Welcome to the website for Penge Forum


Logo8+square+lower+case (9)Penge Forum is the Residents’ Association for those who live in or care about Penge and Anerley. The Forum is not affiliated to any political party but we will campaign on local issues.  Penge Forum holds four open meetings a year where you can hear from and question the people who make a difference to our lives. Our Committee is made up of volunteers and any member is welcome to join.

On this page, you will find our latest news and comment.  Details of the issues we have taken up on behalf of residents are on the “Recent Activity” page.  The more members we have, the more powerful is our voice, so do consider joining.   It’s only £5 a year.

Please take a while to read through this site and do contact us with any comments or suggestions.  If you click on the Follow box on the top line, you will receive notification of new posts.

You can also follow us on Facebook – Penge Forum;  or twitter @penge_forum

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Details for following up issues raised at the Open Meeting on Tuesday July 9th

There was a good turnout for our Open Meeting on Tuesday 9th July at Melvin Hall.  There were several useful contacts given out:

Rob Vale, Head of Trading Standards at Bromley Council gave a lively presentation including a film illustrating the potential dangers from doorstep traders.   Bromley have a Rapid response Team who can react to any concerns about possible rogue traders or scams operating in your area.

They can be contacted on 07903 852090

General advice on solving your consumer problems is available from Citizens Advice on https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/

We then heard about the threat to the future of the Penge Men & Women in Sheds project following the loss of their long-term funding.  They are supported by Age Concern but have a large sum to raise if the service is to continue in Penge and other London boroughs.  More details of the campaign can be found at:

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/bromleyandgreenwich/about-us/news/articles/2019/meninsheds-fundraiser/

One off donations can be made at:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AgeUKBromleyandGreenwich

There will also be local fund raising events.   Or, pop in to see the Shedders in Kingsdale Road on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday mornings.

Crystal Palace councillor Angela Wilkins has welcomed the responses to the survey she gave out on the impact of youth crime in our area.

Cllr Wilkins also gave details of the Local Government Boundaries Commission review of election arrangements in Bromley.  These would be implemented for the 2022 local elections.   The Commission are proposing a reduction of the number of councillors in Bromley from 60 to 58.   Our local councillors are supporting this proposal, largely on the grounds that the scope of council responsibilities has reduced in recent years and the larger number of councillors can no longer be justified.

The Commission are also looking at the makeup of the local wards.   Currently our local wards are Crystal Palace, Penge & Cator and a small part of Clock House.  The Commission has asked for views before they publish their recommendations later in the year.   If you are interested in commenting, the link is:

https://localgovernmentboundarycommissionforengland.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/j/80A5D08B65A387562540EF23F30FEDED/7F54690891365FC246778398EADC2510

Finally, Cllr Kathy Bance gave an update on local issues.

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Survey on youth crime added to agenda for next meeting

A survey of local residents’ thoughts on gang and youth violence issues has been added to the agenda for Tuesday’s Penge Forum meeting.   This will come after we have heard from Rob Vale of Bromley Trading Standards on how to protect ourselves from “scams, fraudsters and rogue traders”.  We’ll also hear from our Penge “Men & Women in Sheds” and the threat to their future from lack of funding and what changes to the number of local councillors and make up of the wards in Bromley could mean for local democracy.

Lots going on so do join us at Melvin Hall on Tuesday from 7 pm. July 2019July 2019 -page0001

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Executive Committee members will be in Empire Square, Saturday June 29th, 10.15 – 12.00 Come and meet us to find out more.

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Details of Penge Forum Open Meeting, Tuesday 9th July

The guest speakers at our July Open Meeting include Rob Vale, Head of Trading Standards at Bromley Council, who will give an illustrated talk and take questions on the latest developments to his work to counter “Scam, Fraudsters and Rogue Traders”.  His work also includes consumer rights and safety.

We will also hear from Jon-Paul Mountford who will be talking about the funding threat to Penge’s Men and Women in Sheds’ project and what can be done to keep it going, and Cllr Angela Wilkins will explain the consultation that has just begun on proposals to reorganise Bromley Council and how you can make your views known.  There will also be updates from other Councillors and local organisations, so it should be a busy evening.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday 9th July at Melvin Hall, Melvin Road, SE20 8EU.  Doors open at 7.00pm for free tea, coffee and biscuits with the meeting itself starting at 7.30pm.  We hope to see you there.

