The Blackheath Society prepares a Blackheath Ward character study

This document was prepared by Blackheath Society committee member Nick Patton in response to Lewisham Council’s 2018 Characterisation Study, being developed as an input to Lewisham’s next Local Plan. It is produced by The Blackheath Society in relation to the LBL Blackheath Ward (which abuts the RBG Greenwich West, Blackheath & Westcombe and Middle Park & Sutcliffe Wards). These wards all include areas close to Blackheath, say within a mile of Blackheath Station, that the Society seeks to protect, conserve and enhance.

You can download a copy of the document here  and also associated images here and here 

 

 

 

New Southeastern train timetable from May 2018

Thameslink services return to London Bridge from 20 May 2018, including a new half hourly service on the Greenwich line from Rainham to Luton which will enable through journeys from stations on that line to Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St Pancras International. Blackheath and Lewisham passengers will be able to change at London Bridge to access the restored Thameslink services.

Blackheath services have also been revised, most changes are minor, with the basic off-peak service of 4 trains per hour to Charing Cross, 2 to Cannon Street and 2 to Victoria maintained. However, the times and intervals have changed – for example, the Charing Cross off peak is currently at 15, 22, 45 and 52 minutes past the hour and will be slightly improved to 11, 21, 41 and 51 minutes past the hour – reducing the 23 minute gap to 20 minutes.

In the morning peak there are two extra Charing Cross trains between 07:30 and 08:30, but one less between 06:00 and 06:30 and two less between 08:30 and 09:30. There are also minor timing changes to the evening peak service.

The off peak return “clock face” service from Charing Cross to Blackheath is maintained. Currently services leave at 09, 26, 39 and 56 minutes past the hour – and this is amended to 12, 24, 42 and 52 minutes past the hour – a very small deterioration as the maximum gap now increases to 18 minutes as opposed to 17 minutes.

Saturday services are based on the weekday off-peak timetable of 8 trains per hour. On Sundays, Blackheath will be served by half hourly Victoria trains and Charing Cross trains as at present. There are likely to be changes to this service pattern on many weekends though as engineering works will still affect weekend services, so as always, please check the weekend services before travelling.

Further details are available on the Southeastern trains website www.southeasternrailway.co.uk.

The Society would be interested to hear from members on their experiences with the new timetable when it is introduced.

20 May 2018 to 8 December 2018

Summary of Blackheath train services TO London : Monday to Friday

PLEASE DO CHECK TIMES WITH SOUTHEASTERN BEFORE TRAVELLING

Charing Cross (calling at Lewisham, London Bridge and Waterloo East)

05:46, 05:52, 06:15, 06:22, 06:40, 06:46

07:04, 07:08, 07:27, 07:36, 07:47, 07:55*, 07:58, 08:07, 08:15*, 08:18, 08:27, 08:47, 08:52

(* = the 07:55 and 08:15 not calling at Lewisham)

09:11, 09:22, 09:41, 09:51 then at 11, 21, 41 and 51 each hour

Cannon Street (calling at Lewisham, St Johns (some), New Cross and London Bridge)

05:59, 06:29, 06:55, 07:19, 07:31, 07:51, 08:11, 08:32, 09:00, 09:38 then at 08 and 38.

Victoria (via Denmark Hill)

06:06, 06:32, 07:11, 07:42, 08:02, 08:23, 08:42, 09:03 then at 28 and 58.

Summary of Blackheath train services FROM London : Monday to Friday

Charing Cross (calling at Waterloo East, London Bridge and Lewisham)

05:26, 05:42, 05:54, 06:12, 06:25, 06:41, 06:56, 07:12, 07:25, 07:39, 07:56

and then at 12, 24, 42, 54 until 15:54, then 16:12, 16:24, 16:53

17:06, 17:13, 17:32*, 17:34, 17:36, 17:49*, 17:51, 17:55, 18:11, 18:17, 18:38, 18:43, 18:56, then at 12, 24, 42 and 54 until 00:12, then 00:26 (last train – except Thu and Fri when there is also a 00:42)

(*= not calling at Lewisham)

Cannon Street (calling at London Bridge, New Cross, St Johns (some) and Lewisham)

07:22, 08:00, 08:19, 09:17, 09:47 then at 17 and 47 until 15:47, 16:15, 16:45, 17:03, 17:27, 17:47, 18:09, 18:33, 18:53, 19:16, 19:47, 20:17 and 20:47 (last train)

Victoria (via Denmark Hill)

06:15, 06:42, 07:08, 08:06, 08:38 then at 06 and 36 until 16:36, 17:06, 17:34, 17:55, 18:21, 18:42 then 06 and 36 to 00:06 (last train)

Please check train times before travelling especially at weekends.

