‘On yer bike!’, London community groups tell Nine Elms ‘consultation’

cycling and walking icons

The Vauxhall Society has joined The Battersea Society in backing the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies in pointing out ‘significant gaps and shortcomings’ in the proposals for public spaces (‘public realm’) in the Nine Elms glass canyon on the south bank of the Thames.

The proposals come from ‘The Blob’, the nickname for a gooey alliance of the property development interests of Transport for London, Lambeth and Wandsworth Councils with private-sector property developers.

Among the ‘significant gaps and shortcomings’ the Forum lists is that neither Lambeth nor Wandsworth need abide by the consultation result if people don’t give the http://musicandmemory.org/cheap-levitra-india answers the Blob wants.

The consultation is ‘very token’ and does not ‘include anyone to represent the public’s point of view’.

There needs, for example, to be a ‘general review’ of the provision for cyclists and pedestrians along the river bank between Chelsea, Vauxhall and the proposed Pimlico Bridge. It is assumed that the recommended site cyclists and pedestrians will share the same route at some points, yet there is already ‘widespread concern’ among pedestrians at the speed of many cyclists and the inexperience of many more.

The consultation presents The Thames Path as a route for pedestrians and then ‘without hint of irony’ goes on to discuss the Path’s role ‘as a route for cyclists’.

‘Very much larger numbers’ of pedestrians and cyclists are due to use the riverside. Where stretches of the Thames Path are legally closed to cyclists, the restriction ‘ought to be enforced’, the Forum urges.

 

Vauxhall Cross ‘consultation': ‘Trust us, we’re Transport for London’

vauxhall bus station by andrea winkelsdorf

The Vauxhall Society is always nagging people to respond to this or that consultation document from Lambeth Council or Transport for London. But a growing number of people are beginning to doubt that it’s worth the effort.

‘Could there be tampering with the replies?’ asks one correspondent of TfL’s alleged findings of a TfL survey on Vauxhall Cross that TfL says rubber-stamps what TfL wants to do.

We have no proof of ‘tampering’, yet. But you could be forgiven for thinking that TfL/Lambeth consultation as it affects Vauxhall is rigged, whether by accident or design or a bit of both. TVS is tabling the consultation issue at the 22 April board meeting of the Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall Forum of amenity groups, so let’s see where it leads.

The Brixton Society in its March newsletter joins Vauxhall amenity groups in complaining that Lambeth is ‘very hit and miss’ on who it sends planning applications to. Accident, design or a bit of both?

Lambeth is in cahoots with TfL on Vauxhall Cross. TfL got off on the wrong consultative foot years ago years ago, when it handed over ‘consultation’ on the Battersea Power Station/Northern Line Tube Extension to a property developer. Shortly before going out of business, this developer publicly apologized for misleading the public in the ‘consultation’.

Our correspondent, who gave her name but does not want it published, is not a member of The Vauxhall Society but is one of the 2,000-plus people who have so far signed the fertilityroad.com Save Vauxhall Bus Station online petition we host.

She smelled a rat with the TfL’s report on its latest ‘consultation’ on Vauxhall Cross, as does Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey. This is about whether to have two-way traffic on the Vauxhall Gyratory (as TfL/Lambeth now want), rather than one-way (as they used to want). The change would involve carving up or even demolishing Vauxhall Bus Station to make way for property development.

TfL says it received 2,181 responses to its Vauxhall Cross ‘consultation’ and guess what? TfL finds the responses demonstrate that people want what TfL wants.
For example:

  • 77 per cent of respondents either support or strongly support the overall aim of creating a thriving centre in Vauxhall
  • 65 per cent support the conversion of the gyratory to two-way working
  • 63 per cent support TfL’s proposals ‘around the bus station’

All those ‘Yesses’ are to shape detailed plans that which will go to further consultation this year. What price that ‘consultation’ will also be met with a resounding Y-E-S, according to TfL?

‘Give the response of everyone on two-way working and http://rachelsagermosaics.com/online-pharmacies changes to the bus station whom I’ve ever spoken, I find it very hard to believe the figures in this report’ our correspondent writes.

