Saturday, 30 October 2010

Sainsburys Nine Elms - Part 4 of 5 from Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Exhibition VNEB

I'm sorry that this has been delayed, but it took quite a while to upload all of the photos from the VNEB exhibition at the beginning of October.  Click on the following to see the other posts on the VNEB exhibition, Part 1 (Ballymore sections, around the new US embassy), Part 2 (Lambeth Council segment) and Part 3 (Tideway Wharf).

(Oh, and do feel free to browse the exhibition photos below, but I written a fuller and more recent debrief, after the Nine Elms Sainsbury's Tower plans were shown at an exhibition in November 2010.).

Tradescant Road blog has already mentioned the Nine Elms Sainsbury's plans shown below, but I wanted to add them for posterity.

This board gives no information about the size or scale of the development, only shows the site of building, which, predictably, is the site upon which Sainsbury's currently resides:

This board informs us that the entire site will be made more friendly for pedestrians and cyclists, potentially opening up other parts of the Opportunity Area.  It will be interesting to see how (and if) they'll connect Wandsworth Road and Nine Elms Road.  Notice that they suggest that the whole area might be improved by "a new landmark building"!  (I'm quite in favour of improving this site, but I just find it amusing that they think a new building would improve the area when it's clearly their intention to build whether it would or not!!)  See the bottom of this article for some early thoughts about the proposal.  There's a hint that a new park, open or green space might be put in place, with access to the public:  

The following two boards give no more information about what is proposed.  Quite disappointing, considering the information provided by the other developers:

Anyhow, you might be intrigued to know that our local Councillors have been given early access to the Sainsburys plans.  Consequently, we know from Cllr Mark Harrison's hints on Twitter that the proposal is likely to include three towers.  The tallest tower will come in at around 35 storeys, and Sainsbury's will be exhibiting outside their store some time soon.  Evidence here:

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Kennington Park Children's Centre to close

Lambeth Council published a report on 22/10/2010 that was made public yesterday(ish), announcing that the Kennington Park Children's Centre (on its current site in the park) is to close for three reasons:

1.  Henry Fawcett School is judged to be in a position to provide leadership and support for the Centre if it's located on the school site.  (The report indicates that a national policy may be introduced requiring Local Authorities that are managing Children's Centres to outsource them to third party organisations).

2.  The new location (at Henry Fawcett School) is judged to be more accessible for catchment area (across Oval ward) families.  The report oulines the fact that the new site should "increase access by community groups that are currently underrepresented", but it doesn't say what it means by that.  [Are we talking about people who live in the south of Oval who wouldn't cross the park, or people of under-represented races, or underrepresented income?  I hate it when underrepresentation is raised, but it's not outlined what is meant by that word.]  Moving the site, in any case, puts it nearer to where most of the users of the site live.

3.  Long term sustainability for the Children's Centre will be secured.

To be fair, the report accurately records that "current users" would prefer the Centre to remain in the park, whilst non-users would prefer the site to move to Henry Fawcett.  The results of the questionnaires are quite mixed.  48% of responses would prefer that the centre stay on site, 41% want it moved and the rest were undecided.  I suspect that the decision had already been made on the basis of finance, and perhaps in the current climate, we should be relieved to retain a Children's Centre in Oval ward.  (For my last post on this matter, see "When consultation risks being lip service".)

The report outlines the fact that the Children's Centre received a budget of £304,170 (2009-2010), funding management, administration, teaching, outreach and the creche, but also notes that maintenance and running costs are high and have to be sustained through that budget.  The difficulty is that when a Children's Centre is located on a school site, the costs are shared, whereas in a stand alone site, costs fall entirely on the Centre itself.  £200,000 of income (2009-2010) was also sourced from elsewhere.  The report is not clear on where the £200,000 came from.  The entire cost of the Children's Centre was (2009-2010) £591,500, leaving a deficit of £87,500, which actually, doesn't sound to me as though it's a massive deficit that couldn't have been covered in other ways, but if the Council need the site for the PRU (see below), I can see why the Children's Centre would have to move.  (Interestingly, there's a slight risk that lots of dissenting parents will not continue to use the Children's Centre on the new site, which could leave the Council with a deficit for the next few years, but they're balancing that against capital cost savings).

