Meeting of Wandsworth Living Streets with cabinet member for Transport&Planning

Author: Cyril Richert

On Thursday, July 28th, I attended a meeting of Wandsworth Living Streets with Cabinet member for Strategic Planning & Transportation, Cllr Russel King (the position was formerly held by Ravi Govindia and his promotion to the position of leader of the Council lead to the cabinet reshuffle).

The point of this note is not to report on the meeting, that you will find on the Wandsworth Living Streets website. However Cllr Russel King was first asked to give us an overview of the Council’s positions and priorities. Some of them being directly related to some concerns raised on the CJAG’s website, I will give a quick summary of the outcome below:

Ram Brewery

As readers of this website already know, we have a new proposal for the Ram Brewery site. This plan shows a density decrease (1 skyscrapers of 32 storeys instead of 2: 38, 32, different planning) but the developers have committed to keep the same level of affordable housing. Therefore they seek to reduce their section 106 contribution, mainly a funding for the one-way system redevelopment. TfL has previously priced the road-work at £38m and the new proposal now is considering to provide only a third of that amount. However the Council seems into an impasse currently as TfL does not regard doing away with the gyratory as a priority.

Transport dead-lock

A recent study showed that London is expecting a significant growth in population (+15% within 5 years?). This will be concentrated along existing overground rail routes. Projections show that these will see more over-crowding during rush hour with many people being unable to get on to trains at various stations (the cost of extended platforms, longer trains etc prohibitive, and not likely to take place).  Increasing usage of private cars to get to work not an option.

Two ways of tackling the problem:

  • Dynamic pricing on the railways: ie big increases in fares for commuters using trains during the rush hours – in order to push rail travellers into using trains at other times, or to shift their mode of travel.
  • Modal shift: in two directions:
  1. Buses (a combination of more buses; more routes; more bus lanes).
  2. Cycling: there is a plan announced by the Mayor of London to extend the Barclays Bike scheme to Wandsworthnext year (the associated cycle docking stations would be located on existing car parking spaces, not pavements).

Therefore the solution is to reverse the previous trend of concentrating the businesses in Central London. Borough have been asked to look for opportunities to extend business attractiveness in their location and refrain people commuting out.

There is also a financial incentive in this direction because of the impending localisation of business rates (whereby Councils will retain all the rates collected in their area). This will alter significantly a Council’s sources of funding, and prompt a shift away from largescale residential development projects which, for many years, have been the preponderant form of development in Wandsworth.

Clapham Junction Exemplar Scheme: See our article HERE.

  1. Phase 1: currently undertaken. Right turn from Lavender Hill to Falcon Lane + crossing + street furnitures. Implementation planned until the last week of April 2011 (although the goal is to finish the paving for Christmas 2010 Spring 2011). Cost = £1.2m
  2. Phase 2: 2012-2013. Changes on the main junction (St John’s Hill/Falcon road/Lavender Hill/St John’s Road). Planned for next financial year. Cost = £1.2m and funding by TfL already promised.
  3. Phase 3: no funding yet agreed; Council will have to put in bid to TfL. It will focus on St John’s Road.
  4. Phase 4: St John’s Hill.
  5. Phase 5: Mossbury Road. Originally planned from April 2012… now postponed. Funding not currently confirmed.
  6. Phase 6: Battersea Rise (to be confirmed).

Council’s new approach to how Cabinet Members and other Councillors will be working

The new leader, Ravi Govindia, has asked each Cabinet Member to delegate parts of their portfolio, and involve other Councillors on their Overview and Scrutiny Committees (OSCs).

  • So Cllr John Locker, OSC Chair, will focus on parking;
  • Cllr Torrington, OSC Deputy Chair, will focus on public transport & heliport, and on the Passenger Transport Liaison group.

 

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