Every so often a member of the public sends off an email to Lambeth Council, regarding consultation, in the vague hope that there'll be somebody that might read it and take the comments on board. Last week, however, I watched as two comprehensive responses from Dawn Rahman (nee Haines) on the placement of Boris Bike docks bounced into my inbox. Dawn had responded, in detail, to my (and others) suggestions for London Cycle hire bike docking points in Lambeth. I'm delighted by the responses to the suggestions (some of which were provided to me in Twitter via readers) as it enables me to give you an update.
One issue with suggesting docks was that we were told that they had to be within the "existing area boundary", but I was unclear exactly where that boundary lay, so I suggested some for Oval. I want to see these docks go to Peckham, Camberwell, Stockwell, Brixton and down as far as Clapham (at least), but I didn't submit sites for these area as it would have been rather counterproductive. Those places do not lie within the existing area. So, our suggestions...
1. Kennings Way (a small road opposite Kennington tube station) which was suggested due to an absence of docking stations on Kennington Park Road between Kennington Post Office dock and the Hampton Street dock.
Lambeth Council's response: "Lambeth have had a look at this site as we're aware that there is a big gap in the network. Taking away car parking is always difficult but not impossible. However, I think I have found an easier location to progress opposite the shops on Kennington Park Road - just a short distance from Kennington tube. This could potentially be located on the very wide footway and allow us to remove some of the unsightly bollards that we have had to put up to prevent cars parking on it."
My response: Thumbs up. That placement would be great, without having to remove parking, and might benefit the shops too.
2. Cleaver Street (opposite Lambeth county court) - I noted that some residents may object about this suggestion as that piece of land and its use has previously come under disupute (I can't remember why). It's also quite close to the Sancroft Street (St Anselm's) dock, but since that one's often full/empty, another one within close proximity wouldn't do any harm.
Lambeth Council's response: "This is one that we started progressing back in July , and it is due to be put forward for planning approval next week. The land is owned by our housing department and they are fully on board. It also means we can tidy up this area and put in some additional cycle parking and benches which hopefully will help improve the feel of the place."
My response: Excellent news. That ought to relieve the congestion in the central docks and if it can be used as an opportunity to beautify the area, that's even better.
3. Cleaver Square (south side, near to the City and Guilds of London Art School) - I noted that I didn't know whether there would be room, but somebody suggested it to me, so I sent it on.
Lambeth Council's response: "Lambeth have looked at this and the pavement in front is a bit to narrow... In view of the above two suggestions we think that if we can go ahead with these, this will help with network coverage in that area - as both of the above are in close proximity to this site. There is also some highway land to the side of the Art school however this would require taking away motorcycle bays which we don’t tend to have too many of so again this would probably receive quite a few objections."
My response: That's reasonable. I'd object to removal of scooter/motorcycle parking for cycle docks because I agree that there isn't enough of it. If both other docks are implemented (particularly the one near the tube), there would be less need for one here.
4. Extension of the docking station at Kennington Park Post office - (I noted that the dock is always full or empty, being that it represents the souternmost boundary of the scheme).
Lambeth Council's response: "Unfortunately TfL have said that due to the cost involved, they can only extend existing docking stations if we can put in at least 15 more bikes. I've had a look at this site and I just can't see how we can accommodate that many bikes in that space. Hopefully though if we can progress some of the other sites this will help with capacity issues."
My response: That's annoying. However, Lambeth Council are clearly restricted by TFL on this point so there's not much that could be suggested. Does anybody think that there's room on the same side of Kennington Road slightly further up, near to the bus stop for a dock??
5. Island site opposite Oval station between Brixton Road, Clapham Road and the top of Camberwell New Road - (The island contains only a piece of circular seating furniture at present, and the site is sometimes used by Lambeth Council for bike repair workshops. I never really understood why this wasn't an obvious site in the first place).
Lambeth Council's response: "We did get planning permission for a site on this piece of land. Unfortunately we lost it at the construction stage due to problems when they dug the ground up. However, we are now looking at progressing a site outside of the Oval cricket ground ticket office which takes up existing car parking bays. This is being looked at currently with TfL. Again hopefully this will help with the gaps in the network."
My response: That's an excellent clarification, but a real shame. I wonder what problems were found when the ground was dug up? I guess a site outside of the Oval circket ground is an acceptable substitution, but I think the island site would be better. There's more room and it wouldn't take parking spaces.
6. Albert Embankment - (nearer to Lambeth Bridge) - Permission has been requested for a dock opposite 4 Albert Embankment at present, so this might come to fruition anyway (hopefully)...
Lambeth Council's response: "TfL have progressed one in close proximity to Lambeth Bridge and that hopefully we will get a response from planning as to whether it has been approved on the 22nd November. I think there are plans for a site on Guys and St Thomas' land a bit further up..." (Edited due to correction sent from Dawn on 16th Nov 2010)
My response: Great. Let's hope that the site on 4 Albert Embankment is approved.
7. Kennington Park
Lambeth Council's response: "See comments above"
My response: I'm not sure that the comments above would apply to a site at the back of Kennington Park, say nearer to St Agnes Place, but maybe that's outside of the existing area.
Incidentally, Mrs Rahman noted in an email to Cllr Morgan that all sites have to go through planning and transport regulations which means that if you live near to a dock for which planning permission is sought, you'll get the opportunity to provide comments in support or against.
I'm interested in reader feedback on this as many of my readers fed in suggestions for sites, and if you'd like me to go back to Lambeth with further suggestions, I think there's still time! I didn't suggest any near Vauxhall Station as I imagine that that will be addressed separately, but I'm sure you can all think of more that you'd like.
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