There are a number of interesting statistics within the report eg. Oval Ward is one of 20% most deprived national wards and a third of users of current Children's Centre users are actually from Southwark.  Services available to those on ward boundaries often suffer and I'm not sure whether Lambeth will be able to be so partisan when the proposals for the Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham partnership are put together, but since there's a nearby Children's Centre in Southwark, I can see the rationale for the move.

The major loss appears to me to be a lack of childcare for children between 0 and 2.  This will not be offered at Henry Fawcett, but instead through "associate childminders".  I'm not too clear on what an associate childminder is, so would be grateful for comments.  The report is quite clear that the capital money to be spent on amending the school could have been used on renovating the Children's Centre, but the timeframe is not sufficient to complete a feasibility study and carry out the works, and the Council also estimates that additional repairs would be necessary.

I was wondering what would happen to the Kennington Park Children's Centre site, but apparently, it would house (if money is forthcoming, which it probably won't be now the cuts have been announced) the Primary Pupil Referral Unit (PRU).

The new Henry Fawcett site should come into use between March and April 2011.  I can't say that I'm entirely surprised, but if the PRU funding doesn't come through, it will leave the Kennington Park Children's Centre empty.  That would add it to a fast growing list of "empty" buildings; the former Lilian Baylis is in meanwhile use, the Beaufoy Insitute is empty and the Olive School (I believe) is empty .  Proposals for the former Lilian Baylis will be heard at the KOV meeting on Monday 1st November (see calendar), but it won't happen that quickly. I heard on the grapevine that the Olive School is temporarily being used as a PRU, but I'm not sure whether a new tenant has been found.  Would be grateful for comments on that too, so I can update.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

20 Albert Embankment - tiny planning permission amendment

A request (10/03287/FUL) for a tiny amendment to the planning permission for 20 Albert Embankment has been submitted to Lambeth Council along the following lines:

"The planning conditions as currently worded require the submission and approval of the relevant details to/by the local planning authority "prior to the commencement of building works". The variations seek to substitute the words "Prior to the commencement of building works" with either the words "Prior to the commencement of the relevant works" or "Prior to the commencement of works above ground" (as appropriate) to allow for a staggered submission of details."

I don't know enough about planning law to know why this type of amendment would be required.  I suppose it all hangs on why the building details can't be submitted prior to works? I'm not sure why details would need submitted in a staggered manner?  Is it a stalling tactic?  Do Newlands Enterprises Ltd wish to hold until the market recovers or do they want to wait to hear from Lambeth about one part of the building before submitting the details for the next?  Questions, questions...

Thursday, 21 October 2010

The closed Kennington Park Astroturf pitches and why it's taking so long...

Further to my article earlier this week on why everything (including the Astroturf court) in Kennington Park appears to be closed, I've sourced some extra info. from the Friends of Kennington Park.

Kennington Park's astroturf pitch was installed in 2006 with a 15 year warranty.  Under the warranty, the seams were fixed in 2008 and 2009.  Issues with the seams were again discovered in August this year, and the manufacturers were called to examine the pitch, after which the installers argued that the seam issues fell outside of the warranty.  Naturally, Lambeth Council argued the opposite view, but the court was closed whilst an investigation upon whom the responsibility should fall was undertaken.  The Council were unable to speed up the repairs by asking another company to look at the issue in view of the fact that it would have invalidated the warranty.  After further meetings and inspections, the manufacturer agreed to make the necessary repairs.  Work was due to commence on the 12th October, but I noticed at the weekend that it appeared to be delayed due to bad weather.  Do any of my readers use the pitch, and has anybody seen any works taking place?

The teams using the pitches have been offered refunds or credits, and from the information above, it appears that the Council have been acting in the best interest of the public.  The question is why the discussions and meetings have taken so long, but I suppose, given the context of a £200,000 pitch at stake, and the technical report requested, that 2 months isn't a great deal of time to resolve the matter.  If the pitch closure continues into a third month, I imagine that more questions will need to be asked.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Advanced notice - KOV Co-op Council Discussion & Thames Tunnel Consultation and

This is just a quick post giving advanced notice of three community gatherings.

