Wednesday, 30 June 2010

St Anselm's Project Plans and feedback from the Consultation Event

I attended the St Anselm's Project re-consultation evening yesterday (it was worth it for the samosas alone).  Last year, I posted about the St Anselm's redevelopment (with video) here, and explained why the Duchy's desire to join the project has lead to a re-consultation here.  Happily, the new plans do not involve 150 metre towers in the heart of Kennington so there's not really anything to dislike.  I originally blogged quite favourably about this project, even despite the fact that the proposed  facade would have appeared rather bulky from Kennington Road.  My view was (and is) that the regeneration project would enable the church to be a building enjoyed by the wider community in the heart of Kennington, rather than a building that is locked for much of the week).

Anyhow, the re-consultation does not contain anything particularly offensive, but seems to address the fact that Lambeth Council weren't keen on the original drawings.  It's difficult to detect much difference between some of the new drawings, and the arguments appear to be all about height.  Option 1 is the original plan, and the rest are ideas that have been redeveloped in consultation with the Duchy.  The plans (see below) don't give detail on the finished look, but whatever the architects do is likely to be in an style approved  by Prince Charles and is unlikely to involve glass and metal.  The photos below are quite illuminating, and provide a little history about how some of the post-war buildings of Stable's Way don't do much for the street.  The SE11_lurker tends to agree with Prince Charles on the matter of classical architecture, so doesn't really mind which of the new drawings are chosen for the project.

The re-consultation seemed to be well-attended, but I know that not everybody can get along to these events, so the architects have kindly emailed me the plans so that everybody else can see what is proposed.  I've turned the .pdf info .jpgs for easier viewing.  At the top, there's a  consultation form, which can be filled in and returned to Pat Evemy whose email address is:

St Peter's Vauxhall - Summer Arts Festival - June 27th - July 11th 2010

I probably don't do enough arts coverage on this blog.  There are heaps of art galleries and two theatres within SE11, and I always have good intentions to go and watch, hear and learn, but there are always pubs to drink in, people to see and meetings to attend.  In any case, I doubt that I'd make a good critic, since I can't tell good art from bad, and tend to think people deserve praise for making an effort!  But I do think that a 15 day Arts Festival deserves a mention, since such events usually take a great deal of organisation!

St Peter's Church, Vauxhall (part of North Lambeth Parish) is holding an Arts event from June 27th - July 11th, featuring everything from the brass band of Archbishop Sumner School (Monday 5th) to a "Glyndebourne picnic" where you can relax, listen to opera, eat a picnic and enjoy the interior of St Peter's (Saturday 3rd).  (It's a beautiful church, and really deserves a separate post about its history and architecture.)  I quite like the sound of the "Joy of Sound","bring an instrument, regardless of ability" event (Friday 3rd and 10th),  but unfortunately, it's held during office hours!

Here's the leaflet for more info (click images to enlarge):

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Vauxhall Fete 2010 Photographs

I know I'm a week or so late with these pictures of Vauxhall Fete, but SE11 is very busy in the summer months.  I know that some of the shots lack people (and it was well attended), but I'm always worried that people will get shouty if I accidentally snap their toddler!

A particularly enthusiastic band:

A police incident in Vauxhall:

The sign on the side says, "Vauxhall London SW8":

Fiery red spiky plants:

Go karting, large slide and the Fire Brigade:

A particularly tropical-looking photo of Vauxhall Park:

More red spiky plant:

Standing above the crowd:

Donkey riding in the Park:

Donkey resting:

Believe it or not, despite the heat, this flower pot was really alive
(notice the hole on the side):

Summer is never really here until somebody splats the rat:

I'm afraid I didn't make it to the North Lambeth Parish Fete at the weekend  (a shame, as it's always fabulous).  There are, I suppose, probably only so many cup cakes and egg sandwiches that it's healthy for anybody to eat (and I'm well over that limit anyway), but I'm happy to add photos to the blog (feel free to email), if you took any and would like to add them to the record.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Budget 2010 by George Osborne (Will Lambeth face an influx of house hunters?)

