It’s all happening at Windsor Walk

The construction works on Windsor Walk, running north of Denmark Hill station (see our post of June 2020) are in full swing.

There’s big activity both sides of this narrow street.

Updating The Maudsley

On the north, the rebuild of Douglas Bennet House  –  a major upgrade by the Maudsley Hospital, part of the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust  –  shows infrastructure works progressing fast, within the challenges of a tightly constrained site.  Ready-mix concrete for pouring the supporting structures has to be airlifted into the site from Windsor Walk.

Preparing for the air lift

Scheduled to open in 2023, the new facility will house inpatient services previously delivered in outdated facilities at the now redundant Lambeth Hospital.

That site, on Landor Road, Stockwell, will be redeveloped for housing  –  tower blocks, inevitably, to the distress of local residents.   See also the report in Brixton Buzz.

We can see an architects’ design of the new hospital building on Windsor Walk.

Denmark Hill Station

Across the street, meanwhile, the expansion of Denmark Hill Station is also a very active site.

The £7.5m upgrade  of this busy station will open up a much-needed new entrance/exit that will greatly ease the overcrowding that has caused concern in the past, as traffic at the station has grown exponentially. Indeed, passenger numbers at the station have tripled in the last fifteen years, with the expansion of King’s and the Maudsley and the introduction of London Overground.

It is due to be finished in July/August this year.

Not The Great Escape: Digging deep – major tunnelling project south of Ruskin Park

This is a National Grid project, stretching over several years and representing an investment of over £1 billion.

Phase 1 was a seven-year, £1 billion programme, to build 32km of tunnels and two new substations across North London.

Now Phase 2, “London Power Tunnels 2” relates to south London and will see the replacement of existing electricity cables in South London which are coming towards the end of their useful life, the majority of which are buried beneath the road network.

It involves building a new network of cable tunnels, 32.5km in length, between Wimbledon (via Lambeth and Old Kent Road) and Crayford. The local stretch of this long tunnel runs deep under Coldharbour Lane. The Bengeworth Road tunnelling project is designed to connect the substations and other installations on the Bengeworth Road site to this main cross-London tunnel. The operations on the Bengeworth Road site are the responsibility of UK Power Networks, who are infrastructure operators: they own and maintain electricity cables and lines across London, the South East and East of England.

To upgrade the connections between the UK Power Networks installations at Bengeworth and the main National Grid, their contractors need to tunnel down to build a shaft at Bengeworth Road to connect to the main tunnel under Coldharbour Lane. Tunnelling works are due to start in the second half of 2021, and once complete (likely in 2022), a new substation and headhouse (to access the shaft for maintenance purposes) will be installed on the site in 2023 and 2024.

Bengeworth Road is the access route to (and also the name of) a large industrial site occupied by UK Power Networks. It is squeezed between the side of King’s College Hospital , the residential streets east of Cambria Road, and Southwell Street. It borders on the railway line, which separates it from Ruskin Park. See map below.

The residents’ concerns about the impact of this major project include the impact of noise and disruption during the tunnelling and the building of new, taller infrastructures that might permanently dominate their sightlines and deprive them of light. Meetings have been held with residents and attended by our MP Helen Hayes and representatives of Lambeth Council. Consultations are ongoing.
It seems clear that the project cannot be stopped, so the issues are about mitigation.

Planning Permission in the usual way is not required because the project is classified as a Permitted Development – a legal category which seems to have some ambiguous rules and different interpretations. But there may still be ways to challenge certain aspects of the plans, and local planning experts are examining these at the moment. The Loughborough Junction Action Group and the Herne Hill Society are involved in the consultations and the campaign.

All the documents relating to the formal application for Permitted Development can be found on Lambeth’s planning website by keying in reference 20/04417/LDCP or clicking here.

Rescuing orphaned bikes

We’ve just heard from one of our Councillors, Becca Thackray, about a new initiative to collect, reclaim or recycle (ha ha) abandoned bikes.

