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Town Centre Manager update

Julie Sutch, our Town Centre manager – and not just ours – she is responsible for three other town centres in Lewisham – has started sending weekly updates. From last Friday’s…

A regular fortnightly walkabout saw Sydenham looking very good apart from the road works, with just a couple of issues. The Somerfield alleyway has been tarmaced, with a quote from the fencing it coming in at £2,200 + VAT. However, no budget for this has been identified. The freeholders of the properties are not responsible for this area of the alleyway. Somerfield have also employed a company to remove all of the Ivy from the rear of their building, and thankfully, no cracking has occurred.

Angie’s Flower Stall is now in place and trading successfully, and as regulated by street trading. She has a proper temporary licence – which is on display – and is staying well within her pitch .
16 Sydenham Road – A PCN (Plannning and Conservation area notice) – has now been issued to the leaseholder regarding the shop front of the former Macrae’s chemist.
The freeholder of Lloyds TSB has been asked to clean up his side area.

A meeting about the problems of Earlsthorpe Mews has been organised for Tuesday 21st April @ 6.30 pm at the Narborhood Centre. Letters have been hand delivered to all of the businesses, residents of the flats above and Earlsthorpe Road and letters sent to freeholders. At least 2 officers from the Environment Department will be in attendance and I believe that Cllr Best will chair this meeting.

Sydenham Traders have been invited to a meeting on Tuesday 28th April to discuss how the Traders’ Association can be taken forward with a strengthened structure.

Sydenham Garden

Sydenham Garden is a voluntary association that is developing a community garden for people coping with significant illness in their lives. The nature reserve, situated between Queenswood Road and Wynell Road, will contain a small garden therapy centre of environmentally friendly design. The majority of the remaining land will be managed as a nature reserve. For something of its history…

The site of Sydenham Garden was, until the mid 1970s, occupied by the Wynell Road Nursery. Before this it was part of the garden of a large house, just to the south of Sydenham Garden, on a site now occupied by 23-25 Queenswood Road. The house was known as Perrymount.

Perrymount was built in the 1790s and originally called Perry Vale Farm. However, Sydenham Garden was not, at this time, part of Perry Vale Farm. In the early 17th century the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers, using a bequest to fund an educational endowment, had been acquiring land in Lower Sydenham, mostly on either side of Perry Hill. The Leathersellers’ estate included fields now occupied by Sydenham Garden, the Forest Hill Bowling Club and the Paxton Road estate.

Perry Vale Farm was on the eastern edge of the Old House estate. This, the largest estate in Sydenham, was created during the 18th century. It stretched along Sydenham Road from the Greyhound to Mayow Road and extended north to Perry Vale. The extract from the Old House Estate Map of 1815 shows Perry Vale Farm house (plot 12) with a great crescent of water to the west, and the farm buildings (plot 11). Sydenham Garden (marked by a white square) is in the southwest corner of the field owned at the time by the Leathersellers’ Company. The “Footway”, an extension of Berryman’s Lane across the fields to Perry Vale, was to become Mayow Road. It was sometime during the 1820s or 1830s that the Leathersellers sold the Sydenham Garden site to the Old House estate for, by 1843, the owner of Perry Vale Farm (no. 2577 on the Tithe Map) and the Sydenham Garden site (2579 on the Tithe Map) was William Dacres Adams of the Old House.

Sydenham Garden at this time was described as an orchard. We tend to assume this means apples, but in the 19th century it referred to a garden consisting of any small, cultivated fruit trees. The only roads near Perrymount at the time were Perry Vale to the north and Perry Rise to the east and “perry”, of course, refers to pears and the drink produced by fermenting them. It is tempting to suppose that Sydenham Garden was planted with pear trees, particularly as there is at least one old pear tree surviving on the site.

On 15th December 1831 The Times published a notice of an auction at Perry Vale Farm for “Live and Dead Farming Stock and Household Furniture also dairy utensils, and numerous other effects”. This may have heralded the change of use from farmhouse to country retreat that the house underwent. By the late 1840s it was renamed Perrymount, and had been extended and enlarged.

For about 100 years, until the opening of Wynell Road Nursery in 1927, Sydenham Garden was an integral part of the garden of Perrymount probably, for much of that time, as an orchard. During those years there have been several interesting residents of the house.

Samuel Laing, barrister, politician, author and chairman of the Crystal Palace Company (1852-1855) during its re-erection and opening in Sydenham, was at Perrymount from 1847 to 1849.

