Transport for London has delayed the next round of public consultation on the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf Bridge as it tries to trim the cost of the scheme, a City Hall committee has been told.
TfL has allocated £330 million to the walking and cycling scheme in its business plan.
Public consultation was due to open last month but has been delayed whilst TfL tries to tweak the scheme to try to keep the cost of the bridge within £330 million.
David Hughes, TfL’s investment delivery planning director, told the London Assembly budget & performance committee: “We’ve deferred the start of the consultation to allow further work on value engineering aspects of the scheme, going back looking at certain of the requirements around alignment [and] the navigation requirements of the Port of London to see if we can take out part of the cost before going to consultation.”
Alex Williams, TfL’s director of city planning, added: “We will seek contributions from the private sector to help deliver it” – but he warned that the amounts to be extracted from Canada Water developers British Land and Canary Wharf Group “are not going to be huge”.
Mr Hughes was unable to give Assembly members a new timetable for the next public consultation on the bridge.
Marking its 35th anniversary, the contemporary art organisation based in the heart of Southwark Park, known as CGP London (Cafe Gallery Projects) has changed its name to Southwark Park Galleries, comprising the Lake Gallery and Dilston Gallery.
Southwark Park Galleries is set across two contrasting venues: the Lake Gallery is a ‘white cube’ gallery with a community garden, while Dilston Gallery isa Grade 2 listed, cavernous deconsecrated church dating back to 1911.
Commenting on the name change, director Judith Carton said: “After 35 years situated in the heart of London’s beautiful Southwark Park, our trustees, team and gallery family have agreed that now is the time to rename the organisation to better reflect our identity and position within the art world, our unique location, and the longstanding value of the rich offer we provide our local community.
“We have grown from an artist collective and DIY project space into an internationally established centre for progressive commissioning and courageous public engagement, with our continued commitment to free access to cultural excellence for all.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has ‘taken over’ the controversial Biscuit Factory planning application from Southwark Council, with a final decision to be made during a public hearing at City Hall.
Earlier this year Southwark’s planning committee unanimously rejected the 1,300-home scheme put forward by the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor property firm for a development spanning the former Peek Freans biscuit factory and the old Scott Lidgett School site.
Southwark and Grosvenor failed to reach consensus on three key areas:
the cost of building the scheme
the expected level of rental income from the flats
the ongoing costs of managing the completed development
In his formal letter ‘taking over’ the planning application and granting himself the status of local planning authority, Sadiq Khan wrote:
“In making this decision, I must also have regard to targets identified in development plans. As set out in the attached report, I recognise that Southwark Council has taken a positive approach to approving new homes in the borough during the period 2014 to 2017, and is currently securing planning approval for additional housing just below target levels. Notwithstanding this, I note that the proportion of affordable housing secured relative to overall housing consented during this period is significantly below Southwark’s Local Plan target of 35% and represents a significant undersupply of affordable housing in the pipeline.
“Furthermore, and having regard to final delivery of new homes, I note that this is below Southwark’s target levels for both housing and affordable housing, and that this shortfall is particularly acute in the case of affordable housing.
“In my view the proposed development has potential to make an important contribution to housing and affordable housing supply in response to London Plan policies 3.3 and 3.11. Additionally, I am aware of the significant further planning considerations in this case which include but are not limited to; potential educational improvements, employment creation and public realm improvements. Having regard to the above, and noting the potential contribution of the proposed development, I wish to fully consider this case as the local planning authority.”
A date for the City Hall hearing has yet to be set.
This month Surrey Docks Farm started work on Phase 1 of its Riverfront Development, thanks to funding allocated by Southwark Council from levies on local developments. By the end of the year the farm will be offering a range of new and enhanced community facilities with stunning riverfront views looking across to Canary Wharf, providing new activity spaces, lettable rooms and outdoor areas all year round.
Architects PUP have designed the development and act as contract administrator; John Perkins Projects is the contractor; and Hollybrook Homes have kindly funded two cabins for the duration so the Farm can continue to run its education programmes and classes.