‘If 2,000 people want the cialis uk bus station to stay as it is [on the petition] why is it a majority of almost the same figure want TfL to change it? Could there be some tampering with the [TfL] votes…|I can’t work out how this has occurred. Can you?’

What else TVS’s correspondent wrote:

I travel through the bus station most days. I live in the area having previously lived in Clapham Junction and then in Battersea and now in South Lambeth and I work in central London. I hear comments on the buses and in the tube station and train station and have never heard one in favour of the two-way working.

I also remember the mess it was when we have two-way working and bus stops were all over the place. The place was invariably gridlocked and it will be so again. The circular motion around the bus station calms the traffic and spaces it much more effectively and http://bhavayogastudio.com/cialis-sales-online efficiently.

You would only have to look at film of the before and after to see the difference. In the proposed model I also see no attempt to apply mathematical queueing theory both to calm and regulate traffic and ensure gridlocks don’t occur.

If LUL had produced a simulated model based on proper mathematical modelling that proved the academychild.com intended layout would work for traffic from Wandsworth and South Lambeth given the excess traffic that will arrive and block the buses after the new US embassy is on stream, I would have had more confidence but I have seen no such model. I have seen no such simulation.

I am astonished that so many people appear to have voted for this option. No one I know in the area or at the bus station is in favour of two-way working. I should be most interested to see the background of those who did. Generally when there is such an overwhelming vote of approval one knows. It’s only when it’s too close to call that one does not. It just does not ring true.

Let’s say that if this were an election, I would be doing a Lloyd George and demanding a recount, then another and another till the votes were accurately counted. The only thing I can think of to have occasioned such a result is if the forms were either incorrectly read or we get a situation such as that in the US where the vote went to the Court and bana-uk.com subsequent counts proved George Bush had not won but no one could be bothered to wait.

The other issue is, where were these forms given out and to whom? What was the cheapest prices on viagra catchment area for them? I picked one up in the bus station but nowhere else and anyone who simply travelled through the bus station but did not get off the bus would not have received one.

This just does not ring true.

RELATED READING

Kate Hoey MP: ‘You will now understand why the local community have been so clear that they did not trust TFL or Lambeth over the Vauxhall bus station plans. The community are usually proved right

www.vauxhallcivicsociety.org.uk

A meeting of Vauxhall minds: Thursday 19 March, 6.30pm

air monitoring equipment in dieppe and vauxhall
air monitoring equipment in dieppe and vauxhall

At Dieppe they have a roadside air pollution monitor bearing a legible informative notice, giving you a website address where you can find out how good or bad the breathing is. Compare it with the uninformative monitor on the Kylun Island at Vauxhall Cross.

Like to know more about what goes on around here, meet some more people, hear what they think about what’s happening and have your say too?

A good way to do all that is to turn up at the next regular public meeting, on Thursday 18 March, of the Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall Forum (of community groups). It’s at the Carmelita Centre, 40 Vauxhall Walk, SE11 5JT.

This promises to be a particularly lively evening as the next month is a hectic one. Kick-off is at 6.30pm, with half an hour’s chat time over refreshments (free) before the heavy stuff starts.

The agenda includes a Lambeth Councillor and an official outlining ‘Culture 2020’, which involves the closing of half of Lambeth’s Libraries. Councillor and official are likely to be asked when Lambeth Council will comply with an Information Commissioner ruling to come clean about the buy viagra next day delivery council’s property deals with Transport for London over the use of land in Kennington Park and Kennington Green.

At the KOVF public meeting, the Committee will report on, among other things, the Cycle Highway and Thames footbridge, as well as the way ahead for Vauxhall Bus Station/ the Vauxhall Gyratory.

Lambeth, it is suggested, can come out as the good guys on the bus station and gyratory, by protecting voters from the pollution and pfizer cialis cheap disruption threatened by Transport for London’s property-development ambitions. TfL wish to replace the one-way gyratory with a slower, two-way system, around which HGVs and other heavy traffic will still thunder.

An alternative community plan by residents will be discussed at KOVF on Thursday suggests that Lambeth removes HGV traffic from South Lambeth Road, so reducing pollution, some of the worst in London.