Charlton James Wollaston, a civil engineer, was largely responsible for laying the first undersea telegraph line, between Dover and Cap Gris Nez, in 1850. Unfortunately it was not a success; the insulation was defective and water entered the cable. He was at Perrymount 1851-1857

In 1901 Mme Sophie Ayer and her son Jules were living at Perrymount. In 1909 Jules married Reine Citroen and moved to St John’s Wood. Their son, born in 1910, was christened Alfred Jules, but became better known as A J Ayer, the philosopher. His grandmother moved from Perrymount in 1913 but it is tempting to believe that the young Ayer played in her garden and orchard as a toddler.

The next occupant was John Quiller Rowett. He was at Dulwich College with Sir Ernest Shackleton, and they remained close friends until the latter’s death in 1922. Rowett was the principal backer of Shackleton’s last expedition to the Antarctic. It was Rowett who saved the James Caird, the small boat in which Shackleton undertook the perilous voyage across the Antarctic Ocean, to rescue the crew of the Endurance. Rowett later presented the James Caird to Dulwich College, where it can still be seen. He was at Perrymount 1915-1920.

During the 1860s Mayow Road was laid out, and Perrymount became known, rather prosaically, as 39 Mayow Road. During the late 1890s building began in Queenswood Road. Just before the World War II Perrymount was no longer able to resist the advance of progress and was demolished, to be replaced by 23-25 Queenswood Road. All that survives of the outbuildings is 16 Queenswood Road, which has a modern plaque bearing the date 1860. This is the stable block of Perrymount, and is on the site of an earlier farm building.

In the 1894 map one can see the extended house with Sydenham Garden to the north. Along the boundary with what is now the bowling green is a line of greenhouses. These greenhouses can be seen on maps as early as 1868. Although much of the present rather ruinous greenhouse probably dates from the time of the nursery, it may well be that some of the structure survives from the 1860s building.

A further survivor is the water pump. In 1975 it was “thought to be the only surviving pump connected to fresh spring water in London”, which gives it a particular distinction, and one can only hope that plans to restore it receive the support they deserve. The pump may well be quite old. Before the supply of piped water in the 1850s, a pump or well was essential for any well-appointed home.

Steve Grindlay

Forest Hill Pools – latest news

The second meeting of the Forest Hill Pools Stakeholder Group chaired by Cllr Chris Best took place on May 15th. The following notes were taken by Penelope Jarrett of the Forest Hill Society, with some extra info from Annabel McClaren of the Sydenham Society.

Hilary Renwick (lead officer) presentation
The Council website has recently been remodelled to make it easier to follow the story. All relevant documents should be available at this link, which is continuously updated. The stakeholder group will not be the only people consulted. There is also an email group of interested people, and public exhibitions are planned.

David Booth (senior project manager) presentation
The Council has identified £7.5 million from its own internal budgets for the project. This does not rely on government nor any other grants for building.

The project will include housing. They have asked HLM (architects) to look at 3 different scenarios: high, medium and low density housing, with the intention of raising about £2 million. Housing would not be built until the Pools building is finished – unless a high density option were agreed in which case it would be likely to intimately involve the leisure facility building, which would mean it would have to be built at the same time. Construction inflation is about 6% p.a., so the longer the delay in building the less will be got for the sum available. They intend that it be a Council-led project, and so it differs from other Private Finance Initiative projects (PFIs) where they have had commercial partners (e.g. FH school). It is planned that the leisure centre will contain a 25m x 6 lane pool, a learner pool, dry leisure activities, green space and other community facilities.

Initial Design and Feasibility

  1. Decommisioning – done
  2. The nursery in Louise House will probably vacate in August
  3. The historical surveyor has visited this week, and his report will be shown to stakeholders and other consultees. They are happy for him to meet with local historian Steve Grindlay, and agree that objects of no national importance may be of local importance. They have some idea of where they might store salvaged material. Report expected within 4 weeks of the visit.
  4. Plan to demolish in August. Apparently it is costing £100,000 p.a. in security and power to keep the building up. They are not happy to board up the building and to leave it unmanned.
  5. Initial design activity: HLM has been appointed and have begun initial design work (see below for more on this). The plan is then to review outcomes, incorporate stakeholder feedback, produce an elemental cost plan, then consult more widely on these in June, probably via an exhibition in FH Library. This will then go to Mayor and Cabinet in July, i.e. before the planned demolition.
  6. Role of stakeholders: see below
  7. OJEU [the EU-wide procurement procedure] competition for design and build, and architects to be appointed – notice was sent out at the end of April and they have already had 45 expressions of interest. The competition would then be run. They hope to reach RIBA stage D and appoint a CDM coordinator in July 2008.

