Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Lambeth Leaseholders will be delighted to guess which Chief Executive (hint: the one paid over £100k to make sure Lambeth Living hits government targets to obtain Decent Homes money) considers playing a game of netball to be more important than /staying/ for an entire meeting to hear the views of Lambeth residents views (and ensure their participation, which will help guarantee the money).
Go on... have a guess or three!
[Also, I have another huge Lambeth Council screwup to be released, but I'm waiting for a few details to be confirmed prior to putting it on the blog... Keep an eye out!]
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
I normally wouldn't cover individual licensing planning applications because they're so small eg. Samsun Kebab shop requested one recently, and there are quite a few applications for tree pruning in the area, which don't have much impact and are rather dull to post about. However, one of my readers has asked me to comment further on the following (and I ought to declare an interest, since I don't live far away) .
It transpires that the Kurdish Cultural Centre on Stannary Street have requested a 7 day a week licence from 12 noon - 12 midnight for various functions eg. live music. See here for more information.
Were this building being used responsibly as a Community Centre, primarily by the Kurdish Centre, I might be tempted not to see any issue. However, I'm told it's often used by loud church groups (on Sundays) as well as a whole variety of people in the evenings for various private parties, which often spill out into Stannary Street, and cause parking problems. Many of the users would appear to be from the non SE11 community.
I don't know how much the Kurdish community would be using it at all, and I might ask whether it will exist primarily as a revenue stream, causing disturbance for local Stannary Street (and other) residents. The Kurdish Communtiy Centre used to have a website, which I am now unable to locate (I believe it expired), and last time I had reason to make an enquiry there, I was informed that there had been a large internal dispute. I'd be delighted to hear from anybody working for or at the Community Centre about the services they currently provide.
I am curious about whether the Kurdish Centre requires an alcohol licence when Wikipedia suggests that the majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslims. It's legitimate, certainly to want to hire the hall out to other groups even if one personally does not drink. But to request a 7 day a week alcohol licence until midnight every day seems questionable in a somewhat residential area. I think that maybe a Friday - Sunday licence from 12:00 to 22:00 would cause less disturbance and would mean the hall could still be hired out to a variety of patrons.
Are there any local residents groups who might take this up? I think there is a Heart of Kennington friends group, but if anybody knows who is on it, perhaps it might be flagged up.
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
The Tree of Hope project has been spearheaded by the Kennington Association and funds have been raised from various Association events over the past few years. Alex Mulumba's violent death in 2006 prompted the idea for the Tree of Hope, but it has taken some time and the overcoming of practical difficulties to raise funds and install the lights!
Well Done to everybody involved, and hopefully, there'll be many locals present tonight!
Sunday, 8 November 2009
In August and September, I blogged that the application to change the use of the basement portion of 216 Kennington Road (old cinema) from D1 to commercial was refused. Prior to that, in May, I blogged that I oppose a bid by a large commercial retailer. Many residents heard on the grapevine that Gallagher are representing Tesco, who are behind the request. So, you'll be unsurprised to learn, if you've not already read it somewhere else, that another planning request has been made.
The planning request is on Lambeth Planning Database here where you can submit comments.
There are a various local voices that say that since the ground floor of the building was originally set aside for community use (this was sadly a missed opportunity), it should be used for such. The problem is that no tenant has been found (but then, I think it has been "off the market" for some time now, due to the Gallagher/Tesco planning application bombardment.
There is another body of people who have suggested it would be better to have a retailer occupy the space than nobody at all, but I do wonder why it has to be Tesco. For my very long blog moan about our local Tesco, see my post from June (and photos of empty shelves) at Trouble at the Big Gay Tesco in Kennington. The page is still getting large numbers of hits, and regular comments, and indeed a defence from somebody who (presumably) works there, alleging staff cuts. With such poor service from the brand at the moment, I hardly think we should be encouraged to support another store in the vicinity.
It all raises the question of how often any company can continually submit planning applications to the local authority, without the authority opening a debate about change of use of buildings (or new developments) to local residents.
Saturday, 7 November 2009
If you're interested, here are the dates and times:
1) Launch of 'Wellbeing and Happiness in Lambeth'
5-7pm, Friday, 13 November
Lambeth First will be launching “Wellbeing and happiness in Lambeth: The Lambeth Mental Wellbeing Programme 2009 -12” at Lambeth Academy, Elms Road, SW4 9ET (near Clapham Common tube station). Rsvp by November 6th to Patricia Sauer on 020 8769 2041 or email email@example.com
2) Brixton Reel Film Festival
Wednesday 11 November - Thursday 12 November
A free movie celebration of wellbeing presented by NHS Lambeth and Fanon Southside Partnership in support of the Time to Change campaign. Screenings of 'The Soloist' and 'Burning an Illusion' followed by Q and A with director Menelik Shabazz.
3) Springforward Spectacular
1-6pm, Saturday, 14 November
At Lambeth Academy. A free afternoon of creative performances and workshops to promote the benefits of arts and creativity on wellbeing.
I'm afraid I'm a bit late with the first one, but you could always email to see if there are any spaces left. As usual, none of the events are in Kennington, but it's not too far down to Brixton or Clapham on the Northern line or by bus.
Friday, 6 November 2009
London-SE1 has little more info, and names the man as Daniel Duke.
Just returned home from sunny trip away to discover the sad news :(
Edit 7/11/2009: Stockwell News links to a BBC report that says a man has been arrested re. the above murder.
Friday, 16 October 2009
Does anybody have any more information about this accident in Vauxhall, SE11? Was anybody on the bendy bus that crashed into the bollard? Or was the bus impaled on a bollard? Did it delay your journey?
