Apologies for any duplication of messages:
Hope to see as many of you as possible at the meeting on Tuesday 22 7pm at
the Friends Meeting House in Redlands Way. I attach a letter I sent to the
Head of Roads and Transport with its covering email, which comes first.
Sorry its rather long but there seemed a lot to say. You will doubtless
disagree with some points and have many of your own. Please bring them to
Dear Michael Bridgeland, (Head of Roads and Transport)
If you are not responsible for the Home Zone please pass the attached to
whoever is. If you are please read it and respond. I remember we had a
mission commitment to build the best possible Home Zone. I'm afraid we are a
long way off that and are in danger of very serious failures. Some actions
need to be taken before the meeting on Tuesday if the energy of the local
people towards to Home Zone is not to be reawaken against it.
Please take this very seriously.
I should say that Cameron Martyn as our 3rd project manager (!) has done
good work on our behalf reversing the intransigence of the emergency
services towards any road blockage, diligently pursuing the elaborate
processes of permissions etc. and helping me deliver the recent plan. But
somewhere along the line Lambeth has totally lost the plot about Home Zones
and Participation. It is going to have to find the plot again pretty smartly
or there could be ugly scenes - notably on Tuesday night.
The issue of where the Home Zone begins and ends has two whole roads -
Maplestead and Cotherstone Rd up in arms quite rightly. Please INCLUDE THEM
and DESIGN THEM into the scheme.
Duncan Law (chair of the Holmewood Neighbourhood Association)
Head of Roads and Transport
Blue Star House
Sat 12 July (finished 21 July 2003)
Dear Sir or Madam
First Responses to the 'Final' Home Zone plan.
3. This letter
I am pleased that Cameron Martyn has succeeded in getting the Gardens
blocked to thwart some of the major rat runs and that a no entry at
Holmewood Road has been achieved. We are grateful for his tenacity and hard
work on our behalf. But there are serious problems with these Proposals
arising out of failure of consultation, abandonment of the Participation
Process, failure to listen, inadequate knowledge of the area on the part of
the designers, especially I would guess the recent modifiers and engineers
Parkman, unimaginative, conservative, traffic management solutions designed
simply to slow traffic which bear no relation to the best Home Zone
thinking. It is a shame and Lambeth should duly be ASHAMED.
STOP PRESS: 20 July 2003. Today Dene Ledwidge pointed out to me that
according to the plan the Home Zone does not even begin until just before
the new 'curve' into Holmewood Gardens and just before the chicane at the
Gardens end of Maplestead Road. THIS IS INCORRECT. IT BEGINS AT THE OUTER
END OF COTHERSTONE ROAD AND THE OUTER END OF MAPLESTEAD ROAD. The
application for the pilot Home Zone was for this area; the people resident
in this area have been 'consulted' for 31/2 years; there are two primary
schools in or adjacent to these roads which seem to have been completely
disregarded. If this error is not corrected and some provision to
practically extend the Home Zone to ends of these roads by the meeting on
Tuesday I shall contact the Department of the Environment and my MP on
Wednesday. I AM EXTREMELY ANGRY ABOUT THIS and am afraid I regard it as
another example of how we have been let down by this process and by how
little the designers obviously understand of the specific problems of the
There is not even any gateway at the Cotherstone Road entrance, universally
acknowledged to be hugely important in Home Zones.
reverting to my document of Sat 12 July written in a more sanguine mood.
I am saddened that the map we have received is so inadequate. It is a
topographical map which does not even show the path that separates the two
gardens so that a neighbour has asked me whether the plan was to do away
with it! It does not speak of a HOLISTIC SOLUTION but of a TRAFFIC
It is without an adequate key. What do the red outlines signify exactly?
What is the difference between a speed ramp (Area 3) and a chamfered
pavement (Area 2)? What are bollards and what not? The place seems littered
with bollards, some of them running down existing pavement lines.
It is a bit of an insult to the Maplestead Road and Cotherstone Road that
they have been simple chopped off the map as if they were not relevant. They
have some of the gravest problems. Top recorded speed in Cotherstone Road
during the surveys was 48mph outside Christchurch Primary School. Drivers
habitually accelerate from the junction at the Gardens down Maplestead Road
towards Holy Trinity Primary School. Do the existence of these two schools
not figure in the planning? SEE STOP PRESS ABOVE.
But really importantly there seems to be no grasp of the point of a Home
Zone which is to redress the imbalance between car and other road users. The
central way of achieving this is by changes to the environment so that on
entering the area the driver expects to see people in the street and
actively has to negotiate with other road user of all types to share the
space. Part of this is achieved by creating a place that feels different
from the normal road space. Planting at the 'gateways' and along the roads
is important. (There doesn't seem to be anything planned to soften the exit
from Holmewood Road onto Brixton Hill despite there being plans and Red
Route money for this 5 years ago!) This means that other road users needs
must be given 'positive discrimination' over the cars' needs so that once
the other road users have repossessed the road space their presence will
help keep the car under control. Users should be integrated not isolated. In
areas of greatest intersection the surface should be shared (eg at the
junction of Holmewood Road and Gardens (see Pedestrian Desire Lines below)
The fussy little bike channels are more dangerous than useful and create
things for pedestrians to trip over. The most successful continental
experiment involve providing a shared surface with absolutely no road
markings or signage at all. Wonderful and a million miles from this!