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Bromley Council Review Consultation

This should get a few thoughts running.  We will ask the councillors to explain more at our next Open Meeting on July 9th.   Bromley Poster Web (1)-page-0

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Update on final completion of High Street improvements

We have been waiting for final completion of several aspects of the High Street improvement scheme.  After persistent questioning, we have now received this update from the council:

When will the new waste bins and notice boards be installed?

The Council’s contractor has confirmed that they will be able to supply and install the street furniture requested, and this will be done by August (tbc with Highways).

The town sign was re-instated in the wrong place and facing the wrong direction.  Will this be rectified?

The Highways team will have the town sign relocated and repositioned this week (w/c 3rd June)

The original scheme included Legible London Way-finding posts (as have been installed in other areas of the borough).   We have seen no progress on this.

Officers of the Renewal Team are currently looking into alternative way-finding signage that is more vernacular, unique and functionally appropriate to Penge Town Centre. There will be consultation process with the BID on the choice of designs. It is anticipated that these would be in place in the Autumn of this year. 

When will the Penge Heritage Trail plaques be installed?

Subject to the manufacturing lead in time, it is anticipated that the plaques would be installed by this October. 

Will there be any further cleaning and snagging of the new pavements?

The Highways team have confirmed that the snagging and cleaning for Penge High Street has been completed. 

We will of course continue to pursue these issues.

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Community Art at Penge Festival

At the Penge Fete 2019 the people of Penge (children and adults) created this piece of community art. Each person contributed a small piece of the many varied patterns inside each letter, building on what the previous person had done. It represents the way we are all unique, contributing different ideas and expressing ourselves in different ways, but able to create a cohesive whole!Penge Zenge

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Local Police meeting Friday 7th June

The Penge Police team will be at a public meeting at Melvin Hall on the 7th June.   The he 3-Borough Commander, Dave Stringer, will also be in attendance.   This is an opportunity to raise local issues as well as concerns over crime trends that aren’t just local to Penge. public meeting poster (1)-page0001

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New Local Police and Council initiative for Penge

Penge Matters

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Bromley Living Streets promotes walking and campaigns for safer, quieter, low-traffic neighbourhoods.

Some members might be interested in this event organised by Bromley Council:

https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/get-involved/take-action-in-your-area/local-groups/bromley

We (Bromley Council) believe that by getting more adults & children walking, cycling and using public transport, we can cut the number of car journeys, reduce air pollution, tackle obesity, create healthier communities and attract business & investment into our High Streets throughout the Borough.

 

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Application for High Street “Tap Room” opposite Homebase

There’s a planning application to convert no 47 High Street to a tap room. This is the empty shop next to Jerry’s Convenience store and the door shop near the corner of Mosslea Road, opposite Homebase. Planning reference is 19/01248. This link might take you there:

https://searchapplications.bromley.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=PPA3OPBT00V00

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What do you most love about Penge?

Members of the Penge Forum Committee were out meeting members of the public earlier in March. 46 people were asked in Empire Square what they most loved about Penge. 15 people also responded on Facebook. Many people gave more than one answer. There were a range of ages and backgrounds.

What do people most love about Penge – here’s an pictoral representation of the answers: 

survey march 2019

Some good quotes were:

I’ve lived here forever and I’ll never move!”

Penge is one of London’s hidden treasures”

Penge is really quirky and an exciting place to live – I love it!”

It’s really easy to get volunteers”

Everyone knows each other”

Loveliest, friendliest café owners”

Many people were visiting Penge and said that was because it has shops that Catford, Crystal Palace and Beckenham don’t have, such as MacDonald’s, Shoe Zone, and Wilkinsons. We hope to find out more about this next time we are on the streets of Penge!

 

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Penge & Cator Ward Safer Neighbourhood Panel meeting

At the recent Penge Forum Open Meeting with local police, questions were raised about the status of the Safer Neighbourhood Panel for the Penge & Cator ward. Roger Taylor, who is currently Chair of the panel, told us that it did need some reviving, that there was a Penge meeting coming up and that he would give us details of any meetings he arranged.

Roger now tells us that there will be a meeting of the Panel on Thursday 4th April and that from 8.00 pm this will be an open meeting for anyone interested in policing in this area. The meeting will be at Penge East Community Centre by Penge East station car park.

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Some questions for our meeting with the police on Tuesday 12th March

Don’t miss your opportunity to ask a question.  Here are some to start with:

march2019(2)-page0001How are our local police teams organised now that Copperfield House has been closed?

How many police and PCSOs do we have working locally? Will we see them on the streets?

How are our local police reacting to the knife-crime?

Are gangs an issue locally?

How do you split resources between Penge, Crystal Palace and Clock House – and the rest of the borough?