Also, I've noticed that Kennington Tandoori are gutting the restaurant for a refurbishment. I haven't had a chance to look at the notice to see how long that will take, but the rumour-mill suggets that they have exciting plans to develop "outside eating" (hopefully not in November!!). And excitingly, a week ago, I saw workmen in the now-defunct Franklins. It would be great to hear what the plans are for that location (and whether it's true that the KT emporium will expand there), if anybody has more info.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
In the meantime, there are a few big building updates that you should know about. You might remember that I posted a summary of these back in June. Here is an update:
1. 8 Albert Embankment - This is actually a series of buildings on 3 different sites and would involve the redevelopment of the London Firebrigade HQ. There was a consultation that I reported back in late June here (along with photos of the exhibition). There has recently been a second exhibition/consultation that I was unable to attend. One person that I know did attend, but said it was very much a repeat of the first exhibition. If readers have further information, I'd be delighted to receive it. Rumour has it that part of the site is due to receive a 29 storey building, which won't be popular with residents who are beginning to feel that they are being pushed away from the river, but I've not got the height confirmed in writing. Since both consultations have been performed, I imagine that we're waiting for planning permission to be submitted. There's nothing in the Lambeth planning database at present. Ed: Fortunately, London-SE1 seem to have been present at the second consultation and they have an article here.
2. 69-71 Bondway - I've checked the Viva Vauxhall website and the latest update is here. They report that Lambeth Planning Committee will meet twice (which is unusual) to decide whether the basic design of the tower is acceptable for the officers to make a decision about whether they think the building is proceedable. Amusingly, they note that a police station might be included as part of the building, which would undoubtedly make the siren problem worse (yes, the one that made Hazel Blears move house). I have little info. on 69-71 Bondway as it's further down in SE11 than I am and is covered very well by Viva Vauxhall, but leave comments if I've missed anything.
3. 38-46 Albert Embankment - This one is on the site of the Texaco garage, not far from Vauxhall itself. It was refused by the councilors, but the developers appealed to the Planning Inspectorate. However, interestingly, the appeal was withdrawn before there was a chance to hold a public hearing. Consequently, the proposed building will not proceed.
4. 81 Black Prince Road - Even if you only half heartedly keep up with local Planning news, you must have heard by now that on the 15th September, the Planning Inspectorate overturned the council's objections to building 81 Black Prince Road. This is very bad news for those of us who were at all concerned by very tall buildings on the river as it will be 23 storeys high. Sadly, it appears that the Salamanca Tower must have set a precedent. Unfortunately, it's likely that 81 Black Prince Road will set a precedent for 8 Albert Embankment (see above) and the unattractive and tall buildings will continue to abound.
The Prince's Ward Labour blog wrote a post to indicate that they do not agree with the Inspectorate, but as far as I'm concerned, the Council has not set out a sensible plan re. tall buildings in Vauxhall (especially considering that the Vauxhall Supplementary Planning document cannot be approved until the Mayor comes back with his own revised plan for London). Various tall buildings are being pushed through in the interim before we have an SPD for Vauxhall that can be used to even set a sensible plan for the area. I am somewhat at a loss to know how local residents can, with local councillors, strengthen their voices against the continual encroachment and "pushing back" of Vauxhall and Kennington residents from the river. However, in order not to burst blood vessels of frustation, I merely content myself with making sarcastic blog posts on the matter.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Indeed, to be fair, prospects are not good for the redevelopment of the Battersea Power Station either. The Guardian is reporting that Real Estate Opportunities, the financier of the project, is suffering from a huge debt of £1.6bn. Their auditors say that there are "material uncertainties" about the future of the business. It's all down, apparently, to the failure of the Irish property market.
It's probably too early to sound the death toll on the Battersea project yet, but the outlook doesn't appear to be bright, and the article acknowledges that the previous owners of the site have not made much headway. Don't look forward too much to the Battersea/Kennington Northern line connection until the economy improves, and even then, another firm might buy the site and change the plans entirely.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
"But why would I do this?", I hear you ask. Well, possibly "to ensure that waste on the estates does get recycled" might be a good answer. As I was strolling around at the back of Vauxhall Gardens yesterday, I noticed that some of the recycling bins are piled up with rubbish that is clearly not just waste for recycling... However, Lambeth Council have decided to offer a cash incentive of £500 towards the best individual/group ideas to encourage more effective recycling on those estates:
The blurb says: "If you are an individual or resident group, from one of the selected estates, and you are interested in getting actively involved in recycling and reducing waste in your local community, then we want to hear from you.
To take part in the scheme you must be over 18 years old and live on one of the selected Lambeth Living estates. All you need is lots of enthusiasm about recycling and the environment and be able to spare a few hours each week. We will give you all the information, materials and support you will need.
For each estate that improves their recycling there is £500 available for a project to help improve their local environment!
For more information on the scheme contact Philip O’Keeffe, Recycling Champions Co-ordinator on 020 7926 8948 or email firstname.lastname@example.org."
I'm quite impressed by Lambeth Council's attempt to reach the local public of those two estates through my blog! However, I suspect that I do not have huge readership on those estates due, in part to a) digital illiteracy, b) language barriers and c) older population without internet access. It's probably due to some of these barriers that the population are sending large loads of "spoiled" recycling bags, so this one might be tough to crack.
I'd be happy to see coments from readers who live on or are based on the estates (or maybe know people who do). Please feel free to copy the URL to interested parties.
Monday, 24 August 2009
I know that some readers commented on the cycle accident on this blog, and all witnesses are being asked to contact Crimestoppers.
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Here are some pics. of the marchers arriving to the park:
After that, we had a wander around the top of Brixton Road. The delicatessen on the corner (number 2, I think), near the market is closing, but is being replaced by another one. See pics below:
I didn't realise there were so many good restaurants at the top of the road at the edge of SW9. Adulis (an Eritrean one) looks particularly good, and so does the Oval Tandoori (Indian).
One of my favourite adverts is at the top of Brixton Road... if you look carefully, it encourages you to smoke (for the sake of your throat), a legacy of times past:
After that, we went for a quick coffee at the Kennington Park cafe (it's worth a visit as the coffee is excellent, and the staff are very friendly). I took a picture of the underside of the helium balloon, currently advertising to everybody watching cricket at the Ashes:
Friday, 21 August 2009
It appears that a march and rally will lead to the closure of Newington Butts and Kennington Park Road (and possibly part of Elephant) at some point between 13:00 and 17:30 (according to the Met police). Further digging (and a couple of Tweets spotted earlier this week) appears to reveal that the march and rally are being held to raise awareness and campaign against knife crime.