The rest of the timetable is:

  • Sept-Oct 2008: get planning permission
  • Nov 2008: RIBA stage E
  • March 2009: appoint principal contractor
  • July 2009: start construction
  • March 2011:open building

There was some discussion about this last date, as it is later than the timetable discussed previously. On looking at the overall timetable, David Booth could not see why it had been made later. The councillors were not happy about a possible change of completion date. An architect, representing the Laurel Bank residents, felt it was an optimistic timetable.

Role of stakeholder group:

  • To represent the community
  • To communicate community requirements – a “wishlist” (see below)
  • To provide feedback during design and programme development

The group is not fixed, others may join at different times and current members were invited to think if there was anyone else we should be inviting. Suggestions were: representatives from the PCT (re possibility of hydrotherapy for example), and from the local schools who may swim there.

Initially these mainly concerned the timetable, it being felt important that there be no demolition until after consultation on designs. It was also not clear to most of those there why it had to cost so much to maintain an empty building. It was not clear how the promise to consider the design proposal retaining the current Victorian buildings (Louise House and the frontage block of the Pools), raised by a Sydenham Society member, would fit into the overall timetable.

HLM initial thoughts:
The design brief included consideration of the Urban Design Analysis (as in the Supplementary Planning Guidance for Forest Hill) and the concept of a “gateway” from Forest Hill, continuation of the building line of the library, allowing views of the library, the retention of trees and a green line of approach in front of Kingswear House to the Pools. Most of those present seemed to think these were important considerations. A drawing from HLM was shown to us in confidence, which sparked a lot of discussion. This concerned good and bad aspects of the draft design itself – there are some of each: it very basically fulfils the considerations set out above, and includes the basic pools plus dry leisure and a multi-purpose room, but was only one storey and the frontage seemed untidy, using up a lot of space on a small site. One architect present did not like the frontage. We also discussed how housing might be fitted onto the site, and the possibility of utilising some of the space around Kingswear House, especially at the back of the building. The garages are apparently well used. Could parking be provided elsewhere? There was also discussion of parking around the Pools themselves. Underground car parking is apparently extremely expensive, and on a small site does not save much space because of the access ramps. Apart from disabled parking and coach drop-off for schools (there is already one such site in Thorpewood Avenue), there was some feeling that there should be no or minimal parking to discourage car use. Not everyone thought this feasible.

The officer’s plan seemed to be to ask HLM to come up with 3 designs for high, medium and low density housing, but all based on the draft Pools building presented to us. I asked if it would not be possible to ask the architects to do some different draft drawings, and then ask us which we felt should be worked up in more detail, but the officers seemed to think this was not possible.

Hilary Renwick has the list sent to her by the Forest Hill Society. She said popular items were:

  • Community room/meeting room/performing space
  • Music room/recording facilities (Platform 1 facility being lost?)
  • Creche/play area
  • Adult teaching

Other thoughts included:

  • Hydrotherapy
  • Sustainability/green issues regarding energy use by the facility
  • Climbing wall
  • Disabled access over and above DDA compliance
  • Café

She asked we contact her or Annette Stead with further ideas, or any requests for information.

Sydenham Road Pedestrian Improvements

Last December [2006] Living Streets (formerly the Pedestrian Association) conducted a series of walkabouts with local residents to pinpoint perceived problems with pedestrian movements in Sydenham Road. Some of these were easily identified by regular high street users – the dangerous crossing at Newlands Park with no pedestrian phase at the traffic lights, the unfriendly sheep pen type crossings above Newlands Park and at Mayow Road, the zebra crossing on the railway bridge.

In fact the only crossing agreed to work well is the one between the Post Office and Natwest bank, where pedestrians can cross safely in one go and drivers and pedestrians are mutually aware of each other.

Starting outside the Post Office, Living Streets opened our eyes to the amount of clutter along the pavement which impedes the views up and down the high street especially the Council’s own advertising pillars. There are railings, bollards, street lamps, telephone boxes, litter bins and other impedimenta scattered along the pavement to create chicanes for those on foot to negotiate. It was noted that many retailers who are licensed to trade outside their shops are trading beyond their permitted limits and also encroaching into pedestrian space. In short, the pavements of Sydenham Road are a mess and in need of urgent de-cluttering.