The farm’s River Room is being re-designed, upgraded, refitted and extended with a glass orangery to provide a quality, flexible, multi-use space for a wide range of uses – for schools’ programmes, classes, meetings, conferences, birthday parties and events. The adjacent three storey tower, burnt out in an arson attack over a decade ago, is being converted. On the ground floor: a Farm Kitchen providing a training resource for all ages promoting cooking with fresh produce, good diets and healthy eating and a catering resource for events held in the River Room. On the first floor: an office to accommodate the farm’s growing staff team. On the top floor: a calm, flexible activity space with a fine view overlooking the Thames – for meetings, arts and crafts and therapeutic sessions.
To complete the development, the farm is currently fundraising for Phase 2 to open up its river frontage in its unique setting by the Thames. Its new main entrance will then be through the gates onto the Thames Path where the public will be led along widened, paved entrances into the Farm and its new riverfront facilities. There will be new paving, landscaping and gardens providing a special space for sitting out and socialising and for community events. Gates and a retractable trellis fence will be installed to enable all the new riverfront facilities provided in Phase 1 to be available for evening classes as well as day time use by securing the rest of the Farm and its animals.
Cllr Johnson Situ, cabinet Member for growth, development and planning commented: “This is really good news for the borough’s only city farm. Here in Southwark Council we are delighted to have awarded the Farm one of the earliest Community Infrastructure Levy (CILs) amounts to enable them to make all these superb improvements. This award is a great example of the council’s refreshed approach to local CIL which will see the development of Community Investment Plans to support growth across the borough. As part of the award, the Farm will also contribute to Southwark being an Age Friendly borough with further opportunities for older and younger people alike as well as new inter-generational projects”.
Cllr Jasmin Ali, Cabinet Member for children’s and adult services commented: “Speaking personally, I cannot wait to bring my family down there to see the transformation. We have also granted the Farm a new 35 year lease at a charitable rent so that these new education and community resources are secured for the long term and the Farm can enhance and develop its special offers for residents”.
As the borough’s only city farm, with its gates open seven days a week and free entrance, the farm will provide its 50,000 visitors a year with an enhanced visitor experience and renewed opportunities to learn about and engage with all aspects of a working farm.
Businesses at the Blue will benefit from a share of a £170,000 funding pot – backed by Transport for London – for projects to reduce congestion and improve air quality.
The funding from TfL’s Healthy Streets Fund for Business will be matched by business improvement districts like the Blue Bermondsey.
In Bermondsey, the scheme will enable more cycling at the Blue marketplace by providing cargo bikes, storage spaces and other facilities to allow people to cycle to work. This will also allow traders to move more goods by bike.Z
Jack Shah, Chair of Blue Bermondsey Business Improvement District, said: “This is fantastic news for businesses at the Blue. This funding from TfL will be used to improve business cycling, including a shared cargo bike trial at the Blue, as well as better storage for market traders. Longer term, there is a huge opportunity for new cycle routes at the Blue which could link up along the Low Line with other areas such as London Bridge and Bankside.
“Business cargo bikes could use these routes for last mile zero emissions deliveries during weekday daytimes, to help reduce air pollution for our local communities. Residents and visitors could also enjoy cycling along the Low Line in the evenings and at weekends, bringing new customers to businesses at the Blue.”
Earlier this year Lambeth & Southwark London Assembly member Florence Eshalomi tabled this question to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan: “Many of my constituents are concerned about the daily overcrowding at Canada Water station and their safety when waiting for a train. What are you doing to address this?”
Mr Khan’s response has now been published by City Hall:
“The safety of customers and staff is always Transport for London’s (TfL) top priority, and TfL does all it can to ensure that customers travel safely at all times.
“Canada Water can get very busy, but staff are trained to carefully manage passenger flows at the station to ensure a safe travel environment and minimum inconvenience for customers. An additional Customer Service Supervisor is also available at the station just to concentrate on passenger flows during the AM peak.
“The London Overground currently provides a 16 trains per hour service in each direction and platform crowding is cleared as quickly as possible. TfL is also looking at a number of possible mitigation measures to help ease the crowding on escalators to the Jubilee line at Canada Water which we know can get particularly busy.
“Improvements are already addressing crowding along the Jubilee line. A timetable change in 2018 increased evening peak services between West Hampstead and North Greenwich. Jubilee line trains are now running a peak service for an extra two hours per day, easing congestion at key stations like Canary Wharf, Waterloo and Canada Water.
“TfL’s investment programme is playing a vital role in supporting London’s growth. Providing Londoners with a range of high-quality alternative travel options will also help ease crowding at key locations like Canada Water.
