Sunday, 28 April 2013

Yet another collision at St Leonard's Junction overnight

There was yet another traffic collision overnight at the St Leonard's Junction (the junction of Streatham High Road, Mitcham Lane and Tooting Bec Gardens).

Apparently it involved a Hyundai, which must have been going quite fast to completely take out the traffic light on Streatham High Road between the Time2Move Estate Agent and the Manna Christian Bookshop.

This is a crossing which residents have repeatedly raised is dangerous, and just north of the location of one fatality. It is also about 20 yards from the location where a bus became "beached" earlier this month.

TfL promised a safety review of this junction last year. It was due to happen in April, but we got it brought forward after several collisions over Christmas. It was also recently resurfaced, and the box junction moved. We are still waiting for the results.

There are a number of ideas that could be pursued to improve the junction significantly if TfL is prepared to think creatively.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Work has began on the next phase of Streatham High Road to remove the central reservation

The next phase of work on the High Road has begun, following the removal of the central reservation and the replacement with trees a couple of years ago in the area between Becmead Avenue and Woodbourne Avenue.  (You can see the full plans in the Streatham Master Plan ). Exploratory holes are now being dug to see whether there is enough space in the central area to plant trees, away from utilities that lie underneath.

The new works will cover the area from Woodbourne Avenue (and the Kwik Fit garage) to Streatham Hill Station.  This should be designed to match what already exists between Streatham Odeon and Kwik-fit. It is, as yet, unclear what trees will be used, although we have reassurances that there will be trees. We hope to have a clearer idea once we have discussed this with TFL at the beginning of May. We will keep you informed.

The five trees outside the Odeon, which were knocked down by a traffic collision (see Jonathan's earlier blog on this) will apparently not be replaced until towards the end of this year.

To find out more about the trees already planted and the company which carried it out, click here

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Benefit changes information meetings - Wednesday 24th April

Find out how benefit changes affect you this Wednesday 24 April, 1.30-3pm & 6.30-8pm

Did you know that six major changes to the current benefits system have kicked in this month? These include:

- A benefits cap

- The “bedroom tax” limit on housing benefit

- Introduction of Universal Credit

- The replacement of Disability Living Allowance, Council Tax Benefit and Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans.

Find out how these could affect you or a member of your family at a free event on Wednesday 24 April.

The community forum Streatham Action will be running two information sessions - from 1.30-3pm and 6.30-8pm

The venue will be St Leonard’s Church, Streatham High Road, London SW16 1HS. There is step-free access from the Tooting Bec Gardens entrance to the churchyard.

Refreshments will be available.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Road audit of Fairmile Avenue

We have today written to residents of Fairmile Avenue following our road audit and follow up inspection.

The road surface is in a terrible state. In November, following a request by local residents, we conducted an initial road audit of Fairmile Avenue. We asked the council to fix a number of potholes. Whilst some were repaired, our follow up inspection last week revealed that a few had been missed, and a few more had formed. We therefore asked Lambeth to fix these urgently as well – specifically the ones outside nos 6, 10, 16, 23 and 24.

In the longer term, we believe that Fairmile Avenue needs resurfacing and we will be pushing for this to be done.

We are pleased to say that the ramp access we also asked for at the bottom of Fairmile Avenue, where it meets Conyer's Road, has also been put in.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Road audit of Gleneagle Road

We have written to residents of Gleneagle Road following the road audit we carried out earlier in the year and our recent follow-up inspection.

Residents got in in touch with us and asked if we would carry out an audit. Of particular concern were certain sections of the pavement with broken and cracked paving stones, as well as a number of potholes - particularly at the end near Conyer's Road.

We asked the council to fix a number of potholes. Whilst some were repaired, our follow up inspection last week revealed that a few had been missed, and a few more had formed. We have therefore asked Lambeth to fix these urgently – specifically the ones outside nos 63, 104, 141,145 and 165 as well as at the junction with Conyers Road where the road surface is breaking up badly.

We also asked the council to repair the pavements which are in a terrible state. So far the council is resistant but we will continue to lobby for them.