Firstly, in view of the announcements of the Government's Spending Review, and the speculation that Lambeth Council will lose £70 million, some notion of Labour's Co-operative Council will soon become a reality in Lambeth.  Local public sector job cuts are likely (but we probably won't know the detail for a few months) and whether you call it Big Society or Co-operative Council, the result will be fewer services spread over the same (or greater) number of people.  According to Local London, considerations about pooling services such as road repairs, social care, rubbish collection, libaries and adult education between Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark Councils are under way.  I've no idea what any of this might look like, but there will be opportunites to ask questions at the next KOV meeting on 1 November at 6:30 for 7pm.  The venue is to be the Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre, 100 Vauxhall Walk, SE11 5EL.  Also announced at the KOV meeting with be "interesting news" about the future of the former Lilian Baylis school site (not sure how that will fare with all of the cuts) and apparently, some discussion of improvements planned for Vauxhall overground station.  It seems to be a rather full agenda so expect the meeting to run late.

Secondly, thanks to the good Cllr Harrison, a consultation will take place re. the Vauxhall Thames Tideway Tunnel ventiliation shaft etc. on the Albert Embankment in Vauxhall.  The consultation will be held on 6th November from 10am-4pm at Park Plaza Hotel, 18 Albert Embankment.  For more information about the tunnel, see my article "What is the Tideway Tunnel is, and how does it affect Vauxhall?".

Lastly, thanks to a commentator earlier in the week, some of you might be interested to know that former MP and local resident, Chris Mullin will be speaking at the Durning Library on Thursday 21st (tomorrow) at 6.45pm.  £2 is requested as a donation for refreshments.  The Times' Rod Liddle noted that Mullin's recently published diaries (A View from The Foothills) were "The most valuable set of diaries to emanate from the now interred corpse of new Labour; the most revelatory and also…the most entertaining."  Make of that what you will.

Lambeth High Street Recreation Ground proposals (consultation today)

There's a consultation today, until 8pm, about some proposals for the renovation of Lambeth High Street Recreation Ground in 2011. Apologies for failing to mention it before now. The consultation is taking place today from 8am to 8pm at 125 Lambeth Walk.

Also, a new Friends of Lambeth Rec Group seems to have popped up for the park and that website contains some interesting information eg. plans to change the name of the park to "Old Paradise Gardens" and gives you an opportunity to become a "Friend".

If you're curious, the park is boundaried by Old Paradise Street, Lambeth High Street and Whitgift Street.

I'll try and pop along tonight and display the plans here tomorrow.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Kennington Park Astroturf and Flower Garden closed. Midnight path under threat.

What on earth is happening in Kennington Park?  A few weeks ago, I received a tip-off that the Astro turf pitch had been closed.  I'm not sure about the date of its exact closure, but by process of deduction, I think it has been closed for about 2 months now.  A park-ranger/sports coach that I spoke to on site (last Saturday) said that the pitch had been closed due to the hockey players complaining that the pitch was not flat.  The anonymous email I received claims that the pitch has been closed for health and safety reasons on account of a "stretching" of the pitch (opposite the tennis courts).

If you go and view the pitches when they're open, you'll see that they're in almost constant use.  I'd guess that up to 1000 people use them each day (taking into account day and evening use).  According to the Friends of Kennington Park, there's been some sort of dispute between Lambeth Council and GLL over an expired warranty which has caused a delay in fixing the pitch.  Repairs are due to take place any day now, but according to Lambeth Council, they require dry weather.  A 2 month closure is unacceptable, but that's not the park's only closed facility...

The Old English flower garden is also closed.  The photo above shows the wire fence that has been erected not only around the entrance, but around the entire garden!  I discovered this particular piece of news at the memorial for the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Kennington air-raid shelter.  The flower garden contains several benches, dedicated to people who died in the blast and people who've died more recently, but nobody has been able to go and view any of them.  The flower garden, like the park, is meant to be open to the public.  Unfortunately, it was closed in May 2010.  It then opened once or twice in June, but has been closed for the rest of the summer and remains closed.  The local rumour mill (I can't guarantee accuracy) puts this down to being a dispute between the general police, and (guess who?), the Oval Safer Neighbourhood Team.  The SNT, apparently, consider the Flower Garden to be dangerous.  Personally, I've never had a problem with either the squirrels or the drinkers in the flower garden.  I always say "live and let live",  but it seems that maybe the police are closing everything they deem poses any risk.

