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Forest Hill Station car restrictions
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BackOnceAgain


Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2022
Post: #21
03-09-2022 07:54 PM

Just so people are aware, this is not a 3 month trial. The FHsoc have ended the trial early.

I find it sad that having lived in FH for approaching 50 years, an organisation I used to have great respect for (although didn't agree with all the time) now risks losing any credibility it had when it comes to backing or opposing any planning proposals.

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clausy


Posts: 72
Joined: Mar 2014
Post: #22
04-09-2022 09:19 AM

I can't tell if you're happy or sad about it. Either way, people are going to complain. We felt that we weren't getting any new constructive comments, and given that it was only a trial, we demonstrated what we set out to achieve.

The planters were designed to be re-usable and on wheels - we can move them around anytime we need to. There's nothing wasted.

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clausy


Posts: 72
Joined: Mar 2014
Post: #23
04-09-2022 10:51 AM

To follow up on some of the other questions...

‘Predominantly positive' comes from a few things, for example the original Facebook post which had over 80% likes compared to dislikes, more likes than any of our other Instagram posts and plenty of new followers there and on Twitter too. The second follow up post already has nearly 40 likes overnight and only 3 'grumpy' faces. Obviously that’s none of that is scientific, but it’s had a massive positive response relative to anything else we’ve done recently. If you’re seeing primarily negative feedback then that’s because social media works in this way ‘Most Relevant’ will ship you a stream of comments that you want to see ditto especially on NextDoor where the poll was written by someone with clear objections to the scheme - it’s easy to game polls online, of course, using skewed wording, even bots, and in fact even our Facebook page has attracted comments from as far afield as Tunbridge Wells, other profiles have no bios, no friends etc. This makes it difficult to be scientific about things. Even on here it's fairly anonymous so you don't know who's really commenting or what their intentions are. FHSoc executive members have to deal with regular personally targeted abuse on social media too.

On the flip side, we’ve listened to feedback, this mostly relates to the width of the entrance/exit and we agree that in a final solution, widening it will solve issues raised regarding ease of access. Ditto a proper turning circle on one side of the forecourt with a crossing. This means that half the forecourt would be for cars, the other half for the majority of station users i.e pedestrians. Separating people from cars as much as possible is not something most people will argue with, so long as the cars have a similar turning space in the redesign, you’ll be able to drive in, turn and drive out. Obviously this wasn’t the case with the trial as we would not have been able to make permanent changes to the layout for a temporary scheme. We stress again, the trial had limited scope and is not the final proposed solution. Many comments suggested the station was closed to people with disabilities, this is simply not true, no matter how many times it gets repeated.

Regarding the sign outside the station, as noted above we have proposed an early end to the trial BUT we need to discuss that with station management and TfL - we will sort out logistics with them.

As for the toilet, we have commented that this is an issue for the Council and Network Rail and is not part of the trial. We’ve repeatedly stated that we support in principle new public facilities, but this is not in our remit. The toilet has not worked for years and yet people are now concerned about it. It needs to be gone from that location in order to provide space for motorists to turn around.

In terms of cost/budget questions, the planters cost around £7k all in. They can be wheeled around wherever needed for other regular events like the Carol Singing, Station Planting, and Plant Giveaways. The Green High Road project was part of the NCIL funding grant and cost a further £2k net. Note that community infrastructure levy is collected from developers to improve the community in which they’re building - it is not ‘taxpayers’ money. We have about £8 left for Phase 2, if not we will look for other ideas. It will not be enough for a new loo. £18k is the overall budget approved, that is not, as has been falsely reported, what has been spent.

Finally, we have however had a number of emails, especially from families with young children who think the scheme is a huge improvement in safety for their young ones. Here are a couple just from this morning:

“I just wanted to drop a note to thank you for organising the excellent change to the station car park. I agree with the comment in the newsletter re young children: with 1 and 4 year old this makes a huge difference and we’d love to see it become permanent.”

“We live in Forest Hill and have two daughters, aged 7 and 4. We have loved the pedestrianisation of the area in front of the station. We all feel so much safer both entering the station (having crossed the South Circular at the lights) and leaving the station. It is an absolute joy not to have to worry about cars (at least until we reach the lights….)”

We can make this work for everyone.

