Mountainous New BT Phone Boxes

BT have applied for 48 x 2.9m(8’8″) high advertising hoardings dressed partially as phone kiosks across Southwark. Three of these are proposed in East Dulwich.

Southwark should charge rent as they do for similar 90 such installations by JCDecaux free standing advertising hoardings and Southwark taxpayers benefit.  But only where it is safe to do so.

Ironic that we’ve spent so much time reducing street clutter for BT to propose this. Clearly their phone kiosks aren’t being used hence proposal to replace them with advertising hoardings. The idea of free phone calls from phone outdoors next to main roads is at best fanciful.

17/AP/0805 157 Lordship Lane – outside Franklins.
The new Harris East Dulwich Primary Academy, with the support of the local Police inspector, have requested that the bus stop outside its front door on Lordship Lane be swapped with the Pelican crossing nearly outside Franklins.
So this applications assumptions about the pavement are wrong and the schools/Police proposal will require the current phone box be removed. This alone should be reason enough to refuse permission.
Additionally the idea of prominent advertising being so close to a bus stop or pelican crossing is contrary to TfL guidance about the placing of advertising where extra cognitive lading occurs (tfL guidance section 2.4-2.6).

17/AP/0882 junction East Dulwich Road on Lordship Lane
This junction is notorious to local residents for crashes and fear of crashes. The reported crash data for this junction is 10 crashes for 2012-16 inclusive. i.e. 2 crashes pa. The classification of slight crashes has included a lady with multiple fractures still undergoing re constructive surgery.
Placing prominent screen advertising at this junction would make the junction more dangerous from cognitive overloading.

17/AP/0883 junction Crawthew Road on Lordship Lane – outside Foxtons.
Half the pavement width is owned by freeholders of 29-35 Lordship Lane. The current and proposed phone kiosks are reliant upon this to work. If the building is redeveloped the pavement would be blocking the pavement.
Equally the more prominent advertising hoarding proposed will distract drivers who must turn right exiting from Matham Grove onto Lordship Lane.

Generic issues for all these applications:
– these applications are being made to replace phone kiosks placed under Telecoms Apparatus applications. For telecomms apparatus the bulk of income and primary use would need be telecoms. But the vast bulk of use and revenues will be from advertising. On this basis telecoms rules and strategies should be secondary to following advertising consent rules for planning applications.
– the locations of the existing kiosks was motivated by being prominent for people to spot. But that same prominence makes these locations dangerous for much greater advertising prominence causing cognitive overload for people driving past. These advertising hoardings would be significantly safer on straight sections of roads that are not close to junctions or crossings.
– national planning policing encouraging telecomms and IT are aimed at broadband roll out, mobile mast roll-out and deploying fibre optics. These application are clearly advertising hoarding dressed as phone kiosks and these national, regional and borough strategies for telecomms/IT should not be applied to promote this advertising.
– The specs states the screens can operate from 0 to 50 degrees C. Temperatures regularly fall in winter locally below this temperature range.
Are the screens safe below their safe operating temperatures?
– poor urban design with the proposed new free standing advertising/phone kiosks being much more dominant in the street scape at 2.9m high. This is significantly higher than the 2.2 and 2.4m phone kiosks they replace.
– Protection of amenity. The free phone call offer. The applications give no details about how to ensure unrestricted free phones in the public domain won’t be abused and used to make malicious calls and how these will be stopped.
– un enclosed phones replacing enclosed phone kiosks. At all three sites these proposed free phones are overlooked by victorian flats with single glazing. What measures will be made to avoid these phones ringing and being nuisance – will BT fund double glazing for these flats? Make them outgoing only – especially to avoid use by drug dealers? Have Southwark Police been consulted about potential issues of drug dealing?
– they will bring at best only a very negligible benefit to the area far outweighed by the advertising.
Why hasn’t the applicant stated how important these phone boxes are by stating current revenue per phone box to demonstrate their importance to remain occupying such valuable public highway?
– other advertising companies pay Southwark annual rental to place such advertising hoardings on Southwark pavements.
Why are BT not required to do so?
– no detailed policy of what restrictions and controls on what would be advertised are stated. All are very close to primary and imminently secondary schools for the protection of minors.

Denmark Hill Station Passenger Flows

I’ve just obtained a copy of a study undertaken by Network Rail at Denmark Hill station over two days in July 2015, approximately two weeks before the start of state school holidays. So the many local private schools would have already started their summer school holidays. Video cameras captured the tops of all stairs to the platforms and also the gateline. Counts were completed for the AM (07:00 – 10:00) and PM (16:00 – 19:00) peaks and were classified by person type (i.e. person with large luggage, bicycle etc).

Counts were provided in 5 minute intervals and showed that flows were slightly higher in the AM on Wednesday at 10,700 (10,400 on Tuesday) and in the PM on Tuesday at 9,200 (8,800 on Wednesday). On both days the AM peak was considerably busier than the PM peak.

