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Questions for Network Rail over London Bridge delays and overcrowding 18 January 2015

Posted by George Crozier in Transport.
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As travellers from Honor Oak Park (like me), Forest Hill and Sydenham will be only too painfully aware, services into London Bridge seem to have hit a new low since new year.

Lib Dem London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon – who chairs the London Assembly’s Transport Committee – has taken this up with Network Rail. She emailed us with this update:

Questions that Network Rail must now answer

The New Year has seen continued misery for passengers using London Bridge station.

As a passenger Caroline has had first-hand experience of the additional stress and pressure the constant overcrowding, cancellations and delays are having on commuters.

We were promised that after Christmas and the two week station closure everything would be sorted and yet the New Year has brought even more pain and fewer trains for passengers.

As Chair of the Transport Committee Caroline has written to Network Rail about this and the problems at King’s Cross, and will continue to press for improvements while these major works continue.

The London Bridge improvement works letter requests the following information and assurance to the Committee, regarding services delivered in the week commencing 4 January:

  • The number of unscheduled train cancellations on routes into and out of London Bridge Station from 4 January and the reasons for these cancellations.
  • The number of train delays of longer than 30 minutes, for services arriving and departing London Bridge.
  • Confirmation of whether the signalling problems experienced in the week commencing 4 January are linked to, or separate from, the Thameslink programme works, and what is being done to resolve these problems.
  • Further information on Network Rail’s policy for cancellation of trains with passengers on board.

The details of the correspondence can be seen here.

Wells Park Road murder – more needs to be done to tackle serious youth violence locally 6 July 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Police, Young people.
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This is an extended version of a story which appears in the July – August 2014 Forest Hill Focus

We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of James Hunter, who was murdered in Wells Park Road, Sydenham, on May 31st. Residents told us of their worries about crime in precisely this area. It is really important that these concerns are taken seriously and, now that Sydenham Police Station is closed, that there is a local and well advertised place where people can talk to the police.

Lib Dem campaigner Margot Wilson said: “I have been in contact with the local police about what plans they have to patrol the area and what early intervention projects there are. They have told me that they are currently in discussion with the council about further events around youth engagement in the area following feedback from two meetings at the TNG in the days after the murder. I am concerned that while there are projects to counteract serious youth violence in others parts of London, there appear to be none in Lewisham.”

Duwayne Brooks, Lib Dem candidate in the election for Mayor of Lewisham, described his heartache at being told of another death among our young people and offered his condolences to the families:

“For years, I have been trying to highlight the issue of serious youth violence in our borough but it has been constantly denied and I have been continuously blocked. I tried to implement an early intervention procedure to help target those nine to thirteen year olds who get caught with the wrong groups. I was told it’s not needed. Now we have another unnecessary death where a number of families will be in pain for something that was and is preventable.”

The Focus Team had contacted Lewisham Homes about the possible gating of blocks on Wells Park Road earlier in May, after the issue was raised by a local resident we called on. Lewisham Homes told us that they do not currently have funding to install door entry systems. They can only repair and maintain existing systems. However they do intend to work more closely with residents through consultation to agree improvements to estates. This plan is in the very early stages and subject to approval and funding, but if it goes ahead residents will be invited to put forward their suggestions.

The Focus Team have written to Lewisham Council requesting a 24 hour monitored CCTV camera be placed on Wells Park Road. While this would be council-controlled and funded the police would also have access to it and it would provide a valuable supplement to their patrols in the area.

The police have been working on expanding neighbourhood watch schemes generally in and around Forest Hill. If you would be interested in getting involved let us know and we can pass your details on.

Residents in the Sydenham part of the ward should be aware that the Police have drop in centres at the Sainsbury’s Savacentre, Southend Lane, Sydenham, SE26 4PU, on Wednesday 7-8pm, Thursday 7-8pm and Saturday 2-3pm. They can otherwise be contacted at Catford Hill Police Station.

Kirkdale crossing – the fight goes on 14 April 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Streets, Sydenham.
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This story appeared in the March – April 2014 Forest Hill Focus

Kirkdale

Kirkdale on a Sunday – but try getting across at rush hour

Campaigners have vowed that the fight to get a pedestrian crossing on Kirkdale will continue, despite being told by Lewisham Council that it does not meet the Council’s ‘predetermined ratio’.

In 2012 local residents collected a 400 signature petition calling for a safe crossing near the junction with Thorpewood Avenue, which was handed to the Town Hall by Councillor Alex Feakes. While a speed indicator has now been placed on the downhill side of Kirkdale, many children from Eliot Bank and Kelvin Grove primary schools still need to cross Kirkdale every day without a zebra or pelican crossing.

Alex Feakes said: “It is very disappointing that the Council do not consider it worthwhile to put a pedestrian crossing or even a school crossing patrol officer on this busy stretch of road. We will continue making the case and campaigning for a safe crossing to be installed.”

Bus campaign: Next stop City Hall 22 March 2014

Posted by George Crozier in Transport.
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George Crozier at a bus stop in Forest Hill

Lib Dem campaigner George Crozier is leading calls for action on bus and rail overcrowding

This story appeared in the February – March 2014 Forest Hill Focus

The Forest Hill Focus Team are working with Lib Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon to get action to tackle overcrowding on buses serving our area.

Caroline is Deputy Chair of the Assembly’s Transport Committee, which recently identified the 185 and 176 as among the ten most overcrowded bus routes in the capital. She has tabled questions to London Mayor Boris Johnson asking why TfL do not officially measure and publish information on bus crowding, as happens with trains. She has also asked TfL to look into overcrowding on the 185 and 176 specifically, and whether there is a need for additional buses at peak times.

Overground update

The Lib Dem team have welcomed news that trains on the London Overground serving Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill and Sydenham are to be extended to five carriages to tackle overcrowding . The first of the longer trains should be in service by the end of 2014.

Some platforms are also to be extended. However TfL do not appear to be considering other station improvements, such as installing extra escalators to ease congestion at popular interchanges such as Canada Water. Forest Hill campaigner George Crozier has written to TfL asking them to explore this.

The Focus Team want to hear from bus and rail passengers about their experiences, especially with overcrowding. Please contact George Crozier at crozierg@yahoo.co.uk.

#Sydenham Park railway footbridge update #se26 18 February 2014

Posted by Alex Feakes in Uncategorized.
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Due to delays to securing an Asset Protection Agreement with Network Rail to allow work on the footbridge, repairs are unlikely to take place until August and September 2014.

The site was investigated in October 2013 and changes to the proposed designs were requested. These new designs have now been completed, but fabrication of the new bridge will not start until the APA is signed.

Improvements to the steps will follow, but are subject to separate funding and approvals. Replacing the footbridge deck will require the bridge to be closed for one weekend.