Archive for November, 2013

Kennington Oval [the name has got to change] clear up

30 Nov

Many thanks to all those who turned up to clear ‘Kennington Oval’.  It was a confusing start though as people didn’t know where ‘Kennington Oval’ was so volunteers started in the churchyard!  Still, the team finally found it by 10:30 and managed to make a good start on clearing up.     Let’s hope Lambeth street care,  who are responsible for cleaning the area, get the hint.

The name of the space has certainly got to change. I’m not sure who in Lambeth started calling this triangular space  Kennington Oval but it is plain wrong.  I think it best that we leave ‘Kennington Oval’ for the cricket ground and the road that goes around it.  As the space has been triangular since about 1820 – getting on for 200  years – I think we might as well start calling it Kennington Triangle .  This seems particularly apt as the volunteers ‘disappeared’ for a while this morning and contractors seems to avoid the area as if it were the Bermuda Triangle 🙂

Starting to get a few ideas about how best to use the space but it is early days yet.  A leak was pointed out near the bus stop – water is flowing up through the ground near a tree and flowing out onto the pavement.  Apparently it has been like this for years.  Surely not.   Here are a few pictures of the day.


How old is the ‘Oval desert island’ (aka Kennington Oval) and how did it come about?

28 Nov

The Kennington Oval may refer to the road adjacent to the Oval Cricket ground, the cricket ground itself or, rather confusingly, the triangular piece of land opposite St Marks Church and the Oval Station.  This article is about that triangular piece of land that TfL controlled red routes have arguably turned into an urban desert island although the triangular shape itself is getting on for 200 years old.

This map of 1868 clearly shows the triangle as does this map circa 1820.  However, this slightly earlier map from 1817  seems to suggest that the triangle was then linked up to the site where St Marks Church, Kennington (built 1822-24) now is but as the area of interest is right on the edge of the map, it is not conclusive.

The triangle almost certainly arose as a consequence of Vauxhall Bridge (originally Regent Bridge) opening in 1816.   The opening of the bridge established a demand for  Camberwell New Road  – a turnpike road authorised by an 1818 Act of Parliament (according to British History on line).  The new road linked into to Harleyford Street and then on to Vauxhall Bridge.  The siting of St Marks Church emphasised the boundary and the triangle was properly formed probably by 1822 at the latest but probably no earlier than 1818.

The triangular space is bounded by the A3 (Kennington Park Road) , A23 (Brixton Road) and A202 (Camberwell New Road).  These same sides of the triangle were, in 1868, named upper Kennington Lane, Kennington Road and Windmill Row.   The  1822 and 1817 maps show upper Kennington Lane as Harleyford Place.  Camberwell New Road was then New Camberwell Road.

It is a possibility that the New Camberwell Road followed an existing path defined perhaps by desire lines and the path may well have continued to Harleyford Street thereby defining the third side of the triangle so the shape may be relatively ancient.  However, it probably became a distinct triangle defined by roads circa 1820 which means that the ‘Kennington Oval’ is coming up for its 200th anniversary.  It would be nice to get the space sorted out including it’s ambiguous name. It is now being suggested that the space be given a more appropriate name – Kennington Triangle being one option.




Is Kennington Station on the right side of the road?

26 Nov

The simple answer is no, Kennington Station is on the wrong side of the road or at least it needs another entrance/exit on the other side of Kennington Park Road.

There has been much debate about Kennington Station with the local community wanting to have it upgraded as a pre-requisite of the Northern Line Extension.  TfL on the other hand don’t want to upgrade it, at least not yet.  There has been a lot of technical discussions about the need for upgrade but one thing I haven’t seen discussed is the above ground pedestrian flows so I thought it worth doing one of my ad hoc surveys to see what the patterns are. The following survey is not intended to be statistically robust but it does seem to indicate a need for an entrance/exit on the other side of the road.