I was going to write a post two days ago about the budget, and how it would affect folks in SE11.  And then I realised, it wouldn't, at least not in the way I had first envisaged.  The effects of certain changes are likely to be very subtle.

Obviously, we'll all be hit by the rise in VAT to 20%.  Although it's worth noting that the charity, Save the Children, say "Poor families currently spend more of their disposable income on VAT than richer families, with the poorest 10% spending 14% versus 5% for the richest." so we won't all be hit in the same way.  But in general, the cost of household goods will rise.

My real concern was related to social housing in Lambeth.  The Local Housing Allowance is due to be capped (from 2011) so that those who rent one bedroom properties can claim a maxiumum of £230 per week and those that rent four (or more) bedroom properties can claim a maximum of £400.  I wondered whether there'd by a mass exodus from Lambeth as single people and families could not afford to rent subsidised housing whilst claiming housing benefit.  I was going to write an article on how it would effectively push people out of Lambeth, but then I realised it probably wouldn't.

The scandal is that very few local authorities are able to build social housing to keep up with the demand.  Of course, that I describe it as a "scandal" is already to state a political view.  The question of social housing is one that will inevitably become more greatly politicised due to shortages, with many people asking why some families should receive council / housing authority subsidised housing, whilst others have to pay market rates.  But historically Lambeth has always had and built a huge amount of social housing.  It seems (I think) that the current problem relates to demand (ie. the council list currently stands at 20,000) and not the cost of housing.

A little research of the Lambeth properties on the council list (for those with enough points to be able to bid for them) reveals that even the larger properties in Brixton (4 beds) and Oval (5 beds) are only marketed by the council at £120.92 per week and £174.29 per week respectively.  Oval is in a more northern section of Lambeth (and I'm presuming that the northernmost properties will be more expensive than those elsewhere), so whilst I accept that the Guardian's Jenny Jones may be correct when she asserts "Lambeth families can get up to £430pw", I really do have to wonder whether they're not perhaps living in 9 bedroom houses somewhere.  I doubt there are that many of them in any case.  I also looked into one bedroom properties to see if the £230 cap would present a problem for local people, but even there, it seems it's possible to rent a 1 bedroom property in Lambeth, from the council, at between £90 per week and £137 per week.  Obviously, I might be missing something.  Perhaps the properties currently available are really cheap flats in a bad state of repair, but the website showed a geographical spread of 1 bedroom properties, so I doubt that that is genuinely the case. 

What I perhaps have not accounted for is the number of private landlords who let propeties at high rents whose tenants then claim their money back in housing benefit.  But many many landlords will not rent properties to housing benefit claimants (try telephoning a letting agent in Kennington and asking if they'll accept DSS) so I don't know how many landlords would fit into this bracket. In addition, the landlords who let through Lettings First (Lambeth Council's partnership with private landlords) are warned to expect significantly less rent than they'd receive on the private market.  But the question still stands.  Does private housing paid for by housing benefit represent a higher cost to the government than housing benefit to council tenants?  If so, by how much?  Mightn't there be a case for building more social housing in the first place?
The Guardian is suggesting that the government are trying to "export poverty" to the outer boroughs of London, but the political consequences of such a move are rather unknown.  It's alleged that Boris Johnson came to power as a result of voters in the outer boroughs being mobilised.  What would happen if traditional Labour supporters end up being cast out of inner London into the outer darkness of the outer boroughs (which are traditionally more blue)?  Nobody knows.

