13 November 2010

Vassall Labour Councillors work with local people to improve the streets around Caldwell Gardens

Vassall Labour Councillors have been working with local residents on the Grass Routes project in the Caldwell Gardens and the other streets around Hackford Road in Vassall Ward, Lambeth SW9 (see map).

The project came about as a result of the development of the Freemans site between Clapham Road and Liberty Street, SW9. Lambeth Council received 'Section 106' monies from the developers. The new development is set to be complete by the end of 2010 bringing around 900 new residents to the area. The funding was assigned towards a project to make the local streets more pleasant and safe particularly for vulnerable road users.

The Grass Routes project is being managed by a partnership between local residents from Streets Ahead and the Caldwell Gardens Estate, local Vassall Councillors, Lambeth Officers and Reay and Durand primary schools.

The steering group commissioned a stage one consultation to: 
  • Gauge local people’s response to some improvements to the local area suggested by the steering group
  • Assess what other improvements local people would like to see

The results of the consultation revealed that there are three key issues of concern to local residents. Many residents are keen to see an area developed where children can play safely maybe with the closure of Isabel Street to through traffic so that a play street can be developed. Many residents would like to see a number of environmental enhancements incorporated into the local streets.

If Isabel Street was developed into a play street it could become a focal point for local residents with some raised flower beds, picnic tables and seats installed in the area. This would provide a place where residents can meet and socialise informally, particularly in the summer months.

Residents are also keen to see more flowers and shrubs planted in local streets. The Living Streets project has already begun to address this by planting bulbs and sunflowers at the base of trees which many residents feel have brightened up the area. This could be extended to maybe include some fruit trees and vegetables where residents can eat the produce that grows. There are examples nationally, particularly in Devon where towns have made great efforts to use available space to grow fruit and vegetables that community members can pick and eat. This area has two local schools that may be keen to be involved in a project like this working alongside local residents to enhance the living environment.

A public art project could be instigated which could encourage residents and children to become involved in designing raised flowerbeds and seats which are unique to the local area and would provide visual interest and local ownership.

It is also evident from the results of the consultation that residents are concerned about the traffic locally.  They have highlighted their concerns about the speed that the traffic travels at and the concerns they have about children’s safety when crossing roads to get to the two local schools. Many of the roads are used as shortcuts between the two major roads that straddle the area and residents want to see some traffic calming measures installed to reduce the speed and generally make the area feel safer for residents.

Vassall Labour Councillor Adrian Garden commented "Both Kingsley and I support this local initiative. We feel that this is Lambeth at its best: the Council working with local residents to make their area better."

To find out more contact your Vassall Labour Councillors Kingsley Abrams and Adrian Garden