The council’s licensing department has received an application from UKAI, the sushi restaurant at 39, Lavender Hill.

The application is to sell alcohol for consumption on and off the premises between 12 noon and 11pm Monday – Saturday and between 12 noon and 10pm on Sunday.

If you have any representation to make the last date is 29 May 2009, it’s worth remembering that legally representations can only be considered by the licensing committee if they relate to the four licensing objectives:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder
  • The prevention of public nuisance
  • Public safety
  • The protection of children from harm

The council’s licensing pages provide more information on licensing in Wandsworth.

I should point out that I’ve posted this purely for information as it is an application for a premises in my ward not because  I think the application is any cause for concern or likely to be a problem.  I intend to publish details of any applications received, although applications are fairly infrequent.

The council’s Community Safety Division, in partnership with the police Safer Neighbourhood Team, are running their crime prevention roadshow at Asda Clapham Junction tomorrow (Saturday 18th).

Staff from Community Safety and the police will both be on hand to offer assistance or advice on all matters relating to crime prevention.  There’s usually free balloons for children too, and often a councillor unable to resist playing with the helium!

No appointment is necessary, so just pop along to the main entrance to Asda between 11am and 3pm.

One benefit of the incredibly disruptive waterworks on Eccles Road has been the closure of the road to traffic and some residents are keen that the closure becomes permanent.  As I mentioned in my previous post on this doing something as seemingly simple as closing a road to through traffic is actually incredibly difficult.

First, we would not be able to consider Eccles Road in isolation.  While we can stop people using Eccles Road we can’t stop them wanted to get from A to B, and that means they will need to use another road.  In all likelihood the closure of Eccles Road would have a major impact on Altenburg Gardens and Lavender Gardens.  But we’d also need to consider roads further afield.

And this raises the second point.  There are a number of Transport for London (TfL) red routes nearby.  The closest is Battersea Rise, which has a junction with Eccles Road.  But there is also Elspeth Road which would be affected and depending on how access to Lavender Sweep changed TfL may also need be involved because some traffic would be diverted onto St John’s Road.  Either way we would therefore have to engage in a lengthy consultation TfL before we could make any changes.

Third, and finally, at the last survey Eccles Road did not meet the criteria to be a priority for traffic management.  The survey is a few years old (it took place in 2005) but showed in the morning peak 100-150 vehicles per hour were using Eccles Road and in the evening this rose 250-300 vehicles per hour.  The average speed was 16.2mph.  This might seem high, but the council looks for more than 300 vehicles per hour and a speed of over 31mph to make a road a priority for consideration.  It doesn’t mean Eccles Road won’t be considered, but does mean it isn’t one of the worst roads that the council has to manage.

In short, this means a disappointing ‘no’ to residents who were hoping that once Thames Water left the street, cars would not return.  However, the council have agreed to undertake another survey (which would be needed in any case) to see if there has been any change once Thames Water have left.  Once the results of this have been compiled the road can be reassessed.

19-lavender-hillOne of the ugliest buildings in Shaftesbury ward has to be 19 Lavender Hill. I can’t remember seeing the building in use in all the time I’ve lived here. Indeed, thinking about all the changes Lavender Hill has seen the dilapidated building on the corner of Garfield Road and Lavender Hill is one of the few constants.

But hopefully that will soon come to an end.  I, along with council colleagues, have been pushing for action to be taken for some time and the building will soon have new owners who will, hopefully, rid it of pigeons and restore it to use.

The original owners had been under the threat of a compulsory purchase order for some time, and had delayed by making some moves at restoration.  However, when it became clear that no long term change was going to come the council used it’s compulsory purchase powers.  That the council made a Compulsory Purchase Order shows how bad the building had got, since there is a policy preference to working with landlords and freeholder to bring a building back into use rather than forcing a sale.

The building is now owned by the council, and will soon be put back into the market with conditions the building is renovated and re-occupied in a reasonable time.  Quite what impact this has on the local pigeon population remains to be seen, but for humans it should see an improvement in the street scene of that bit of Lavender Hill.

