120 residents came to a public meeting in Balham this week to discuss Wandsworth Council’s proposal to close Dr Johnson Avenue, which cuts across Tooting Common, and limit access to nearby Elmbourne Road.
A straw poll at the meeting on March 22 showed almost unanimous opposition to the proposal, which Wandsworth council is currently consulting on.
Residents at the meeting were strongly critical of the council’s consultation which has not involved residents in Lambeth who fear they will be impacted by the proposed road changes.
Public meeting on proposed road closures affecting Tooting Common
In response to serious concerns expressed by residents at proposals to close or restrict roads on and around Tooting Common, the Labour councillors in two affected wards; Bedford and Furzedown, have called a public meeting.
The Council’s current plan is to close Dr Johnson Avenue, which crosses Tooting Common, and restrict entry into Elmbourne Road, which borders the Common. The meeting is on March 22 at Balham Seventh Day Adventist Church, 83 Elmfield Road, SW17 8AD from 7-8pm.
Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, said “Residents are right to be concerned that they have not been properly consulted up to now and that the traffic implications of these proposals have not been properly thought through. Residents are worried that quiet residential roads will become rat runs and already congested roads will become even more congested”. Read More…
Crossrail 2: Balham still preferred option but “stronger development case for Tooting” is out next month
Balham or Tooting?
Until November last year TfL’s preferred option for a Crossrail 2 station was Tooting. This changed in November last year as a result of preliminary geological surveys carried out by TfL. In January, TfL announced the results of a massive consultation exercise which asked residents which station – Balham or Tooting – they would prefer for Crossrail 2.
Some 20,000 responses were received, a majority of whom preferred Tooting. However, TfL’s preferred option remained Balham, due to the geological conditions found at both locations which would make Tooting more complicated and more expensive. Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, called on TfL not to exclude Tooting despite the cost and urged TfL to carry out an economic assessment of the impact of bringing Crossrail 2 to Tooting.
TfL has now confirmed that this economic impact assessment is underway and will be available next month. TfL has also confirmed that further, scheduled geological surveys, involving drilling for samples, are underway at Balham and will start in Tooting in six to eight weeks’ time.
Sadiq Khan MP said: “Currently, the position is that Balham remains TfL’s preferred option. However, TfL concedes that Tooting has a stronger development case than Balham. Once the results of the economic assessment are known next month, TfL has agreed to share those with me and I will be sure to scrutinise them closely”. Read More…
A number of residents have recently raised concerns with me about ongoing problems with platform / train overcrowding and related concerns about health and safety. Please see below for the latest response from South West Trains (Tim Shoveller, Managing Director).
If you have specific questions, suggestions or issues you would like me to raise with the station manager, please get in touch: email@example.com. I will report back
“You will be aware of the additional rolling stock being introduced across our network. However, to clarify the position, the project to increase capacity on our suburban network has a number of different stages. Initially the 10 car trains are being introduced on the lines from Waterloo and Weybridge via Richmond and Hounslow. The lines between Raynes Park and Waterloo are already operating at maximum capacity in the peak hours. The limitations of the current infrastructure simply do not allow the operation of any additional trains, hence the project to increase the capacity by the provision of longer trains (10). The 10 car railway project includes both the extension of platforms to accommodate 10 car trains and the acquisition of additional carriages to our train fleet. Read More…
On February 12, Wandsworth council announced that it had successfully bid for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to pay for the restoration of heritage features on Tooting Common.
Included in the bid is a grant to replace the 77 trees which line Chestnut Avenue, the path which runs from Dr Johnson Avenue, past the swings and slides, to the café on the common. 67 of the trees are 140 year-old horse chestnuts.
According to Wandsworth Council, 20 of these trees are suffering from bleeding canker disease, two are dead and two are terminally diseased. Of the remaining trees, 57 are healthy. According to arboreal experts, trees can and do recover from bleeding canker disease.
Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, said: “I am very concerned by Wandsworth Council’s plan to cut down 77 mature Chestnut trees on Tooting Common, 57 of which I understand are healthy. These trees are a local landmark and their removal would deprive a generation of the pleasures of a tree-lined avenue.
I am particularly concerned that, despite assurances that the Council would consult, no consultation has taken place. I am told that community groups were explicitly asked not to share the proposals with their members. Without consultation, this decision by the Council appears to be motivated more by the offer of external funding than by the need to replace the trees, which could be replaced over time from Council funds”.
On 15 February, Sadiq Khan launched a petition asking the Council to launch a full consultation prior to agreeing to remove any trees and wrote to the Council requesting further clarification of its proposals. He said: “as part of this consultation the Council should present residents with a range of options. These could include the replacement of the trees over time rather than in one go, as or when needed. It is vital that local residents hear the expert advice which supports each option, allowing them to make their own minds up.”
The Council’s current proposal is to begin removing the trees in November this year with work continuing until January 2017.
Councillor Jeremy Ambache speech to Wandsworth Council, January 27, 2016
An Ofsted report has found “weaknesses” in Wandsworth’s children’s services. At a special council meeting councillors were asked to approve £500,000 to re-shuffle top-tier managers in the department, without seeing the Ofsted report
My qualifications to talk on this subject are: I qualified as a child care social worker back in 1971; I spent over 30 years working with vulnerable children and adults up to the early 2000s in Social Work, Managerial and Director positions; I worked in eight different Local Authorities led by politicians of all the main political parties.
The responsibilities under the Children Act for vulnerable children are particularly onerous on staff and on the Local Authority. It takes great skill and effective management from all concerned to delivering the services to children looked after or in care, to ‘children in need’ and for child protection and safeguarding. Read More…