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Strategic Planning for Forest Hill Town Centre
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Posts: 3,244
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #1
18-07-2014 08:39 AM

I probably should have posted this a bit earlier, but tomorrow you are invited to "Forest Hill Town Centre design workshop - vision 2023"

Open feedback session from 4-5pm this Saturday 19th July at 6 Havelock Walk (off London Road)

This Saturday the Forest Hill Society and SEE3 are organising a creative workshop for local architects and designers to develop ideas for improving Forest Hill Town Centre. At the end of the workshop there will be an open feedback session for the wider community to come and find out what we have been up to, to hear about the ideas, to ask questions, and input into our emerging town centre vision.

The workshop is intentionally about looking broadly at the identity of the town centre, key sites (including the station, Perry Vale and Dartmouth Road) and any areas which could benefit from improvement or change. Over the course of the day the teams attending will help define some of the problems in the town centre and start to develop creative ideas for solving some of them. This workshop will be focusing on physical issues and spaces rather than building uses and what goes on inside of the buildings.

The results of the workshop will be published over the summer and we hope they can be used to help support applications for funding to improve the town centre as well as encouraging private developers to make investments and improvements.

Everyone involved in the day is volunteering their time to help Forest Hill and the town centre and we would really love to have wider support from the community. If you have any questions please email

Please come along at 4pm to see what we come up with.

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Posts: 3,244
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #2
21-07-2014 09:35 AM

Saturday was a very productive (if rather hot and sweaty day)
A report will be produced over the summer and made available to all.
In the words of one local resident: "I went yesterday afternoon for the last hour to see the results and the work done by the local professional crowd was phenomenal."

To get a taste of what went on you can look at Twitter: #ForestHillCharette

Facebook: Album

Or come along to the Horniman Farmers' Market this Saturday where we hope to have some of the design ideas.

One of the ideas that I haven't managed yet to upload in picture form, is the short-term pedestrianisation of half the station car park, with no parking at the front and a single entrance/exit. The existing trees would form one side of a permanent public space in the heart of Forest Hill. It is a simple solution that I had not heard before it was invented in the workshop. We know it works because we have done it temporarily so many times in the last couple of years. (There are more ambitious ideas of the station, but this was the answer to 'what can we do quickly').

I would encourage you to share your ideas and feedback on this forum or via social media.

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #3
21-07-2014 10:36 AM

I was following it on Twitter over the weekend - some great ideas and energy. I look forward to the official report when it's available.

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Posts: 3,244
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #4
22-07-2014 09:37 AM

One of the more radical options is demolition of everything from Leaders and Aroma Cafe, to the Dartmouth Arms* - including the station, WH Smith, William Hill.

Replacement buildings set further back next to the platform, with a large public realm in front. Possibly with grassy mounds separating the town centre from the road and acting to reduce noise and pollution.

No car park at the front of the station, just a pull in area for cars and buses.

* The Dartmouth Arms would not included in the demolition.

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #5
22-07-2014 09:52 AM

A radical idea, certainly, but with elements that could be adopted. I don't see the need for car parking at the station. BUT we need to find somewhere sensible for Forest Hill Cars to park. A dedicated driver rest area in Perry Vale car park might be a good idea. They park in there anyway, waiting to be called round to the station. As a trade off, their illegal parking just past the subway should be clamped down on. Oh, and if the drivers who can't be bothered to walk down to the office to use the toilets could refrain from taking a p*** at the side of the car park, my eyes as well as the vegetation would thank them.

Sorry, bit of a rant, but the taxis are an important part of the station environment and an essential service and how they operate needs to be taken into account.

I like the fact that the junction at the South Circular looks much less cluttered in your illustration. An Oxford Circus style junction would be wonderful there. I know people worry about safety, but I think when people know there is an all-directions dedicated crossing phase, they are much less likely to nip across between phases. At the moment there is all the second guessing as to which stream of traffic is coming next.

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Posts: 820
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #6
22-07-2014 10:39 AM

I cannot understand why this Oxford St X-crossing idea is persisting.

This is not a crossroads Mr. Johnson, but a T junction - there are no diagonal corners to join up. Any pacts made with the devil/TfL here will not be binding.

We all know what is required - a 1 stage controlled crossing from the ex-launderette to WHSmiths.

Otherwise keep up the good work.

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #7
22-07-2014 02:25 PM

Just because it's a T-junction, doesn't mean we can't have a single phase for crossing in all directions. That's what I mean by Oxford Circus style phasing. Not the X-shape.

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Posts: 513
Joined: May 2012
Post: #8
28-07-2014 09:30 AM

Forgive my confusion but what exactly is "the short-term pedestrianisation of half the station car park, with no parking at the front and a single entrance/exit" intended to achieve? It sounds like it would be an even bigger nightmare than it currently is to drop someone off at the station. The fact that the car park is almost always completely full suggests that there is, indeed, a need for car parking space there, over and above the needs of the taxis. Have I missed something?

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Posts: 513
Joined: May 2012
Post: #9
28-07-2014 09:32 AM

The 'radical' option in the drawing, on the other hand, looks fantastic.

What happens to the skip business behind William Hill's (not that I would miss it - it's a tragic traffic accident waiting to happen, in my view)?

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Posts: 513
Joined: May 2012
Post: #10
28-07-2014 09:35 AM

Sorry for being a Johnny-come-lately to this and maybe this was already discussed - but would it be possible/desirable to create an easier walkway link between the Perry Vale car park and the train station?

