Council meetings

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Sydenham Community Library, Sydenham Road, London SE26 5SE

Contact: Laura Luckhurst 

No. Item


Welcome from the Chair

Welcome, Introductions and Apologies

Ellie Reeves MP will be joining us at 12.30 pm


Cllr Best welcomed everyone to the meeting and mentioned that Ellie Reeves MP would be joining the meeting at 12.30 pm.



Assembly Fund - Project Presentations and voting

·         Sydenham Community Library:

o   Rhyme time for Under 5’s £1,410

o   Children's Crafts £380

o   Adults Crafts £740

·         TNG Youth Club: Intergenerational Over 50s Film Project £1,370

  • The Greener Homecroft Project: Growing Greener £600
  • SEE3: High Street Happenings £2,000
  • Spontaneous Productions: Eleanor Marx Community Play £2,000
  • Voluntary Services Lewisham: Christmas Project £2,000
  • Carers Lewisham: Carers keep well £1,830



The following organisations presented their projects to the Assembly.  Votes were cast at the end of this part of the meeting.  All projects received the overwhelming support of the Assembly, and are therefore funded.                                        

Sydenham Community Library:

Rhyme time for Under 5’s                                £1,410

Children's Crafts                                                £380

Adults Crafts                                                       £740


TNG Youth Club: Intergenerational Over 50s Film Project      £1,370


The Greener Homecroft Project: Growing Greener                    £600


SEE3: High Street Happenings                                                    £2,000


Spontaneous Productions: Eleanor Marx Community Play    £2,000


Voluntary Services Lewisham: Christmas Project                     £2,000


Carers Lewisham: Carers keep well                                             £1,830                       


Luisa DePaoli also reported back briefly for Carers Lewisham on the previous year’s project – the Young girls carers club.     


Empty Shops/Progress on your high street


Cllr Best spoke to the written update (Appendix A).  On the former Budgen’s store, Pat Trembath (Sydenham Society) added that the problem with letting this space was the large size combined with the shortness of the available lease (5 years).



Safer Neighbourhood Team update

PC Shaun Rodway


Unfortunately no members of the SNT were available to give this update.  Their latest newsletter is attached for information. (Appendix B)



Bell Green Gasholders and Planning Application


Annabel McClaren reported on the local campaign to save the Bell Green Gasholders.  This has received local listing by the council.  A planning application was submitted by ALDI to demolish them and replace with a new superstore.  The application was refused at the Planning Committee meeting on the 23rd November. 


The full statement of reasons for refusal can be read in the meeting Feedback and Update at Appendix A.



Q: What provision is the council making for housing for Older People?

A: We have developed 60 new homes with Phoenix with Extra Care – which means that meals and shared space are included.  There are 3 sites including Hazelhurst Court, one in Deptford and one in Central Lewisham.

We are also looking at an equity-release model and have carried out a fact finding exercise into the Abbeyfield model.  It is important that we find a model that works for Lewisham and for all parties – the purchasers/renters and for the developer.  We also continue to look at a range of other options such as the pods at PLACE Ladywell.

Q: Within the bid to be Borough of Culture, can there be recognition of the Gas Holders, as part of our heritage?

A: The Borough of Culture bid does include Lewisham heritage and industrial past.  We have to remember that this is dependent on being successful with the bid, and that even if our bid is successful, there is a limited pot of money on offer.



Sydenham Crown Post Office


A summary of progress to date is included in the Feedback Update (Appendix A).  The council has been talking to Post Office with the aim of retaining some services in Sydenham. As the owner of the property, LBL are prepared to rent back part of the space in order to share costs with the Post Office.


Ellie Reeves reported on concerns that had been expressed to her by constituents.  There is great concern that the downgraded Post Office counters will be operated by untrained staff leading to a reduction in service quality.  She noted that Beckenham Crown Post Office has now closed.  Experience with the concession-based services was that people experience longer waits and reduced service.


Q: Would the council consider looking at a model in use in Balham?

A: Yes

Q: How is the consultation going?

A: The methods have not appeared to be very accessible.  There is an on-line petition for those that wish to register their concerns about the changes.

Q: What will be the effect on Post Office workers in Sydenham and the knock-on effects on other businesses?

A: Agreed these are important issues.  A Post Office can help to keep the High Street vibrant.  Local traders also support the continuation of the Crown Post Office.

Q: Can we explore combining Rail ticketing and Crown PO services in one location?

A: There would be serious challenges with this due to working with two completely different service providers with little in common and no real incentive to work together.


Cllr. Rachel Onikosi noted that it is extremely unlikely we will be able to retain the PO in its current form indefinitely.  The priority is to negotiate to get the best possible outcome that meets local needs as far as possible and enables Post Office to meet its budgetary targets.  She asked people to adopt a positive approach to the problem.



