Author: Robert Molteno
The meeting’s agenda scheduled a report from Lorinda Freint, the Town Centre Manager, on the Business Plan; an update from Sara Preece on Battersea Arts Centre; and updates from the Northcote Business Network, Lavender Hill Traders Association and St John’s Hill Business Association, and Sarah Banham on Battersea Power Station. Officers were due to give Service Reports on Waste Management/Street Trading, Planning, and Highways.
The first item on the Agenda was Walkable Wandsworth. As Secretary of the newly formed Wandsworth Living Streets (WLS), I had very kindly been invited to speak briefly about WLS’s suggestions for how Wandsworth could play its part in realizing the Mayor of London’s 2011 — Year of Walking
2011 – London’s Year of Walking
I explained how Wandsworth Living Streets, following its well attended launch in 2010, intends to be a coherent voice for local residents in our capacity as users of local streets for getting to shops, services, and transport points, as well as places where to spend time. Our motto is Safe, Enjoyable, Attractive Streets. We have received support from various Councillors from both political parties. Our website will be up and running in March. And we intend to take up various issues in the borough, including how to make town centres more pedestrian-attractive places, as well reducing the borough roads speed limits to 20mph.
Following London’s Year of Cycling last year – with its introduction of the first two cycle ‘super-highways’ and Boris’s bikes in Central London – the Mayor has designated this year, 2011, as London’s Year of Walking. The programme of activities has yet to be announced. But Wandsworth Living Streets has written to Wandsworth Council enquirying how it proposes to give lasting effect to the Mayor’s plans. We have also made three proposals to the Council.
One of these is to extend Transport for London’s Legible London scheme to Wandsworth, and to our five town centres in particular. This scheme gives walkers and pedestrians easy-to-use information in a range of ways, including well designed, indeed handsome, ‘heads up’ maps and signs, finger posts pointing people in the right directions, and indications of the time it will take to walk to a specific destination. In the case of Clapham Junction, for example, maps and signs could highlight Northcote Road market, Wandsworth Common, Clapham Common, and so on.
TfL would like to extend the scheme from Central London and the South Bank to local boroughs where there is local enthusiasm for it. Richmond and Twickenham have already come on board. Wandsworth Living Streets believes there could be real benefits of this scheme in terms of promoting walking and improving health; increasing trade for local businesses; improving the look of town centres; and even some reduction in the use of the buses and private motor vehicles that clog so many of our streets.
We would welcome support from the Clapham Junction Town Centre Partnership Board and its constituent organizations, and would be happy to facilitate a meeting at which the TfL officer responsible for the Wandsworth area, Richard Fullager, could explain in detail what is involved, including the financial implications.
Robert needed to leave and did not participate to the rest of the meeting.