December to receive your competition brief to

 You don’t need to be an artist to enter. The winning design might be completely “off the wall”  (sorry couldn’t resist that). With this year’s Turner Prize being awarded to a “sound installation” by artist Susan Philipsz the Greyhound competition judging panel will have to keep their eyes and ears open.

 The final date for competition entries is 9 January. So you will have nearly three weeks during the Christmas and New Year’s break to get those creative juices flowing. The sound of art – a “Great Escape” from “The Sound of Music”! Any other puns welcome…….”


The design competition is open to anyone who lives or works or studies within 2km of the pub, in other words, local people, artists, designers, family and friends. This area includes all of Sydenham and most of Forest Hill, Penge & Crystal Palace.

Each entrant may submit up to three entries.

The final date for registration to enter the competition is 22nd December 2010. The final date for entries to the competition is 9th January 2011. The winning design will be chosen by a judging panel by January 31 2011.

Individuals wishing to participate in the competition should register with the organising team either via email to or  in writing to The Greyhound Pub Wall Design Competition, c/o The Kirkdale Bookshop, 272 Kirkdale, Sydenham SE26 4RS  before 22nd December 2010, by giving the following information:

  • Name
  • local address (a residential, business or education address located within 2km of the Greyhound pub)
  • home address, if different from above
  • telephone contact details
  • email contact details, if available.

Entrants will be provided with a numbered entry pack and detailed instructions. A maximum of three entries will be permitted per entrant or group. Schools may submit up to 10 entries. Participation as an individual does not disqualify you from also entering as part of a team or school entry.

There is no prize but the winner will have the honour of their design being enjoyed by the public for many years to come.

Abandoned dogs – a growing problem in Lewisham

A report to Lewisham’s Mayor and Cabinet highlights the alarming growth in abandoned dogs in the borough and the escalating cost of rounding up these stray pooches and paying for them to be boarded in kennels.

The Mayor and Cabinet meeting on 17 November will hear that the borough’s environmental team paid a bill of £100,000 in 2009-10 to  round up strays and pay for kennelling – £79,000 more than they had budgeted for.

In 2008-9 the number of  abandoned dogs rounded up by the council was 223; in 2009-10 this had mushroomed to 532 – an increase of 142%.

 Battersea Dogs’ Home is currently inundated with strays, so the council has had to pay high fees for the private kennelling of the borough’s abandoned dogs.

This year to date, the number of stray dogs has remained at 2009-10 levels.

Horniman Museum central government grant scrapped. Museum becomes responsibility of “local community”

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has announced that from 2015, eight museums including Horniman are to lose their government grant. The department has said that these museum are “local” not national museums and should therefore find suitable sponsors to ensure a sustainable future or be supported by local councils.

In a statement, a DCMS spokesperson confirmed that the funding of all its sponsored museums was secure until the end of 2014-15. “We are now exploring whether the department’s non-national museums may be more effectively sponsored through other bodies or programmes in the longer term. As part of the transfer arrangements the department will seek to be satisfied that new sponsors can offer a sustainable future for these museums.”

One of the museums on the list, the People’s History Museum in Manchester, has said that it may have to abandon its policy of free entry from 2015 as a result of these cuts.

The eight museums on the list are: Horniman, the Geffrye Museum, Museum of Science and Industry Manchester, the National Football Museum, the Tyne and Wear Museums, the Design Museum, the People’s History Museum and the National Coal Mining Museum.

Cuts in services? Why not let the public take over?

Local councils such as Lewisham are increasingly keen to pass the running of local assets such as libraries onto community groups – a process known as community management  or asset transfer. We are going to hear a great deal more of this in the next few years. So how exactly does it work?

Take a look at these two very simple and straightforward videos:

For more videos and information visit the Building Community website

All information courtesy of Civic Voice

D-Day for Lewisham council cuts

Lewisham is facing cuts from its budget amounting to between £50-60m over the next three financial years. At the Mayor and Cabinet meeting on the 17 November the Mayor and Cabinet is expected to approve the first tranche of these cuts – £19.78m over three years plus a further £12.7m savings where consultation with staff and public are currently taking place.


A decision on closing five Lewisham libraries has been postponed for two months pending further investigations on “alternative community library proposals” and the cost of moving to these alternatives (see ).

Here are some of the cuts expected to be approved at the meeting:

  •  Severely cutting the borough’s economic development unit with the loss of 22 jobs, meaning that there will be no community business support and no town centre managers
  • Reducing the number of flower beds in parks – a saving of £30,000
  • The financial control department to reduce cost and staff saving £943,000
  • Corporate communication department’s budget to be cut by £97,000 (£64,000 of this to be saved by cutting Lewisham Life from 10 issues per year to six)
  • Reduce park investment by £396,000 which will mean fewer Green Parks, hanging baskets and street planting
  • Head of strategy department to be cut – savings £70,000; loss of three posts
  • No more spraying of weeds on streets and pavements saving £50,000
  • Saving £170,000 by reducing the amount of printing and photocopying by borough
  • IT savings of £1.3m by sharing services with Bromley council; IT data services to save a further £200,000
  • Mayor’s Fund (giving grants to local wards) cut by 25%; Local Assembly grants budget cut by £45,000 and admin costs for LA cut by £31,000
  • Close Clyde Children’s Centre (Deptford) and reduce budgets of Early Years Centres in Rushey Green, Honor Oak and Ladywell to save £2.1m
  • Reduce Lewisham’s contribution to Arts and Brodway Theatre by £43,000; One Lewisham Funs for Arts support also reduced by £25,000
  • Cut Lewisham’s contribution to borough’s Police Support Team by £125,000 (currently £250,000) resulting in “changes to PCSO deployment” . Note – this was postponed by M&C on the night
  • £450,000 cut in “Valuing People Agenda” (due to personal care packages scheme for elderly and disabled currently being proposed by central government); some savings could be gained by closing existing day care centres
  • A £22.84 charge to households for replacing lost, damaged or stolen wheely bins. Note – this was postponed by M&C on the night
  • £63,000 cut in waste advisors who encourage recycling
  • A reduction in the strategy and performance division saving £278,000
  • Amalgamating the community safety service and the community wardens service to create three area based neighbourhood safety teams and reduce staffing – saving £811,000

For full details of proposed cuts see:


Work starts on another new building on Sydenham Road

This is an exciting new development at 2-4 Trewsbury Road just behind the Mexican restaurant (the old ice cream parlour) on the corner of Sydenham Road and Trewsbury Road. Permission was granted in November 2007 for a 3-storey building plus basement housing commercial space plus 2 x 1 bedroom and 7 x 1 bedroom flats.

The building was designed by local archtitects Thomas Ford and mirrors the redeveloped former church hall on the corner opposite.

Full details of the plans can be seen here: