For 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
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)