Standing opposite the Kennington  Station for one hour (from 17:10pm), the numbers entering and leaving the station were counted. Of those leaving the station, their direction was noted Here are the results of the survey:

448 exited the station and 35o entered

Of the 448 who exited the station:
* 150 (33%) stayed on the same side of Kennington Park Road as the station and 298 (67%) crossed over.
* 215( 48%) went towards Elephant and Castle (both sides of road), 135 (30%) went towards the Oval and the remaining 98 (22%) along Braganza Street.

In 2012, the average weekday exit figures for Kennington Station were 6,737. Assuming 67% cross Kennington Park Road we have  approximately 4,500 making that crossing each weekday (each way) and this is just those using the station.  If other pedestrians are added the figure would be much higher.

Kennington Station was built in 1890.  With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better if the entrance/exit to the station was built on the other side of the road thereby reducing the numbers of pedestrians needing to cross the road.  The current pedestrian flows above ground do seem to support the case for modernising Kennington Station.




Kennington Oval Cleanup – Saturday 30 November 10:00 to 12:00

26 Nov

VOLUNTEERS WANTED to clean up the Kennington Oval this Saturday.  Please come if you can.

The Kennington Oval is the triangular piece of land opposite the Oval Station and St Marks Church, Kennington.  I can’t  remember the last time the community got together and did anything in this space.  Certainly not in recent years.   This Saturday we are getting together to clean it up – mostly sweeping up the leaves and anything else that needs doing.  We want to transform this space so that it is better used. Too long has this been an  island cut off by busy roads.  If you have some ideas on how it might be used come and join us.



Which way do people turn when they come out of the Oval Station?

25 Nov

The burning question on absolutely nobody’s mind but my own is “Which way do people turn when they come out of the Oval Station?”

This apparently trivial question has something to do with the Northern Line Extension and its’ impact on shops/businesses along the Oval Parade. When the proposed Nine Elms Station opens, at least some local residents/employees will use that station instead of the Oval. This will, theoretically, result in a reduction in numbers of people walking along the Oval Parade and if that happens, some shops may lose out.  The following survey is not intended to be statistically robust but it hopefully gives an indication of the problem that businesses may face.

Standing outside the Oval Station for one hour (from 17:20pm), the numbers entering and leaving the Oval Station were counted. Of those leaving the station, the direction was noted Here are the results of the survey:

517 exited the station and 415 entered

Of the 517 who exited the station:
* 289 (56%) crossed the road towards St Marks Church;
* 165 (32%) walked along the Oval Parade;
* 43 (8%) crossed the road towards Kennington Park Estate;
* 20 (4%) walked back towards the Oval.

In 2012, the average weekday exit figures for the Oval Station were 9,138. Assuming 32% pass along the Oval Parade we have  approximately 2,900 passing along there each day (each way).  Many will cross the Clapham Road but a proportion will make their way towards South Lambeth Road.  It is this proportion that may prefer to use a new station at Nine Elms.  Short of asking everyone where they live and how much they spend it is not practical to determine an actual economic impact but a range can be estimated using some basic assumptions.

Assuming 100 divert to Nine Elms having spent an average £2 per day along the Oval Parade, local shops would lose in the order of £50k from their turnover.  If 200 diverted, £100k would be lost etc.  As a very rough rule of thumb, £50k turnover in a retail business equates to roughly one job or for a service business roughly two jobs.  Again as a very rough rule of thumb, for each 100 reduction in foot fall approximately 1.5 jobs would be lost.

The NLE will almost certainly result in a reduction of footfall along the Oval Parade and a corresponding reduction in turnover on those shops/businesses that depend on that footfall. No one can know for certain what that reduction will be.  The effect may prove negligible or large enough to put some shops out of business.

In terms of impact on particular shops it is known that not all businesses will be affected equally. For example, estate agents rely increasingly on the internet. In contrast, delicatessens, cafes, gift shops etc. rely almost entirely on foot fall and they are the ones that will be most affected should the  NLE result in a reduction of footfall along the Oval Parade.





Are weight limits on residential streets being enforced?

