Community Roadwatch events – November 2020

Community RoadWatch (ie a police officer with a high-tech mobile speedgun) is coming to the following roads in Tooting:

  • Avoca Road on 3 November 2020 from 9:00 – 9:45am
  • Montana Road on 9 November 2020 from 9:00 – 9:45am

Adults and children are welcome to have a go on the speedgun, so come along to try it out.

The speedgun measures how fast cars and motorbikes are travelling, and if any are recorded doing more than 24mph (ie more than 20% over the 20mph speed limit) then they are sent a letter by the police reminding them to slow down. Repeat offenders (those caught during previous Community RoadWatch events) can have points put on their licence and/or fines.

Drive safe!

Diagonal diverter at Elmbourne/Manville junction

We’ve been asked a few times what this does and it’s easiest to explain with a diagram (see the incredibly professional drawing below). It allows traffic to go from Manville Road to the southern half of Elmbourne Road both ways (see orange arrow) and also allows traffic to go from Dr Johnson Avenue/Hillbury Road to the northern half of Elmbourne Road both ways (see purple arrow). The diverter is placed diagonally across the junction (see green line). There is a small space large enough for bicycles on either side of the diverter so that cyclists can go round it.

Click to enlarge (opens in a new tab)

Our email on the Tooting Commons LTN

This afternoon we sent the following email to the many, many people who have emailed us over the last few weeks about the Tooting Commons LTN. Please do send in your feedback on the LTN once it goes live.

***

Good evening, 

Thank you for getting in touch regarding the local street changes. It is really important to hear your feedback. Please forgive this impersonal email as we are responding to everyone who has written to us. Rest assured that we have read and taken note of all the individual feedback we have received.  

We are getting in touch to provide an update on the Tooting Commons Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) Six-Month trial and Transport for London’s Streetscape proposals for the A24 area in Balham/Tooting. 

There will be an increase in traffic and cycling in September as public transport use will be limited, so these trial changes are starting in August. They are also in response to traffic issues that local residents have been raising for many years. 

This information is also on our local website: becandbalhamlabour.org 

Tooting Commons LTN Trial update 

Wandsworth Council announced details on Friday for a six-month trial in the Tooting Commons area. It will include: 

  • No restrictions on northbound traffic on Dr Johnson Avenue 
  • Point of No Entry on Dr Johnson Avenue to southbound traffic (except cycles) 
  • A closure on Bushnell Road at the junction with Elmbourne Road using a planter which only enables access for cycles 
  • A closure on Elmbourne Road at the junction with Tooting Bec Road (except cycles) 
  • A diagonal diverter on Elmbourne Road at the junction with Manville Road  

The trial is due to go live on 10 August and feedback can be submitted via the following consultation page once the trial has begun: www.wandsworth.gov.uk/consultations

We would encourage you to feedback your comments when the site goes live, but also to provide feedback to us as your ward councillors. We’ll be actively monitoring the trial ourselves and will be engaging with and listening to residents’ comments throughout this process. Although we’re not permitted to hold our councillor surgeries at the moment, we would be happy to hold Zoom meetings and telephone calls with local residents.  

We’ll also continue to update our website here with any news/developments in relation to the trial.  

Transport for London Streetscape  

We have received feedback in recent emails on TfL’s Streetscape proposals and the bus running along Ritherdon Road and closure of the north end of Bedford Hill. The bus route will return to its normal route (and off Ritherdon Road) at the end of August, when the north end of Bedford Hill will also be reopened.  

We hope the below timetable provides clarity: 

Date  Scheme  Responsible Authority 
25/07/20 CS7 left turn restrictions from A24 at Ritherdon Road TfL 
31/07/20 Streathbourne Road/Elmbourne Road junction treatment complete WBC 
03/08/20 Drakefield Road/Elmbourne Road junction works commence under road closure WBC 
10/08/20 Tooting Commons LTN goes live with No Entry southbound on Dr Johnson Ave, diagonal diverter at Elmbourne Rd/Manville Rd junction, and planter on Bushnell Road WBC 
31/08/20 Bedford Hill closure (next to Sainsburys) ends WBC 
31/08/20 Bus diversion removed from Ritherdon Road TfL 
31/08/20 Drakefield Road/Elmbourne Road junction treatment complete WBC 
03/09/20 Louisville Road/Elmbourne Road junction works commence WBC 
10/09/20 Install traffic counters to monitor LTN WBC 
28/09/20 Louisville Road/Elmbourne Road junction works complete WBC 
28/09/20 Road closure to remain at Elmbourne Road/Tooting Bec Road junction as part of LTN trial WBC 
12/10/20 Repeat traffic surveys WBC 

