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Lambeth Council has long acknowledged the need for major change but has never allocated funds. At last, with the 2012 London Olympics came the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund to provide cash for capital projects in the boroughs that received no other benefit from the Olympic Games.
There was then the legal necessity for the plans to be developed and the project built and finished by the end of March 2014 if funding were not to be lost! Consequently, consultation was adversely affected by the rush and the almost continuous plan amendments. A coherent traffic plan from the Council’s consultants Arup was only published in November 2013 along with an alternative plan from TfL (Transport for London, who have to approve any works on the London strategic road network).
Norwood Action Group coordinated a community response with Norwood Forum to these proposals, particularly a rejection of the TfL plan. Council Officers in negotiation with TfL persuaded them to withdraw their plan and approve Arup’s.
NAG has continued to provide input into the still evolving detail, particularly with regard to pedestrian and cyclist safety, not with complete success and our concerns remain, particularly for cyclists. At the end of March 2014 the work is not completed, but the funding has been able to be held onto; hopefully completion will be by the end of April. There is a view that the scheme is flawed in some respects but most agree it will be a great improvement both visually and for countless future users.
In short, it will provide a regenerative boost for West Norwood that we are campaigning to be followed by imaginative works down the length of Norwood Road to Tulse Hill.
Update - 6th June 2014: Work drags-on at a snail's pace, because of technical issues regarding the new traffic signals, and challenges to blending pavement levels are other practical issues for which a specialist team is needed. Meanwhile new paving is being cracked by traffic mounting it! The council are aware and state that everything will be remedied with preventative measures against further damage. Completion is now not likely before the end of July.
Update - 5th September 2014: Still a work-in-progress! Still to be done: snagging and detail work, installation of benches, cycles racks, notice boards, tree planting. Resurfacing is scheduled for this month.
Update - 3rd November 2014: Not so much a work-in-progress but NO-work-in-progress. Council officers are fighting to achieve funding to complete the works. Incredible that this was not achieved at the planning stage so that work could flow seamlessly through to completion. Resurfacing, for instance, not now expected this year. NAG on the case...
Update - 19th November 2014: Resurfacing of Knight's Hill from Cotswold Street to Chestnut Road is due to take place towards the end of January. Work will be through the night to avoid daytime chaos. A late OLF funded add-on is the resurfacing of the ad hoc car park on the west side of the church. A radar ground survey is necessary to check whether there are sensitive remains in this ex graveyard that might be disturbed when resetting levels. The subsequent use has yet to be decided by the church authorities.
Update - 19th February 2015: The resurfacing took place but progress on all other matters is stalled until sign-off of funds. These matters include: the St Luke's car park, old library illumination, benches, tree planting, cycle parking, notice boards. Traffic signal issues continue due to lack of action by TfL. Almost a year following the scheduled completion, matters drag-on creating frustration where there could have been elation.
Update - 31st March 2015: Matters barely grind-on. Funds are allocated but not signed-off. The library iluminations are 'switched-on' but may have to be switched-off due to circuitry issues!
Update - 18th September 2015: Funds have been promised then partially snatched away. recently cycle hoops installed. That's it! Library lights are out! Traffic controls still not finished, St Luke's car park mired in financial and groundwater issues!