Friday, 30 July 2010

London Cycle Hire (Barclays) aka Boris Bikes in SE11

SE11 is fortunate enough to contain 9 Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations.  I haven't actually seen them all yet, so I'd appreciate it if readers could confirm whether or not they exist and have bikes at them and I'll add a  "confirmed" tag next to them.  For those of you who like trivia, the Kennington Road Post Office docking station is the southernmost cycle docking point in London (as things stand).  I'm sure there'll continue to be calls to expand the scheme further south to Stockwell, Clapham and Brixton, since coverage is rather sparse south of the river.

SE11 Docking Stations [all now Confirmed operational]:

Kennington Road Post Office (capacity: 18 bikes)
Kennington Lane Rail Bridge (capacity: 19 bikes)
Lollard Street (capacity: 25 bikes)
Kennington Lane Tesco (capacity: 14 bikes)
Kennington Cross, (top of) Sancroft Street (capacity: 16 bikes)
Sancroft Street (capacity: 24 bikes)
Black Prince Road (capacity: 19 bikes)
Cotton Gardens Estate (Kennington Lane) (capacity: 16 bikes)
Walnut Tree Walk (just off of Kennington Road) (capacity: 16 bikes)

Additionally, the SE11 area benefits (or perhaps I should say, /will/ benefit) from another 6 nearby docking stations:

Docking Stations Near SE11

Vauxhall Cross (Pret a Manager) (capacity: 17 bikes) (Trivia: it's SW8's sole docking station) [Confirmed Operational]
Albert Embankment, SE1 (capacity: 24 bikes) [Confirmed Operational]
Fire Brigade Pier, SE1 (capacity: 17 bikes).  [Confirmed as non-existent]
Lambeth Road, SE1 (Near Garden Museum) (capacity: 18 bikes).  [Confirmed Operational]
Kennington Road, SE1 (Imperial War Museum) (capacity: 36 bikes) [Confirmed Operational]
Hampton Street, SE1 (just off of Newington Butts) (capacity: 21 bikes) [Confirmed Operational]

Here's a photo of the Kennington Road Post Office docking station at about 8.45am this morning.  I was delighted to find that it still contained bikes, but not so thrilled that my key (despite activation) appeared not to work to remove them from the docking point.  I watched another chap try in vain to insert the key and get a green light, but neither of us were in luck this morning (which might explain why plenty of bikes were still available).  I was told that my key might be faulty, but I tried again nearer to my workplace, and attained a green light.  Unfortunately, I was unable to remove the bike from the stand, but I'm told I might not be tugging hard enough!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Owner of Queen Anne pub, Denise D'Courtenay, murdered in Dominican Republic

There was an article in The Sun this morning that noted that Denise D'Courtenay, the owner of the Queen Anne (strip) pub, in Vauxhall (it's the bright orange one on Vauxhall Walk) was murdered whilst taking her annual holiday in the Dominican Republic.  According to the Mail, her body was found a week after she went missing.  Her death is particularly tragic since she was due to retire next month.

According to the Sun, the pub was a haunt for "footballers, soap stars and rappers", which is somewhat surprising since I've always thought it looked a little intimidating from the outside (that's probably always the case when it's somebody else's local).  Anyhow, our area being what it is, I'm sure Denise was well known and loved by the patrons of the pub and other business owners.  Please feel free to leave any memories of Denise or the pub in the comments section.

Also, see August 2010 article re. the pub turning into the Tea house theatre, and there's a photo of the sign outside (thanks Twitter) that indicates it will re-open in April 2011.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Number of Lambeth residents affected by government's new housing cap

Back in June, I asked how many Lambeth residents would be affected by the rate cap introduced by George Osborne in the June 2010 budget.  I speculated that Lambeth would likely be affected by additional accommodation-seeking in-comers who could no longer afford Westerminster or Kensington and Chelsea.  I predicted that there would not be a mass exodus of families who received benefit over and above the new housing caps, but I was unsure, so I submitted a Freedom of Information request here.

And now the data is in... In Week 15 of 2010/2011, Lambeth were renting 24,378 properties to members of the public.  This figure does not include properties rented by tenants from private landlords paid for with housing benefits.

