Posts Tagged ‘Meridian South’

A Countdown Bus Stop for Hither Green

April 5, 2010

Transport for London (TfL) is currently consulting on the location for 2500 new countdown displays for bus stops to be rolled out across London next year.
The map of the locations for Lewisham has been published, unfortunately not one of these displays has been allocated to Hither Green Lane (click on map to enlarge).

We Lewisham Central Liberal Democrats think that there is a strong case for one of these displays to be placed on Hither Green Lane, we also think that we fit well one of the criteria chosen by TfL for eligibility, that of interchange value, especially when including walking as an alternative, a mode of transport that’s often only praised but not actually promoted through transport strategies.

In fact many waits for the bus on Hither Green Lane are either made to go to Lewisham Station for the DLR or to Lewisham Market, both places that are in reach by walk and a decision to walk could often be made if the time for the wait was known.
What instead currently happens is that people dithers in indecision indefinitely, until, often much later, the bus arrives, and many times when it does it’s overcrowded.

We also have a train station, which obviously increases the interchange value even further, as many people do take a bus after the train and this means that a countdown display would be of value also to people living beyond the immediate vicinity of the bus stop.

In both these cases a known wait would often result in reduced overcrowding on buses and an increase in pedestrian journeys, both very positive results from the point of view of transport planning, and it’s with this argument that we ask for a countdown display for Hither Green. Our proposed locations are Hither Green Lane and Springbank Road.

TfL is consulting with Councils, not individuals (click here for the consultation documents pack), but we decided that we will make a representation anyway and we also found a powerful advocate in Caroline Pidgeon AM, who is the Chair of the Transport Committee at the Greater London Assembly and will support our case.

Please add your name to our petition, and if your personal experience is one where a countdown display would clearly be of benefit then please tell us about it in the comment box so we can submit it as a sample case.

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Will Minigolf save the Meridian South Piazza?

February 9, 2010

The Meridian South development in Hither Green was born under good auspices. Laying perfectly across the Greenwich Meridian line, it retains some of the features of the Hither Green Hospital that stood there before, a local architectural gem designed by Edwin T. Hall, also architect of Liberty department store.
To potential buyers Meridian South presented itself very well, and in fact it turned out a very nice place to live, it also has a beautiful central piazza, graced by a well kept green and truly landmark clock-tower. The piazza was supposed to host the bustling commercial heart of the development, making a peaceful place also a convenient one for shopping.

Unfortunately as the years passed all the commercial units remained empty and the settlers became familiar with the boarded up commercial spaces.
The problem of that place has been clear to me for a long time, and it’s one of planning, those business units enjoy no passing trade whatsoever. The development is rather enclosed, and although it’s not a gated community its design makes no effort to invite people from outside in, this is of benefit to the peace and quiet of the residents but it does not invite potential shoppers either.

Much emphasis is given by architect and planners to the “permeability” of a development. I think it’s fair to say that in this occasion that concept made it through only in part, but not enough to help trade in the development, but it’s a common feature of planning offices of Labour authorities to care more about housing targets than anything else, in fact not much of the original hospital would have remained if a local residents’ campaign wouldn’t have made that point effectively by involving CABE and ultimately forcing the planning department to protect at least some of the beautiful buildings of the former hospital as well as the precious mature trees thought to have been planted by a former superintendent and that protected by the hospital walls grew very well indeed (including a very rare Indian Bean tree considered the largest in the Country).

Quite obviously the development should have been planned differently, either by improving its permeability so that those units would have received increased footfall (but this would have obviously made the whole development less “nice and quiet”, a major selling point in its own right), or by placing the commercial units to the outside of the development altogether, either on Hither Green Lane or George Lane and adding commercial space to the existing shopping parade.
What it’s done instead is to add a whole new shopping precinct to Hither Green in competition with the two existing ones (Hither Green Lane and Springbank Road) that although not as nice enjoy a great deal of passing trade. And were you to open a business, where would you put it? Where it’s nicer or where it’s more likely to succeed?

