Baby steps, but steps nonetheless

Sorry for not giving prominence to this before, but thanks to monkeycat for highlighting these plans for the development of the snooker hall on Camberwell New Road (caution: large PDF download). It also gives a history of previous applications for that site. I’m sure something is going to be granted sooner rather than later, and it will be the biggest transformation of the centre since *shudder* Butterfly Walk.

So with plans for the centre, and South Camberwell getting a little love in the shape of changes to Denmark Hill, what’s going on in the North?

Work has begun on improvements to Chumleigh Gardens; there are new play areas, ‘playable landscaping’ (whatever that means), and a newly refurbished cafe on the way. Chumleigh Gardens is a lovely location to have breakfast in summer, so a decent cafe to go with it will be great.

The five companies shortlisted for the larger Burgess Park development held a ‘speed-dating’ event recently, in which they briefly met local community representatives to hear their ideas and aims.

A page on the Southwark Council website shows the order of the task ahead of them; Burgess Park, at 50 hectares, is receiving £6m in investment — marginally more than Potter’s Field Park (£3m for 1.5 hectares), and substantially less than Mile End Park (£40m for 36 hectares). Quite an eye-opener, although it does, at least, manage our expectations for what can be achieved.

I’d like to see  a running/cycling track put all around the perimeter of the park (at least the side to the east of Wells Way), better lighting, and better entrances. And, it goes without saying, a zoo (although seeing the available budget, that may just have to consist of a rabbit hutch).

If you’re a Facebook user, there’s a Burgess Park page with all the latest news; if you’re not, then you’re not well catered for at all.

Update: Out of three possible options to extend the Bakerloo line, Burgess Park is in the favoured two. Camberwell Green, however, looks unlikely to benefit.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

99 thoughts on “Baby steps, but steps nonetheless”

  1. I have always found Burgess park a bit of a desert.

    The trees are young and therefore a little small and give not a lot of shade on a hot day. Not that we’ve had many.

    Chumley Gardens is an oasis in that desert. They used to sell wine once but not now which is a bit of a shame.

  2. BE THERE OR B SKWARE. Sceaux Gardens Summer Festival today and tomorrow 12–5pm both days. Sunday 3–4pm tree planting memorial to those who died in the fire. Both days have art, bouncy castle, crafts, dance, dressing up, everything free, football & basketball, great “Karrot Bus” kourtesy of the Met full of perfectly legal high tech wii-fii wonders, lots of marvellous nice perfect quality refreshments, such a nice time for all, u very well xllnt yzee!

    Perhaps the council — Neuilly? — will have a professional ironist on hand to explain the French Revolution names of the flats — Florian, Lakanal, etc.

  3. The presentation plans for the snooker hall focus a lot on what’s already there over what WILL be there if the application goes through. Lot of red ink on that arrowhead shape for the site’s footprint. Again and again. Very touchy feely it seems with a lot of respect for the neighbourhood and a load of alternative facias for the new build. Where’s that bit going? Seems like all the architect’s ideas came off the drawing board for that one, even though I might have missed a lot having had to turn my computer on its side to read the pdf.

    Anyhow. I cannot continue to live and work in Camberwell and not see things improve slower than the pace of a glacier in retreat. And I cannot afford to move, and we, my family and I, don’t really want to move because we have so many close friends and families here… but at the same time I hate feeling it’s so desperate being here…

    SO. I’m thinking of standing to be a local councillor at next year’s elections. My manifesto will be to consolidate all the research, consultation and scoping exercises that Neighbourhood Renewal has done and help make things HAPPEN. I’d expect to take an entrepreneurial approach to Camberwell’s regeneration, based on what people have been saying for a very long time, and to work with existing bodies — Camberwell Festival, SE5 Forum, Camberwell Society, Friends of Camberwell Baths, Camberwell College, South London Gallery, shopkeepers, residents and many others as well as both local authorities to bring joined up working to what happens to our area. My aim will be to make Camberwell recognised widely as the centre of excellence and excitement it is already but is not known for. And a few other things — all suggestions gratefully recieved. Oh yes. A town centre manager is one thing I’d be pushing for.