Next week a team will be going out to tag abandoned bikes in the borough. Residents are given two weeks to move the bikes and if they have not been moved, they are collected by the Street Care team. The bikes will then be offered to upCYCLE, who will use them to teach young residents bike maintenance skills. Those that are beyond saving will be taken for recycling.

Not abandoned?

 

If we are aware of any abandoned bikes in our ward, we are asked to let the team know by emailing cycling@lambeth.gov.uk with the location and a description by 5pm 2 February and the bikes will be added to the list.

The bikes that have been reported to date can be found on this map.

 

 

New Lives for Fallen Branches

Yes, Brockwell Park is bigger and offers perhaps more scenic variety, but Ruskin Park is closer. Those of us who live in this quarter of Herne Hill are doubly blessed.

But Ruskin Park has one (so far) unique detail. The massive fallen branch of the Turkey Oak which looms at the bottom corner of the park near Finsen Road has been granted a new life by the Friends of Ruskin Park, who engaged the artist Morganico to work on it, producing a wealth of carved three-dimensional designs – a whale, squirrel, acorns, oak leaves and even a seat and a recess for your coffee cup (though of course we are not supposed to sit down anywhere in public parks at the moment). Children love it, everyone stops to admire it.

Carved oak branch: detail

You can read a full article about this project, which also features the artist, in the next issue of Herne Hill magazine hopefully out next month. Covid permitting, those joining the Herne Hill Society now (a mere £10) will be sure of getting a copy delivered to them.

Meanwhile the Brockwell Park urban forest are not far behind.

They too have a great and ancient oak tree, albeit of a different species, which has also lost a significant branch. There are now plans to make that branch, too, come alive with carvings by the same artist – all subject to a host of necessary permissions and approvals of course. Undoubtedly some money is needed.

Brockwell’s Oak and fallen branch

When complete, this new carved bench will be dedicated to all those we have lost during the pandemic & work towards improving mental health for the local community and all visitors to the park.

There is now a funding campaign to help this project along, which can be seen at  GoFundMe.

 

The Nottingham Knockers scam

Who are they?

Nottingham Knockers (that’s where it started, apparently, but it’s a generic name) are usually young men who go door to door, selling household products. They are dropped off early in the morning in a particular location by a large van and are then transported around that area throughout the day until approx 2100hrs.

They will offer to show you ID which will likely be ‘Hawkers Work Creation’ and say they have just been released from prison. This company does not actually exist and is purely a laminated piece of card with their picture on. They will be carrying a large holdall style bag which contains various household items at high prices and will try and hard sell to make more money. They will also tell you about how they are trying to make a better life.

Police all across the country regularly receive calls from the public, who state that upon declining the products, they have been subjected to verbal abuse and threats to cause criminal damage from the sellers. Police have carried out stop checks and the people involved have been identified.

Police advice

If you do experience any verbal abuse and feel intimidated, please call 101 and tell the police what was said, and a description of the person.

Tier 4 Rules

We thought it might be useful to flag up the latest government rules, issued last night, about how we’re supposed to behave under the new Tier 4 rules

Sorry this is rather long. What follows are lifted from the Department of Health Guidelines. The full guidance can be seen here.

Summary

“If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must follow the rules below from Sunday 20 December. This means that you cannot meet other people indoors, including over the Christmas period, unless you live with them, or they are part of your existing support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household. These rules will not be relaxed for Christmas.”

Stay at home

You must not leave or be outside of your home except for where you have a specific purpose, or a ‘reasonable excuse’. A reasonable excuse includes:

Work and volunteering

You can leave home for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes).

Essential activities

You can leave home to buy things at shops which are permitted to open in your area, but you should stay local. For instance you can leave home to buy food or medicine, or to collect any items – including food or drink – ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, to obtain or deposit money (e.g. from a bank or post office), or to access critical public services (see section below).

Italy has some of the toughest restrictions – effectively a national lockdown for much of the holiday period. The entire country will be subject to “red zone” restrictions, meaning people will be allowed to leave their homes only to work, buy essentials or attend medical appointments.