The number of Lambeth council households who are renting property from Lambeth Council or an affiliated Housing association or who are private tenants who claim Housing benefit over the amount of the George Osborne cap are as follows:

94 properties for 0-1 bedrooms where rent over £230
12 properties for 2 bedrooms where rent over £290
5 properties for 3 bedrooms over £340
39 properties for 4 bedrooms where rent over £400

That totals 150 households. Unfortunately, I can't provide a percentage of total Lambeth households affected because the figures for the rent exceeding the new cap include households renting privately from non-Lambeth landlords, but Lambeth haven't provided me with the number of households renting privately, only those who rent public housing. In any case, presuming that the 150 includes everybody renting privately (which has been confirmed to me in correspondence following the Freedom of Information request), it seems that the numbers of Lambeth residents affected by the cap are extremely low, which is good news. (I'm assuming that some of the people that receive more than the cap will be on the cusp eg. receiving £235 per week for a 0-1 bedroom property).

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Kylun Vauxhall Island Site - Planning Application Submitted

I received the letter below from Kylun Ltd, advising that planning permission has been sought for the Vauxhall Island site from Lambeth Council.  The development, if approved, would comprise two buildings, one of 31 storeys and one of 41 storeys.  If you're interested in my much lengthier comments, see the post I wrote back in May .  There's also a Property Week article (which may or may not be firewalled for you) available here.

According to Kylun's stats, 65% of local residents who attended the consultation (we don't know the number, since they don't say what number filled in feedback forms) broadly approved of the development.  If we assume that 100 people filled in feedback forms (since we know that over 150 people attended), there are only about 65 local residents in favour, with a significant proportion against.  However, residents cannot say they've not been consulted on the matter, so the decision now lies with the Council.  The reference number for the development is 10/02060/FUL, try clicking here, as it proved very tricky to find (thanks, anonymous).  The plot is described as bounded by Parry Street and Bondway and falls into Oval Ward.  Residents have until 5/8/2010 to comment on the application, and should you wish to do so, use the link above and click the "submit comments" button.
As far as I can see, there's still no committment from the letter re. figures provided on affordable housing, but I'll take a look at the detailed application later and report back.  I'd have thought that this is something our local councillors would be interested in too.

On a more positive note, I welcome the emphasis on the streetscape (which can hardly be made worse), improvement to the underground station entrance, new pedestrian and cycle crossings, new shops and restaurants and a cinema (which one reader fears won't be commercially viable, so we'll have to see).  I imagine monetary contributions to both Vauxhall Park and Vauxhall Spring Gardens would be very welcome and I'd really like a little more information about the proposed improvements of the railway arches.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Kennington Schools - Ofsted reports and meeting for concerned parents

I've been emailed a flyer which suggests that parents in Kennington are concerned that two local primary schools are in "special measures" and would like to meet to discuss their options.  Click the poster to view a larger copy to discover where/when the meeting takes place:

Being placed in special measures means that Ofsted judge that a school does not provide an acceptable level of education and lacks the leadership capacity to improve matters.  The local schools that have been / were placed under special measures are Henry Fawcett Primary School and Vauxhall Primary School (see here for large .zip file of the data as at 31st March 2010 from Ofsted).  Note that as of 9th/10th June 2010 (date of last inspection), Henry Fawcett is deemed no longer to be in special measures.  Therefore, the poster above is somewhat misleading.

I cannot imagine how it must feel to teach or lead a school placed in special measures so I really hope that the parents at those two schools are rallying together to be as supportive of the staff as they can.  It would be very interesting to see if the wider Kennington and Vauxhall community could think of ways to offer their talents to the schools that do not make the grade that would give the children at those schools a boost, but I'm not altogether inclined to think that Londoners are necessarily so community minded.  Whilst being placed in special measures is something of an indictment on a school, I do wonder whether the school intake at both of the schools that were originally placed in special measures comprises of a larger number of children who speak English as a second language, and who are entitled to free school meals (indicating poverty).  Note that the most recent Henry Fawcett Ofsted report states "Attendance has risen, but not at a pace that matches the improvements in other areas, despite the school's strenuous efforts." which rather implies that the staff are working with a set of parents who don't place a high value on education and potentially have lower aspirations for their children.

