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There’s no doubt about how strongly we feel in West Norwood and Tulse Hill about the proposed Parliamentary boundary changes which will split our neighbourhood between two constituencies.  The screen grab of the Boundary Commission’s visual display of comments received says it all.  More below.
Dear Neighbour,

...continuing from box above… Final date for comments was Monday, but you can go here and use filters to view local comments which are so far on-line; however, as of today’s date many comments can’t be found, hopefully these will be uploaded soon.  NAG’s you can find here.   
 
It’s been said that splitting West Norwood down Norwood Road will make little difference as we will all still be under Lambeth Council administration.  If MPs had no involvement in local affairs, that might be true, but they play a key role, or should do.
 
We share systems of infrastructure and community to the north, not with the constituency over the hill to the south Croydon North, who’s current MP is Steve Reed.  Mr Reed was leader of Lambeth Council, so he at least has some local knowledge.  However, he or a successor will be obliged to focus on the 90% of the new constituency of Norwood & Thornton Heath which has completely different infrastructure centres for key services such as transport, hospitals and schools.
 
MPs should play a major role in holding local government and infrastructure providers to task, and assisting holistic planning.  No comments have been seen or heard supporting the carving-up of Dulwich & West Norwood constituency.
 
Fatality at Tulse Hill on Monday morning
Tragically a young woman was struck by more than one vehicle close to Ladbroke’s at about 6:45am on Monday 11th December and died from her injuries.  The vehicles failed to stop, so police ask that if anyone has any information that will assist them to please make contact.  With so many surveillance cameras, it’s likely they will be identified.  Our hearts go out to the lady’s family and friends.
 
Royal Mail strike off
The planned strike against staff and pensions cuts, and greatly increased workloads has been called-off but may be back in the new year.  West Norwood office reports days of 5 staff to do 11 walks.  No news regarding a RM decision on closure or saving of our local office.
 
Floral Hall roof
With massive scaffold and canopy, it looks like Floral Hall is gaining another storey.  Not so, just a complete new roof.  The original is beyond repair at just 23 years of age.
 
St Luke’s clock
…is contentedly ticking away with restored works and faces.  Everyone says how pleased they are, so don’t be disappointed when it is stopped for a week or two while mobile phone masts are installed in the tower.  Ancient and modern of a different kind.
 
One of the benefactors who helped fund the work is West Norwood’s oldest property business – Lower Norwood Co-operative Building Co Ltd, established 1862.  Their mission was to build housing for those of little means.  Working people could buy their home for a weekly sum, a forerunner of mortgages.  The original mission was to extend their work to ‘within two miles ride by carriage from St Luke’s clock tower’, hence LNCBC’s link to the clock and their desire to see it restored and enhance the church and town once more.
 
Would you like the clock to speak again?
Due to the overwhelming popularity of the clock restoration, reinstallation of tolling the hour or chimes is a possibility.  This may be controversial, so please take a few seconds to vote.
 

Do you favour?
Chimes 'round the clock' 
Restricted chimes (maybe 8am till 8pm)
No chimes at all!


If you favour chimes, be prepared to put your hand in your pocket to help fund the work!  Depending on the outcome of this poll, we will follow-up with an in-depth poll to establish reader preferences on options for the sound and detail.
 
Result of our last poll
November newsletter we asked what you think of the tone of NAG newsletters, drumroll…
 

Members who voted:
Too Acerbic                                                      4%
Not Sharp Enough                                          23%
Just Right                                                        73%
How good is the newsletter overall ‘8 to 10’   100%
 
Followers who voted:
Too Acerbic                                                    21%
Not Sharp Enough                                            6%
Just Right                                                        73%
How good is the newsletter overall ‘2 to 4’       8%
How good is the newsletter overall ‘7 to 10’   92%

 
It seems like an endorsement of current style but we will be mindful of other views.
 
Nextdoor
This ‘social network’ is again promoting locally.  It collects personal data and their use of it is controversial.  You won’t be anonymous for sure. 
Click here for Wiki overview
 
Tulse Hill gyratory latest
Streetworks recently had an update meeting.  Due to TfL cutbacks, the timeline has definitely slipped a year with consultation on designs in 2019, completion in 2022 IF not cancelled altogether.  Those close to the project are confident it will go ahead.  However, the business case is challenging with much of the benefit relying on costed intangibles, such as ‘better environment’.  Other cases are easier to cost justify by selling land released for development as is likely at Vauxhall gyratory, but not here.
 
