Views from the Hill – January 2014 newsletter

MAMM 3 IMG_0452  Motoring Mayhem. It needs to stop – now.
The speed and volume of traffic in Canonbie Road and adjacent streets, particularly during the school run period, has prompted highly concerned residents to form a campaign group to address growing safety concerns. Mothers Against Motoring Mayhem (MAMM) aims to engage the local authority, police, and local schools in a constructive dialogue about these safety issues and work with them to develop solutions. If these problems are not properly addressed, it can only be a matter of time before a tragic accident happens.

The approach roads to Fairlawn School and St Francesca De Cabrini School are very narrow, and wheelie bins left on the pavement on refuse collection day further compound the problem. Parents walking their children along Honor Oak Road to either of the two schools are often forced to step off the pavement, or even walk along the very busy where the speed limit of 30mph is frequently exceeded by many drivers. There are no adequate, properly maintained, or visible road signs warning motorists of the danger of a school. Given that in dry conditions the typical stopping distance for a car travelling at 30mph is 23 metres (about the same length as 6 cars), the potential hazard for young children is clear.

The traffic flow and dynamics of the increasingly high volume of traffic on Honor Oak Road is causing an increasing number of drivers to use Canonbie Road to avoid the traffic build-up. It is now a really busy ‘rat run’ with a constant stream of vans, trucks and cars using it, especially between 7.30am and 9.30 am when the children are on their way to school. Crossing the road is difficult as visibility is poor due to the gradient of the hill – Canonbie Road is one of the steepest roads in South East London and several dangerous incidents have occurred that increase the hazards to children as well as adults. Recent incidents include vehicles entering from Honor Oak Road stopping suddenly or sliding backwards owing to the steepness of the slope, and drivers losing control of their vehicle and crashing into several parked cars and the front garden walls of three residents. Coaches and lorries have even more problems negotiating the hill. Additionally, the steep slope requires vehicles to engage a low gear which results in increased emissions of hazardous clouds of exhaust fumes. Children are more susceptible to the effects of air pollution – because of their height they have greater exposure to pollutants emitted close to the ground. Emissions are made worse when vehicles accelerate and decelerate between speed bumps. Many frustrated drivers see the wide road as an opportunity to overtake vehicles observing the existing 30mph speed limit in what has become increasingly a rush hour frenzy.

There has also been an alarming rise in the use of Netherby Road as a rat run by parents driving their children to St Francesca De Cabrini School. When dropping off their children, many parents stop close to the junction of Forest Hill Road and Honor Oak Road or drive-up onto the pavements used by pedestrians, many of whom are parents walking their children to school. Other examples of irresponsible driving include parents performing U-turns to go back down Forest Hill Road after dropping off their children.

The issues that need to be urgently addressed are traffic speed, poor road signage, two highly dangerous ‘blind spots’ in Honor Oak Road, and adequate safety railings. All previous attempts to address these issues by numerous members of the Association and other local residents have proved utterly fruitless. Mothers Against Motoring Mayhem (MAMM) has been formed out of a total disenchantment with the people they believed were in a position to help. We urgently need your support, ideas, opinions and action to address what is a major threat to the young children on the Estate. If you can help in any way, do contact MAMM via this website, or at either or against motoring mayhem

Our children have no sense of the danger, but we do. We must act now to safeguard them.

For more information about the campaign, see the January 2014 Newsletter.

Committee meeting dates 2014

The committee have scheduled the following dates for meetings this year. If you would like to attend as an observer, or with a view to getting more involved, you will be made very welcome! Please contact the secretary for more information on times and venues.

Committee meeting dates 2014:

Tuesday February 11
Tues April 22
Tues June 17
Tues August 26
Tues October 28
Tues December 9

Can you get involved?

From September, several positions on the committee, both as officers and ‘ordinary’ members (who are far from ordinary and are a vital part of the committee!) will be vacant.

In order that the association represents residents appropriately, it is vital that the committee comprises a good cross-section of the community. If you are new to the area and feel that you would like to become more involved in the association, please feel free to get in touch, for an initial chat.