We have however managed to get new ramp access put in at the bottom of Gleneagle Road (where it meets Conyers Road) for wheelchair users, older people and anyone using a mobility scooter. This will also help anyone pushing a buggy or pram. This has been done at other junctions on Conyers Road too.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Graffiti on Estreham Road

We have asked Lambeth Council to remove the Graffiti on Estreham Road. In particular the graffiti on the East side of Estreham Road, about 100 yards north of the junction with Lewin Road, on a corner at the end of a stretch of black railings.

[Update 20th May 2013 Lambeth Council told us on 24th April that it would be "removed within the next 24/48 hours". However we did a follow up inspection today, and it is still there. We are therefore chasing the council again.]

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Cycle parking in Campbell Close (Mitcham Lane) ?

We are currently working with residents in Campbell Close, off Mitcham Lane, to see if we can get some secure cycle parking put in there.

The local area has a large number of cyclists, but for those who live in blocks storage can be a bit of a nightmare.

The Council however, does have some secure cycle parking available which can be put in fairly easily and works a bit like a cycle garage. So we have been liaising between the management company, residents and the council, to see if we can get some put in.

Streatham Common Bridge to re-open on 7 May

The bridge on Greyhound Lane by Streatham Common station which has been closed since November 2012 is to reopen two months early.

The bridge was closed to vehicles while Network Rail extended platforms at the station underneath to allow for longer trains. Sections of the bridge had to be removed and replaced to accommodate the longer platforms below.

They was huge criticism for the council and Network Rail from local people, for the lack of notice given. Businesses in particular had no time to prepare for the huge impact it has had. The Streatham Bridge Business Association estimates that the local economy has lost around £19 million because of the closure.

The bridge was originally due to reopen to one way traffic from the end of April with a full reopening at the end of July.

After pressure from local residents and businesses however, Network Rail has been in discussion with Lambeth Council and the local business association, and agreed the bridge will reopen fully to traffic on Tuesday 7 May.

When we went around the area this morning letting people know, there were, as you might expect, lots of smiles at the news.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Getting a 'grot spot' cleaned on Barrow Road

There is a bit of a 'grot spot' at the edge of Byron Close on Barrow Road, so we have asked the Council if they can clean it up. We will follow up in a few weeks to make sure it has been done, and ask if it can be regularly cleaned. It seems to be a combination of people dumping rubbish there, but also collecting refuse that is blown there by the wind.

[Update 20th May 2013: We have checked, and the area has been cleaned. We will continue to monitor this area]

Monday, 8 April 2013

Streatham's new 'open access' theatre company

Streatham will take centre stage next week with the launch of its own theatre group.

The Streatham Theatre Company has been created by local residents, including actors, directors, producers, writers, technicians and others who have a passion for the performing arts.

The Company aims to create opportunities for people in the area to gain real life theatre experience and practical skills across all aspects of creating and staging productions, such as writing, directing, lighting, sound, costume and make-up as well as acting. The group is open to all - theatre novices and theatre professionals.

Streatham Theatre Company’s first production will be performed at the Streatham Festival in July (11-14). Bernie C. Byrnes who brings considerable professional theatre experience (as writer, director and actor) will be directing the production.

If you have always had a desire to ‘tread the boards’ or to help ‘behind the scenes’, and would like to join the group or get involved with the production then contact, come to the launch event on 19th April at 7.30pm at The White Lion, or telephone 020 3432 5710.

Even if you don’t want to take part in productions, the company also plans to hold regular social events, with readings, quizzes etc.

You can find more information on our website, like on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @StreathamTheatr [note no final e].

Friday, 5 April 2013

Streatham Green market goes weekly from this Sunday

Streatham Green Artisan's market goes weekly from this Sunday 7 April, 10am-3pm, outside The Manor Arms, on the corner of Babington Rd & Mitcham Lane, by Streatham Green.

Expected to attend this Sunday are:

Astons Bakery (Celtic bread & pastries), The Bath Soft Cheese Company (west country cheeses) The Bellevue Bicycle Workshop (bicycle repairs), Brambletye Fruit Farm (fruit, veg, eggs, juice all biodynamic), Emilia Ltd (charcuterie, parmesan cheese, oils, balsamic vinegar), Fish Tale (fresh fish, shellfish, olives & preserves), The Flour Station (sourdough bread & pastries), Galeta (Pastel de Nata, cookies, macarons) The Herbal Stall, (herbal remedies) The Honest Carrot (vegetarian & vegan pre-made organic cooked goods) Marsh Produce Ltd (free-range meat & poultry), Marsh Produce hot food - (lamb burgers, sausage baps & breakfast baps), Perry Court Farm (seasonal fruit & veg including British apples, pears, winter veg, greens, etc) Trina's Delicacies (gourmet gluten-free cakes) & The World of Aloe Vera (aloe vera products).

