Wandsworth Living Streets: feedback on the meeting

Author: Cyril Richert

Wandsworth LS Launch, those present, 8 Nov 2010Last Monday (8th November 2010) was organised the Launch Meeting of the Wandsworth Living Streets. Susie Morrow and Robert Molteno were chairing a very well attended reunion (there was not enough place around the huge table) in the upstairs function room at The Alma Pub. Amongst the crowd were Councillor Russell King (Conservative, Balham – Chair of Transport Committee) and Councillor Leonie Cooper (Labour, Furzedown).

Why set up a Wandsworth Living Streets group?

The Mayor of London has announced that 2011 will be London’s Year of Walking. We feel it’s timely to establish a local Living Streets group, to work towards safe, attractive and enjoyable streets in our borough…. which means wider pavements, better crossings, comfortable places to sit down, streets that everyone can use, a convivial public realm, quieter and more peaceful roads, cleaner air….

Below are my observations (as for the Planning Forums I attended). In dark red are some personal comments.

Introduction to Living Street

Susie Morrow presented the national charity (www.livingstreets.org.uk) launched 81 years ago (a pedestrian association at that time). They helped to introduce highway code, speedometers in cars, pedestrian crossing, driving test…. Susie introduced a series of photographs showing the kind of issues we face and gave example of other big cities (e.g. New York) where radical move to public space have been implemented.

Local Issues Wandsworth Living Streets might campaign on

Discussions were then focusing on specific issues that Wandsworth Living Street might focus on, introduced by Robert Molteno.

Transport for London’s proposed removal of eight pedestrian crossings across Wandsworth

125 signals across London have been highlighted for potential removal, and 8 are in the borough of Wandsworth (Plough Road by Maysoule Road, the Avenue by Broomwood road,…). We were wondering why – as thy were needed 5 years ago – they are not needed nowadays and discussions within the group (along with feedback from the Council) lead to the idea that the job was probably done by someone not knowing the area.

This is just an initial consultation and there is no indication of what replacement has been considered: zebra crossing? nothing?

Living Street has already asked justification for each location targeted for removal under the freedom for information act.

20mph speed limit in residential and local shopping streets

A lot of cities are already ruling 30mph out and implementing 20mph (Oxford being one of them).  It was suggested to the Council to set up working groups with all stakeholders (amenities societies, resident associations, councillors, officers, partnerships,…) to list possible locations to reduce speed limit. It did not raise a massive enthusiasm apparently by answer was that it could be considered within… 6 months.

CJAG raised the topics of the Exemplar Scheme, road works currently happening in the Clapham Junction area. The Strategic Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee approved the scheme during its meeting on the 20th September, 2010. However all of the points raised by the Cycling Campaign to reduced the speed and implement safer roads were turned down, including suggestions such the one I raised in our article (a ‘default’ 20mph speed limit in Falcon lane, a raised table, enlarging the pavement or 20mph in St John’s Road).

Cllr King said that it was too early for Clapham Junction and the Council is currently only taking a one dimensional view. However they were keen on having a second look later and further improvements could happen at another stage (a two dimension? or should we suggest a three dimension maybe?). Cllr Cooper asked if the Council could move beyond the one dimensional view.

Making our Town Centres more people-friendly

Sue Roscoe Watts, chair of the Wandsworth Town Centre Partnership said they would welcome any idea and speaker at their meeting to present suggestion on what could be done.

Contributing to Wandsworth Local Implementation Plan

The planning inspectorate has now confirmed that the WBC planning strategy is sound and can go ahead with a number of amendments. Most of the changes were discussed at the public hearings in February 2010 and you can read our comment on the Inspector’s approval here. The Council has officially adopted the final version of the Core Strategy in its meeting in October.

The Proposed Submission versions of the DMPD (Development Management Policies Document) and SSAD (Site Specific Allocation Document), which provide detailed policies to support the delivery of the Core Strategy, are now proposed for public consultation up to the 11th December 2010.

[More information in our report of the last Planning Forumand very soon on this website]

Supporting action on Albert Bridge

The bridge is currently open for pedestrian and cycling. A survey is ongoing to encourage Wandsworth and Kensington & Chelsea Councils to make improvements to the current work.

The London Mayor’s Year of Walking 2011

Any idea is welcomed to have a celebration of the event in Wandsworth (as you might know, government’s money is very, very tight right now).

Practical Arrangements

Last but not least, Susie Morrow has been elected chair and Robert Molteno secretary.

Next meeting in 2 months, date to be confirmed.

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