I received an email a few days ago from Janus Polenceus (English Dem. candidate for Stockwell Ward), alerting me to the fact that The Lambeth Walk pub (17 Lambeth Walk) was closing. It appears that it finally closed yesterday. You might remember that the English Democrats had a particularly innovative idea about a memorial museum for Lambeth Walk and support of the pearly Kings and Queens in the by-election last year (as well as some other rather dubious views), so it doesn't surprise me that they're still focusing on this rather sad looking street. Indeed, I think it's about time more of us focused on Lambeth Walk, and how dilapidated it has become (considering how lively and vibrant it once was), and there are various other people making a noise about it, as I remarked in Doing the Lambeth Walk 2010 style. I'd be interested to hear from other local Princes Ward candidates (particularly Cllr Harrison, as he's very local) about whether they have any ideas for re-invigorating this area (that don't just involve "obtain Section 106 money by building new housing"). How difficult would it be to organise a weekend market? Would it be popular? Well attended? It might be a way of encouraging further business down there, and since it's a no-through road, it might suit a market and a market in turn might stimulate some small local businesses to take advantage of the cheap local commercial units. I've seen units recently advertised for only £6,000pa, so it's not beyond the reach of very small businesses, but it would need passing trade. Why has this famous street been so neglected?
I was about to launch into, "end of an era", "shame about yet another pub closure" rhetoric (it doesn't take much to set me off), when I noted that Holding An Apple (a local blogger) went on a second local pub-crawl that focused on Lambeth Walk pubs (and very interesting it is too). He had this to say, "These days it looks moribund, with broken windows in the upstairs rooms adding to the air of neglect. The last time I saw anyone drinking outside the pub they looked like geezers who ate pitbulls for breakfast, so I am not too surprised at its decline." So I shall not be launching into any ill-advised rhetoric :)
But seriously... scary looking locals hanging around dilapidated pubs is just another way of saying, "this area has been abandoned and could do with investment". Back in February, local councillors advertised a an anti-social behaviour meeting, but I never saw any follow-up. Were any blog readers present, and can they advise on the outcome of that meeting? Is it unrealistic to consider that the Council should do anything at all to reduce anti-social behaviour, and promote investment? If it is, then how might locals help re-inject some life into the area? Has anybody thought about organising a Big Lunch there, for example?
Loughborough Road meeting: Residents asked to give their views on improving their road - Following lobbying from local residents and councillors, Lambeth council has organised a special meeting on Tuesday, 2 September to look at traffic control...
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