Thursday, 31 January 2013

New ramps on Conyer's Road at junctions with Fairmile Avenue, Babington Road and Gleneagle Road

Last year, I wrote about an older man I met on Conyer's Road who used a mobility scooter but had to take a huge detour every day because he couldn't access the junctions from the pavement.

We contacted the council and asked if ramp access could be put in at several points on Conyer's Road at the junctions with Babington Road, Fairmile Avenue, and Gleneagle Road.

We are pleased to say that this work has now begun. Several of the ramps have been put in and the work should be finished soon.

This is part of Accessible Streatham Campaign - in which we are working to make the local area more accessible for older people, those with mobility impairments as well as those with buggies and prams.

For other examples of where we have done this see these links here:

End of Riggindale Road

Outside Wellfield Road Community Centre

Thirlmere Road ramp access

Ramps on Tooting Bec Gardens

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

Or more on our accessible Streatham campaign here.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A few days left to comment on the proposals for changes to Babington Road

There are just a few days left to comment on the proposals for changes to the area at the top of Babington Road where it meets Mitcham Lane by Streatham Green and the Manor Arms.

The area is the location for Streatham's new fortnightly street market and the intention is to create a better public space for it, less dominated by traffic, more suited to host the market and other community events, and better connected to Streatham Green.

The proposals are that:

- The top of Babington Road will become a shared space and through traffic will no longer be allowed between Mitcham Lane and Babington Road, although a route out for large lorries will be maintained.

- Two new piazza areas will be created that can host the market and other events.

- The southern piazza could also host an outside seating area for The Manor Arms (subject to licencing approval).

- New trees will be planted and seating introduced.

- A new loading bay will be introduced on Fernwood Avenue to service businesses on the western side of Mitcham Lane.

- A pedestrian crossing may be introduced on Mitcham Lane.

We are sending out 500 letters to local people in the area encouraging them to comment before the deadline on 11th February.

Generally the response we had had from local people has been positive. The major concern however has been from people in Fernwood Avenue, who do not want the proposed loading bay put on their road given the likely increase in heavy vehicle traffic which would be ill suited to such a small road.

An email we received from George Wright, who is overseeing the project, contained a lot of positive feedback that he had already received from the proposals.

The intention is to "finesse" the concept design during February and then develop the detailed construction designs. The aim is to construct on site late June-September to minimise disruption to the market.

[Update: 8/2/13 We have had it confirmed that the loading bay on Fernwood Avenue is no longer being considered]

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Trip hazard on Ellora Road/ Hambro Road

We have asked the council to sort out a trip hazard on the south side of Ellora Road, where it meets Hambro Road, and the pavement is slightly raised. This is a particular hazard in the snow for older residents, where the hazard can't easily be seen

Monday, 28 January 2013

Potholes on Brancaster Road near junction with Norfolk House Road

We asked Lambeth Council to fix two potholes at the bottom of Brancaster Road where it meets Norfolk House Road.

By the looks of the marks around it, the Council has now a look, and so it should be repaired soon. We'll keep an eye on it to make sure it happens.

Sorting the pavements on Hoadly Road

The pavements on Hoadly Road are in a shocking state, and local residents have been in touch to ask if we can help.

We have now been done Hoadly Road, identifying areas that need fixing, and we have passed what we found onto the Council. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lost of resistance to fixing the pavements despite what we found.

We identified some particularly bad areas such as a large section of broken and raised paving towards the bottom of the road outside number 40-42. Other sections which need fixing include the areas outside number 35, the vehicle crossover outside number 33, outside number 25 and number 11.

In the long run it is clear that Hoadly Road needs repaving, and we will be pushing for that.

More images below:

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Potholes a plenty on Drewstead Road

We have asked the council to fix a series of potholes on Drewstead Road, between the junctions with Hoadly Road and Woodfield Avenue, near Beckett Close. The road surface is however badly breaking up along this section, and really needs resurfacing.