What is undoubtedly the case, and where I'm in greater agreement with the Guardian, is that there are other boroughs in London that do have people living in properties who likely claim housing benefit at above the new threshold limit.  (I'm guessing that there must be quite a number of such claimants in Westminster).  So the question arises about whether Lambeth won't in fact experience a mass exodus (the Guardian says people will be forced to outer and more eastern boroughs), but will experience something of an influx of house hunters?  I don't know how easy it is to swap a local authority property in one area (or move from a local authority housing waiting list) for a local authority property / housng waiting list in another area, but I'm sure we'll soon find out.

New statistics on Lambeth: CPCG Police and Community Safety 2010 (part 1)

Every couple of years, just as the local area census data starts to look old, somebody commissions a report that sheds light on current trends and produces a new fascinating set of statistics.  On this occasion, it's the turn of the Community Police Consultative Group. Catriona Robertson (their project manager and report writer) has produced a superb account on the state of Lambeth community/police relations.  (Ms Robertson has her own blog and is also on Twitter).  I love statistics, (although my analysis skills are non-existent, so I'm just going to add some commentary in bold type).  I really welcome additional data about the area.  The report, Whose Shout? : Engagement on Community Safety in Lambeth, can be found here

From the report, I discovered that there is a State of the Borough Report (2008) which is perhaps worth examining further, and the GLA may also have produced additional figures in 2009, which help us identify who lives in the area, what they do and what opportunities are open to them.  In the mean time, I've mined the CPCG report for the following statistics, which I think you might find interesting:

* The annual turnover of population in Lambeth is 22% or 27%, if you include people who move within the borough (p5)
[This is exceedingly high, but not sure how it compares to London as a whole.]

* The population in Lambeth in 2007 was 285,580, although those registered with GPs in March 2009 was 352,762.  (p6)
[Assuming that there hasn't been a sudden rise of 68,000 residents in a year, that means that there are a lot of "hidden" folk in Lambeth.  Are these asylum seekers?  Undeclared relatives?  Folk from neighbouring boroughs who want to keep using Lambeth GPs?].

* Lambeth is the most ethnically diverse borough in London, with 52% of population beign white british, 14% being white (other), 34% being black, Asian and other. (p6). 
[It's probably worth exercising some caution here, since these figures are based on the 2001 census, and if we've got an annual turnover of 22%, I don't expect these figures to remain unchanged.  I say "hurrah" for diversity, but I'm intrigued to know whether the Borough is integrated enough, or whether some people live in unintentionally segregated groups.  I ask, on account of some recent comments on the blog, and some of the comments raised at the recent KOV meeting.]

* 60% of Lambeth is Christian, 5% Muslim, 8% other, and 29% preferred not to answer. (p6) 
[Seems to total over 100%, but nevermind.  I'd be really intrigued to know the breakdown of the 8% "other", assuming it's not Jedi or something silly.  I've a vague theory that Lambeth seems to have a higher than average number of Buddhists.  I suspect the 60% Christian figure is much higher than the national average, even once you factor out people who answer C of E by default.]

* Reliable sexual orientation data isn't available, but local surveys suggests an LGBT population of 3%-5%. (p6).  Homophobic crime rose by 46% during 2009-2010 
[Perhaps that's true of Lambeth as a whole, but my view is that Princes, Oval and parts of Stockwell wards have a significantly higher LGBT population, which I don't think is accounted for with this figure, which seems to only reflect national percentage.  The rise in homophobic crime is atrocious, but /could/ result in greater willingness to report crime.]

* Crime fell over 30% in Lambeth over seven years to 2009, although Lambeth remains a high crime area, with the third most recorded offences of all London boroughs 2008-2009. (p6) 
[I'm really suspicious of measurement of crime statistics because every few years, the police alter the definitions of certain crimes.  Also, many people still fail to report crime (especially if they're not supposed to officially be here), making this very difficult to track.  A 30% reduction, however, is probably high enough to be significant.  See here for my controversial view that knife crime is worse in North London than South London.]