Other matters being considered are the siting of bus stops; are these in the best places and are others needed? What should happen at Cobbs Corner and to the roundabout? Photos taken in the 1960s show that it was not there, but three zebra crossings were! The ownership of Sydenham Station Approach, currently leased by Network Rail, could be taken over by Lewisham Council with urgent repairs to roadway and pavements. How much soft landscaping could be introduced along the high street to improve the overall ambience of the area?

Over the past couple of months other organisations have also been in the high street looking at the improvement of pedestrian flow. Space Syntax have been mapping how people actually use the high street, where they cross the road, which may indicate the need for better sites for crossings. Surveyors with tripods have also been seen checking the fall in levels between different parts of the high street and also mapping the road as it is currently.

The reports of Living Streets, Space Syntax and others are to be analysed together with the responses of local residents to Lewisham’s December questionnaire about how they see the best and worst of Sydenham Road. The draft report and the questionnaire results should be published about a week before the forums. A copy of these reports will be available at Sydenham Library, Kirkdale Bookshop and on the Consultation and Policy page of the council’s website.

The results will be discussed at two similar meetings on Thursday March 1 (7-9 pm) or on Saturday March 3 (2-4 pm) at the Naborhood Centre. At these forums the Design Team will be introduced and a discussion, using the collected data, will be held with residents about ways to improve Sydenham Road. The Design Team will then work up ideas for pedestrian improvements coming back to the local community for further consultation in early summer about what could be done to improve our high street environment.

Interesting times lie ahead!

New Year 2007

Enhancing Sydenham high street: Stakeholder Forum

The responses to the recent ‘Enhancing Sydenham high street’ questionnaire are currently being analysed.

The designers commissioned to develop proposals for Sydenham Road will carefully study the analysed results, along with all the comments made on the questionnaires. The introduction to the questionnaire explained that the results of the survey, together with other research conducted at the high street, would be summarised at a stakeholder forum. The forum is intended as an opportunity for us to further hear your views, feed back results of the questionnaire and other research, and introduce the designers who will develop proposals for Sydenham Road.

Forums have been scheduled for: Thursday 1st March from 7.00 to 9.00 pm and Saturday 3rd March from 2.00 to 4.00 pm at the Naborhood Centre, 44a Sydenham Road, SE26 5QX.

Both events will be run in the same manner. If you wish to attend either please choose the time/date that best suits you and RSVP. By way of introduction it is planned to begin each forum with a short summary of the questionnaire survey results, the Community Street Audit undertaken by Living Streets and other research, followed by a short presentation from the designers. The intention is that the forum will then break into smaller groups, led by professional facilitators, to allow in-depth discussion to take place.

After discussing the results of the information gathering and the implications for the design process, the forum will come back for a final plenary session where key points from the groups’ ideas, conclusions and other comments will be fed back to all the participants.

The ‘next steps’ in the design process will be explained. A detailed Note of Proceedings will also be prepared and sent out to everyone who wants a copy.
Considerable interest has been expressed in the forums. It is hoped that all those wishing to attend can be accommodated. However, if you wish to attend it would aid management of the forums considerably if you would RSVP to Rachel Crozier at CAG Consultants. You can RSVP in three ways:

  • By email:
  • By freephone: 0800 389 4276 (calls are free if made from a landline)
  • By post to: Rachel Crozier, CAG Consultants 81 Bradley Crescent Shirehampton Bristol BS11 9SR

If it does not prove possible to fit everyone into the venue on the two dates, a further meeting will be arranged. The results of the questionnaire survey, the draft Community Street Audit report and reports on some of the other information gathering, will be placed in Sydenham Library, Kirkdale Bookshop and on the Council website Transport and Streets, Consultation and
Policy page ( a few days prior to the forum events. They will remain available in the weeks after the forum.
If you completed a questionnaire I would like to thank you and look forward to meeting you at the forum.

Ian Plowright
Transport Strategy Manager
London Borough of Lewisham

Somerfield returns to Sydenham

For those with long(ish) memories, Sydenham had a branch of Somerfield on the site now occupied by Lidl. With the sale of Safeways, first to Morrisons and subsequently to Somerfields, things have come full circle and this supermarket will have a presence on the high street once again.

Many will remember Somerfield as a rather downbeat store, an impression reinforced by the company’s purchase of the old KwikSave chain not so long ago. But times have changed, and Somerfield is busy reinventing itself with new formats and an emphasis on fresh food. The re-vamp of its Lordship Lane shop into a ‘Market Fresh’ store shows the way the company is going, with attractively laid-out interiors with a tempting array of produce.