The event is known as the "LIVE" rally (Living Intentionally Versus Existing), and appears to be linked to youth leaders in the 7th Day Adventist church (I say "good on them"). They'll be marching with a group named F.A.M.E (Families against Murder Escalating).
It's great to be able to report on positive action re. knife crime, and since the event ends at Kennington Park (rather than beginning there), I should be able to take some photos and report further tomorrow.
I hope that both the cricket fans at the Ashes and the anti-knife crime marchers are aware that due to the road closures (as a result of the march) and the closure of the Vauxhall tube station, leaving Kennington or Oval after both events might prove difficult.
That news brought courtesy of an eagle eyed commenter who spotted a sign about road closures at Elephant...
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Oh, I also saw a sign at Kennington tube today to say that Kings Cross St Pancras is not open to trains on the Northern line this weekend either.
So, SE11 people, it might be time for a weekend away (obviously, after you've visited the Oval Farmers market on Saturday morning)... I'm hoping to go and visit the cake stand this week where there are rumours that extra cakes are being baked!
Friday, 14 August 2009
There was a post back in July highlighting the fact that there would be tunnelling under South Lambeth from over at the Albert Square and St Stephen's Association blog. They've also pasted a very helpful tube map of what the extension would look like if it were built.
However, various blogs have been picking up the matter, and things have hotted up because the developers of the power station have submitted informal plans for the Battersea site itself. It's worth noting that that means nothing as yet since transport has not been mentioned in their plans. There have also been plenty of plans submitted by various developers that have had to be abandoned. Yet, some of the people over at London Connections became excited in July when it appeared that feasability studies had been completed and various parties were happy with the route. They even mention the fact that London Underground are looking into funding the line to continue on to Clapham Junction, so the northern line would head off West eg. Kennington > Nine Elms > Battersea > Clapham Junction. Boris Johnson is also understood to be supportive, and methods for raising funds by selling government bonds have been suggested.
So, what makes me raise the issue? I received a query by email about a week ago from somebody who said:
"I've just been talking to my local councillor and he says that there are plans to extend the Waterloo and City line through the Black Prince Road area to Vauxhall and Battersea as part of redeveloping Battersea Power Station... But he says that the developer wants to use the Northern line instead so that they don't have to go through working class areas, cos they only want rich guys turning up at their buildings. Is this true?"
I've no idea which councillor the article refers to, but this tale sounds like the conflation of several ideas. As far as I can tell, there has never been a plan to extend the Waterloo and City line (although this would be preferable as it would mean that the northern line and the Bakerloo line could be taken into the areas of South East London that are much more in need of the transport eg. Peckham, Lewisham). It strikes me as highly unlikely that the Black Prince Road area would be included, simply due to the money that it takes to build the stops. The Nine Elms stop, one presumes, is being built entirely for the US Embassy at Nine Elms and (hopefully) they'll be asked to fork out the cash. The Battersea stop would be included in the costs for the new development at Batterse. However, if you take a look at the London Connections comment section on the above article, you'll see that there's a fair amount of discussion about alternative routes, and there are various suggestions that it would be better to use the Waterloo and City line... Unfortunately, I've not heard any official discourse on the matter at all so we'll presume that if it goes ahead, it will fork from the Northern line and some of us are rather sceptical that the plan will go anywhere...
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
If youths come knocking at your door, requesting money to support a sports club, ask them for ID and do not give them any money. If you can contact the local police, they will come and check to see whether the group is authorised (it looks unlikely).
See the Kennington News blog for further info.
I made a post last week in which I mistakenly noted that permission had been granted, so I ought to state very clearly that 216 Kennington Road does not have planning permission for retail usage.
Watch this space. I wonder if the decision will be challenged.
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
The Lib Dems are planning a manifesto named Lambeth Liberal Democrat Manifesto for 2010 and want input and ideas. They have organised some working groups for the different topics the manifesto will cover. Details of the first session here:
A resident-led council - devolution, value for money, diversity
Led by Gavin Dosworth on Wed 12th August 7pm
Gavin wants to send out a couple of items for people to look through before the session to give a starting point, so people are asked to inform Rosie Loveland, if they are able to be present on email@example.com and the venue will be announced once numbers are known.
Future sessions will be on the topics:
Environmental sustainability – greening the council, leading by example, helping residents go green
Children in the borough – safe at all ages, active and healthy, effective education (led by Roger Giess)
Quality of life – improved local environment, leisure and culture, ‘no’ to overdevelopment, lower crime & fear of crime, better health especially for older people (led by Andrew Sawdon)
Housing – a tenant-led service (led by Jeremy Clyne)
It's an interesting opportunity for SE11 residents to contribute to potential future local policy.
Thursday, 6 August 2009
However, the murdered man was named as rapper Carl Beatson Asiedu and whilst several arrests have been made, the police are still appealing for more information. A special email address has been set up for enquiries. It is: firstname.lastname@example.org and metropolitan police would like anybody that isn't comfortable calling them to consider emailing them information about the stabbing. If you do have more details about what happened, you can always set up a free anonymous Hotmail or Gmail account and email police without them knowing your details.
Somebody must know something, and it's incredibly frustrating that so many cases don't appear to be satisfactorily resolved. There are a fair few people up and around in Vauxhall at 5am, given the vibrant scene in the area. Somebody must have been near or outside Life and noticed something at that time in the morning.
I still wonder whether justice might be done for Ashley Kemete's relatives, (he was shot in Kennington late last year). I remember a few people were arrested and bailed, but have heard nothing since.
It looks as though the St George Wharf management have signed a new gym contract with The Gym Group. And the really good news? (Keep this one quiet, or it might become popular... it's open to those of us who have tightened belts for the credit crunch.) Sign up now and they're offering membership for £15 per month - I'm not linked or subsidised with them in any way, but I don't need to be to say that that's a great price. Also, there is no contract (it appears to be monthtly payments) and no sign up fees (at least for now). It's likely to be basic eg. no swimming pool, but for brand new equipment 24 hours a day, it's a great addition to the area (by comparison, Paris Gym will set you back £460 per year). The place opens on August 10th.
