Sydenham Assembly: 4th March 2010

Wells Park Youth Centre, London SE26
Architect’s impression of new Youth Centre

The usual high turnout (100+?) to the Assembly were feasted on a wondeful selection of cakes and sandwiches. Oh that the coffee cound match! Here are a few highlights.

Youth Centre

The main item was the funding for the new Sydenham Wells Youth Centre. It was good to see that a good selection of the younger community were at the Assembly to cheer it on. Some concern was expressed at some misleading and negative comments in our Forum. These centred on whether it would attract troublemakers and lead to more antisocial behaviour in the area.

A bit sad that they then went on to repeat, without attribution, the postive information from the Forum about the presence of the old Youth Centre had coincided with zero/low reports of anti-social behaviour. This had risen quickly when the the Centre had to be closed due to building defects. Hence it could be expected that a new Youth Centre would reduce bad behaviour. At least by the young!. A concern was expressed about Sunday opening.

The target marketis 13 to 19 year olds which would have about 80% of sessions. However, 20% woulf be reserved for the under thirteens. The Centre would be available to other community groups ‘out of hours’.

Activities and facilities being consider include: ICT suite, recording studio, gardening, cooking, climbing wall, sports, climbing wall and fitness centre.

The outline timescales include a very speedy local consultation to enable plans to be submitted by September with construction commencing in summer 2011 with completion sometime between summer 2012 and early 2013.

Safer Neighbourhoods

The Youth Centre was welcomed by Sydenham’s Neighbourhood Committee and police to counter the increasing problems being encountered with misbehaviour amongst young people in the area.

Angela Hall also reported that the very cold weather had resulted in the Street Drinkers moving up the more protected surroundings at the Crystal Palace Bus Station. The committee and local police both want a no-drinking zone in Sydenham Road and adjoining streets. However, Lewisham is concerned that this could just displace the problem and is looking to a Borough wide ban. Meanwhile local off licences and chemists have been persuaded not to dispense alcohol, methadone etc to a specified number of people.

Councillor Best said that all Sydenham’s councillors were in support of a ‘No Drink Zone”. She asked if that was the feeling of the Assembly. No one objected.

Sydenham Road Shops

Kevin Turner (who leads the Town Centre Management team) gave a positive view on occupancy considering the current economic conditions. The national and Lewisham average unoccupied rates were between 12 & 18% whereas Sydenham Road was below 10%. We may not have the quality but we do have the numbers!

A 5% relief rate had been given to retailers between Kirkdale and Mayow road in partial compensation for the drop in trade during the disruptive roadworks.

The Sydenham Traders website is expected to launch in June.

The TCM team have a ‘vacant unit kit’ to assist people using unoccupied shops between lettings. This has led to the the Girls House at the former Linens/Lloyd TSB shop on the corner of Queensthorpe. The Arts Festival Director asked if these properties would be rent-free. “Depends on the landlord” was the council response.

Finally Kevin had to report there had been no progress with the key HSBC premises. The bank had withdrawn the property from the market but had no known plans to re-open it. This introduces an unacceptable blight on an important High Street location. But what can be done?

Sydenham Arts Festival

Festival Director Jonathan Kaufman explained thet SAF2010 would be in a different format from last year’s first Festival. It would be a more relaxed season following the International Music Festival from June to August.

The Festival would be an umbrella organistion to provide publicity and help facilitate independently organised events. It is hope that a preliminary programme will be published later this month.

Narborhood Centre & Mosaic

Chris Best announced the last Assemby vote had been in favour of naming it the Sydenham Centre.

The proposed mosaic is moving forward and it is hoped that a visual representation will be available for the next Assembly on June 12th. However, the centre would have to be redecorated externally before any public art could be affixed.

Environmental Improvements

Wells Park: Hedge planted with planting for a ‘sensory garden’. Curently the water feature has a ‘technical’. A café is under consideration. The play equipment is beginning to look shabby requiring refreshment.

Home Park: Outdoor Gym to be ready for summer. Adventure playground to be updated. Friends meet 25/3 Kangley Bridge. More «here»

Mayow Park: Full time park keeper now installed. Horticultural & Community Garden development. English cricket Board sponsored cricket pitches for summer. £75,000 teens area. The bowling green club buildings/containers now in use. Tree planting to come. More «here»

The Transition Group will be showing “Power in the Community ” film at The Grove Centre 8th May 11am to 1pm. Using under used space to grow food and sharing unmanaged gardens with potential gardeners.

Girton free car park has been “greened”.


Good News: London Overground arrives at Sydenham on 23rd May with 8 train/hr (4 to Crystal Palace/ 4 to West Croydon. Victoria loop line to start earlier (and with more connections via London Overground) making Victoria much more accessible. Norwood Junction to be developed as an alternate interchange to East Croydon for Gatwick and South Coast. Oystercard to be purchasable in the ticket office by May.

Bad News: Charing Cross gone and evening and day time reductions from 6 trains/hr to 4 to/from London Bridge from May 23rd.

OK News: Slow gradual improvement to station facilities, signage and possibility of café opening in the toilet block …


Sponsored by Hexagon Housing this allows people to exchange work/skills without affecting benefits. Website coming soon.


Greyhound: Technical hitch meant it is going to final planning on 18th March.

Nickell (Blinds) Site: Planning approval being given for 5,000 sq ft retail plus flats. This larger retail with similar in the Greyhound will give opportunity for shops that need more space than the usual smaller Sydenham Road property.

Sydenham Road Improvement: £3.5 million plus £1.5 million extra to cover development between Mayow Road and Kent House Lane. Work starts in August this year on side roads. Completion of public utility works should allow Kirkdale to Mayow Road to complete in 2011 with the extension to Kent House in 2012.

Sydenham Station Approach: £310,000 to be spent ‘levelling’ to make pedestrian access easier and prettier.


These are jottings from my notebook. Discussion, corrections, additions etc in the Forum «here»

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