Local heroes

I’d like to nominate some local heroes and would love to hear your choices  – email me them: jdavies4@lambeth.gov.uk

Firstly Hill’s Pharmacy who like all our local chemists is doing a vital job to keep us healthy. But Kar Man has four staff off with the virus and yet is still keeping a vital service going.

Screenshot 2020-04-04 at 19.16.36

Secondly the Garden Museum who are trying to bring a little happiness to their neighbours…

Cut Flowers from the Garden Musuem for Whitgift Estate Residents who are housebound

And thirdly, in what I hope will be a long list of similar examples our corner shops who have been looking after their ‘regulars’ and often struggling with staff shortages and the risk to their own health in small spaces – this is just one example (my local!)

Screenshot 2020-04-04 at 19.23.19

Tell us about your local heroes or acts of kindness.

Cllrs Amos, Davies and Simpson



Life goes on in difficult times


Thank you Windmill Fish and Chips for staying open though it doesn’t look the same without the taxi drivers chomping through their meals.

What is Lambeth Council doing?

As a local council we have been doing our best to encourage and support local volunteer initiatives and keep as much ‘business as usual’ going.  This website lists everything in detail and is constantly being updated:


My ‘postbag’ this week has shown an extraordinary breadth of human reaction to the pandemic; at one end an elderly constituent offering herself for medical research ‘whatever the consequences’. At the other end people sitting on their balconies smoking  and refusing to move to allow people past despite all the ‘2 metre’ messages. They obviously don’t know that they may be more vulnerable as smokers and it could be in their own best interests.

If you want to volunteer please go to:  www.lambeth.gov.uk/forms/volunteer-to-help-your-community to take part in this enormous community effort or local Mutual Aid groups here via Facebook

A few local thanks (too many to mention all):

  • The shops that are plugging on despite the risk to staff. Hills Pharmacy, for instance, has had to dramatically reduce its service as four of the staff have shown symptoms. All the best Kar Man and colleagues.
  • The Princes Ward Mutual Aid group – offering support to vulnerable neighbours that grew so quickly it has subdivided many times to cover individual estates and streets.
  • The refuse and street cleaning service who are doing a great job and helping keep us all healthy. It seems like a lot of us are Spring Cleaning and that is adding to the pressure.
  • The postmen and women who despite the personal risks are out there delivering what I heard are a record number of items.
  • Local community groups, faith groups, Tenant’s and Resident’s Associations who have turned their attention to supporting our their neighbours.
  • My neighbours who carried some heavy stuff for me (at a two metre distance).
  • Plus of course all  those in the NHS including my colleague David Amos who, given the hours he is doing, is in danger of forgetting where he lives. His newsletter will continue though.

For up-to-date information on all aspects of what the council and government are doing go to:


Cllr Jon Davies  on behalf of Cllrs Simpson and Amos

Stay at Home

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash Hands as soon as you get home






The shape of things to come

I visited the public consultation this afternoon for the commercial and housing development on Montford Place (open again on Saturday from 10-2 in the Foundry Building next door to Lilian Baylis Academy off Kennington Lane).

There have been some changes to the first plans show in November so worth popping along.  What did strike me was this excellent model which shows just how much new building there will be in the immediate area, even without the proposed demolition of the Applegreen petrol station for three blocks of flats. I thought I’d share.


The Montford Place development has the lights in the foreground.

Cllr. Jon Davies

Ciara claims tree in Kennington

The heavy winds claimed one tree in Kennington Last night in Ravensdon Street. Thanks to local people for reporting it but big praise to the crew who had it removed early in the morning. I expect they have a busy day ahead.

And thanks to Niron Noel for the ‘before’ photos.IMG_0317-3IMG_0315

And after:


Now to plant a new one…

Cllr. Jon Davies

London’s most consistent transport service.

There is only one public transport service in London that works 24/7/365 and that is the Santander Cycle hire service, more popularly known as the Boris Bikes. They are very proud of this and during my visit they were keen to point out that Christmas Day is one of the busy days of the year for them!

As a councillor I get a lot of questions about the Santander bikes – Why are the racks full/empty? What to do if you find a lost one? Are they better than the new e-bikes you see scattered around? More than answering those questions, being a bike nerd,  I was keen to see how the system works, who repairs them, how long do they last, how much do they cost etc.