If you see somebody who hasn't exercised properly for years panting away in the corner, you can even come and say "hi" :)
You might recall from this post back in May that planning permission had been sought for 216 Kennington Road. I was against the request since I was hoping the site might be put to use for some kind of community facility.
It seems that
Also, if you read the post I wrote back in June when I was trying to keep up with the number of nasty high rises on our horizon, it is worth noting that we've had an appeal (against the refusal of planning permission) withdrawn on item number 3 (38-46 Albert Embankment) which is on the site of the Texaco garage. That leaves one less ball in the air in terms of pending sites.
In addition, I nearly forgot... I raised the matter some time ago that TFL (despite local objections) had applied for planning permission for one of its excellent cycle scheme pods in Windmill Row (a very bad location due to overcrowding of pedestrians and traffic). The council sensibly overturned the request so that's good news.
I'm sorry it has all gone so quiet... It's silly season in Kennington and what with swine flu and holidays etc. there's not so much to report.
Saturday, 1 August 2009
This is alarming enough, but London-SE1 has already reported that a man was stabbed to death in the early hours on Baylis Road, just up the road in SE1. See here for more info. Early reports from police are suggesting that the two incidents might be linked...
Edit (2/8/2009) - see London-SE1 again here for a further update. It appears that the Baylis Road victim (a 19 year old male) was stabbed at in Goding Street, but only actually discovered by police when they pulled over a car that jumped lights in Baylis Road.
In addition, a second male was stabbed in Goding Street, but he recovered and has been discharged from hospital.
The BBC report on the incident is here.
Please contact the police or leave a comment if you've any further information.
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Under the banner of "Kennington Vauxhall Alliance", the RCDT is apparently seeking new members. They've produced a rather snazzy leaflet, which you can print out and send back to them. Basically, they want to build their membership so that they become representative of the Kennington/Vauxhall area, but with a particular focus on the section between the Thames on one side and Kennington Road / Kennington Lane on the other.
You might be interested in this organisation if you want a voice in the future of the former Lilian Baylis or the future of the Beaufoy Institute. They'll also focus on transport issues, planning matters particularly as they relate to the river section of the area and look into the proposed public transport around Vauxhall Cross. My email suggests that they are not interested in encroaching on the work of either Kennington Association or the Kennington Oval Vauxhall forum, but they would like to gain membership from anybody who lives around the former Lilian Baylis or the Beaufoy Institute.
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
1. 09/01864/FUL 12/06/2009 Pavement Opposite 1-12 Adam Court, Kennington Lane London Installation on pedestrian footway of cycle hire docking station for the Transport for London Cycle Hire Scheme containing a maximum of 35 docking points for scheme bicycles plus a terminal to secure and release scheme bicycles and to provide registration and payment facilities and wayfinding mapping.
2. 09/01766/FUL 05/06/2009 Outside Former Lilian Baylis School, Lollard Street London Installation on pedestrian footway of cycle hire docking station for the Transport for London cycle hire scheme comprising a maximum of 25 docking points for scheme bicycles plus a terminal to secure and release scheme bcycles and to provide registration and payment facilities and wayfinding mapping.
3. 09/01765/RG4 05/06/2009 Outside 1-28 Tresco House, Sancroft Street London Installation on the pedestrian footway and vehicle carriageway of cycle hire docking station for the Transport for London Cycle Hire Scheme comprising a maximum of 29 docking points for scheme bicycles plus a terminal to secure and release bicycles and to provide registration and payment facilities and wayfinding mapping.
4. 09/01755/RG4 05/06/2009 Opposite Prince Consort House, Albert Embankment London Installation on pedestrian footway of cycle hire docking station for the Transport for London Cycle Hire Scheme comprising a maximum of 24 docking points for scheme bicycles plus a terminal to secure and release bicycles and to provide registration and payment facilities and wayfinding mapping.
I don't see a problem with any of these. The Albert Embankment cycles will be useful for tourists and handy for getting to and from the Albert Embankment, which is somewhat off the tube map and not well connected via the rest of SE11 by bus (there is a Black Prince Road bus route, but that's the only route which takes SE11 residents to the Albert Embankment). The Sancroft street bays are quite central, and a much better suggestion than Windmill Row.
I'm not sure what to make of the ones by the former Lilian Baylis cycle placement (the second half of Lollard St is rather quiet due to being a no through road), but no doubt local residents might comment on the position. I suppose the new bikes could be used by church members, rather than parking in local roads, if the former Lilian Baylis is purchased by the ANC!
Monday, 13 July 2009
1. The Metropolitan Police conducted a puppy/dog grab from a residence in Renfrew Road, Kennington, where they discovered 6 pit bull puppies and 2 dangerous adult dogs. Kennington Association news blog have a link to the Evening Standard item here. It seems that the police seized about 20 dogs overall, but implies that these were from various South London addresses, rather than one address... Even still, I wouldn't be surprised if the neighbours complained about the noise from 8 dogs!
2. Kennington fete. I hope everybody had a lovely day and enjoyed the weather at Kennington fete in Cleaver Square. I really wish I hadn't missed that, but hopefully there will be another next year. Twitter user El_Nacnud has some photos, of the type that I would have taken had I been there. Please leave some comments with more links.
3. In less than the blink of an eye, somebody has formed another SE11 blog! There's always room for more local bloggers, and the new blog can be found at SE11life.com It comes from the keyboard of the esteemed MayorWatch blog and is written by Martin Hoscik (I'm presuming he is also quite local).
4. And for really dull hyperlocal news, (only relevant to 34082342 commuters, after all), there are some Twittery rumours floating around that lift number 2 at Kennington tube has broken (only about 2 weeks after the six month refurb). I notice that somebody finally had the presence of mind to stick a piece of paper over the sign that says that the stairs are to be used "only in an emergency".
Anything else??? Oh yes.
I'm not too sure what happened at the Special Council Meeting earlier in the week, re. all of the leaseholder issues. More info would be appreciated so please leave a comment re. the council's handling of the matter... What is due to happen next?
It appears that Viva Vauxhall had their meeting and have come out as opposed to the Bondway tower (there's a surprise!), but there's more here about that with further contact details if you want to be involved.