[Update April 16 2013: Some of the potholes have now been fixed, but we are continuing to chase Lambeth Council to fix the others and in the longer-term get the area properly resurfaced]

Friday, 25 January 2013

Dumped beds removed from corner of Ellora Road and Hambro Road

We have asked the Council if a couple of dumped beds can be removed at the point where Ellora Road meets Hambro Road in the Ferrer's Triangle. This is at a point where there is a gate/ access point to the Streatham Hub Development.

[Update 16th Feb 2013 This has now been done]

Monday, 21 January 2013

Thameslink Service from Streatham Station Saved

Great news today, that the Thameslink service from Streatham Station has been saved.

It's been great to see people from different political parties and none coming together to protect the service. Last year we wrote several thousand personal letters to local people urging them to respond to the Network Rail/ Government consultation. It emerged today that 2,200 positive responses had been received which is fantastic.

The announcement was made today by the Government via a press release that the Thameslink service would not be cut.

The proposal had been made that train services from Streatham Station should terminate at Blackfriars. As well as causing longer journey times and inconvenience, it would also have made travelling much harder for many including older people, and those with buggies and prams who may have to change and negotiate additional stairways between platforms. There would also have been a detrimental impact on the local economy.

There is still lots to be done however, with regard to Streatham's rail services including modernising Streatham Station and making it fully accessible so everyone can use it.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Graffiti in Potters Lane Tunnel

We have asked for the Graffiti in the Potters Lane Tunnel to be cleaned up. The tunnel goes under the railway line and is an important pedestrian through-route which connects Conyers Road on the North side, to the Ferrers Triangle (Hambro Road, Ferrers Road, Ellora Road and Natal Road) as well as Estreham Road, to the South.

Graffiti makes a community look and feel unsafe.

There is graffiti on the outside as well as up high...

and on the lights inside...

We will post an update here when it is done.

[Update 31/01/13 Some of the graffiti has now been cleaned up...

...but there are still some area remaining which we are chasing:

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Down at the Town Hall to urge Lambeth to recycle more

Before Christmas I went down to Lambeth Town Hall with Green London Assembly member Jenny Jones, to highlight Lambeth Council's poor recycling record.

Lambeth has been falling behind the London average with its recycling for several years now as this graph shows.

But rather than tackle this problem at its root, by doing more to help people recycle, for example by putting recycling bins on the streets (as they do in other boroughs) which enable people to recycle as well as throw things away - they have chosen instead to fiddle the figures.

I uncovered this a few months ago, and wrote a letter to the Streatham Guardian about it. It has now been covered by the BBC. Jenny Jones has also tabled some questions to the London Mayor about it.

The claim has been made by Lambeth Council that it now has a ‘46% recycling rate’. It was even trotted out for national recycling week.

It would be surprising if this were the case, given Lambeth is lying in 28th place among London boroughs.

46% however is what Lambeth needs to achieve in order to reach the Mayor of London’s recycling targets, which are contained in Lambeth's waste strategy. The percentage of Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste reused, recycled or composted needs to be hitting this level by 2012/13.

The official statistics have still to be published for 2011-12, which makes the 46% figure even more perplexing. But closer inspection reveals that Lambeth has reached this figure by including waste it incinerates. This, it claims is “recycling” because some of the heat generated is used to make electricity (very inefficiently) and some of the materials from the ash are reclaimed.

When Lambeth has problems, what it often does is redefine things. It did it for example with potholes, meaning it didn’t have to repair as many. It is however less easy to redefine recycling. EU regulations set out a clear waste hierarchy, which makes it clear that incineration is not recycling.

Article 4 of the revised EU Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC) sets out five steps for dealing with waste, ranked according to environmental impact – the ‘waste hierarchy’.