Southern Rail Service changes

(Sydenham Station)


Cllr Best introduced Ellie Reeves MPand Barry Milton (Sydenham Society) to speak about the local campaign in response to proposed changes to services at Sydenham Station and other local stations.  The consultation ran from May 2016.  Initially it was proposed to cut all services between Sydenham and East Croydon.  Ellie has met with Southern Rail, who have agreed to retain some connecting trains via Norwood Junction.  Ellie and the council are also putting pressure on to maintain some late night trains from London Bridge to enable people to access cultural events in central London.        The importance to local people of being connected to Croydon for work and education was stressed.   The usage statistics show that Sydenham is a well-used station – with 6,000 passengers per day – more than Catford and Catford Bridge put together.

A further round of consultation is about to start on closing the ticket office.  This is being resisted on the grounds of the impact on particularly older and disabled passengers and the greater complexity of overground ticketing systems as compared with the underground.  600 people per day use the Sydenham Station ticket office.  On behalf of Sydenham Society, Barry Milton urged people to campaign against the removal of the ticket office.  It was noted that there is currently no proposal to remove staff from the station.

Ellie thanked Barry for his campaigning work.  She noted that Sydenham Society have met with Southern, and spoken of the importance of the Sydenham line to people access work and education in Croydon.  Norwood Junction is not an accessible station, therefore some direct trains to Croydon will still be needed.  Ellie intends to speak to other local MPs about this and about improving the access to Norwood Jct. station.  A lack of station staff disproportionately affects older and disabled passengers.

Q: Norwood Junction is an extremely inaccessible station, particularly difficult if you are carrying luggage (e.g. if travelling to Gatwick).  Travelling via this station will also complicate the ticketing for journeys.  What plans are there to improve the access at Norwood Junction?

A: Ellie has spoken to Southern Rail about this issue and also about Bellingham Station in relation to Lewisham Disability Coalition being located nearby (meaning disabled people would be using the station to access services provided by LDC).  A fund does exist to improve access at stations but this is currently closed.



Announcement of funding votes


See Item 2.


Questions and Answers


Ellie Reeves said she was happy to answer any questions about local issues.   Her constituency office is open on Sunderland Road, and regular surgeries will be starting in Bellingham in the New Year.  Her office deals with several hundred emails every week.  She is very busy with the EU withdrawal bill and regularly contributes to debates in parliament which she links to local issues.  For example she has spoken in International Development Questions, linking work being done in Sydenham School on global education.

Q: Please can we have the surgery times?

A: These are not advertised due to safety considerations.  However if you contact Ellie Reeves MP and need an appointment you will be offered one.

Q: Barry Milton noted that many planning permissions to develop housing have been granted but not built.  He would like to see these carried out.

A: Ellie Reeves agreed to look into this.  She noted a possible proposal for a land tax on developers that buy up land and do not build on it.  She also said she is very keen on genuinely affordable housing.

Cllr Best thanked Ellie for her contributions.



Feedback and Close

Date of the next meeting: 7.00 pm Wednesday 14 March 2018,

at The Sydenham Centre


The Assembly will be followed by an opportunity to chat with Ellie Reeves MP over a mince pie and tea/coffee.


There will be a free craft event including making a Christmas lantern from 1.00 - 3.00pm.


At 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm there will be the free family show The Snowman and the Christmas Fairy for under-8’s and their parent/carers


At 3.30 pm we will be joined by OLSPN School Brass Band, and Sydenham Singers for carols and turning on the Christmas tree on the Library Piazza at 4pm.



The meeting closed at 1.00 pm


The following events were laid on for the afternoon:

·         1 – 2 pm: chat with Ellie Reeves MP over a mince pie and tea/coffee/hot chocolate.  The café is also open if people wish to partake – sandwiches, cakes etc.

·         free craft event including making a Christmas lantern from 1.00 - 3.00pm.

·         At 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm free family show The Snowman and the Christmas Fairy for under-8’s and their parent/carers

·         3.30 pm we will be joined by OLSPN School Brass Band, and Sydenham Singers for carols and turning on the Christmas tree on the Library Piazza at 4pm.


Date of the next meeting: 7.00 pm Wednesday 14 March 2018

at The Sydenham Centre



Appendix A


Feedback from the last Sydenham Assembly on 5 September and Community Updates for the Sydenham Assembly on 2 December 2017

1          Lewisham Borough of Culture Bid

Lewisham’s bid for the Borough of Culture was launched at the Horniman Museum on 7th September and the bid submitted to the GLA yesterday. Our programme has co-production and participation at its heart. Our bid emerged from extensive engagement with our communities: actively engaging over 5,000 people with pledges of support and over 500 ideas sent via  Each Local Assembly has committed funding to ensure BoC embeds culture in local communities. 

