Woodlands development proposal meeting fills Cinema Museum


On Monday the 8th the Cinema Museum hosted a meeting of Stop the Block a group of local residents unhappy at the scale of building proposed by developers Anthology on the site of former old people’s home Woodlands beside the Cinema Museum.

Neil Sams from Anthology and local councillors answered a range of questions, sometimes of great passion, from the audience regarding the scale of the development and its impact on local residents.

Thanks to Harminder Braich from Stop the Block who held the meeting together with intelligence and Neil Sams for being there.

Cllr Jon Davies,



More cycle parking on Vauxhall Gardens


Pleased to see more secure cycle parking on Vauxhall Gardens Estate. Post-Grenfell the fire brigade have become far less tolerant of cycles chained up outside flats and this, coupled with the steady increase in people using bikes, means the demand for safe and dry cycle parking has increased.

And for extra fun play ‘Spot the Tesco Trolley’. If you find one phone Claire Davies on 0345 677 9387

Cllr. Jon Davies

Children and their play spaces


Play Facilities on Old Lillian Baylis Development – Story in The Guardian and repeated elsewhere

Earlier this week the Guardian published a story about access to play facilities on the Old Lillian Baylis development off Lollard Street, in Kennington (Prince’s ward).  This highlighted that children living in the affordable homes on Wren Mews, managed by the Guinness Trust, were being prevented from playing in the playspace managed by the private housing management, Henley Homes.  Whilst there was some playspace for the affordable housing tenants, this was meagre in size and was not suitable for all age ranges.

The journalist contacted Lambeth Council approximately a month ago.  When alerted about the situation, your ward Councillors wrote to the Chief Executive of Henley Homes, expressing their dismay at the situation and urging them to make available all playspace to all children.  You can read the full text of the Councillors’ letter below.

The Guardian originally reported that the segregation was with the support of the Council, and that the planning department had chosen not to intervene.  The Guardian has later published a correction, reflecting that this is not correct.  The scheme was given planning permission in 2013 with equal access.  Since then the management company changed the access on the rationale that only those children whose family paid the relevant service charge should be able to have access.  The planning permission and conditions attached to the planning decision do not give the Council any powers to force the management company to open up the playspace, and it is a civil matter between the two management agencies.  This too has subsequently been acknowledged by the Guardian and the article corrected accordingly.

The Guardian also incorrectly reported that Lambeth Council gave planning consent for Henley Homes to remove a gate to the playspace and replace it with a non-permeable hedge, to prevent access to children from the affordable housing blocks.  Again, the Guardian has since corrected and updated their reporting to reflect that this incorrect.  The applicant applied to the Council to replace the gate and the application was refused.  The works have been undertaken without planning permission and the Council’s enforcement team is looking into this.  We as Councillors will be seeking updates.

It is also important to point out that since 2016, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has granted councils new powers to secure the long-term maintenance of and access to shared spaces via a legal agreement.  This is now something that the Council rigidly enforces, but these powers cannot be applied retrospectively.

Whilst as councillors we are disappointed by the many inaccuracies originally reported by the Guardian, we are grateful to the paper for bringing so much publicity to this issue.  Segregation of playspaces based on housing tenure is utterly wrong.   Following a lot of public pressure, Henley Homes has written to us to confirm that they have no issue with children from Wren Mews accessing the playspace and will “be leading the way forward” by working with the Guinness Trust “to ensure an amicable solution can be found”.  Whilst this is a step in the right direction, we are keen for concrete action and will continue to lobby Henley Homes to make this evident.  To read the most recent article from the Guardian, click here.

The councillors’ letter to Henley Homes in February is below:

“Dear Tariq,

I am writing on behalf of the three Prince’s Councillors to let you know that we have received a number of emails from residents living in the social housing element of the mixed-tenure Old Lilian Baylis site, Lollard Street, Kennington, SE11, which is within our ward.