With regeneration of the high street in mind, the Sydenham Society has written to the Somerfield management stating that SE26 is a prime location for a refurbished Market Fresh-style store. We have stressed that the high street benefits from the services of a town centre manager and has a flourishing traders organisation; that Sydenham has a range of good quality housing stock with a mix of families and young professionals; that the area has attractive parks and green spaces; and that, in the longer term, the arrival of the East London Line will help revitalise the area.

Long term might be market fresh
In the short term, Somerfield are planning a quick refurbishment in early February – the store will be shut and the new range of goods installed. Longer term they have told us that a final decision about its format will depend on their own retail analysis of shopping patterns in the area. In the meantime, you can make your views known on what kind of store you would like to see by writing to Somerfield, details below, or you can visit their website and fill in the customer feedback form. You can also join in the debate on Safeway/Somerfield by going to the forum on the Sydenham Town website.

It’s up to us
The more interest Sydenham shows in Somerfield the better. Remember, their retail analysts are watching us!
You can visit the Somerfield website, or contact them by post:
Somerfield Stores Ltd
Somerfield House
Whitchurch Lane
Bristol BS14 0TJ
New Year 2005

Vote for Mayow Park!

By the time you read this it is likely that Friends of Mayow Park and all interested parties will have learnt how the largesse from the Greater London Authority will be distributed between local London parks. Two out of eight competing parks in the South East sub-region will be chosen by the size of their popular vote. Watch the website for more details:

Thanks to all who voted for Mayow Park, and especially to the army of deliverers who distributed 6000 leaflets to 6000 doors in Sydenham and Forest Hill as well as larger notices to local businesses. Our foot soldiers were from the Friends and from members of the Sydenham and Forest Hill Societies, and included ward councillors. Lewisham Green Scene staff braved the early morning rush hour at Sydenham station to hand out reminder cards to commuters. We are particularly pleased by the enthusiastic response we had from schools: most spread our information via the childrens’ book bags or encouraged text voting. If we do not achieve the desired result it will not be due to lack of trying: and it has raised our esprit de corps!

Last Autumn we had an open-to-all ‘walkabout’ in groups round the Park with landscape architects from Groundwork London, to discuss aspirations for the Park. It was a well attended event, and we await their ideas and recommendations with great interest. We are working with Council Officers to prepare a consultation with the age group10 to 16+ to develop somewhere in the park which they will be able to call their own. We aim to enlist their help in designing the area, and hope they will feel encouraged to use the park more.

Agreement has been reached between the Council, ParkSport Lewisham, the English Cricket Board and Envirowork to prepare the cricket square in the central grassed area of the park, for the use of local schools and sports clubs. Preparation should start in the spring. We are very pleased that this will formally restore Mayow Park’s original function as a recreation ground.

Should any further funding become available, refurbishment of the bowls pavilion, repair of the paths, improving the children’s playground, restoring a cafe, and providing a drinking fountain are all suggestions put forward by park users.

Hilary Jarrett, Chair Alona Sheridan, Emma Tarling Friends of Mayow Park

Sydenham Wells Park

Whatever the effects of a covering of snow elsewhere, for a day or two at the beginning of February the park was transformed. At times reminiscent of studies by LS Lowry, at others it became one big playground for all. Elaborate and makeshift sledges appeared as did snow sculptures – even an attempt at forming an igloo. There was much chasing up and down in short, excited bursts of energy and a lot of rolling about and laughter. In the brilliant light many simply stood and gazed about them.

On Saturday 7 March there will be the first of a series of community work parties to begin to develop the ‘Wildlife Corridor’. Join us if you can between 11.30am and 2pm to help clear the ground, plant shrubs and trees and do whatever else may be required. Some tools will be available but if you can bring your own so much the better.

Expressions of interest in the new 10-year parks and Grounds Contract, to include Lewisham Homes and churchyards, but not cemeteries or crematoria, were due by 13 February. There is also a plan to include provision for a park keeper at Mayow Park.

Once short-listed a Saturday morning open meeting has been promised for as many interested parties as possible. There will be a session for park representatives and focus groups. Invitations for the Tender are to be issued in May, followed by site visits. The award of the new contract should be made by December for work to start in March 2010.

Forest Hills Pools – the three options

On February 5 Lewisham officers presented the Pools stakeholders’ group with the outcome of the feasibility study into the future of the pools. The study was undertaken at the request of the Mayor, Sir Steve Bullock, after the Council’s initial plans had been derailed last August due to the listing of Louise House by English Heritage.

