Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Sexual health clinic to move to Kennington or Vauxhall?

There's an interesting news item on London-se1 this morning about the fact that St Thomas' hospital are looking to relocate their sexual health clinic from the hospital itself. The article states that they think they might base it in Waterloo, Vauxhall, Elephant & Castle or Kennington.

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

Oval accident - female cyclist died

Stockwell News reported some kind of accident or incident at Oval tube station in Harleyford Road at around 8:30am this morning, and noticed lots of emergency vehicles and somebody on a stretcher. I left for work very late this morning, and didn't notice any traffic buildup in Kennington as a result, but no doubt the road was cleared quickly.

(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: mayor@london.gov.uk
Postal Address:
Boris Johnson
Mayor of London
Greater London Authority
City Hall
The Queen's Walk
More London
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

8 Albert Embankment - Initial exhibition / consultation

First up from today (well, yesterday now, but it's much too hot for bed!) was the 8 Albert Embankment exhibition for the proposed development to replace some of the London Fire Brigade buildings on and around the Albert Embankment (technically in SE1, but rather near the boundary). It's worth noting that there are three sites that the developers seek to build upon. New readers should check out this post for a list of all of the major building proposals that affect SE11 and the wider area.

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: Royal Doulton, SE11

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

More on Lambeth Leaseholders

I'm getting a considerable number of hits from people who are Googling for Lambeth leaseholder charges. Please do keep the comments coming in. It's part of this blog's function to enable local people to have online contact with one another in order to build real life contacts, and hopefully strengthen our community.

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.

Further info on crossing the road at Vauxhall

You'll see on the post that I made a week ago, I reported that some of the traffic lights at Vauxhall would be re-phased so that pedestrian crossing times would be reduced. This is a general concern because Vauxhall is not the safest or easiest place to cross the road, even with current phasings.

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

Lambeth Leaseholder Service Charge Estimates 2009/2010

Today I was emailed a document, sent to a number of councilors/officers in the London Borough of Lambeth about the ludicrous Lambeth Living service charge increases for 2009/2010. Apparently, the service charge increase is widespread and a number of residents have complained direct to the BBC, so expect to see the item feature on the news tonight!

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.

Tall Tower Update

I refer back to my post on tall buildings currently being offered to the area for those people that need an update about what is at stake here.

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

Crossing the road at Vauxhall Cross

Are you an older person who walks slowly?
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

Trouble at the Big Gay Tesco in Kennington

I know that it's really not cool to go shopping on a Friday night, but last weekend was busy, and it was rainy and miserable so we decided to complete the shopping early. I also understand that Friday night might not be a time when the shop is well stocked so I could understand one or two items being missing...


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!

8 Albert Embankment, SE1 and other tall buildings in SE11

It's another SE1 development, but thanks to the Labour SE11 Action team guys, we've news of an initial consultation on a potential new development at 8, Albert Embankment. London-SE1 news site reported back in August 2007 that the site was to be sold to developers, and we're now seeing movement from the developers about how they might proceed.

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

TFL Cycling Scheme

I don't think I've mentioned it here, but I've been looking forward to the start of TFL's new Cycle Hire scheme which (due to the fact that SE11 is secretly in Zone 1) will extend as far South as Oval and is due to begin in May 2010. There's a nice handy map of the coverage here. You might want to lament the fact that less than a quarter of the entire provision of the scheme is made for South of the River, but let's not complain about that too much now...

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:

<><> <><> <><> <><> <><> <><>

Bishops 09/01698/FUL 2/6/2009Under Waterloo Bridge - North East Of Belvedere Road LondonInstallation on the pedestrian footway of a cycle hire docking station containing a maximum of 39 do...Pending Consideration
Bishops 09/01700/FUL 29/05/2009Footway Opposite 150-152 Concert Hall Approach LondonInstallation on the pedestrian footway of cycle hire docking stations containing a maximum of 41 doc...Pending Consideration
Princes 09/01678/FUL 29/05/2009Land On Sancroft Street Outside Woodstock Court LondonInstallation on the vehicle carriageway of a cycle hire docking station containing a maximum of 25 d...Pending Consideration
Oval 09/01778/FUL 5/6/2009Under Railway Bridge, Vauxhall Station, Kennington Lane LondonInstallation on pedestrian footway of cycle hire docking station for the transport for london cycle ...Pending Consideration
Oval 09/01720/FUL 1/6/2009Outside 1-5 Windmill Row LondonInstallation on the vehicle carriageway of a cycle hire docking station containing a maximum of 32 d...Pending Consideration

