The Sydenham Society

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Pat Trembath
Posts: 613
Joined: 2 Oct 2004 10:54

The Sydenham Society

Post by Pat Trembath »

I've been away for the weekend and on my return it's disappointing to see such critical comments of the Sydenham Society on a local forum. .

As a member since 1974, and as Chair of the Sydenham Society from 1994 - 2008, I am very aware of what the Sydenham Society has been involved with locally over the past 45 years and I continue to be involved with the Sydenham Society and wholly support the Chair, Annabel McLaren and its Executive Committee, in its objects namely:

(quoting its Constitution):

"The Society is established for the community benefit for the following purposes in the area comprising Sydenham SE26 situate in the London Borough of Lewisham, and adjoining parts of Forest Hill SE23, and any other relevant adjoining area. This area shall hereinafter be referred to as “the area of benefit”.

a) to stimulate public interest and to promote civic pride in the area of benefit

b) to promote high standards of planning, architecture and services in the area of benefit

c) to secure the conservation and enhancement of amenities and features of public interest in the area of benefit


Nando's? For the record, the Sydenham Society has welcomed the arrival of Nando's and has commented favourably as such to Lewisham's Planning Department. Along with others we want to see improvements to the high street and to the evening economy.

Part of the application for change of use to the premises includes Nando's wish to carry out a home delivery service from the premises and there have been discussions about where delivery bikes will be kept when not in operation. The matter rests at present with Highways and Lewisham Planners and needs to be sorted sooner rather than later. A decision is anticipated shortly. Presumably no one is in favour of pavement parking at Cobbs Corner?

The Greyhound? Without the Sydenham Society's objections to the developer’s plans in 2007 there would have been 70 flats on site in buildings up to 7 storeys high and a small bar as compensation for losing Sydenham's oldest public house. It was no fault of the Sydenham Society that the developers thought they could demolish the pub and it was the Sydenham Society's photographs and copies of its quarterly newsletter which Lewisham Council used as evidence when taking the developers to court over this issue. The pub has been bought, an alcohol licence obtained and regular contact is now established with its new owner - which is reported from time to time in the society's newsletter and has been quoted on this forum.

The Overground? Originally planned for introduction in 2016 a Sydenham Society campaign to bring this date forward was supported by Len Duvall OBE AM and Jim Dowd MP and brought the introduction forward to 10 May 2010.

Forest Hill Swimming Pools? The Sydenham Society started campaigning against demolition in 1996 when it was first mooted - and carried on campaigning throughout the nineties and the noughties until the development of the new pools was secured in 2010. Similarly, in the 'Save the Face of Forest Hill', we joined the fight against the demolition of Louise House.

Sydenham Library? Under threat of closure in autumn 2010 - our campaign to keep it open, along with other civic societies across Lewisham, fighting the closure of 4 other libraries, succeeded in Sydenham and 3 other libraries being kept open. The society continues to support the Library in various ways.

Bell Green? A benefit to many in Bell Green but increased traffic and consequent pollution has been the result. The society took part in 2 public inquiries to try to stop increased retail and asked for mixed use for this site. One result has been two blocks of flats to the front of the site. The opening of Sainsbury’s Hypermarket in 1994 – the 14th and last of 21 hypermarkets planned – resulted in the loss of 14% of trade in our high street. The latest application to demolish the gasholders and build an Aldi is contrary to the London Plan which states retail development should be in town centres. The Sydenham Society has objected to the current application on these grounds and Lewisham's decision is awaited.

The Society is a 'recognised body' regularly consulted in local planning matters and often meets with developers at a critical stage before planning applications are submitted to the council. We are therefore able to ask questions and raise matters of local concern before planning applications are submitted. The society reserves the right to make critical comments about applications especially regarding large developments.

The Sydenham Society has been around for 45 years. Formed in 1972, it successfully campaigned against planned demolition of villas in Lawrie Park Road, Peak Hill and Trewsbury Road when local residents were faced with such threats realised that by banding together they had more clout. The society doesn't ask for compliments about working to preserve local heritage - and continues to object to demolition of large local houses bought up by developers with a view to demolition and replacing them with faceless blocks of flats. It continues to support local residents associations around the area when, out of the blue, inappropriate developments are thrust upon them

Nobody is ever going to claim that the Sydenham Society is correct in all its comments but it is an open society and welcomes new members (currently numbering 1200 local residents), particularly those with specialist qualifications/knowledge, many of whom volunteer their services and join our committees.