By leaving the bus station as it is, Lambeth would save millions in costs, and avoid the long disruption and relocation of services for residents and workers. TfL wants to ‘rebuild’ the bus station only to add commercial space. There is no transport gain to passengers. There are more and more of them, and they would be crammed into even less space.

KOVF

Lambeth Local History Forum is having an emergency meeting on 20 March on the future of Lambeth Archives, currently housed in one the libraries up for sale, the Minet in Stockwell.

Lambeth Local History Forum

2,000 signatures say ‘don’t mess with Vauxhall Bus Station’

vauxhall bus station campaign badge

vauxhall bus station campaign badgeThe Save Vauxhall Bus Station Campaign petition has topped the 2,000-signature mark, and still more people are adding their names. It is now impossible for Lambeth Council and its property-development partner Transport for London (TfL), to continue claiming public support for the outright demolition of Vauxhall Bus Station as part of their plan to make the Vauxhall gyratory two- rather than one way. If published before 19 March these proposals will be aired at a public meeting on that date of the Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall Forum. KOVF has presented Lambeth/TfL with alternative gyratory proposals, and awaits a reply. The Save Vauxhall Bus Station online petition is hosted by The Vauxhall Society, a campaign supporter, with the support of community groups KOVF, the Vauxhall Gardens Estate Residents Association, the Battersea Society and many other groups in London and beyond. Vauxhall’s Labour MP Kate Hoey is a supporter, as are the local Tory and karimnoureldin.net Lib Dem parties, but not Kate Hoey’s own party, Labour, the majority party on Lambeth Council.

Lambeth and TfL want to demolish the station to make way for shops and a TfL tower block, even though private enterprise is already building a whole new pedestrian shopping centre, Vauxhall Square, next door to the Bus Station. Vauxhall Square does not involve interfering with the ten-year-old Bus Station. Lambeth and TfL’s first choice is to demolish the Bus Station, take the profits and revert to the good old days. That was when bus stops were scattered around the gyratory. Bus passengers (‘customers’ in the only language Lambeth and TfL seem to understand these days, would once more stand isolated in the open at ill-lit toxic roadsides, in danger from traffic and assault by the district’s undesirables.

The thing is, there are more buses, more ‘customers’, more traffic and heavier pollution as well as – thanks to the new ‘night-time economy’, more robbery and violence. Thanks in great part to the 2,000 signatures-plus on the Save Vauxhall Bus Station online petition, Lambeth and TfL have parked the bulldozers for now, and talk not of bulldozing Vauxhall Bus Station, but of ‘improving’ it. Whether that just means bulldozers by the back door, and whether or not this ‘new, improved’ Vauxhall Bus Station is any better than what’s there already, we shall soon see. Meanwhile, now’s the time to increase the pressure by getting yet more signatures. These will say to the powers-that-be ‘Lambeth and TfL, we’re watching you. That’s because separately and together, you have an appalling record on consultation.’

KOV Vauxhall Gyratory, Bus Station Proposals, and latest examples of TfL/Lambeth’s shoddy consultation standards:

‘Why the community is right not to trust does Lambeth/TfL on Vauxhall Bus Station’ – MP:

‘Say something nice about Lambeth Council for a change’

proposed brixton hoarding

proposed brixton hoardingThat’s the challenge from a Vauxhall Society member, who says it’s ‘boring’ to read repeated criticisms of Lambeth’s property-development ambitions.

The short answer is ‘Boring to read? Try writing the stuff’.

The Vauxhall Society objects to few development proposals, perhaps less than one in 20, and even then it’s often at the behest of a TVS community-association member.

The problem is that Lambeth Council sees Vauxhall as a cash cow and will push through any planning horror hereabouts in order to splash out on more populous parts of the borough where the votes are.

A challenge, however, is a challenge.

Here’s a nice thing to say about Lambeth Council: they have just rejected an application to erect a vast Piccadilly Circus-style LED hoarding which would have masked a listed building in Brixton town centre, opposite the Ritzy Cinema.

