London’s deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander has confirmed that plans are in hand to extend the Santander Cycles bike hire scheme to SE16.

Ms Alexander was speaking at a London Assembly transport committee meeting held to probe the decision to halt the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge project.

Under questioning from Florence Eshalomi AM about the risk that Southwark is losing out on a number of transport infrastructure schemes, Ms Alexander said: “We are making significant progress on walking and cycling investments in Southwark and this part of London.

“Work has already started on Cycleway 4 which goes from Tower Bridge to Greenwich – and that will be extended to Woolwich.

“We’re also working with Southwark on a new cycle route from Rotherhithe to Peckham.

“I’ve asked TfL officers to accelerate their work to expand the Santander scheme further into Southwark, so that when we get this fantastic new cycleway built from Tower Bridge to Greenwich, further along that route you can get Santander docked bikes, because I know that is an aspiration that Southwark has.”

Southwark Council leader Peter John said last week: “We are also working with TfL on a programme to expand the Santander cycle hire scheme from London Bridge to the [Rotherhithe] peninsular, and this will be part of the cycle hire action plan presented to cabinet in the autumn.”

Southwark Council has launched a public consultation on the ‘Rotherhithe Movement Plan’, a three-pronged set of proposed changes to transport in the area.

The council is proposing to introduce a Rotherhithe and Surrey Docks controlled parking zone (CPZ), replace the Lower Road one way system with two-way traffic and build a new cycle route along Redriff Road and Salter Road.

More details are available at www.southwark.gov.uk/rotherhithemovementplan and in the three consultation pages:

The closing date for responses is 4 October.

Southwark Council is to buy the former Red Lion Boys’ Club in Hawkstone Road with the aim of developing new council homes on the site.

The now defunct boys’ club occupied a building that was previously a church on a prominent site near Surrey Quays Station.

The council believes that around 150 new homes could be created in two-tower development if adajcent land already in council ownership is included in the scheme.

The purchase was approved at Southwark’s cabinet last week, with Cllr Leo Pollak telling colleagues that the site has “really significant potential” for new council housing.

Cllr Pollak wrote: The former Red Lion Boys Club site not only creates an opportunity for significant numbers of new council homes but also creates the opportunity for the re-provision and expansion of the community hall for the benefit of the estate TRA as well as the wider community, which we will required as part of any brief for the site.”

The council made a previous attempt to purchase the site in 2015 but its £2.5 million bid was not accepted.

According to the council’s report on the proposed purchase, the site’s registration as an asset of community value under Localism Act has lapsed.

Firms in and around The Blue have voted to continue their Business Improvement District (BID) for a second term of five years.

The BID’s new mandate – that begins on 1 October – is based on the 2019 – 2024 Renewal Proposal.

Of 140 eligible businesses, 90 voted in favour of renewing the BID.

BIDs are funded by a levy on business rates which is then used for schemes to make the area a better place to trade.

Proposals to extend the historic China Hall pub in Lower Road to incorporate four flats have been vetoed by Southwark planning officers.

Owners Hamna Wakaf Ltd applied to Southwark Council to add side extensions and a mansard roof to the existing pub building.

In their decision notice, Southwark planners said: “The proposed development by virtue of its poor design, layout, scale and inappropriate materials would fail to respond positively to its surroundings.

“The inappropriate scale and design of the building would be an incongruous feature within the street scene which would adversely affect the character and appearance the surrounding area.”

The case officer’s report also noted that “the scheme does not provide sufficient mitigation measures to allow for the successful continued use of the pub”.

The China Hall has a 300-year history; learn more in this article by Andie Byrnes.

The pub is registered as an asset of community value (ACV) under the Localism Act.

Details of the planning application can be seen at 19/AP/0136

A graphic posted by Google to promote the launch of public transport ‘crowdedness predictions’ in Google Maps

Google is adding ‘crowdedness predictions’ for public transport on its Maps apps … and the company says that Canada Water is one of London’s most crowded stations and the Jubilee line is the most crowded line.

In a blog post Google explained: “Crowdedness predictions come from optional feedback directly from the people who use Google Maps. In fact, you may have received notifications asking about how crowded your subway, train, or bus ride was after navigating in transit mode. To learn more about how crowdedness levels vary around the world, we analyzed aggregated and anonymized reports of crowdedness from Google Maps users from October 2018 to June 2019 during peak commuting hours (6am – 10am), and identified which lines had the highest number of crowdedness reports. “

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan recently responded to concerns about the overcrowding at Canada Water, noting that the Elizabeth line could help free up capacity on the Jubilee line.

TfL is also bidding for Government funds to further upgrade the East London line – including a revamp for Surrey Quays Station – with a decision due in July.

Transport for London has announced that work will begin on 5 July on the construction of the £54 million cycleway between Tower Bridge and Greenwich via Jamaica Road.

