Monday, 29 October 2012

Who turned out the lights on Streatham Green?

The clocks have gone back an hour, and the evenings are getting darker - which makes the absence of any light after dusk on Streatham Green all the more concerning. The picture above was taken on Friday around 8.00pm, so this was happening before the clocks changed.

There are a lot of lights on the Green as this daylight picture below shows. But for some reason that aren't coming on after dark anymore.

A few locals noticed that one or two bulbs had gone on the lights, but nothing on this scale, so it remains a mystery whether this is an electrical fault, or deliberate (perhaps to save some money?). Either way, several people have been in contact with us expressing their concerns about the safety implications.

We have contacted both Lambeth Streetcare and Lambeth parks and we are waiting for a response. If anyone can, er, shed any light on the situation, we'd love to know!

[Update 31st Oct: An enquiry has been raised with the lights engineer in Lambeth and also a service request in case the lights are at fault. Because the roads around the Green are maintained by Transport for London, Lambeth are unclear whether it may be TFL's responsibility, not theirs. I have therefore also raised the matter with TfL]

[Update 14th Nov: As reported by @CarolineAlng here the lights on Streatham Green were back on last night ]

[Update 28th Nov: According to Lambeth the sensors on the top of the lights had been stolen and this was the reason why they were not coming on. ]

Saturday, 27 October 2012

CitySafe in Streatham

At an event during Streatham's Peace Week last month, we discussed the London Citizen's City Safe scheme which has been spreading across the UK.

The scheme works by setting up CitySafe Havens. These are public places where young people can seek refuge in a difficult situation.

CitySafe Havens sign a charter committing them to:

- Pledge to report 100% of crime to the Police
- Offer their premises as a safe haven for any young person in danger
- Maintain a relationship with neighbours, police and the local community
- Encourage their staff to attend CitySafe training
- Refuse to sell alcohol, knives or other dangerous items to underage or drunk customers.

Hundreds of local shops have signed up to become CitySafe Havens across London, as well as churches, mosques and synagogues, to reclaim the streets from crime, addressing local problems of crime with innovative action.

The initiative is now taking off in Streatham, as reported in the Streatham Guardian this week, in which local Green Lianna Etkind talks about the scheme.

The shops taking part on Streatham High Road are the All Aboard charity shop, Unikob The Stationer and Shoppers Delight newsagent.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Fireworks on Streatham Common - 2nd November

This year's fireworks display on Streatham Common will take place on Friday 2 November, (and not the usual 5th November of previous years).

The event is free and opens at 4.00pm. There will be a funfair, roaming entertainers (including stilt walkers, fire dancers) and craft and food stalls. The 20-minute display with music takes place at 8.00pm.

Lambeth Council is not allowing sparklers, fireworks for personal use or Chinese lanterns at the event. They are also asking people to travel by foot or public transport as there will be no parking around the Common.

There is more information here on the Lambeth Website

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Getting the pavement fixed on De Montfort Road

We have been contacted by a resident on de Montfort Road about a section of paving which the council is refusing to fix, towards the southern end on the other side of the road to number 21.

We have been told that at least one older person has tripped at this point and it is easy to see why. Many of the stones are very uneaven and some are sticking up. The Council guidelines state that a paving stone has to be at least 25mm (2.5cm) to constitute a 'trip hazard' and warrant repair. We are pushing the council to sort them out.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Streatham and Clapham High School Christmas Market - 12th December

Friends of Streatham and Clapham High School are hosting a Christmas Market, 12th December, 6.30 pm - 9 pm at the Senior School in Abbotswood Road, SW16 1AW.

Entry is £2.50 and includes a mulled wine and mince pie to get you in the spirit of Christmas.

There will be a range of stalls there to soothe everyone's Christmas shopping woes.

You can find out more on their Facebook Page here.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Update on Asbestos dumped in Gleneldon Mews

The Streatham Guardian has now run a story on the asbestos which has been dumped in Gleneldon Mews, following our blog last week.

As a quick recap, Ali at Ali’s cars who works opposite the dumped pile of asbestos in Gleneldon Mews, got in touch with us about it last week. He told us that he reported it to the council 4 months ago. He also told St Leonard’s Ward councillors, one of whom came down to see it. I spoke to several other people in the mews who said they had also been trying to get it moved. Four months later however, the pile is still there.

