Archive for May, 2013

Survey of street furniture

28 May

Street furniture – lamp posts, parking signs, parking bollards etc. – is something that most poeple take for granted.  After a while, you don’t even notice them.   I did a survey of 10 residential streets around the Oval area and found that on average each street has some 47 items of street furniture and 11 planted trees.  Here is a summary of the results

Total items of street furniture 467 100%
  Lamp posts 94 20.1%
  Dedicated parking signs and machines 146 31.3%
  Bollards 113 24.2%
  Signage (Road names, safety and directions) 45 9.6%
  Telegraph/utility poles 7 1.5%
  Utility boxes 19 4.1%
  Cycle rails 4 0.9%
  Post boxes 2 0.4%
  Public telephones 0 0.0%
  Waste bins 2 0.4%
  Pedestrian crossing related (including railings) 35 7.5%
Trees 110

[Note: Trees are shown seperately on the basis that the area would have had trees growing naturally before roads and houses were built.]

Most bollards are parking related in that they have been put their to prevent cars mounting pavements.  The survey therfore suggests that more than half of all street furniture are parking related – at least in parking controlled areas.  The next time you are out and about take a few moments to count the items of street furniture in your street.  Perhaps you can see some ways to reduce clutter and improve the environment.  If you do, submit your ideas to the Lambeth Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme.


Bel Fiore – One year on

26 May

Bel Fiore at 82 Brixton Road is the only local flower shop.  Today they were celebrating their first anniversary (see article on Bel Fiore from this time last year) and it was nice to see local residents joining in the celebrations.  Not every shop manages to become part of the community social scene but Bel Fiore seems to have achieved this.  Long may they prosper.


Do secure cycle sheds reduce number of cars?

25 May

It is probably a little early to tell but I get the impression that the new secure cycle sheds appearing around the neighbourhood may be starting to reduce the number of cars on the street.

The picture below shows the parking situation in Handforth road around one of the secure cycle sheds in Handforth Road.  Here is the corresponding google streetview taken before the new secure cycle sheds were installed.  Of course this is not a scientific comparison and any apparent improvement may be wishful thinking but this is a useful informal check on how things might be changing.  No doubt local residents will be better placed to know the actual impact.Parking around secure cycle shed Handforth Road

The following link shows a map of local secure cycle parking sheds which are managed by Cycle Hoop. A cycle parking space currently costs £42 per year with a £25 deposit.   In contrast, a car parking permit can cost anything between £0 and £260 with a mid range car costing £149.50 per year.  Although parking a cycle is cheaper than most car parking permits the pricing does not yet seem equitable.  One car takes up the space off about 6 cycles (see note) so that implies cycles are being charged at a rate of approximately £252 (6 x £42) per car parking space year.  This is near enough the same as the highest emisssion car.  I appreciate secure car parking would be even more expensive but if we are to encourage more people to use cycles the pricing needs to improve.  Perhaps they could subsidised with fines on those who are caught stealing/vandalising bikes!

Note: Since writing this, I went out and checked the size of those sheds.  Each unit has space for six cycles which takes up the space of a very small car.  Arguably, the calcuation should be nearer 12 x £42 not 6 x £42 but the point remains the same.  Cycles are being charged at a rate as high if not higher than a large high emission car.  As things stand, residents in some streets might be better off with a bank of Barclays cycle hire bikes. (£2 per day for ad hoc use or £90 per year if you can keep each trip under 30 minutes.).     



Lambeth Co-operative Youth and Play stall at Oval Farmers’ Market

25 May

Today I was helping out on the Lambeth Co-operative Youth and Play stall at the Oval Farmer’s Market. The focus today was on promoting the Kennnington Park One O’Clock Club/Adventure Playground this coming wednesday. Lambeth want to encourage local communities take on the management and runnning of certain youth and play services. The Kennington Park site will include a new £1M building and the idea is that Lambeth will contribute to the running costs of this for the first few years with the aim of the services becoming self- sustaining.

Here is a list of some local forthcoming events:

• Wednesday 29th May 1.30-3.30pm Kennington Adventure Playground /One O’clock Club
• Wednesday 12th June 1.30-3pm Vauxhall Park One O’clock Club
• Friday 14th June 1.30-3pm Slade Gardens One O’clock Club

Although these events are being held during the day while the services are open there will be other opportunities to get involved. If you are interested in finding out more please e-mail or telephone:

Telephone: 020 7926 0136


How busy are local underground stations?

24 May

Have you ever wondered how busy local underground stations are? The chart below shows Transport for London’s official annual numbers of entry and exits from the four local underground stations: Kennington, Oval, Vauxhall and Stockwell. Both Kennington and Vauxhall stations appear to have got busier since 2007. In contrast, Oval and Stockwell stations have remained about the same.