The AM flows were very balanced with similar numbers of passengers entering and exiting the station (52/48 in favour of exits).

The Access for All footbridge is used by approximately 30% of passengers in the AM peak, the remaining 70% using the original overbridge. So the decision by Southwark Planners to block widening the original footbridge is causing much of the congestion problem. This resulted in a new ticket office entrance which already isn’t wide enough exacerbated by stairs to reach it

Platform 4 (towards Bromley) only accounts for 7% of flows in the AM peak but 26% of flows in the PM peak.

The PM peak has a more tidal flow with station entries making up 60% of gateline movements. The Access for All overbridge is used by 32% of passengers in the PM peak, slightly more (2%) than in the AM peak.

We need to find out when the extra Windsor Walk station entrance can happen. The congestions for passengers feels decidedly dangerous.

Annual footfall at Denmark Hill station

The latest ORR footfall figure for Denmark Hill station is shown below. As mentioned on Friday, some of the difference between the 2015-16 and 2014-15 figure “is due to changes to the methodology” associated with the London Travelcard. The leap in passenger numbers in 2013-14 reflected the first full year of operation of the south-western branch of the London Overground network.

Most Notorious East Dulwich Junction

Our most notorious road junction in East Dulwich is where East Dulwich Grove (EDG) meets Lordship Lane. It feels dangerous and you have be razor sharp crossing with confidence. Over the last 5 years 10 crashes have occurred.

Putting full traffic lights would significantly reduce the capacity of Lordship Lane there and result in lots more rat running. It would also see significant parking removed to make it happen – both along Lordship Lane and East Dulwich Grove – which is predicted to speed traffic up countering any safety.

On a site visit with council officials we noted the following potential improvements:

1. Tactile pavement indicated where to cross is set back along EDG away from the sightlines of cars turing from Lordsihp lane in EDG. Propose move this towards Lordship Lane.
2. Move the Bell Bollard so it actually protects pedestrians.
3. Why was the coloured raised treatment replaced with black tarmac. REnew in different colour to inidcate a pedestrian crossing.
4. Place anti skid surface to allow better braking.
5. Resurface Lordship Lane.
6. Place hatching on whole junction after resurfacing
It was agreed at the site meeting and post meeting review that drivers could be mentally or cogniticely overloaded with so many different visual ques. To reduce this we could:
1. Remove yellow hatching,
2. Mark the correct turning circle, as they do on some roundabouts, to reduce incidence of drivers cutting the corner.
Further thoughts:
1. What would it cost to raise the whole junction up to slow all vehicles?
2. Could we install average speed cameras around this junction to ensure no speeding?
What do you think – how can we make this junction safe?

Most New Southwark Homes Sold Overseas

Southwark Lib Dems have criticised Labour Southwark for taking no action about the selling of new Southwark homes to overseas owners.

A damning ‘Transparency International’ report revealed that 100% of the 51 apartments sold at South Gardens by the Australian property tycoon LendLease were sold to overseas investors. No locals getting to buy a local homes.

This flagship development at Elephant and Castle, replacing the now-demolished Heygate Estate, had previously been criticised for failing to provide  affordable homes demanded by the council’s own planning policy.

Southwark Labour councillors have often told us how good their relationship is with Lendlease, and claimed this allows them to get the best deal for our residents. Now that properties are being sold, it is clear that they are unable or unwilling to put any pressure on these developers.

Lendlease are building empty apartments for overseas investors, not homes for local Southwark residents. We are calling on the council to urgently investigate this and demand that homes built in Southwark are sold to UK residents first, not flogged off to overseas investors often with laundered money.

 

Southwark Labour Selling School Land

Southwark Labour have started the legal process to sell Southwark school Land at three locations.:

  1. 5,172m2 of playing fields at Angel Oak Academy (formerly Gloucester School) SE15 6FL
  2. 2,452m2 of plying fields Beormund Primary School SE1 3PS
  3. 1,078m2 Cherry Road Gardens School SE16 3XU

That’s a lot of school playing fields. Once lost impossible in Southwark to recreate o replace. They say they and will be used for housing. Also much needed. But the one thing we can sure of with an ever increasing Southwark population and huge home building plans is we will need more schools and often have to increase the size of existing schools. This school land should not be sold robbing children into the future of sufficient land to play.

Labour Southwark have a record of doing this sort of thing. Hence why The Charter School is so deficient of playing fields. Albion school was robbed of space only last year August 2016.

If you object to these school land and playing field sales email housingregeneration@southwark.gov.uk ASAP.

St.Ives Inspiration

The residents of St.Ives have voted via a new Neighbourhood Plan require that all new build homes must be occupied as principal residents – not holiday or second homes.

In Southwark many new homes are sold to foreign residents and sit idle. It means even the low new home build numbers are diluted further by so many homes being lost in this way.

