Parking in Forest Hill




It was only the skates. The mention of money was for advertising through leaflets and posters etc.


You’re skating on thin ice, there, @Anotherjohn.

Oh, look. Here come the Too Obvious Puns Police!


Thanks for the offer @Anotherjohn but I will respectfully decline it. Briberies do not need to be money and this if accepted would certainly be seen as such given the circumstances. It is good to have a local recommendation where I can purchase the skates though.


I’m sorry, I didn’t know about all this.


I think you’re partly right, but I also think that locals DO know about the car park, but have various reasons for not using it:

If you live inside the South Circular, you have to get on to that infernal road for the sole purpose of coming back off it into Waldenshaw Rd. That is no fun and takes time.

There is ONE route into the car park but THREE roads out. The approach is uninviting, and then you are faced with out-of-order machines.

Possibly Davids Road would be better changing the direction of its one-way traffic. Turning right into the South Circular from Davids Road is dangerous, and the left turn is very sharp - difficult to avoid crossing the centre of the South Circ into oncoming traffic. A left turn from South Circular into Davids Rd would be easy and safe. But to change the one-way direction there would need to be a new mandatory right turn into Pearcefield Ave for vehicles coming down off Manor Mount.

[This is off topic, but IMHO traffic is a major problem in Forest Hill. The Council has a very conservative ‘nothing we can do about it’ attitude, which is unacceptable. Other boroughs are canny in discouraging or diverting through traffic out elsewhere, but Lewisham seems happy to provide free roads for drive-thru commuters at the expense of residents.]


Operative word ‘many’.

But I’m being pedantic. You’ve got your beef, which I respect, and I’ve got mine.


I’d lived here ten years before I knew about the Sainsbury’s car park. And even when I became aware of it, I didn’t realise it was actually a council car park for general use.

Now I know where it is and how to get to it, I honestly don’t find it particularly onerous. It’s not like driving in London in general is free of odd diversions and slow traffic.

Even though exiting via David’s Road would usually be quicker for me, I don’t do it. You need to get all the way over to the right to swing a mid-sized family car into the left hand turn without crossing the carriageway. So I just go back via Waldenshaw. Again, it adds a bit of time, I might sit for a minute in traffic somewhere near the Capitol but again, I don’t find that too high a price to pay for two hours of free parking.

I tend to use the car park on weekday lunchtimes and it is usually at least half full. Does that count as underusage for that time of day? More concerning is that I can usually park there quite easily on a Saturday as well.


There are two parking-related perception issues for businesses and potential businesses in the area. The first is the perception that we’ve got no parking, as discussed above. The second is how much trade actually comes from car traffic. A study in Bristol found that retailers on a local high street overestimated the proportion of shoppers arriving by car at 41% compared to the real 22%. I’d be interested to hear from our local retailers what theirs views are in this respect. I would guess it varies considerably depending on what’s being sold (e.g. sweets vs furniture).

As well as that, there is a large body of research showing that people arriving by foot and by bike spend significantly more than people arriving by car (one TfL report showing 65% greater spend for walkers vs drivers).

Although the Dartmouth Road improvements aren’t particularly revolutionary, I think they will improve the image of the street and, because of the removal or problem parking (I hope), perceptions of safety. Both of these factors should boost footfall to the benefit of businesses.


That’s a really interesting and helpful analysis brencud. Thank you.

You have exploded part of my myth - but I wonder how may of these ‘potential’ businesses would be aware of this data?

Many of you will know that I’m unsophisticated and old-fashioned in the way I perceive things so it’s usually just black and white to me.

I do know - and this is illustrated by RachaelDunlop’s post -

that I am right about even relatively local people not being aware of the 2hrs free parking in the town centre and I’m sure that greater awareness would help and improve both the levels of footfall and, very importantly, the length of time that people will spend doing their bit’s and pieces at a more leisurely pace.

I also believe that if it were advertised at the Horniman Farmers Market it would bring some of their punters (who might otherwise park around the park) into the town centre, whereas many local traders used to moan because it took business and footfall away on market days.


Bad drivers like me hate the Sainsbury’s car park, particularly the under cover bit. Very tight manoeuvring is required and I’m always afraid I’m going to hit something.


Aha, robin.orton, so would YOU use the Perry Vale car park if it offered 2 hours free parking?


I’m no expert on town centre economics, but I would guess that the nice new restaurants/cafés etc we have and the small independent shops are not particularly dependent on drivers. Worth remembering that (for example) 45% of households in Forest Hill ward have no car - that was 2011 census and it was an increase from 40% in 2001 so it may be even higher now. Some of those will be deprived households, but many will be young professionals who get public transport to work, have high disposable income and simply don’t feel the need to own one.

As to footfall - I think we have a pretty good offering now given the relatively low number of A1-A5 units compared with other local centres (Sydenham, Catford, ED etc). I think it is right that the focus should be on improving the town centre environment to make it appealing to potential visitors, but any attempt to really push up footfall is always going to come up against the constraint that we are a small centre.


Just by way of observation. Waldenshaw Road, which you have to drive down to get to Sainsburys, is car free during the day Mon through Fri. Packed on the weekends and most nights.


Sure. But the most obvious fact about cars is that they occupy a lot of space for not that many people, so you can have neighbouring streets full of vehicles which don’t necessarily contribute a huge % of footfall. But like I said, no expert. (Have there been surveys done?)


I have suggested before that by reducing the parking charges in the PV car park it would be more utilised the result being less is more. Today I picked up a parcel from the mail depot at 11:52. Quick count 71 parking spaces empty, so if perhaps there were some 30 minute users and parcel collectors that at least 75 empty spaces from which the council receives no revenue. Conversely Dacres Rd and others were full and all available space on Perry Vale was taken.
Simple maths £3.00/day from 75 cars is better than £5.00 from 26 simplest?


But we don’t want to encourage too much more all-day commuting parking. When the car park was entirely free, it was full by 7:30 and entirely unavailable for local parking.


Make it a 4 hour max parking.


4 hours is not quite enough for me if I go into town, have lunch with a friend, do some shopping, come back. 5 hours would work.


When you say town, do you mean Fh or London?


Unless absolutely necessary why not use public transport?