Prevention, which offers the best outcomes for the environment, is at the top of the priority order, followed by preparing for re-use, recycling, other recovery and disposal, in descending order of environmental preference as follows:

1. Prevention: Using less material in design and manufacture. Keeping products for longer; re-use. Using less hazardous materials

2. Preparing for re-use: Checking, cleaning, repairing, refurbishing, whole items or spare parts

3. Recycling: Turning waste into a new substance or product. Includes composting if it meets quality protocols

4. Other recovery: Includes anaerobic digestion, incineration with energy recovery, gasification and pyrolysis which produce energy (fuels, heat and power) and materials from waste; some backfilling

5. Disposal: Landfill and incineration without energy recovery

What Lambeth are claiming is "recycling" is actually "other recovery" (4) and "disposal" (5) which is lower down the hierachy, and are not classified as 'recycling'.

What are the consequences of an emphasis on this rather than recycling? They are set out well here but in summary:

1. The energy produced is not “renewable energy” as Lambeth is claiming. The municipal waste being used is non-renewable, consisting of discarded materials such as paper, plastic and glass that are derived from finite natural resources such as forests that are being depleted at unsustainable rates.

2. Burning these materials in order to generate electricity actually creates a demand for “waste” and discourages much needed efforts to conserve resources, reduce packaging and waste and encourage recycling and composting.

3. Lambeth is incinerating materials which should be recycled. More than 90% of materials currently disposed of in incinerators can be reused, recycled and composted.

4. The incinerator poses a considerable risk to people’s health and environment. Even the most technologically advanced incinerators release thousands of pollutants that contaminate our air, soil and water. Many of these pollutants enter the food supply and concentrate up through the food chain. Incinerator workers and people living near incinerators are particularly at high risk of exposure to dioxin and other contaminants.

5. Burning the waste contributes to climate change. Incinerators emit more carbon dioxide (CO2) per unit of electricity (2988 lbs/MWh) than coal-fired power plants.

The place where Lambeth's incineration takes place is a Waste plant at Belvedere, Bexley. The plant was opposed by Ken Livingstone, among others, who took legal action against its construction. It was also highlighted by Friends of the Earth as something which would hinder, not help, in the battle against climate change.

In short, Lambeth’s recycling claims are not just misleading, they are destructive. They are creating more CO2 emissions, air pollution, and in the long term lessening the demand for recycling. This is greenwash.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Questions to London mayor about air quality in Streatham

There has been a lot of local concern in Streatham about air quality, particularly with so much traffic on Streatham High Road.

Air pollution was identified in the Streatham Masterplan as one of the big issues that needed to be tackled. There is also an air quality monitor on Streatham Green.

According to the London Mayor's own figures, air pollution in London causes around 4.600 premature deaths each year in London. I have also measured the pollution on Lambeth's residential streets and found it to be a levels close to 90% of the pollution on the main roads like the A23. Many of Lambeth's schools are also right next to its busiest streets.

Lambeth council claims:

"We monitor air quality throughout the borough and we publish the results annually".

However, with no notice, Lambeth council suddenly withdrew from the London Air Quality Network in April last year, so the data is no longer publicly available.

We also discovered that Lambeth Council has not produced an annual report in air quality since 2009.

Green London Assembly member Jenny Jones is therefore going to raise a couple of questions with the Mayor of London about whether the council has appointed any other service provider for the maintenance of its air quality monitoring stations and data ratification services. She will also ask about why Lambeth hasn't produced an annual air quality report for 3 years.

I'll post an update here when we get a response.

[Update 20/01/12 You can now see the questions online here ]

Monday, 14 January 2013

Friends of Streatham Green meeting tonight - Monday 14th January

25 people signed up to be kept updated with what the Friends of Streatham Green are doing at the first Artisan's Market on the 16th December, so it may be a busy meeting!

All are welcome tonight (Monday January 14th) for the Friends of Streatham Green meeting at The Manor Arms, 13 Mitcham Lane, beginning at 7pm.

The agenda will include the progress of the Streatham Green Artisans’ Market, the maintenance of the Green, future events on Green and an update on progress with the money that has been given to Streatham from the Mayors Outer London Fund. There will also, no doubt, be discussion about the proposed works to develop the end of Babington Road.