I was going to suggest a public insurrection to reclaim our common land (the Flower Garden), but it seems that the Common Land of Kennington Common was abolished in 1852 (how dare they?) when the Common became a Park for public recreation and apparently, "extinguished all rights of common".  But let's not let the detail prevent us from gathering to free the Flower Garden!  Who is interested in a bit of late night wire cutting?  And whilst on that  topic of the Oval SNT, and their activities, I'd  just like to remind you of the generally unpublicised threat to Midnight Walk.  When I went to speak to the police at the informal consultation, they maintained that most of the people they'd spoken to on the night of 13th October 2010 (it was just ticks on a clipboard), were in favour of closing the Midnight Path.  I'd generally keep quiet if I felt that such a view represented public opinion.  I'm not sure that it does.  Thanks to the commentator, Mark, I've been told that Kate Hoey had to step in to prevent the path's closure back in 2002.  The problem back then was that men who used the park at night (when it was closed) were sometimes mugged, and since they were not meant to be in the park in the first place, they claimed that muggings had taken place on the Midnight Path.  Is this what's happening on this occasion?  Can anybody who has been mugged on this path provide any additional information?

The Friends of Kennington Park Facebook page notes the following:

"The path has been a public right of way since 1899. It is not part of the park, but used by many people living in Lambeth and Southwark at all hours.

The Friends' committee have urged Lambeth and the Police to consult widely, particularly with Residents' and Tenants' Associations and ward councillors. If there are only a few objections, the closure can be sanctioned by Lambeth officials; if there are many, the issue has to be heard in court."

I imagine that the "public right of way" legislation trumps the Kennington Common Inclosure Act of 1852.  If a public right of way has been granted, then it can't easily be removed.  Consider emailing the Oval Safer Neighbourhoods team or Hannah Wadey, the Lambeth Community Safety Officer to left them know your views about the proposed closure of the Midnight Path.

I'm not sure how many Kennington Anarchists would be interested in using bolt cutters to gain entry to the flower garden under the cover of night, so I suppose it might be better to resort to a more democratic means of dealing with the issue.  If you'd like to see the Astroturf re-opened, and nothing happens (or is happening) on that front, or you'd like access to the Flower Gardens, or you'd like to prevent the Midnight Path being closed, do feel free to contact your local Oval Ward Councillors:  Cllr Ishbel Brown (Lib Dem), Cllr Jane Edbrooke (Labour) and Cllr Jack Hopkins (Labour).

Saturday, 16 October 2010

70th Anniversary of Kennington Park air-raid shelter disaster - photos from Kennington Park

Today, about 60 people gathered in Kennington Park for a memorial ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the deaths of 104 Londoners at an air raid shelter during the Blitz.

During the second world war, many Londoners did not have gardens and due to the fact that authorities closed nearby Underground stations eg. Oval, were forced to seek shelter in communal trench shelters.  The trench shelters were considered unsafe on account of their structure, as nearby reverberations could cause the sides to cave in.  That's exactly what happened on October 16th 1940 when a 15lb bomb fell directly on the shelter in Kennington Park.  The estimated death toll was 104, but only 48 bodies were recovered.  The rest are still lying beneath the park.

The massive death toll at Kennington Park is widely considered to have been hushed up by the authorities, on account of damaging Londoner's morale and alerting the Axis' pilots to the presence of additional civilians.  It wasn't until 2003 that the specific event in Kennington Park (which saw the highest number of casualties in Lambeth during WW2) received its own memorial.

For more info (and the sources from where I drew the above), take a look at a Friends of Kennington Park guide named  "Kennington's Forgotton Tragedy" authored by Rob Pateman, this recent BBC article, also by Rob Pateman and a further article on the WW2 Today website.

