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Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

THE OVAL BLOG HAS NOW MOVED

08 Mar

All postings and comments from this blog have now been moved to  http://www.mjkeane.com/ovalblog/

There will be no further postings on this particular site but it will be left here for archive purposes

 
 

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.]

 

 

 

 

 

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.

_KOV6100

 

 

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.

Method:
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:

Results:
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.

Analysis:
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.

Conclusion:
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.

 

_KOV6070

 

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.

Method:
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:

Results:
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.

Analysis:
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.

Conclusion:
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.

 

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

 

St Marks Churchyard playround railing day 2

11 Oct

It may not look like much progress from the previous day but it takes three people to move one of those base stones. As of yesterday, all of the base stones are back in place. Some of the railings were removed and stored away safely overnight. The remaining section had a temporary support fixed to make it safe. Notice the loose leading. The bottom of each railing has to be leaded into the base stone. This helps prevent corrosion and keeps the railing secure but makes it difficult for them to be taken out when they are being repaired.

 

St Marks Churchyard playground railing repair day 1

09 Oct

After years of waiting, the St Marks Churchyard playground railings are finally getting repaired. The work is expected to take a few days so I thought it worth documenting the repair for posterity.  Back in June 2012  I wrote this article about the damaged playground railings.  A year on from that nothing had been done so I went out and found a contractor and got a quote. The Oval Partnership offered to pay for the repair but in the end the Oval Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme officer arranged for the order to be placed and Lambeth Parks will be paying.  In spite of the delay, we must not lose sight of the fact that the damage was caused by a driver.  It is a pity that whoever was responsible cannot be found and made to pay for this.

I originally hoped that the work could be tackled with volunteers because it looked like the walls/railings could simply be pushed back into place.  Common sense prevailed though.  Some jobs are best left to professionals.

Railing repair day 1:

The railings and heads have to be removed before anything can be done. As suspected,  as soon the railings were touched,  one of the base stones fell over and had to be put back upright -easier said than done with stones of this size. In the original collision, one of the top rails was damaged leaving a single bolt precariously holding the frame together.  The close up of the finial shows the the G-clamp easing the pressure on the bolt.