But at the time this problem was not flagged up and all those that bought there were told that shops would have opened all around the piazza and in the biggest unit there would have been a gym.
In time only one shop opened, a Tesco Metro, and alone in the desert it remained for a long time, until last week, when the indoor minigolf opened!

When first word spread that an indoor Minigolf was going to open where a gym was expected instead many hearts sunk, and understandably too, but now it is here, and it’s a good one, and optimistically it may herald a new era for Meridian South.
Because whether you like it or not a good indoor Minigolf course is also a “destination”, and to an extent it may indeed put Hither Green “on the map”. It’s all down to marketing now, but among enthusiasts the word has already spread and in the first review of the course by someone in the know who travelled from Luton to play it we hear that:

“The course is the first full size Swedish Felt Minigolf Course that I know of in the UK.”

There you have it, Hither Green is now to Minigolf what Twickenham is to Rugby. We said it jokingly but it’s true. This is the gold standard of Minigolf, and it’s the only one of its kind in Britain.
And it’s not something that you buy off the shelf, as the owner says in his message to the minigolfing community:

My name is Nick, and I’m the manager of the course in Meridan South. I have spent the last 5 years designing and building the course, and then fitting out the unit. It had to be a Swedish felt run, as that’s what I used to play on back home when I was a kid (yes, I’m Swedish). I’m not too familiar with the lingo, but when you talk about A- or B- course I assume that it’s the size you refer to. It’s built according to the measurments for a competition course, the lanes being 90 cm wide, the greens 210 x210 and the holes 10.5 cm.
I have just recently managed to make contact with the BMCA, and of course I’d love to hold comps eventually, but may need a bit of help in organizing them.

So what next? Maybe a cafe. In fact rumours want that a cafe is in negotiation to open in another one of the units. And wouldn’t a Cafe benefit from the vicinity of a Minigolf? Of course it would. At that point the Piazza would have attracted its own footfall and maybe other businesses would want to open too, finally populating it with commercial life.

That would take some optimism, but who said that we must be pessimists? Surely this makes the piazza more rather than less likely to succeed. We have something to speak about, we must tell the world that the best indoor Minigolf in London is in Hither Green, only a ten minutes train ride from London Bridge.

It’s an opportunity to overcome the serious planning problem the Meridian South Piazza was born with. Unlikely as at first it may sound, the Minigolf may steer the Piazza towards that commercial vitality that so far eluded it.

Official, Hither Green is London home of Minigolf

January 29, 2010

Last weekend I was around with James Jennings delivering our thoughtful and informative new issue of the Lib Dem newsletter Focus when passing in front of the Minigolf course unit at Meridian South we saw that it was almost ready to open. An excited “oooh” was proffered as one.

James Jennings stares excitedly at the Minigolf course

It has now been announced that the course has opened, not a big announcement, just a line in a comment on Hayley’s blog where in the same breath also the re-opening of a Deli is announced! Is this too much excitement for one day for Hither Green?

Christmas Carols, mince pies and snow

December 18, 2009

The Hither Green Community Association invites everyone to join in for mince pies and Carol singing by the Clocktower at Meridian South.
The appointment is for Saturday 19th December at 1pm.

New Cafe to open on Hither Green Lane and Crazy Golf sneak peek

December 2, 2009

An update type of post on the highly improvable state of trade in Hither Green.

First piece of news, according to a very reliable source of information a Cafe (!!!) will open on Hither Green Lane in one of the empty units next to the chemist by February next year!
The other units will be occupied too, one of them by the Jimmy Mizen Foundation.

You read it here first!

Meanwhile at Meridian South…

…the Crazy Golf course is being prepared!
I took this picture a couple of weeks ago, so works should be more advanced now and hopefully it will open soon.
Will Hither Green become known as the home of London’s crazy golf? Will the crazy golf put Hither Green “on the map”?
Well, it will certainly do its bit to help and it’s a crazy idea and I do like crazy ideas. It looks like there actually is a gap in the market, so why not?
Best of luck to the management.