Our local friends, The Brixton Society, successfully objected that the row of digital billboards would be an ‘absurd intrusion’ and bad for business.

That’s the kind of planning rejection TVS members would love to see more of in anything-goes Vauxhall.

Mind you, those shops in the Brixton Arches are still under threat…

The Brixton Society objection to LED hoarding

LED hoarding rejected

Information Commissioner orders Lambeth to come clean on secret Kennington Park, Kennington Green and Vauxhall developer deals

keybridge house (proposed)

keybridge-north-along-South-Lambeth-RoadThe Government’s Information Commissioners’ Office (ICO) has ruled against Lambeth Council’s refusal to divulge correspondence on the secret deals it does with property developers.

The ruling, logged on the Kennington Oval & Vauxhall Forum website, shows that ICO has thrown out Lambeth’s plea of commercial confidentiality and awt.edu.au the ‘unreasonable’ cost of complying with a Freedom of Information Act request. ICO gave Lambeth 35 days to issue a fresh response or face High Court proceedings for contempt. The ICO findings do not nullify the secret Lambeth deals but increase the pressure on the Department of Communities and Local Government to investigate whether abuse of process is systematic in Lambeth.

The information requests, from the then-chairman of the Kennington Oval & Vauxhall Forum, concern two ‘confidential’ Lambeth Council deals. Lambeth struck one secret deal with British Telecom over the huge Keybridge House development on South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, and what Lambeth viewed as the ‘insignificant’ issue of going back on its own policy of requiring that 4O% of new homes in any development be ‘affordable’.

ICO dismissed Lambeth’s case for secrecy and pointed out that the Keybridge House redevelopment was not ‘universally lauded’. The Vauxhall Society, ICO reported, ‘criticised’ Lambeth for going back on its professed duty to ‘develop and sustain stable neighbourhoods’ in allowing only 2.4% of Keybridge House homes to be ‘affordable’ instead of Lambeth’s own requirement of 40%.

A second secret deal the public authority struck was with another public authority, Transport for London, on the price for and conditions of handing over to TfL parts of Kennington Park and Kennington Green for the construction of the Northern Line Extension. NLE will run under Vauxhall between Kennington Tube Station and the Sainsbury property development at the Vauxhall end of the Wandsworth Road in Wandsworth.

See the full ICO ruling on the KOVF website

Judge Sycamore and the Friends of Durning Library’s hellish Tree of Heaven 

tree of heaven durning library
tree of heaven durning library

Photo from Tradescant Road and wow)) South Lambeth blog. Copyright unknown.

There hasn’t been such a to-do about trees around here since the national press caught on to the Friends of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens support of Lambeth Council’s chopping down  of mulberry trees on the historic  site to make way for £300,000-worth of black concrete columns. The tangled tale of the Friends of Durning Library and their logjam over a Tree of Heaven has nothing to do with such vandalism. As with all that black concrete, however it has everything to do with Lambeth’s wastefulness. 

Now it’s probably fair to say that to a man and woman, the Friends of Durning Library are also friends of trees, usually, that is. But not of the species Tree of Heaven, or at least the one that Lambeth Council says ‘is located in the grounds of Durning Library’.  That’s putting it mildly, for this particular Ailanthus altissima (a fast growing breed) is ‘located’ around, beneath and above the English Heritage-listed Victorian library building itself. ‘Woodperson, don’t spare that tree!’might sum up the Durning Friends’ position. The Durning tree already projects well above the rear of the building. Roots and suckers, already strongly established beneath and beyond the structure, are reaching for adjoining properties. To hear the Friends of Durning Library talk, their infernal Tree of Heaven could soon be coming up through the library floor.

Lambeth councillors might from time to time wish that Trees of Heaven would throttle all the borough’s public libraries, so saving the council money and even more bad Press. For all that, there’s an expensive council consultation under way, ending Monday 23 February. This Tree of Heaven should be sent to meet its maker forthwith, the Friends of the Durning say. A Chinese immigrant, Ailanthus altissima has yet to make it onto the banned invasive species list, the garden-centre industry being no less vigorous in defence of this fast-grower than the Tree of Heaven is in self-defence.