 

Strategic Planning Committee rejects Tesco Conington Road application

tesco conington.jpg

Following deferral of a decision on this application back in December, the Strategic Planning Committee unanimously rejected a scheme to build 345 homes on the former car park of Tesco next to the DLR line in Lewisham, including a 34-storey tower. Despite addition of a public viewing platform open at least 10 days a year, the applicant, Meyer Homes, failed to convince the Committee that the public benefit of the development justified the height – well above the current ‘datum line’ for the town centre - and the impact of the proposed tower on the local skyline and at ground level. Doubts were expressed about the adequacy of proposed access to and management of the viewing platform and its limited facilities. Concerns were also expressed about the type and quantity of affordable homes (20%), the plans for naturalisation of the river at an unspecified and uncertain future date, and the adequacy of access from the development site to the already overcrowded station and to bus services. As the applicant had failed to address adequately the concerns raised in December, the Committee felt it had no option but to reject the whole scheme.

This sequence of events echoes what happened to Gateway Phase 2 first time round: it was deferred then rejected last year, leading to a new and better application that was finally approved in February this year. No doubt we will see Meyer Homes return with amended plans which will doubtless get approved eventually, but hopefully they will be more sensitive to local needs and concerns.

Objectors (including again the Blackheath Society) and councillors are to be congratulated on a thorough debate of all the relevant issues and for rejecting a scheme that was not in the best interests of Lewisham and its residents. The Society is in favour of development of this underutilised site for mixed residential purpose, but it is good to see that concerns about the local skyline and about overcrowding and poor access at Lewisham station, a major and growing transport hub, are being taken seriously, along with the need to provide more affordable homes for Lewisham residents.

Lewisham Gateway Update

The Gateway scheme was passed unanimously by Councillors in a 3 hour meeting on Tuesday night. Councillors were convinced by the improvements offered by developers, after an earlier scheme had been rejected, and their much improved presentation .

 The Society voiced its continuing concerns: on the scale of the scheme, the lack of certainty on infrastructure and particularly the lack of diversity in the mix of uses offered, we believe overly focussed on residential use.

But we can at least be satisfied that the scheme has improved significantly over the last 18 months, with the inclusion of affordable housing , some reduction in height, improvement in the quality of the public realm, and a contribution towards transport infrastructure improvement. And the development of the centre of Lewisham can proceed.

 

 

Lewisham Town Centre Plans

The next two weeks will be important for the future of Lewisham town centre which will have significant implications (e.g. transport, infrastructure and local services) for the wider area including Blackheath.

In earlier discussions, plans for the town centre were refused and deferred for improvement following objections from the Society and others.

Two major schemes now up for review are :

LEWISHAM GATEWAY DC/18/105218 : The Gateway scheme (former Lewisham roundabout), now with a proposed 29 storey tower, and 20% larger than the earlier 2009 approved scheme, to be reviewed on Tuesday March 20th. The application can be viewed here.    

and

FORMER TESCO'S CAR PARK DC/17/101621: Tesco site (Conington Rd) scheme (with its 34 storey tower) for review on Tuesday April 3rd. The application can be viewed here.

Both discussions will take place at 19.30 in the Civic Suite at Lewisham Town Hall, and are open to the public. The Society will be attending to seek further significant improvements in these schemes, for the benefit of local residents. Please come along and support us if you can, local residents’ voices are important.  

Lewisham Town Centre

Thursday evening February 8th 7.30 pm  sees the first in a series of crucial Lewisham Council meetings which will discuss applications for three major Town centre developments. Details here

The Blackheath Society welcomes plans to improve the centre, but we will be voicing big concerns about whether current plans cater adequately for the needs of existing residents, as opposed to those of developers.

The issues include: height and massing; providing a diverse and sustainable community; quality public space; and a clear plan to improve the currently inadequate infrastructure, especially Lewisham Station.  

The Future of Lewisham Town Centre

 

The Lewisham Strategic Planning Committee deferred a decision on the Tesco Car Park site application. This was after long discussion on the range of concerns on which the Society and others had objected . These include the height of the 34 storey tower building, affordable housing and , critically, the capacity and access issues around Lewisham Station.

Southeastern Rail Franchise Update

The Department for transport published the results of the SE Rail Franchise consultation on 28 November 2017 which included a number of proposals to reduce train crossings at Lewisham. The Department has dropped the single London destination suggestion in the consultation document but is proposing a lesser rationalisation of services on all the lines through Lewisham to improve the operation of the Lewisham crossing. These changes are scheduled for December 2022 and will be subject to public consultation on the detailed timetable changes proposed.

We very much hope the new timetable will offer more evenly spaced services, and we look forward greatly to the introduction of 12 car trains (expected to be through carriage trains as the Overground and other recent new Underground trains).