I am concerned to hear that despite assurances given at planning application stage by the applicant that all play spaces would be available for all children to use, in reality, play spaces with the Henley Homes managed sections are not available for children whose families live in the units managed by the Guinness Trust. Developing a sense of community was a key argument made at planning stage, and it was specifically purported that making play space available to all was one way of achieving this. So I am deeply concerned to hear that this is not the case, and that social exclusion of children is being deliberately engineered, on account of their housing tenure.

Residents have asked me to seek a solution via Lambeth planning department. However, this is a civil matter regarding the management agency and it is only within your gift to ensure that all play spaces are available for all children to use.

Please can you look into this as a matter of urgency and come back to me a response, hopefully outlining how this will be rectified to ensure that children living in the development no longer feel marginalised on account of their housing tenure. Lambeth is a richly diverse and vibrant community, and I hope you agree that exclusion and marginalisation has no place in our Borough.

Best wishes,

Councillor Joanne Simpson
Labour Councillor for Prince’s ward

Signal timings at Kennington Cross

This may interest you – just in from Claire at Transport For London:

“The signal timings at Kennington Cross junction operate using London’s SCOOT system. This technology optimises signal timings according to live on-street demand. Therefore the green timings below are an average of the junction operation. Following the concerns raised regarding blocking of crossing points, this junction has been included in the timing review programme for 2019/20. Therefore signal timings are likely to change in the coming months with the aim to address this issue. I hope this is helpful and do feel free to come back to me if I can be of any further help.”

Green Lengths Kennington Cross (seconds)
  AM Peak Off-Peak PM Peak
Kennington Lane EB 33-37 18-22 31-35
Kennington Lane WB 33-37 18-22 31-35
Kennington Road NB 16-20 11-16 18-22
Kennington Road SB 16-20 11-16 18-22
Pedestrian Green Man 6 6 6

Six seconds seems even shorter when you experience it.

And just let ME have a moan – some happy snaps of motorists who don’t respect the Advance Cycle Box.

Cllr Jon Davies

Battersea tube station begins to take shape


Last week Councillor Philip Normal from Oval Ward and I visited the emerging Battersea Tube station. A chance to dress up of course but also to see the progress. Behind us the tunnel snakes off to the new station at Vauxhall. The track has been laid but signal and other wiring awaits. And for the first time a pedestrian walkway is included for the maintenance crews, emergency services and us if we need to evacuate a train.

The start of service is targeted for 2021 at the moment but much has been achieved. The station is on the scale of Canary Wharf and will at its peak be able to offer a service of around 30 trains an hour. This does depend on the Northern Line being split into east and west lines. major works at Camden Town, the re-alignment of platforms at Bank, new rolling stock etc etc. There is a huge underground ticket hall and room for lifts, escalator and shops.

All around though is chaos with the Thames Tideway (giant sewer) tunnel being built next door and more housing developments starting than you can shake a stick at. All this means the first tube services will be on a smaller scale, ramping up as people start living in the area. Or will they? Let’s hope the buildings don’t end up like some of the ghost towers on Vauxhall Cross.

And topping out of the building on Kennington Green is almost completed – let’s hope for some greenery again soon.

This video from TFL shows just how important Kennington was to the whole project.

Finally for those affected by the noise of trains on the ‘Kennington Loop’ TFL are planning a meeting for later this month – watch out for details in David Amos’s weekly e-newsletter.

Jon Davies


TFL live up to their promises


Transport For London have followed up on their promise to replace the tree on Kennington Road.

Fingers crossed it grows to be as big and beautiful as its predecessor.  In the meantime I am working with fellow councillors David Amos and  Joanne Simpson and Cllr. Claire Holland, Lambeth’s lead on Environment and Clean Air, to reduce the pollution locally through traffic calming especially in the Tranquil Triangle. The latest traffic counts indicate a rise of over 80% since June 2018 in vehicles using Gilbert Road and Renfrew Road!