Gordon Johnston, Chair of the Friends of Kennington Park, introduced the order of ceremony and the Mayor.  The words on the memorial are by Maya Angelou:

Cllr Catherine Bowman, representing Southwark Council helped to plant a memorial rose bush:

Pauline Harrison, a relative of two victims of the air-raid shelter, and representing the relatives of those who died in the blast, also planted a rosebush:

A representative from the Friends of Kennington Park planted a rose bush:

And finally, local children from Archbishop Sumner Primary school planted a rose bush:

With that, the evocative bugles sounded, and coincidentally a bi-plane flew over Kennington Park, and we remembered those that will not grow old and whom the years will not condemn:

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Oval SNT police consultation on closing Kennington Park Midnight path at night

Apologies for the late notice, but I only discovered this afternoon (through @KenParkFriends on Twitter) that the Oval SNT will be conducting a consultation from 5.30pm TONIGHT (Wednesday 13th October) about closing the Midnight path through Kennington Park at night.  The midnight park connects Kennington residents in Lambeth with Kennington residents in Southwark and is a quick and useful cut through.  It always looks well used to me, especially at weekends.

This evening, the police will ask anybody that walks through the park whether they use the path at night, whether they feel safe when using the path and if they don't feel safe, whether they would like the path to be closed at night.

Apparently, 21 robberies have taken place recently (may have been over the last year, but I missed that crucial piece of info), and 80% of them have taken place when the park has been closed, and the majority of people that have been robbed have been men.

This is just the start of the consultation, and residents on both the Brandon Estate and the other side of the park are due to be consulted on the matter.  My view (since you asked) is that it's better not to use the path if you don't feel safe, and I'd argue against its closure.  Feel free to go to the consultation this evening and make your own views known. 

I wish I'd heard about this earlier, as it's of interest to local people.  I still can't figure out where it's been publicised up to this point.

New London Cycle Hire in Vauxhall Street nearly finished. Are new docking stations too close together?

Further to the planning permission application back in August, to place new docking stations on Vauxhall St and Oval Way, I can confirm that the Vauxhall Street dock is nearly finished.  Following a tip-off from somebody on the Boris Bike forums, I heard that works had begun.

It was a bit dark when I visited last night, as you can see: 

Now that I've seen the placement of the dock (just off of Kennington Lane), which I've plotted on the map below (the top blue marker), I'm surprised at the choice of an additional site for Oval Way (ringed in red). 

I forgot to check Oval Way yesterday to see whether the docking station there has been started, but I'll check tonight.  My view is that there will be three docking stations too close to one another (considering that some areas have none).  The docking station close to Kennington Tesco (blue market on the right), the new Vauxhall Road one (blue market on the left) and the proposed station on Oval Way are not near enough to Vauxhall Station to be any use as overflow points and I'm not sure why they've been clustered there. 

My feeling is that it would be to put a station on the island (near to the over-active fountain) just outside of Oval Station.  There's nothing else there and it would put the dock on a Cycle Superhighway as well.  I think TFL are being silly about site placement, just trying to cram in their 400 docks to achieve the agreed quota.  I really can't see that there's demand for both Vauxhall Road and Oval Way docks so close to one another.  Of course, it should make it easier to find somewhere to park in Kennington (without having to wander all of the way to the Lollard Street stop), but the spacing is unimaginative.  The real need is for more spaces around Vauxhall Station and further south in London.  My suggestion for the use of the Oval fountain site is on account of it being  a "main road" route.  Oval Way is unnecessary, given the station placed so far down Vauxhall Road.

What do others think?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Change of use due to expire on 216 Kennington Road, preventing possible Tesco arrival

The new Tesco planned for Kennington Park Road has been developed relatively quickly, and permission has been requested to install air conditioning, fridges and lighting.  All of the posts on the matter can be found under the 38-40 Kennington Park Road tag.  I'd guess that the Tesco will be up and running before the end of 2010.