If you would like to join the Friends of Streatham Green, get in touch and we'll pass on your details.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Centenary of the Streatham Common Rookery - public meeting Thurs 17th January

In July 2013, the Rookery Garden at the top of Streatham Hill (on Streatham Common) will be 100 years old.

The Friends of Streatham Common and the Streatham Community Garden are working with Lambeth Council to celebrate the anniversary and are inviting local people to be involved.

It follows the petition, now signed by almost 600 local people, to restore the Rookery after years of underinvestment. The petition also calls for the Rookery to be maintained permanently at a standard that befits its Grade II listed status and obtain Green Flag status to help protect it for the longer term.

The Friends of Streatham Common has been working with the council to put together a plan to restore the Rookery, raise its profile within the council, and look for external funding and help where appropriate.

Local people are being invited to come and hear about the plans at a public meeting in the school hall at Immanuel and St Andrew School starting at 6.30pm (for 7.00pm) next Thursday 17th January. They are also being asked to consider how they can be involved.

You can just turm up, or if you want to get more information contact friendsofstreathamcommon (at) or visit the website.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Plan to end 24 hour counter at Streatham police station and cut dedicated police ward teams

Along with Scott Ainslie, London Assembly Member Jenny Jones and the new leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett, I attended a meeting last night in Brixton which gave some details of proposed changes to policing in Streatham.

The meeting at Electric Brixton, Brixton Hill, was attended by Deputy Mayor Stephen Greenhalgh and the Met Police’s assistant commissioner Simon Byrne. Organised by the Mayor of London's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) it was a consultation on the draft Police and Crime Plan, and lasted just over an hour. However it left many people's questions unanswered.

We were told that the new plans were being driven by the goal of reducing the police service budget by 20% by 2016 but also to get officers out from behind desks and into the community.

The key points that emerged with regard to Streatham, are that:

1. The counter at Streatham police station will no longer be open 24 hours, but be reduced to just opening during the day. The exact hours would be determined following local consultation, with the possibility of volunteers being used to keep them open for longer.

2. The dedicated ward Safer Neighbourhood Teams will be reduced from 6 people (one sergeant, two constables and three police community support officers - PCSOs) to just one dedicated PC and one PCSO.

This is part of a new policing model which will be introduced from this April, aimed at providing flexibility rather than dedicated bodies in wards. Inspector-led teams will work in local police areas (clusters of wards). Every ward will have a "named sergeant" (but apparently not solely dedicated to the ward so they will be shared). It will just be a PC and PCSO dedicated to each ward, while other PCs and PCSOs work across the whole local police area.

What was clear however was that the 250 or so police that Lambeth has lost since 2010 would not be replaced, but there would be around 874 officers in Lambeth by 2015 (a similar level to the end of October 2011 which was 870).

The Brixton Blog suggests the senior police officers gave no assurance to the future of either Community Police Consultative Groups or Safer Neighbourhood Panels. These groups are seen my many as vital to hold the police to account in the borough. However, in the Mayor's Police and Crime Plan, it states:

"A Safer Neighbourhood Board will be established in every borough by 2014... These Boards, supported by MOPAC, will establish local policing and crime priorities and fulfill a range of important functions, including monitoring public complaints against the police and community confidence in their area, and ensuring all wards have a ward panel in place."

The 2012 Green Party London manifesto pledged to resist police cuts. As more details emerge we will update you. In the meantime you can see the Mayor's Draft Police and Crime plan in full here

You can provide written responses to the consultation here. The consultation last until the 6th March.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

When will the missing trees be replaced on Streatham High Road?

We have asked Transport for London if they intend to replace the five trees which were destroyed in a road traffic collision over the Christmas period, and if so, when they will do so.

At present there is a large gap in the central reservation where the trees used to be.