Some basic facts:

  • There are 21,000 docking points
  • 800 Docking Stations.
  • 12,300 bikes.
  • The area covered is 100 km2.
  • The scheme has been going 10 years.
  • It is supported annually with £6.5m from Santander Bank.
  • The customer helpline runs every day of the year.
  • Each bike costs about £1000
  • The tyres are inflated with nitrogen to make them harder and more puncture resistant.
  • The bikes will start having GPS in the new year for better tracking.
  • A docking station costs 10’s of thousands of pounds.
  • Daily journeys vary from daily peaks in the summer of around 45,000 to winter use as low as 10 – 15000.
  • In ten years there have been two deaths on them.

The issues:

  • Balancing the supply and demand with stations being too full or empty.
  • Keeping the bikes in good condition.
  • Whether they will turn into e-bikes one day. 25 are being tested.
  • Originally they were not expecting big use by commuters but stations like Waterloo are the hot spots for cycle hire where they have 110 docking stations and a small depot with reserve supplies that they use to fill up the stations during the day.
  • Disappearing bikes – see my photos below.
  • How to expand the scheme
  • Finding local support for the docking stations (Windmill Row was abandoned in our area through local opposition).

I learnt a lot with my visit to their Islington depot and control centre. There is also one in Clapham. This is the control room that orders the 35 or so lorries around and attends to any emergencies.


Here are the workshops where £1m of spare parts are used annually by these highly trained mechanics.

The original bikes (blue mudguards) came from Canada, the new ones (stronger grey mudguards) are from UK manufacturer Pashley.


Some people choose their own colour schemes:

IMG_0393And a few of the old Boris Bikes still turn up from time to time:


Some have accidents and need repairs and some go for a a swim in the canals:


As much as possible is recycled.


Thanks to David Eddington (TFL) and David Schofield (SERCO) for showing me round

Cllr Jon Davies

A hidden part of Kennington

Berkeley Homes, who are developing the Tesco and Gasholder site, invited local people to see behind the scenes around the gasholders.

I thought I’d share a few photos. Variously some Victorian detail from the gasholder manufacturers, views of the empty gasholders, some signs left over from when it was functioning depot and the kit that measures noise, pollution and vibrations.


Cllr Jon Davies

The road to hell


On Tuesday, on the casting vote of the Chair Lambeth’s planning committee approved the development of the land at 8 Albert Embankment and behind it. This was in the face of much local resistance with the support of we three local councillors in Princes Ward and Florence Eshalomi our Assembly Member and Labour PPC in the forthcoming General Election.

This is what I said on the night:

 The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  None of the parties to this development have bad intentions

  • U and I have developed good quality schemes that I have seen.
  • The Fire Brigade is seeking to maximise its revenues to repair its aging estate, continue its service locally and create a new museum .
  • Lambeth Council and the Mayor’s office are seeking to regenerate an area that has been derelict for years, create new jobs, and bring ‘affordable’ housing to the site.

But is seems to me that each of the parties ambitions have led to a scheme that is out of scale for the site and will create a ‘hell’ for many local people, businesses and institutions.

I have written in detail to Planning Committee but in headlines

  • Whitgift House and the park will lose significant amounts of their daylight.
  • The listed headquarters of the fire station will be vandalised with accretions on top, a sort of see through top hat, and a great growth on the back that will obscure the historic views of an operational fire station that at its inception was the an example to the whole world.
  • There are also persuasive arguments that the sort of jobs we would expect from one of our rare KIBA areas will not be forthcoming.
  • And finally I believe that this over-development will lead to traffic management issues that will clog up Black Prince Road, Lambeth High Street and Newport Street and damage the environment.

I am sad that during the process of creating this scheme there were no wiser heads to argue for a smaller development that, though it might not have brought the funds the fire brigade anticipate or the profits U and I hope for, would have better suited the area.

It is also sad that tonight this scheme has pitted local people against the firefighters who serve them.

PAC’s unenviable role this evening is to bring common sense to this proposal and reject it in the hope of a more modest scheme being re-presented in the future.

This is just one of many local developments proposed, agreed or in the pipeline and I do wonder how much development such a small area can take and where we draw the line.

Cllr. Jon Davies.

Holes in the ground

Ok so this is a bit geeky but has an effect on anyone living near a big building site. Anything more than a few storeys is likely to need deep foundations. Traditionally there used to be pile drivers that made a lot of noise driving concrete foundation poles into the ground. When I heard that the first part of the Gasholder/Tesco development on Kennington Lane needed 600 I was a bit alarmed by the prospect of noise and vibration. Happily I can report that the modern way of doing this is by using giant corkscrews that go into the ground and then have concrete poured down their centres as they withdraw from the hole.

Here is a link to a video about it and some pictures from the Tesco site.

Cllr. Jon Davies.