* In 2009-1010, gun crime is up 33% in Lambeth and rape by 25%. (p6)
[I believe that the Borough Commander recently explained that the rise in gun crime is as a result of commercial incidents eg. bank robberies / holdups.  Obviously, that doesn't really excuse it, but I think it is worth noting that this is not necessarily gang related.  The rape statistic is very very concerning.]

* 16% of Lambeth population have a long-term limiting illness. (p7) 
[Is it me, or is this a horrifying statistic?  Surely 16% of the UK doesn't have a long-term limiting illness?  Perhaps this ties in with the recent statistic that Lambeth is the top London borough for unemployment  (9.3% of Lambeth /working age/ people are unemployed).  I suspect that the limiting illness figure is related to obtaining benefits, and that more money is available if you can demonstrate illness.  But from that figure, I want to be careful of drawing Daily Fail type conclusions.  I suspect that in Lambeth, many people draw benefits to care for older and ill extended family members and prefer to raise their own families (instead of buying in labour).  This likely reduces the bill to the state on child care and adult care homes.  However, I suspect the Tory/Lib Dem coalition may not interpret things quite as charitably!] 

* There is a much higher prevalence of mental illness in Lambeth, compared with the country as a whole.  around 37,000 (over 10% of the population) were being treated for anxiety and depression in 2008. (P7) [Again, this is a very high figure.  I wonder whether people who suffer from mental illnesses tend to live in boroughs where they know that they can seek treatment, or whether those who suffer from mental illness seek one another out, or whether mental illness is better diagnosed in Lambeth or even whether there's some kind of environmental factor that results in the higher correlation between living in Lambeth and mental illness.]

* Lambeth is the 5th most deprived Borough in Lambeth and the 19th most deprived borough in England (2007).  (p7)

This is part 1 of my summary of the Whose Shout? report, and really just contains the headline statistics and the points (with my commentary in blod) that I find most interesting and which I've not seen elsewhere.  I've not commented at all upon the police / community consultative angle of the report, and I'll do that in part 2.  The report comes in at a whopping 91 pages, and I doubt it will reach a wider audience unless it's summarised somewhat.  It's very useful on account of its length, but I think that there are some other conclusions that readers of this blog might be interested in, without needing to read the whole thing.  Expect part 2 in the next few days.

Monday, 21 June 2010

20 Albert Embankment - information on three towers planned for the area

The developers of 20 Albert Embankment (Hampton House) are requesting that Lambeth Council approve certain details of the conditions specified re. developing the new buildings intended for the site.  It seems that permission was already granted by Lambeth Council in 2008 (application 07/04264/FUL) for:

Redevelopment of the site involving the demolition of existing buildings and erection of three buildings of between 13 and 27 storeys to provide a mixed use development comprising ground floor commercial units (flexible Use Class A1, A2, A3, A4, B1, D2), an 167 room apart-hotel, 242 self contained residential units comprising 93 x 1 bed, 77 x 2 bed, 65 x 3 bed and 7 x 4 bed, along with associated parking and landscaping including first floor podium and roof gardens. 
I was completely unaware of this building having been granted permission, but it seems to have have happened some time before I was blogging about the area.  I wonder whether they've had to speed the development along, on the basis that the Vauxhall Island site also contains a proposed hotel.  It seems unlikely, since the Vauxhall Island site hasn't even been submitted for planning yet.  Instead, perhaps it's a sign that large companies are now able to access finance again, after the credit-crunch woes of last year.  Who knows?  Take a look at the pictures on Skyscraper City to see what the 3 towers will look like (not attractive or exciting, if you ask me).

Please note that this is a separate proposal from the 8 Albert Embankment Fire station development (see here for the consultation on that) and here for information on the opposition to 8 Albert Embankment from our local councillors.