We contacted the council immediately. The council says it has no record of the report, but said they would remove it by yesterday. It is still there this morning, so we are chasing again and will continue to do so.

According to the health and Safety Executive, when dumped asbestos is found, the area around it should be cordoned off, and people cleared away, before it is removed.

[Update: Friday 19th October - Ali has been in touch to say that the asbestos was moved this afternoon]

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Progress on rubbish and fly-tipping outside Keen's Close, Mitcham Lane

We have been working away for six months or so to get the rubbish and fly-tipping cleared outside Keen's Close on Mitcham Lane (opposite St Leonard's Primary School) and prevent its continued accumulation.

We talked to local residents in the Close, and it turns out this has been a problem for years.

Lambeth have said that they won't clear it as it is not their responsibility.

Our investigations revealed that
L&Q Group actually have responsibility for the land, as they manage the Close. We therefore contacted them and discussed various options. In the meantime they have come down to clear the area several times, although the rubbish has quickly built up again afterwards.

They have now been in touch to say they have a budget to landscape the area and plant shrubs. This hopefully will prevent fly-tipping in the future and further rubbish and waste accumulating there. We'll post an update when it is done, and see whether it does the trick.

[Update 17/6/2013 The area has now been planted with shrubs see here ]

Monday, 15 October 2012

Meeting about changes in management of Streatham Common - 24th October

There will be an open meeting next Wednesday 24th October for local people to put their questions about who should manage Streatham Common, which is being facilitated by the Friends of Streatham Common.

The issue has arisen as a result of Lambeth's 'co-op' policy, in which it is transferring its services and assets away from council control in varying degrees. Lambeth's co-op approach has come under significant fire recently, for being a front for budget cuts, a form of privatisation and not providing enough resourcing for the groups who might be involved.

There are already concerns about the state of the Streatham Common Rookery and the years of under-investment, with a petition for further investment in it being recently launched.

The meeting will take place at 8.00pm in the Sainsbury's cafe opposite Streatham Common.

The options for managing Streatham Common that are being discussed include:

- Giving Friends' groups more say over spending priorities,

- Transferring management of the whole Common to an independent trust

- Something in-between involving schools and other local groups.

The meeting is being advertised as a chance to put views and ask questions to councillors and council officers. This say Friends of Streatham Common, will help the group understand local opinion and make sure they support the right options and don’t end up with a solution that nobody wants, or see opportunities missed that are taken up by other parks and open spaces.

The meeting is open to anyone and refreshments will be provided

For further information you can email: friendsofstreathamcommon (at)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Ramp access at the end of Riggindale Road

There were two vehicle crossovers at the end of Riggindale Road, on either side, which were inaccessible.

The steps on each side meant it was very difficult for anyone using a wheelchair to use that route to get to Tooting Common. It was also causing problems for those with mobility impairments or using mobility scooters, as well as an inconvenience to parents pushing buggies and prams.

One was outside Pinkerton Place.

The other was outside number 2 Riggindale Road.

We asked the Council to ramp the vehicle crossovers, which they did a couple of days ago outside Pinkerton Place:

...and outside 2 Riggindale Road

This part of our ongoing project to make the environment around Streatham more accessible.

For other examples see:

Thirlmere Road ramp access

Outside Wellfield Road Community Centre

Ramps on Tooting Bec Gardens

Pavement widening at the bottom of Tooting Bec Gardens/ Garrad's Road

Or a list here.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Kids demo at junction of Ambleside Avenue and Mitcham Lane

The Streatham Guardian has covered the demonstration we organised on Monday at the junction of Ambleside Avenue and Mitcham Lane. I think we had about 60 parents and children there, which shows the strength of local feeling on the issue.

The junction has been a concern for many years, as we discovered as we talked to local people, parents and teachers at St Leonard's School which is just 100 yards away. Local people tell us that two people have died there at the junction in recent years.

There are two big problems. The first is that there isn't enough time for southbound traffic to turn right from Mitcham Lane into Ambleside Avenue. The second problem is that the crossing times are too short. Transport for London have responsibility for the junction as the two roads are red routes.

Assembly Member Val Shawcross is quoted in the article as saying she would be happy to take the issue up with Transport for London. But we have had correspondence with her about this since 2009, so that doesn't seem very promising.