As far as I know, there are seven primary schools in SE11 and Ofsted rate schools Overall effectiveness with the grades Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory and Inadequate.  I've provided links to all of the Ofsted reports so that anybody interested can analyse further:

Archbishop Sumner (C of E) - 2009 Ofsted Report judged school as Outstanding
Charlotte Sharman - 2009 Ofsted Report judged school as Satisfactory
Henry Fawcett - 2010 Ofsted Report judged school as Satisfactory
St Anne's Catholic Primary School (RC) - 2008 Ofsted Report judged school as Good
St Mark's (C of E) - 2008 Ofsted Report judged school as Good
Vauxhall Primary School  - 2010 Ofsted Report judged school as Good
Walnut Tree Walk Primary School - 2010 Ofsted Report judged school as Good

I'm not surprised that having two of seven schools in special measures (or recently placed as such) is causing consternation amongst local parents.  If you're not religious and don't wish to enter into attending church for the sake of your child's education, you have a choice of only four schools, two of which are or have recently been in special measures and a third of which is judged only as satisfactory.  This, I imagine, puts considerable pressure on places at Walnut Tree Walk.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Lansdowne Way Stabbing (July 2010)

I've just spotted a BBC Tweet which suggests there's been a stabbing on Lansdowne Way, Kennington.  Geographically, Lansdowne Way should be classified as Stockwell (or the boundaries of Oval) since it's a bit further south in Lambeth.  The 18 year old male in question has life threatening injuries.  There's a BBC Press Release here.

This has got to stop.  I really really hope that the man in question recovers.

I assume Stockwell News will report further as news becomes available.  Sadly, it appears that there was a stabbing just last year (June 2009) in Lansdowne Way June too.

Monday, 12 July 2010

More on 216 Kennington Road (likely to be a Tesco)

I received a letter at the end of June, advising that Gallagher are attempting to vary a condition (one of opening hours) for the ground floor level on 216 Kennington Road (likely to be a Tesco Metro).

Gallaher are applying to change the opening hours from 07:00am - 09:00pm (Monday to Friday) to 07:00am - 11:00pm (Monday to Friday).

If you agree, disagree or want to comment, you can email quoting reference: 10/02164/FUL

The deadline is 20th July 2010.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Oval Farmers Market and Future Plans for St Mark's churchyard

I skipped happily along to Oval Market this week to drink the apple juice, choose the cakes and have a crepe, so I was able to photograph the boards displaying the plans for Oval Market / St Mark's graveyard.  The new initiative appears to have been developed as a result of dicussions between Lambeth Council and the Oval Partnership.  I apologise for the quality of the shots.  They were taken on the phone camera which isn't a patch on a standard camera, and there was also a lot of pushing and shoving with lots of people trying to view the boards, so two of the photos have emerged in a pinkish hue.  Still, it's better that nothing, right?

The boards provide a little history of St Mark's Church, and the local area. Kennington Park Road, for example, still follows the old Roman route, originally named Stane Street and St Mark's was built on the site of the gallows of Kennington Common. (It looks as though the board writers cadged most of the history from the St Mark's website). In the past, I had heard it said that the burial ground was still Common land (hence being allowed to be used for the Saturday market and as a local cut-through). However, a little more digging has yielded the information that common rights over /both/ burial ground and church were extinguished by an Act of Parliament when the church was built. The church had to be conveyed from the Duchy (to whom it never belonged, on account of it being common land) across to the Church Commissioners by an Act of Parliament, which left it in the slightly odd situation that it was built, prior to gaining permission for it to be put in place!  In a twist of fate, however, the responsbiblity for management of the burial ground was handed back to Lambeth Council in 1950, so it has essentially become common land (or at least, shared space) once again.

The gist of the consultation was that the Churchyard needs some improvement on the basis that the paths are worn and become slippery, the playground requires upgrading, some of the trees are in poor health and a number of the tombstones in the grounds have been displaced and collapsed.  Additionally, there are no facilities for the use of stall-holders in the market.  The market management also wish to ensure that the market stalls are placed to ensure that the grass in the yard is not damaged.

There are two development options. 

The first is a simple plan to improve the paving around the memorial, stop people parking on the grass, replace and widen the path, install new drainage, add benches, repair the railings, plants some new trees, remove diseased trees, add a "natural play area", refurbish the playground,  add some kind of surface to reduce wear and tear under the market stalls, add electricity points for the market stalls, and install new lighting.