I know it's getting difficult to keep up, but these buildings will all affect existing residents in different ways.  This is not strictly an SE11 development, but the Albert Embankment falls within the strange hinterland of SE1 / SE11 and it will affect those who live on the area around the Ethelred Estate.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Recycling Week 21 - 27 June 2010 and Local Initiative for Faith and the Environment

Often, you'll be minding your own business, in your home or office on a Monday morning only for somebody to announce that it's National Guinea Pig Week or International Aardvark Celebration Day or some other event that requires you to sponsor somebody or dress up in a peculiar fashion.  Every so often though, a crucial topic is highlighted.  This week (21st - 27th June) is Recycling week, which is of considerable importance for working to preserve the planet for the future.

In Lambeth, the council can rightly be proudly of their environmental record.  According to a league table compiled this month by Darren Johnson (the Lewisham Green London Assembly member), Lambeth has been placed 2nd out of 33 London councils for its environmental record.  Factors such as recycling, domestic energy use and carbon emissions were taken into account (though one wonders whether they factored in air quality, which is particularly poor when you look at the results from the measuring station on Brixton Road).  However, praise ought to be given where it's due.  Cllr Lorna Campbell (who just happens to be an SE11 ward councillor in Princes Ward) and has been given the environmental portfolio remarked last week,
"This is good news for Lambeth and reflects the importance we have placed on helping people be more environmentally friendly as part of their day to day lives."
But it's vital that we don't get complacent, with our orange bags placed proudly on the pavement for neighbouring council residents to see...   Lambeth Council still does not offer curbside green waste (garden/food) collection for all residents (it's still being trialled on certain estates), although they do offer reasonably priced wormeries and very cheap compost bins (£14.00).  I can personally testify to the delight of running a wormery (which can be managed on a very small piece of balcony space) and recommend it to all and sundry.  There is certainly still more work to be done, especially considering the fact that many residents cannot (or do not) use the recycling facilities properly, and thus contaminate recycling with rubbish, which ultimately means that recycling targets are much harder to meet.

During recycling week 2010, Lambeth council is particularly encouraging residents to correctly recycle Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).  The nearest depots to SE11 for local residents to recycle dead electronics eg. televisions, vacuum cleaners etc. are Manor Place Depot in Southwark (Manor Place is off Walworth Rd) or Cringle Dock (on Cringle Street) in Wandsworth/Nine Elms.  Otherwise, I'm afraid you'll have to trek down to West Norwood to find Lambeth's big recycling depot.  In principle, the Manor Place Depot (despite being in Southwark) have always seemed happy to access my waste WEEE items (they don't generally demand to see proof of Southwark residence), and since we'll soon be operating on the basis that Lambeth/Southwark residents can share services, this seems likely to be a happy arrangement for all!

In the meantime, there's a women only event being run by the Local Initiative for Faith and the Environment (LIFE) group this week at Vauxhall City Farm on Wednesday 23rd June from 10:30 - 14:30 (children welcome).  They'll be focusing on recycling as a transformative act, and working to bridge climate change and inter-religious dialogue (see poster below).  It sounds fascinating.

Friday, 18 June 2010

St Anselm's Project - Further Consultation

Earlier this year, you might remember that I blogged about the St Anselm's church consultation (with videos).  A plan was put forward which proposed turning the church into a large community centre, complete with restaurant, deli,  large hall, small chapel, church area, small spaces for businesses and supervised flats for ex-offenders who'd be helped back into work.  Three local charities/businesses were invited to use the space, including the excellent Into University, who help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds access University.  In general, I felt that whilst the project had a few risks, it was actually an innovative use for a building that is locked most of the time.  Actually, that itself is quite a frustrating point concerning a number of local churches.  There's nothing in St Anselm's that looks particularly worth stealing, and huge numbers of people (be they believers or otherwise) like to visit churches, light candles and sit quietly etc.  It would be great if they'd consider opening the doors, other than just on Sundays...