A certain amount of friction appears to have been generated re. the former Lilian Baylis site between ward councillors, various local resident groups and other interested parties. I'm not at liberty to paste every piece of correspondence I receive, but I am particularly interested in hearing from anybody at Lambeth Council who might be able to comment more fully on the future of the site, rather than issuing rather wishy washy leaflets without consultation dates or any mention of governance. I think the initial community consultation on the future of the site was rather weak (perhaps it was conducted at a time when residents were less vociferous), but we're now mid-recession, so perhaps the possibilities for ongoing usage might have changed. I rather get the impression that the discussions are behind closed doors, and there is no longer any room for community input, but watch this space...
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
I understand from Chris Lee's email response to me late last week that Lambeth Living stand by their estimates as Lambeth has been informed by their vendor, Lambeth Living, that all the estimates are correct and that, and I quote from Cathy Deplissis from Friday news piece, "Lambeth Living has a legal obligation to bill for service charges and Leaseholders have the legal obligation to pay thiose charges",
May I take this opportunity to remind you that those charges have to be "reasonable" and represent value for money otherwise they will not stand up in Leasholder Valauation Tribunal cases and again, this will be costly for Lambeth and will not help the organisations achieve the balanced budget by March 31st.
I am extremely disappointed that given the initial findings of the Audit Commission on the lack of response to Leaseholders' queries and request for information/evidence of charges etc, that we are still in this position and there seems to be no signs of progress to meet across the table to discuss this major issue.
I know that for political reasons, distancing oneself from the shambles of the ALMO might seem like a good idea, however, I cannot see how this will serve the longevity of any officer or Councillor as the fact remains that our Landlord is not ble to manage their property management contractor.
I can only say that after requesting this meeting, and Cllr. Pecks further follow up which has been ignored, that I will now have to email the residents who have again, given up their own time to work out their charges etc and sent copies to me so that I could have a discussion with you both, only to be let down again. I will aslo be sending this to the other Leaseholders that I have contact with as I have promised them that I will do what I can. and this failure is simply not for my lack of trying.
I am very disappointed that there are around 10,000 household in Lambeth being ignored and expected to pay for these hike in charges and the response is to pass this around and not to meet with us.
I will also be sending information to as many leaseholders as I can to inform them of their rights, under law, to hold Lambeth to account for these charges.
Yours in utter frustration and disappointment,
It appears to me that Steve Rice is doing a fantastic public service for all Lambeth leaseholders. Remember, the inflated leaseholder bills are an issue across the whole Borough, and are not exclusive to SE11.
If progress on the issue (in the form of public meetings, and so on) is not forthcoming, then I will continue to publicise that fact in a way that makes it known to as many people as possible.
Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Obviously, moving it to Vauxhall and Kennington would be of most relevance to SE11 readers, but I think either Elephant, Waterloo or Vauxhall would make good centres because they're all huge public transport interchanges, which mean it's very easy to maintain anonymity (presumably a key feature for sexual health clinics). I can't see any reason /not/ to move the clinic to any of the areas, but it would be useful to have a list of the actual sites in case they'd be problematic to access for any particular users. I think it would be better to place it in either Elephant or Vauxhall from the point of view of regeneration, in the sense that a large clinic would increase the number of users in an area who might also use other local services eg. cafes. I think Waterloo is further forward with its development than the other areas and doesn't need that extra help.
There's an opportunity to fill in an online survey or take part in a user group on the matter, so do check out the item.
Monday, 29 June 2009
(Edit, 12:12) - One Lurking about SE11 commentator notes that the person on a stretcher was a woman. It is reported that she was a cyclist, and was hit by a lorry.
(Edit, 30/6/2009) - It has now been confirmed (see comments) that the cyclist died in the accident, witnessed by a number of readers yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both the cyclist and the lorry driver.
I know that the roads in this area are potentially dangerous because they are so fast moving, and I frequently see both cyclists and motorists driving/cycling dangerously.
Thank you for all of the comments you've all contributed. I know that readers will be sad to hear of another accident in this area. Some of the folk at the London Fixed-Gear and Single Speed website are advocating writing to Boris Johnson to request that he makes HGV/cyclist safety a priority. Individual letters are (as with most things) a more powerful catalyst for change than petitions. If you would like to follow up, you can contact the Mayor as follows:
By email: email@example.com
Mayor of London
Greater London Authority
The Queen's Walk
London SE1 2AA
Telephone: 020 7983 4100
Minicom: 020 7983 4458
Fax: 020 7983 4057
I lifted the above information from the thread about the accident on the London FGSS forums here.
(For what it's worth, Boris might be more open to listening to comments at the moment because he was involved in a near-miss recently, reported by the BBC here.)
Sunday, 28 June 2009
I telephoned the developers before this initial consultation in order to find out what the plans might look like, but the developers (Native Land) technically need to offer an initial consultation/exhitibion in order to demonstrate that they have spoken to the local community, and responded to feedback, so there were no plans on display today (no doubt they've been drawn up somewhere!). There were lots of pretty pictures, which I've photographed in case you couldn't attend the consultation.
The London Fire brigade buildings are currently a mixed bag. It's fairly clear that at least one of them is such a grotty 1970s monstrosity that it could do with being replaced with something that would (hopefully) reveal the Royal Doulton Building in its fully glory. In case you forgot how beautiful it is, here's a quick glimpse:
My general concern, as always, is that the potential buildings will be too tall (and I got the general inkling that the proposed buildings would be at least as tall as Salamanca, but that was only froma brief conversation). The developers have to build high in order to maximise profit. You might remember (if you attended the 81 Black Prince Road consultation) how the the proposed building was so tall when viewed from the south of Black Prince Road, that it dwarfed the low and medium rise residences in the rest of Black Prince and Kennington. It's worth noting that the recently released draft Core Policy for the Local Development Framework (for Vauxhall), p63 states that 'Along the river, Lambeth are anxious to avoid creating a wall effect, blocking out the Thames and want sufficient gaps between buildings.' Consequently, building too high risks a rejection on the basis that the building affects the World Heritage area and surrounding listed buildings (remember that Lambeth Council refused 81 Black Prince Road on such grounds, and we're still awaiting the outcome). However, we'll have to wait until the secondary consultation for architect's plans.