The proposed off peak timetable for Blackheath will be 4 trains per hour (tph) to Charing Cross on the Bexleyheath Line and 4 tph to Cannon Street (2 Bexleyheath Line and 2 North Kent Line (from Charlton)), with 4 tph to Victoria from Lewisham. At peak times there will be additionally 2 tph to Charing Cross and 2 tph to Cannon Street (all on the Bexleyheath Line).

8 trains per hour evenly spaced will be every 7½ minutes with average waiting time of less than 4 minutes, but half of these will require a change at London Bridge for Charing Cross bound travellers.

The Department’s own explanation of the proposed changes is below, with some additional clarification by the Society (shown in italics)

Extract from DfT Stakeholder Briefing document (page 36)

The Department’s response:

“The Department has listened carefully to all passengers, taking fully into account their views including around reducing the choice of London terminals from individual stations to increase the overall reliability and frequency of the train service. A significant majority were opposed to the concept of moving to a single London terminal, and we will not proceed with this change.

However, we do need to make some more limited changes to services to both facilitate new Thameslink services to Woolwich, Dartford and North Kent and Maidstone East, as well as ensure we can operate a much more reliable, resilient and higher capacity service to benefit all passengers.

If we do not make these minor changes, the service is likely to become more congested with more delays, as passenger numbers increase over the life of the next franchise.

We will therefore require bidders to make the following  changes by (December) 2022, subject to a successful future public consultation on detailed timetable proposals:

−− Bexleyheath Line services would in future run to London Bridge, Waterloo East, Charing Cross and Cannon Street, with longer 10-12 car trains (which cannot fit into a number of stations on the route into Victoria). The small minority of passengers (around 1,100 in the peak) who currently travel directly to Victoria and Denmark Hill would change at Lewisham, where they would connect with more frequent services to Victoria (from Sidcup and Hayes).

−− Hayes Line services would in future run to London Bridge, Waterloo East, Charing Cross and Victoria (2 trains/hour). The small minority of passengers (around 700 in the peak) who currently travel directly to Cannon Street would change at London Bridge.

−− North Kent Line services to Charing Cross via Lewisham would in future run to London Bridge and Cannon Street (via Lewisham 2 trains/hour), to facilitate new Thameslink services to London Bridge, Blackfriars, Farringdon and London St Pancras.

−− Sidcup Line services will continue to run to Charing Cross, with Cannon Street services moving to peak times, reflecting the principal demand for these services is commuters. Outside peak hours, the small number of passengers for Cannon Street would change at London Bridge. (Plus 2 trains/hour to Victoria via Lewisham). All Metro stations would retain a range of London station destinations. No passengers would have to pay more for their journey if they are required to interchange on South Eastern services, and journey times would be similar to today.

What are the benefits of these changes?

Reducing the number of trains that are required to cross each other’s paths will mean that services via Lewisham can be much more reliable, resilient and faster. Simplifying the timetable will improve the performance and resilience of all services (not simply Suburban services), as well as Thameslink, allow more trains to operate, and allow them to run at more convenient, regular intervals. More than 80,000 passengers will benefit from these changes during peak hours.

−− Bexleyheath Line passengers will benefit from an increased frequency to London Bridge, and Charing Cross, and increased capacity to Cannon Street. More frequent 12-car trains will be introduced, providing space for more than 10,000 additional passengers in the morning high peak hour, doubling the capacity provided.

−− Hayes Line passengers will benefit from increased services in the shoulder peak, as well as more 10 and 12-car trains, with space for more than 7,000 additional passengers in the morning high peak hour, more than doubling the  capacity provided. Passengers will also benefit from a new direct service to Victoria (2 trains/hour via Lewisham)..

−− Sidcup Line passengers will benefit from a new half-hourly all-day service between Crayford and Victoria (via Lewisham), in addition to those currently operating to Charing Cross and Cannon Street. The Sidcup Line is one of the busiest lines, requiring additional services since longer trains alone would not meet growing demand.

−− Passengers between Lewisham, Denmark Hill, and Victoria will benefit from an additional two trains per hour all-day, doubling the frequency from two to four trains per hour, increasing capacity into London and accessibility. to Kings College Hospital (at Denmark Hill). ‘Turn-up-and-go’ travellers will no longer have to check the timetable prior to travelling, or experience long waiting times.  

None of these benefits would be possible without these modest changes to London terminal destinations. These changes will enable us to deliver the modern, reliable, efficient service that passengers expect, and will transform the South Eastern network into the 21st century railway system passengers deserve.”

The full South Eastern Rail Franchise Stakeholder Briefing Document is at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-south-eastern-rail-services

Services proposed for each line (and station) are shown in the Train Service Requirement tables at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/662871/sef-itt-attachment-a-train-service-specification.pdf