Fulfilling legal obligations

You may also leave home to fulfil legal obligations, or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or vote in certain elections taking place overseas.

Education and childcare

You can leave home for education (formal provision, rather than extracurricular classes such as music or drama tuition, or out of school settings) or training, registered childcare and supervised activities for children that are necessary to allow parents/carers to work, seek work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment. Parents can still take their children to school, and people can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart. This includes childcare bubbles.

Meeting others and care

1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it.

You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble, or to provide informal childcare for children aged 13 and under as part of a childcare bubble, to provide care for vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked after child.

Exercise and recreation

People can also exercise outdoors or visit some public outdoor places, such as parks, the countryside, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities. You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with your household, support bubble, or one other person.

Medical reasons, harm and compassionate visits

You can leave home for any medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies, to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse), or for animal welfare reasons – such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.

You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.

Meeting others safely

In general, you must not meet with another person socially or undertake any activities with another person. However, you can exercise or meet in a public outdoor place with people you live with, your support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person.

You should minimise time spent outside your home. When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household – meaning the people you live with – or your support bubble. Where this is not possible, stay 1 metre apart with extra precautions (e.g. wearing a face covering).

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

You can exercise or visit a public outdoor place

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with,
  • with your support bubble,
  • or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household.

Children under 5, and up to two carers for a person with a disability who needs continuous care are not counted towards the outdoors gatherings limit.

Public outdoor places include:

  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • allotments
  • the grounds of a heritage site
  • outdoor sports courts and facilities
  • playgrounds

You cannot meet people in a private garden, unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.

You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops or places of worship where these remain open, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law. Read guidance on face coverings.

Support and childcare bubbles

There is separate guidance for support bubbles and childcare bubbles across all tiers. You can form a support bubble with another household if any of the following apply to you:

  • you are the only adult in your household (any other members of the household having been under 18 on 12 June 2020), or are an under 18 year old living without any adults
  • you live with someone with a disability who requires continuous care and there is no other adult living in the household
  • you live with a child under 1, or who was under 1 on 2 December 2020
  • you live with a child under 5, or who was under 5 on 2 December 2020, with a disability

You may need to change your support bubble if your circumstances change. Find out more about changing your support bubble.

Where and when you can meet in larger groups

There are still circumstances in which you are allowed to meet others from outside your household or support bubble in larger groups, but this should not be for socialising and only for permitted purposes. A full list of these circumstances will be included in the regulations, and includes:

  • for work, or providing voluntary or charitable services. This includes picketing outside workplaces. This can include work in other people’s homes where necessary – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople. See guidance on working safely in other people’s homes). Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not – for example, although you can meet a personal trainer, you should do so in a public outdoor public place.
  • in a childcare bubble(for the purposes of childcare only)
  • for registered childcare, or for supervised activities for children where this enables a parent to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for respite care
  • education or training – meaning education related to a formal curriculum or training that relates to work or obtaining work
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • for birth partners
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to see someone who is dying
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • for gatherings within criminal justice accommodation or immigration detention centres
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable, or to provide respite for a carer
  • for a wedding or equivalent ceremony in exceptional circumstances, as set out below.
  • for funerals – up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to 6.
  • to visit someone at home who is dying, or to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment
  • for elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) to compete and train
  • to facilitate a house move

 

Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support – but they must take place at a premises other than a private home. This includes, but is not limited to, support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people caring for those with long-term or terminal illnesses, or who are vulnerable, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, those who have suffered bereavement, and vulnerable young people, including for them to meet youth workers.

Parent and child groups can continue where they provide support to parent and/or child, and children under 5 will not be counted within the 15 person limit – meaning parents and carers can attend such groups in larger numbers. These cannot take place in private dwellings.

Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit, if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.

Cleaners, trades people etc

“Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – you can do so. Otherwise, you should avoid meeting for work in a private home or garden, where COVID-19 Secure measures may not be in place.”

If you break the rules

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

Phew!