Albert Square pathway

Albert Square pathwayFor some time, the pathway outside of the railings around the Albert Square garden has been in a very inadequate state of repair.  The draft Conservation Area report identified this as an area that let our neighbourhood down.  One of the issues has been ownership of, and responsibility for, the pathway. We have now learned that the Albert Square Gardens Trust says that it does not own the path and has no claim to it, and that Lambeth Highways department agrees that it is a public footway.

If Lambeth Highways makes the decision that the pathway should be maintainable at public expense, it will repair and maintain it at their expense. If this is the case, then it will be budgeted for in this financial year (2008-09) and implemented next year (2009-10).

The surface of the path would be up for decision. It could be Clearmac, pavement slabs or York stone. While just about anything would be better than the current surface, the ASSA committee meeting resolved to push for york stone – on the grounds that this would be in keeping with the conservation area, would be far longer lasting and would look far more appropriate than other surfaces. Unfortunately it is also more costly on first outlay – although it would last far longer than other surfaces. Since it is more expensive it will be an uphill task to get this over other modern, cheaper surfaces.

This will be the first time in at least 40 years the path will have got any substantial maintenance.  Once done it is unlikely to be improved again for decades, rather than years, so this is a critical short window of opportunity to get it right.

It is clear that one of the factors which will influence the Council is the weight of local opinion – but views need to expressed quickly if they are to be in time to influence the decision.  So if you would like to see a thorough job done, write now to

Jo O’Meara
Customer Services Officer
Transport & Highways
London Borough of Lambeth
Lambeth Regeneration Housing and Environment Floor 3 Blue Star House
234-244 Stockwell Road, London SW9 9SP
Tel: 0207 926 0305
Fax: 0207 926 2357

(if you click the link to send an email, it will automatically be copied to Rosemary Ellis, who is taking the lead on this for ASSA)


  1. We have had very very few replies.

    However they remain VERY VERY small in number.

    If anyone thinks that they are affected by the path and have not yet commented then please consider doing so.

    Apathy is likely to get us not very far. Yet there are a large number of cars that park up next to the footway and are affected by the mud or dogs muck.

    Do not assume that any surface is yet a given. Residents and public have slithered around on the footway for about 45 years and can therefore probably carry on for some time to come.

    We need to explain to Lambeth why this area should be maintained NOW when Lambeth have not done so for 4 decades?

    I would suggest that if you have a view on any of this you voice it to Highways department and local councillors too.


    Lambeth Highways have decided that the footway is both a public Highway AND also a public highway that should be maintained at public expense.

    This is a MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH and took a lot of effort from local residents.

    It seems that the Lambeth Highways department then had to get clearance from Council members for the York stone that many people locally have indicated they would like.

    Sadly Councillors have NOT agreed to change the Draft Design Guide to allow Yorkstone to be used in planned maintenance in areas of high townscape value.

    This means that currently we do not have the choice of yorkstone but it seems now either
    a) paving slabs or
    b) a good but very municipal looking resin / gravel bonded material – I have samples should anyone like to see.

    The choice is about what people want. No major lobby has yet been made to the councillors and perhaps that has been a MAJOR oversight?

    With £ budget squeezes we have to consider the fact that there might not be so much money around in the immediate future but at the same time tax payers have not had the benefit of a walkable/ decent path for the last 45 years- when it should have been maintained and walkable etc etc.
    On the last argument the cost of Lambeth not having to pay for the area would certainly afford the yorkstone which is used to great effect in conservation zones in other parts of London.
    Clear Mac will last about 15 years. Yorkstone about 150 years.
    Thoughts IDeas??

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