Deadline extended: Lambeth private renters’ survey

Calling all private renters in Thurlow Park and beyond – you have until 3rd March to have your say on renting and the kind of support you’d like from the council to improve the sector and help you resolve issues with your landlord!

It doesn’t take long – there’s a short online survey which you can fill out here. If this is a topic you’re passionate about, you can contact Cllr Anna Birley who as well as being a Thurlow Park councillor is also the Lambeth policy lead on private renting, on abirley@lambeth.gov.uk, or you can sign up to our Facebook group for private renters in the local area.

New play equipment at the West Norwood Health & Leisure Centre – consultation open

In a consultation last April, residents in West Norwood said that there should be more play equipment installed on the grounds of the West Norwood Health & Leisure Centre to provide more for the growing numbers of children using the outdoor area.

Having listened to views, the council has drawn up some proposals on new equipment that they hope to progress soon. These include:

  • Resurfacing
  • Fitting an embankment slide, steps and rope ramp
  • A jungle walk
  • Striding stilts
  • Swinging steps x 3
  • A gravity rider (can be used by children with mobility impairments)
  • A Quad Rider in the under 5’s area
  • An inclusive orbit (a roundabout, designed to be inclusive of wheelchair users and aimed at all ages)

The council hopes to go ahead with all of these suggestions, however, officers would be interested in the level of popularity each item receives, as it is possible final space planning may mean the need to exclude an item or two from the proposals at the final stages.

The consultation is open until 1st March and you can respond online here. You can also express interest in being part of a ‘friends’ group – a community group of users who help to protect and champion the facility.

Park events – let the licensing team know your views

Mighty Hoopla and Cross the Tracks have applied to come to Brockwell Park for a festival on the 8th and 9th of June 2019. This will be smaller than last year with fewer festival goers – on present information neither event is set to exceed 20, 000 – and with a considerably smaller amount of the park than was taken up by the Field Day festival last year. We have set out all of the details here – including what the implications will be for the park and more details about how we can move towards more sustainable funding models.

Overall this application represents an improvement on the situation from last year, but there are some concerns about how the festivals will be managed and the clear up afterwards. For full details of the application you can see the official form here.

One of the most important aspects of the approval process is the grant of a license to the festival – this allows them to play live music and sell alcohol and is subject to a very tight legal process, run by the Council’s Licensing Committee. Last year when Field Day and Mighty Hoopla were applying a for a license many residents wrote in commenting on the process and, consequently, a large number of restrictions were placed on the festivals’ operations, relating to noise and security. This had the positive effect of significantly reducing any anti-social behaviour and limiting noise complaints to a handful of cases.

Our view is that the conditions on Field Day’s license last year represent the bare minimum for a festival in Brockwell park and we would ask that any license for Mighty Hoopla and Cross the Tracks should at least match these terms, and go further in some key areas. We want restrictions on closing times in line with the updated licensing policy for the area and enhanced noise restrictions.

It would also be really helpful if residents made their views known to the licensing authority. All it takes is an email to licensing@lambeth.gov.uk with the subject line ‘Mighty Hoopla Representation’. 

For all licensing applications please bear in mind that the committee can only take into account applications dealing with the four objectives under the 2003 Licensing Act:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder;
  • Public safety;
  • The prevention of public nuisance;
  • The protection of children from harm.

Any other matter, such as the repair of the ground or bio-diversity cannot be taken into account by the Licensing Committee.

Cllr Fred Cowell making a representation on behalf of local residents on Field Day and Mighty Hoopla at licensing committee in 2018

Further event consultations are taking place this week run by the organisers, and if you have any questions about licensing policy or process, do get in touch with Cllr Fred Cowell on fcowell@lambeth.gov.uk.

Reminder: meeting this week about Mighty Hoopla in Brockwell Park

As we blogged recently, Mighty Hoopla and a new funk, soul and jazz festival called Cross the Tracks have applied to hold events in Brockwell Park this June.

A reminder that they are holding a community drop-in session this week on Wednesday 27th February. They have two times you can visit, during the day and in the evening:

  • Time: Midday-3pm and 5-8pm
  • Location: The Half Moon pub, 10 Half Moon Lane SE24 9HU

There will be an additional community engagement session on Wednesday 13th March 5-8pm at Jubilee Community Hill, Tulse Hill Estate, London SW2 2LY.

If you can’t make either but would like to ask the organisers a questions, they say residents, businesses and community groups are welcome to email them at community@mightyhoopla.com

Update from our meeting on Thames Water mains replacement works in Tulse Hill and West Norwood

A few days ago, councillors Anna and Peter met with the Lambeth officer leading discussions with Thames Water.

We have had a briefing on proposals – but with a clear caveat that these are still being negotiated so are subject to change. We will update this blog as things change and you can also sign up for email updates from us by clicking here.

Thames meeting

The proposed scope of works is to replace 840m of existing 21” cast iron trunk main in Norwood Road. The extent of this lies between Thurlow Park Road in the north and Robson Road in the south, passing under the Network Rail bridge at Tulse Hill station.

It will be a brand new pipe, which will only plugged into the network once it is installed – the existing pipe will be left in the ground and abandoned. This should mean less road gets dug up and potentially also means the redundant pipe can be used to reduce future disruption if, for example, new internet or electricity wires need to be laid as they can go through the empty pipe rather than requiring a trench to be dug. New monitoring equipment is proposed to be installed in the new pipe and this should make the network easier to monitor for leaks.

The reasons given for this work are to address flooding issues. The existing 21” cast iron trunk main was installed in 1890 and due to age and fatigue has a history – as many of us have experienced with increasing regularity – of bursts.