We are continuing to push for more greenery on Streatham High Road generally, after this was identified as one of the top priorities by local people in a survey a couple of years ago. We also have a long-term campaign to get the speed limit reduced on the High Road to 20mph, which will help ease congestion and improve the flow of traffic, as well as cutting pollution levels. You can see the scale of reported collisions on Streatham High Road in recent years, here.

We will post an update here when we get any information about when the trees may be replaced.

[Update: 14/01/13 We have been told by TfL that they will replace to trees "as soon as possible" but they do not have a date yet. They will let us know when a date has been set, and we'll then post the date here]

[Update 14/3/13 TfL now say that the planting season has been missed and so they wont be replaced until towards the end of this year.  This is what they told us;

"We appreciate the value that the public places on the trees in Streatham High Road and we fully intend to replace them as soon as possible. The trees pits would only have been filled in to eliminate any tripping hazard.

"We do however have a limited planting season for trees, as we must ensure that they have the best chance of survival when planted. Unfortunately the next available opportunity to replace these trees will only be towards the end of this year in the next planting season; and this will also allow us the opportunity to assess the trees currently in place before providing replacements."]

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Best customer service in Streatham...Have you voted yet?

As part of its work to encourage and support small business and the local economy, In Streatham are running a competition to find out which shops gives the Best Customer Service. Vote, and you could win £25 PLUS…2 VIP tickets to the sparkling Streatham Business Awards Gala Dinner on 5 February 2013. (As a voter you will also be automatically entered into a prize draw as a thank you for taking part.)

You can vote for any business that has a physical shopfront in Streatham eg. a building based shop based on Streatham High Rd, Greyhound Lane, Streatham Vale or similar.

How to enter:

Email before January 17th with your answers to the following questions:

1. Name of Nominated Business:

2. Reason for your nomination:

3. Your name:

4. Your home postcode:

5. Telephone number:

Would you like to join the free Shop in Streatham e-mailing list*? Yes / No

*About the free mailing list: you will receive occasional information about special offers, activities and community events related to Streatham. They promise not to bombard you with information or give your contact details out to other parties.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Safety review brought forward for Streatham High Road/ Mitcham Lane/ Tooting Bec Gardens

Regular readers of this blog will know that we got the promise of a safety review of the junction at Tooting Bec Gardens, Streatham High Road and Mitcham Lane.

The bad news was that the review wasn't going to happen until April 2013.

Following a number of other collisions however, we asked Green Assembly member Darren Johnson whether he could push the mayor to try and get it brought forward. We are pleased to report that the London Mayor has agreed and the safety review is set to take place in the next few weeks.

The full question for Darren to the Mayor, and the Mayor's response can be found here (reproduced below)

Tooting Bec Gardens/Streatham High Road/Mitcham Lane junction safety review
Question No: 4022 / 2012

Darren Johnson
Although TfL’s decision to implement a new signal strategy at the junction of Tooting Bec Gardens/Streatham High Road/Mitcham Lane is welcome, in light of another recent collision here, will TfL now urgently bring forward its safety review of this junction, currently scheduled for April 2013?

Written response from the Mayor
TfL will commence this study early in the New Year.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Getting the pavement fixed on Tooting Bec Gardens

Before Christmas a number of local people asked if we could do something about the pavement at the top end of Tooting Bec Gardens, particularly opposite St Leonard's church and outside the Church of the English Martyrs.

The paving stones there have cracked up to such an extent that they are sticking up out of the pavement and people are tripping over them. Some also sink several inches into the ground when you tread on them. TfL have longer-term plans to repair the pavement on Tooting Bec Gardens, but the area in question needs sorting out urgently as it is dangerous for pedestrians and getting steadily worse every week.

We therefore got in touch with Transport for London via Green London Assembly member Darren Johnson (as this is Red Route the local council/ councillors are not responsible) and a site visit was made. Given the urgency of the situation TfL promised that they would make the necessary repairs by 31st December. However this has not happened and so we are chasing up once again.

[Update 10/01/13. Two sections of paving stones have now been replaced:

(For other work we have done to sort out Tooting Bec Gardens see here)