The results of the council’s consultation on traffic control in the Stormont Road area (which in reality is most of the roads between Clapham Common and Lavender Hill) were considered by the council’s transport committee last night.

They were, frankly, more an exercise in showing how consultation often doesn’t help anyone come to a conclusion! Of the 2,700+ consultation forms sent out only 457 were returned (around 1 in 6). And the opinion was not terribly conclusive.

One of the ideas was to ban right turns from Clapham Common Northside into the roads in the area. The purpose behind this is to prevent rat-running from people who want to head north but avoid the one way loop around part of Clapham Common that keeps them on roads better suited for higher traffic volumes. For this, 46% of respondents liked the idea… and 46% of people didn’t like the idea!

The other suggestion was to reverse the one-way flow of Lavender Gardens. While this wasn’t as evenly balanced, it was hardly a conclusive result, 33% opposed it, 23% supported it and 45% expressed no opinion (to be fair the result in Lavender Gardens itself was much more conclusive, with 68% against and 32% in support).

On the basis of the results the council will be progressing the introduction of 24 hour no right turns from Clapham Common Northside into the roads, but looking at alternative means of controlling the traffic in Lavender Gardens.

It is proof that the council does listen to consultations. But also evidence that it’s sometimes very hard to hear what they are saying – the voice of Lavender Gardens was clear, but the result on the right turns couldn’t have been closer, and guarantees that whatever the council does it would make half the people unhappy!

A cynic, however, might suggest that the clearest result of all is that 5 out of 6 people don’t care enough to spend a few minutes completing and sending off a pre-paid form.

The full paper and detailed results along with three appendices can be found on the council’s website.

Phone masts really should be bread and butter stuff for councillors. They are rarely popular and often provoke high emotions from residents.

Unfortunately I’ve painted myself in a corner; having consistently complained (if you follow me on Twitter it’s a regular topic) about the dire O2 coverage in SW11 over the past year or so, it’s hard for me to argue we don’t need more masts.

Equally, if I’m honest the rationalist in me finds it hard to argue against them. I’ve never seen a conclusive study linking them to health risks. And while I’ve seen unscientific studies suggesting a correlation (which is not a cause), I’ve seen just as many suggesting any correlation is psychosommatic and could be produced by just telling people there’s a live mast nearby.

Having said all that, would I want one on my house? There I think irrational emotion would win over rational knowledge.

So it’s with that dichotomy I end up posting for information the proposals for a new Vodafone and O2 mast on the Devas Club in Stormont Road. While it seems to me to be sufficiently far from residential properties to be of concern I recognise those living near to it might not agree.

The proposal is currently at pre-consultation and site notices should be going up so residents know where to send their comments before the operators make their formal application in a couple of weeks.

It’s worth noting that the council is very limited on what it can do about masts. Often it does not even need to be told about an installation, and when it is, can only refuse on planning grounds; in this case Devas is, in my opinion, a fairly ugly building and it’s hard to argue an aerial will detract from the visual amenity. One thing the council cannot consider are health fears.

The new Waitrose store on St John's Road

The Devas Club (on Stormont Road) is one of the charities of the month in the ‘Community Matters’ at Waitrose in Clapham Junction this month.

The scheme, basically, means that the selected local charities are guaranteed a share of £1,000.  The precise share is determined by the proportion of green tokens placed by shoppers in each of the charities collection boxes by the exit. The more green tokens, the bigger the share the charity gets.

Devas does some excellent work in the local area, despite occupying a building that shows each of its 40 years of use and I think it’s well worth giving your support.

If you are shopping in Waitrose this month, please consider putting your green token in their slot on your way out of the store.

I’m posting weekly reports as an experiment to see how well received they are. You can read some of my thoughts about it in a blog-post I wrote before commencing the reports. My main concern is that these reports will, by necessity, have to omit so much routine council work they are not a good representation of my work.

Picking up from last week’s report, after posting I headed down to Tooting for the town centre police team launch publicity. While there I also took the opportunity to catch up with the Town Centre Manager and Town Centre Partnership Chairman.

Neighbourhood Watch
Saturday didn’t provide a break. The morning saw the Neighbourhood Watch Conference. Rather shamefully I have not posted about it. It was an incredibly successful event, organised by the council’s Community Safety team for Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators. The session saw presentations on subjects ranging from art and antiques to dog control and bio-diversity. The conference was attended by representatives from the National Neighbourhood Watch Trust, and it was pleasing that they commented it was one of the best events they’d attended.

Devas Club
On Tuesday I visited, along with Peter Dawson in his capacity as chairman of the Children and Young People’s Service OSC, the Devas Club in Stormont Road. The visit took us from their commercial standard (and hit making, some number ones have been recorded there) music studios in the basement to the sub-standard basket-ball court on the roof (which has a spectacular view that my camera phone just couldn’t do justice).

The club does some great work in engaging youngsters in a building designed for a 1960s, rather than 21st century, youth club. And that shows. First, not all the facilities are what they should be for the users. Second, it means it causes problems for neighbours and coincidentally I’m also dealing with noise complaints from the club.

Wandsworth Business Forum
Last night was the Wandsworth Business Forum in Balham. I posted about it earlier today, so rather than write about it again, will refer you to that post.

Shaftesbury Park School
Finally, this morning, I went into Shaftesbury Park, the school I serve as a governor. For the second time to meet Peter Dawson, who was making an official visit along with David Walden. We spent time looking around the school and chatting about some of the challenges it face and successes it has had.