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samuelsen


Posts: 372
Joined: Feb 2016
Post: #24
04-09-2022 12:21 PM

Looks like you have successfully soiled the reputation of FHsoc single handily with the residents of FH, should you need support in the future, you have done the society no favours with residents.

Perhaps separating personal desires from those of the Society's needs and residents may be a way forward in the future, BUT before you even get to that stage, the society will need to re-build the trust and good will of residents you have lost. It's easy to undertake self destruction as you have successfully done, but much, much harder to rebuild that.

Spending and wasting £20K, the budget could have been much better spent on other alternative and positive outcomes.

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clausy


Posts: 72
Joined: Mar 2014
Post: #25
04-09-2022 01:01 PM

Just to be 100% clear it's not personal. This scheme was proposed by the FHSoc Environment Committee and selected for NCIL funding independently by Lewisham Council. Any suggestion that this is somehow my little pet scheme is simply preposterous. The budget you have quoted back is triple what I previously said we have spent to date. What you have said is simply not correct.

As far as your comments on reputational risk go, we've picked up a much wider age range and diverse set of followers across social media. Appealing to more people will help keep up the good work that we do.

Our AGM is coming up and you are of course free to vote for someone else as Chairperson.

This post was last modified: 04-09-2022 01:02 PM by clausy.

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BackOnceAgain


Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2022
Post: #26
04-09-2022 01:33 PM

Whether I'm happy or sad about it is irrelevant to the impact on the FHsoc integrity.

In an earlier response you said,

'You can certainly suppose that something is true without having evidence to confirm it.

However, to summarise, we will be collecting feedback towards the end of the trial to present back to Lewisham and TfL before any decision is made. Of course as part of that process it makes sense to present proposals for a future state that works better for all station users.'

Looks like we now have the evidence.

I'm pleased to see some further explanation of the funding/spending so far, on Facebook. Just in case people don't have Facebook, the planters have cost £7,000.

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HannahM


Posts: 13
Joined: Jul 2022
Post: #27
06-09-2022 05:03 PM

What would you have spent the £7k on?

As a regular user of Forest Hill station and an Forest Hill resident it contributes positively to my life - entering and exiting the station is now easier and it has shown with a bit of work and creative thinking a rather horrible and neglected public transport hub can be improved to benefit users of the station, the majority of whom arrive and leave on foot.

Now what would really improve my life is sorting out those horrible crossings and frankly dangerous crossings but I understand this is on TfL

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samuelsen


Posts: 372
Joined: Feb 2016
Post: #28
06-09-2022 05:39 PM

It's not a transport hub, what it actually is, is a railway station.
IMO, a transport hub is where you can interchange between different types of transport, i.e. tube, tram, bus etc.

It was fine as a station car park, someone decided they wanted to make a mark as leader of the FHSoc, what they achieved was disrupting the status quo and harmony which existed, and rubbing people up the wrong way.

If it ain't broke don't fix it.

What is needed, is the station demolished and that corner rebuilt with a station building in keeping with the local environment, we don't need a glass fronted replacement to what is there already.

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HannahM


Posts: 13
Joined: Jul 2022
Post: #29
06-09-2022 07:24 PM

You like how it is now? i think we can aim a bit higher than that. It is a bit broken tbh - the frontage is badly designed, messy and not nice for pedestrians use. It hardly gives a good first impression of Forest Hill.

That much space does not need to be given over to cars in inner London. There is definitely space to make that frontage nicer, prioritise pedestrians (who are the majority users of the station) and keep a car park for those who absolutely need to drive to the station.

I have no axe to grind with FH soc or their detractors - I am just someone who uses that station a lot and found it has been a lot nicer to use during the experiment.

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BackOnceAgain


Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2022
Post: #30
06-09-2022 08:28 PM

I wouldn't have applied for the funding in the first place. It's a shame to see local charities miss out on the opportunity of some much needed funds.

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BackOnceAgain


Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2022
Post: #31
06-09-2022 08:49 PM

Creative thinking, putting planters in a position to block a station exit is hardly creative, and what happens now? There is £11,000 of funding left, what is that going to be used for, it's not going to scratch the surface of some of the ideas put forward. It's going to be down to TFL and the council to provide more funding.

There has not been an accident/incident involving a pedestrian and motor vehicle in the car park for the past 10 years, I've done the research (I only requested data for the last 10 years) so this idea of some sort of constant danger to pedestrians is just not true.