I have been working instead with London Assembly member Darren Johnson. The bus companies have been made aware of the problem, and we have been reporting buses that have been jumping the lights. We have also asked if TfL will install a camera there, but TfL say that there has to be another serious incident before they will consider that. The reason the crossing times is so short is that London Mayor Boris Johnson has shortened crossing times across London, in order to increase traffic speeds. Several parents have asked TfL to look at the crossing time, and they have said that it is within their agreed timings. That is no comfort for an older person, someone who walks with an impairment, uses a wheelchair, or is a small child.

The battle continues. Let's hope there isn't another casualty before it is won.

You can find out more about our campaign, and watch the video of the junction here.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Asbestos left for months on Gleneldon Mews

Ali, from Ali's Cars got in touch with us today about a pile of asbestos dumped near his workplace in Gleneldon Mews.

I went down to talk to Ali and see for myself. He says it was reported to Lambeth Council and local councillors (St Leonard's Ward) back in June. Both Ali and others who work and live there also made several calls subsequently about it, but nothing seems to have been done four months later.

They are extremely worried as asbestos is a health hazard. It is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK (over 4,000 deaths each year in the UK). If it is left undisturbed the risks are small. It is when it is moved or broken that fibres are released which are the big danger.

This pile appears to have been knocked about a bit over the last few months possibly due to the cars parked all around it which are services and repaired in the garages there. The asbestos itself appears to be breaking up in some places and there is dust and gravel surrounding, although it isn't clear is this is asbestos dust and fragments as more rubbish has also gathered at the site.

I have contacted council officers again, and will keeping chasing until it is removed. As it is asbestos, it is a hazardous waste and can only be disposed of at a licensed waste disposal site. Lambeth use the City of London to do this although it is Lambeth Council's responsibility to make sure it happens. I will post an update when it is removed.

More information on asbestos can be found here.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Report on public meeting regarding Greyhound Lane Bridge closure at Streatham Common Station

[Updated 8/10/12 as we have been following up action which was promised at the meeting]

There was an emotionally charged public meeting last Thursday night (4th October) at Granton Primary School, organised by Network Rail, regarding the closure of the bridge on Greyhound Lane by Streatham Common Station.

There is a lot of local anger around the effect that it will have on local people and businesses, but also the lack of notice and consultation.

Local Green Scott Ainslie was among those asking questions and sent a report from the meeting, containing the information which was given in response to questions from local people.

The work itself

The work involves extending Platforms 1 and 2 under the bridge, to accommodate longer trains, and this is what is causing the need to replace the bridge. The bridge is also 100 years old and needs updating to meet new safety standards.

When asked why platforms couldn't be extended North instead, it was said the railway junction, being on a corner, was too busy and would raise issues of safety. Network Rail said all options had been considered, and this was the only feasible one.

The anticipated closure, impact and arrangements

They are forecasting the bridge will be closed completely for 6 months, then around May-June, 2013, the bridge will be open on one side until the work is completed at the end of June.

A single lane is closed at the moment in order to set up a temporary footbridge and foundation points. Current ongoing ground investigative works may mean that time can be saved later on.

Normal weekly commuters should not be affected too much, as most of the work will be carried out at the weekends, when a replacement bus service will operate. (Please allow for longer journeys as the effect on the roads will be substantial!) However, the station will be closed altogether on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th November, but will open again on the 5th November.

Diversions will be in place for drivers. Please see Lambeth website for details of this (they are not there at the moment!)

Impact on local businesses

The question was asked what Network Rail would do to mitigate the effect on local businesses? Streatham's Town Centre manager, Angelina Purcell has asked Maureen Smith to look at business rates-block reductions. Angelina has promised to keep everyone up to date. The question was also put whether Network Rail could have a slush fund for this. There was a promise from Network Rail to look into this.

The lack of consultation

Many people only found out last week by word of month about these works. There have been no posters at the station telling people. It was claimed that 2000 letters went out, however only 2 out of 150 people at the meeting said that they had received a letter, and this was in August. (So, obviously no room for ‘consultation’ anyway!)

There was a feeling at the meeting from local people that there had been no consultation at all, and people said they felt 'appallingly treated' and called this 'unprofessional'.

There was a repeated apology during the meeting from Network Rail for this.

