Oval Partnership Blog

Issues affecting the Kennington/Oval/Vauxhall area


A meeting was held today between the Oval Partnership/local business people (Michael Keane, Jade Castello, Mark Ryan and Barnaby Shaw) and Transport for London representatives at their offices in Albany House, Petty France. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss concerns about the Northern Line Extension and its impact on local businesses particularly in the Kennington/Oval area. The key points and discussion are summarised below.

Kennington Station upgrade
Reassurance was sought on whether a full upgrade of Kennington Station would eliminate or reduce the need for planned works at Kennington Green and Kennington Park. TfL reported that a study was underway and so reassurance could not be given until the findings were known.

Kennington Park
Concern was expressed that the proposed re-location of Bee Urban to an area of low footfall would damage their business/social enterprise. TfL stated that the relocation was Lambeth’s responsibility. Concern was expressed that the consultation had resulted in an excessively expensive solution for the Kennington Park site. TfL claimed that the proposed solution (building the head house on the Keepers Lodge site) was not necessarily more expensive than building the head house over the shaft. TfL claimed that the original consultation did not include a community building and the current approach was therefore supported.

Kennington Green
Concern was expressed at the lack of detailed business impact assessment the one that had been carried out was too general. It was pointed out that a lease on a local shop had fallen through as a direct result of the planned works for the Northern Line Extension and that the shop remaining empty was damaging local businesses. TfL stated that there were statutory mechanisms for claiming compensation. TfL agreed that there would be a negative effect on local businesses while works were going on. The view was expressed that negative effects would be permanent.

A discussion took place on the quality of consultation. MR stated that as a local business owner, he had not been made aware of the extent of works on Kennington Green. TfL defended their approach on consultation. MK pointed out that the two Claylands Road residents whose house was threated with demolition under one NLE option had never been formally told that the threat had been removed. MK expressed the view that whilst TfL consultation had been almost excessive at times, some individuals/businesses most likely to be affected by aspects of the NLE were not specifically targeted as well as they might

Oval businesses
The NLE would have a negative effect on Oval Parade business due to (i) a marginal reduction in foot fall as tube users divert to Nine Elms stations, and (ii) further reduction in traffic which had already reduced by some 30% over the last 10 years. It was suggested that the 2005 upgrade of Oval Station was a missed opportunity and the situation would be improved if some of the Oval Station surface structures were rebuilt to include additional commercial/retail space.

NLE Health Impact Assessment
This was criticised because it appeared to omit basic health impact information particular on the number of people affected by noise and vibration from the new tunnels. Discussion was curtailed due to time constraints and MK would write with issues.

Statement of common ground
A draft statement of common ground was produced outlining a number of points for TfL to consider. It was made clear to TfL that any agreement must be ratified by the Oval Partnership management committee.

Mitigation measures were suggested including changes to red routes to make area more pedestrian/business friendly. It was also suggested that some research be conducted to better understand the impact of the NLE other transport infrastructure It was agreed that the points raised were within the wider TfL remit but not with the remit of those present and therefore could not be agreed.

It was agreed that NLE work would damage local businesses. TfL stated that they would not wish to see any business area damaged and would use best endeavours to see that was the case. In the absence of any substantive agreement on the suggestions to help local businesses the Oval Partnership remains of the view that the NLE will benefit businesses in Battersea but will have a negative effect on the businesses in the Kennington/Oval area.


health Impact Assessment prospective purchaser


The next open meeting of the Oval Partnership will be held on Wednesday 10 July (7:00 for 7:30pm) at the Bee Urban/Kennington Park Keepers Lodge siteThe meeting is being held at this venue to highlight that this beautiful corner of Kennington Park is under threat of demolition (un-necessarily in my view) from the Northern Line extension.

More than 50 people turned out on Saturday for the St Marks Churchyard makeover event. With the Princes Trust team from Friday, we can rightly claim to have put on Lambeth’s largest community Freshview event to date. Below are a few pictures with some more here.

By any measure this was a successful event so much so that we want to do something similar in September.  We’ll let people know when the dates are firmed up.  There are so many people that should be thanked it’s difficult to know where to start.  Without the volunteers nothing would have got done so the biggest thanks must go to them but here are a few of the organisations involved

  • The Lambeth  Freshview team – what a wonderful idea this scheme is
  • St Marks Church – Stephen Coulson -vicar of St Marks- was magnificent
  • Lambeth Parks – Who gave lots of support
  • City and Country Farmer’s Market – Laurentiu , market manager with a particular thanks to Cafe Bancarella who provided tea and coffee
  • Princes Trust Kennington Centre – Rachael’s team had the glory of being first. 
  • Oval Partnership -For helping set up the Oval Farmer’s Market in the first place, keeping up the interest over the years and being there when you were needed

And an extra special thanks to local councillor Jane Edbrooke for encouraging me to be ‘green champion’ for this event.