The market's 'stall of the week' is Brambletye Fruit Farm. Brambletye work from 2 farms in Sussex: Tablehurst Orchard & Brambletye. The farms were established by Noor & Stein in 2001. All their produce is biodynamic, which means they are a sealed-off system, with all elements going back into the farm. They farm & sell amazing root veg, eggs, juice, apples & pears and much more. Please come down and say hello.

There will also be bike repairs from The Bellevue Bicycle Workshop - on hand to service your bike and attend to any repairs it may need.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Bus 'beached' at junction of Streatham High Road / Tooting Bec Gardens / Mitcham Lane

There were huge tailbacks on Thursday morning along the Southbound carriageway on Streatham High Road (A23) when a bus apparently hit a traffic island and got stuck.

The incident happened at the St Leonard's Church junction, where Streatham High Road meets Tooting Bec Gardens and Mitcham Lane at the point where Gleneldon Road joins the High Road.

TfL promised a safety review of this junction last year. It was due to happen in April, but we got it brought forward after several collisions over Christmas. It was also recently resurfaced, and the box junction moved. We are still waiting for the results.

There are a number of ideas that could be pursued to improve the junction significantly if TfL is prepared to think creatively.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Streatham Police Station to close

On Monday last week (25th March) the Mayor of London gave his final verdict following the consultation on policing for Lambeth which ended on 6th March. The consultation kicked off in February with a public meeting in Lambeth which I attended along with London Assembly members.

The consultation arose from the Mayor's drive to cut 20% from the police budget. It involves the centralisation of policing and cuts to Safer Neighbourhood Teams down to one police officer and one Police Community Support Officer.

I met with the Borough Commander several weeks ago and put the case for more police for Streatham. While it seems he has the power to place more police locally, he also insists that he is constrained by the model being imposed upon him. Unfortunately the campaign by Lambeth Council for "100 more police officers" appears to have been a waste of £180,000 as it was launched too late to influence the Mayor's decision. Both Lambeth Council and local Streatham councillors seem to have taken their eye off the ball on this one, although to be fair the consultation period was short and appears to have been rushed through.

You can see the final decision for Lambeth here, including the decision to close Streatham Police Station.

The document states:

"The existing Streatham Police Station will not meet longer term policing needs and alternative facilities will be required to meet future policing requirements including Front Counter facilities with appropriate public access. Alternative Front Counter solutions have been identified and a site in Streatham High Road obtained. Works are to be undertaken, when complete and the Front Counter is operational, the Front Counter in Streatham Police Station will close. During this period, any refurbishment work will be limited to health and safety related updates to meet the standards required."

I met with local police last night to try and get more details, but they seem to have no more information than is contained in the document the Mayor has issued. So it appears the Mayor has decided that the police station will close, the building will probably be sold off (although councillors have powers to designate it a community asset and so keep it under community control), and an alternative police front counter service set up down in "The Dip" on Streatham High Road. The new front counter service, like the planned present front counter service, will not be 24 hours, but just open during the day. It will also be a "deployment base" according to the document. These are where the borough’s Safer Neighbourhood Teams, Borough Tasking Teams and/ or Emergency Response and Patrol officers and PCSOs start and end their tours of duty.

As proposed in the original consultation document, the Safer Neighbourhood Teams will be just one police officer and one Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).

Resurfacing of Shrubbery Road and Thirlmere Road now going ahead

Back in December we reported that the Council had agreed to resurface Shrubbery Road and Thirlmere Road. This followed our road audits earlier in the year in which we highlighted the ongoing problems with the deteriorating road surface.

We sent letters to residents on both these roads updating them, and also got ramp access put in to improve accessibility at the end where Thirlmere Road meets Tooting Bec Gardens.

The resurfacing has now started as of this week, on Thirlmere Road and we have just spoken with a council officer who confirmed that it will begin tomorrow on Shrubbery Road.