What is the best way of reporting crimes now? And is it worth it?

How successful are the police in tracking stolen bikes?

There has been a spate of break-ins and car vandalism in our area. What are the police doing about it?

How are the police working with young people. Is stop and search being used locally?

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Meet our new Police teams at the next Penge Forum open meeting

This is an advance notice for our March meeting.

As you may be aware, there have been several changes to our local policing. The Police base in Maple Road, Penge, has been closed; Bromley is now part of a 3-Borough command with Croydon and Sutton; and, since we last met with the police, we have a new Sergeant, Sgt John Paul Carmier (in charge of Crystal Palace and Clock House as well as Penge & Cator) and largely new teams.

The new teams are keen to meet local residents and hear about the specific needs and concerns that we have identified.

You can meet them, including members of the Crystal Palace and Clock House teams, with Inspector Gary Byfield at our next meeting on Tuesday March 12th at Melvin Hall, Melvin Road SE20. We will provide refreshments from 7 pm with the meeting starting at 7.30.

There will also be the usual updates from councillors and other local organisations.   We will give more details nearer the date but please make a note of the time and venue.

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New Borough Police arrangements and new local Sergeant at Penge Forum on March 12th

There’s new Planning Application for the conversion of our local police base in Copperfield House, Maple Road to residential. This confirms what we knew was coming, though it will be interesting to see where the local police base turns out to be. There was talk of it being in McDonald’s.

However, we have also just confirmed that the local police will be the guests at the Penge Forum Open Meeting on Tuesday 12th March at Melvin Hall. As well as the closure of Copperfield House, there have been other changes recently. Bromley is now part of a tri-Borough force with Croydon and Sutton and we have a new Sergeant for Penge Crystal Palace and Clock House, Sgt Carmier, who will be making his first Penge Forum Appearance at the same meeting.

Details will follow but try to keep the date free so you can discuss any concerns with those who are involved with the changes.

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Submission to Bromley’s Road Safety Review

Jane Morley, our road safety rep, has made a submission to Bromley’s consultation on road safety, based on the responses given at our street stall held in November 2018.  

Vision Zero, a Strategy published by London’s Mayor on 24th July 2018 which sets out the way ahead for improving road safety in London, states that no deaths or serious injury on London’s roads should be treated as acceptable or inevitable. Its proposals include 20mph speed limits within the congestion charging zone and a new bus safety standard. In support of the publication of the strategy Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove of the Met’s Road and Transport Policing Command commented “Excess speed is an undisputed contributor to road collisions in London!”

I have been representing road safety concerns of Penge Forum members on Bromley’s Road Safety Panel for three years. Attached is a summary of a short consultation with pedestrians on Penge High Street carried out in November 2018. Both comments from Penge Forum members and from pedestrians on Penge High Street highlight concern about inappropriate speeds on local roads, and bad driving practice, which is making simple activities such as crossing the road unnecessarily unpleasant.

Inappropriate Traffic Speeds

Penge and Anerley roads are surrounded by areas under the control of Local Boroughs who have adopted 20 mph zones. Not every resident of Penge and Anerley supports such zoned controls on speed. Bromley Councilhas been awaiting the outcome of a survey commissioned by the Department for Transport on the effectiveness of 20mph zones in terms of road safety. This compares a selection of local authorities who use 20mph zones with others who do not. The London Borough selected for the survey does not use 20mph zones.

However we are now split geographically between roads on the south side of Penge High Street which have 20mph speed controls and those on the South side of Penge High Street, equally narrow Edwardian residential roads, which do not.

Congestion at the traffic lights on Penge High Street and at the bottom of Anerley Road has led to numerous alternative routes being used, at in appropriate speeds, such as Thicket Road and Penge Lane, Southey Street and Wordsworth and Raleigh Roads, Kingsdale Road and Torr Road. Residents are advised to note timings and details of regular offenders and to pass the information on to the Traffic Police via our local police station so that patrol cars can be targeted at appropriate times and locations, as and when patrol cars are available.

There are traffic cameras sited locally, equipped with Automatic Number Plate Readers. These pick up stolen vehicles and those which are untaxed etc. They do not detect vehicles which are inarguably putting the lives of local residents at risk by driving at inappropriate speeds.

In addition to putting other road users and pedestrians at risk of injury through accident, driving at excessive speeds and heavy use of brakes adds to air pollution, a major cause of premature death within London.

