350 new bicycles for hire have appeared on the streets of Southwark this week, with many of them in SE16.
Unlike TfL’s Santander Cycles (aka ‘Boris bikes’), Mobike and ofo bikes can be hired and parked anywhere, not just at designated docking stations.
Although Mobike and ofo bikes operate across the borough, the initial launch has been focussed on Rotherhithe and Camberwell, two areas beyond the reach of the Santander Cycles scheme.
The two rival firms joined forces for a launch event in Deal Porter Square at Canada Water on Monday morning.
Mobike has brought 150 bikes to Southwark whilst ofo has launched with 200 bikes. Both firms charge 50p for half an hour’s use. Bikes can be unlocked using iOS and Android apps.
Southwark Labour’s 2014 manifesto included a pledge to “work with the Mayor to extend Bike
Hire across the borough” and this latest initiative comes less than two months before the next local elections.
Oddly, the council’s own performance report for 2014/15 to 2017/18 – approved by cabinet this week – says that “We continue to work with TfL and other partners to extend the bike hire scheme to more parts of Southwark, with plans to extend the scheme from Rotherhithe to Peckham announced this year.”
However, no announcement of any TfL-backed bike hire expansion in Southwark has yet been made.
We asked Cllr Ian Wingfield – Southwark’s cabinet member for environment and the public realm – whether the council had given up on bringing Santander Cycles to SE16 at Monday’s launch event. Hear his answer here:
This week Southwark Council agreed to move forward with its development agreement with British Land for the Canada Water development, including the sites of Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, the former Harmsworth Quays printworks, the Mast Leisure Park, the old dock offices and the former Rotherhithe Police Station.
Up to 6,500 vehicles a day could be breaking the width restrictions in the Rotherhithe Tunnel, according to Transport for London. Around 30,000 vehicles use the tunnel each day.
TfL this week wrote to local people reminding them that vehicles more than two metres (six foot six inches) wide are not permitted through the Rotherhithe Tunnel.
Wide vehicles, generally vans or bigger, were banned from the tunnel in 2012.
Glynn Barton, TfL’s Director of Network Management, said: “These restrictions are in place for very important reasons. This tunnel is more than a century old and was not designed for these types of vehicle so vans and wider vehicles risk colliding inside it, increasing road danger and disruption in the area.
“We brought these restrictions in six years ago and we are reminding Londoners that they are there and why they are so important.”
TfL has identified that up to 6,500 vehicles wider than the restrictions could be entering the tunnel every day, despite the signage on all approaches highlighting the restrictions.
Vehicles that use the tunnel illegally risk receiving a fine of £50 or prosecution.
Drivers restricted from the Rotherhithe Tunnel should use Tower Bridge or the Blackwall Tunnel – both of which are outside of the Congestion Charge.
Southwark Council is to make a formal decision on its development agreement with British Land at Canada Water before the local elections.
Giving formal notice that the decision will be rescheduled for Southwark’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday 13 March, the council says:
It is likely that it would not be appropriate for this decision to be taken during the pre-election period and would therefore need to be taken in May at the earliest.
It would however not be in the council’s commercial interest to delay the decision until then. The council’s potential partner is incurring significant cost in progressing the project.
Further delay will increase costs and project risk, which is likely to encourage them to renegotiate terms.
A decision is therefore sought at the earliest opportunity.
The decision relates to the council’s interest as landowner of some of the land at Canada Water to be redevelopment under the masterplan drawn up by British Land and is separate from the decision-making process on future planning applications.
The first of a number of new Relish wireless broadband masts have been installed on council-owned buildings in Rotherhithe as part of the ongoing efforts to tackle the poor speeds experienced by fixed-line broadband users in SE16.
The council has signed a number of lease agreements with broadband provider Relish, enabling them to install wireless aerials on residential council buildings, which will deliver up to 40Mb broadband speeds across 70 per cent of the borough.
Cllr Fiona Colley, Cabinet Member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance, said: “We are delighted that more people can now access superfast broadband, particularly in Rotherhithe where the issue has been so acute.
“The rollout of wireless aerials is just one step in the council’s commitment to improve connectivity for residents and make Southwark a truly digital borough.
“Our ultimate long-term goal is a full rollout of fibre optic broadband across the borough and we have already made a start by submitting a joint bid with TfL, the GLA and several other local authorities for funding from central government, as part of a national £200m challenge fund for broadband projects.
“If successful, the funding will be used in Southwark to improve digital connectivity in areas of the borough with poor broadband speeds, particularly in the Rotherhithe peninsula.”
In total, 23 new aerials and masts have been approved for installation across the borough, including four in Rotherhithe, with half already delivering Relish’s wireless broadband service.
Anyone can check if their home can be connected to Relish by using their online postcode checker at www.relish.net
The current long-term gas works in Lower Road will be suspended between Monday 26 February and Monday 5 March whilst the road is reinstated for ‘The Big Half’ marathon on Sunday 4 March.
“It is very difficult at this stage to say what phase of our work we will be at when we come to suspend, because we are currently experiencing a number of engineering difficulties that are causing some delays,” said Dan Edwards of Southern Gas Networks.
“We are doing all we can to overcome these as quickly and safely as possible, however as a result we are running slightly behind schedule.
“We will still be working extended hours to complete our work as safely and quickly as possible.
“We are mindful of those people who live in the area, and will try to keep noisy activity to a minimum where possible.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launched a new £45 million Young Londoners Fund while visiting the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey this week.
“Salmon has been reaching out to young people in inner city London for over a hundred years,” said Sam Adofo, Director of the Salmon Youth Centre.
“We believe every young person has potential and we work intensively to inspire young people to reach this potential by improving their Health & Wellbeing, involving them in positive Community Engagement, and preparing them for Education and Work. We very much welcome The Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund as it means youth centres like ours will be able to continue the work we do and impact many more young lives.”
19-year-old youth work apprentice Gabrielle Famobio said: “I’ve been coming to Salmon since I was 7 years old. Salmon is an amazing place. I’ve grown so much here, I’ve learnt so much, and most recently I’ve become an Apprentice here. I really don’t know where I would be without Salmon – I probably won’t have a job, income, or even a home! The staff here are like family to me and I love the young people and the work I do here as an apprentice.“
The Night Overground service on the East London line will be expanded next weekend as services extend north to Canonbury and Highbury & Islington stations from Friday 23 February.
The new service will link the Night Overground to the overnight service on Victoria line for the first time .
The Night Overground has run on Friday and Saturday nights between Dalston Junction and New Cross Gate since December last year.
TfL says that already more than 35,000 journeys have been made on the route.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Following our hugely successful launch of the Night Tube, I’m delighted that we will be able to extend the Night Overground service to help even more Londoners.
“This extension will connect the Night Overground to the Night Tube. These night-time services are providing a huge boost to our economy and a safe and reliable way for people to travel across the capital, helping all those working hard during the night or out enjoying everything the capital’s nightlife has to offer.”