Following on from my last post about the no right turns from Clapham Common Northside, the consultation letter and form should now have been delivered to houses to the south of Lavender Hill.

The consultation runs until 16 March 2012. If you didn’t receive your consultation letter, or missed it, you can download the letter and form.

As the original consultation was so close it is important if you have strong views on the traffic controls you let the council know.

Because many council meetings have been cancelled due to the mayoral elections, it may be some months before the results are considered. However, if I hear anything I will obviously post it here.

I sometimes wonder if introducing the no-right turns on Clapham Common Northside is the worse thing the council has ever done.

That was a rhetorical statement, I’m fully aware there are plenty of decisions made by the council that some find very controversial. However, since its introduction the no-right turn has been a consistent source of complaint to me and my ward colleagues.

The no-right turns were introduced following a long running campaign by some residents in the roads between Lavender Hill and Clapham Common Northside. However, perhaps the first sign that it would not be popular was the consultation before the introduction: the returns were almost evenly split between those who supported a no-right turn ban and those opposed.

In other words, whatever we did, we’d annoy as many people as we’d please.

The scheme was introduced for a trial period because the result was so close. The trial period is coming to a close and over the next few days people in the area should be receiving another consultation form to give their opinion.

If my correspondence for the past few months is anything to go by I suspect there will be a more conclusive result. Only a few have voiced support for the scheme, most complaining about significant increases to their journey, extra traffic on the roads without controls and businesses on Lavender Hill who feel they have lost out on passing trade.

But then people rarely rally in support of a status quo unless it is under threat, so maybe there will be another close result.

The consultation letters and forms should be distributed to several thousand homes and businesses in the coming days. Keep an eye out for them if you want to have your say.

Transport for London have finally started working on the entry treatments to the Shaftesbury Park Estate that will make it a 20mph zone.

Local residents will know that equipment and stock from the works they did to the entries to Amies Street have sat on Sabine Road for some time. And Wandsworth Council have been placing 20mph signs up around the estate in preparation.

However, yesterday they closed Sabine Road at the junction with Latchmere Road and began work. Along with the cushions already in place within the Shaftesbury Park Estate area it is designed to improve safety and reduce speeding along the long straight roads of the estate.

I’ve posted about this a few times before, but investigated a little further when asked by a resident recently if it was still happening. They had not seen any of the works they expected taking place.

I was also a little confused when Transport for London (TfL) started working on the other side of Latchmere Road. Part of me did wonder if they had made a mistake!

However, it is all going ahead as planned. If you wander down to Tyneham Road the preparatory work on the some of the junctions there has already taken place, with the junctions further in the estate next in line. In fact, the whole programme is going more or less to schedule, although the start was delayed slightly by the adverse weather.

The TfL works are down to them having decided to implement a cycling scheme. This will see the two junctions of Amies Street and Latchmere Road along with the junctions with the Poyntz Road triangle at Knowsley Road and Shellwood Road get entry treatments. The Heathwall Street and Sabine Road treatments will be completed as part of this work (and in the same style as the road cushions inside the estate).

Incidentally, while trying to find out about this I came across TfL’s roadworks map. It’s not the most accurate, it’s showing the us as the ‘owner’ of some works that are theirs and lists one of the schemes as cancelled, which it certainly hasn’t been. However, it’s a potentially useful resource – or just interesting if you are geeky like me.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.