    This will be a big step for me — well out of my comfort zone — and I would really appreciate some feedback for my proposal.

    What do you think?

  4. I think you’re a glutton for punishment, but I know very few people with a knowledge of (and interest in) the area like yours, and I’d vote for you.

  5. Yes you should do it. Make sure you pick the right ward though. Might I suggest Brunswick Park as a sympathetic demographic to you.

  6. Will you sort out the Noodels sign? What’s happened with that anyway, didn’t someone say the planners were on it?

  7. I think a few more of us should stand up and be part of the Camberwell Party…(People’s Republic of Camberwell anyone?)


    1. More voices shout louder.
    2. More chance of getting support (ie c ash) from others as a group.
    3. Easier than standing as an independent.
    4. Stops sitting on backsides complaining on this website.
    5. Safety in numbers. Mutual support and not so out of comfort zone.

  8. Ah thanks Monkeycat. If Mr Dodds is a supporter of the socialists cause promoted by The People’s Republic then we shall back him 100%!

  9. @mark: good luck, camberwell desperately needs an independent candidate! or a green one!

    re other stuff in totally random order:

    - reclaim the magistrates court as the centre for camberwell communities

    - extend congestion charge zone up to denmark hill station (to cover the whole of walworth and camberwell)

    - encourage more local food growing

    - have a vegan cafe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    - reclaim high street to local communities and businesses (as opposed to churches and chains or chains and churches)

    - create safe spaces for pedestrians and cyclists

    - involve young people and school children in decision making processes

  10. @ Streetfighter:

    My comment about the People’s Republic of Camberwell is a tongue in cheek reference to my obsessional love of Camberwell, and how it stands out from the uniformity of gentrification that the rest of South London seems to suffer from I fear you may be a bit more serious.

    Socialism, in the form you advocate, does not and will not ever win votes enough to get into any form of meaningful power. Sorry.

  11. Well vote Green, it isn’t far off and adheres to most of the same principles, then we’ll get along fine. Baby steps.

  12. Go for it Mark, you’ll get a vote from me.

    Liliana says:
    08/24/2009 at 4:18 pm

    “- reclaim the magistrates court as the centre for camberwell communities”

    Good idea, but where would you move the court to?

    “- extend congestion charge zone up to denmark hill station (to cover the whole of walworth and camberwell)”

    Bad idea. Business is hard enough in Camberwell as it is.

    “- encourage more local food growing”

    Good idea.

    - have a vegan cafe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You can’t, as a counciller make people open a cafe. It would be a loser from the off.

    “- reclaim high street to local communities and businesses (as opposed to churches and chains or chains and churches)”

    Your idea of a congestion charge would kill that stone dead.

    “- create safe spaces for pedestrians and cyclists”

    Good idea.

    “- involve young people and school children in decision making processes”

    Good idea.

  13. @Mark — a doubtless improvement on incumbents. I will vote for the candidate who is committed to making it harder to leave Camberwell to shop, and easier to visit it, by car. That would cost zilch but require tremendous political courage. If you’re worried about the 100th nail bar/betting shop appearing in our postcode, there’s no other way.

    @Monkeycat — it’s great that you have found your mojo. But planning the streets and new developments around the idea of maximising car ownership is the real modern day gentrification, not some twee Dulwich Village nightmare. And Camberwell does not need an unmitigated red route piling through it, with carte blanche brutalist development, in order to retain its “edge”.

    Very few London communities are as gentrified as Camberwell. The existence of a deprived community is irrelevant — they can be moved wholesale at any time (witness Elephant & Castle) as planners move forward with the minimum 35% private housing strategy, reducing overall household numbers simultaneously. A few token grant initiatives and photo-ops will secure poor votes at election time, according to the voting habits of forefathers, so planners need not consider or interact with them, as we do not on this blog.

