History of the
The Save Clapham Common Group was formed in 2009
in an attempt to get Lambeth Council to address the flaws in their proposed Clapham Gateway
scheme. The scheme is only possible if approved by TfL, who are
the funding party.
Before the group's formation, some of us had
little knowledge of the complexities of such a scheme, but as long
standing residents of Old Town, instinctively, we felt that certain
aspects of the Gateway were ill-thought out and unworkable.
Subsequently, our concerns turned out to be well-founded.
Yes, Cllr Haselden's vision of a bus free square is very attractive,
indeed many would say anywhere would look better without them, but it has wide and serious implications, the greatest of which, we
eventually came to learn, was how this would affect the bus service
by relocating the bus stop and stands. Was the council to ignore
the needs of the ever increasing numbers of those who use buses, for
not all have cars or can cycle? The Northern Line has already
reached saturation point at peak times, so Clapham Common tube
station is not always a good alternative.
TfL require that the current bus service to Old Town should be
maintained. To this end they have advised that funding is only
available if the buses remain in old town
The Cost so far.
So far, Lambeth has spent more than £250,000 on consultation fees
and it now seems, two years on, they are back to square one,
having offered us a "vision" that is not workable. Incredulously, the
bus free option was offered to us before Lambeth carried
out a survey, which when they did was found to be inaccurate,
underestimating the capacity needed by TfL.
So what happens now? (updated March 2012)
Despite claiming to be "The Co-operative Council" Lambeth have
held what cards it has left close to its chest, at least as far as
we and other members of the public are concerned. However, they have
now accepted that the original scheme does not meet Transport for
London's requirements to provide a good bus service to Old Town, so it
has been back to square one.
Lambeth's Steering Group and its members, who have been handpicked by Cllr Haselden
and to be like-minded met twice in 2011, In February and
March, though we understand it has met in January 2012, almost 12 months
after the previous meeting.
The Steering Group has been and remains unrepresentative - disability groups, for
example, have been excluded and so has as the highly knowledgeable
Clapham Transport Users Group. Appeals from various sources to make
the Steering Group more inclusive have been rejected by Cllr
Haselden who chairs it.
Kate Hoey MP, in particular, has worked hard to resolve the issues
over the project urging Lambeth to find a workable solution, but
despite this it seems that the Council had achieved little progress
until December 2011.
Lambeth Playing Dirty?
- An independent research company found
Lambeth's consultation questionnaire to be biased.
- The research company
also found Lambeth's bus survey (on which most of the design is based) to be inaccurate and unreliable.
- The research company found Lambeth's claim
that there is "no loss of overall parking" to be wrong -
There will be an overall loss of 300 metres of
evening and weekend parking.
- Lambeth accused us of misrepresentation in our
previous petition - the research
co found our material NOT so.
- Our first petition had over 1,100
signatures against buses being parked on The Pavement.
- Lambeth would not identify the four "lay"
members on the Lambeth Gateway Steering Committee.
- Lambeth have refused to let us see their
draft business plan for the proposed scheme.
You can read Lambeth's
negative reaction to the
first petition, along with our response, by
It makes disturbing reading.