Category Archives: Our Street

Fawnbrake’s Fantastic Trees

Fawnbrake Avenue is blessed with a glorious variety of trees – we enjoy one of the most varied and well-curated street avenues in our fortunate corner of Lambeth.

Fawnbrake’s splendid trees

We often take them for granted but they need regular human care, including planting, support in their early years, pruning, and in due course removal and replacement when a tree becomes unsafe or when its days are done. And when newly-introduced trees are in their very junior years, we’ve all been called upon to make sure they have enough water to survive in their new habitats until their roots go deep enough.

This work is carried out, unnoticed by many of us, by Lambeth’s tree department. But they are supported, and sometimes reminded, by David and Laurence, our two conscientious street guardian neighbours.

Just this week, another neighbour noticed that some of the posts and supporting ties of a young tree near his house were in need of repair, and wondered what to do about it.

Needs support?

Regular tree inspections

We believe it is all – hopefully – in hand. On this and wider arboreal issues David has been in frequent touch with Lambeth’s tree department, where they have a keen and knowledgeable new man on the job.

After emailing him about the posts and other issues, David met him in Fawnbrake last week – while he was carrying out the street’s four-year tree inspection – and he says that the loose and redundant stakes will, hopefully, be dealt with in about three months. The tree department at Lambeth is currently light on manpower for obvious reasons.

Laurence and David also report that just before lock-down they walked the entire length of Fawnbrake, cutting away basal shoots from all the trees and picking litter from the tree pits. In a few cases – where the stakes were evidently useless, or leaning into the road/pavement – they removed the rubber ties as well as the stakes, several of which had simply rotted through at the base. Many, in fact, have been loose since being disturbed when the pavements were replaced. They didn’t have time to sort out several other stakes that needed attention, but that is in hand. Of course, as young trees become more firmly established they no longer need the stakes that supported them in their early years.

Trees in spring 2020

In addition to the imminent removal of the stakes by council contractors, additional work will be carried out on a few trees, to remove low-hanging branches, Lambeth’s man tells us.

Tree removal imminent

Cllr Jim Dickson also passed on a note, from the Tree Department this week, stating the following:

Dear Ward Councillors of Herne Hill, This email is to inform you of 2 trees that are to be removed from Fawnbrake avenue within the next 28 days, the trees will have notices attached to them by Lambeth Council’s Tree Contract manager by Monday 20/4/20, informing residents of the reasons they are to be removed.

The trees are:
– A mature apple tree outside 58 Fawnbrake, due to fungal fruiting bodies that compromise the integrity of both of the trees’ 2 limbs, meaning that simply removing the infected limbs is not a viable option.
– A young cherry outside 6 Fawnbrake, which has complete crown failure.

These two trees are also scheduled for the stumps to be removed, and will hopefully be replanted in the coming winter planting season.

More trees on the way

Other good news, reports David, is that we should be getting eight additional trees in Fawnbrake, this autumn, four paid for by residents (additional funds were raised after the initial donations of £8,500 were gift-aided) and four paid for by Lambeth. Lambeth has already written to properties adjacent to proposed tree pit sites to canvas opinion, receiving largely favourable replies.

So it seems we’re getting plenty of attention at the moment and everything is moving in the right direction.

London’s urban forest

London itself can be described as an “urban forest”.  It is home to over 8 million trees – roughly one for every person. In fact 20% of the capital is covered by tree canopy.

The “forest” is a patchwork of natural havens “from the gardens of suburbia to ancient woodlands… and to parks and open spaces.”

(Quoting from the excellent book by Paul Wood, “London is a Forest”, 2019”)

Part of our urban forest – Ruskin Park April 2020

Government rules for accommodation providers during the Coronavirus  pandemic

In view of recent comments on our Fantastic Fawnbrake WhatsApp conversation, it might be useful to repeat the government’s rules for accommodation providers including those offering Airbnb.

There’s nothing ambiguous about these rules.

Government’s COVID-19 advice for accommodation providers,

dated 24 March 2020

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-advice-for-accommodation-providers

“… Businesses providing holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses and short term lets) should now take steps to close for commercial use as quickly as is safely possible. …”

What have Airbnb said?

‘Airbnb says it will follow government guidance ordering accommodation providers to close except to key workers.’

http://tinyurl.com/y7oos5hk

Work carried out in people’s homes

Thought this might be useful/reassuring for neighbours.

The latest government guidelines for coping with  Covid-19, updated early this morning (25 March),  states that “work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.

Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.

“No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.

“No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.”

New Fawnbrake resident brings studio barre classes to SE24

A recently-arrived neighbour on Fawnbrake Avenue, Maxine Latinis, is a Barre fitness instructor, and would be happy to welcome local residents to her classes at the South London Dance School in the centre of Herne Hill.

After noticing that several gyms in the area offer oversubscribed Barre classes, Maxine decided to team up with The South London Dance School and bring Drop In classes to South London. She hopes to save Barre converts the long trip into central London, or the commitment of a gym membership.

Barre, she explains, is a fitness class, open to all abilities, that utilises the strengthening elements of Ballet, the stabilising focus of Pilates and the stretching techniques of Yoga. Each class is to music, and runs for 55 minutes. As she puts it …  “imagine the repetitions of Pilates with a little more diversity & excitement!”

Maxine can be found at The South London Dance School, Wednesday mornings, between 7-7.55am & 8-8.55am

Maxine also teaches for Virgin Active, around London, including Virgin Active in Streatham.