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

69 - 71 Bondway SW8 - Planning Permission sought

Planning permission is currently being sought for: Bondway Commercial Centre, 69 - 71 Bondway, London SW8 1SQ. Application number is 09/01520/FUL and comments can be made by clicking the link. Vauxhall Bondway Ltd are proposing to develop a 42 storey building on the site. I think that would be of equivalent height to the Strata Building in Elephant and Castle. Most peoples' question is "Where's Bondway?". It's here:

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.

London European Election results - Lambeth breakdown

I know it's only of marginal interest to SE11 readers, but we are a part of the London Borough of Lambeth and I think the breakdown of voting in the Borough of Lambeth in the European elections is fascinating because it's contrary to the rest of the UK.

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.

Filming yesterday at Kennington Arts Lav

Saw filming taking place at the gentlemen's loos in Kennington Cross. I wish I could remember the name of the film. Can anybody supply?

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Kennington Oval hotel granted planning permission

The news of the day is that Arora International have been granted planning permission to build a hotel at Kennington Oval. I found out via a public meeting (and a commentator left a comment), but I can't find the official documentation granting permission.

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.

Friday, 5 June 2009

More on Battersea Power Station and Northern line Extension

Having now blogged the results from the Princes Ward 2009 election, Lurking about SE11 will return to greater commentary on news affecting the local area.

I think various other local blogs have covered this story, but it has popped up again in my local news feeds. There is currently a second public exhibition on the Battersea Power Station redevelopment. Since the first exhibition, the masterplan has been changed and various buildings have been (predictably) scaled down so the developers are reconsulting on the plans.

It's somewhat periperhal to SE11, but the reason it's interesting for us is because it would be very exciting to have the northern line connected via one or two stations to Battersea, which would open up the area for local residents here. As I said in my previous post, it's somewhat short sighted, but I favour nearly all public transport extensions. However, I notice that the new letter only states "plans for extending the Northern Line into Nine Elms" which isn't terribly clear. I know that there was one stop proposed (mentioned in my last post on the matter here), but I do vaguely recall hearing mention of a stop at Clapham Junction! Perhaps I made that up!

If you'd like to go along, there's more information on Treasury Holdings' Battersea Power Station website. You've not got long (tomorrow being your best opportunity now).

It's at Gate 2 of the Power Station site on Kirtling Street:

4th June: 12:00 - 20:00
5th June: 10:00 - 18:00
6th June: 10:00 - 17:00

The winner of Princes Ward by election is Mark Harrison

It has just emerged that Mark Harrison has won the Princes Ward by-election with 1726 votes. Congratulations to you and your party! The final count (see below) does not indicate a particularly cloe race, and Labour have performed very well in the by-election.

Here at Lurking about SE11, we'll obviously be keeping a close eye on all Princes Ward councillor contributions over the next year, so you can be sure that you'll all have your work cut out for you.

I hope some of the candidates that were unsuccessful will stand again. This year will be a good dry run for next year's local elections!

Breakdown of results:

Labour - 1726 (40.69% of votes)
Lib Dem - 1396 (32.9% of votes)
Conservative - 707 (16.67% of votes)
Green - 320 (7.5% of votes)
English Democrat - 93 (2.19% of votes)

Total Votes = 4242 (I've just added the above results. I doubt that includes spoiled papers)

The turnout was apparently an amazing 43% (which I'm assuming is for the local elections, rather than the European ones, but I'm not sure).

However... not entirely sure how the figures work...

If we assume that 4242 votes = 43% of Princes Ward, then 9865 votes would have been 100% of Princes Ward and a full turn out. That's clearly incorrect beause the 2001 census suggests that the population of Princes Ward was 11,636, and it must have risen since then because there has been a certain amount of development in the area!