We must not have car priority indicators at the pinch points. That indicates
that the only person they have to consider at this point is the car coming
in the other direction. The pedestrian should seem to have priority (even if
legally the don't!) although I believe we can now redesignate the use of
roads which was formally limited 'vehicle passage'. Part of the point of
Home Zone is that the drivers have to travel at a rate where they can
negotiate individually with each other road user who should have equal right
of 'passage', an agreeable solution to shared road use. Home Zones should
try to reduce signage which only actually diminishes a drivers
responsibility for his/her actions.
I count 11 illuminated bollards. Can't we just improve the lighting
generally so that people can see these hazards at night rather than putting
buoys to help the traffic negotiate the obstacles like a slalom? How often
do illuminated bollards get knocked over or vandalised? Yearly?
PEDESTRIAN DESIRE LINES
Pedestrian desire lines must be recognised and honoured and preferable
reinforced by subliminal indications such as paving colours following the
pedestrian route. A number of very important desire lines (which I have
drawn on maps many times in the course of the consultation) have been
IGNORED or misread.
1. The only pedestrian entrance to the Gardens and the Playground on the S
side is opposite the E side of Cotherstone Road is completely disregarded.
Children coming from Christchurch School to the playground cross there. It
is not marked on the map and nor is it honoured in the plan despite my
asking for it and drawing it repeatedly. We need a pinch point and a raised
table at least and a more difficult 'junction' at the head of Cotherstone
Road such as a 'poached egg' roundabout. Then traffic cannot make
assumptions that they know where oncoming vehicle traffic is going.
Presently you have simplified the curve so that vehicles can take it at
2. The very important desire line between Roupell Park Estate and
Christchurch Primary School down the W side of Holmewood Gardens, across
Holmewood Road continuing towards Cotherstone Road is not honoured at all.
There used to be a traffic island and a give way sign there. Now there is
neither! and not even any shared surface! nor any buildout among the parked
cars on the south side of Holmewood Road to receive the pedestrian
attempting to make this hazdardous crossing! (What are we thinking of?!)
3. Presently the desire line out of the gardens into the N side of Holmewood
Road passes straight through a tree and is only just inside the bollard
The biggest intersection of pedestrians and motor vehicle is probably still
the junction of Holmewood Road and the Gardens and yet it is still largely
designated road space. None of it is additionally useful people space. If we
are having the roads resurfaced it is surely but a small matter to have the
cambers regraded in parts or the road surface added to with a couple of
loads of hardcore to create a shared surface.
We asked (several times) that some solution be found to the school run
traffic in Cotherstone Road. Our suggestion was to open up a roundabout
space for cars (if not for lorries) at the junction with the Gardens so that
parents dropping children (deplorable habit) at the school have the option
of turning around and exiting back into Christchurch Road. That would help
people in the Gardens wanting to turn and go out to the North. It would also
add another element of complexity at that point which helps slow traffic. It
is the largest open hard space in the gardens not overlooked by windows. It
is a gateway to the Gardens from the south. What is presently an open space
is cluttered with two planters at an angle that reinforces the smooth curve
of the access to the Home Zone. Before the Home Zone consultation we were
offered two Tulip trees by a resident to put in the pavement buildouts to
'frame' the entrance to the Gardens but it was impracticable to dig through
the road surface that underlies the buildouts. Perhaps we could do it at
This area should definitely be shared surface creating a wonderful playing
space as well as a shared surface access to the gardens. Vehicle access to
this presently rather barren spot could be delineated with baulks of timber
and planters, tree planting and benches where parents could wait for their
children after school. Since it is not overlooked by windows it would make a
good small kickabout space. Imagine how that would slow traffic down. Sorry,
too radical! Only seriously entertained in places like Germany and Holland
where they have shown it to work for decades.
At the North end of the Gardens the lovely uninterrupted view that one gets
up the gardens and that sense of space will be ruined by parking cars in an
echelon across the middle of the space. The deflection is the right solution
but the car parking is dreadful. See my photographs of the early Home Zone
Worthington St in Leicester which were at the Greenprint exhibition. DON'T
DO IT. IT'S A CRAP SOLUTION. All you see is the sides of cars. Just
photograph it as it is and draw it as it will be any you will see. What is
the point of all this raised table? It does not create a new shared space.