“For example, when the Elizabeth line opens, it will serve more than half a million customers a day and add 10 per cent more capacity in central London. It may also help ease crowding at Canada Water if passengers change at Whitechapel to get to onward destinations such as Canary Wharf, Stratford and the West End. TfL’s modernisation of signalling on vast parts of the Tube network, new and more frequent trains, and the upgrade of stations like Victoria, Bank and Elephant & Castle are also critical, to relieve pressure on the Tube, and enable London to meet growing demand. TfL is also investing record amounts in walking and cycling, to support efficient and healthy ways to get around the city and realise my vision of Healthy Streets for London.”
The council is currently running a public consultation (till 13 May) and Cllr Rebecca Lury – the deputy council leader whose portfolio includes parks – insisted at a recent overview & scrutiny committee meeting (video above) that no final decision to introduce charges has been made.
However, income from the new fees is included in the council’s budget for the current financial year.
Plans to close the London Overground ticket offices at Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays have been abandoned.
Rotherhithe councillors were among those who objected to the proposals which were also criticised by the London TravelWatch watchdog.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I am proud of the service the London Overground provides to hundreds of thousands of Londoners every day, and it is vital that we ensure stations across the network continue to operate in a way that best serves the needs of everyone travelling across the capital.
“Proposals were being considered that would have resulted in the permanent loss of 27 ticket offices. However, having listened closely to the views of passengers and to the hard-working staff working at our stations I have asked TfL to ensure that no ticket officers will be closed permanently, and the busiest ticket offices will remain open to passengers exactly as they do now.
“TfL will carry on working closely with Arriva Rail and transport staff to ensure any changes in how stations operate and the adoption of new technology truly has a beneficial impact for all the Londoners who rely on the service every day.”
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “This is a significant victory for RMT members at the front line of the London Overgroundservice who led the campaign to stop this ticket office carnage and jacked up the political pressure to reverse the cuts.
“It proves that trade union campaigning works.
“However we remain vigilant as in our experience once a package of cuts is proposed they remain an option in the longer term. Any backsliding will result in a new blast of pressure from this trade union and our national campaign to staff our stations and retain ticket offices continues.”
With a year to go, the partnership of Southwark Council, British Land and United St Saviour’s Charity has started awarding grants to local organisations for commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing.
Rotherhithe and North Southwark has a long seafaring and ship building history and was the place where Christopher Jones, the captain and part owner of the ship, and many of the crew of the Mayflower lived.
So far, part of the £140,000 programme has gone to such diverse projects as Club Herop’s photojournalism initiative, Bermondsey Artist Group’s two year community multi-media programme, the Illuminate Rotherhithe festival, Art in the Park’s schools programme, an intergenerational theatre piece run by London Bubble and a number of local historical talks and events.
Michael Daniels, President of Rotherhithe and Bermondsey Local History Society said he was delighted to be awarded a grant. He commented: ‘Our Local History Society organises illustrated monthly talks on fascinating subjects. During the summer of 2020 we will stage a mini-series of talks and walks about the Mayflower here in Rotherhithe’.
Naomi N Dibum, Project Manager at Club Herop said: ‘By receiving this grant, every young person will create a range of work that represents the learning of their peers and understand the relevance of the Mayflower narrative today and the difficulties faced by the migrants during their journey’.
Cllr Rebecca Lury, Deputy Leader of Southwark Council said she was really pleased by the range and quality of the applications received so far.
‘We have had a very impressive list of applicants, but the good news is we still have over £60,000 in grants to award as part of stage two and three. Therefore, I would encourage any local group, school or other interested party who have a project which is connected to the Mayflower, and use the application process on the Council’s website to apply for a grant’.
Sarah Thurman, Head of Community Investments, United St Saviour’s Charity said: ‘We are delighted to support eight exciting community led projects that celebrate the story of the Mayflower. United St Saviour’s was 80 years young when the Mayflower set sail from Rotherhithe, eventually for the New World. Now 400 years later, it is great to remember Southwark’s connection to the historic voyage with our partners Southwark Council and British Land’.
Eleanor Wright, Head of Community At Canada Water, at British Land said: ‘It was fantastic to see the first round bids and see the local Mayflower 2020 programme really taking shape. Congratulations to all the successful bids and thankyou everyone who took the time to submit entries’.