Don’t miss the chance to celebrate a medieval Christmas with Sydenham Music at The Dolphin on Sunday 5th December starting at 7.30pm.
The evening combines a three-course dinner, Christmas carols and seasonal music from Joglaresa for £36. To hear more music from Joglaresa, a dynamic ensemble who combine intoxicating elements of medieval, middle eastern, flamenco and Celtic music visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iaIrLAJ9HI
Tickets available from the Kirkdale Bookshop. Or you can print the booking form below and return it by post with your cheque.
Ring-fenced capital means that the long-awaited improvements to Sydenham Road between the roundabout and Mayow Road can still go ahead. Designs are currently being finalised and work on the scheme will begin in the New Year. Fourteen trees 3m tall, with a maintenance contract, will be planted along the high street and in the planned pocket squares at Venner and Queensthorpe Roads and the ridiculed wobbly roundabout will be re-profiled to minimise its slope (and greened, we’ve been promised). The areas of the pocket squares, outside the Naborhood/Sydenham Centre and Station Approach (also in the pedestrian improvement plan) will be paved in York stone, whilst the rest of the high street will have reinforced concrete pavoirs. The area around the Post Office and the Naborhood/Sydenham Centre will also be re-modelled to sort out the changes in the various levels.
Lamp columns have been chosen and these will carry the road signs, traffic signals and other street furniture where possible and dis-used phone boxes will be removed. The large circular advertising column will go but other Deceaux advertising panels will, in some cases, be relocated but, because of a long-term contract, cannot be permanently removed.
Puffin (Pedestrian User Friendly Intelligent) crossings will be installed at the Greyhound, Venner and Queensthorpe Roads. These can detect both waiting and crossing pedestrians and adjust the timing of the lights accordingly. Traffic light controlled crossings will be in operation at Newlands Park and Mayow Road, allowing a pedestrian phase on all roads. Detailed modelling of before and after traffic movements indicate, by using an adjustable linked system of traffic control, journey times on the main road will be 15% faster than currently.
Network Rail has given permission to demolish the low wall next to the estate agents office on the bridge and the toilet block will also be removed. Approaches will be made to Transport for London to see if a toilet facility can be made available within the station building. There will be an undercover bin store built for residents of the flats in Station Approach thereby removing one of the most unattractive aspects of the area greeting visitors to Sydenham.
Lewisham has made a bid to TfL for funding for Phase Two of the Sydenham Road improvements for that part of the road between Mayow Road and Bell Green. The outcome of this bid is awaited.
A huge lobby of Lewisham Council last Thursday presented Lewisham’s Mayor with a petition signed by around 17,000 people, against possible library closures in Sydenham, Crofton Park, New Cross, Grove Park and Blackheath Village.
And protestors have been carrying the fight to radio and television as well.
The proposed closure of Sydenham Library got terrific coverage on ITV’s London Tonight programme broadcast on the 28th September. Presenter Rags Martel visited the parents and toddlers group at the library – who were there to celebrate its 106th birthday – and interviewed parent Janine Minchin and Cllr Liam Curran who put the case for saving the library. Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, standing outside the Town Hall, explained the need for cuts and the difficult choices that face Lewisham Council. The presenter then spoke to author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen who explained the history of libraries and their contribution to education and community well-being.
You can watch this again at:
The day before, Radio London’s Drivetime programme with Eddie Nestor included an interview with local Cllr Liam Curran and library-user Katriona Bateman. Listen to it here (starting at 1.34.15 onwards):
If you haven’t already signed the online petition, you can find it at:
Last December  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
Two open forums held on 1 and 3 March presented the results of the survey. 457 people – some 7.5% of the recipients, a good response in terms of Market Research, had completed the questionnaire. About 50 people had joined “Living Streets” (formerly the Pedestrians Association) in walking the high street to pinpoint problems for pedestrians using Sydenham Road and the Space Syntax map of how residents actually cross the roads, avoiding the prescribed crossings did not come as too much of a surprise to most of us.
Atkins Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, the recently appointed successful bidder to take the project into the design stage, were introduced. Atkins were the project managers for the design consultants team and provided all detailed landscape design, transport planning, traffic and civil engineering services for the major transformation of Trafalgar Square into its current World Square status.
In 3 break-out groups, people discussed what they wanted to see done to improve the high street. An opportunity was given to everyone to express their aspirations and concerns which were noted and will be taken on board by Atkins as they design the scheme. Matters raised included planting trees, the roundabout at Cobbs Corner, Station Approach, where crossings and bus stops should be sited, safety issues, lighting and waste management.
At the final plenary session there was feedback from each break-out group and an account of the next steps. Atkins is tasked to come back to the community with a draft design later in the summer for further local consultation before a bid for funding is made to Transport for London, who will be underwriting the improvements to the tune of £2m. It was noted that as Transport for London would be paying for improvements they will also need to be satisfied that any improvements will not impede their raison d’etre, which is to ensure satisfactory movement of traffic through the high street – especially buses.
The long awaited local consultation about how to improve Sydenham Road, from Cobbs Corner to Mayow Road, is about to begin.
Lewisham proposes publishing its first stage consultation leaflet around the end of November. A questionnaire will seek local views regarding the high street as it is currently. The leaflet and questionnaire (to be completed by 22 December) will be circulated to 5000 households within a five minute walk of Sydenham Road. A further 5000 copies will be available in the Library and local shops so that everyone interested can take part in the process.
Concurrently, Living Streets (a national charity which campaigns for better conditions for pedestrians in public places) is planning to run a series of Community Street Audits in the high street. The purpose of these audits is to assess the high street’s current ‘walkability’ and will include walkabouts with local residents to pinpoint pedestrian problems. Space Syntax – the partnership that was employed to look at Trafalgar Square pedestrian flows before the square was pedestrianised – will also be reporting on Sydenham Road.