The St Marks churchyard makeover event got off to a good start today – It always pays to plan ahead. The skips, tools and materials arrived on time and, more importantly, people. Having seen what was achieved today, let’s give an extra special and warm community thank you to some local heroes:

* Princes Trust Kennington Centre – Rachel,Matthew and their team made a good start on repairing the mud patches
* Antonio – he carried forty 25kg bags on his own into the churchyard because a car prevented the lorry dropping the pallet off on site
* Rodney – he was getting the crypt toilets up and running

And lets not forget Keith from Lambeth who was dropping off the tools for the Lambeth Freshview Team. More thanks are due to the Lambeth Parks team who supplied some of the materials inlcluding top soil, mulch and compost etc. we are trying to source all of the materials for the event locally. The excellent hardware shop, Blissets, on the Brixton Road supplied the grass seeds – I suspect we’ll back for some other things tomorrow.

Lots of volunteers are expected on Saturday but let’s not forget they will need some materials to work with.

This picture was taken at Travis Perkins – the largest local supplier of building materials. The right hand pallet in this picture has 25kg bags of Mcadam pothole repair material (we need 20 of these). To the left of the picture there are some 25kg bags of 10mm pea shingle (we need another 20 bags of these). When I was young lad (…groan…) I could have carried them -two at a time – to the church. Fortunately for me, they will be delivered.

This Saturday, we will be attempting a makeover of St Marks Churchyard (see pictures below)  in one day. The Oval Farmers’ Market is on at the same time so we won’t have far to go for refreshments. Lots of people have already committed to coming – ten the day before! We are still looking for more volunteers for Saturday though – just an hour or so will do. The more people we get, the more we can get done. Volunteers are welcome at any time but here are the approximate timings for the day:

08:00 Market starts being set up
09:30 Event organisers stand opens
10:00 Morning session for volunteers starts
12:30 Group photo and break for working lunch
13:00 Afternoon volunteer session starts
14:30 Start clearing up
15:00 Event finishes

Please don’t think this is all about work.  This is a  community social event.  Just come along and enjoy it.

The driveway in front of St Marks Church has been patch repaired with concrete and has a number of potholes which become very evident when it rains. For best quality work such driveways should be hot laid with ashphalt.  This creates a consistent and durable finish but is expensive.

Today we were testing the pothole repair system that will be used on Saturday (see dark patch in the lower part of this photo).  Once the repair weathers in, it will be less noticeable.  This particular section, used one 25kg bag.  On Saturday a further 20 or so bags will be required.

The weather is looking promising for Saturday at least according to this http://uk.weather.com/weather/10day-London-UKXX0085 but we’ll have to see nearer the time

The relative merits of different types of paint for painting metal were being considered today. Choosing the right colours for playground equipment is not easy.  Most people suggest primary colours but which are best for the site?

The St Marks Churchyard makeover on the 21st July will be the first time a large group of local volunteers will have worked together on this particular site.  One of the biggest challenges will be co-ordinating the work – making sure the teams have enough people, tools and materials. Today some of the tasks the teams will be tackling were being checked out.

1. To ease the pressure on Saturday, skips and materials are due to arrive on the Friday and some preliminary work is being planned for that day thanks to input from the Princes Trust.  Work includes repairs/maintenance to the entrance to he market and the proposed cycle stand area.

To help cope with the pedestrian traffic, interlocking hexagonal matting will be laid down at the entrance to the market.  This will help protect the roots of the grass, and give it a longer life once the grass has been given time to grown back again.



2. One of the more challenging and long overdue tasks for the day is to sort out this mud patch. The ground needs to be aerated, levelled with new top soil/compost and sown with grass seeds. Laying turfs was an option but they are expensive and it’s not the best time of year for this approach.

3. A well maintained rose bed can look very beautiful. At the moment, the rose bed at the rear of the church looks more like a thisle bed. The roses are still in bloom so it is not the ideal time to be pruning/dead heading them but there is still a lot of weeding to be done. Given the number and size of the thistles, this is definitely a job that will need some decent gardening gloves.

The rose bed could do with some additional plants to show it at its best. However, as there is so much basic maintenance to be done, the focus of the day will be on getting the basics right rather than planting. There is a case that if the rose bed uis not going to be maintained correctly then it might as well be converted to grass but let’s see what local opinion supports.

4. If saplings behind the gravestones are allowed to grow unchecked, they will eventually push them over as has already happened in some places. There is also a lot of debris -bear cans, bottles etc. that needs to be removed.

As the market will be operational on the day, access to the gravestones will be limited in certain sections.  It might prove easier to pass cuttings/debris through the railings than between the market stalls. Skips will be situated near the front of the church which means wheelbarrows can stick mostly to hard paved areas rather than soft ground.



5. In addition to painting the playground equipment, the bushes shown here need to be trimmed.  The playground has been used by drinkers in the past and it is considered important to improve lines of sight.

Getting quotes for materials first thing this morning for next Saturday’s churchyard makeover. Picked up a bag of pot hole repair material -It’s best to test these things out first before making a commitment!

Local residents, Anna, Claire and Tim were helping out with the volunteers recruitment – despite the rain, we’ve now potentially got some 50 volunteers signed up for next week. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain too much otherwise we’ll have to spend all of our time drinking tea and coffee!