What was interesting about the exhbibition is that it was fairly well attended. Whilst I was there, there were about 10 or so other parties coming and going.
In the meantime, some photos from today (I've not included all of them, but the important images are here! Click any photo to enlarge):
This photo shows all three sites that would be developed:
I beleive that this diagram shows properly just how large the proposed development would be. It's going to be very large:
It's quite interesting that London Fire Brigade will retain part of the site:
It all looks rather unexceptional, but then, I doubt that they'll show us the 25 storey building until the secondary consultation/exhibition:
I think Native Land will have to make a greater contribution to local transport (how about a new bus route along Black Prince Road?) because it's not really enough just to state that the area is well connected. Some existing residents are likely to raise parking issues as a concern:
If you missed the exhbition today, you can still give feedback. Note the address on the following photo:
I will (as usual) keep you all updated as more information becomes available on this site.
Friday, 26 June 2009
In further news, the BBC published an article at lunch time today about the deteriorating relationship between Lambeth Living and the leaseholders here. Some of you might recognise the cheeky chappy in the picture!
[Edit 27/6/2009]: There is a video link to the BBC article now as well. Click here to view the clip which appeared on the BBC news. It's very interesting, and shows local people arguing that it would make more sense to move out, rent somewhere else and lease their properties back to Lambeth Council. I felt rather sorry for the Chief Executive of Lambeth Living, since her arguments about improving the way that they "capture" information on service charges clearly don't stack up against complaints that work stated on the bills has never actually been performed!
One commentator has linked to an article from Inside Housing, which details a massive catalogue of Lambeth Housing's failures from 2005 here.
I then wrote to both Caroline Pidgeon and Valerie Shawcross. Both responded quickly.
It appears that Caroline Pidgeon asked Boris Johnson whether London Boroughs would be consulted on the traffic light re-phasings back in March, and she specifically asked, "what will happen if boroughs object to a reduction in crossing times for pedestrians?". Boris responded by saying, "TfL has a statutory duty under the GLA Act to consult with the relevant borough officers before and after signal timings are changed and they always adhere to this".
Consequently, I wrote to ask the councillors whether the borough officers would consult the community. It appears, however, from my response from Caroline Pidgeon, that Boris' answer was incorrect re. the consultation of the Borough officers.
Caroline's answer is as follows:
"TfL does not (contrary to the Mayor’s statement) have a duty to consult on signals timings changes on their network (however signals timings must be within the limits set by DfT guidance).
If however TfL decides (voluntarily) to consult Lambeth it would be with our Traffic Manager (Thuraippah Sivalingam)."
So, effectively, TfL can rephase the lights without being statutorily required to consult the boroughs. There is no way for local residents to object.
It's all a teensy weensy bit totalitarian for my liking.
Thursday, 25 June 2009
Amongst other items, the email alleges:
* The estimates have gone out to leaseholders, 4 months late.
* The charges appear to have gone up by at least 50% and in many cases nearly 100% for the coming year.
* There was no forewarning residents of the huge increases other than one letter 7 months ago regarding the possible increase in heating charges.
* There are charges on the invoices for services and contracts that do not exist.
* The delays have resulted in a huge cash flow problem, not only for Lambeth, but for residents, as Lambeth Living will be deducting 4 months at the increased rate from Leaseholders bank accounts - resulting in many peoples' account being in unauthorised overdraft.
* No notice was given to Leasehold Council nor residents that the increases were going to be so high
Also, the email states...
"Leaseholders have called the contact centre only to be told that they would receive a call the Leaseholder call back in 48 hours. When Leaseholders called again after not receiving their call back, there were to that the contact centre had received a directive that they were not to speak to anyone about these charges and that Leaseholders must put their enquiries/complaints in writing.
This would conveniently take us past the three days notice that leaseholders have before the Direct Debit requests would be made on their bank accounts."
No doubt we'll be hearing more about this in the coming weeks. Why not leave a comment if you live in or near SE11 and say how this affects you.
In the meantime, the developers held a consultation on the Bondway building, which I was unfortunately unable to attend. Fortunately, the writer of Viva Vauxhall did go, and has revealed that the development might contain 376 flats (or nearly 1000 people) if it were to go ahead as the developers hope. See here for more info. on what the building would consist of, and here for sketch drawings.
Viva Vauxhall also notes that comments might still be open (even past the deadline of 24th June) on the Bondway Tower, if you've not yet had a chance to comment. See this post for details about who to contact.
Also (this one may be more for Kennington/Albert Embankment folk), there is to be a consultation held on 8 Albert Embankment:
Project: Redevelop former headquarters of London Fire Brigade - 8 Albert Embankment.
Consultation dates/Times: Thursday 25th June (16:00 - 20:00), Friday 26th (15:00 - 18:00) and 27th (10:00 - 13:00).
Developer: Native Land and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Since the Albert Embankment technically falls in SE1, London-SE1 have provided a news item on the matter here. However, I'm going to cover a number of tall buildings in the vicinity because quite a number of them affect residents of rather different constituent areas.
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Are you a person with disabilities that cause you mobility problems?
Are you a parent with small children who has to cross the road slowly?
Do you suffer from asthma/breathing problems related to pollution?
Well... let's hope you don't live in Vauxhall!
According to the Evening Standard, TFL are about to "re-phase" the traffic lights in many locations, including at Vauxhall Cross. This is "clever-speak" for covering up the fact that pedestrians will be given less time to cross the road in certain locations in order to increase "traffic flow" (which will inevitably increase traffic itself).
In the article, Alan Bristow (TFL director of traffic operations) notes "Our timing review programme is aimed at making life a little bit easier for everyone who uses a particular junction, be they pedestrians, cyclists or motorists." But I fail to see how reducing the time given for people to cross the road makes life in any way easier for pedestrians.
And Vauxhall, as we all know, is very pedestrian/cyclist friendly. Not.
I don't even know if it's possible to object to the rephasing of the traffic lights. Looks like it's one of Bojo's not so good ideas.