Cllr Jon Davies

Echoes of Grenfell

Since the tragedy at Grenfell Towers the construction world has been taking a long hard look at its building regulations and how such a tragedy could have happened in 21st century Britain.

Lambeth has been surveying all its housing that could be affected and an extensive programme of works has started and will continue for many months if not years. We need to ensure that fire risks are eliminated as far as this is ever possible.

One aspect of this is to remove gas mains form the inside of our tower blocks and work has started on Hayman’s Point on Vauxhall Gardens Estate to move the gas mains to the outside of the building. The site manager Steve is always there to help and can be contacted on 0739 2083 987.


There will always be issues when such a big job is undertaken. Loss of light to the outside areas, especially at night, disturbance during the day which will affect night workers in particular, and issues of security during the four months of the works.

At a site visit on the 21st of February with local Tenant’s rep Jean Barker and Earl Richards Lambeth’s head of gas (not of the political variety), we looked at all the issues including work vehicles blocking the dustcarts, local safety and found four Tesco trolleys.

If you have any issues let us know.

Similar scaffolding may well be appearing on the tower blocks on the Ethelred Estate where fire safety issues are bing addressed.

Cllr Jon Davies

The tree is dead – long live the next one

Transport For London contractors removed the rest of the tree stump today on Kennington Road and we must press for its replacement soon. One of the men, a very knowledgable Romanian, estimated the age as 100 years. Would that make sense?

The job was not at all straightforward as the remains of a metal fence went straight through the middle – I wonder if it was this that contributed to its demise?


PS Kennington Cross

Transport For London have agreed to come back on Tuesday May the 21st at 5.30. Put it in the diary.

If you wonder about the accidents on the junction here is the data from Crashmap for 2011-17. A great website though if you want details of the accident you have to pay for each one 😦

Screenshot 2019-02-10 at 12.54.14

Screenshot 2019-02-10 at 12.54.29

Cllr Jon Davies

Kennington (quite) Cross meeting with Transport For London


After a bit of badgering and support from our Assembly Member Florence Eshalomi and her assistant Alice Prescott, local residents persuaded staff from Transport for London (TFL) to come and look at the increasingly worse traffic conditions at Kennigton Cross. The highlight was a mini demo by the movers and shakers of the future from Pelican Nursery but older hands were present too!


Local residents have three main issues (there are others):

Pedestrian and Cyclist conflict with queuing traffic

Screenshot 2019-02-05 at 17.13.30

Photo courtesy of kind local resident.

Hope you can make the point that lorries and buses stop across the crossing so you can’t see when you’ve got the green man. (Or, more correctly, person). Then you have to weave through the vehicles. It’s no good them saying “drivers aren’t supposed to do that” – they do! Local resident

Cars jumping red lights at speed and speed in general.



Two cars speeding through the red light on Kennington Lane.

The biggest problem is traffic on Kennington Road (and to a lesser extent Kennington Lane also) not respecting the speed limits (especially motorbikes) which is causing unnecessary noise and extra pollution. One of the easiest ways of resolving that in a time of tight budgets would be to install more speed cameras which will calm down the traffic and even generate a bit of extra revenue.  Local resident

Danger to cyclists crossing junction

All good stuff.  But don’t forget the humble cyclist!  My wife and I have been caught out a few times by the phasing of the lights. It’s a wide junction particularly on the Kennington Road axis.  Cycling north, and crossing at the last moments of green, halfway across we find traffic rushing towards us from Vauxhall…presumably because everyone sets off at amber these days.  Local resident

And if we need evidence – here it is from the nursery children – too many cars they concluded!


TFL have gone away to look at ways to sort this out: yellow boxes, different phases etc and we are planning another site visit for early May.

Thanks to Claire, David and Kieran from TFL for coming and everyone locally who turned up to show how much they cared especially the children from the nursery.

Cllr Jon Davies.