Armchair critics, armed with little information are an irritant, but anyone in the community keen to work and give up some time - not a lot - for the benefit of the local community is welcome to get involved. Website: sydenhamsociety.com
Hissing Syd
Posts: 118
Joined: 7 May 2012 15:09
Location: Sydenham

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Hissing Syd »

Great response, Pat, thanks for taking the time.
admin
Site Admin
Posts: 2559
Joined: 20 Sep 2004 21:49

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by admin »

I agree! Thanks Pat for clarifying the Syd Soc for all forumites. Very useful.

Admin.
Sydenham
Posts: 287
Joined: 2 Sep 2007 09:08
Location: Wells Park

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Sydenham »

And for an example of the thorough, rigorous and hard work the Society puts in please see the notes for next weeks Lewisham Planning meeting: the proposals for the Windmill on Kirkdale are up for discussion / agreement / disagreement. You can find the report to go before the Planning Committee here:

http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/ ... Report.pdf

Sydenham Society feedback (input) is at Para 4.4 - from what I can see they disagree with the specific proposals (rather than the desire to do something) and make detailed observations to support their points.

Agendas and detail for other council planning meetings can be found here: http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/ ... hView.aspx?

Of course not everyone will agree with their point of view - nor should they. However it is a society looking for members and welcomes anyone wanting to get involved (in my experience) whatever their views. And they do have experience and specific expertise - getting involved is a very efficient way of learning.

Sometimes I don't agree with their position, but I'd rather they were there than not there. And I'm happy to be a member.
dickp
Posts: 567
Joined: 7 Jan 2005 14:39
Location: Cardiff

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by dickp »

There wouldn't be anything stopping them conducting email surveys among their members about important policy issues.
owlwise
Posts: 220
Joined: 21 May 2012 13:54
Location: Upper Sydenham

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by owlwise »

Pat I have nothing but admiration for you and Sydenham Society and often despair when I come to this forum and see the usual bunch just having a gossip with one another and not inputting anything useful. They might as well pick up the phone to eachother as I wonder what their point is that they come on to this forum and bitch about everything. It's embarrassing.

If these nay sayers really want to be useful they should get off their arses and do something positive for Sydenham. Like go to the Greyhound and straighten up the fence that is falling down and fix the lamp that has opened and generally tidy it up. And not wait for someone else to do it and not moan about the state of Sydenham and then not try to do anything about it.
Nigel
Posts: 2412
Joined: 22 May 2005 16:12
Location: Laurie Park

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Nigel »

I echo the above . Sydsoc doesn't present itself as infallible and as Pat says they are open to influence and new members and views .
I cannot see how so much free-floating negativity comes to be hurled at a group which clearly fights for sydenham in a way that nobody else does . That the criticism often comes from , frankly , Negative Nancies and known Shandy Drinkers is all the more galling .
Thank you Pat and more power to your elbow .

A very good evening
Nigel
Last edited by Nigel on 11 Jul 2017 21:39, edited 1 time in total.
sydres
Posts: 89
Joined: 7 Jun 2013 08:22
Location: London

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by sydres »

Pat - thank you for the summary.

Can you or anyone else shed some light on the large unit adjacent to the Greyhound that was destined to become KFH?
Pat Trembath
Posts: 613
Joined: 2 Oct 2004 10:54

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Pat Trembath »

Thank you to everybody who has read my lament and thanks for the positive responses.

In reply to Sydres with regard to the large empty unit by The Greyhound I wish I could respond positively, however the situation is unclear.

Originally built with an A1 (Retail) or A3 (Restaurant) designation it remained empty for over a year with no interest being shown. The rent of £70k p.a. may well have played its part in this. This and the fact that, apart from electricity and water being laid on, the unit remains a shell with an expensive fit out required.

A short term let was given to Sydenham Beds allowing them to trade from the premisis for several months last summer and the unit was therefore open to possible business owners to be able to 'view', but all to no avail. An application for a change of use to A2 (Office) designation was made to Lewisham and was granted last November. Kingleigh, Folkard and Heyward (KFH) took a lease in November last year and a board stating 'Acquired by KFH' was fixed to the building.

A planning application for the internal layout, windows and signage was submitted and granted in early February and KFH indicated they would be starting work on the fit out in March. As everyone knows this has not happened and the board stating Acquired by KFH has since been removed.

The owner of the unit was surprised when I contacted him in May to ask what the problem was as he was under the impression that the unit was trading. So presumably rent for the unit is being paid.

In June, through a Sydsoc member who works for KFH, we were able to get photos of the state of the unit to a Director of KFH and within a couple of days the boards covering the windows were repainted and the knee-high weeds were removed. However what KFH plans are remain a mystery.

The lack of progress with regards to this unit remains on our agenda.

