FH Station Carpark Wall & Redevelopment
I don’t really blame them as it was always getting dinged. Drivers round these parts don’t seem to be able to leave walls standing.
I thought the same. What a shame they couldn’t rebuild the brick wall back!
It looks horrible.
Hopefully it is only temporary until the car park can be adjusted to remove the other exit and create a pedestrian friendly area.
Is the pedestrian-friendly area actively being considered by whoever owns the car park?
The wall opposite the entrance by the coffee and bike shed has also been hit and has an unstable wobble to it. Beware. I sat on it today and almost went over backwards
I seem to remember that the only people who use the car park long enough to pay are tfl and taxi employees, so I doubt they will remove
I wonder if they should have put in a planning application to make a change of this kind? This is very very close to, if not within, the FOH conservation area.
But I keep forgetting - this is Lewisham, with more satellite dishes per square inch of any conservation area anywhere in the country, so a metal crash barrier will be of no concern.
Yes there will be a trial scheme to create a pedestrian area on the right hand side of the car park in front of the station (4 car spaces), as well as redesigning some of the street furniture (moving the bike rack, getting rid of the black loo thing) plus we have some NCIL funding approved as part of an FHSoc bid to get some planters in to make it all a bit pedestrian friendly. It’s a trial scheme, so we’ll see how it goes - we’re dependent on TfL and various other bodies to go though with their end, but ultimately we want to look at doing some nicer things like a water fountain, bike pump/tools, a mural on the wall and maybe even some kind of occasional mini street market as there’s a lot of footfall there. It all depends, but I’m open to ideas/volunteers via the usual FHSoc email.
Is that the recently announced £20k, the largest NCIL grant in the Forest Hill ward for this round?
I’d hope that goes further than delivering some planters, but obviously (and sadly) it’s not enough funding to go as far as previous thoughts outlined in the Forest Hill Society LLP Response April 2021.pdf - Google Drive - Appendix A Forest Hill Station and Town Centre Master Plan, page 18 onwards.
I’d be interested to see the plans for what the £20k will be used to deliver. Exciting times!
A fountain would look good!
Yes, we have £18k to brighten up one side of the area in front of the station. Hopefully it’ll be a lot nicer when you don’t have to dodge oncoming cars whilst trying to get to the entrance.
We’re waiting until the funding is all confirmed and approved end of March until we know what to spend it on. And yes a ‘parklet’ is more than just planters.
Or we could of course use the pavement that runs around the car park.
I understand wanting to improve the environment around the station, it may well be the first impression of Forest Hill that visitors get. However, I do think having the one entrance/exit is going to cause issues for both pedestrians and drivers unless the one entrance/exit is made wider, which will require losing more parking spaces.
It may just be the times I use the station, but I don’t see many bikes in the bike rack. Will the new rack be more compact?
At the moment drivers don’t even follow the “one-way in” and “one way out” routes of this car park. Many of the walls have been knocked over by drivers. I think it’s about time pedestrians and residents of the area were prioritised over commuters driving in and out who have no respect for our area, it’s actually quite dangerous coming in and out of the station with the cars, I had one car almost hit me coming out of the car park as they drove along the pavement more than they should have.
Quite right, lets get rid of those pesky commuters that also happen to be residents of our area.
Not everyone driving in or out of the station is a commuter! Many are private hire vehicles which are being used by local residents with mobility issues or travelling with luggage!
I don’t think many people use the bike rack as they are not percieved as being a safe place to park your bike. I think the aim for new bike storage should be to make it better so that it is used more. Cycle lockers offering more secure but less storage might be an answer.
I have noticed that the bike racks haven’t made it onto the London cycling parking map that I use which is good to find a bike parking spot and it gives you a photo so you can see what kind of bike facility is available.
That makes sense.Given the topography of our area, I just wonder how much use any form of cycle storage will get at the station.
I think part of the pedestrian / car problem is that the station entrance is framed by large planters with an additional pinch point created by ticket machines. This forces pedestrians into the road, mixing them with vehicles. Here’s a Google Earth view showing the situation (where amusingly the wall is under repair!):
Closing the WHSmith side of the car park, and opening it up to pedestrians (and moving the bike rack) will probably help those on foot, but I think that without a through route for vehicles the single entrance could become a log-jam backing up onto the South Circular. I guess trials will show if this is an actual problem or not.