Bromley’s Road Safety Unit works closely with the police and with local councillors to reduce inappropriate speed on our roads, but Vision 20 is an excellent opportunity to consider whether there is now available technology that can help their efforts. Speed cameras, for example, can now be used to enforce 20mph limits. The Highways Agency can install temporary speed cameras on motorways to ensure safe driving in the event of road repairs, so it should be possible to install temporary speed cameras within areas in Penge and Anerley to encourage safe driving, and then to move them on to subsequent areas. With increasing pressure of demand on the Met and ongoing pressure on the Borough’s manpower costs, technology could provide 24 hr cover where only a piecemeal approach is currently available.

Bad Driving Practice

Many Penge and Anerley residents walk and cycle to work, to school, to the shops. This fits in well with LBBromley’s ambitions for a healthier Bromley. So keeping our pavements safe and our ability to cross the road safely is a high priority.

More publicity about the rules on pavement parking and more enforcement against offenders would not only keep us safer, but save money as fewer kerbs and paving stones would need replacing. Major offenders are delivery van drivers under pressure to meet deadlines. LBBromley should work with other London Boroughs to influence home delivery businesses, from supermarkets to multinationals, to comply with the law.

Congestion at traffic lights encourages pressured motorists to jump amber and red lights, leaving little or no room or time for pedestrians to cross on the green man facility. It is to be hoped that the current requirement for four people to be killed or seriously injured before a traffic light enforcement camera can be installed will be recognised as an outdated and callous requirement. Perhaps a calculation based on pressure of traffic and pedestrian footfall could take its place.

Meeting the Needs of the Differently Abled

There are various parts of Penge and Anerley where it is unnecessarily difficult for wheelchair users to cross the road. For example, where Lennard Road meets Newlands Park there is a dropped kerb for wheelchair users. But the road bends at 90 degrees, and the speed limit is 30mph. Perhaps a good way of assessing suitability of such a facility would be to try it out in a wheelchair first.

Wheelchair users have also reported difficulty in crossing from the north side to the south side of Parish Lane at its junction with Lennard Road. Local residents report that this is also the location of numerous collisions. LBBromley officials have visited the area but been unable to remedy the problem. As the population ages, however, this type of problem looks likely to increase. Virtual speed bumps have been in use for some time. Could LBBromley urgently look into the possibility of their use in locations where residents have highlighted such risks but so far no remedy has been available.

Dropped, tactile kerbs are also meant to be an aid to visually impaired pavement users. It is imperative that if a tactile dropped kerb is installed, it is also kept in a safe state – no cracked, uneven paving – and that the road surface between the two sides of the road is even, so the person using it is not wrong-footed.

Although TFL is responsible for traffic lights in Penge and Anerley, concern has been expressed about the helpfulness of the type provided locally, particularly taking account of the needs of visually impaired users and people who cannot walk as quickly as the young and fit. Could all traffic lights with pedestrian facilities be equipped with “beepers” and the time allowed for crossing take account of local pedestrians’ needs? This would also benefit parents with walking toddlers.

Empowerment through shared information

Following a fatality locally last year it is clear that there is no accessible information on how to report a faulty traffic light. These are TFL’s responsibility. They should be asked to ensure that a contact point is available on traffic lights so that local residents can report problems.

It is also not widely known that when temporary traffic lights are installed they should provide an equivalent service to the lights they are replacing, so if there is a pedestrian facility normally available with permanent traffic lights, a pedestrian facility should be provided with temporary lights. Any failure to do so should be reported to LBBromley for action.

Local residents are a valuable source of information which could help improve London Boroughs’s road safety, but many do not know how to use that information or access information from their local Borough. LBBromley has an excellent and accessible website (TFL’s is not as helpful) and it regularly leaflets Safer Bromley information to every household. More use of these to get road safety messages and contact information across would empower residents.

 

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Penge Forum helps out in Penge

Penge Forum Committee members joined the “Friends of Penge” Choir at Pengemas in the town centre on Saturday 8th December.

chequeAlso at the weekend, Penge Forum Treasurer, Stephen Brushett presented a cheque for £1639.29 to Ian Barrington of the Penge Traders’ Association. The money had been collected by Penge Forum members over several years to help secure future Christmas lights for Penge High Street. The money is particularly welcome now as the current lights will need refurbishing or replacing for next year.

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New Committee members

We were delighted to welcome two new members to the Penge Forum Committee at the AGM. Rachel New and Mark Phillippo offered their help and were voted onto the committee. They will bring new ideas and enthusiasm to our work in Penge. They join Charlotte Fletcher and Maureen Kennedy who joined during the year. Ariane Brito has decided to stand down. The committee will meet in the New Year to plan the programme for 2019.

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