    In South London, Deptford High Street and Lewisham have far more successful and progressive planning approaches than in SE5. In Camberwell, such methods of localism, community inclusiveness and defence of heritage would be dismissed as “gentrification”, despite their economic and social benefits to the lowest income groups, as recognised by LPAC and English Heritage.

  14. yep, sort out the Noodels sign and get a Camberwell town centre manager. Good stuff.

    Oh, and stop cyclists from going through red lights and from riding on the footpaths. Saw another pedestrian nearly skittled today by one of them.

  15. sorry, SG but what on earth are you talking about? Listen to yourself… Let me paraphrase…

    “A cyclist just went through a red light. Someone should do something about it…I will write a message on a blog to express my annoyance.”

    No, I hope that my elected representative will do nothing about the person who cycled through a red light. If he decides to do so and gets injured or killed, it will be his or her fault. They know that it is illegal and (potentially) stupid. Let them decide. And I say this as a cyclist who goes through red lights. When there are no cars or pedestrians.

    Actually, yes I hope Mark does something. I hope he campaigns for cyclists to be allowed to go through red lights when it is safe to do so.

  16. Think I’d fall into Monkeycat’s red light district on that one. But how to make going through red lights legal for cyclists in SE5 is a tad complicated.

  17. “- involve young people and school children in decision making processes”

    They already do that don’t they? Wasn’t a retard with a pack of crayolas responsible for some of the recent regeneration plans?

  18. “Cyclists — the only untrained, untested road users out there” — apart from anyone on a moped or low-power motorbike, such as pizza delivery boys.

    I’d like to see the Amsterdam model introduced here; a cyclist is legally never at fault in a collision with a car.

  19. Peter, you have to get a certificate of Compulsory Basic Training for that. That involves a long day of training and £120 or something. It’s not a formality. I was the only one out of my class of four to pass it. It’s then only valid two years.

    In certain cases you can ride a 50cc if your car licence is old enough. Doubt most pizza boys fall into that. Also hardly any geared motorbike is under 125cc, so you need a CBT.

    As a general rule, anyone with a full British motorbike licence has been through a lot of training and a difficult test that has recently become even harder.

    I know there are some stupid idiots but in general they are some of the best and most considerate road users out there. Despite their skill it’s a dangerous way to travel though, no doubt.

    I am a keen cyclist and follow the pro sport closely. There are idiots on all forms of transport, but some of the cyclists in London are just contemptible. I’d almost say that I’d like to see some of them hit by a car, but of course I wouldn’t really wish that on them. I just wish some had a bit more consideration, respect, and foresight, and that there was less of an “I’m a cyclist so I’m more vulnerable so I’m right and f–k you” sort of attitude.

    I think the left turn at red lights was mooted in London either by Boris or TfL. It was under review but no news yet and probs unlikely to be implemented. It has been run overseas in some places, I think.

  20. @phil g: 😛

    what i wanted to say was that kids are incredibly inspiring, creative & largely uninhibited by ‘how things need to be done/are done’ rubbish

    we all had this, it just gets harder & harder to remember, after years of societies and education and employments and life in general

  21. @ monkeycat — I wasn’t writing to “express my annoyance” as you put it but to highlight what I see as a growing problem in Camberwell.

    Hopefully something that Mark, if he became a councillor, could help address ‑maybe by working with the Safer Neighbourhood Team, perhaps by directing them to particular areas where there are problems. I understand the SNT are able to issue cyclists with warnings or similar.

    I saw a cyclist go through a red light at the Wyndham Road junction at high speed last Friday afternoon and nearly knock a pedestrian over. It could have been quite nasty.

    A friend said police were issuing tickets to cyclists who were riding on pavements in Camberwell the other day — not sure where, though.

    I ride a scooter and have respect for everyone on the road who also obeys the road rules. “Stop at red lights” being the main one.

  22. Thinking about it though Mark, I’d much rather see you take on the Silver Buckle than disappear into local politics.

    That would probably have a bigger beneficial impact on the area.