We want to hear feedback on your experience of the Tooting Commons LTN trial and Transport for London’s proposals, as well as encouraging you to provide your feedback directly to the council at: SocialDistancing@wandsworth.gov.uk and to TfL at: streetspacelondon@tfl.gov.uk. If you copy us into your emails as well, it will also ensure that we are aware, and able to feedback to TfL any concerns we have (as we have done with the bus running along Ritherdon Road). Your feedback, as well as traffic data collected from the trial itself, will be vital evidence for any decisions at the end of the six-month trial period. 

We look forward to hearing from you. 

Many thanks 

Clare, Fleur & Hector 

Bedford Ward Councillors 

Fleur Anderson: cllr.f.anderson@wandsworth.gov.uk 

Hector Denfield: cllr.h.denfield@wandsworth.gov.uk 

Clare Fraser: cllr.c.fraser@wandsworth.gov.uk  

Council publishes revised plans for Tooting Commons low traffic neighbourhood pilot scheme

Drum roll! Full details here:

https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/july-2020/revised-plans-for-tooting-commons-low-traffic-neighbourhood-pilot-scheme/

Update on the Tooting Common Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN)

We met today with the council’s transport officers and with Cllr John Locker, the new Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, who took over from Cllr Paul Ellis on 15 July. Cllr Locker has been understandably settling in and getting up to speed with his new job in the last seven days, which is why there was no news to report last week.

We were shown an updated design for the Tooting Common LTN (this is the name the council has now given this LTN) and we provided feedback on the new design. The council is now finalising the design and hopes to be able to formally announce something early next week.

As always, this could change at short notice, so there may be an announcement sooner/later.

We also discussed the Graveney LTN, which is still a work in progress for the council. As it covers a much larger area than the Tooting Common LTN it is taking a while longer for them to develop and sign off.

Transport for London Streetspace changes to the A24 (Balham High Road, Upper Tooting Road, Tooting High Street)

Residents who live near the A24 should have received this letter (pdf) from Transport for London (“TfL”) today. Installation work is set to begin in mid-late July 2020, ie in the next couple of weeks.

The changes set out in the letter are part of TfL’s Streetspace for London programme, which will create more space for people to safely walk and cycle. As the letter says:

As London continues to emerge from the Coronavirus lockdown we will need to find new ways to travel. Enabling social distancing to happen on public transport as lockdown restrictions are eased will mean everyone who can do so will need to find alternative ways to travel. Public transport must only be used when absolutely necessary. However, if the number of trips taken by private vehicles increases, London will grind to a halt, with essential deliveries and emergency services stuck in gridlock. That’s why, together with London’s boroughs, we are developing the Streetspace programme to create more space for people to safely walk and cycle.

The programme will both help Londoners to walk and cycle more often, and enable them to safely social distance while they do so. It will also help improve our air quality, making London greener.

Our scheme between Balham and Colliers Wood is part of this wider programme. This is a strategic cycling corridor which follows the Northern Line from Colliers Wood to Elephant and Castle with connections onwards to City of London. Our plans will help to reduce pressure on the Northern Line and assist local buses by making it safer for people to walk and cycle through the area.