The aspirations of better and safe pedestrian access to ‘the island’, reduced polution, improved retail offer and street scene, safer road conditions (particularly for cyclists) are all to be welcomed, but it’s not assured that converting to two-way is the best way of achieving this.  Two-way working with more traffic lights will reduce the capacity of the junction for road traffic.  In the short-term this will mean longer traffic queues and more pollution.  The theory says that longer term, congestion will drive traffic off the road onto public transport, and improving vehicle technology will also help to reduce pollution.
 
An alternative could be retaining the gyratory but with severe traffic speed control to stop the race circuit mentality of some drivers and bring speeds right down to the general 20mph limit, and greatly improved pedestrian crossings. 
Click here for the current stage of planning which will be costed and interrogated by traffic modelling.
 
Other Streetworks
The section of Norwood Road outside Ira Court was narrowed following community engagement with Streetworks.  The outcome has not been good with cyclists being particularly vulnerable.  Funds are now in place to widen the road!  This emphasises the importance of getting Tulse Hill gyratory right first time.  At a cost of £5mill we will be saddled with the result for years to come (the gyratory has been there about 40 years).
 
The pedestrian crossing close to Harpenden Road (due to be installed in January) is another controversial plan.  The mature tree outside Jackie Brown has already been cut down, and it will be no entry into Harpenden Road. Some residents and businesses say they have not been consulted, there will be access problems, and say the crossing will be in the wrong place.  Others don’t agree.  Improvements to the street scene are promised with benches and 20 new trees in the locality.
 
20mph limit
More than one email has been received commenting on the non-adherence of almost all traffic (including some cyclists!) to the borough-wide 20mph limit (excepting the South Circular, still at 30mph).  Buses can be among the more aggressive drivers now and drive as fast as conditions allow (timetables have not changed).  Policy is that 20mph limits should be ‘self-enforcing’ and there is little police action, so it’s up to driver conscience and road conditions.  However, subjective observations suggests that road speed of most drivers is lower than before, typically around 25-30mph on main roads when free-flowing, and less on side roads.
 
Borough-wide Controlled Parking Zone
We have reported on Lambeth’s Equality Streets policy directives including borough-wide CPZ.  This is contrary to long standing commitments that CPZs would only be introduced where supported by the neighbourhoods.  We are now told by councillors that the borough-wide plan is no longer supported.  We await official pronouncement.
 
Lambeth is a tall thin borough.  Parking necessities at the northern end within central London going up to the Thames are very different to those in suburban West Norwood.  We hope local councillors, officers and cabinet will be responsive to our preferences.
 
Norwood Road parking…
…is to be removed between Chestnut Road and Chatsworth Way, but only after all the issues on Waylett Place car park are resolved and the parking reconfigured.
 
Quietway 7
…continues to be controversial.  Dalmore Road residents, who will experience knock-on effects, enjoyed a closed meeting with councillors.  Other roads will be similarly affected and many believe that the area should be looked at holistically.    
 
Scoot Loop
Those with long memories may recall the Scoot Loop system installed at Robson Road lights in 2015.  This system is managed by live data to vary traffic light timings to balance flows and queues.  This has not been activated as it awaits modifications to the lights at Lancaster Avenue and Leigham Vale so that all these lights are within the system.  It is hoped that this will become operational in March.
 
Commemoration of violent, tragic myth
The modern sculpture of Oedipus and Jocasta by David McFall was to be repositioned during the present conversion of Nettlefold Hall and Library to Picturehouse and Library.  It is to be left in its current location as the base is feared too weak to withstand moving.  A truly powerful work in French limestone by one of the great sculptors of the 20th century.  West Norwood is unlikely to blessed by such a gift again. 
The myth.
 
Correspondence to
info@norwoodactiongroup.org
Due to a technical hitch, most of the emails sent to us during the last year had not been seen, so not responded to till recently.  We have largely caught up, but if you are still awaiting a reply, please resend your request just in case it’s slipped through the net.  Our apologies.  Your comments are welcomed.
 
Friends of Tivoli Park
Has secured £50,000 from Heritage Lottery Fund for improvements to the park and Knight’s Hill Wood, on either side of the upper end of Knight’s Hill
click here and here.  This Saturday they’re seeking helpers for tree planting click here.
 
West Norwood Christmas Lights
The Station to Station BID team organised the Christmas tree at St Luke’s this year and are to congratulated on a much more attractive and seasonal scene.  Next year they will be organising the street lights too, so we look forward to that.
 