Anyhow, at the fabulous Cleaver Square fete (see photos), I learned that the Duchy of Cornwall (who own a fair bit of property in and around SE11) were also interested in the future of the site, and felt that they had some buildings at the back of the project that might also benefit from improvement/development.  Consequently, it seems that a revised consultation has been launched.  (Also, from the text below, it appears that potentially, Lambeth Council Planning were not happy on the issue of conservation / streetscape matters.  I don't believe that St Anselm's ever formally submitted their proposal, so perhaps they've been advised to go back to the drawing board before they do submit).  In any case, I'd really like to see whether what they're proposing now differs markedly from earlier plans.

After the first round of consultation in February, I received responses and emails from a number of people complaining that they didn't have enough knowledge of what was proposed, and hadn't been consulted.  I did request the questionnaire at the time for blog readers, but it was never forthcoming, although I did eventually get hold of the videos (which are great).  Consider the text below a second opportunity re. consultation, and do inform anybody that you know who is not online that might be interested...  (It's already been on the Kennington Association blog, and around various local lists, and via Councillors etc.)

I will be attending the consultation and will photograph/obtain copies of plans, in the usual manner :). The following text has been very widely circulated, but here it is for you once again.  :

“North Lambeth Parish and its St Anselm’s Pathways project have been overwhelmed by the level of public support for its emerging plans for St Anselm’s. However, Lambeth Council’s Planning Department is concerned that the scale and architectural character of the new building proposed for Sancroft Street might have a negative impact on the character and setting of the church. Following on from the Council’s comments, the Parish has begun discussions with the Duchy of Cornwall, which owns adjacent land, about whether a scheme could be developed which might enable the Parish to provide the facilities it needs beyond the confines of its own land ownership, and which might improve the character and appearance of Sancroft Street and the neighbouring area in the long term. Lambeth Council has welcomed the principle of this long term planning and joint approach to the design, and a number of initial sketch options have been prepared for discussion with the Council and local community. As yet there is no preferred option or design.

On 28th June we will be presenting initial ideas emerging from this collaboration between the Parish and Duchy, and we would like to ensure that comments are received from a wide range of stakeholders before we progress designs further. We will be starting the event with afternoon tea provided by the CLINK at 3.30pm and will have canapés and wine at 6.30pm. Please do drop in anytime between 3.30 and 7.30pm

There will be representatives on hand to answer questions, drawings will be on show for comment and questionnaire forms will be available as for the last public consultation in January.

A summary of consultation responses received in January is attached.

We hope to see you on 28th June either for tea or canapés.”

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Vauxhall Island Site - KOV Meeting Part 2 (and a meander on to Lambeth Council Housing)

I blogged about Chief Superintendent Ephgrave's appearance at the Kennington Oval and Vauxhall forum on the 9th of June, last week.  But the other segment of the meeting mostly comprised another presentation and chance for questions and answers from the developers of the Vauxhall Island site.  This is the second time the representatives from Kylun Ltd have consulted the community in a public forum, and, better still, encouraged a free-for-all Q&A session.  I'm not going to pretend I suddenly welcome tall buildings, but as their architect commented, "we've always seen this as a location for tall buildings" and the design is considerably more discreet than some of the others presented to the public.

Additional info on. Vauxhall Island Site plans:

The architect opened the discussion by noting that between the buildings, they hope to place an enclosed site and that the commercial spaces would act as provision for local  people and not just residents.   The developers have been meeting with representatives from local parks and other groups and have identified the arches under Vauxhall bridge as opportunities for investment.  Kylun Ltd have also been asked by TFL to look at the possibility of an under the road crossing.  It wasn't entirely clear, but the matter of some additional pedestrian crossings is also under consideration.  The developers say they are happy to fund these.  TFL, however, have to confirm the exact location of any crossings, and are naturally worried about slowing down the traffic (what a good idea!!).  TFL are looking at a range of options concerning the future (or non-future) of the Vauxhall gyratory.