The changes are set out in the letter and on the maps. The changes will be made on a temporary basis, and include:

  • New lightly segregated cycle lanes using wands similar to the ones shown in the photo in the letter
  • Bus stop bypasses for cycles wherever possible which will also provide further footway for pedestrians
  • Existing bus lanes will be converted to 24/7, except for the bus lane between Totterdown Street to Mitcham Road southbound which will be 7am-7pm.
  • Bus lanes increased across the scheme by 190m. A section of bus lane is however being removed between southbound between Ritherdon Road and Tooting Bec Road to provide cycling facilities and a new 24hr bus lane created between 215 Balham High Road to Ritherdon Road southbound. Further small increases in bus lane length throughout the scheme.
  • Improved footway to allow social distancing along Balham High Road, Chestnut Grove and at the junction of Mitcham Road/Tooting High Street
  • No entry (except cycles) from A24 onto Balham Park Road, Dafforne Road, Noyna Road, Fircroft Road, Foulser Road, Topsham Road, Mandrake Road and Ansell Road
  • No right turn onto A24 (except cycles) from Trinity Crescent, Dafforne Road, Noyna Road, Fircroft Road, Foulser Road, Topsham Road, Mandrake Road, Brudenell Road, Lynwood Road, Gatton Road and Selkirk Road.
  • No left turn onto A24 (except cycles) from Trevelyan Road
  • No left turn (except cycles) from A24 onto Chestnut Grove, Brudenell Road, Lynwood Road, Derinton Road, Woodbury Street, Gilbey Road and Sellincourt Road
  • No left turn (except cycles and buses) from A24 onto Ritherdon Road and Balham Station Road
  • No right turn (except cycles) from A24 onto Totterdown Street
  • Multiple parking and loading bays will be removed from A24. Most loading and disabled bays will be relocated to nearby side roads. On side roads you will be able to load in marked bays between 10am-4pm Mon-Sun for a max time of 20 minutes.
  • Disabled bays will be in operation for max 3hrs.

For Bedford ward, the relevant changes are shown in this map (extracted from the letter):

The letter sets out the next steps and who you can contact about this:

Next steps

Although we are not undertaking a formal consultation on this scheme, we would like to know about your experiences of it once it is in place. We will be monitoring the effects of the Streetspace programme over the coming months and hope many of the schemes we are introducing could become permanent additions to London’s walking and cycling network.

We would need to undertake a consultation on any scheme we propose be made permanent, and we will use the outcome of any consultation to help decide which schemes we should take forward over the next 18 months.

If you have any comments about the effects of our scheme, or suggestions for changes or improvements we might make, please let us know at streetspacelondon@tfl.gov.uk

The associated public notice is on the Wandsworth Guardian website here: https://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/announcements/public_notices/notice/134603.ROAD_TRAFFIC_REGULATION_ACT_1984/

The A24 is a Greater London Authority road, which means that it is controlled by TfL, rather than by the various councils that the A24 passes through. Ultimately, TfL can make whatever changes it wants to this road (within legal boundaries). That said, we understand that TfL has consulted on these changes with the three London councils that Cycle Superhighway 7 passes through: Lambeth Council, Wandsworth Council, and Merton Council. As ward councillors, we were not involved in the development of these changes.

These changes are separate to the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) that Wandsworth Council is planning to install, but both are part of the Streetspace programme. See this post for further details on LTNs.

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods FAQ

What is a Low Traffic Neighbourhood/LTN?
A Low Traffic Neighbourhood (“LTN”) is, as the name suggests, a neighbourhood (usually residential) that has had various measures installed to reduce the amount of traffic that passes through the neighbourhood. The measures can include no entry signs, one-way roads, traffic flow arrows, lockable gates, and wooden planters (these are physical barriers that prevent cars and vans from passing through but permit bicycles, mopeds and motorcycles). A LTN changes how cars are able to access the neighbourhood. There is much more information in the two documents provided here: https://lcc.org.uk/pages/low-traffic-neighbourhoods

What’s good about a LTN?
They reduce car journeys by an estimated 15%, which has many benefits:

  1. tackles climate change;
  2. reduces air pollution. This is great for our health generally, particularly the health of young children, but even more so now as there is growing evidence that air pollution exacerbates COVID-19: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/04/is-air-pollution-making-the-coronavirus-pandemic-even-more-deadly;
  3. people feel safer cycling and walking, especially to schools. Again, this is great for our health generally, but it is also really important now that people are avoiding public transport due to coronavirus. We need to give people safe, healthy, affordable alternatives to public transport; and
  4. a calmer, more peaceful environment to live in.

