Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Latest on the removal of the Vauxhall Gyratory

Below is an update on the latest situation with respect to the removal of Vauxhall Gyratory and a brief outline of the next steps.

Traffic and transport remodelling – TfL options

TfL have indeed been working on a series of options to remodel the traffic and transport system around Vauxhall, removing the gyratory has been a stated policy position of the Labour administration for a number of years now.  After an initial two options both of which saw a scattering of bus stops, Transport for London have released a further two options, both of which keep bus stops clustered together. These are still very much work-in-progress and nothing has been finalised at this stage, but it is looking increasingly clear from the transport modellers at TfL that in order to achieve all the benefits that a return to two-way streets would provide, it is likely that the form of the bus station would need to change.  However, the function of a centralised bus facility would remain with Options 3 and 4.

As you can imagine, with a project as large and complex as this, this has not been a straightforward process and the design and traffic modelling work has been extended so that the detail can be tested further.

These options have been shared with both local community groups and local businesses, but this was in no way meant to replace a formal consultation process, which will follow when TfL have tested and evidenced the various options.  Although this was done in the interests of transparency, the Council does not consider these workshops in any way a formal consultation. The Council will be undertaking outreach with local groups in the next couple of months about wider outcomes from the regeneration of Vauxhall, and Transport for London will be consulting transport users about proposals and opinions.

Transformation of wider Vauxhall area

As we have always said, our aim is to make Vauxhall a better place for all those who live, work and travel through without compromising its effective operation as a transport interchange.  A return to two-way streets is seen as an essential part of creating a new district centre in the heart of Vauxhall, as the current transport system is unsafe and unwelcoming to pedestrians and cyclists.  The bus station is just one part of this challenging and complex process and ultimately any changes to the transport scheme will not have a detrimental impact on traffic levels – this is a red line as far as Transport for London is concerned and certainly gridlock and backup traffic is not something that the Council wants either.

The proposals the Council are developing with TfL and other local partners will provide a new civic square, new homes, more shops, cafes and services, a greener and safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists.  All of the detail behind this is set out in our planning policy – the Vauxhall SPD was agreed in January 2013, following public consultation and engagement with local residents, businesses and other stakeholders throughout.

Next steps

Once TfL have completed the current stage of design and traffic modelling around the transport system, they will be in a position to consult on scheme principles and outcomes in the coming months.  This is later than originally planned, but I think everyone agrees that the new options much better accommodate the concerns around scattered bus stops by providing options that keep bus stops together.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Our new surgery times

Sitting surgery - 1st sat of the month in Tate South Lambeth library (managers office) on South Lambeth road.

Roving surgery - 2nd Wednesday 6.30-8pm
Roving surgery - 3rd Saturday 11am-1pm

If you would like our roving surgery to come to your street because of a local issue you are aware of, please let us know.

We also do individual appointments on request.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Oval Labour; Making our neighbourhood safer for cyclists

The London Cycling Campaign are running a space4cycling campaign and have asked local election candidates across the 624 wards in London to commit to taking action. To get more info on the campaign visit http://action.space4cycling.org/ and to get the full list of all 624 wards and the requests visit - http://lcc.org.uk/uploads/6878  
The specific request for Oval ward is to "Install protected cycle lanes on South Lambeth Road." The LCC go on to explain that they want action taken "This measure would benefit not only existing cyclists but many other residents who (just like millions of Londoners, from children to pensioners) would like to cycle, especially for local journeys, if the conditions were right."

It’s a difficult one for us to commit to delivering as the road is run by Transport for London not Lambeth Council but we are committed to lobbying TfL and the Mayor to make the improvement.

All three of the Labour candidates for Oval ward, Jane Edbrooke, Claire Holland and Jack Hopkins are keen cyclists, and below we’ve included our response which outlines some other achievements which we’ve delivered over the last 4 years.

We want cyclists in Lambeth to know that we’re not just making commitments at election time but have a track record of making the area better so any cyclists know they can trust us over the next 4 years.

If you want to get in touch with the local group then email Lambeth_Cyclists@hotmail.com and mention Oval ward in the subject line. 