Lambeth Council is terrified that its insurers will no longer cover the Durning if the tree stays. There is already ‘trespass’ of branches and roots onto neighbouring properties and bana-uk.com if someone’s badly hurt, Lambeth’s consultants say, the personal liability could go all the way up the Lambeth Council tree to the new Chief Executive, Sean Harriss. If the council’s lawyers are good enough, the claims might not also cite Harriss’s predecessor Derrick Anderson, who left at the end of 2014, or  the Council Leader, currently Lib Peck.

The question of lop-or-leave has been in out of court for two years and may soon be back there. When Lambeth decided to lop in 2012, it did so without doing its homework. There was protest from a local resident or residents, one of whom is reputed to have said that the tree does a valuable good job in blotting out the view towards nearby council homes.

In 2013, the opposition secured an injunction giving tree a stay of execution, followed by permission to put the council’s decision to judicial review. In June last year, the exquisitely-named Judge Phillip Sycamore quashed the council’s decision because it failed to take account of the tree’s being in a Conservation Area. On the other hand, the Durning tree ‘belongs’ to Lambeth Council (as does the library), and is not subject to a Tree Preservation Order.  Lambeth might be free to reach for the chainsaw if the council can show that the current consultation does cover the Conservation issues, and that the Tree of Heaven is doing more harm than good to the Kennington Conservation Area. That’s assuming there’s no fresh legal challenge to the tree’s removal. Meanwhile, around the Durning Library ‘a number’ of other Trees of Heaven are now reaching for the celestial sky.

Had Lambeth Council done its homework before having a go at this Tree of Heaven, it could have saved many thousands of pounds of public money. But at least the lawyers are happy.

‘Tree of Hell threatens native plants’: www.independent.co.uk

Official report: www.lambeth.gov.uk

The stay of execution:

www.standard.co.uk/news/london/judge-sycamore-saves-80yearold-tree-of-heaven-from-lambeth-council-giving-it-the-chop-9545369.html

Friends of Durning Library: www.durninglibraryfriends.org.uk

The Blob: Now it blobs up in Oval and Kennington

aerial view of development area oval gasometers

aerial view of development area oval gasometersYour well-known local property developer Lambeth Council is this August to ask itself for the go-ahead to redevelop the lucrative gasometer site next to the Kia Oval.

This Lambeth will do in cahoots with a private developer, Berkeley, that via deals with the likes of Lambeth, leapfrogs the normal planning system. Berkeley assumes some of the role of a public body such as its partner Lambeth in the acceptance or rejection of applications for planning permission from the likes of itself, ‘itself’ being Berkeley. Or maybe Lambeth. Or maybe both. Call it Lamberkeley?

The chums have declared this plum development opportunity to be the ‘Oval and Kennington Development Area’. In a ‘Development Area’ whatever Lamberkeley wants to do it can and will.

Lamberkeley has engaged forty shillings, a PR firm that claims to be ‘opinion movers and opinion shakers’. This mover and shaker firm enables its clients to ‘take the essence of grassroots campaigning to build and execute bespoke campaigns that shift the agenda and only now get you results’.

The Oval and Kennington Development Area agenda is to be shifted between now and August when a ‘masterplan’ will go to Lambeth Council for ‘review’. Agenda-shifting kicks off with a six-week ‘public consultation’ in May-June.

Essential to ‘the masterplan process’ is ‘local input’. This ‘input’ will be put in via a ‘public feedback exhibition’ at the Kia Oval on Tuesday 24 February between 4pm and 8pm.

Lamberkeley have yet to say what they’re going to do to the gasometer site, but will give some idea at the exhibition, where Lamberkeley functionaries will be on hand to dodge such questions as ‘How is The Oval The Oval without a  gasometer?’ or  ‘Since Lamberkeley is judge and jury, what chance has “the public” got of making any changes Lamberkeley does not want?’.

What is ‘The Blob’?