What is the council doing with LTNs?
The council has decided to install nine experimental, trial LTNs in various places around Wandsworth. We stress the words “experimental” and “trial”. All of the LTNs are subject to change based on feedback and evidence. They will be installed in the following areas:

  • Elmbourne Road and Hillbury Road
  • Twilley Street junction with Kimber Road
  • Dover House Road and Genoa Avenue
  • Westbridge Road / Battersea Church Road / Battersea Square
  • Thamesfield (Charlwood Road, Oxford Road)
  • Fishponds Road
  • Beechcroft Road
  • Garratt Lane/Aboyne Road
  • Graveney ward – this covers an area from Tooting Bec Road to Longley Road

Where can I find more details on these LTNs?
The designs of the nine LTNs are not yet finalised so they are not yet available for inspection. As soon as the council releases them we will share the details with you on this blog.

The council’s committee paper where these were proposed and agreed is titled “COVID 19 and The Urban Realm (Paper No. 20.169)” and is item 71 here: https://democracy.wandsworth.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=678&MId=6531&Ver=4

Tell me more about the Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN.
The Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN is one of the nine experimental, trial LTNs that the council is planning to install. The full designs of the Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN are not yet available, but as soon as the council releases the final designs we will link to them on this blog. The council sent letters to some residents in the Heaver estate on 26 June which contained some initial designs for the Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN, but the council withdrew these initial designs on 29 June. If you still have a copy of that letter it is now out of date!

Why did the council withdraw the initial designs for the Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN?
A number of reasons, but as we understand it, the primary reason was because there was a consultation on completely closing Dr Johnson Avenue (“DJA”) four years ago which resulted in a decision by the council not to close DJA, and this had not been fully factored in to the initial designs for the Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN.

As with every decision the council makes, it is not necessarily set in stone forever, and could be overturned or distinguished through the appropriate council processes. But unless and until it is overturned or distinguished, it has to be factored in to any new policies involving DJA.

Why has there been no consultation on these nine new LTNs?
One of the many, many changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic is the way that people travel around London. Passengers on the tube have declined by 95% and passengers on buses have declined 85%: https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2020/april/transport-for-london-to-place-7-000-staff-on-furlough-to-help-safeguard-vital-transport-services.

People are now using their cars to travel much, much more than they did before the pandemic. If the government, Transport for London (“TfL”), and local councils don’t take action in the next week or two as the lockdown eases, then air pollution will skyrocket, and the city will hit gridlock with so many more cars on the road.

As such, TfL has made £55m of funding available to the 33 councils in London as part of its “Streetspace for London” programme to urgently create new segregated cycle lanes, extend pavements and close roads to traffic. This will make it safer for people to walk and cycle. Wandsworth Council has been given £1,923,500 by TfL to spend on various schemes, including LTNs. TfL’s guidance for this funding states:

“Given the urgency of the crisis, TfL are looking to work with Boroughs on implementing measures as quickly as possible, which, in some instances, will mean the use of cheap materials. All projects that form part of this programme must demonstrate an urgent and swift response to the crisis and should be implemented as soon as possible.”

https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/boroughs-and-communities/streetspace-funding

This means that Wandsworth Council, and all London councils, need to install these LTNs asap in order to secure the TfL funding. This means there is no time for consultation in advance. The council will still be conducting a consultation, but it will happen at the same time as the trial LTN is in place, rather than before the LTN is installed (which would be the usual order of things).

How long will the trial LTNs last?
We do not know yet, we are waiting for the council to make a final decision on this point.

What happens at the end of the trial?
The LTN will either be made permanent, amended, or removed entirely. It all depends on how the trial goes.

What if the LTN doesn’t work – do we have to wait until the trial is over?
The trial LTNs will be installed pursuant to an “Experimental Traffic Order” (“ETO”). An ETO can be modified at any time, hence the word Experimental in the title. If a LTN is installed and it quickly becomes clear that something has gone badly wrong, then the council can modify the designs and change the layout of the LTN to respond to this.

What about access for police cars and ambulances?
The emergency services are exempt from things like no entry signs and traffic flow arrows, and they have a key to open any lockable gates.