There were also questions about when Lambeth council and local councillors knew, and why they did not inform/consult people sooner. Lambeth council were told about the works, but Lambeth officers said they felt there was no point 'alarming' the public over potential works. When the likely duration of the work started to increase and the work looked as if it would go ahead, councillors were allegedly told about it.

There was an apology on behalf of Lambeth council who apparently knew six months before about the proposed bridge works would go ahead around July/ August time. Cllr Mark Bennett promised to look into this and report back. We will ask Cllr Bennett for this information and ensure it is passed onto everyone.

There was also specific concern that local community groups and businesses had not been consulted. We made the point that in view of a claims that Lambeth is a cooperative Council, this fell well short of their intentions.

Questions were also raised about why the work was taking place in Winter when the days are shorter, with suggestions it should have been done in Spring/Summer.

Other issues

Local residents suggested that whilst these alterations are being made the opportunity should be taken for the station and local area to be made more accessible for all.

It was suggested that council officers should visit the site to see impact on traffic. They would also need to address the traffic light and pedestrian crossing, as there is no green man and the public’s safety is at risk.

There was great concern about the impact of traffic now going into side roads where the diverted traffic will run.

Further information

With regard to getting more information there is a 24 hr helpline for any questions: 08457 114141 or you can email Information should also be posted on and found if you search for "Streatham". (This is not up currently, but Scott Ainslie has emailed them to ask when their site will be updated, as he was promised by James Azur-Kean of Network rail, that this would be done immediately).

Community relations adviser is John Eccles. You can ring the national helpline & ask for him.

There is also the possibility of Facebook page to be set up by Network Rail.

The Lambeth council website should also contain the latest information. Currently it does not, but we will pursue this.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Streatham exhibition documenting refugee women

The South London Liberal Synagogue (1 Prentis Road) is hosting a photography exhibition, Home Sweet Home.

The exhibition showcases photos taken by women asylum seekers documenting their lives in the UK. It's previously been shown in Parliament and Riverside Studios, and has been described as 'incredibly moving' by Marie Claire magazine.

The Home Sweet Home exhibition is a project of Women for Refugee Women, a charity which supports women refugees and asylum seekers, and challenges the injustices of the UK asylum system.

The exhibition will be open as part of the Open Sukkot Service, at 11am, Sat 29th October. The service will include explanation for anyone, Jewish or not, who wants to know how a Jewish service works. Sukkot is a time when Jews build and dwell in temporary sukkot (huts) and the synagogue will have its own beautifully decorated sukkah to visit. Refreshments will be provided.

LocationL 1 Prentis Road, Streatham, SW16 1ZW. More information here.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

133 bus route extended and moved from Tooting Bec Gardens

There's a bit or relief for residents on Tooting Bec Gardens, with the announcement that the 133 route is being extended as far as Streatham Station, ending and beginning at the new hub development bus stand.

This means the 133 will no longer begin and end its route at St Leonard's church/ Tooting Bec Gardens, but travel instead further south on Streatham High Road up to Streatham Common.

Many residents on Tooting Bec Gardens have been trying to get the bus stand outside St Leonard's church moved from the road, and the news will be interpreted as a step in the right direction.

The road, which is a red route, is frequently clogged up with traffic at peak times, which parked buses contribute to, with regular incidents of road rage. Local residents have also raised concerns about the increased noise and narrow pavement by the bus stand, which seems too small to cope with both waiting passengers and pedestrians.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Public meeting on Greyhound Lane bridge closure

There will be a public meeting on Thursday night about the platform extension works at Streatham Common station, which look as if they will cause traffic chaos. Local businesses are also expressing concern about the impact with Streatham Vale Farmer's market already a casualty. A number of local residents have also contacted me expressing their own concerns.

The work started in late September to allow the station to take trains with up to ten carriages. The works require replacement of the railway bridge and local people have been told that this will mean a partial closure of Greyhound Lane from 24 September to 28 October.

This will be followed by a full closure of Greyhound Lane in the area around the bridge from 3 November to 29 April 2013 with more closures thereafter for utilities to reinstate services over the bridge, duration depending on progress.

Network Rail have arranged the public meeting for residents affected by the platform extension works and the closure of the bridge at 7.00pm on Thursday 4th October at Granton Primary School, Granton Road, SW16 5AN. Officers from Lambeth council will also be in attendance, and it is hoped, a representative from Transport for London.