Archive for November, 2008

For those of you not familiar with the ASSA Climate Action Network (ASSA CAN), it is an innovative way to collectively reduce our domestic energy use through an increase in energy efficiency and the the use of renewables. The best thing about it is that it it will cost you nothing because the money you save on your energy bill is used to finance the home improvements over time.

Our original intention was to coordinate a group of commercial partners to carry out the individual home energy assessments, install the insulation and new boilers etc, finance it over a number of years and provide dedicated support. At the last ASSA meeting we reviewed three options for commercial partners. Two options would have involved a lot of organisational work and carried some unknown risks. However as luck would have it, British Gas New Energy, our third option, have been thinking along the same lines as us and are looking to trial just such an idea.They will provide each element of the service and you don’t even need to be a customer of theirs.

Over the next few weeks we will be working with British Gas to develop the service before launching in Jan/Feb 2009. Please give Chris Morrison a call (07971 198555) if you are interested in taking part or would just like to find our more.

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The House of Commons had a debate on the expansion of Heathrow Airport on Tuesday.  Kate Hoey intervened briefly to raise the issue of noise in our area:

I am sure that the hon. Lady would agree that it is not just people who live near Heathrow who are affected by the flight patterns and by noise. Many of my constituents who live in Vauxhall, Oval and Stockwell write letter after letter trying to get something done about their early morning wake-up call. They have made it very clear indeed that they do not want another Heathrow runway until that problem has been sorted out, and that has certainly not been done yet.

It was a six hour debate – you can read the full blow by blow version or just watch the show.  If you don’t want to wade through all of that, there was a good summary in Wednesday’s Independent of the issues and where people stand on them.

Curiously, the proposed new runway might not make much difference to us:  most of the Heathrow traffic we see is because if you draw a straight line out from the current northerly runway, it goes pretty much through our back gardens – and many of the planes which are going to land on that runway are established on that line by the time they get to us.  The equivalent line from the southerly runway goes roughly over Clapham North station and that from the proposed third runway would go somewhere just north of Vauxhall Bridge.

There is a certain grim fascination in watching the paths flights actually take, which you can do on this site set up by BAA.  The picture at the top of this post shows the planes flying over us at 0909 on Wednesday this week

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Lambeth Council has produced a draft Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which was published in July, and is open to consultation until 15 December.  It’s a long and detailed document covering the area from Lambeth Bridge in the north down to Wyvil Road in the south.  The plan is seeking to encourage significant redevelopment in the area, though recognising that this would add further pressure to already stretched transport services.

Draft Vauxhall SPD coverThere are some curious details – a photograph looking south along South Lambeth Road labelled as looking north, another of the Strand, which is gridlocked for much of the day, presented as an “example of a quality street not compromised by high traffic volumes”, enough typos to suggest that it was put together in slightly too much of a hurry, and quite a lot of repetition.  But there is also quite a lot of systematic thinking about how the area might develop, with a pragmatic realisation that implementation might take 15 years.

There is an online questionnaire which goes with the draft plan and which is worth answering even if you can’t quite face the 111 pages of the SPD itself – it’s pretty straightforward and should only take a few minutes to complete.  One or two of the questions have a pretty strong slant – the two options for answering a question on tall buildings are:

  • Tall buildings should form a cluster around Vauxhall Cross (Vauxhall Heart)
  • Tall buildings should be allowed anywhere in Vauxhall

Not having tall buildings is apparently not an option, despite the transport pressures and visual intrusion they would create, though to be be fair there is an “other” category which provides space for alternative answers.

There are public exhibitions about the plan in several locations over the next few weeks, with details on the consultation web page.

Thanks to Andrew Orange of the Tradescant Road & South Lambeth blog for spotting the documents on the Lambeth website.

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broomsThe next Aldebert Terrace clean up and party is on Saturday 22 November.

Meet outside 33 Aldebert Terrace at 10 – bring a broom and gloves, rubbish bags will be provided.  Then from 12, the after cleanup party is at 19 Aldebert Terrace.

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Old South Lambeth

Aldebert Terrace, 1912

This is Aldebert Terrace in about 1912.  The picture comes from Lambeth Council’s archive, with about 6,000 images available online at the Lambeth Landmark.  Andrew Orange has put a picture of Tradescant Road from the same set up at our neighbouring Tradescant Road and South Lambeth site, and as he observes, the street lights are many fewer than we have now – but other than that, there is little in the buildings themselves to show the passage of time.  The only real change is the faint outline of the building on the corner of Thorne Road and South Lambeth Road, now replaced by modern flats.

Curiously the picture below of St Stephen’s Terrace is dramatically less familiar – despite being taken 50 years later, just a couple of years before the old church was demolished in 1967.

St Stephen's Terace, 1965

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End of the line

The new Transport for London business plan, published on Thursday, promises much for the next ten years:

The Programme will focus on the upgrade of the Tube, building Crossrail, extensions to the DLR and London Overground networks, supporting the 2012 Games and securing a legacy from them, smoothing traffic flows, leading a revolution in cycling and walking, and providing greater flexibility for London’s boroughs to deliver local transport solutions.

Tram lines in the Kingsway tunnel

Buried in the small print at the bottom is the less positive part of the story – which is the part which affects us most directly.    The cross-river tram, which might have come down Clapham Road, has been cancelled:

Cross River Tram (cost to complete £1.3bn):

Given the lack of funding available to implement the project and the likelihood of not securing additional third party funding, TfL is not in a position to develop the scheme any further.

However the Business Plan will deliver a number of transport improvements to the communities along the proposed routes including the increased capacity and more frequent services to come on the Northern, Victoria and Piccadilly lines.

TfL and the London Devlopment Agency will now look at alternatives to Cross River Tram including Northern line separation, improved bus operations and other ways of supporting local regeneration.

The tram always was a long shot, but it’s a shame that the prospect has disappeared altogether as it could have made a big contribution to easing transport pressures.

The opaquely named “Northern Line separation” offered as one of the alternatives is a scheme which would, in effect, permanently separate the Northern line into two lines – one from Morden through Stockwell, Kennington and the City to one of Edgware and High Barnet, and the other from Kennington through Charing Cross to the other of Edgware and High Barnet.  That can’t happen soon – it depends on rebuilding Camden Town station to create more capacity for changing trains and is rather opaquely described in the new business plan as “Northern line upgrade – Part 2, completion date 2020”.  If it ever happens, we would of course lose the direct connection to the Charing Cross branch from Stockwell and Oval, so it may not obviously look like a service improvement – but apparently not having to slot trains from the different branches behind each other on the same lines would allow overall train frequency to be increased by 20%.

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