Dear Neighbours

You should by now have received a leaflet from two of our fellow Fawnbrake residents, announcing a very welcome initiative to add to the endangered tree stock of Fawnbrake Avenue.

Even in winter, our trees add dimension and texture to our streetscape with the age-old pattern of their boughs, and in spring, summer and autumn their buds and colour-shifting leaves bring the street alive.  It would be a shame, for us and future generations, if we let them disappear.

Fawnbrake Trees Winter_B&W
Even in winter, trees enhance our street view

For the record, and in case the dog ate it or the builders threw it away, here’s what the leaflet says:

“Many of us in Fawnbrake Avenue enjoy its tree-lined character but it’s suffered badly in recent years as older trees have been removed and have not replaced. Others were replaced with specimens inappropriate for the location. A number of us have decided to do something about it and hope you will want to too. A survey by the Herne Hill Society established that some 24 trees are missing in Fawnbrake Avenue. That includes empty pits, ‘capped’ pits and three unsuitable Tamarix ‘shrubs’ (near numbers 90–100).

Because of cuts, Lambeth have for the last three years had a policy of not replacing trees. However, we have recently talked to Dave Paul, the officer responsible for trees in Lambeth, and currently some trees are available for street planting. Lambeth can provide three trees for our street. What’s more, Mr Paul tells us that if residents themselves can raise funds for more trees, Lambeth will match the same number. So if we can fund, say, ten trees Lambeth will provide ten more. On our recent inspection of the street Mr Paul marked with a green ‘T’ places where a tree could be suitably planted. This is not to say a tree will definitely be planted there. They’re simply suggestions. If someone is strongly against a tree being planted near their house, Lambeth will take account of their views.

Planting new trees is not cheap. The cost is £450 per tree, but this includes insurance and a three-year maintenance programme. This means that if the tree fails within three years it will be replaced free of charge.

The cost of ten trees would be £4500. Split between an estimated 140 or so households that’s around £30 each; not a vast amount considering the value ‘added’ to Fawnbrake Avenue as a whole – and, as any estate agent will tell you, a tree-lined street is good for the value of your home! There has been a similar successful scheme in Rollscourt and Cosbycote Avenues, where donations ranged from £20 to £450. Now we need to get an idea of how much Fawnbrake residents would be willing to contribute. We are not asking for money to be paid now, but we’d like an indication of what you feel you could pledge. And if you feel there are other ways in which you could help with this project do let us know.

The Herne Hill Society, a registered charity, supports this project and is willing to make its bank account available to receive donations. These would be ring fenced for the project. A cheque would then be paid directly to Lambeth, once they are in a position to commission the work. It would be great if we could make use of the current planting season. This means, ideally, planting by the end of March. There’s no time to be lost, so please respond by 15 January 2016.

Please email laurence@marsh62.co.uk stating your name and house number, or contact us at our addresses at 62 and 80 Fawnbrake Avenue and saying how much you would be prepared to pledge. We’ll add up the pledges, establish how many trees that would provide and start liaising with Lambeth. We look forward to getting back in touch as soon as possible with more information on how we can restore Fawnbrake Avenue to its former tree-lined glory.”

David Williams – 80 Fawnbrake Avenue

Laurence Marsh – 62 Fawnbrake Avenue





A neighbour has reported what may be a door-to-door scam, so please be on your guard.

A very friendly young black man has been calling on doors in Fawnbrake Avenue.  He introduces himself as from the Football Club in Brockwell Park. He had a clipboard in his hand. On introducing himself by his first name he offers a handshake. His initial pitch is to ask if there are any kids in the house who are interested in football. If you bite he asks for money. He is very plausible. Several residents have been stung. If you show no interest he does not hang about.

We have checked with Ann Kingsbury (ex-Lambeth Councillor) now with the Brockwell Park Trust and she checked with the St Matthew’s Football club who use the park. They state by email that they have no knowledge of this gentleman and it is not the sort of thing a reputable club would do. They suspect a scam.


The very useful recycling centre at Vale Street is no longer open every day  –  and the opening times are difficult to locate on Lambeth’s website. So here they are:

Day Opening times
Monday 7.30am to 4.30pm
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 7.30am to 4.30pm
Friday 7.30am to 4.30pm
Saturday 8am to 5pm
Sundays 8am to 5pm
Christmas Day and Boxing Day Closed


If, like many on the street, you bought your annual CPZ permit last spring, it’ll very soon be time to renew it.

There have been reports on a Brixton blog that some permit holders in that part of the borough didn’t receive reminders. They consequently found themselves with expired parking permits, rewarded by a parking ticket on the windscreen.

This was remedied after appeal, but it shouldn’t have happened, obviously.

The letter that came with the annual permit last April stated:

“Shortly before your permit expires, we will write to the address that your permit is registered to and provide you with all the information you need to know about how to renew your permit.”

We recommend keeping an eye open for the letter, and taking action if it fails to appear before the current permit expires  –  which in our case is 13 April.


Postscript / Further warning:

A neighbour reports a correspondence with some Council jobsworths, mediated via Cllr Jim Dickson, which contains the following immortal words:

“I’m afraid there is no statutory obligation on part of the Council to send [reminders] out, but it is done as a matter of courtesy. Essentially, it is the permit holder’s responsibility as the resident to renew the permit before the date expires.

Although the council is not obligated to send out reminder notices, we understand that the reminder service is extremely useful to residents. Subsequently, we’re upgrading the current permit reminder service and will be bringing in email and letter reminders very shortly.”




The burst water main on Milkwood Road has been flooding all Sunday, and was reported this morning. It still isn’t fixed, at 23:30, and numerous houses in the area, including on Fawnbrake Avenue, are without water or have uselessly low pressure. Thames Water’s website says:

SE24: Burst water main

Last updated: Sunday 7 December – 5.34pm.
Impact on customers: Customers in SE24 may be without water. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Current status: We are working to fix the problem and will restore water supplies as quickly as possible


The Sunray Estate – Homes for Heroes

Photograph on the Sunray Estate

The Herne Hill Society have announced announced the topic of their next monthly talk on Wednesday 10 September, at 7:45pm, with Ian McInnes

The Sunray Estate was one of the first ‘Homes fit for Heroes’ estates built immediately after WW1 to house returning soldiers. While the Borough of Camberwell and the Office of Works took the credit, the original idea had come from the Dulwich Estate.

Dulwich expert Ian McInnes examines both its convoluted history and its importance in the application of garden city principles to working-class housing.
at Herne Hill United Church Hall
Junction of Herne Hill & Red Post Hill
London SE24 9PW

Admission is free and everyone is welcome, including non-members