Following consultation with residents the Shaftesbury Park Estate will be getting a 20mph zone, one of the borough’s first.

Reducing speed limits has been a frequent request in all my time as a councillor. The problem was that it just couldn’t be enforced – the police have other priorities and traditional speed bumps have severe problems, they are noisy as cars go over, they frequently damage vehicles and would be very unsightly in a conservation area. However, the trial treatments that have been installed at various points on Sabine Road and Elsley Road seem to have addressed those problems.

Overall 87% of residents were in favour of a 20mph zone and between 67% and 75% in favour installing new raised platforms at the various junctions that don’t already have them.

The council is due to be starting work on 1 February. TfL will be responsible for the works at the junctions with Latchmere Road and are planning on performing the work during February.

I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions about this blog but perhaps I should have made one to avoid posting about any councillor’s favourite topic: dog fouling.

Up and down the country it’s one of those issues that has become a cliche in for local government. But it’s become a cliche because it is a real problem in some areas. Personally the problem has taken on a whole new dimension now I occasionally push a pram and have to navigate four wheels and two feet through the Shaftesbury Park Estate.

And the problem hasn’t really gone away on the Shaftesbury Park Estate (or elsewhere, I imagine). In the area immediately around my house it seems dog owners have become a little more considerate, but only to the extent of dragging their dog to a tree base or gutter.

But while most people find that a bit distasteful it was perfectly legal. Indeed, I remember the old signs that – rather than telling people to clear up – merely advised people to “kerb” their dog.

But all that should be coming to an end. The council’s Dog Control Orders come into force this month, and will make it an offence not to clean up after your dog.

The Orders have been a long time coming, in part because of some mis-reporting in the Evening Standard that suggested we were going to try and ban dogs from all our parks (instead we are banning them from sections, like children’s play areas or sports facilities) but now they are finally here we can, hopefully, start dealing with irresponsible dog owners who don’t clean up after their dogs.

If you have any information, or are concerned about a particular area, you can contact the council’s dog control team on 020 8871 7606 (or see or contact me and I’ll be happy to pass the information on.

The Shaftesbury Safer Neighbourhood Team are holding a drop-in clinic tomorrow (Friday 27 November), between 12 noon and 4pm in the old Peabody Offices on Eversleigh Road.

They will be there to discuss any policing, crime or anti-social behaviour issues you may have. If you can’t get along their contact details are available on the Met’s website and they hold regular public meetings (again listed on the Met website, the next is 5 January at Battersea Arts Centre).

Shaftesbury Park EstateFollowing on from the introduction of the local safety scheme on the Shaftesbury Park Estate the council is now looking at introducing a 20mph speed limit on the estate’s roads.

20mph zones are tricky, largely because they need to be enforced and are not (I would say quite rightly) a priority for the police at the moment. This means they only work where the average speed of the traffic has already been significantly reduced – and this is where the safety scheme has played a part.

Personally I think the current scheme has been incredibly successful. The raised beds are attractive and in keeping with the conservation area and, living close to one, don’t seem to create the noise problems so often associated with traffic calming – and the evidence shows they have slowed traffic, speeds on Elsley and Sabine Roads have been reduced by 6mph on average.

The 20mph zone will require some more roadworks – Grayshott and Tyneham Road will be getting the new raised beds (like those elsewhere in the area) at their junctions with Eversleigh and Ashbury Roads. Additionally there would be raised entries to the estate at the junctions of Heathwall Street and Sabine Road with Latchmere Road, and raised entries to Wickersley and Wycliffe Roads. Together these also have the benefit of providing traffic calming in the roads serving local schools.

The proposals are due to be considered at next week’s Planning and Tranportation Committee. You can get all the details from the (rather dry) committee report on the council’s website.

The council’s consultation on dog control orders ends tomorrow, so the news that two other councils, Lambeth and Southwark, are seeking to emulate the Wandsworth approach to dog-chipping is timely.

The dog control order consultation was extended following some rather misleading coverage in the press –  I know of at least one campaign that was started under the misunderstanding dogs were going to be banned from Battersea Park (in fact they are just banned from children’s play areas and the sports facilities, places they wouldn’t be walked anyway).  I have stated before that while I instinctively dislike additional regulation, the actions of a minority of irresponsible dog owners have made it necessary.

A few months ago I wrote about dog fouling on the Shaftesbury Park Estate.  The council’s dog control unit patrolled the area – in and out of uniform – but unfortunately achieved little, certainly if judged by the pavements near my house this morning.  While they did speak with some dog owners, none were caught doing anything we can take action over because, bizarrely, allowing your dog to foul the gutter or around a tree base is absolutely fine.  There is no need to pick up afterwards.

Likewise (and many are surprised to hear this) they have no powers to instruct dog owners to put their dogs on a leash on the public highway.  I know many, especially those with young children, feel uneasy when they see dogs of all breeds, on the streets and not under the direct and immediate control of their owner.

The council’s proposals are, I think, a reasonable and proportionate response to the fears and issues around irresponsible dog-ownership.  If you agree, I’d encourage you to go to respond to the council’s consultation, you can find out more at the council’s dog control consultation page.

One of the joys (there are some) of political campaigning is that so much of it is done in foot, meaning you get to see the varied and ever- changing architecture of a City.
I have always liked the fact that the modern and old nestle next to each other and that little symbols – like the picture – of the architectural, social and political history of an area are there to be found.

Posted via email from jamescousins’s posterous. Want to know what this is? Then click here.

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.

sb-park-estate-1873Just a reminder for local residents that work will be beginning on Monday next week on the Shaftesbury Park Estate’s local safety scheme.

The council consulted on the scheme last year, and the response was overwhelmingly in favour – the least popular option had 77% support!

The works will involve raising the junctions of some of the main roads on the estate to slow traffic in general, and make those specific junctions much safer. It will take a few weeks until they are all finished and diversions will be in place, so you might want to give yourself a couple of minutes on your journeys until they are done.

For information, the five junctions to be raised (with the level of support for each) are:

  1. Sabine Road / Eland Road (80%)
  2. Sabine Road / Grayshott Road (80%)
  3. Sabine Road / Tyneham Road (78%)
  4. Elsley Road / Eland Road (77%)
  5. Elsley Road / Grayshott Road (77%)

The council is currently reviewing all the borough’s conservation areas and it’s now the turn of the Shaftesbury Park Estate Conservation Area which covers a large part of Shaftesbury ward.

I should declare an interest because I live on the Shaftesbury Park Estate, and what attracted me was the unique nature of the area – which is largely due to the conservation area.

If you live on the estate it’s well worth contributing your views to how the estate should develop in the future.  There’s a public meeting scheduled for Thursday 11 December (which I unfortunately can’t attend) at 7pm in Shaftesbury Park School or you can email your comments to Justine Page (

My personal bug bear are satellite dishes on the fronts of houses (rather than above the gutters or on the chimneys where they are much less obtrusive) which seem totally out of place on the front of Victorian terraces – although again I must declare an interest because I do have dish, even if it’s largely out of sight on the roof.

There’s more on the council’s website, which has a section dedicated to the conservation areas, and is well worth a read if only for the interesting history and background to the areas.