    What happened to that idea?

  23. number of cyclists dying as a result of a traffic accident (while using the roads and obeying the traffic regulations) is on the rise.

    cars who park on pavements did not teleport themselves there although talking to a police person you might just think that. a few years back i had a brush with an aggressive car owner who was adamant about driving onto the pavement island by the bus stops in front of edwards bike shop. they’ve cleared them since on that particular location but everyone’s still happily turning blind eyes to cars on pavements elsewhere.

    i find the whole outrage at the cyclists really quite hipocritical under the circumstances. and i probably can’t spell but what the hell

  24. yep, cars who don’t obey the rules are just as bad, I totally agree.

    As are pedestrians. My point is not about cyclists per se, but about cyclists — and any road users for that matter — who don’t obey the road rules.

  25. “stop at red lights being the main one”.

    And before the advanced stop box, I presume, in accordance with Rule 178 of the Highway Code.

    Liliana is right to scent hypocrisy — anyone truly concerned with preventing human death and injury from vehicles would focus on enforcement against the malfeasants statistically proven to cause over 99% of it. Monkeycat is also right — it’s about annoyance. No concern for humanity here, move on, move on.

  26. ok, I can see I’m a little outnumbered.

    Go right ahead, ride on pavements, run red lights — but could you at least put a bell on your bikes to warn those of us that might dare to be in your path ??


  27. Good one sg. Democracy in action. Thanks for that Alan, Silver Buckle is still an idea but a few things are getting in the way. Can’t explain exactly what. Heard that Antic Ltd are interested — they of EDT and Dog Star and a number of other pubs. Realistically they’d have more chance of getting it than me — I’ve been at loggerheads with S&NPE for a decade and have no money. But that’s never stopped me trying before.

  28. The past few times I’ve sat outside Le PP we’ve been approached by beggars. So, it really is just like Paris.

  29. Haven’t got time to read all the posts just at the moment but I wanted to add my support to your idea Mark, I think you’d be great and would definitely vote for you.

  30. The position on the Noodels sign is that Southwark took enforcement action, Noodels appealed, and the appeal is now being considered by the Planning Inspectorate — this is a national body, based in Bristol. Seems to be a very lengthy business.

  31. Hi Mark, I’ve never met you, but you seem like you’d be a great representative from what I’ve read here and on the SE5 Forum.

    Probably you should check you don’t run against someone else who already does a lot of good for the area/community.

    Disclaimer: I have very little knowledge of how local politics is set up.

  32. Cheers Carole. Let’s hope their appeel failz. Wonder what their case is. We meant it like that? Don’t think so as the subsignage below the windows has it spelled correctly.

    Mark. You could do well as the younger cooler vote and some marketing via S+D and other pubs would help. However, vote would be spread across several wards, and many of them won’t even be registered.

  33. Cyclists should have some sort of insurance if they go on the road. Because if they run somebody over causing a nasty injury and they had to take time off work… who pays for that! if a car knocked a cyclist off there bike they would want to claim from the car drivers insurance…

  34. @SDF I don’t think cyclists on the road are a major problem, perhaps on the pavement they are a danger to pedestrians, but this is against the law.

    If a motorised vehicle knocks someone off their bike the chances of them sustaining serious, or even deadly, injuries is very high.

    I think you’ll find deaths and injuries caused by cyclists is extremely low.

    Personally I would have thought uninsured car drivers to be of far greater concern.

  35. @joe
    A couple of weeks ago I was on my scooter on Denmark hill (just finished work)I was waiting to turn into De Crespigny Park. The car coming towards me flashed his lights for me to turn (which was quite a distance) and this cyclist from the side of the car decided to speed up as I turned and crashed into my thigh! which caused me to fall off my bike badly bruised and swollen leg. he just rode off leaving me stuck under my bike and I had to take a few days off work…
    I’m just glad there wasn’t much more damage to myself or my bike..