Entry and Exit Trends at Local Underground Stations

Presumably the increase at Vauxhall is in part due to new developments – both residential and commercial – becoming operational for example additional phhadses of St George Wharf (The bus station opened in 2004 so pre-dates this recent increase). As other developments like St George Wharf Tower, Market Towers, Kylun Towers, US Embassy etc. become operational it seems likely that Vauxhall both station and pedestrian traffic will become even busier

The reasons for the increase at the already overcrowded Kennington Station are less obvious but does not bode well for the proposed Northern Line Extension which will make the station even busier as commuters switch between lines. Current plans for the Northern Line Extension do not include an upgrade of Kennington Station.


The best local green roof?

21 May

At first glance the picture below looks like a simple garden. Click on the picture for a closer look and you will see that it is a roof.

The Bee Urban hut on the Keeper’s Lodge site in Kennington Park has what is perhaps the best local green roof. It is certainly an excellent example and well worth a close look if you are planning something similar. Unfortunately, this particular green roof may not be around for much longer. It is due for demolition along with the Keeper’s Lodge (on right of picture) because of Transport for London plans for the Northern Line Extension whihc involve building a ventilation and emergency access ‘head house’ on the site.

Bee Urban - green roof and park lodge


Kennington Park Lodge to be demolished and thriving bee colony removed in favour of blot on the landscape?

19 May

Bee Urban - Checking the hives and park lodgeToday I visited a Bee Urban open day at Kennington Park lodge site.  The site is due to be demolished if current Transport for London plans for a permanent shaft at Kennington Park go ahead.

Current plans require demolition of the existing Kennington Park Lodge, shown here, and the closure/removal of a thriving bee colony. The shaft is required to provide ventilation and emergency access for the proposed Northern Line Extension.   Although a community hall is to be built,  it remains to be seen whether the site would be ever suitable for a bee colony again – large ventilation shafts and bees probably don’t mix.

Of the design, TfL have this to say:

“The designs of the head house and community building have been informed by consultation with the public, local community groups, the local authority and English Heritage.”

An interesting choice of words.  The proposed design results in a loss of green space and builds right up to the boundary of the park.  As design is a subjective matter, I will leave it to readers to check the designs.

Given the current state of public finances, I was a little surprised that TfL seem to have gone for the most expensive solution for this site.  The main shaft is to be dug in the adjacent ‘dog walking area’.  Instead of building the head house over that shaft, they are tunneling sideways 20 metres or so and then putting the head house where the Kennington Park lodge is. No doubt dog owners might not like the head house in the dog walking area but there may be better things to spend money on.

Here are some more pictures of the Bee Urban/Kennington Park Lodge site.





New anti-graffiti solution

19 May

Planning notificationsTransport for London, courtesy of Northern Line Extension proposal, seem to have come up with an ‘innovative’ anti-graffiti technique  – covering posts with planning notices.  These are about acquiring the subsoil – hopefully someone told the worms.

While I’m on the topic …

Planning notices are typically laminated A4 sheets.  Why is it that a notification to carry out work on a tree in someone’s back garden takes up as much space as developments like the 41 and 32 storey Kylun towers development at Vauxhall?  Perhaps planning notices should be proportional to the size of the development – say one A4 sheet for every 10 metres in height – that would soon sort out the local graffiti problem 🙂


Who needs secure bicycle parking?

18 May

There is absolutely no evidence that secure bike parking is needed…apart from pretty much everywhere you look.

It is sad that we can’t just leave our bicycles without having to double lock everything but that is the world we live in. I’ve only had one bicycle stolen from me over the years but that’s only because I’ve never left mine in a public place since – other than for a few minutes while going into a shop and even then I lock it. If it weren’t for the secure parking where I work, I probably wouldn’t have one. The new secure bicycle ‘sheds’ appearing around the neighbourhood may not be the most aesthetically pleasing but hopefully they will encourage a few more cyclists to take to the roads.

It wasn’t so long ago that vandalised bicycles were moving removed from around the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, that seems to have made way for a few more victims. Here are a few photos of vandalised bicycles. The first picture shows, I believe, some stolen wheels. A large number of police were holding a community event just around the corner and it would seem that a thief may have dropped his spoils.


The future of local youth play services

16 May

Are you interested in the future of local youth play services?  Would you like to get involved in managing/running these services?  Lambeth are planning some consultation events:

•       Wednesday 29th May 1.30-3.30pm  Kennington Adventure Playground /One O’clock Club
•       Wednesday 12th June 1.30-3pm Vauxhall Park One O’clock Club
•       Friday 14th June 1.30-3pm Slade Gardens One O’clock Club

There will also be a stand at the Oval Farmers’ Market on Saturday 25 May 2013.

Lambeth are looking to take a more co-operative approach to delivering local youth play services and would like to hear from individuals or groups that might be interested in managing/running  services currently delivered by Lambeth.  Are you interested?


Telephone: 020 7926 0136