What about access for delivery drivers?
Delivery cars and vans must obey all of the rules of the LTN. Delivery mopeds and motorcycles must obey things like no entry signs and traffic flow arrows, but they may be able to pass by any wooden planters, depending on the rules of that particular LTN.

Who can I write to about this?
There are many ways to make your voice heard:

  1. the council will be holding an official consultation and as soon as the council launches this we will let you know;
  2. you can email any of us at: cllr.h.denfield@wandsworth.gov.uk, cllr.c.fraser@wandsworth.gov.uk, cllr.f.anderson@wandsworth.gov.uk
  3. you can join one of your local neighbourhood groups – several have sprung up in the last week. Ask your neighbour to be added to the WhatsApp group/email list.

What’s the difference between “the council” and “the councillors”?
Wandsworth Council is currently controlled by the Conservative party.

The Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transportation (who is the lead person at the council for transport) is a Conservative councillor.

The Strategic Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee (which is the committee at the council which makes transport decisions) is also controlled by the Conservative party.

The Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN is situated in “Bedford ward”, which is one of 20 wards in Wandsworth. There are three councillors elected in Bedford ward – Clare, Fleur and Hector. This is our blog. We are all members of the Labour party. When it says “we” in this post, it means Clare, Fleur and Hector. When it says “the council” it means the Conservative-controlled Wandsworth Council.

So, even though Bedford ward is a “Labour ward”, the council is a “Conservative council” (although we’re working on that…), and so all decisions regarding transport, including the Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN, are made by the Conservative cabinet member and the Conservative-controlled transport committee.

On the initial Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN designs (which the council quickly withdrew), we were not invited to be involved and we were caught by surprise along with everyone else. Following that, we asked to be consulted on any subsequent designs. On Monday 6 July we had a meeting with the council about their revised Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN designs, during which we passed on all of the feedback we have received from residents over the last 10 days about the Heaver LTN. The council took this feedback away and is making further amendments to the designs.

Ultimately, the designs for the Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN are controlled by the Conservatives and not us, but we have been consulted this time round.

Did the Bedford ward councillors lobby for or against the initial designs for the Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN?
Neither. The council announced the initial designs for the Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN without consulting us on them, and we were caught by surprise along with the whole Heaver estate. Before we had a chance to decide if they were a good or a bad thing, the council withdrew them. We spent every evening since they were announced meeting (digitally) with residents to find out what they thought, so we could understand the views of the people living in and around the area, so we could ultimately feed this back to the council.

Are the Bedford ward councillors in favour of the Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN generally?
Today, the council shared with us a new version of the designs for the Heaver LTN, and on the basis of those new designs we support the council and are in favour of the trial LTN going ahead, but we emphasise that it is a trial. We are keen to see how it plays out, and we want to see if it brings the benefits that it should do. We will also be looking to see what disbenefits it brings. If it does not work overall, we won’t be afraid to say so. We are not pre-judging the final outcome – we can only do that once we have seen the LTN in action and we have pored over the real-life data collected from the trial.

What data will be collected during the trial?
The council is planning to lay several traffic counting strips at various places around the Heaver estate to collect data on traffic patterns and behaviour. We have asked the council to publish these data publicly for all to see and we hope that will happen.

I heard one of the councillors lives on Elmbourne Road and that’s why the Heaver LTN has been proposed.
None of us three live on Elmbourne Road. We are not aware that any of the other 57 councillors on Wandsworth Council live on Elmbourne Road either. Don’t believe everything you read on Nextdoor!

14 July update:

This post used to refer to a “Heaver LTN” and now it refers to a “Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN”, what happened there?
We were using “Heaver LTN” as a shorthand name for the scheme, but it seems to have caused some confusion, so we have reverted to the previous name: the “Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN”. This is more of a mouthful but hopefully more specific and less confusing!

Is the Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN definitely going ahead now?
It’s not definitely going ahead but it’s not definitely cancelled either. The council have been working on the designs but have not made a final decision one way or the other. We’ll let you know as soon as we know anything definite.

Any news on the Graveney ward LTN?
Like the Elmbourne/Hillbury LTN, the council is still working on the designs and nothing is finalised yet. As soon as we have anything to share we’ll post it here.