Or if you’ve lived in the area for years, have always thought about getting more involved, but haven’t as yet, there’s no time like the present! We’d love to have you as part of the team, so please get in touch via this website, or email for more information.

AGM and an evening of local history and mystery with Steve Grindlay

All members are invited to the association AGM, to be held at Horniman School on Thursday 12th September, from 7pm. Doors will open from 6.30pm.

Do come along to hear a review of the year by David Lowe, and following the official part of the AGM, we are delighted to announce that renowned local historian, Steve Grindlay will present an illustrated talk on the history of Tewkesbury Lodge, the house that originally stood on the estate, and the families that lived in it before it was demolished in 1930 to make way for the Estate more as we know it today.

The talk promises to be fascinating to local residents, and of course, refreshments will be provided.

We hope to see you all there.

June’s committee meeting

The latest committee meeting was held on 20th June. Here’s a summary of what we discussed.

The next edition of our newsletter, Views from the Hill, will be delivered to all households shortly, together with the subscription envelope for the current membership year.  We discussed moving towards an online payment system for our membership subscriptions.  We would love to hear your views on this, so please do get in touch and let us know if you think this a good idea.

We also discussed arrangements for the Association’s annual Summer Picnic on Sunday 14th July.  We want to encourage as many people as possible to attend – it’s a great way to meet the committee members and your neighbours.  The date coincides with the Coronation festival weekend, so we are planning a host of activities and games for the children, and will ask the Council if we can close off the sections of the road around the Triangle at the junction of Horniman Drive and Liphook Crescent.  Do let us know if you have any ideas for making it a really enjoyable occasion.

Succession planning is also one of our ongoing considerations  As much as we all enjoy our work with the Association, we all feel that we would all benefit from new faces on the committee, and would welcome new people who would like to be more involved in the Association’s activities. If you would like to find out more about what this would involve, please drop us a line.

One last item concerned a clothing bank wrongly installed by the Council on Langton Rise.  Thanks to a resident’s quick reaction in notifying the Association, our Chair emailed the Council’s Environmental Services department, and the clothing bank was removed within a few days. See more information in our Success Stories section.

Our next committee meeting is in August, so do let us know if there are any issues you would like to bring to our attention.

Rowena Lowe
Association Secretary

Please sign the 20mph petition

The Association have organised a petition calling for the 20 mph zone along Honor Oak Road to be extended.

Valerie and Rowena from the Association have worked with councillors Philip Peake and Alex Feakes to call on over 400 houses in the area. So far we have 271 signatures supporting the petition.

Since presenting the petition, Cllr Peake has met with senior council officers to discuss the problems with traffic and parking along the stretch of Honor Oak Road from the junction with Horniman Drive to that with Forest Hill Road. A fuller account of this meeting and the work on this issue can be found here:

It is always helpful to gather more support for these proposals and we didn’t find everyone in when we called, so we have also set up an online petition:

If you have yet to sign the petition and would like to, please do so today.

March to save Lewisham Hospital – 26th January

As you will no doubt be aware, the A&E and maternity units at Lewisham Hospital are under threat of closure.  A community campaign to fight the proposed closure needs the help of residents to keep up pressure on the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who will make the decision on the future of the hospital at the beginning of February.

More details are available in the latest edition of our newsletter, and there is a march in Lewisham on Saturday 26th January to protest against the closure. If you would like to join the march, meet at Lewisham roundabout (by the station) for 12 midday.

And help the campaign organisers to reach their goal of 30,000 signatures by signing the on-line petition today?

Snow on the hill

Well, its a little later than recent winters, but snow finally arrived in force on the hill this weekend.

The roads on the estate have remained relatively clear, and many residents took full advantage of the weekend snowfall to enjoy the ‘Horniman Alps’!

Do you have any photos of the snow you would like to share? If so please send them to us and we’ll add them to this gallery.

Save Lewisham Hospital

As you may already know, there is a proposal to close the A&E and Maternity services at Lewisham Hospital. This proposal, if agreed, would severely affect the standard and availability of healthcare services available to local residents. Public Consultation on these proposed closures of A&E and Maternity Services at Lewisham Hospital ends at midnight on Thursday 13 December. For information see

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