A site for residents of Prince's Ward, SE11, in the London Borough of Lambeth. Check for updates from your Labour Action Team's campaigning, local information, and meetings.

Friday 25 February 2011

Friends of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens respond on mulberry trees

The national press has got excited by a silly story circulating that Lambeth Council has cut down two mulberry trees in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, simply because their fruit stains the pavement.

The reality is rather different.

The Friends of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens have been working hard with the Council for several years developing a masterplan for the park, which sorely needed regeneration. The major developments in the Vauxhall area are bringing significant 'Section 106' money to improve parks and open spaces - this is money paid for by developers to compensate for the effects of their new buildings.

The work on the entrance to the Pleasure Gardens began a couple of months ago. The idea is that the entrance should be open, with excellent sight line down avenues of trees, that it should welcome visitors into the park, and that the new columns should draw attention to the fact the park is there.

The mulberry trees at the entrance were planted by the Friends eight years ago. They are not in good health. Unfortunately they are not in a suitable position for the new entrance works and it would be prohibitively expensive to move them. For these reasons the trees have been removed. the new entrance works will include 12 new trees and the Friends are committed to planting six new mulberry trees to replace the two which have been lost.

The Chair of the Friends Eamonn McMahon has responded in more detail here

We hope that people will like the new entrance once it is complete and that they will assist the Friends in their excellent work to plant more trees in the park.

Pictured: the Friends have planted dozens of new trees in the park over the past few year

Val and councillors press TfL on Oval junction

Val Shawcross, Cllr Jack Hopkins, Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Cllr Mark Harrison and Anna Tapsell from the KA discuss the traffic issues

Cllr Steve Morgan, Val Shawcross and Cllr Mark Harrison in front of the new traffic island

This morning Lambeth's London Assembly Member (and Labour's Candidate for Deputy Mayor of London) Val Shawcross met with councillors, a representative of the Kennington Association, and an office of TfL to discuss problems with the junction between Kennington Park Road, Camberwell New Road, and Brixton Road.

Residents and councillors have several complaints about the junction:

-the new traffic island which separates the bus lane is difficult for cars to manoeuvre around

-there is too little time for cars which want to travel left down Camberwell New Road to get into the correct lane

-the bus lane is incredibly bumpy

-the new traffic island prevents buses from overtaking cyclists

-it is difficult for cyclists to move over from the bus lane to turn right into Brixton Road

The TfL officer has promised to go away and look at what can be done to improve this junction for all road users. We hope to see some results!



1, The build-out was provided as part of the development of cycle superhighway route 7. Prior to the construction of the build out, cyclists heading straight on through Kennington Park Road would need to cross two lanes of traffic turning left into Brixton Road. The speed of traffic turning left was high and the junction represented a significant difficulty for cyclists. The build out slows traffic turning left, and allows cyclists to better position themselves if heading straight on.
The scheme was subject to both a multi-stage safety audit and a consultation with stakeholders, which included the Traffic Police. The design of the build out (as it affects traffic) was not raised as an issue during the safety audit or consultation stages, and we have not been advised of any difficulties subsequent to our meeting. We will monitor the build-out but would not expect its design to present any difficulties for traffic.

2, TfL regularly inspects the Transport for London Road Network and prioritises the repair of any identified defects according to their severity. The most serious defects are repaired within one or 24 hours, and less serious defects within seven or 28 days. I arranged soon after the meeting for Brixton Road to be inspected and any pot holes found to be filled.

3, Finally we also discussed lane discipline at the junction of Brixton Road and Camberwell New Road. TfL has not previously been advised of any road safety issues at this junction by the Police, and analysis of collision statistics does not indicate that there is a particular difficulty in the circumstances described during our meeting. TfL prioritises funding for road safety schemes to areas with the highest recorded collision history, to deliver the greatest reduction in collisions. We will continue to monitor safety at the junction but have no plans at present to undertake a scheme here.

Val has promised to chase TfL to ensure the potholes are filled in as soon as possible.

A bad night for democracy

Many residents will have heard about the disgraceful antics of a minority of protestors at Wednesday's Council Budget meeting, who occupied the chamber and forced councillors to meet in private.
Our colleague Mark Bennett has an excellent blog which describes the events and gives his perspective.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Labour wins cash boost for Lambeth homes

Labour has secured over £100 million to improve sub-standard homes in Lambeth. Labour councillors have spent months lobbying Government ministers for funding to complete upgrade works on 15,000 homes that need new windows, doors, kitchens, bathrooms and central heating to bring them up to minimum standards.

Labour’s Lib Peck, Cabinet Member for Housing, and Council Leader Steve Reed both wrote to Government ministers repeatedly to press the case for Lambeth’s tenants. The money will come through over the next four years, although there is disappointment the Government is delaying half the funding until 2014, and the total sum available is less than half the amount needed to complete work on all substandard homes.

Cllr Lib Peck said: "I am pleased our hard work has delivered some good news for Lambeth’s tenants. It’s not right people should be left to live in sub-standard homes. This money is a real boost but it is less than half the amount the Labour Government promised so we still have a significant challenge ahead of us."

Cllr Steve Reed commented: "It’s disappointing the Government is delaying this funding while bringing forward their cuts, but we welcome this news. Labour councillors and Lambeth’s tenants made such a strong case together that even this Government found it hard to ignore us completely."

Pictured: the money means Lambeth will be able to carry out more window replacements programmes, like the one at Haymans Point, as well as works to upgrade tenants' kitchens and bathrooms.

Project Hannah lanched: new localised police teams

For several years Safer Neighbourhoods Teams have been operating - providing a dedicated team of police officers in each ward.
Now Lambeth Police are going a step further. They are reassigning officers from response teams to new clusters - areas of three or four wards joined together.
Prnce's ward will part of the Kennington cluster - which includes Waterloo and Oval. In additional to our Safer Neighbourhoods Team, at least 14 officers will be assigned to work exclusively in our area, responding to all non-emergency crimes.
The new arrangements should provide our area with more dedicated local policing, and officers with a better understanding of our area.

Durning Library temporarily closed

Message from Lambeth's Head of Libararies:
It is with great frustration that I report another closure of Durning Library, which began on Tuesday. We discovered a major water leak under the floor of the Children’s library which was seeping up into the library itself. On investigation it was discovered that the pipework under the floor in the Office and Children’s area was so corroded that it started leaking as soon as the work to the water tank and associated pipe work to the boiler was completed.

Long tracts of pipe and links have to be rebuilt and the floor of the Children’s library is up and all heating turned off. The work is progressing well, but the contactors have reported we are unlikely to be able to open before Wednesday 24th.

We have put a notice up explaining the closure and because of the length of closure we are directing customers to either South Lambeth or Waterloo.

I’ll let you know as soon as we have something definite from the contractors.
Promoted by David Amos and Joanne Simpson of Prince's Branch Labour Party (Vauxhall Constituency and Lambeth Borough) all at 264A Rosendale Road, SE24 9DL