But today, it's heads up to Sean Creighton (known locally for his useful and detailed newsletters) from RCDT/LMHS who has informed us that the original planning permission (obtained back in 2007) to change 216 Kennington Road from D2 (assembly and leisure usage) to A2/B1a (services and business use) has nearly expired.  The original 2007 application is  07/01817/FUL. (It's due to expire on 17/1/2011).  The use of this building as a supermarket (allegedly Tesco) has been contentious from the start, on account of the fact that it was originally set aside under Section 106 for community use, but was missed off the Council's list, and the usage expired.  One interesting point that I've heard reiterated by several locals is that there were a number of nearby community organisations who hoped to use the building.  Whenever anybody telephoned the agents (I tried myself on several occasions), the caller is always told that a tenant has been found and the building is "being held".  Nothing much has happened in the intervening three years, other than numerous alterations of planning applications re. times of shopping delivery by lorry and the numbers of flats that may be built.

If local people from a variety of organistions were to object to the 216 Kennington Road Tesco being re-granted a change of use, and the Council were to agree (tricky, since they granted the permission above ), then there's a chance that local organisations might get a look in again.  The new application for change of use can be found under 10/03318/FUL on the Lambeth Planning database.

I used to be rather vociferously against the use of the site for a Tesco on account of the fact it was intended for community use.  More lately I've pondered that it would be better to be occupied than for it to remain empty.  But sitting on an empty building for three years and failing to develop it means that an organised community campaign (on the basis the building was always intended for the community, and Lambeth Council messed up) might well release the building for locals again.  The key question of course, is whether any local organisation has the money to lease it?

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Photos from Roots and Shoots Apple Day 2010 - Autumn is here

The changing of the seasons is easily missed in a large metropolis such as London.  In Kennington, during autumn, the leaves take the same course from the trees as they do in the countryside.  It just seems easier to miss the seasons it if you spend three quarters of your week cooped up in an office (as I do).  But Roots and Shoots Apple day always makes me feel as though autumn has arrived properly...  Except, of course, that today was so warm, that you might have missed the autumnal cheer had it not been for the apples.  This post forms the second part of a belated series started in 2009 on "Reasons I love SE11".  Apple Day really is a great opportunity to meet local people, and do something a little bit different.

Whilst we're on the topic of apples (and cider), you should all go and take a look at Sid Boggle's post on beer in Kennington.  That, of course, was a failed attempt at word association, just to promote his blog post about Kennington beers, but do take a look any way as I think he'd appreciate comments from local piss-heads (erm, beer appreciators etc).

In the meantime, I want to share with you the miles of wonderful apples I saw today.  I bought one of the "Pitmaston Pineapple" variety, but I'm afraid I lack the developed sense of taste possessed by wine appreciators (and apple describers too).  It was delicious, but just tasted  like apple :

A bathing falcon and a cat.  No, it's an owl.  Or maybe it's a cat.  Today I learned that any owl with yellow eyes is diurnal (awake during the day), although the eyes on this one are hard to see on account of the fluff:

The falcon mid-launch.  We were treated to a fantastic display of falcon flight and owl handling.  The falcon was considerably better behaved:

The apple trees pictured (top) are dwarf trees that only grow to 6 feet, and are thus possibly suitable for a balcony (my main growing arena).   The dwarf variety labelled "Cellini" is apparently local to Vauxhall:

Naturally, I could neither resist the lure of the barbecue nor the apple juice.  The fuzziness of the barbecue is due to the smoke from the sausages.  The leaves on the wall were as lovely as they appear:

The woman in charge of the corn dolly instruction was great, and the children looked to be having fun.  Example corn dollies can be seen in the photo just below.  The chap at the bottom was at Roots and Shoots representing Solar Aid, a charity that is working to enable local entrepreneurs in the developing world to build and sell solar powered products under a franchise named SunnyMoney.  Their solar products eg. lights and phone chargers should reduce CO2 emissions and benefit the people who buy and sell them (they're much safer than kerosene lamps).  

I'm guessing that the solar people were present on account of the fact that the electricity in Roots and Shoots is generated, in part, from solar panels.  I also had a chat with a guy representing SolarCentury, a company that install solar panels and photovoltaic cells on private houses and on behalf of Housing Association.  If you install photovoltaic cells on your roof, they'll take between 7 and 12 years to pay for themselves.  They will last at 100% capacity for about 25 years, but will continue on at 80% until they eventually decay and need to be replaced.