A number of people have described FH as being inner or central London, I don't wish to shatter any illusions but we are a suburb of London. However the increase of street drinkers and drug use in the vicinity of the station will give the area an inner city feel.

Talk to the station staff the next time you use the station, as they are present at the station all day they can give you a better idea of the impact of the changes.

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samuelsen


Posts: 372
Joined: Feb 2016
Post: #32
06-09-2022 09:22 PM

You said "the frontage is badly designed, messy and not nice for pedestrians use. It hardly gives a good first impression of Forest Hill."

That's why in reality the station needs knocking down and a new station built in keeping with Forest Hill, but that won't happen.

It's a car park, car parks require space, which is what it has got, I can't abide all these people who just continually moan about everything, Really have you got nothing better to do?

The money could have been better spent around the Town Centre.

And as someone else has previously stated Forest Hill is not inner London, it's a leafy green suburb, with a high street that is dead on it's feet and Dartmouth Road that is gloomy and un-inviting, more a thoroughfare to Sydenham, Lower Sydenham, Penge and beyond.

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borderpaul


Posts: 91
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #33
07-09-2022 09:34 AM

I think one of the things that worked at Forest Hill station was the ability to drive in easily and drop off or pick up. It wasn't broken, I think most people would conclude that car access is broken now and that cars reversing on to the South Circular to exit is hazardous to motorists and pedestrians which many of us have witnessed first hand. Many people use this facility for mobility and other reasons.

There is a pavement for pedestrians, on which has been placed on or beside, numerous newspaper dispensers, a bike rack, three ticket machines, 2 cash dispensers, a coffee hut and oversized planters. If all these obstructions were placed on the road, it would be blocked but pedestrians are forced to walk round them. Yes, access for pedestrians is not good. Widening the pavement or removing the obstructions would seem like an obvious direction.

The trial has happened, there is no use in crying over spilt milk, it was done, it is now ending, there is no point in engaging in a negative blame game or taking it out on Dartmouth Road which has some great pubs, cafes, shops, bus stops to Penge, a swimming pool and a library. It is time now for some calm so that option 2 can be created with the lessons learned from this trial.

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HannahM


Posts: 13
Joined: Jul 2022
Post: #34
07-09-2022 02:11 PM

Forest Hill is in inner London - Lewisham is an inner London borough.

I would describe it as inner suburban myself.

Anyway that is beside the point really, I think some compromise can be found between the needs of pedestrians and the needs of car drivers and smarten the frontage of the station up to make it a nicer and safer place for people that use it every day. The practical work of the FH soc is the first step to getting people thinking and talking about alternatives ways to configure the space.

To respond to your rather pass agg point samuelson - I obviously have a lot of better things to do, but I spent a few minutes of my time yesterday considering what could improve a resource I use pretty much every day, in an area I have chosen to make my home.

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samuelsen


Posts: 372
Joined: Feb 2016
Post: #35
07-09-2022 02:50 PM

apologies, didn't mean my point to come over as agg

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BackOnceAgain


Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2022
Post: #36
07-09-2022 06:54 PM

@borderpaul, you make excellent points. Especially about not knocking the rest of FH over this issue.
I would not normally continue to cry over spilt milk but this idea and trial is so flawed that it must be subject to further scrutiny along with the councils decision to use public money in this way.

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BackOnceAgain


Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2022
Post: #37
07-09-2022 07:01 PM

@Hannahm, I also believe that compromise can be found, sensible suggestions have been put forward about removing obstacles and widening the pavement by WHsmiths. The problem for me is that the option of retaining separate entrances and exits for motor vehicles was never going to considered once the planters were purchased and put in place.

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BackOnceAgain


Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2022
Post: #38
07-09-2022 07:09 PM

Apologies for so many messages, last one from me for today. The refuse cart collects twice a week, no vehicles can now enter or exit when the cart is present. It was there for 10 minutes this morning.



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clausy


Posts: 72
Joined: Mar 2014
Post: #39
07-09-2022 08:26 PM

That would still be the case if the planters weren’t there either. If we remove the parking at the side then you could get past. Sounds like our new proposal is great!

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BackOnceAgain


Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2022
Post: #40
07-09-2022 08:47 PM

No, because the people trapped today would have been able to get out if the planters weren't there......

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