25 Nov

Prima Road, adjacent to St Marks Churchyard, has a vehicle weight limit of 3 tonnes. Given that most residential streets in Lambeth don’t seem to have such a weight limit, it is surprising that some overweight vehicles have found their way onto this particular street. I’m not an expert, but my interpretation of the weight limit plates is they are indeed over the limit which begs the question as to why the rules are not being enforced.


Welcome to Abi’s Deli at 20 Clapham Road

17 Nov

A warm welcome to the Oval’s newest business – Abi’s Deli at 20 Clapham Road – which opened for business on Wednesday 13th November 2013.I spoke to Nicky Clarke, director of Abi’s Deli about her plans for the business.

Abi’s Deli will be open 7 days per week. In addition to being a traditional delicatessen, they will be selling organic farm produce. They also have a tea room and outside area so I can see this becoming a popular place to meet. It is also nice to see them linking up with other local businesses (Some of the products they will be selling are sourced from suppliers at the Oval Farmers’ Market). Their are also plans to make use of the cellar areas under the pavement with a display on historical food markets. It will be interesting to see how this idea develops.

At the time of opening, they were still waiting for the shop design to be delivered and the interior will continue to improve over the coming months. The shop is spread over two floors and stretches out the back so do pop in and explore it. There is much more to it than what you can see through the window.


Here are some more pictures of Abi’s Deli.


Do more bus lanes mean more buses/coaches using them?

06 Nov

South Lambeth Road has a single bus lane along much of its’ length. In contrast, Clapham Road (between Stockwell and Oval) has two bus lanes. It would therefore seem reasonable that there might be more buses/coaches using roads with more bus lanes. Apparently not. Traffic Count statistics from the Department for Transport contains information on the numbers of buses/coaches using these roads. The chart below shows the annual average daily flows of buses/coaches along these roads. Surprisingly, the much wider Clapham Road with two bus lanes has far fewer buses/coaches than South Lambeth Road.

Clapham and South Lambeth buses coaches

Perhaps there may be a blip in the 2012 figures but on the surface it appears that bus/coach flows dropped along Clapham Road while flows along South Lambeth Road increased.

Of course bus lanes are not always for buses/coaches only. In most cases taxi drivers and cyclists are also allowed to use them as is the case along these two roads but the point remains valid. Roads with more bus lanes doesn’t necessarily mean more buses/coaches using them. Another reason to have a review of red route restrictions in this area.


Is South Lambeth Rd now busier than Clapham Rd?

06 Nov

Traffic Count statistics from the Department for Transport are a valuable source of information on local traffic flows. CP (Counting Point) 56739 relates to South Lambeth Road and CP 16101 to Clapham Road (near the junction of Fentiman Road). Local residents will be well aware that traffic patterns have changed but the scale is surprising.

The first chart shows the annual average daily flows (AADF) of motor vehicles for South Lambeth and Clapham Roads. Taken at face value, the figures for 2012 suggest that motor vehicle flows along Clapham Road (near junction of Fentiman Road) have halved since 2000. This implies that for the first time, it has become less busy than South Lambeth Road. This is particularly surprising as Clapham Road is wider than South Lambeth Road. It also begs the question as to why South Lambeth can manage business friendly permanent red route parking on both sides of the road whereas the Oval Parade business has no such benefit. A clear case for a review of red route parking.

Clapham and South Lambeth motor vehicles

The second chart shows the change in pedal cycle flows. Flows along the Clapham Road have increased by more than a factor of 3 since 2000. In contrast, flows along South Lambeth Road have increased by a relatively modest 70% or so. It is tempting to conclude that the cycle superhighway on Clapham Road has played a part in the increase but as that only took effect in 2011, it has arguably only supported an existing trend.

Back in 2000 it would hardly seem credible that cycles might one take over from motor vehicles as the main mode of road transport It may take another decade or so but the charts show that this is now a distinct possibility.

Clapham and South Lambeth pedal cycles