The Council’s new thinking is contained in the following three options:

Option 1
The first option is for a complete demolition of the Pools’ frontage block (the Superintendent’s House) and for a new building in its place incorporating a leisure centre and housing. This scheme would have an entrance facing east (towards Forest Hill station) and would be accessed via the green space in front of Kingswear House. The scheme is a variation on those submitted by HLM architects last summer and retains many of its design features. However, the officers stated that it was unlikely to gain approval as 1) it incorporates housing – and this will be difficult to ‘deliver’ in the current financial climate; and 2) it will be unlikely to satisfy English Heritage who will have to be consulted about any new development adjacent to Louise House (now Grade 2 listed). In addition, a review of the Forest Hill town centre conservation area is currently being undertaken and may well be extended to include the north side of Dartmouth Road up to and including Holy Trinity School.

Option 2
In this scheme the Pools’ frontage block is retained and a new pools building is built behind and to the side – taking up approximately half the pocket park. Although the scheme (by Allies & Morrison) is only ‘indicative’ (ie. showing what is possible on the site, rather than a finished design) its features include a ‘wavy’ roof sloping down towards Derby Hill Crescent and skylights. The scheme does not include housing – instead, the Council are looking at their empty depot site in Willow Way as a possible site for housing which would provide a cross-subsidy to finance the new leisure centre. However, officers pointed out that in order to achieve this, the site would have to be re-designated in planning terms from ‘employment’ to ‘residential’ which could be a complex and lengthy process.

Option 3
The third option is to build a new pool on the Willow Way site. As pools and leisure centres provide employment, the land would not require a re-designation. The advantage is that the site is empty and immediately available and a new complex could be built relatively swiftly. In a scheme submitted by Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects, Louise House and the Pools’ frontage block would then be converted into housing with new housing to the rear. Dartmouth Road would be a prestigious site and would attract maximum housing receipts once developed.

The Sydenham Society’s response
Having looked carefully at the three options, the Sydenham Society has decided to support Option 2 along with both the Forest Hill Society and the Save the Face of Forest Hill campaign. The Forest Hill Society has expressed its strong preference for Option 2 as it brings swimming and leisure back to Forest Hill and maintains the ‘civic focus’ of the Dartmouth Road group of buildings. The reintroduction of these facilities will help regenerate both Forest Hill town centre and Dartmouth Road – in serious decline since the Pools closed. Additionally, Option 2 will provide Dartmouth Road with a building informed by high quality contemporary design. As the architects of the extension to the Horniman Museum, Allies & Morrison are not only skilled at combining historic buildings with contemporary structures but they know Forest Hill and the surrounding area. A further point made by the Forest Hill Society is that the Willow Way site could be developed for some form of employment-led mixed use, possibly in the form of live-work units (apparently these are now more commercially viable than residential apartments). Lewisham is about to consult on its Core Strategy/Local Development Framework (the successor to the UDP) and re-designation of the site to residential could be addressed as part of this process.

The Mayor will make his decision on the three options at the Mayor & Cabinet meeting on February 25.

All three options and supporting material can be viewed on Lewisham’s website at:

Pedestrian improvements to Sydenham Road

By the time this newsletter is distributed the long overdue plans for improving Sydenham Road will have been reviewed by the Mayor and Cabinet. If they are approved and the funding is secured, work should begin in January 2010. The plans are designed to enhance the general environment and to make the road more pedestrian friendly.

Proposals for improvements to Station Approach when Lewisham Council adopts this road, will include improved design, paving and parking improvements as part of creating a heart for Sydenham. Lewisham has allocated funds to Station Approach and the consultation process is likely to start at the end of 2009. There will be some parking, but this will not, as now, be dominated by all day parking. The aim is to have half hour short-term parking as in the rest of the high street, together with a station drop off area.

However before any of these road improvements can be started work on renewing the gas mains, taking approximately 14 months, is due to begin throughout the length of Sydenham Road. The first phases involve laying smaller diameter pipes under the pavements (this work has started) and Southern Gas Networks (SGN) promise that access to homes and businesses will be maintained at all times.
From April SGN say they will be working in the carriageway to replace sections of the old metal mains where possible using a process called ‘insertion’ which involves pushing the new pipe into the old one. This method greatly reduces the amount of digging and this, in turn, reduces disruption.

Also to add to the pleasure of travelling through Sydenham in the next twelve months comes the news that at the same time as the gas mains work is in progress Thames Water will be replacing their mains west of the railway bridge at Cobbs Corner. Oh joy!