The second option includes all of the improvements contained in the first, but advocates the addition of an Oval shaped piece of land (which appears to be paved and is pictured with a detachable canopy) that could be used for the market as well as providing a dedicated space for other community events).

Neither option looks to be detrimental, unless one is concerned by the removal of grass that would be necessitated were option two to be adopted.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Oval Farmers Market Consultation tomorrow (3rd July)

As you can see from the poster below, there's a consultation tomorrow from 10am at Oval Farmer's Market about how the market and the churchyard could be improved.  

I can't say enough to recommend this market and all of the stallholders.  It's fantastic to have people that travel up to London each week and offer their wares.  It's great to be able to buy food straight from the farmers that grow it and the bakers that bake it, and the churchyard is a completely free public space to sit in the sun and chat to friends. 

Part-ownership of a spaceship, going carbon negative and recycling on Lambeth housing estates

The consensus is that prices are rising once again in London, such that owning a property is beyond the reach of many citizens.  Help, however, is at hand in the form of a part-ownership eco-spaceship.  Head over to the Beaconsfield Gallery (22 Newport Street, SE11) where an installation, exploring the contradictions and difficulties of building a utopia, will be constructed in the form of  a Spaceship Earth eco-structure.  You can buy a slice at a rather reasonable £1 per share, but it's unclear exactly what you'll get for your money!  

The Beaconsfield spaceship project is collaborative, and the artists require donations of works relating to utopias.  In addition, you can take a picture of yourself outside your house with lots of unwanted goods, and email it to the organisers.  There is a whole host of free workshops on offer, but participants are encouraged to bring something (or offer a service) in exchange for attendance.

Events which still have to take place are as follows (info lifted from the Spaceship Earth project on the Beaconsfield website).  I'm wondering about attending the vegan chocolate one on Sunday!

Thursday 1 July 6-8 pm
Creative Writing Workshop with Sarah Butler
Saturday 3 July 2-4 pm
Immigration Law for Sale? with Barry O’Leary and Tim Barnden
Sunday 4 July 2-4 pm
Raw Chocolate Demo with Laura Coxeter
Tuesday 6 - Thursday 8 July 11-5 pm
Eco-Build: Rammed Earth with Mark Pavey and friends
Friday 9 - Sunday 11 July 11-5 pm
Eco-Build: Living Roof with Mark Pavey and friends

On a related note, there is an interesting project that seems to be taking place within SE11 at the Bowling Green Street pub (yup, the one that was meant to be turned into housing, but got turned down by Lambeth Council).  Some of the people currently based(?) there are advocating the possibility of living a carbon negative lifestyle, in which communities learn to be self-sufficient.  The group advocate the change of planning laws to enable the building of Eco-villages (I'm unclear about how this would work in densely populated Lambeth) and also put forward some ideas about how to improve the quality of soil (and thus increase its capacity for food growth) through a method called Biochar.  I'm afraid it's all rather unwieldy to go into here, but they have a GrowUp website that provides further info.  Apparently, they're willing to explain it all in the form of an exhibition, where films and music will illustrate what they're talking about, and it's on every Thursday.   Might be worth checking their website first as it looks a little adhoc.

Finally, on a more practical note, Lambeth Council are embarking on a bid to the London Waste and Recycling Foundation.  They need some ideas and proposals for various projects to run locally.  If successful, I think they'd be allotted some money to encourage additional recycling on Lambeth council housing estates.  I believe we discussed this matter here about a year ago, when one commentator wrote insightfully that he thought residents on local estates would be encouraged to recycle more effectively were better signage provided on the recycling bins.  I wonder whether, with many residents not having English as a first language, some investment should go into providing literature in a number of different languages.  Unfortunately... the one type of project that this particular bid does not support is that which relates to communications, "this includes doorstepping, leafleting, community outreach, literature", which leaves the Council requesting proposals for:

* Small-scale composting
* New or improved bin chambers
* Dropped kerbs that will enable the recycling provision to be increased or improved
* Incentive schemes
* Chute conversions (to recycling, where there are two chutes side by side)

Do readers have any ideas along these lines for local estates in the area?  Do you live on or have friends who live on local estates that might benefit from these types of changes?  I'm not entirely sure how I've come to be consulted on such matters, but I'm really impressed by Lambeth Council's recycling commitment, so I think it's well worth giving them input where possible.

Label Cloud