If you visit St George’s Hospital via the pedestrian entrance on Effort Street, SW17, you’ll have noticed that it’s been given a substantial facelift. What you probably didn’t realise is that it was done in conjunction with the council’s Community Safety Division.
I popped down there this morning, along with Steve Jiggins, who helped design the scheme, to have a look and chat with some of the St George’s staff involved. The first thing anyone would notice is that the approach to the hospital is so much nicer, it’s a real visual improvement. But Steve Jiggins work was not just a matter of making it look nicer.
The previous entrance had been a blank brick wall, with a couple of door-ways and, on the St George’s side large trees. Aside from the fact that a blank wall is never that attractive, it meant that there was very limited visibility between the hospital and the street. You would move from one side to the other without knowing what was there. This was particularly dangerous if you were entering St George’s because it was straight onto an internal road, but it created a real fear of crime.
Add to this the lack of step-free access on this pedestrian route and it really didn’t create the welcome to the hospital St George’s are hoping to create with their new main entrance.
And this is where Steve Jiggins came in. He helped design an entrance that was not only more pleasant, but a lot safer. The use of railings means that you can see what is on the other side; so can the hospital’s CCTV. It has included step-free access and there gateways no longer lead straight onto the hospital’s internal road. Most importantly, by opening up the views and visibility it feels more welcoming and safer, thus reducing the fear of crime.
When people think of Community Safety they often think of the police and little else. In fact the Community Safety Division do huge amounts of work, just like this, with private individuals and businesses, across the borough to make Wandsworth safer, and more pleasant, for everyone.
You can find out more about their at the Wandsworth Community Safety website.