Quite helpfully, Valerie Shawcross (Labour, Lambeth and Southwark, London Assembly member) asked Boris about some of the re-phasings in March this year, although she asked about Wandsworth Road and not Vauxhall Cross. In response to one of her questions, Boris said: "TfL is discussing proposals for timing changes to junctions at Wandsworth Road, with the London Borough of Lambeth. I will ask TfL to write to you with the details once their discussions with Lambeth are concluded." I wonder whether they'll provide her with info. about Vauxhall.
In addition, Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dem, Londonwide, London Assembly member) asked about whether London boroughs would be consulted re. changing the phasing on traffic lights and what would happen if the boroughs object to the reduction of crossing time? Apparently, TfL have a statutory duty to consult with "borough officers".
That raises the question:
a. Who are the Lambeth Borough officers that would be consulted on the matter?
b. Do the Lambeth Borough officers have a duty to consult the public?
I'll inform you of any updates.
Friday, 12 June 2009
IT IS PERMANENTLY WORSE THAN THAT.
Shopping at Tesco in Kennington is an appalling experience. There are often major food shortages. Even food that people eat all of the time eg. salad items are frequently missing. The interior is scruffy and messy. The queues are ridiculous and staff do not open new tills even when prompted. The self-service shopping computers are so slow and very buggy. The queues are ridiculous during the evening. The younger staff are downright unhelpful and undisciplined. (The older staff are sometimes better.) Tonight, we asked three members of staff for the managers' last name. Her picture is on the wall and the name badge says "Nikki", but none of them knew her last name. That may be because she is not in the store often enough to realise how yucky it has become.
Last Friday, I finally lost my temper, and started photographing everything in an attempt to get somebody to take some notice.
These are the items that Tesco did not have in stock last Friday night:
1. £1.97 - Tesco Smoked and back bacon:
2. 5 or 6 different varieties of ham
3. £9 - dinner for 2 section. Very empty.
4. £2.00 Tesco finest oven baked potatoes with bacon and £1.97 Tesco finest dauphinoise potatoes:
5. Tesco (not finest) potato croquettes:
6. Tesco Paracetamol Tablets 500mg 16 tablets:
7. Tesco Paracetamol Tablets 500mg 16 capsules: [Clearly, shopping in Tesco has become too much for most locals...]
8. £4.93 Tesco Luxury Soft Toilet Roll White (16 for 12) [for expensive bottoms]:
9. 41p Tesco Value Toilet Roll [for cheap bottoms]:
10. £1.97 Tesco unsmoked back bacon:
11. £5.32 "Just for Men" Brown hair dye is missing. [Fine to shop at Tesco if you want to dye your hair black, but don't bother if it's brown you want]
12. Something that cost 15p, but now cannot be deciphered due to camera death.
At that point, the camera died (it is four years old, and has started doing an open/close shutter thing at random). Sadly, I'd barely scratched the surface of the products missing. I just took pictures of the most noticeable gaps. I even have a big list of over 30 other items missing (including pretty much all quantities/styles of rice), but it's sad enough to take pictures of missing items without actually typing it all up, so I shall not!
I think I might rename the blog to "Whinging about SE11.
In the meantime, please, Nikki, whoever you are... Take note of this public SE11 plea of Tesco management inadequacy and fix it!
I've requested more details from the 8 Albert Embankment agents, prior to the consultation, eg. images/plans about what the developers want to do with 8 Albert Embankment, as it will almost certainly affect those who live in SE11, who will live in its shadow.
The decision on the proposed development at 81 Black Prince Road is currently with the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol and their decision might affect what can be built at 8 Albert Embankment. This was predicted by an anonymous commentator (douglas788) back in May 2009 when he commented on the fact that he'd found mention of 81 Black Prince Road in the minutes of a discussion from London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. Click here to read that rather interesting nugget.
Do take careful note of the various proposals that would mean SE11 residents would be overshadowed:
1. 4. 8 Albert Embankment (Kennington/Waterloo/Albert Embankment)
Initial consultation pending
2. 69-71 Bondway (Vauxhall)
You can still object/agree as comments re. planning permission are still open on this one.
3. 38 Albert Embankment (Kennington/Waterloo/Albert Embankment) This is with the planning inspectorate, pending a decision on whether to overturn Lambeth Council's objection. (See comment by Cllr Harrison for further info.)
4. 81 Black Prince Road (Kennington/Waterloo/Albert Embankment)
This is with the planning inspectorate, pending a decision on whether to overturn Lambeth Council's objection.
5. Walworth Road Strata/Castle House (Elephant)
This is already built!
Thursday, 11 June 2009
The local community were consulted about provision for bicycles and their stands in March 2009.
A table of potential docking locations offered is available here and images of potential docking station location were produced.
I don't know what emerged from the KOV forum consultation which took place.
However, I do know that Cllr Rob Banks (Oval, Lib Dem) offered to pass on comments from one local committee that the docking station outside Windmill Row "would mean the loss of parking bays in an area where there are not enough at the moment due to red routes etc, bad news for disabled drivers and local businesses, and there are other nearby sites for the bikes." I presume these comments were passed on to the relevant authorities.
Consequently, (in an email passed to Ms Porteur today), we are somewhat disappointed to see that one of the planning permission requests surrounding the scheme actually includes the Windmill Row site which was commented on (by at least one committee) as inappropriate. There were 34 potential sites, so it didn't seem that difficult to avoid the problematic one.
The sites requested for permission (so far) are:
The problem is that I don't know whether to advise readers to object to the planning permission on the Windmill Row site. I'd rather have the cycle hire in an inappropriate place than not at all.
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
I'm not sure how this one slipped under the radar (you have until 24/6/2009 to comment), so I am going to refer you to the Viva Vauxhall blog (which represents the roads around Bonnington Square) where they have an excellent post which lists their reservations about the development and might give you some basis with which to support or oppose the planning permission request.
