The Mayor agreed to ask Lewisham's Officers on possible plans for improvements/part pedestrianisation of Coulgate Street. The short report had one simple recommendation:
"It is recommended that the Mayor asks the Executive Director fora Regeneration to consider and report back to him on the implications of the `Statement of Community Views’ from the Brockley Assembly."
Those views were simply put:
" i) supporting the people of Brockley to develop Coulgate Street as a pedestrian friendly, shared surface street where a regular street market can be held and the many commuters and shoppers that use it can do so in safety and pleasure.
(ii) consulting with residents, station users and local businesses about bringing forward plans to improve the area with the possibility of full or part pedestrianisation to be considered within the options"
I personally am very pleased that what has been a major priority for many in the local area is now being seriously addressed by Lewisham Council. Whilst local people have enjoyed participating in the spending of the Mayor's Fund and the Localities Funds - it is great that we have used this mechanism to put a formal report on the table for discussion by the Mayor. It is truly a step forward in seeing major improvements to this historic street
After Mayor and Cabinet I rushed to Lewisham College for the last Assembly meeting before the local elections - but the subject of the elections did not come up. I am sure there will be many more opportunities to talk about elections over the next weeks.
We started with an 'end of term' review - which has given some great pointers as to how the next Assemblies can be improved. More and better communication of the time/place of the Assemblies was a key theme. Community updates were well-liked.
We ended with a section in which a number of local groups/people were invited to put forward their views of what they would like to see the Assembly working on in the future. Here are some of the points I noted:
Brockley Society - improvements to Lewisham Way - making it a place that joins the two sides of Brockley rather than divides it as it currently does; the Brockley Mews - improving and preserving these - preventing inappropriate development, misuse by inappropriate industry
Transition Brockley - helping Brockley move to a low carbon economy, more sustainable and protected against the economic shocks that the end of cheap oil could bring; working to get more food produced and sourced locally
Brockley Traders - the representative of the Brockley Traders (owner of Speedicars) expressed a desire for the introduction of short-term parking controls around the Brockley Station area so that people can continue to visit to use the shops and other businesses but without the parking problems caused by commuter parking; concern about the crime and community safety including the need for a real visible Police presence.
Brockley Cross Action Group - the Group reported that it was celebrating its tenth anniversary very soon - yet in many ways the problems it faces are similar to those it faced when being set up - the need for a safe and well-protected environment; and support for small shops in the area that provide a good range of local services. The Group expressed the view that the current shopping hierarchy which places Brockley and other parades of shops at the bottom and Lewisham Town Centre at the top in terms of support and importance given by Lewisham's planners was upside down. The Group sees that one of the main ways of improving the lot of our shops is to improve the physical environment around.
Overall a load of very interesting ideas and initiatives there - and I certainly hope to see some of these themes taken up by the next Assembly which will be on 17 July 2010 - and of course I hope to be there as one of the Brockley Ward Councillors.