Contact details for Maxine:

Phone: 07786 727 646

Email: barremaxlondon@gmail.com

Maxine is also contactable via:

Class Pass

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

More information about Barre: http://tinyurl.com/y5m298bx

Post updated 9 July at 21:30

Call for Community Solidarity – please consider sponsorship

This site does not generally canvass for charitable giving, but this excellent cause is brought to us by one of our neighbours on Fawnbrake Avenue, so please read on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although most of us on this street haven’t had any reason to use it – and with luck may never need to – the Citizens Advice Bureau in Brixton, or more accurately the Brixton Advice Centre, is a vital and unique port of call for people who often have nowhere else to turn for advice and help. But it is desperately short of money, and our Fawnbrake neighbour, Fred Taggart, who is the Honorary Secretary and a Herne Hill resident for 39 years, has launched a local appeal for critically needed funds. Trustees and staff are looking for sponsorship when they join in the 2019 Legal Walk in two weeks’ time.

Fred Taggart writes:

Herne Hill is generally an affluent and socially-aware community.  But not everyone has a million-pound home, and many neighbours and friends struggle to get by on tight budgets, or have employment, debt or bad housing problems.  For 50 years the Brixton Advice Centre on Railton Road has helped, advised and acted for local people with legal or administrative problems who would otherwise be unable to afford legal services.  It averages getting on for 5000 cases each year.  It is a vital part of life in Herne Hill and Brixton.  Unless you have used its services you probably don’t know it exists.

“Austerity has savaged the Centre’s budget, so to generate income, trustees and staff will be taking part in the 2019 Legal Walk on17th June when the Lord Chief Justice and thousands of lawyers raise funds for good causes.

“I am asking those of us who are fortunate to invest in the community in which we live by sponsoring our walkers.  Here’s the link: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BrixtonAC19   

“Just as sponsored walkers want to be first, everyone in Herne Hill wants to ensure that   no-one in our community gets left behind.  So, support your community Advice Centre.  By making life better for some, the Centre makes the community better for everyone.

 

Over in Brixton, residents see red over nabbed street flowers

Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph reported that a row had erupted on a street near Brixton Hill after a resident accused neighbours of stealing flowers planted on the street by a community group. It began with a note pinned to a tree in the street, reading: “Please do not pick my flowers. Thanks”.

An aggrieved neighbour replied: “In an area massively affected by gentrification, it’s sad to see people claiming ownership of even the flowers.”

But other neighbours chipped in, and one wrote: “ARE YOU SERIOUS? This is not about ownership or gentrification, this is about someone trying to make the street a nicer place for EVERYONE by planting flowers and people stealing them and stamping on them!”

The original note poster responded, explaining that the lupins and geraniums had been planted as part of a local scheme called Our Streets, in which members of the local community “adopt” a tree to water and plant flowers under. They added that the flowers had now been dug up and “moved elsewhere”.

 

A local gardener who been planting brightly coloured blooms on roads near her house reported that they have been stolen, and commented sadly “Come on, people of Brixton Hill – you’re better than this. 12 plants taken overnight.”

We couldn’t imagine such things happening here on Fawnbrake Avenue, could we?

Drain unblocked

The drain outside nos. 75-83 that had caused the excessive flooding has been unblocked this lunchtime.

It appears that concrete had been poured into the drainage system (probably from building works further along the street) and had trickled down, underground, to come to rest and set here at the lowest point, thereby blocking the pipes.

If anyone employs or sees contractors using concrete, please warn them not to unload unwanted concrete into our drains!

I am thanking Cllr Jim Dickson, whose intervention last week undoubtedly speeded things up.

Deluge and flood

It’s obviously the monsoon period in London, with floods and hail to prove it. Is it climate change?

Certainly the enormous puddles in Fawnbrake Avenue yesterday afternoon and evening were exceptional.

You should have seen it earlier, when it covered the pavement too.

Those of us who live in the lowest lying  section of the street are well accustomed to dealing with accumulations of rainwater where the surface dips between numbers 73 – 85. Rain run-off find its way here from both directions and often lingers when the grate cover is blocked by leaves, twigs and other debris. We and our neighbours have spent many happy hours with rakes and brooms dislodging the rubbish so that the water can flow away.

The last few days have been different. The obstruction in the drains is clearly more deep-seated; clearing the visible blockage hasn’t helped. Hence the biblical flooding yesterday afternoon, and general resort to Wellington boots.

We and our neighbours have reported this to Lambeth Street Care not once, not twice but… well, we’re losing count now. This morning we alerted our Counsellor Jim Dickson, who hastened to put the pressure on. We hope that something radical will be done before the next watery onslaught. Someone sent a poor street cleaner to brush up rubbish early this morning, but that won’t have solved the underlying problem.

In the meantime none of us would take it personally if, when approaching this part of the street, you cross over to the other side.

 

 

speed humps on Milkwood Road

Lambeth are proposing to place full-scale speed humps on Milkwood Road in the hope of lowering the traffic speeds that make the road dangerous. They invite comments via this link.

It’s difficult to imagine  any local resident objecting to this measure. Many of us have stared, astonished, at cars, vans and motorbikes roaring down Milkwood in speeds clearly in excess of the 20 MPH limit.

But maybe we shall need to monitor whether such a measure, if introduced (supposedly in August),  displaces fast traffic onto Fawnbrake Avenue.