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Dartmouth Road set to be spruced up? 11 January 2015

Posted by George Crozier in Environment, Local assembly, Streets.
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London Road - Dartmouth Road junction

London Road – Dartmouth Road junction

£600,000 of funding has been provided by Transport for London for the improvement of the ‘public realm environment’ on Dartmouth Road between Forest Hill station and the pools.

The money is being provided under TfL’s Local Implementation Plan (LIP) process. This funding – £300,000 for each of 2015-16 and 2016-17 – will be used to design, consult on and begin carrying out a programme of work. However it is expected that more money will be needed to carry out the lion’s share of the improvements in future years.

Ideas already put forward for improving this part of Forest Hill include turning the area in front of the station into a piazza, a new railway crossing between Perry Vale and Dartmouth Road, improving the pedestrian / cycle route next to the railway line, clearing away much of the ‘street clutter’ and opening up the space in front of the library and pools, maybe with greater use of public art. (Some of these were discussed at a workshop held by Forest Hill Society and SEE3 Ltd in July last year.)

“Bringing these improvements to Dartmouth Road and the station area is long overdue, said Forest Hill campaigner Alex Feakes. “These ideas are a welcome contribution to the work carried out to improve Forest Hill by local businesses, SEE3 Ltd and the Lib Dem team of Forest Hill councillors over the years. However, we could have been enjoying the benefits of these ideas for many years already if Lewisham Council had devolved real powers to local people and businesses rather than just provided talking shops.”

Fellow Lib Dem campaigner George Crozier added: “Any improvement to the town centre needs to address the junction of London Road and Dartmouth Road. We particularly need to find a way to make this junction more cyclist-friendly.”

The origins of the TfL bid lie in a report commissioned by the Forest Hill Ward Assembly under the chairmanship of Lib Dem councillor John Russell back in 2010. The report on the state of the high street and street clutter was presented to the Lewisham Mayor and Cabinet by John, along with a request from the Assembly for action to address the poor state of Dartmouth Road and London Road, including an Area Action Plan for Forest Hill Town Centre and a Local Implementation Plan bid to TfL.

John explained: “Five years ago we took our report to the Mayor and Cabinet to ask the council to back this application for funding so this is the result of our and the community’s work.

“Forest Hill will really benefit from these funds that will support all the other initiatives already in place to continue to regenerate the town centre and improve the look and feel of the place. Real change has happened in the town centre since 2010. SEE3 ‘Portas Pilot’ funds, the Forest Hill Society and the local community have all helped to transform the high street.

“Continued community involvement with the Local Implementation Plan is very important. Forest Hill still needs a new master plan from the Planning Department especially around the station!”

However it is still likely to be a while before substantial improvements actually happen. The Council told us:

“This project is in its early stages of development and the current budgets currently set aside are only provisional. The final cost of the works will only be ascertained once firm proposals have been developed and consultation has been carried out. At the present time it is not possible to give dates for the works on site as the scheme programme will be dependent on the development of proposals agreed with a number of stakeholders that may involve negotiation, possible legal agreements and also Traffic Management Orders.”

We’ll be keeping an eye on developments.

FH Assembly boost for youngsters, traders and nature reserve 4 January 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Community, Environment, Local assembly, Uncategorized, Young people.
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This article appears in the December 2013 / January 2014 Forest Hill Focus

Local residents who attended October’s meeting of the Forest Hill Assembly decided the allocation of the £12,500 Assembly Fund for the year ahead. Seven of the ten organisations that put in a bid were awarded funding.

The successful projects are:

Garden Power Supply – Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

£1,600 was awarded to lay a fixed electricity supply from the existing visitor centre to the two volunteer built green oak buildings in the garden

Planting in Forest Hill Town Centre – Forest Hill Society

£280 for replacement of plants at Forest Hill station (forecourt and platform planters) and beneath the trees at the Job Centre

Re-Connect @ Platform 1

£3,000 for a youth project including drama and music workshops targeted at 8-13 year olds

Garden project – Rockbourne Youth Club

£1,987.75 to build a garden space accessible to schools, nurseries and community groups, and to buy tools to maintain it

Forest Hill’s map of hidden treasure – Forest Hill Traders Association

£2,500 for a ‘graffiti’ style map of London Road, Dartmouth Road and Perry Vale to be located by Welsh Smiths’

Kelvin Grove Activities – Kelvin Grove Primary School

£2,250 for a project to help raise aspirations and change behaviour among a targeted group of 10-11 year olds

The remaining £882 is being offered to the next placed project which was SFH (Sydenham Forest Hill) Performing Arts Academy, involving dance, drama, music and sport workshops for 9-12 year olds at Sydenham School.

Councillor Alex Feakes, chair of the Forest Hill Assembly, commented: “I am delighted that local people have once again voted to support some really worthwhile projects, which will make our area greener, more attractive to shoppers and other visitors, and will help local youngsters.”

Community benefits from the Forest Hill Ward Assembly 15 August 2011

Posted by Alex Feakes in Community, Forest Hill, Local assembly.
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Residents of Forest Hill attending the Forest Hill Ward Assembly on Sunday 14th August cast their votes to see which local projects and organisations would receive a share of the £45k available from the Forest Hill Ward Assembly Fund.