It creates a little raised garden bounded by cars raised 6" up so that they
are even more intrusive. NO pedestrian desire lines cross this space unlike
the one at the junction of Holmewood Road and Holmewood Gardens which is
crisscrossed with them. Road humps and the diversion would do a lot of the
What are the bollards doing on the South side of that raised surface? They
seem to bear no relation to the gardens at all.
We repeatedly asked for a path up through the Dog Green to join up with the
path by the Childrens Playground so that people would be encouraged to walk
up through the gardens instead of sticking to the very narrow pavements.
This is not even nodded towards.
This is central to doing this well and we started so well with our
independently chaired meeting about what we wanted the 'Participation
Process' (as we renamed it) to be like. Since then it has been down hill all
the way. The initial process was divisive, protracted and then rushed at the
decision making time. At no time was any real on the ground experimentation
proposed or done. What might be called Planning in Real. Most of what I am
saying here I have said repeatedly both in meetings, to Matt and backed it
up in writing repeatedly. We do not feel well listened to. And recently we
feel abandoned. We have heard NOTHING since Leya's last Newsletter in about
October 2002. Most of the errors in this plan could have been avoided had at
any stage they been presented at a discussion meeting.
This does not feel like Holism, like it does not feel like Consultation,
like it does not feel like good design or a Home Zone, like it really gives
me a sinking feeling.
THIS REALLY FEELS LIKE RATHER OLD FASHIONED 'TRAFFIC CALMING SOLUTION' WHICH
HAS RATHER FORGOTTEN ABOUT PEOPLE TRAFFIC. They are the point of a Home
Endless expensive research of traffic movements was undertaken to ascertain
the implications of diverting vehicle traffic around. I see no evidence in
this design that any deep consideration of pedestrian traffic has been made.
And yet will it really work? Nick Gough of York Traffic Engineers (?)
reckons that a deflection every 25 yards is necessary to keep speed down.
The West side of the Gardens has a run of nearly 100 yards. Holmewood Road
has the same, Cotherstone Road more including that nice smooth curve with
good visability, lots of fun in an XR3, into Holmewood Gardens and another
curve before the first obstacle. I repeat top speed in this road before was
48 mph. What is to stop that being repeated? Nothing! Maplestead probably
has enough space for people to accelerate pretty radically as they do
What happened to ideas like echelon parking to narrow carriage ways and
introduce horizontal deflections and perhaps free up an uninterrupted view
into the garden? Instead we have 3 virtually identical chicane pinchpoints
and a three of raised tables one of which at the North of the Gardens
facilitates precisely NO pedestrian desire line - not even encouraging
people to take the route up the middle of the gardens suggested by its
traffic deflection by providing a path up through the dog green as repeated
CONCLUSION: A long time ago in the era of Melanie Flint (two project
managers ago!) we gave Lambeth a pretty rough ride at a meeting at the
Friends Meeting House when they attempted to fob the cosmetics of the Home
Zone presented at the Greenprint exhibition after the road-closure option
had been found 'not to be possible'. That design was relied on the roads
being closed to work and in the absence of that it completely failed to
answer ANY of the problems for which we had originally asked for a Home
This plan goes some significant way to addressing some of those problems but
the omissions are so important that they will have to be addressed before
any degree of satisfaction in the result can be expected from me and I would
guess a fair number of my neighbours.
If we don't get some satisfaction on these points at the meeting on Tuesday
please expect difficult times ahead.
I would also remind you that from the beginning we have repeatedly asked to
be able to visualise the outcome as it looks from the ground not from a
cartographer's jumbo jet. An expensive model was produced which we have seen
twice. It was never used to experiment on. Views created on a computer were
produced in the early 'pipedream' phase none of which bear any resemblance
to anything we now have proposed. I imagine you have aspect views of every
modification. Please bring them on Tuesday.
Please also bring examples of the materials specified and pictures of them
in use. Some evidence of input from the Conservation Department would be
useful given that this is a Conservation Area normally subject to stringent
planning restrictions. I should let you know again as I have before that if
it is anything like the pink concrete 'paviers' from the Marshall's street
furniture catalogue you will have to bury me under them before they will get
laid. I would like to know that best practice from Streets for People has
One of the reasons why the meeting chaired by Melanie was so disastrous was
that there were only a few copies of the plan to be passed around and none
of a scale big enough to be displayed to the whole meeting. There are flip
charts, 2 I think, but nothing bigger and no easy walls to display things on
to the whole meeting. I anticipate a large turnout.
Please reassure me that the above points will be addressed constructively at
the meeting on Tuesday with concrete changes to the plan. We need to
participate in this process. We have not been able to for a long time. The
majority in favour of this Home Zone has generally been solid despite
significant opposition but I fear that the message on Tuesday may be 'Stop!
until we have sorted out some important problems'. As I have said all along
I will defend the right of the residents not to be imposed upon at every
See you at the meeting.
44 Holmewood Rd
t 020 8678 6617 m 07958 635181
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