So, let's assume that 2% of the ballot papers were spoiled.
Instead we will posit that 4242 votes = only 41% of Princes Ward.
That would make 100% of the vote be 10346, which is still hugely underneath what I would assume the population figure to be.

So... assume that 5% of the ballot papers were spoiled...
4242 votes = 38% of Princes Ward
That means 100% of the vote would be 11,163 (which is clearly still under par for local population figures)...

I'll have to wait to hear how many votes were actually cast to figure out whether there were a huge percentage of spoiled papers or whether 43% is too high an estimate.

Edit: One anonymous contributor has just remarked that Princes Ward has approx 10,000 registered voters (I had forgotten under 18s), so it looks as though the figure of 2% spoiled ballot papers is about right.

In any case, an approximate 43% turnout is very positive for local democracy, so well done to everybody who voted, went to hustings, spoke to their neighbours, canvassed for their party and contributed to the debate!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Election day in Princes Ward

So... today is election day in Princes Ward.

I don't know who is going to win the seat in this local election, but it's been a highly charged contest... I believe the main contenders for the seat are the Labour candidate and the Lib Dem candidate, but I think the Tory vote count could be interesting.

A closely fought contest is good news for local democracy if it alerts people to local issues that are worth arguing about. And it also makes it an interesting campaign to observe. May the best man (or the one who happened to land in the party with the money) win! If you don't win, well, it has been a good trial run for next year!

I'll provide any commentary/info that I'm sent today, but unfortunately, I have to be in work so I won't have a chance to check out the polling vibe until the end of the day.

Readers... if you live in SE11 in Princes Ward, maybe you might consider voting!

Bring on the swingometer (I'm so sad!!!)...

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Accusations - response to criticism re LGBT hustings

I've received an accusation by a commentator who has called themselves "Fed up with Fib Dems" who states:

"I am very disappointed that the operator of this blog allowed an anonymous post to be written which was so blatantly from a Lib Dem. The LGBT business forum meeting was a disgrace - the organiser, who is on Lib Dem leaflets, deliberately told Mark the wrong time."

The commentator is referring to this post here. I did make clear on the guest post that was posted that I would be happy to receive guest responses from other commentators at the LGBT hustings. Nobody has emailed me with an alternative version of events, so I have no other material to offer. The commentator made no mention of their own political affiliation within the guest post and I can't quite see what marks the guest out as a Lib Dem (rather than Tory, English Democrat, Green or non-affiliated).

I will be conducting investigations into the allegations that a "wrong time" was sent deliberately to Mark Harrison. That is a serious allegation. The poster which was sent to me and other local blogs stated the time quite clearly here. However, I will need to investigate what private correspondence was sent to the speakers from the organiser, so it would be useful to see any emails or letters sent to Mark Harrison (and to confirm that he thinks he was misled).

In addition the commentator states:
"And the idea that Lambeth Council can ignore a bid from a church group is ridiculous - imagine the uproar if they refused to deal with Muslims, or the Catholic Church, both of which have aborrent views on gay people."

Obviously, I think this discussion should stay on the post upon which it started. There are a whole variety of different viewpoints on the matter of the former Lilian Baylis site and I've covered the topic in the past myself. I understand that the whole point of hustings is to hear the views of various candidates, so I will leave all commentators here to argue about the points of the debate. My only remark is that it might be more straightforward if people were to use established login names, rather than continue to refer to themselves as "anonymous".

The commentator also states:
"As for the last post, that is just pathetic. Mark has been attending Penwith Manor TRA meetings for months, not just during the byelection campaign - as he has for all estates. Unlike John Roberts, who only rediscovered his 'passion' for the area after being selected as the Lib Dem candidate...

Spare me future Lib Dem bleatings please 3 wheeled one."

In an attempt to demonstrate that this blog really attempts to be non-partisan, I've turned this comment into a post of its own. Personally, I have no idea how one could objectively compare Mark Harrison and John Robert's commitments in the area since they've both good good track records locally, but I did try by requesting answers from the candidates on a set of questions. Both Labour and Lib Dem candidates have done a considerable amount of work on different committees. However, if you remember, I did address all 5 candidates on the matter of their previous work in the area on question 2, here. Here are the two answers that the political candidates provided:

Question 2:
What, if any, organisation(s) have you been involved with which demonstrate your commitment to the area, and how long have you lived/worked locally?