Knollys Goods Yard – KIBA or residential?
This triangle of old railway land between three train tracks has been industrial for many years.  It has single point access via a low railway bridge at Cameron Place.  Because of limited access the industrial use has also been limited.  Lambeth Council wish to designate it as a Key Industrial and Business Area (KIBA) to secure it for long-term employment use.  Private developers hope to persuade the council not to designate it but instead approve their plans to improve the access and build a mixed development of business and 200+ homes.  These plans are at an early stage.
Click here and enter 16/04089 in the search box to view the application to improve access.  So far there are 15 comments, one neutral, the others objecting.  Fear of the proposed development seems to be the main theme.  If you wish to make a comment to developers and / or councillors about the future use of the site click here.
 
Knowles news
The latest from Knowles of Norwood is that the premises beside them is to be a wine bar / café at the front, with other use to the rear.  They say they has been a power supply problem but expect to be fitting-out in January for a February opening.
 
‘Phone kiosk’ news…
…all local ones turned down by Lambeth.  May go to appeal.  If you’re curious about this rash of phoney phone kiosks go to
Lambeth Planning and put G24 in the search box – like a one armed bandit paying out!
 
Very satisfying attendance at Norwood Planning Assembly meeting
NPA held its first meeting in a long time, putting a lot of work into promoting it, including door-to-door flyers.  Flyers work!  Over 100 people attended a packed meeting.  The meeting updated on NPA progress then moved on to a presentation by Greencourt Property about its plans for the large brownfield Brooks Laundry site (extensively covered in
November NAG newsletter).
 
The plans, such as they are, showed little more than at the October box-ticking seemingly faux consultation.  However, we were assured that views would be taken into account in the final plans prepared for planning approval.  It was pointed out that Lambeth recommends that developers should have a dialogue with the community at the earliest stages; tweaking a few details at the end is not ‘working with the community’ on this important site.
 
The key speaker for Greencourt said that he was 80% sure that they would be the actual developer if planning consent granted.   At the Fire Station, after planning consent the property was sold-on to an actual developer.  If selling-on, Greencourt might only be concerned with plans just adequate for approval rather than a determination to secure a good result for our neighbourhood.
 
As it will have an impact on West Norwood for decades to come, we hope that planning officers and councillors insist on achieving the high standards and aspirations that are currently formal policy for Site 18.
 
Meanwhile it’s rumoured that the front of Site 18 facing onto Norwood Road has almost been ‘assembled’ for unified redevelopment by a different group.
 
The meeting then became a workshop (or charrette) where all could have input into formulating NPA policy and Site 18 comments.  The consensus was that the Brooks Laundry plans were of a low order and not attempting to meet expectations.  The lack of parking was of great concern but is said to be in-line with Lambeth policy to disincentivise driving.  There was also a wish for the Norwood Road frontage do be redeveloped to a high standard.
 
Old College site at Chapel Road
An outline planning application is now in to Lambeth on pretty much the lines as exhibited earlier in the year.  Architecturally it is cleverly devised and offers ground floor cash and carry, offices for rent above, plus 24 flats.  As always, the devil is in the detail, also it is in conflict with the KIBA policies of no residential, nor any activity that could impact the amenity of the area.  It’s unlikely that Lambeth will approve this scheme, but no doubt the owner hopes he will ‘get lucky at appeal.  This is unlikely too.  To learn more go
here and put 17/04472 in the search box, or here to read NAG and Forum’s joint objection.

In the meantime Norwood Champion Cllr Fred Cowell is investigating temporary uses of the site.  We might suggest something more permanent: a Compulsory Purchase Order for a primary school, especially if the adjoining derelict Norwood Mailing building is combined. With all the residential development underway and pending in our neighbourhood, we will very soon be desperate for primary capacity.  Also, a school would provide more employment than almost any other use of the site.
 
Portico Singers…
…welcome new members. 
Click here.
 
Some Christmas events

Carols 4all at All Saints Church this Saturday 16th.  A traditional family carol service.
South London Theatre Great Christmas Vaudeville Extravaganza ends this Saturday.
Christmas Ceilidh at The Portico this Friday 15th at 7pm.  A great band plus good food and drink.
Pensioner Group Christmas Lunch on Tuesday 19th, if you’d like to join the festivities,
send an email
 

The team wish all NAG members and newsletter readers a very cheery Christmas and an excellent New Year.
 
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