Work is starting on the first section of Cycleway 4 between Tower Bridge and Rotherhithe Roundabout and includes new pedestrian crossings along Tooley Street and Jamaica Road and the overhaul of the Rotherhithe roundabout.

“I’m delighted that work is about to begin on this major new cycle route in south-east London,” said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

“High-quality segregated cycle routes greatly increase the numbers of people who feel confident cycling on our streets and with new pedestrian crossings along the route, road danger will be substantially reduced for thousands of pedestrians too.

“Boroughs like Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich really understand the huge benefits of investing in high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure. With record investment from TfL we will continue to work with boroughs who share our vision to tackle London’s inactivity crisis, reduce road danger, and get more people out of their cars and into cleaner greener forms of transport.”

Cllr Richard Livingstone, Southwark’s cabinet member for environment, transport and the climate emergency, said: “In Southwark we welcome this new addition to our growing network of cycleways.

“I hope that the introduction of segregated bike lanes and improved junctions will encourage even more people to get on their bikes and help to improve their health and happiness, and all of our air quality.”

Public consultation on the Lower Road section of the route is expected this summer.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Transport for London have halted work on the proposed walking and cycling bridge across the Thames at Rotherhithe after costs escalated.

Support for the bridge was included in Mr Khan’s manifesto at the 2016 mayoral election but the project has now been dropped.

News of the policy change was revealed in a letter from Heidi Alexander, deputy mayor for transport, to Florence Eshalomi, chair of the London Assembly transport committee.

“While the Mayor is investing hundreds of millions of pounds enabling more walking and cycling in East London, the estimated cost of this project has now increased to around half a billion pounds,” said a spokesman for the Mayor.

“TfL have used all of their expertise to try and lower the costs of a viable new bridge at this site, but it would now cost substantially more than the money allocated in the Business Plan. Pausing work is now the sensible and responsible thing to do to protect the London taxpayer.

“TfL are now exploring options for a new fast ferry at the site that can be used by cyclists and pedestrians, and we continue to use the record amounts being invested in Healthy Streets to make walking and cycling easier and safer across the capital.”

Last month we reported that TfL was trying to cut the cost of the scheme.

Responding to the news, Florence Eshalomi AM said: “This announcement will be hugely disappointing for Southwark residents who have been enthusiastically supportive of TfL’s plans for the crossing.

“With such a major infrastructure project now on hold, which would be vital to boosting our local economy and opening up our city’s transport links to cyclists and pedestrians, I will be writing to TfL, alongside local councillors, to ask for answers on how the projected costs have risen so significantly.

“This a financial decision, so it must also be remembered that TfL have been placed in an incredibly difficult situation with the Government taking the reckless decision to remove £700 million a year on average from their budget. As result, TfL has now become one of the only transport authorities in the world not to receive a Government operational grant for day-to-day running costs”.

Southwark Council leader Peter John tweeted: “We will be challenging TfL on this proposed decision and asking tough questions about why a Mayoral pledge can so easily be cast aside.”

The Rotherhithe & Bermondsey Local History Society has named its first two speakers for next year’s Mayflower 400 London Lectures – barely a month after hearing it had received funding for the talks. And they are two of the world’s leading authorities on the subject.

Society president Michael Daniels has announced that Adrian Gray and Nick Bunker which begin the series of events which it is planning for summer and autumn 2020.

The talks and walks will commemorate the 400th anniversary of The Mayflower’s departure from Rotherhithe, the home port and final resting place of the ship and her master.

The five talks are to be staged chronologically, so these first two speakers will provide the context and background to the voyage.

The Long Search for Freedom, on 27 May 2020, is to focus on a group of people from the Midlands and what drove them to embark on an extraordinary voyage across the Atlantic, creating both history and a major step towards religious freedom in the process.

Seafarers, Puritans and Beaver Hats, on 24 June 2020, will provide an insight into how the voyage was financed by trade and negotiations in the City of London.

“Adrian and Nick are two of the most prominent historians in the Mayflower world, and we are delighted that they are coming to share their expert knowledge with us here in Rotherhithe,” said Michael Daniels.

“Their talks will provide a unique opportunity to discover the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of the famous voyage, and many of the themes they will explore are likely to be as relevant today as they were 400 years ago.”

Rita Cruise O’Brien (co-director, Mayflower 400 London Lectures) added: “Adrian Gray is an expert local historian from the Nottinghamshire/Lincolnshire area and will talk of the history of the Trent Valley where the pilgrims first started their journey into exile in Holland in 1607. He will trace the origins of the separatist movement and the long story of non-conformism in this part of England.

“Nick Bunker is author of Making Haste from Babylon, the most outstanding modern book on the pilgrim story. He will consider the role of trade and finance in maritime London and the origins of the Mayflower project. His talk will include his fascinating research which uncovered the significance of the beaver trade in the making of the Plymouth Colony.”

The talks will take place in Rotherhithe and will be open to everyone at affordable admission fees. Further speakers to be announced.

The series is funded by the Southwark Mayflower 400 Grants Fund.