The work is proposed to be “open cut” which means a trench has to be opened. The reason given for this is that the existing trunk main is too small a diameter to slip line and would not provide sufficient volume for the current population. Thames Water is looking at a £14 million price tag for these works.

Original proposals apparently involved a linear programme of works – starting at one end and working the length of Norwood Road. This would have taken a very long time, and in an effort to reduce the length of time that there are disruptions Lambeth officers have proposed having two “fronts” so that work begins in two places, one at the northern end of the scheme and one halfway along, and then progress southwards simultaneously. This would mean the scheme takes less time.

Trenches would be dug in stages, rather than all at once. Each section would result in one lane of traffic being closed, and temporary traffic lights managing traffic flow past the works. Each section may also result in a side road being closed while that section is being worked on.

There are currently no bus diversions proposed, though temporary lights will clearly cause a lot of congestion and we would expect bus journeys to take longer too. However, we had been concerned about buses being diverted away from West Norwood, so we’re pleased that that’s currently not the proposal.

We raised the concerns raised at the public meeting we held recently about deliveries to businesses, continued water supply for businesses and residents, the ability for the Feast to continue running each month, about public transport and congestion, about parking, about disabled access, about compensation for businesses, and about additional investment and improvement in West Norwood.

We were reassured by many of the answers. Officers are aware of the importance of Feast for example, and have already lobbied Thames Water for changes to ensure Feast is not disrupted – original Thames Water proposals used Chatsworth Way for storage and this would have prevented Feast stalls from being erected. Lambeth officers have persuaded Thames Water to change their storage plans so that the space remains available for Feast.

There should be no interruption to water supply, which reassures us especially for vulnerable customers and for those businesses which can’t function without it like Floral Hall and the many hairdressers.

Lambeth officers are aware of the issues surrounding deliveries, and the importance of ensuring convenient times and locations. We understand that conversations with all businesses will take place so that delivery requirements are fully mapped and can be planned for and enabled.

We remain concerned about the impact on businesses – we haven’t had clarity on compensation but understand that some piecemeal attempts to talk to businesses individually have been taking place. We have strongly put that compensation should be in advance to prevent any businesses closing down, and that rather than risking businesses being picked off individually or played off against each other that Thames Water also work closely with the BID to ensure all businesses are supported.

We’ve also asked about how to ensure a balance between redirecting through traffic that doesn’t stop locally while still communicating that West Norwood and Tulse Hill are open for business, and encouraging shoppers to travel here – particularly by bus, on foot and cycling if able.

We raised concern about the lack of communication to date – with councillors, businesses, community groups and residents. We have suggested regular councillor briefings and to meet Thames Water directly. We’ve asked for communications to local residents, and have been told that current proposals would see a letter from Thames delivered to tens of thousands of residents in the next week or two – the exact geography of this is still being discussed.

Lambeth have also secured agreement for Thames to fund a dedicated officer for this scheme, and that there will be 24-hour on-site presence, so that residents and businesses have an easily accessible point of contact.

We’ve asked for drop in events with information for businesses and residents, as well as a public meeting with Thames Water, Lambeth and TfL all on a panel and able to share information and ask questions. The offer of project officers attending BID meetings or business forums on a regular basis was also offered. Officers have been in touch with cycling groups and are contacting community groups locally. We’re encouraged that these all seem to be in the pipeline (sorry – we couldn’t resist at least one water related pun!) – do sign up for our email updates so that we can make sure you’re invited to the meetings.

We are happy to answer questions on topics we’ve been briefed on, to raise questions with officers that we don’t know the answers to, and to meet with anyone who would like to discuss this further. Our email addresses are:

  • abirley@lambeth.gov.uk
  • fcowell@lambeth.gov.uk
  • pely@lambeth.gov.uk

We share the concerns of residents and businesses that this will be hugely disruptive and could seriously harm our town centre – we are doing all we can to ensure negative impacts are minimised and mitigated. We also want to secure as many positive benefits from the works as possible – for example, full resurfacing of the carriageway rather than simply patching up trenches and STEM training or work experience in local schools.

B&Q site acquired by the council

B&Q recently advertised the freehold of their store on Norwood Road, and this has been acquired by the council.

This forms part of the council’s wider work in West Norwood, especially the aspiration to redevelop Site 18 – which includes the derelict laundry site behind B&Q. Currently, land ownership on Site 18 is very fragmented and the council has been working with local businesses to help assemble the site into a more coherent redevelopment proposition, as per the Local Plan and ‘manual for delivery’ consulted on and published over the last few years.

B&Q as the tenant will continue to operate as they do currently until such a time as all wider redevelopment options have been assessed – and even then any redevelopment would remain contingent on B&Q’s agreement to vary their lease, ensuring they are partners in any local change.

As local councillors, we know that many residents rely on B&Q both as customers and at staff, and we hope that in any future redevelopment B&Q will remain in West Norwood. It’s important to ensure we retain the shops we need as part of a diverse and vibrant high street.

However, we’re excited that progress is being made on Site 18 – it’s so wasteful that, at a time crisis in our local and London housing markets, derelict private land sits there undeveloped. The acquisition of the B&Q freehold is demonstration that as a Labour council we’re taking proactive and positive steps to improve West Norwood and tackle the housing crisis.

Thames Water leak traffic chaos

A big leak on Norwood Road by the railway bridge in Tulse Hill outside Ira Court has caused huge congestion most of this afternoon and evening. Temporary traffic lights are in place and look likely to remain for some time given the size of hole that has opened up in the road.

Thames say they think works will finish on 20th February, so in the meantime we suggest leaving your car at home if you want to get anywhere quickly!