If the building is granted planning permission, one of the ground floor units in the Vauxhall Island site towers (I believe the left hand tower, as you look at the diagram) will be an NHS dentist, and the other part of the floor will be a 70-100 seater digital cinema.  Considering that a swimming pool was unrealistic and out of the question, I'd have said that these are great options.  We don't have a cinema locally so this should make a great addition to Vauxhall.  Above that, there will be three floors of offices (see here for the earlier detailed account, but these could well be work-space type units.  There are questions as to whether these could be subsidised for start-up businesses.  The right hand tower contains a 180 bed hotel and there will be 291 private apartments (spread across both towers, I'm guessing), with a bar on the right hand tower at the13th floor.  There will be provision for 740(ish) bike parking spaces.

SE11_lurker's brief digression on public housing:

[And the affordable housing question?  That's a rather thorny issue, of course.  Lambeth Council have traditionally built huge amounts of public housing whenever they've had the chance, in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as after the war.  It's what keeps people voting Labour, after all.  I tend to be in favour, even though I'd never qualify to live in it, because I believe that the best communities are those where wealth is evenly spread.  I'm not a fan of the free market, left to its own devices, but I make my living from it, and so do many.  Consequently, I like the idea that private housing should fund public and affordable housing.  It seems fair according to a somewhat old-fashioned notion of justice.  But Lambeth has recently seen considerable gentrification in areas like Kennington and Clapham, which of course means that people start to raise the previously unheard of question about whether "we" want that housing, and as usual, the "we" who are asking should probably look around very carefully and ask "who is included?".  Kate Hoey made a very insightful remark at one of the hustings when she commented that single men are very rarely offered public housing.

As though on cue, the Streatham Guardian this week has published figures which suggest that 20,000 people are on the "mainstream housing waiting list", compared with 17,000 last year.  It does rather make one wonder quite where people are living in the meantime.  Does everybody on the list need to be on the list?  How on earth is the housing allocated?  Lambeth claim that their success in housing people just causes more people to apply!  But it should be noted that only eight councils nationally managed to build enough homes according to national requirements.   I doubt that central London, in the middle of a recession, is ever really going to manage to squeeze in all of those extra homes.  And "squeeze" is indeed the notion, because the buildings will have to grow taller to fit in the people.  Lambeth is only seven miles long, after all!  Probably the place to put the most pressure is on the empties.  I keep thinking that the Council ought to come up with a voluntary taskforce, capable of building, plumbing and wiring, who could fix up the houses for those in most desperate need (surely that would be a good co-operative citizen thing to do).  I'd give a Saturday to go and paint a rundown flat, and I can't be the only one.]

Kylun's statement on affordable housing:

It seems that 43% of the public housing would need to be family housing, that is 3 or 4 bed apartments.  Unfortunately, the "final proportion of affordable housing has still be agreed under Section 106".


Q.  What is the inspiration behind the design?
A.  The towers are simple and elegant shapes.  They're two sisters, so they spiral up.  The architect takes a different view to the designers of the Shard concerning design.

Q.  What is the timetable?
A.  The designs should be submitted to the Council's planning department within the next fortnight (that's the next week now, since I'm late writing this up).  They anticipate a decision before the end of the year, and will commence the search for a development partner.  If all goes to plan, work should begin on the site in 2015.

Q.  How many people will the building house? (and a second question about cycle safety which was indistinct)
A.  At a guess, the building will house about 600 people.  TFL can answer questions relating to cycle safety.  Apparently, they're coming up with a cycling vision, and running a cycle lane around the back was not seen as acceptable.  [I'm not at all clear on this question, and couldn't work out what "around the back" meant.  Would appreciate clarification from anybody that was there.]

Q.  What about piers, and river transport?
A.  We've struggled with other buildings (not this one, since the Vauxhall Island site is not considered a riverside venture), to get piers into other developments, due to the financial viability of river transport, perhaps due to the fact that it's not subsidised.  We're not in a position to make it happen on site.