Still, better would be to do away with that tiny car park entirely and redevelop the entire station front to some sort of pedestrian friendly piazza. At the same time a new entrance could be developed at the end of platform 2 with a proper turning circle for vehicles and step-free access from the Perry Vale side (without having to go all the way around).
I think Network Rail may even already own the triangle of land there add it’s often used to store railway equipment:
- I use the car park in front of the station
- I frequently drop a ‘commuter’ off at the station
- I occasionally drive around the drop off
- I never drive to the station
I think the vast vast majority of people are walking to the station. Suggesting they walk the long way around the pavement isn’t realistic - it’s barely wide enough for one way footfall with all the ATMS and stuff, let alone when the station is busy.
It’s simply unnecessary to need to drive around the loop when it’s easy to turn around in the car park. For anyone with accessibility issues, you can still drop off right by the station entrance. It is unlikely this will inconvenience anyone, whilst making it a greener more pleasant experience for the majority of station users.
Bear in mind it’s a 6 month trial, so everyone will have plenty of time to comment on how much they love or hate it, I’m happy to hear the whole ‘woe is me, war on cars’ lament.
Let’s also not forget this has been a huge effort (try getting any change through Arriva, network rail, TfL and NCP all at the same time during Covid) by a group of volunteers who just want to make Forest Hill a nicer place to live, make the air just a tiny bit more breathable and as I said, not have to dodge cars whilst trying to make it to their train having battled the crossing that we can’t do anything about because TfL are basically bankrupt. You have to start somewhere.
Personally I’m just pleased something is being tried, even if it may not be the whole or a perfect solution. It’s much better to try something rather than sticking with the same problems and complaints.
Indeed. From acorns forests grow. Thank you & your volunteers.
Although we dont drive to the station to use the train when I finish work late and arrive at the station around 10pm my husband often picks me up from there in the car-if there were no car park there would be nowhere to wait to meet those travelling.
Likewise elderly relatives that come to visit need picking up from the station.
We do at least need short stay parking for these reasons.
You make some excellent and constructive points. The current layout does present issues for pedestrians, the planters and ticket machines do create a pinch point, this will not be an issue when that side of the car park is pedestrianised. The bike rack also creates the feel of a very narrow pedestrian walk way which is not helped by the empty newspaper dispensers.
The creation of a car park on the Perry Vale side of the station is an interesting concept, but unfortunately unlikely to gain traction due to the costs involved.
An £18k spend means this trial is highly likely to be made permanent, otherwise it could be perceived as a frivolous vanity project by those who may have reservations about the changes or as you describe them the woe is me, war on cars people.
I would suggest, that if possible, a yellow box junction is placed in the road by the single entrance/exit. Selfish (not all) car drivers do currently block the entrance creating further congestion on the south circular. I’m sure the fine revenue would cover the cost of installing a camera and painting the road markings.
It may be an idea to add an option to the poll along the lines of ‘I frequently cycle to the station’ to ascertain the value of any future spend on new racks.
I assume that pollution data for the car park area will be collected prior to the commencement of the trial, during the trial and at the end of the trial in order to provide factual evidence of the improvement in the air quality.
As previous contributors have said all power to people who are prepared to give up their own time in an effort to make improvements to the area, they certainly deserve recognition and it would be unfortunate for clumsy language by those involved in the debate to hinder their efforts. Let’s hope the scheme is a success for all station users.
As long as there’s adequate space for cars to drop-off and pick up passengers, especially those with mobility issues, I’m in favour of the part pedestrianation of the car park, but like others I fear the congestion of using just one entrance/exit than the current two.
In all honesty, moving those bike racks and newspaper/magazine bins would make a lot of difference to walking into the station without the need for pedestrianation.
I’m always in favour of improving the local neighbourhood and welcome the funding that looks to have been provided.