Mark Harrison:
* I've lived on the Ethelred Estate for nearly five years.

* I serve on the Ethelred TMO Board; The Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall Forum Board; and The Friends of Vauxhall Spring Gardens Board.

* I am a member of the Kennington Association and attend Safer Neighbouhood Team meetings.

* I attend other residents meetings like those of the Vauxhall Five, Vauxhall Gardens and Penwith Manor.

* With neighbours I am working to investigate setting up a community garden on Lambeth Walk.

*As Labour Action Team Member for the past two years I have helped arrange several community events, including a meeting on guns and gangs with the SE1 United Youth Group, and community coffee mornings for people to meet their neighbours and councillors.

John Roberts:
* I have lived locally on the Ethelred Estate (just off Black Prince Road) for over 15 years and have been involved with a wide range of local organisations, including:

- Vauxhall City Farm – I chaired the Trustees body for 7 years and helped save it from closure 2 years ago.
- Friends of Spring Gardens – I am a member and helped the campaign to save the open space when there were plans to build on it.
- Ethelred Estate Tenant Management Organisation – I have been a resident member of this right from the start in 1999.

* I have been a member of KOV forum since the start and a member of Kennington Association.

* I regularly support the local fetes in the area and you can generally see me in the kitchen making the tea and sandwiches.

* Last year I volunteered for the Ethiopian millennium celebrations at Kennington Park and spent the day in the children’s lost and found tent. It was a great day - and fortunately only a few children were lost.

* As a first aider I also help out and volunteer to support other fun days and art events including the Vauxhall festival where you could see me wearing my first aid tabard.

* Friends of Durning Library – I supported the fight to keep this open when the Labour run council wanted to close it down.

* As a former member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, for four and half years I channelled 200k worth of funding through the community police fund to numerous local projects, to help support people make a difference to their local community. We funded SE1 united, a local youth group, to develop the leadership programme, black and lgbt history month as well as inter faith football and other sports activities. I was the person that secured funding for cctv at the LGBT clubs in and around spring gardens and at Vauxhall city farm. My tackling crime track record is well known through out the council and police. I also worked with local police to get funding for extra police officers here in Princes ward, after a strong of violent attacks and rise in crime. I also got funding for a mobile police station after a rise in attacks in the Spring Gardens area..

* My team and I have already reported dozens of local cases of graffiti, dumped rubbish and vandalism to the council – if they are not tackled, it all adds up to making the area feel neglected and unloved.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

SE11 goes green for the summer

Vauxhall City Farm

I'd just like to draw people's attention to the fact that Vauxhall City Farm now have a new website. Also, somebody from the farm emailed me to say:

We do a few new things - we have a new baby anglo-Nubian goat who lives with Lulu the lamb and a gosling, called Norman all very cute and occasionally bottle fed...

We also have a sheep and wool day on the 27th of June which is part of the Love London festival and there should be some shearing among other activities!

Roots and Shoots

Stockwell News have posted information about the Roots and Shoots Open Days which will take place this weekend (6th and 7th June). Saturday is the garden open day and Sunday is the childrens' day (with bee keeping demos).

I've been before and will try to go again because there is usually a plant sale. Last year we bought an oxalis triangularis which I thought we'd killed over winter but surprised us by re-emerging a few weeks ago. It looks like this, but without the flowers yet:

It's summer now, so SE11 is a hive of activity and Roots and Shoots have finally posted to their blog... It's good news and the bee population at Roots and Shoots is stronger than in previous years.

I've also spotted a number of bees (sometimes three at a time) taking the pollen from some of the flowers I've gown, which I'm very pleased about. I know the bee population is under threat in the UK so bee keepers are doing a fabulous environmental duty. I need to try to get around to getting a bee box (a sort of place for bees to rest) and would be interested to hear whether these are advisable for people who live in a flat or whether they're more appropriate for gardens.

Kennington Garden Society

On 11th June at 7.30, Kennington Garden Society have the television gardener, Gay Search, coming to do a demonstration on planting window boxes and containers. Kennington News blog has more information for anybody interested in attending. It promises to be quite an exciting night!

Label Cloud

Blog Archive