Dear Cyclist,
We have signed up to the pledge and promise I will campaign for this as your local Labour Councillor.
We are all keen cyclists and have been working with Charlie Holland, the Chair of Lambeth cyclists for a couple of years now to make it easier and safer to cycle around our area.
We just wanted to drop you a note and say we will fight for a segregated lane on South Lambeth Road. This road is designated a red route by Transport for London so It’s more about lobbying Boris and Transport for London but we are committed to doing that. 
We also thought we’d put a couple of things we’ve delivered on for cyclists (apologies it’s a bit long!) over the last four years so you can be confident that a vote for the three Labour Councillors on May 22nd will mean a better place for cyclists and not just a political commitment at election time with no action afterwards.
Secure Cycle Sheds installed right across the ward
Over the last four years we have installed secure cycle parking in Rita Road, Dorset Road, Crewdson Road, Meadow Road, Offley Road, Handforth Road, South Island Place, Bonnington Square, Vauxhall Grove and Langley Lane. This was to make it safer and easier for people in our area to be cyclists or remain cyclists.
This has been especially important where houses are split into flats and something we picked up from the doorstep on one of our roving surgeries which we do on a rolling basis every month around the ward (and have done for four years) We are now looking at remaining roads like Heyford Avenue and also working with our big estates like Ashmole to get them installed there too.
Improving the state of the roads
We’ve made and will continue to make record investment in our road and pavement network - we know there are still roads to do but bit by bit we are getting there.
Also as part of the Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme which Jack led on as the Cabinet Member we have loads of new and green traffic calming measures all over our area. All of these were requested by school kids, local residents and Lambeth cyclists as part of our commitment to healthier and safer streets. You might notice these on Claylands Road, Meadow Road, Dorset Road, Heyford Avenue, Bonnington Square and right down through other areas as far as Brixton and Clapham.
As your local Labour team we fight for Oval ward and it’s residents, but as part of a Labour administration we recognise that ward boundaries are irrelevant to most people, especially us cyclists. Getting improvements so people have a decent walk or cycle to school, work, shops or just for pleasure is really important and something Labour is committed to right across Lambeth and beyond.
We are responsive to cyclists’ concerns about their routes
Whenever London cyclists, Lambeth cyclists or individuals bring up poor cycle routes or development that is intruding into the road or cycle lane we act. People have got in touch with us via twitter, email, on the phone or in person and we get on to Transport for London or the Council’s highways team.
For example Metropolitan Housing recently put in some fencing on cycle lane as the estate meets the Oval cricket ground which was really dangerous. We got that removed within a week. A development on Vauxhall Street had blocked off the cycle lane and the Council had put a no entry to cyclists up. We got that taken down and the fencing moved back as quickly as possible. 
Getting rid of Vauxhall Gyratory
We have been lobbying Transport for London for three years to scrap the dangerous one-way gyratory at Vauxhall. In 2010 when your Labour Councillors were first elected, the gyratory removal was not even a pipe dream – not even Council officers wanted to lobby for it.
Your Labour Councillors lobbied hard for this outcome and our campaign has now paid off. This year TfL undertook some studies to see how this would be possible. We are now about to consult on the different options available that will make it safer for cyclists, more pleasant for pedestrians, keeps bus services and makes Vauxhall a vibrant town centre of which we can all be proud.  
The consultation will take place over the next few months and I urge you to get involved and add your voice. There are also regular community meetings on your streets as well as the neighbourhood forum KOV (Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall Residents Forum) where the future of the gyratory is a hotly-discussed issue. 
At the moment nothing has been decided but there is a campaign to oppose any change to bus stops at Vauxhall which might jeopardise whether the gyratory is removed at all. We do not want the outcome of our hard-fought campaign to be jeopardised by the minority, when we have a historic opportunity to do away with the gyratory.
It is therefore very important that we hear the voices and opinions of cyclists at these community meetings, as well as other transport users who already attend. Let us know if you want to be put on our mailing list so we can alert you when discussions take place.
Other commitments
We are also working with neighbouring Southwark Council to introduce a borough-wide 20MPH zone and we have maintained the free cycling training for people who live or work in Lambeth because we feel that the more people confident about cycling on our roads, the better the balance between road users will become.
We hope this gives you confidence that we will continue to make improvements for cyclists, slow traffic down to make it safer and encourage young people and children to take up or continue cycling as a way of getting around.

In that spirit we hope you feel on this issue that a vote for three Labour candidates on May 22nd 2014 (Claire Holland, Jane Edbrooke and Jack Hopkins) is a vote for continued support and action for cyclists in our area.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Lambeth Labour launches its manifesto


We recently launched our manifesto for Lambeth.

Despite loosing half of our funding from the Tory and Lib Dem government - we are still ambitious for Lambeth.  We aspire to build on the great work which has happened, hand in hand with our residents, since 2006 and improve even further. 

Just some of our pledges are; 

1.    Help you with the rising cost of living by freezing council tax for the sixth year in a row
2.    Boost jobs and grow local businesses by offering every young person access to job support, training or an apprenticeship
3.    Make Lambeth cleaner and greener by resurfacing 130 miles of roads and pavements and recycling more waste than ever before
4.    Create safer neighbourhoods and build the homes we need by campaigning to protect community police and building 1,000 new council homes
5.    Give young people the best start in life by offering free breakfasts in all our  primary schools
6.    Help to keep you healthy by getting more people involved in sporting activities and healthy exercise

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Kennington Park Post Office saved following local Labour backed campaign

Kennington Park and Kennigton residents received fantastic news this morning with the news that Kennington Park Post Office will not be closed after all.

After the Post Office announced plans to merge the Kennington Park Road branch with one on Walworth Road in Camberwell, a huge community campaign was launched.

Labour teams in Oval and Prince’s ward, community groups and local businesses helped to organise a 2,000 signature petition, presented to Lambeth Council by local Oval Councillor Jane Edbrooke. 

As a result Lambeth Council joined the campaign and called for the Post Office to stay.

Hundreds of consultation responses were submitted to the Post Office and local people told managers exactly what they thought at packed public meetings.

They argued that forcing residents to make a 25 minute round trip to Camberwell would put the post office out of reach for most local residents.

Now, the management have listened to local people and decided that Kennington Park Post Office will remain open.

Oval Councillor Jack Hopkins said:

“This is brilliant news and everyone involved in this community-wide campaign is delighted that Kennington will be keeping its post office. It shows what can be done when we work together”

The post office is not just a place to pay bills or collect parcels, it’s a vital community resources.”