The winning projects included plans to bring swings and sports equipment back to the Horniman Triangle play park, a new shelter and teaching space at the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve, work on an outdoor theatre in Albion Millennium Green and a scheme to reduce isolation of older residents of the ward through a theatre and lunch club.
Those attending the Assembly, held in the main hall of Sydenham School on Dartmouth Road in the ward, got a chance to speak to the organisations promoting the 17 bids for funds in a marketplace-style event where the public went from table to table.
Whilst the votes were being counted, Assembly attendees were entertained by an impromptu comedy performance by Forest Hill & Sydenham Youth Forum co-ordinator Melissa Knight.
17 organisations submitted eligible bids to the £45,000 fund; 13 were successful:
1 Safety Rulez – Part II: A Community Cohesion Project working with 12 girls aged 13-15 currently facing difficulties at school – Platform One
2 Wildlife Hedgerow, Fencing and 8 New Fruit Trees for Community Orchard – Friends of Albion Millennium Green
3 Open Air Theatre Millennium Green – Friends of Albion Millennium Green
4 Horniman Theme for Empty Shops – Forest Hill Society
5 Arts Befriending Group and Theatre project-to help isolated older people– Ageing Well in Lewisham
6 Town Centre Planting Scheme – Forest Hill Society
7 Healthy Living Workshops, teaching and encouraging cooking, nutrition and gardening – Centrepoint
8 Youth forum workshops, training young people to fundraise for our organisation– Sydenham and Forest Hill Youth Forum
9 Weatherproof Games in the Park – Forest Hill Society
10 New Green Oak Shelter for the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve – Friends of Devonshire Road Nature Reserve
11 Kirkdale Village Beautification – Kirkdale Village Traders Association
12 Busy Bees – Sessions for under fives and parents, at the Horniman Museum – Horniman Museum
13 Swings for Horniman Triangle – Forest Hill Society

Millennium Green event: Free May Day Kids’ Event with Bedlam Bunch interactive shows 18 April 2011

Posted by Alex Feakes in Community, Culture, Local assembly.
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News just in about an event organised by one of the groups supported by Forest Hill ward’s Locality Fund: the Friends of Millennium Green.

Kids May Day Event

Albion Millennium Green (end of Albion Villas Road, SE26)
Sunday May 1st 2011, 12 noon – 3pm

The Bedlam Bunch Children’s Theatre

Rocket Ron and Fairy Fidget crash land in their space rocket at the Green. An adventure awaits as they discover what Spring time means in this magical place. What will they learn? Who will they meet? And can the children help them rebuild their space rocket in time to get home…?

Show times 12.00pm and 2pm

Children aged 3 – 8 years and parents welcome.

Bring your own picnic lunch (1.00pm – 2.00pm)

Face Painting – Squirrels, Badgers, Foxes and Hedgehogs galore (small charge applies)

May Kings and Queens, Cup Cakes, More Entertainment (tbc)

Volunteer Helpers and Stewards are welcome from 9am – 3pm. Please call Roz on 07846 068 583 if you can help.

Please Note: There are no toilet or wash room facilities on Millennium Green. Local residents have offered private facilities for emergencies.

Please wear sturdy shoes and warm clothes.

For more on Albion Millennium Green see;


Amir Khan visits DoubleJab 9 April 2010

Posted by Philip in Community, Local assembly, Young people.
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I was really pleased to be able to join the team at the DoubleJab boxing gym on Davids Road the other week to welcome World Champion and Olympic silver medallist boxer, Amir Khan.

Mr Khan came to lend his support to the work the gym does in pulling the community together to keep kids out of trouble and cut crime. He commented: “Clubs like this one keep kids out of trouble… It’s wicked to see all these kids so enthusiastic – hopefully this gym can produce a world champion, there’s no reason why not.” DoubleJab is now one of the best attended youth clubs in the borough.

The boxing gym was saved from closure by a lot of hard work led by my colleague Cllr John Russell (second from left in photo) and has been funded by the Forest Hill Ward Assembly and Lewisham Council’s Youth Opportunities fund.

£100k to be spent in Forest Hill 13 October 2009

Posted by Philip in Local assembly.
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Last Wednesday’s Forest Hill local assembly took place with the rain pouring down outside, but John (who was chairing) was able to give the local residents great news. We are the only ward which has managed to double the £50k Local Assembly Neighbourhood Fund by promises of ‘match’ funding from other partners.

There were some excellent questions and some spirited debate on the merits of the various proposals, and most people were satisfied that the priorities they’d previously set were being addressed. These projects cover youth and community facilities, the state of our town centre, environmental and traffic issues.

The specific projects the £50k fund will be spent on are:

•Platform One youth project: £20,000 for major building works so that the only youth club within the ward can reopen.

•Double-jab boxing club: £7,350 to reorganise the gym into a not-for profit company working particularly with young people at risk of getting into problems.

•David’s Road mural: £5,500 to clean and light the canalside mural near The Hob pub.

•Rockbourne youth club: £4,300 to provide a street dance event and a DJ summer project which the police will be referring at-risk young people from Forest Hill ward to.

•Devonshire Road Nature Reserve: £4,000 to provide high quality signs, which will complement the new gates paid for by lottery funding.

•Horniman play-park: £3,850 to produce worked up architectural drawings and get planning permission for toilets in the play-park, which should mean that the council build them much faster than they otherwise would.

•Audit of the streetscape in central Forest Hill: £2,500 to get a professional audit of the street clutter to let Lewisham Council and Transport for London know what they need to do to improve the environment of our town centre.

•Local Assembly publicity: £1000 for the operational costs of publicising the work of – and opportunities to get involved in – the Local Assembly (outside of political newsletters like Forest Hill Focus).

•Tree planting: £1000 to replace or add trees to our parks and open spaces.

•Hedge planting: £500 to improve the historic hedge along the edge of the Horniman play-park opposite the Museum gardens.