We understand via the Herne Hill Safer Neighbourhood Panel that a frighteningly large quantities of discarded needles/syringes are strewn about in Brockwell Park, according to local residents with children that play in there.
They are mostly concentrated within the bushes, where children naturally like to run about in and play. To describe the quantities as ‘scores’ is no exaggeration, we hear.
Our Police Community Support Officers do excellent and effective work in knife and weapon searches, often finding needles etc., but the police are not caretakers and cleaners. Dealing with the needles is a specialised job with Health and Safety implications and the Council, with financial support from central government, possibly via the Mayor’s Office, to make this possible, needs to address this issue. People are recalling a case in 1992 when a 7-year-old found such a needle having unknowingly pricked herself on it. Fortunately, hospital tests gave her full clearance but it could so easily have been a different outcome.
The relevant local councillors in Lambeth have been made aware of this situation, but any parents with children likely to visit the park should perhaps be conscious of the risk and keep an eye on where the children are venturing.
A very talented local artist – a blacksmith in fact – features in the cover story of the latest Herne Hill magazine.
Very appropriate for #InternationalWomensDay !
See more about Frances Plowden, whose studio is in Loughborough Junction but who lives in Herne Hill, in the magazine (reaching you shortly, if you are members) and on her website http://francesplowden.org/
We can still comment on Lambeth’s application for a performance/food/drink pop-up on and around the Ruskin Park bandstand this summer. But Wednesday 10 March is the cut-off date.
The performances and other events would happen 5 days a week including evenings and weekends all through spring to autumn (29 April – 12 September 2021), presumably blocking off the long-established summer weekend concerts traditionally organised by the Friends of Ruskin Park (FoRP).
The Friends’ explanation and comments can be read on their website here. Others might think, on the contrary, that this is all a wonderful idea.
There’s a natural tendency in Lambeth Council (as in others, probably) to assume that “no comment”/silence = either approval or indifference.
So if we feel something is wrong (or right!) it could make sense to take five minutes to feed back our comments. Lord knows, it doesn’t always make a difference but if we stay silent when things we don’t approve of look like happening, we can’t really complain afterwards if they do. End of homily.
The site of the planned electricity sub- station in unit 315 in the new-ish Railton Road shops on Station Square is the scene of much activity.
Currently the floor of the unit is being excavated and, presumably, strong foundations laid. The explanation has always been that the larger vacant shop units – numbers 319-327 Railton Road, as well as the unit under the bridge– cannot be rented out until upgraded electricity power supply is available.
“Finished by early summer”
A notice by The Arch Company on the neighbouring shop unit that has been temporarily commandeered as a site office states that
“we expect the works to be completed by early summer 2021 with new tenants moving in soon afterwards. We’ve had a high level of interest from potential tenants all of whom are small independent operators”.
Of course we all hope that this prediction comes true. The more cynical ones among us might wonder which “small independent operators” would find the funding and the appetite for risk that would justify taking on such retail units at any time, let alone in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. But we must try to stop being so cynical, yes?
Changing shopping habits?
Indeed, it may be that we are at the beginning of the revolution in shopping habits that some commentators have predicted.There’s a theory that people who previously commuted into town for their work will instead be working partly or entirely closer to home, and will therefore need more shops locally rather than in the City or the West End. That could herald a brighter future for retailers and hospitality venues in places like Herne Hill.
Full story with more detailed background in the forthcoming issue of Herne Hill Magazine.
Now that we’re all (supposedly) walking more, and now that the (supposedly) warmer, sunnier weather will encourage us to walk even more, neighbours might like to harvest a little local knowledge as they stride along.
The Herne Hill Heritage Trail is a very successful and useful 168-page book published by the Herne Hill Society. With six hand-drawn colour maps and many other illustrations, this soft-cover book explores the unique identity of Herne Hill. Our history is traced through many changes over the last two centuries and told through a mixture of buildings, places and objects – some to be seen to this day but others long gone – and the people associated with them.
Available for £9.50 plus postage from the Herne Hill Society’s online book store. It’s quick and easy with Paypal.
Friends of Ruskin Park (FofRP) have released information about a series of events – The Open Arms – that Lambeth are proposing to host in Ruskin Park across the summer. The events, and supporting installations, would mainly happen around the Bandstand.
Sounds fun, maybe – but as the FofRP comment, “This is too much time for one organisation to be effectively taking over the popular bandstand area. It is more like a concession, not an event.”
The proposal – ‘pop-up’ or concession?
Lambeth’s proposal explains that “The Open Arms is a performance-led pop-up occupying Ruskin Park Bandstand (ideally) for summer 2021. As a recipient of the Arts Council England’s ‘Culture Recovery Grant’, they will be looking to bring to life an activation that celebrates and supports the rich pool of talent living within the borough. They will provide a stage for local performance in the midst of rapid venue closures. Alongside a Food and beverage offer.”
Full details of the proposal are in a PDF accessed via the FoRP website
FofRP initial comments
The Friends of Ruskin Park committee has already raised some initial points with Event Lambeth.
They are not opposed in principle to appropriate new ventures for entertainment and refreshments that benefit Ruskin Park and local people.
However, they have several concerns:
that this is too much time for one organisation to be effectively taking over the popular bandstand area. It is more like a concession, not an event.
about the installation of two semi-permanent pavilions and toilet structures in the area surrounding the bandstand and their impact on the landscape.
about the size of the event levy and what would actually be spent on Ruskin Park.
about risks of noise and size of audience.
about the overall balance of these facilities, as proposed, with the calm and natural character of the park.
that this is an untested format so there should be monitoring and revision stages during the 5 month contract.
that the business model of the organiser should be transparent and the assets of the public park are properly valued in any such transaction.
Feedback and deadline
Anyone – and particularly, perhaps, those of us who live nearby and use Ruskin Park – may lodge comments with Lambeth.
Please visit The Friend’s excellent web page for further information and advice on opportunities for public comments to Lambeth by the consultation deadline of 10th March.
If you’ve been out and about in the centre of Herne Hill, you can’t have failed to notice the unexpected works going on in and around the new-ish shop premises on Station Square. This started yesterday with no warning to the shop and flat tenants.
It’s all connected with the installation of the electricity substation, which threatens to be a massively heavy piece of equipment. Under the planning application that was agreed last year, it will be inserted into the shop unit next door to Lark.
Full background – and lots of other local stuff – in the next issue of Herne Hill magazine, out in the next couple of weeks. Anyone joining the Society now will get it delivered with no fuss when printed.
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.
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’ designof 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 upgradeof 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.
Once the snow has melted and we can safely walk again, the Herne Hill Heritage Trail book, published by the Herne Hill Society, offers six well-planned local walks with authoritative text and hand-drawn maps to guide our steps.