You can't beat locally sourced food.  As you'll likely be aware, I can never resist photographing cupcakes.  The food from Arfa's kitchen was absolutely delicious.  If you see Arfa around, I recommend sampling her chicken curry:

Apple day always offers an opportunity to purchase bulbs and seeds.  I didn't buy any tulips, but I'm hoping for a crop of Lambeth-produced daffodils and crocuses in spring, and the Lambeth Horticultural Society (with whom the Kennington Gardens Society is affiliated) were very helpful in giving instructions about how to plant and look after the bulbs:

That's all folks, until next year...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Another accident on Kennington Park Road and accident on Camberwell New Road. Traffic chaos.

There was another accident this evening on Kennington Park Road (just opposite Kennington tube station) at about 19:40, involving three cars, a Volvo, a Renault and another unidentified car.  The driver of the Volvo had to be cut out of the car, and the roof was removed (similar to the accident last week on 30th September).  There were no fatalities, but the accident in SE11 was serious.

Another accident also occurred at some time this evening (approx.18:00) on Camberwell New Road near to Taximedia and the southern entrance of Kennington Business Centre between a motorcyclist and a small car.  A neighbour reported that the motorcyclist flew across a car and on to the pavement.  Unfortunately, the motorcyclist was killed and the fatality has been confirmed by police.  A witness photographed the police's arrival.

Due to the above accidents and another unconfirmed accident in Peckham (possibly this was the one on Albany Road / Urlwin Street), and the earlier accidents in Elephant and Castle (at least one motorcyclist fatality on New Kent Road), buses were diverted and traffic chaos began at 16:00 (estimated time of New Kent Road accident) and is still ongoing late this evening.  There was also a person under a train at Charing Cross, which closed off the Bakerloo line during rush hour, and a gas leak on Kennington Park Road near to Magee Street.  The traffic chaos that ensued caused much of South London to come to a halt.

If you have further information about any of the accidents, please feel free to comment.

The standard of driving in South London is atrocious, but four accidents

Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park bulb planting and gardening (of the non-guerrilla variety)

There's a fantastic park, just over the SE11 border, named Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park.  It opened in 1934 and was dedicated to the "struggling mothers of Southwark", see here.  Many people, I suspect, probably just consider it to be part of the grounds of the Imperial War Museum.  As a park managed by Southwark Council, it's fortunate enough to have two full time park rangers, who hope to build on the work started last year to bring extra Spring colour to the park.  This is the part where you come in...

Over the next few weeks, 5000 bulbs will be delivered to the park and the rangers could use some helpful volunteers to plant them all.  Consequently, Sunday 24 October, from 10am – 1pm has been named "Bulb Planting Day".  Anybody wishing to plant bulbs needs to show up on the Kennington Road side of the park wearing outdoor clothes.  You can stay for as long (or leave as soon) as you like.  Gloves will be provided.  I know that Spring feels a long way off, but the reward for taking part in this activity will be an amazing display of colour next year, and you can't beat the pleasure that comes from back breaking hard work, right?  In any case, voluntary projects are a great way to meet local people and contribute to making London a better place to be.  I wonder whether any of the regular Tweetup/bloggy people might be interested?

Roots and Shoots Apple Day on Sunday October 10th (this week)

Roots and Shoots (Walnut Tree Walk, SE11 6DN) are holding an Apple Day this Sunday, from 11am - 4pm.  I've been to a couple of these over the last couple of years, and they're always offer a great way to experience a taste of the countryside in central London. 

It's a fun day for all of the family, and there's plenty of activities for both adults and children.  There's usually a chance to watch fresh apple juice being pressed, make a corn doll, sample a variety of different types of apple and meet some wildlife (be it bees or owls).  More info at Roots and Shoots website.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

VNEB Exhibition - Tideway Wharf - Part 3 of 5 from Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Exhibition

I'm not going to provide any commentary on these (not this week, anyhow), as the Tideway Wharf section of the VNEB proposal is nowhere near SE11 and thus I've no knowledge of it at all.  I've added these boards and models on account of requests to upload the entirety of the exhibition.

Part 1 (Ballymore section) of VNEB exhibition is here.
Part 2 (Lambeth Council section) of VNEB exhibition is here.
Part 4 (Sainsbury's Towers section) of VNEB exhibition is here.

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