The building is technically not in SE11. It's some way over the border in SW8. However, when proposed buildings are so tall, they impact on everybody that lives locally. I imagine the building will overshadow Fentiman Road, Bonnington Square and Vauxhall Grove. The question is... exactly which part of Vauxhall is it considered acceptable to place tall buildings? It was clarified at the Kennington Oval and Vauxhall AGM last night that it was considered appropriate in the draft Vauxhall Supplementary Planning document to raise tall buildings around Vauxhall station. The concept of what counts as Vauxhall station is somewhat hazy. I've read the draft Vauxhall Supplementary Planning document, but haven't given it the amount of analysis that I gave to the draft core plan for the Local Development Framework. It looks like it's time to go back to the Vauxhall Supplementary Planning document and provide a summary. When I've done that, I'll post it here to be of assistance for those commenting on local planning proposals.
It's worth mentioning at this point that the Vauxhall Supplementary Planning document will remain in "draft" stage until one of the wider documents related to the London Plan is released for consultation (in order to check that the two line up and Lambeth aren't heading in a different direction from the rest of London). That document won't be consulted until September 2009 so the draft Vauxhall SPD will remain in draft format for some time.
Edit (11/6/2009): Tradescant Road blog has also commented and posted a helpful picture of various elevations of the proposed development.
Thanks to Fiona Colley on Twitter who pointed me to the full results on Lambeth website here.
The breakdown is as follows:
1174 - BNP
2154 - Christian Party - Proclaiming Christ's Lordship
10537 - Conservative Party
488 - English Democrat Party
194 - Jury Team
11340 - Liberal Democrats
478 - No to EU: Yes to Democracy
281 - Pro Democracy: Libertas.eu
653 - Socialist Labour Party
10394 - The Green Party
15990 - The Labour Party
158 - The Socialist Party of Great Britain
3111 - United Kingdom Independence Party
155 - Yes to Europe
46 - Gene Alcantara
187 - Steven Cheung
176 - Jan Jananayagam
36 - Sohale Rahman
48 - Haroon Saad
Rejected ballots = 558
Turnout = 30.15%
So total votes cast = 58,158
What's interesting about these results is as follows:
1. The Green Party won only 143 votes less than the Conservatives in Lambeth. That's an appalling Conservative result and a fantastic result for the Greens!
2. Labour are so far ahead (4650 votes) than their nearest rivals (Lib Dems) in Lambeth that they're virtually unbeatable at current turnout levels. This might not be so interesting if Labour didn't appear to be performing so badly nationally. There's a joke in my hometown constituency that "you could pin a blue rosette on a monkey, and everybody would still vote Conservative", but that seems to hold for red rosettes in Lambeth.
3. UKIP performed appallingly in Lambeth compared with the national result. Even the UKIP result and the BNP result added together does not approach anything like that of the main parties and only makes up 7.37% of the vote.
4. The BNP won only just over 2% of the vote. That's still too much, but it does mean that they're not likely to gain a foothold in Lambeth and their "clean image" promotion is not working amongst local people. That's a very good thing.
5. If everyone who voted for a party that received under 1000 votes had voted for a party that received 1000 votes or above, there would be an extra 2900 votes zapping around that might not have been "wasted" on minor candidates. Those votes couldn't have closed the gap between Labour and their opponents, but they could have pushed Lib Dems much closer to Labour or pushed either the Conservatives or Greens into second place.
I would love it if this data were available by ward. We're interested in Princes, Oval and Bishops around here, but I don't suppose that information is available. Please comment if you know where I could obtain a further breakdown.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
You might remember that I touched on the hotel planning request last year in July 2008 when the proposals to build the hotel at the Oval were called to review by the Health and Safety Commission due to the close proximity of the gasometers. It seems that nearly a year later, the commission must have concluded that the location is indeed safe.
There are various reports. CatererSearch says that it's a 168 bedroom hotel costing £35m and that the chief executive of Surrey Cricket Club considers it will bring "much needed regeneration" to the area.
Bah. I'm getting cynical. I'm sure it will be a lovely hotel for tourists/cricket fans and will hopefully provide local jobs, but regeneration? It's not exactly a Surestart centre! I think I would like £1 for every time somebody uses the word regeneration about this and the Vauxhall area over the next 5 years.
Propertyweek and Planning Resource say the scheme will include a new stand which will increase the total seats at the Oval to 25k.
Well, that's more people to vomit/urinate over the entrance to my flats after their matches... Yes, it did happen! But more seriously, the Three Wheeled One might start keeping a close eye on how the Surrey Cricket Club offer the facility for the use of the local community. We do know that the SCC offer their hall and fund the Kennington Tai Chi Saturday class, which is certainly commendable.
However, additional comments are welcome. I'd be pleased to hear if your sports club or school has use of the Oval facilities or receives funding from them in any way. It would be great to hear how the Kennington Oval benefits local SE11 residents throughout the year.
Edit (10/6/2009): There's more information about how the hotel and additional stands would fit on the current grounds at the Brit Oval site here.
- ► 2011 (110)
- ► 2010 (184)
- ▼ November (6)
- ► October (3)
- An incentive for China Walk and Vauxhall Gardens t...
- Cyclist death in Oval in June - appeal for witness...
- L.I.V.E rally in Kennington Park
- Oval Farmers Market and SE11 and SW9 wander
- March against knife crime and Ashes in Kennington ...
- Ashes cricket reminder to SE11
- Battersea and Kennington linked by the Northern li...
- Oval / Kennington door knocking scam
- 216 Kennington Road, planning permission refused
- Lib Dem Manifesto Planning session
- Carl Beatson Asiedu - Goding Street murder
- New Gym in Vauxhall
- 216 Kennington Road and 38-46 Albert Embankment pl...
- Goding Street SE11 incident maybe related to Bayli...
- ► July (4)
- Sexual health clinic to move to Kennington or Vaux...
- Oval accident - female cyclist died
- 8 Albert Embankment - Initial exhibition / consult...
- More on Lambeth Leaseholders
- Further info on crossing the road at Vauxhall
- Lambeth Leaseholder Service Charge Estimates 2009/...
- Tall Tower Update
- Crossing the road at Vauxhall Cross
- Trouble at the Big Gay Tesco in Kennington
- 8 Albert Embankment, SE1 and other tall buildings ...
- TFL Cycling Scheme
- 69 - 71 Bondway SW8 - Planning Permission sought
- London European Election results - Lambeth breakdo...
- Filming yesterday at Kennington Arts Lav
- Kennington Oval hotel granted planning permission