However, in light of the world events of this last week, couldn’t some of this £20k money be given as a donation from our community to help those in Ukraine, or those that are likely to come to Lewisham in the coming months ?
Firstly the planters we have in mind are designed to be movable i.e. they will have wheels in case the scheme does not become permanent - we can redeploy them somewhere else.
Secondly I don’t work for the council let alone TfL so I can’t ask anyone to paint yellow boxes on major London arterial roads. We can’t even manage to get them to talk about a pedestrian crossing at the back of the station.
The money we applied for comes from the NCIL funds: there’s a pretty in depth application process, it’s complex and time consuming and the projects have to align with strategic priorities. It’s pretty tightly governed in terms of what you can spend it on: see
https://communityfunding.lewisham.gov.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/NCIL%20ward/NCIL%20Ward%20Guidance%202022-2024_final_rev5_15.11.21.pdf and you’ll see on the list of strategic priorities one of them is ‘Make Lewisham Greener’ Lewisham Council - Our priorities
This is what the station forecourt bid is about.
We a) don’t have the money yet anyway and b) can’t choose to donate it to a charity of our choice instead. There are plenty of other ways to go out and help. See Forest Hill Library - UPDATE - Donations for Ukraine for example.
What is the plan with redeveloping the station? Thought there were plans to ditch the car park at some point?
Any plans to redevelop the station will take years, it’s probably a 5 or 10yr + plan which will no doubt take much longer.
I can only imagine the mind numbing red tape and hurdles that was involved to get this approved. So thanks to whoever was involved to get this small improvement for the short term. You have to make a start somewhere.
In reference to loosing the car park… we are very lucky to have one at all and we have two car parks! Unfortunately the small car park couldn’t be in a worse position. A drop off bay possibly, but I think switching vehicle use to the other side is more sensible and also improving that entry in general… anyway that’s all in a few decades thinking.
Please can we have some nice planters on the other entrance to though…
We put in a fairly long response to the strategic Lewisham Local Plan here Forest Hill Society: Lewisham Local Plan Consultation to raise the issue again and try to join up some of the sites under consideration for redevelopment. I’m honestly not sure what the status of that is.
Seems like with everything that has happened in the last couple of years, network underfunding, Covid and reduction in travel (and thereby revenue) it’s going to be next to impossible to get anything moving in respect to station redevelopment. I’d think that soaring inflation adds to borrowing and higher building material costs and will further put off developers. It’s a complex site that involves Lewisham Council, Arriva, TfL and Network Rail.
Definitely something we could consider - that’s a nice suggestion. Although don’t you like the recycled tire planters?
clausy, nice to read your updates but what has National Council on Independent Living got to do with making improvements to Forest Hill carpark ? you may know what the abbreviations mean but not sure all local residents do.
I did post a link above - it’s Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL)
More info here Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) Funding | Lewisham NCIL but in short councils put a levy new development and this is then used for local infrastructure projects
The Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL) is a community funding programme that uses money collected from developers.
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a non-negotiable charge that developers pay to councils on most new developments. It is used to deliver the infrastructure needed to support development.
Maybe it’s the colour used and perhaps looking a bit faded. I also approach from Pantry so don’t really get to appreciate them… perhaps some strategically place ones up that stretch would also help with pavement parking?
I note it looks like the two cash machines at the station front have now been closed, so the ticket machines could now be moved down to make a bit more space at the entrance.
As a bonus, the cash points very likely have rear access for refilling with cash, which could possibly be used with appropriately designed ticket machines. At the least there will be electricity.
5 posts were split to a new topic: Cash machines in Forest Hill
I don’t drive, but I will occasionally get a cab from outside the ticket office, if I’m carrying heavy, bulky luggage or bags. Even if I arrive on a Southbound train, it’s often easier/less risky to take it over the bridge using the lifts, than to try to negotiate the steps down to FH Cars, especially if I don’t have a hand free to grab the safety rail. And if I’m arriving Northbound (eg from Gatwick), it’s obviously more convenient to exit on that side and phone for a cab to collect me from outside the ticket office.
There should be a lift at the southern entrance.
A lift is being built at Catford railway station. We sometimes call this the upper station.