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Posts: 627
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #11
28-07-2014 09:52 AM

Have to agree with that last point Mr_Numbers. It would make great sense to open up an entrance on the flat connecting with the Perry Vale car park. I may be dreaming this but I think this was a proposal at some point?

It would also make sense to use some of that space as a drop-off point. This would surely help make more of the public space at the front - nice strategic vision if it can be achieved.

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #12
28-07-2014 10:12 AM

It would be nice if they could open up that end of the platform. It would mean ticket barriers being installed. Does that also mean there has to be a member of staff there? There may be issues with pedestrians flowing and in and out of the car park, though. It's not great for pedestrians as it is. And the car park belongs to Lewisham, not Network Rail.

In terms of drop-off / pick up - I always wait in the Perry Vale car park. If the person is fit and able, they walk around to meet me there. If not, they call me when they get off the train and I drive around, stopping at the station door to let them hop in.

People park at the station because the spaces are there. Doesn't mean we have to have them!

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Emma may

Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2014
Post: #13
29-08-2014 10:09 PM

I have used parking at the station when dropping off or collecting disabled visitors. If I couldn't leave the car while you go to collect them off the platforms it can make things very difficult. I think there needs to be more flexibility for disabled station users and those who are transporting them than simply pick-up and drop-off facilities.

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Posts: 27
Joined: Apr 2012
Post: #14
06-10-2014 12:33 PM

I wish as much energy was being also spent on drawing up some basic future plans for the parade and station area in Honor Oak Park as well?

...even one tree hill is a great shame...paths cut through 4m high brambles is not my idea of quality / usable amenity...could be an amazing area...

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Posts: 627
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #15
06-10-2014 12:57 PM

Absolutely agreed tincan. Shame that the new "Neighbourhood Planning" forum/area only includes half the patch you describe. Still, am happy to be involved in such an exercise - am sure many other locals would be interested too.

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No Longer Registered

Posts: 135
Joined: Jan 2011
Post: #16
06-10-2014 01:24 PM

It is true to say that One Tree Hill is not perfect but it is, in its own way, a bit of local gem and I am always surprised how few people I come across when wandering around it.

For anyone who hasn't seen it the view across the city from near the beacon is fabulous particulary at sunset. You can often hear the Green Woodpecker yaffling away in the background which makes a change from the more raucous ring necked parakeets.

A few years ago it was overrun by dog walkers but the new regulations brought in by Southwark on limiting the numbers that can be walked by any one adult seems to have sorted that out.

Generally speaking there is very little litter and dog fouling. Certainly much less than on our local streets.

The steps up the hill on the FH side are a bit wonky and industrial but they are OK. The brambles on the other side were cut back at the end of the summer and they do not encroach the paths at present.

There are also a few home made paths through the woods which probably aren't great for the wildlife but they do allow children a bit of a run around.

You can do a circular walk up over the hill, along the path that runs parallel to Brenchley Gardens and then back over again. You can vary the walk by continuing along Brenchley Gardens and coming back throuh the cemetery and the Honor Oak Rec.

If there was a budget for improvements then the bandstand/gun base area could do with a revamp and cutting down a few more trees would open up the view without impacting on the biodiversity. Personally, I would demolish the bandstand as it is ugly and useless.

The other thing about the bandstand is that it is sometimes used for barbecues and alfresco dining. The culprits are generally harmless but it is anti-social and so if there isn't a byelaw and enforcement against it there should be.

There is also scope for widening up the accessible area by taking some of the unused space currently fenced off by the Church yard, Allotments and Cemetery. All that would be required is to move some of the fences which seem to disect the site in a somewhat arbitary manner. You wouldn't have to reduce the number of land set over to graves or allotments.

Finally, the One Tree Oak (or at least the current version) looks great inside its purpose built railings and gets better every year.

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Posts: 3,244
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #17
06-10-2014 01:38 PM

Can I request that there is a separate thread for Strategic Planning in Honor Oak town centre and One Tree Hill so as not to confuse the two strategies?

But on the subject of One Tree Hill - if I had my way all the brambles and a lot of the trees would be removed, taking it back to how it looked in the 1900s or even 1980s, when the views across London were spectacular rather than peeking through the trees.

Thirty years ago you could sledge down One Tree Hill in the winter. Today is it covered in brambles and bushes. I'm sure it has great wildlife value, but so do hill top meadows with wildflowers rather than brambles.

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Posts: 3,244
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #18
04-03-2015 08:19 AM

£113,000 from the GLA to improve the public realm around Forest Hill pool and library. Thanks to the bid developed by SEE3, V22, Forest Hill Society and Lewisham Council. This is on top of £650k for Dartmouth Road improvements from TfL.

As a result of these two injections of funding some of the ideas developed in the Forest Hill Town Centre design workshop will start to become a reality.

The final report from the design workshop can be read here. But there are still many more ways we can improve the town centre over the next few years and The Forest Hill Society will continue to look for new opportunities.

This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 08:20 AM by michael.

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Posts: 366
Joined: May 2005
Post: #19
04-03-2015 08:30 AM

That's such a good result.

Thanks to everyone who was involved in winning this bid to make our area even better.

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Posts: 40
Joined: Jul 2014
Post: #20
04-03-2015 11:40 AM

This is great news of course and any money/improvements to FH are certainly welcome, but without wanting to be a party pooper I don't understand why the area around FH Pools / Library (which to my untrained eye seems fine) is a priority?

Surely everyone who lives in FH would agree that the really urgent need is to renovate the area around the Station including re-designing the pedestrian crossings to make the area safer and more pleasant? Indeed, I thought this was the focus of the strategic planning that is referenced in the thread?

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