We have received fantastic support and everyone can help with our profile using the twitter hashtag #loveitlewisham and #mylocalculture  Only two boroughs will be successful in 2019 and 2020 – and if successful this could mean £1.5 million for Lewisham to invest in culture in 2019 or 2020.

One of the asks has been for the return of a cinema in Lewisham. The Mayor and Cabinet approved the bid for the Ladywell Playtower on the 15 November and after careful consideration the Mayor announced that Guildmore Curzon proposal was the preferred provider. This is to develop a 3 screen 220 seat cinema location complete with a café, restaurant and bar space within the existing envelope of the building.  This would involve a new development of residential accommodation to the rear of the site (19 – 21 units, 4 storeys, market value sale) as well as a residential/step down care and nursery facility to the eastern section of the building. 


2          Lewisham SugarSmart campaign

Latest news is that Goldsmiths College and Student Union are now SugarSmart .  For more information

or email:

Businesses who come on board get a certificate signed by Jamie Oliver and stickers for their shop windows.


3          Changes to Southern Trains  

On the 30th October Ellie Reeves MP met with Govia Thameslink Rails (Owner of Southern) Head of Strategic Planning and Local Development Manager to talk about Southern’s proposed timetable change for 2018.

After discussing the proposal to completely remove services between Forest Hill/Sydenham and East Croydon at peak times we were assured that trains will run from these stations to Norwood Junction with an interchange on to East Croydon. Ellie pushed them on making this a direct train, but this is not likely to be the case.  We were assured however, that evening services from London Bridge to Forest Hill/Sydenham will remain at four an hour.



4          Bellingham Gas Holders – Reasons for Refusal

Following the Planning Committee meeting on the 23rd November the reasons for the refusal to demolish the Gas Holders and building an A1 Food Store (Aldi) are set out below:

1. The siting of the proposed development and associated car-parking would result in the unacceptable loss of existing ancillary green open space to the north of Livesey Hall, which would serve to have an adverse and unsympathetic impact upon the historic character, prominence and setting of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


Appendix B


Update from Sydenham Safer Neighbourhood Team

(text copied from SNT December Newsletter).

Dear Ward Member / Sydenham Resident,

Welcome to the latest edition of the Sydenham update, providing you with a brief update about crime and policing information in the Sydenham area. 

The team met with our ward panel on Thursday 7th December 2017 to hold our annual ‘Public Ward Panel’ meeting  to discuss local issues, concerns and to revise our ‘ward promises’. It was concluded that the ward promises are to remain as stated from Septembers meeting with the introduction of a fourth promise. This new promise being that the panel will do all they can to assist our new ‘Youth Ward Panel’ headed by Sydenham’s very own Lewisham Young Mayor - Kayla Sha’ay.

  • Speeding vehicles & general road use
  • Theft from motor vehicles
  • Burglary (prevention)
  • New - Provide support and assistance to Youth Ward Panel.


Ward Promises
Speeding Vehicles - Further traffic operations have been conducted which resulted in many traffic offences being enforced. We would like to remind motorists that with the current weather conditions to plan your journey and allow extra time to reach your destination.


Theft from Motor Vehicle - Please can we remind you to remove all belongings from your vehicles, not only at night but at all times when leaving your vehicle. It only takes a second for an opportunist thief to see a satnav or personal belongings on display whilst you pop into a shop. Please do all you can to prevent this nasty surprise when returning to your vehicle.

Burglary (Prevention) - We continue to provide prevention advice and leaflets to residents. On our patrols we have however spotted too many communal doors to flats left open, please remember when leaving your premises to close and lock all doors and leave a light on as a deterrent. If you require further advice contact the team.

Other News

The team assisted Perry Vale SNT with a Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act Warrant 1971 on Tuesday 12th December 2017 which resulted in 7 arrests and Heroin, Cannabis, Crack Cocaine, a large quantity of cash and a stolen motorcycle being seized. 

We have been working closely with Kayla Sha’ay - Lewisham’s outgoing Young Mayor in organising a ‘Sydenham Youth Ward Panel’. This currently is the only youth ward panel within the Lewisham Borough. Kayla presented a fantastic presentation to the ward panel on Thursday 7th December 2017, which inspired our entire panel to assist and support in whatever way we can and we look forward to big things to come.

Contact Details

Tel: 0208 649 3598


Twitter: @MPSSydenham

To all of Sydenham

The team would like to wish you all

A Merry Christmas

And A Happy New Year.

Happy #Sydmass