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Lambeth Council has been talking about improving the Spine Route (Upper Ground and Belvedere Road) for many years. The council has invested very little since the South Bank Employers’ Group carried out works in 1996 and 1997 (wider pavements, new lighting and banners, narrowed road etc). Since that scheme was opened formally by Tony Blair in the summer of 1997, there has been a lot of digging by utilities such as gas, water, electricity, cable TV etc and, after rain, it looks like First World War trenches.
A couple of years ago, Lambeth proposed closing the road between the Bernie Spain Gardens north and south parks. This involved a hammerhead turning point by Duchy Street which was dangerous and would have involved large trucks backing over the pavement. With the South Bank Centre, National Theatre and BFI we sought advice from Arup, who confirmed this would be a highly dangerous and undesirable manoeuvre and suggested that Lambeth could achieve its objectives if they allowed vehicular traffic to continue in an eastbound direction between the parks.
We invited Florence Eshalomi MP and Lambeth councillors and officers to meet with Mulberry and Iroko tenants on a number of occasions and we believe that they have now abandoned the hammerhead and are proposing a one-way eastwards scheme. Obviously, this will affect people living in Redwood and Palm as well as those living in Mulberry and Iroko cooperatives. We have pressed Lambeth to consult with you and the council has just notified us that there will be two public exhibition sessions (details below) on these Spine Route proposals.
Where: The Foyer, St John’s Church, 73 Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8TY
When: Session 1 - Friday 9 December 4-7pm
Session 2 - Saturday 10 December 10am -1pm
When we last met with Lambeth, they were proposing to do our stretch of Upper Ground and Bernie Spain Gardens at the end of their five-phase programme, perhaps because of the construction traffic expected from the IBM and ITV development sites. However, we said that it is unacceptable to leave the pedestrian pavements in their current state for such a long period and that (if the scheme is supported by local residents) they should implement the improvements at this end without further delay.
We haven’t seen what they will be proposing in the exhibition but would encourage you to visit and give them your comments.
It would be useful for us also to know what your views on their proposals are. If you can, share your views with us, by sending them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org that would be a great help.