The results of the questionnaire will be analysed and these, together with the Living Streets and Space Syntax reports, will be the subject of a dialogue to be held at two Forums during January. Local residents will meet the design team, who will be tasked with drafting proposals by April/May, which will, in turn, be the subject of a further local consultation.
Following this second consultation the drafts will then be finalised and a submission for funding made to Transport for London. If accepted it is hoped that some work could start during the Financial Year beginning 2007.
Paul Holdsworth of Living Streets says he is very excited about the real possibilities for major pedestrian improvements to Sydenham Road.
Plans to improve the pedestrian environment of Sydenham Road are finally emerging and the second round of public consultation has begun. There are a number of major changes which are likely to be introduced. These are:
- At Cobb’s Corner. A light controlled pedestrian crossing proposed for Kirkdale (replacing the existing Zebra); at Westwood Hill junction with Lawrie Park Road a signal controlled crossing with a pedestrian phase, replacing the existing Zebra. Both Westwood Hill and Kirkdale signals are intended to help provide better control/balance of traffic flow approaching Cobbs Corner from the west.
- Spring Hill junction with Cobbs Corner. Raised pavement across the junction – there has also been discussion between planners and developers’ architects as to how the plans for redevelopment of Greyhound site fit in with the plans for improvement of the pedestrian environment in this area.
- A new roundabout will be constructed!!!!
- In the Kirkdale Bookshop area. New (unsignalled) road islands to aid pedestrians crossing.
- The zebra crossing on the railway bridge will go.
- Venner Road. The proposals include moving the point at which Venner Road is closed at its junction with Sydenham Road in order to create a local open space with, possibly, 3-4 longer term parking spaces for businesses at the rear of this area.
- Station Approach. The Council is in discussion with Network Rail and TfL London Rail regarding future improvements which will be exhibited / consulted upon outside the current consultation.
- Sydenham Road/Silverdale/Venner Road area. An enlarged raised pavement proposed across the width of Sydenham Road as part of a signal controlled pedestrian crossing. Short-term parking will be lost in this area.
- Newlands Park/Sydenham Road junction. A full pedestrian phased light controlled crossing is proposed (with straight pedestrian crossings on each arm). This means traffic will stop and pedestrians can even cross the road diagonally. A box junction is also planned.
- Bus stops. These are proving problematic in the emerging designs. It is suggested that the one outside Boots be moved nearer to Newlands Park. The bus stop outside the Post Office remains as at present.
- Queensthorpe/Sydenham Road junction. A decision about the treatment of this junction has yet to be determined – it could be closed to traffic; alternatively, there could be a raised pavement across this junction.
- Sydenham Road/ Mayow Park junction. A full pedestrian phased light controlled crossing (with straight pedestrian crossings on each arm) is proposed. This means that pedestrians can cross this junction in “one go”, and also diagonally.
- Short term parking spaces. There will be a loss of some short-term parking spaces on Sydenham Road although, as we go to press, this figure has not been made available.
- Mayow Road to Bell Green. During 2008/09 design work is planned for the remainder of Sydenham Road down to Bell Green. This will look to address a number of issues focussing on safety, but will include some pedestrian improvements of a simpler/minor nature compared to proposals west of Mayow Road
- Linked traffic signals. It is proposed to link the signals from Westwood Hill/Kirkdale to Mayow Road and extending the linking to Bell Green, enabling traffic movement to be managed more effectively and producing an average 20 mph traffic speed throughout the length of Sydenham Road.
- DeCeaux will accept the removal of the cylindrical advertising pillar outside the Post Office, subject to its replacement with a flat faced illuminated scrolling panel at a location of equivalent value. If other illuminated street advertising hoardings are removed the council will need to find alternative advertising sites. Removal of this pillar will enable this area to be made into a more attractive public open space.
- The main footway paving is grey concrete standard slabs, with parking bays and raised side road entries constructed in dark grey granite.
- If all goes to plan work on the new scheme could start in January 2009.
Public consultation has begun and continues throughout May. The scheme will also be an item discussed at the next Sydenham Assembly on Thursday 5 June. All local residents are invited to take part in the consultation and attend one of the public meetings being held at the Naborhood Centre. Questionnaires have been delivered to all residents and should be returned by 2 June.
The first indication of how the environment and safety of Sydenham Road can be improved was described to a packed room on 20 September at the Sydenham Community Regeneration Partnership (SCRP) meeting, chaired by Cllr Chris Best.
Ian Plowright, Lewisham’s Project Manager, explained the draft designs for improving the junctions along the road from above Cobbs Corner to Mayow Road. It is anticipated that a roundabout will remain, although it will be re-designed and re-sited. The crossings at Cobbs Corner will remain where they are and a much wider ‘Puffin’ crossing, with pedestrian phased lights, will replace the existing zebra crossing on the railway bridge.
The ‘sheep-pen’ type crossings above Newlands Park and also at the Mayow Road crossroads will be removed. New light-controlled pedestrian crossings will be introduced at Sydenham Road /Newlands Park to allow for a pedestrian phase across this dangerous junction, and the bus stop will be relocated to allow for more space for traffic at this junction.
However, disappointingly, no additional bus stops further up Sydenham Road are included in the draft plan as had been hoped for at the public consultation.
At Sydenham Road/Mayow Road new crossings will also allow pedestrians to cross in one ‘go’.
The full set of draft plans, which should include the de-cluttering of our pavements, will be published during November when a further round of consultation will commence.
Ian Plowright will provide additional information at the next on 6 December as part of the public consultation process.