Maybe the Tweeters amongst you might like to try to tease some information out of KFH?
Pally
Posts: 1478
Joined: 2 Aug 2014 05:38
Location: Sydenham

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Pally »

This was a very informative and useful message from Pat Trembath. It prompted me to see if I could access such useful information about the impact of the Sydenham Society over the years anywhere else. I couldn't which seems a shame. A section on the website detailing achievements and impact on Sydenham over the years might be a good idea? (I apologise if I have missed this on the SS site or somewhere else)

Other comments also made me think about the bigger problem of ongoing suggestions and comments made on this forum on many threads about a wide range of issues which receive no response (I don't particularly mean from the Sydenham Society but from the various groups in existence to whom a particular suggestion might be relevant.) My observation would be that as a result of no response to constructive suggestions threads eventually turn negative rather than constructive and that negativity then feeds in to other threads about Sydenham Developments ..including being aimed at the Sydenham Society with or without any real knowledge of the SS contribution on a particular issue.

I have seen many instances where suggestions are made, genuine conversations with relevant traders or whoever have been reported which may express concern at how groups are operating ( possibly separately but who knows) ....where those suggestions have been ridiculed or knocked back with accusations of "Armchair Critics" and such like. I have often seen very negative responses ( sometimes from some who one would expect to rise above such defensiveness,) to perfectly reasonable questions, suggestions or comments. Either that or suggestions and questions are ignored. A case in point would have to be the Monthly Sydenham Market discussed on various threads!

I have observed some posters with very positive suggestions and ideas (and who I get the impression have devoted a considerable amount of effort and time to Sydenham) become steadily more disillusioned and as a result steadily more critical!

My circumstances at the moment do not allow me to devote much time and I have deliberately never said what I have been able to do....I noted the comments about tidying up around the Greyhound, previous ones about Guerrilla Gardening or whatever .... unless someone announces what they have done around Sydenham it is unreasonable to make negative assumptions! I am sure that applies to quite a few posters on here who obviously care about Sydenham. I live in hope that one day the Sydenham Assembly will take place on a day and at a time that I can actually manage to attend .

I also get an impression that the various groups view this forum in a somewhat negative way ...I am not sure if this is because of historical events or just because of what I have described above.
Pat Trembath
Posts: 613
Joined: 2 Oct 2004 10:54

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Pat Trembath »

Pally, you and anyone else can access information about what the Sydenham Society has done over the years.

On Sydenham Society's website are published the on-line copies of our quarterly newsletters back to Spring 2009. Quarterly newsletters have been published since the mid-70's and delivered to all members informing them what the Society committees have been actively involved with over the previous three months. The latest newsletter published on the website is Spring 2017. The Summer one was delivered to our members during May 2017, and will be put on-line in late August when our Autumn 2017 news letter is out to our membership.

An Annual Report and Income/Expenditure account is published in the newsletter each year. We are an open society with low membership fees.

Prior to Spring 2009 we had on-line information which was lost when our earlier website was shut down before the latest one was up and running properly and regrettably we were unable to retrieve the information. Fortunately there are three full sets of newsletters prior to that time which are invaluable when it comes to digging out information about past activities.

On the website there is a 'register on-line' to receive our weekly enews and we are aware that many people, non-members, have signed up to receive this.

Information is available of what we do and what we have done with a google search.
dickp
Posts: 567
Joined: 7 Jan 2005 14:39
Location: Cardiff

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by dickp »

So., about conducting online member polling about major issues before reaching a policy position....
Eagle
Posts: 10658
Joined: 7 Oct 2004 06:36
Location: F Hill

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Eagle »

I think the Sydenham Society did a great deal of good work especially in earlier times.

Sydenham , fortunately or unfortunately , not the same place demographically and not sure if the Society represents this

Good wishes to them anyway
Pally
Posts: 1478
Joined: 2 Aug 2014 05:38
Location: Sydenham

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Pally »

Pat Trembath wrote:Pally, you and anyone else can access information about what the Sydenham Society has done over the years.

On Sydenham Society's website are published the on-line copies of our quarterly newsletters back to Spring 2009. Quarterly newsletters have been published since the mid-70's and delivered to all members informing them what the Society committees have been actively involved with over the previous three months. The latest newsletter published on the website is Spring 2017. The Summer one was delivered to our members during May 2017, and will be put on-line in late August when our Autumn 2017 news letter is out to our membership.

An Annual Report and Income/Expenditure account is published in the newsletter each year. We are an open society with low membership fees.......

Information is available of what we do and what we have done with a google search.
Thankyou Pat. I did see the newsletters on the website , I do look regularly and I also receive the weekly enews.