Eccles Road Thames Water worksI went along to the Thames Water “drop-in” for Eccles Road residents affected by the extensive sewer works last night.  It was certainly a useful session to find out more about the project, if not useful in getting any commitment to compensation for residents affected by the disturbance. However, it was good to see Thames Water taking the initiative as I think they would agree their communication with residents hasn’t been great throughout the process.

The works are needed to provide extra sewer capacity for the area and Thames Water hope to have them finished by the end of next month.  So the good news for residents is that the disturbance will soon be over, however, I know many feel that might just be the start of their problems.

Repairs to damage

Thames have undertaken to independently survey any house where the resident feels damage has been caused by the Thames works, and, where damage is found Thames will cover the cost of repairs.  Thames Water had surveyed several houses in the street before the work started so have some benchmarks to give an idea of what will have happened as a result of the vibration associated with the digging and tunnelling.

They also have to repair the road and pavements they have damaged to the satisfaction of the council.  Clearly Wandsworth is not going to want to pick up the tab for damage caused by a utility company, so will be checking to make sure the road is left in a good state.


On the issue of compensation, however, they were resolute that none would be offered.  Their argument was that it was difficult to put a value on the disruption, to scale it appropriately and totally unaffordable when it would have to be paid to anyone affected by their works across the region – essentially it raised so many problems it was better not to bother.  While I can understand their stance, it is very disappointing for residents with young children who have had to tolerate generators outside their home for months on end.

I’ve asked for more details on their repair scheme, and will post them when it comes, and will continue to pressure for some compensation for badly affected residents, though I fear Thames Water will not shift their position.

Thames Water are holding their drop-in sessions every Tuesday until the project is completed.  You can pop along anytime between 6pm and 9pm at 91 Eccles Road.  Alternatively they have information on their website at or by calling 08459 200 800 (of course, nothing could be that straightforward, you have to choose option 1, then option 5 then give your address and reference BB 78393).

Can Eccles Road remain closed?

The next question for many residents will be whether the road can remain closed to traffic.  I have already raised this issue with the council department responsible.  In the very short term, the answer is almost certainly no.  Battersea Rise is a TfL Red Route, so we would not be able to make any changes to the road without a lengthy consultation with TfL.

Even then, we would have to consider the effect any change would have on traffic flows; changing the status of Eccles Road will not change the general patterns of driving, people will still head from A to B and we will need to study the alternative routes they might take and the effect it would have on nearby (and not so nearby) roads – especially as the most obvious alternative routes are also residential streets.  Again, I’ll post more details when they are available along with the council’s formal response to the petition I presented at the last council meeting.

Eccles Road Thames Water worksThames Water, like Jack and Jill, have headed up the hill for their flood alleviation works. I confess I dont understand the logic (doesn’t water run downhill?) since I’m not an engineer, however I do know it’s caused huge disruption for the residents.

On Tuesday I presented a petition to the full council on behalf of over 100 of them, a significant proportion of the road’s residents.   The petitioners raise some of the problems they’ve faced during the works and ask for the council’s support and commitment in getting the problems addressed and residents suitably compensated by Thames Water.

The problems have been fairly horrendous, you can get a feeling for the noise and size of the works from YouTube videos residents have posted here, here and here.  But aside from the noise disruption the works have impacted on parking, restricted the pavements (creating refuse collection problems) and potentially caused damage to the neighbouring properties.

Thames Water haven’t handled this at all well.  While no-one would dispute the need for essential works to take place, the residents who have to suffer during them deserve to be consulted and the impact on them taken into account.  Thames Water have only just started undertaking consultation meetings with residents, even right at the beginning the council was only told the precise location and scale of the works shortly before they commenced.