Oval gasometers to go? (The Telegraph)

Oval and Kennington Development Area Masterplan exhibition material (from Wednesday 25 February)

The Blob: first it came for Vauxhall Bus Station, then it came for Vauxhall

the blob science fiction film 1958

the blob science fiction film 1958Well, dear resident of ‘Vauxhall’ did you know you no longer live in Vauxhall,?  Whatever you may think, you now apparently live in ‘Nine Elms on the South Bank’. Where? Never heard of it before? Well, according to ‘The Blob’, NESB ‘covers an area from the Albert Embankment at Lambeth Palace in the London Borough of Lambeth to Queenstown Road in the London Borough of Wandsworth’.

And ‘The Blob’?

Like ‘NESB’, ‘The Blob’ is another made-up word, this one borrowed from the 1958 and 1988 science-fiction films of that name. Back then, The Blob meant ‘an alien life-form, without soul or vertebrae, that consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.’ Around here, it still does and as we see it in Vauxhall is presently composed of a faceless mass of local government functionaries and PR persons. Supercharged with money, public and private, and freed from local consent or regulation (such as a requirement that 40% of new homes should not be for the rich), The Blob slithers on and on.

Thus, you go to sleep in Vauxhall and wake up in NESB. Who says so? The Blob. Where did the Blob come from? Not from outer space, it seems, but from the office of the present and preceding Mayors of London, one Labour, one Tory, both of whom Think Big. So big that the thought became the deed, or at least The Blob. Around here, it began as ‘VNEB’ (for Vauxhall Nine Elms and Battersea). To this was tacked on ‘Opportunity Area’, so launching in the Middle and Far East a property gold rush along the Vauxhall bank of the Thames .

Blobbing along the riverbank little can grow in its wake except tall glass. It’s trying to do away with Vauxhall Bus Sation. Now The Blob apparently has engulfed and done away with ‘Vauxhall’ itself, a name dating back to the early 13th century. Vauxhall wasn’t consulted about being abolished in The Blob’s eyes, and there’s still a bit of Blob called the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, but for how long the ‘Vauxhall’ bit will last, who can say? For box-ticking reasons, The Blob – through Richard Buckle, Head of Urban Design at the Mayor’s Transport for London – now seeks your thoughts on a ‘Public Realm Design Guide’. That’s the odd inch of green stuff between the swathes of ‘private realm’ or ‘all those absentee-owner flats and Chinese-owned hotels’.

Consultation (until 16 February):

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/policy/nesb-public-realm

What did The Blob ever do for you?

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/14/battersea-nine-elms-property-development-housing

Save Vauxhall Bus Station online petition:

Sign the online petition

Read about the Save Vauxhall Bus Station campaign

Northern Line Extension: legal challenge withdrawn

northern line extension

northern line extensionLooks like it’s full speed ahead for the Northern Line Extension after the rapid-fire withdrawal of a High Court challenge to an Act of Parliament nodded through at Transport for London’s bidding.

The Transport Works Act OK’ing the start of building work on NLE sailed through Parliament on 13 October 2014.

But then notes for Lambeth Councillors ahead of the 9 February meeting of the Lambeth Cabinet referred to a ‘legal challenge’. A Thomas Bartlett had on 15 January been granted an injunction that would ‘delay the start of the [NLE] project, even if the challenge is quashed.’

But not to worry. Lo and behold, on 9 February, the very day of the Lambeth ‘Cabinet’ meeting, the High Court announced that Thomas Bartlett had withdrawn his objection. No details were given. A deal, it would seem, has been done. At a time of austerity and http://lichvaalstereo.co.za/canadian-pharmacy great financial and market uncertainty, Transport for London is now free to splash out vast sums of public money on an uncosted project of dubious value.

Except of course to Wandsworth developers and to TfL, which will operate NLE. With nobody willing or able to say how much NLE will cost, and given the propensity for public projects costs to balloon, it is still not clear that NLE will ever be completed,

Lambeth Council regards itself as a partner in NLE and is even putting money into it. NLE involves digging up Vauxhall to drive a second Tube tunnel under Vauxhall homes, many of which already have the noise and vibration from the Victoria line.

 

Read previous Vauxhall Society posts on the Northern Line Extension