However my suggestion was more about a brief chronological list or whatever of the many things that the SS has done over the years and their impact ...exactly what your message above provided about recent events but going back further. My reason for suggesting this was linked to the points I made about negativity that grows including comments about the SS that you responded to originally ...as they appeared to have been made without a real knowledge of the SS view and its involvement in specific events. There are also fairly regular references to SS "blocking" ...what I describe would quickly evidence if that is not the case.

I remember a while ago the same sort of negativity arising over SEE 3 because again there appeared to be no easily accessible simple document summary, highlighting over time the actions, progress and impact. All these could probably be found dotted about in various documents, not altogether and meaning that people had to search through various documents rather than read quick summaries. Again I apologise if this is incorrect re SEE3 ....!! Certainly, I could only ever find bit and pieces rather than ongoing summaries.

Presumably for the SS there would have to be an initial trawl back to do brief summaries maybe with completed developments in a different colour to those that are ongoing.

Anyway I'm not trying to annoy anyone here and I expect to be told that I should shut up or put my money where my mouth is, but I can't (put money not shut up!!) at the moment so there it is!
Pat Trembath
Posts: 613
Joined: 2 Oct 2004 10:54

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Pat Trembath »

Yes, Pally, I am inclined to say "put up or shut up"!

I'm far too busy dealing with present matters (both local and others outside Sydenham) to start trawling through back dated copies of the Sydenham Society News in the way that you suggest.

If you are that interested I suggest you, and anyone else interested, looks at the Spring 2014 edition on the website. In this edition you will find a review of what the Society got up during 2013 and an article I wrote about some of the things the Sydenham Society has been involved with over the previous 40 years. You might even find the newsletter quite informative about other matters that were happening around our area in 2014.

As already stated the quarterly newsletter is augmented by our weekly enews. Personally, I think that the Sydenham Society is good value annually for what passes as no more than the cost of the price of a packet of fags.
Pally
Posts: 1478
Joined: 2 Aug 2014 05:38
Location: Sydenham

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Pally »

Pat I wasn't particularly suggesting you personally should do it, I wasn't trying to annoy you and I acknowledged that I can't do it at the moment and that I could be accused of "put up or shut up"

It was meant to be a genuine, constructive suggestion to address on-going negativity/ on going assumptions made about the SS and other groups which may or may not be valid! If it was done it could be a gentle, long term development ...not landing in one persons lap. I believe my suggestion serves a different purpose to on going newsletters as I explained.

I am sorry that it has annoyed you, sorry that it is apparently not thought worthy of consideration and sorry that at the moment I can't offer more. So be it.
Last edited by Pally on 16 Jul 2017 10:37, edited 2 times in total.
Mayowthorpe
Posts: 111
Joined: 30 Jul 2014 07:16
Location: Sydenham

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Mayowthorpe »

Thanks for your responses Pat. Given your position, we would only expect you to list all the positives SS has achieved.

For a more balanced view, I would find it useful for members to be emailed and kept up to date with all current issues the society is involved in. No matter how large or small.

This would facilitate a better way for members to have a say on these issues, and provide a more transparent view of the Society and its true value-add to the area.
Pally
Posts: 1478
Joined: 2 Aug 2014 05:38
Location: Sydenham

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Pally »

Mayowthorpe wrote:Thanks for your responses Pat. Given your position, we would only expect you to list all the positives SS has achieved.

For a more balanced view, I would find it useful for members to be emailed and kept up to date with all current issues the society is involved in. No matter how large or small.

This would facilitate a better way for members to have a say on these issues, and provide a more transparent view of the Society and its true value-add to the area.
Seems like a constructive suggestion Mayowthorpe
Robin Orton
Posts: 3349
Joined: 9 Sep 2008 07:30
Location: London SE26

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Robin Orton »

Don't agree. We elect the committee to take decisions on our behalf. If we don't agree with them we vote them out at the next election (or stand ourselves.)

I'd have thought recent events on the national stage would have provided an adequate warning of what can go wrong when you consult the membership directly on important issues.
Pally
Posts: 1478
Joined: 2 Aug 2014 05:38
Location: Sydenham

Re: The Sydenham Society

Post by Pally »

Robin Orton wrote:Don't agree. We elect the committee to take decisions on our behalf. If we don't agree with them we vote them out at the next election (or stand ourselves.)

I'd have thought recent events on the national stage would have provided an adequate warning of what can go wrong when you consult the membership directly on important issues.
Doesn't it just provide an easy way for members to comment? The decisions would still be taken by the Committee members , but with any suggestions / comments from members easily taken into consideration. I'm not sure this quite equates to recent national events!!
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