Let us know your thoughts on the proposed Elmbourne Road Area Trial Low Traffic Neighbourhood

Residents living on Elmbourne Road and the surrounding roads will have received (or shortly receive) the below letter in the post in the coming days on a Trial Low Traffic Neighbourhood which will commence on 1 July for 6 months.

As ward councillors we were not consulted on these proposals and have not had any input into shaping them. There are clarifications we’re asking from council officers on this issue at the moment, including asking for information about the modelling, and in particular any potential traffic increase on nearby  Ritherdon Road, Elmfield Road, Tooting Bec Road, Bedford Hill and Trinity Crescent.

The proposals are for road closures (except to bikes) at:

  • Elmbourne Road junction Tooting Bec Road
  • Elmbourne Road junction Manville Road
  • Dr Johnson Avenue junction Hillbury Road

If you live in the affected area, or nearby we’d love to hear from you. Please submit your comments to the consultation when it opens on 13 July at: https://haveyoursay.citizenspace.com/wandsworthecs/elmbourne

as well as sharing your thoughts with us so that we can best represent our ward residents and businesses on this important issue as we don’t receive comments submitted on the consultation site.

If you can get in touch with us at the following addresses, including your thoughts and comments as well as your address:

Councillor Fleur Anderson: cllr.f.anderson@wandsworth.gov.uk

Councillor Hector Denfield: cllr.h.denfield@wandsworth.gov.uk

Councillor Clare Fraser: cllr.c.fraser@wandsworth.gov.uk

We’d usually invite people to come and talk to us at one of our councillor surgeries about this. Given the current restrictions we’re not holding our surgeries however we’d be more than happy to discuss this with you over the phone, or on a Zoom call. Please let us know if you’d like to arrange this.

Thanks

Fleur, Hector & Clare

Our comments on the Tooting Triangle planning application

The Planning Applications Committee of Wandsworth Council (“PAC”) is meeting tomorrow night to decide on an application that will decide the future of Tooting Triangle and the various services and organisations that call it home. The text below is our submission to the PAC which will be read out to the PAC on our behalf by the chair.

Representation from Councillor Clare Fraser

Thank you chair for reading this representation on my behalf.

I have consulted with local groups and am asking the committee to defer agreement on the proposal this evening but to return the plans to the developer for reconsideration.

This application will have a negative impact on:

  1. the stay and play provision;
  2. Balham Boxing Club;
  3. gender equality in the provision of facilities;
  4. local wildlife and biodiversity;
  5. light pollution;
  6. common use of common land; and
  7. urbanisation of common land.

When this proposal was discussed at the Education and Children’s Services Committee – with huge opposition from local parents – we were told that there would be some reduced continuation of the stay and play provision. But, the developer’s plans do not include any firm statements in regards to the current stay and play provision, which is a vital service for our local pre-school children, parents and carers. The plans do not state if TFC will charge lower than £2.50 per session or indeed continue the current free provision, what the provision offer will be or if it will reflect the current offer.

I know the committee have received a statement from Balham Boxing Club (BBC), who, despite being part of this site for many years, have been kept in the dark in regards to this application. The plans presented this evening present a vast departure to those presented to BBC at initial stages, and something they would never have agreed to.

Paper 18-432, which was agreed at the Finance and Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee in November 2018, states at paragraph 10:

“The proposed development of the current building will provide toilets, showers, changing rooms, office space, a reception area and space for the BABC, together with publicly accessible toilets and a publicly accessible refreshment facility, all within a building that would be approximately 100 square metres larger than the current one.”

This is not what tonight’s application promises. Tonight’s application shows BBC losing their kitchen, storage and a reduction in gym space to their current provision, and female changing rooms which are an insult in comparison to the male changing room. These plans almost guarantee BBC will not be able to survive: they will not be able to sell as many tickets to their fundraising events because their maximum spectator capacity will be much reduced, and they will not be able to sell refreshments to spectators. These fundraising events provide the club with its only source of revenue, which in turn gives it the ability to provide provision and outreach to vulnerable groups. Tonight’s application is not fit for purpose for BBC and reneges on previous promises. For this reason it should not be agreed and should be sent back to the developer for reconsideration.

