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Archive for December, 2013

St Marks Church war memorial upgrade

20 Dec

St Marks Church war memorial has been upgraded and people will now be able to approach it more easily. I do have some reservations about the upgrade though:

(1) It might have been better if they used traditional York stone to match the traditional church pathways. Perhaps the new paving stones might look better when they age but at the moment, the churchyard hard paving areas are becoming a patchwork of different materials,

(2) As a point of principle, if a grass area is paved over, it would be nice to offset that by freeing up some existing hard paves areas for planting/grassing over (That misnamed “Kennington Oval greenspace” opposite the Oval Station).

I understand some benches will be coming but in the mean time, here are some pictures to mark the progress so far.

 

Oval Farmers’ Christmas Event

17 Dec

The Friends of St Marks Churchyard started in October 2013 and they were organising their first Christmas event last Saturday.  Lots of new members were signed up and the mulled wine was definitely worth having.  I was very impressed by the effort put into contacting local businesses who made donations towards the event.  Carols were courtesy of Kennington Choir. Here are some pictures from the day.

 

 

Northern Line Extension Agreement with Lambeth

12 Dec

In cross examination at the Northern Line Extension Public Enquiry  (see http://www.persona.uk.com/NLE/) Transport for London (TfL) revealed that they will be paying nothing for the use of Kennington Green and Park.  Although they are paying nominal amounts for the subsoil rights – £50 in the case of Kennington Green – they will be paying nothing to occupy the land as such.

The following link shows a copy of the NLE agreement dated 12 November 2013 between Lambeth, Transport for London and London Underground

TFL17 Lambeth and TfL agreement Nov13

The agreement includes money for “Relevant NLE Sites Consideration” which I interpret as TfL paying Lambeth for the following:

  • £50 for Kennington Green permanent land/subsoil interests
  • £800k for the acquisition of the Kennington Park Keeper’s Lodge including permanent land/subsoil interests throughout Kennington Park
  • £24k towards Lambeth legal and surveying expenses

 

A further £50k + VAT towards costs of relocating Bee Urban will also be paid. Additional costs associated with re-instating the spaces once the NLE work are complete would be required regardless.  For example, Lambeth require a deposit and would charge community groups/commercial users for any damages to the green spaces on top of any daily rate.  Page 49 of the following guide indicates Lambeth’s charges for commercial events http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/2BA23F6E-1A42-42E7-89F3-018225BC5DA4/0/EventsGuideV14b.pdf)

The financial aspects of the NLE agreement appear to be very favourable for TfL so much so that I commended them on their negotiation skills.  On the other hand, Lambeth residents appear to have been short changed by up to £2.9M based on the following analysis.

  • Sale of Lodge at under market price £150k  (£950k-£800k)
  • Kennington Green Charges  £547,500  (£500 x 365 days x 3 years)
  • Kennington Park Charges  £2,190,000  (£2,000 x 365 days x 3 years)

The precise amount will depend on what is a fair market price for occupying public green spaces.  Community groups would be charged several hundred pounds per day for occupying such land and commercial operations even more.  TfL are proposing exclusive access 24 hours per day for several years and there should be an appropriate daily charge for that occupancy.

As far as I am aware, Lambeth did not consult with the public on the contents of the NLE Agreement and if there is some ‘benefit in kind’ at work here this must be made transparent.  The tax authorities would not take kindly to public bodies using sleight of hand to avoid paying what is due and this seems to be the case with the current NLE Agreement

 I would not wish to suggest for one minute that anything illegal or improper has gone on here. I’m sure officials on all sides would have been acting with the best intentions.  However, there is a rather large financial shortfall that needs to be accounted for. 

With this in mind,  I have in the first instance written to Lambeth asking for the matter to be investigated and have also raised the issue with the NLE Public Enquiry.

 

[Declaration of Interest:  Although the NLE tunnels pass near my house, I am personally in favour of it.  My interest is mostly about the impact on local shops and businesses.  At the Enquiry I was making representations on their behalf particularly those around the Kennington Oval area.  Unfortunately TfL seem willing to sacrifice local shops and businesses in these areas (in the short/medium term) for what they think will be a long term benefit.  I disagree with their analysis. There is an existing commercial imbalance in the area caused by the congestion charge zone and ill thought out parking restrictions.  The NLE will add to the imbalance. I will continue to press for rebalancing and improvements to the public realm in commercial areas a I believe this will help local shops/businesses to flourish.]

 

 

 

 

 

The search for Kennington Oval

02 Dec

Several fellow tweeters have commented on the Kennington Oval [the name has got to change] article about what the name of the triangular space opposite Oval Station and St Marks Church should so here is a follow up.

Kennington Oval greenspace sign
Just to prove that it is the ‘Kennington Oval’ here is the sign to prove it. The sign mentions Brit Oval (now Kia Oval) so perhaps those who chose the name felt that the ‘Kennington Oval’ had become available.

 

 

 

 

 

Kenningon Oval green space signs

And in case we didn’t get the message the first time, Lambeth Parks kindly tell us again on a nearby sign that this is indeed the Kennington Oval. So far, I have detected five names for the area albeit with slightly different boundaries. For the record they are:

 

Kennington Little common

The area marked in red on the right is, I believe, the original approximate boundary of Kennington Little Common which at the time was also known as Gallows Common or Gallows Green due to the hangings that took place there

 

 

 

 

 

Kennington Oval greenspaceAround 1820, the site was divided by Camberwell New Road – a turnpike resulting from the building of Vauxhall Bridge.  This effectively created a smaller triangle from the larger one.

 

Footfall at existing and proposed Bee Urban Location

01 Dec

Bee Urban is a social enterprise based at the Kennington Park Keeper’s Lodge with outposts at multiple locations.     Although they are due to be relocated as a consequence of the Northern Line Extension, the Kennington Park Keeper’s Lodge site is on Lambeth’s disposal list so their future at the site is not guaranteed.  The current proposal is  to move them to the Kennington Park depot area.

Some businesses/enterprises like Bee Urban depend to varying degrees on footfall.
The following time-lapse film illustrates the difference in foot fall between the existing Bee Urban location (Kennington Park Keeper’s Lodge) and proposed location (Kennington Park depot area).

Method:
A sequence of four time-lapse  films were shot on Sunday 1 December between about 10:30am and 1:30pm with each sequence covering approximately 30 minutes.  The films were shot a rate of 1 frame every 4 seconds. The weather was overcast.  Footfall on a sunny day is likely to be higher and on a rainy day, lower.  To reduce effects of footfall varying by time of day, the camera position alternated between the two locations being changed every 30 minutes or so.  The film was shot when Bee Urban was closed to ensure that any self-generated foot fall was excluded.

Analysis:
There are clear differences in foot fall between the two locations.  Although the area outside the Keepers’ Lodge appears relatively busy in terms of footfall, this is poor in commercial terms.  Based on this limited sample, footfall appears insufficient to sustain a profitable business dependent on foot fall alone.  It would suit a business which generates new footfall or one that relies on the internet sales/telephone ordering.  In contrast the footfall at the proposed depot area is virtually non existent.

Note:  Immediately behind the camera position at the depot area there is a path leading to St Agnes Place and Kennington Park Adventure Playground (the path was closed at the time of filming).  The building on the left is the café with a path in front to the right.  The current landscaping and path locations mean that the footfall on these paths is too far from the proposed Bee Urban site entrance to benefit them.  

Conclusion:
As currently configured, the Kennington Park depot area is not suitable for a business/enterprise dependent on foot fall.  Any business located there would have to rely solely on a combination of self-generated footfall and internet sales/telephone ordering.