[If you're really interested in piers, you might like to read about the work that Caroline Pidgeon did to try and get some on the Albert Embankment.  I wrote about it on my post "whatever happened to Vauxhall pier?"]

Q.  Are you able to favour independent local businesses, rather than give the commercial sites to chains?
A.  We are providing a range of different sized units to try to encourage variety, but it's not clear how we could send potential tenants away if they were over a certain size.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Portugal Day 2010 - photos

Portugal Day was held in Kennington Park yesterday. Portugal Day is an even larger version of Madeira Day (an already busy event), with more Portuguese food, themes and fun for all the family.  The event took up a large part of the park, and I estimate that there were a couple of thousand people present.  I even spotted coaches, from as far afield as Bournemouth, parked on Kennington Park Road.   For some reason, there was security on all of the entrances to the park, frisking Bollinger from some, and Heineken from others!

Lambeth alone is home to a 27,000 strong Portuguese community, which means that custard tarts are widely available in Vauxhall (hurrah!).

I'm afraid I didn't manage to spend as long there as I hoped (it was very very busy), but I've taken a couple of photos of the event.  If you want to view to more and better pictures, take a look over here on the Demotix website.

Cleaver Square Fete 2010 - photos

Yesterday was  an exciting day in Kennington Village (as it was introduced at Cleaver Square fete).  (This, after all, is Old North Surrey dahling, and not South London).  Anyhow, what with the frivolities of the Cleaver Square Fete and the celebration of Portugal Day in Kennington Park (photos will go up tomorrow), it was hard to know where to go (or what to eat) first, but help was at hand:

You can't beat a good Kennington cupcake:

Apologies to the headless people, but I was focusing on the cakes:

Manning the tombola...

Did I mention that I love cake...?  
The raspberry sponges at the bottom were incredible:

I counted three cake stalls.  Yum.

(The Punch and Judy show was very good, and the adults seemed to enjoy it just as much as the children). 
That's the way to do it...

Oh, Mr Punch.  Didn't they warn you never to smile at a crocodile?

Too late.  Mr Punch was eaten for lunch :-(

Beautiful fabrics on sale, and a lovely smile:

Kate Hoey, MP, opened the fete in a rather special summer boater.   

A summer fete is just not a summer fete without a pensive looking vicar.  In the event, it didn't rain.
Special thanks should go to Winkworth, who sponsored the fete to the tune of £4000 and ran the raffle.  
Well Done chaps. 

Kate Hoey is proud to have been re-elected to serve the residents of the constituency, and here she is again, enjoying herself in style.

Kennington Tandoori (KT) cooked up some superb chicken biryani:

We were entertained by a variety of acts.  Firstly, a little light jazz...

Followed by some popular tunes...

And topped-off by this rather powerful opera singer!

The Kennington Association had a little help from their friends, the Kennington Bookshop, who kindly donated unsaleable stock, to raise money for local projects.  
This lead to a rush, as the SE11 literati mafia stormed in.  

The Kennington Association were not the only people present in spiffing outfits...

You'd never, in a million years, guess that this photo was taken in inner-city London, would you?

Another general crowd shot that demonstrates how well attended this event was...  The organisers did a fantastic job, as usual...

You guessed right.  It's another cake stall!

These chaps (working for Tomorrow's People, a charity that enables young people to find worthwhile employment) are usually present, come rain or shine, outside St Anselm's Church on a Saturday, selling flowers and plants.  Business looked brisk today...

The only summer fete in England that can boast real French lobster!

Workers and volunteers from the Parish of North Lambeth, enjoying the fete and furthering consultation on the St Anselm's project (more on that this week...)

A bee-autiful mosaic, and some Lambeth honey:

The worker bees, keeping bee-sy at the Fete...

A fantastic day that attracts people from Kennington and beyond.  It's fair to say that a good time was had by all.  (However, if you happen to see yourself (or somebody you know) in one of the photographs, and wish me to remove it, please drop me an email.)

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