Lib Dems have asked the labour Southwark administration whether they would support such a stance by neighbourhoods. They reacted by claiming no evidence of this problem in Southwark exists. That such homes generate receipts to be used for social housing. But they have said that for example if the Bankside Neighbourhood plan can justify such a scheme with damaging scheme viability ned meeting affordable housing they could support such a proposal.

Watch this space…

Where is the Cycle Parking

For several years now residents have been asking for cycle parking, in the form of BikeHangars, to be installed close to their homes. Without secure bicycle parking people can’t easily own bicycles let alone use them.

So far Southwark Council have organised 99 such BikeHangars each hosting 6 bicycles. But they have another 100 residents from across the borough requesting such bicycle parking. My experience in East Dulwich is that from expressing an interest to a BikeHangar happening or being told it wont happen takes 2-3 years. It is ridiculous that it takes so very long. Sadly the cabinet member responsible is under the impression it takes’ only’ one year.

Most people live in homes where cycle parking isn’t available. We want to reach Danish and Dutch levels of cycling of at least 25%. The benefits to residents and the community of this level of cycling would be profoundly positive- environment, air pollution, fitness, etc. We have 300,000 people living  in Southwark of which around 42,000 are below the age of 10 and probably wont need full sized cycle parking. So we need cycle parking for around 25% of 258,000 = 64,500 bicycles or 11,000 BikeHangars.

This level bicycle parking need is so huge it needs to be treated as a strategic programme.

Do you want a BikeHangar close to your house?

 

Southwark Eviscerate Community Councils

Community councils were set-up by Lib Dems when they led the council in 2002. Simple idea that power should be exercised as close to residents as possible. Community councils decided local planning applications, traffic schemes, devolved budgets around investing in local areas, devolved revenue spending to help create new projects, and generally gave local residents the power to directly influence local councillors in decisions about their neighbourhood.

Sadly not everyone wants to make local decisions. Community councils were stripped of making local planning decisions when Labour took control of Southwark council. They then dramatically reduced the number of meeting down from 10 a year to 5 each year. and the number of community councils from 8 to 5 making them much less local outside of the Dulwich area.

I’ve sat on the main planning committee deciding on local planning applications where all local Labour councillors had refused to be involved in a local planning decision because it was contentious. So clearly hiding such decisions behind a town hall in Tooley Street suits such councillors purposes.

Labour are now saying they want to centralise traffic scheme decision making to a single Labour councillor in the councils Tooley Street ivory towers.The fig leaf of saving money has been given. That a council officer attending a meeting is too expensive. With 5 meetings per year for 5 community councils at  4 hours (including travel time) the saving will amount to around £2,500 each year of officer time. But we’ve been given the option of talking about traffic schemes but with no expert officer present to explain what they’re trying to do and their ideas should work and we can only ask the Labour traffic tsar to consider issues and concerns we raise.

Academic research shows more people involved in decisions the more likely they are to catch problems and make good decisions. Three ward councillors, 6 fellow councillors on the community council, neighbouring residents and an expert council officer – I’ve seen this work really well. I’ve seen it save money; of daft schemes be canned, or tweaked to actually work. I’ve seen proposed scheme forget about pedestrians which we corrected for example.

If you think centralising traffic schemes, only discussing local issues 5 times a year, not deciding local planning schemes locally is a bad idea please respond to the councils consultation and tell them what you think.

Bakerloo Line Extension Short Changed

This week Transport for London have announced they are proposing two new Bakerloo Line stations in Southwark as part of extending it to the south east to Lewisham and beyond. It should drastically reduce traffic providing a much better alternative for people travelling into the centre of London.

This sounds good until you start looking into it. This part of the extension, from Elephant & Castle to New Cross Gate, will be about 4.5km long. But the existing Bakerloo Line is 23.2km long with 25 stations. So a station near enough ever kilometre on the current Bakerloo Line.

So why aren’t TfL proposing at least three stations along this section?

That would be a station every 1.125km. So a station at the Bricklayers Arms Roundabout, Burgess Park/Albany Road, Ilderton Road junction.

Come on TfL don’t short change the people of Bermondsey or Southwark. We want three stations not two.

Making Lordship Shops All Shops

20-22 Lordship Lane were originally shops with flats above them. For a very long time they’ve bene used as offices for one of Southwark’s Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT).

Since 2005 we’ve been asking what are the plans for these offices. Breaking up the line of shops with two non shops with blank frontages doesn’t help keep Lordship Lane vibrant.

I’ve now had a Freedom of Information response back. Previously I had Southwark Council officers saying they were awaiting Maudsley people to respond. I’ve Maudsley people saying thy’ve been waiting for Southwark Council officers. You could not make this up.

So I’ve now escalated this to the Chief Executive Of Southwark Council in the hope they can resolve this. If they can’t then I’ll use my last resort of a Councillor Call for Action. Yes, Minister have nothing on this!