The petition will be presented, along with the council’s response,  to the Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

It was only a matter of time before I found myself having to write about dog fouling.  It is a fact of councillor life that, eventually, it’s a complaint you receive.  Indeed, over twenty years ago I joked about one of my teachers who was standing for council in the ward I lived in and had published a leaflet in which he promised to stamp out dog poo.  I’m not sure my humour has become any more sophisticated since then.

But that makes light of what is a real quality of life issue and, quite separately, I’ve had two residents in the space of a week complaining about dog fouling on the Shaftesbury Park Estate.  And living there I know how bad it is.

The council does do a lot and will prosecute irresponsible dog owners when we can.  Wandsworth has the country’s largest dog control team and are nationally recognised as experts.  The problem, however, is that people tend to become much more responsible when being watched, so simply having dog wardens on patrol simply shifts the problem to a road with no patrollers.

Because of this we are largely reliant on education.  We will pay advisory visits to dog owners, and spend a lot of time in schools to educate youngsters about the need to clear up after dogs.

So what can you do?  Well, if you are a dog owner, be a responsible dog owner and pick up after your pet.

If you are concerned about dog fouling and have some information let the council know.  Dog control can be contacted on 020 8871 7606, or give me the information and I’ll pass it on.  If you know who is responsible the information will be dealt with in confidence and the unit will pay an advisory visit to the dog owner.  If you are prepared to make a statement we will consider prosecution.  Even if you can just give locations, times and descriptions that will help.

For the Shaftesbury Park Estate I have asked the dog control unit to do an inspection in the area and, if possible, have a word with local dog owners, but this is one of those issues where the real solution is in the hands of those few dog owners residents who don’t clean up after their dogs.

I, and the other Shaftesbury ward councillors, recently wrote to residents whose homes back onto the Elsley School about the security arrangements in place there.

The school was closed following last year’s flooding and re-located to the Nightingale School site.  While this was necessary because of the flooding damage, it also made good educational sense.  The two schools are federated and share management, and both specialise in teaching children with emotional and behavioural disorders.  I served as a governor at Elsley School for several years before they federated and, frankly, the Victorian building was not suitable for a 21st century school.

However this has left a vacant building which has its own needs and neighbours were concerned about security.  We asked the Children’s Services department to look into it.  As a result:

  • the school has had a security audit, and potential access points made more secure
  • surplus equipment and tools have been removed from the site
  • the Children’s Services department are undertaking regular inspections of the site
  • the council’s Parks Police service now include the site in their rota of security visits.

If you live in Elsley Road or Gideon Road and see anything happening on the site that concerns you can call the Parks Police control room on 020 8871 7532.  Of course, if a crime is in progress you should call 999 immediately.

I’ve had notification of a few more trees due for removal in the ward, so if you are near any of these trees, expect to see them disappearing soon.

Ashley Crescent – outside number 7 (prevention of damage to nearby wall)
Dunston Road – garden of 76-86 (tree growing against windows and removal needed to allow works, tree is also wild, rather than planted)

Clapham Junction  Clapham Junction

One Clapham Junction development I am allowed to talk about are the council’s plans to improve the area around the road junction.

Anyone who knows the area will know the junction of Lavender Hill, St John’s Hill, St John’s Road and Falcon Road is something of a mess. Visually, it’s full of clutter, and it just doesn’t work that well as a junction for traffic or pedestrians.

Tonight’s Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee will, hopefully, be passing a report to make a start on improvements.

A decluttered Clapham Junction?
A decluttered Clapham Junction?

The overall scheme, which has been in development since 2007, it too expensive for the council to undertake alone, but elements of it can be done. The suggestion is to look at the ‘traffic management’ since, by improving the way vehicles move through the junction it will improve the quality for all users, including pedestrians – and most importantly improve safety.

Drivers will get a better junction to traverse, and some may be able to avoid it altogether, with a right turn now being allowed onto Falcon Lane (past Asda). Pedestrians will benefit from wider pavements and better crossings. And everyone will benefit from a visual improvement, with a much cleaner and more attractive gateway to one of our busiest town centres.