    I’m not going on about all cyclist! Something needs to be done to calm all the traffic down

  36. @SDF Very sorry to hear that, and glad you were only bruised in the incident. If I understand the scenario correctly, then I don’t think the cyclist has done anything wrong (apart from leaving the scene of an accident perhaps), they would be under no obligation to stop just because a car has and, as you are crossing oncoming traffic, it is their right of way.

    You’d actually fail a driving test for flashing someone in that scenario, the only acceptable reason for flashing is to alert others to you presence. I know it is common for people to flash their lights in this way, but the situation you describe is precisely the reason why they should not. I just checked this and the Highway Code states:

    “Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully. ”

    I would sympathise that cyclists can ride quite aggressively, I do think that you have to be very assertive as a cyclist in London and I believe that this assertiveness can often lead aggressiveness.

    I’d absolutely agree that something needs to be done to calm traffic.

  37. We are all invincible until we are dead.

    We should, what ever vehicle we are on, in or on top of should firstly SLOW DOWN and then be aware of all other road and pavement users.

  38. Yes, much as I’d like to back a scooter man, I’d agree with JoeD that the cyclist had right of way. That situation you have described catches both parties out.

    Where I work near Oxford St pedestrians are now often wary to cross a ped crossing on a green light because they half fear some messenger / ‘fakenger’ tit on a fixed wheel will come flying through. That’s not right.

    On my ride back tonight on a motorbike I had some idiot carve in front of me near Elephant (didn’t look before pulling out). Could’ve hit him but I anticipated that he would do this. I also saw a few ignore a woman waiting at a zebra crossing. Loads jumped red lights etc.

    The worst was coming through SE5. Some smackhead on a tiny BMX working his way through a McDs (and chucking the rubbish away in the street) weaving around. Sort that usually rides on the pavement.

    Injuries caused by cyclists are very low. I think a death caused by someone cycling on the pavement was in the news a few months ago because it was such a rare event.

    Course, on my ride home tonight there were plenty of totally fine and well behaved commuter cyclists and a couple of club racing cyclists too, so it wasn’t a war or anything, and we all got home. Rant over.

  39. Only one last thing to say, I was waiting patiently on Denmark hill to turn, not as though I’d just went on my own accord. A car driver would just have turned… as a few of them are inpatient

    Oh well! as Sg would say “ride / drive / walk defensively is the moral of the story 🙂

    Yes Camberwell.… any new shops or restaurants opened up recently?

  40. AT THE END OF THE OVAL TEST people were playing cricket in the street by the old Cricketers pub. Mike Gatting walked past. They offered him the tennis ball and he bowled one. He looked like an old Shakespearean actor. In fact he looked like King Lear himself.

    Sceaux Gardens festival was led by troopers and starred some stars. A very bright lad on the main stage, aged maybe 13, wearing Elvis Costello glasses, was selling various items including a nubile blonde girl aged about 15. Eventually, he asked the audience to put in a bid for themselves. “Yes,” he said, “you’re going to buy yourselves.”

    The badge-making team from Southwark Libraries were the best badging crew out there since the miners’ strike.

    A troupe of young girls sang Rihanna’s “Umbrella” complete with umbrellas, led by a proper singing woman who got them to start all over again and finish properly.

    The six memorial trees planted include plum and pear trees.

    The South London Gallery’s Wednesday afternoon 3–5pm children’s creative play sessions have V&A standard creative coaching at south London prices, i.e. free. The Gallery is a very inspiring space altogether to work in.

    The Bickleigh is to be a new art space, yes? The pubs croak, but the Camberwell moves on.

  41. On the subject of food…

    The Metro supermarket has closed. V. sad since the staff were lovely, the prices cheaper than Morrisons or Somerfield, The feta divine, and the meat weren´t bad either.

    Apparently, landload hiked up the rent and the owner was in Turkey and couldn’t be bothered.

    Cue…rants from someone on this blog about imminent opening of nail bar / church / drinking den / bookies / indian restaurant / NASA sub branch / Masonic lodge… delete as applicable.

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