The community stall at the Oval Farmers’ Market has always been a good place to canvas views of the local population on a variety of issues. Yesterday, it was being used by the Save Vauxhall Bus Station campaign. Activity at the stall appeared brisk.
I wasn’t directly involved (too busy doing follow up consultation on the Oval Triangle and attending a Friends of St Marks Churchyard meeting) but understand the majority canvassed were not aware of the proposal to demolish the bus station and were against it once they had heard. A minority had no opinion on the matter and only a small minority were content for it to be demolished.
There can be little doubt that the Vauxhall gyratory area needs to be improved. However, Lambeth and TfL appear to have polarised local opinion by ‘promoting’ what they think the solution is before they had asked the local community. Now there seems to be some back tracking going on but the damage has already been done. My preference would be to get behind a positive vision for Vauxhall gyratory and I haven’t seen one yet.
Let’s not forget that the TfL/Lambeth legacy to the area has been three of the top 10 most dangerous junctions in London for cyclists (Vauxhall gyratory, Oval junction, Elephant and Castle). Vauxhall Bus Station opened in 2004 and ten years later it is threatened with demolition by those responsible for putting it there in the first place. Their past record does not instil me with confidence that a sensible vision for Vauxhall will emerge from this process. Perhaps it is time to let the local community try.