This weekend has seen the local community voice their strong opposition to plans to commercialise this much cherished area of the Common. It includes comments by bodies such as Tooting Common MAC and the Friends of Tooting Common. Indeed, the community and groups such as the MAC were unhappy when a proposal was presented for the site in 2008 by Goals which ultimately resulted in a judicial review, something which I could foresee happening again. The current climate crisis and COVID-19 pandemic have reinforced stronger feelings for protecting the integrity and openness of Tooting Common.

Tooting Common MAC oppose the application in its entirety because of the inclusion of floodlighting. There have not been working floodlights in this area for many, many years, and in that time the biodiversity of the area has thrived, especially the bat population. Adding floodlights to this area, especially with the long proposed hours of operation, will negatively impact upon the natural biodiversity of the site’s surroundings, not to mention the added light pollution which will negatively impact upon surroundings. The addition of floodlights represents a significant, harmful change to the area.

Should this application be approved, the redgra pitch would be taken out of the common, and out of common use. This is a fundamental shift from publicly accessible to all, to privately controlled and accessible only to a paying few. This would be a sad change to the face of the Triangle and its surroundings.

The developer’s “Green Transport Plan” notes that there is no parking provided. However, nothing is being proposed to adequately address other modes of transport, with only the minimum amount of bike parking provided. This will inevitably incentivise driving and create parking problems due to the lack of parking available on Cavendish Road.

This application will result in a loss of trees, shrubs, grassland and a resulting impact on birds, insects, other wildlife, impact on air quality, wellbeing and health of common users. An attempted mitigation by way of tree planting does not seem adequate to counteract the increased urbanisation of the site. The Design and Access Statement’s claim that the development will ‘increase community cohesion’ seems wrong in that respect.

Much as I, and my fellow Bedford ward councillors, would like to support an application which seeks to improve this site, we can only do so if it works for all the various parts and users of this site, and what has become clear to us, is that this is far from the case.

Green roof at Tooting Bec Lido

I’ve got a thing about green roofs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq66nf3macs

Climate change is the number one issue in the world today and it is going to take all of us working together to fix it. Some things will require an investment of money upfront, but this will save money in the long run, as the cost of dealing with climate fallout will be astronomical.

Tooting Bec Lido is having its pump room redeveloped. One of the conditions of the planning permission granted for the redevelopment was that the new pump room must have a green roof, in accordance with the GRO Green Roof Code 2014. Considering the pump room, and the rest of the lido, is situated within the boundaries of Tooting Common, it is particularly appropriate that this building should have a green roof.

It was therefore disappointing to find out that the council has applied to remove the green roof condition from the planning permission. You can see the application here: https://planning1.wandsworth.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/Generic/StdDetails.aspx?PT=Planning%20Applications%20On-Line&TYPE=PL/PlanningPK.xml&PARAM0=988862&XSLT=/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/SiteFiles/Skins/Wandsworth/xslt/PL/PLDetails.xslt&FT=Planning%20Application%20Details&PUBLIC=Y&XMLSIDE=/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/SiteFiles/Skins/Wandsworth/Menus/PL.xml&DAURI=PLANNING

The reason given is:

The extensive biodiverse roof in accordance with the GRO Green Roof Code 2014 would be expensive to build and be maintained – it would be more appropriate to match the roof typology of the adjacent North Room. Furthermore, its thickness could compromise the space for the mechanical equipment to be accommodated in the South Room.

I take issue with the reasoning:

  1. Expensive to build and maintain – as above, tackling climate change requires money upfront to save much more money in the long run.
  2. More appropriate to match the North Room – the North Room has a felt roof, and I cannot see how a felt roof is more appropriate than a green roof for a building situated in a natural area like Tooting Common.
  3. Thickness “could” compromise space – this sounds like conjecture, which is not helpful. If the calculations have been done and as it stands the equipment won’t fit then say so. If the calculations haven’t been done then don’t speculate. A green roof can be as thin as 10cm, will that really reduce the ceiling height to the point where the equipment will not fit? In any event, the south room is having a large area excavated to house the pump, so could this not be excavated just a little deeper to create the necessary depth?

We will be making comments on the application in the above terms.