Oval – Another Land Grab

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Berkeley Homes have eyes on the Oval gasworks. No matter that they are listed. Plus the erection of yet more high rise monstrosities. All so that they can make as much money as possible, regardless of the visual impact or legacy. Sheer, naked greed. So what’s new?

Anyway, it’s all here. No issue with sensible development, the area around the Oval probably needs it. But twelve, fifteen, twenty five storey tower blocks? Haven’t we had enough already?

Anyway, their ‘Masterplan’, minus the bits that they don’t want us to see because even they realise it sucks, can be seen here, along with a well thought through critique by SaveOval.com, is here.

Any chance that Lambeth will finally grow a pair and maybe JUST SAY NO? Better late than never.



All Change

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Finally, after what seems like an eternity, it looks like we might finally see the back of the Gyratory. The plans to revert to single lane traffic, beginning in 2018 and targeted for a 2020 completion, together with proposed improvements to the surrounding area, look like a huge step forward for Vauxhall residents.

The Tfl proposals are here. The consultation period closes 17th January 2016

A big thank you to Councillor Jack Hopkins (his blog entry is below), and possibly even Tfl, who appear to have listened. Fingers crossed.


Goodbye gyratory. Hello a better Vauxhall

December 2, 2015

Vauxhall proposed sectionsFor the last half a decade, Vauxhall Labour has been campaigning for a better Vauxhall: a place where it is nice to live, where people will come work and boost our local economy, and where people will choose to eat out with their families or meet with their friends. For too long Vauxhall has been missing out as people travel to Vauxhall only to catch another bus, tube or train to another area. In the meantime, families living in Vauxhall have had to look out onto an ugly, noisy one-way gyratory – an antiquated system where cyclists continue to die and where pedestrians are forced to make several crossings across dangerous lanes of traffic in order to reach the public transport stations. Vauxhall can be better. Vauxhall will be better.

When I was first elected in 2010 existing Labour Councillors in Prince’s ward (Cllrs Mark Harrison and Stephen Morgan) had already been hammering TfL’s door down to make Vauxhall safer. When Jane Edbrooke and I were elected we joined the fight and made it clear that removal of the dangerous gyratory was the only option we wanted, not one of the 30-odd half-measure options put to us by TfL. It took us three years to get TfL to agree. And now we have an option which enables Vauxhall to be the better place it can be: removal of the gyratory to create a two-way system making it safer for cyclists and motorists alike, retention of a centralised bus stop station, shorter bus journeys, a safer and more pleasant environment for pedestrians, and a thriving town centre with shops and cafes at the heart of Vauxhall.

Removal of the gyratory is obvious. It’s unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians, it’s noisy, dirty and smelly – no one wants a six lane motorway with 1000s of cars and lorries speeding around all day long in their town centre. My parents-in-law think Vauxhall is great because it’s a great place to explore London from. If it wasn’t for my wife Jo and I, they would spend their visits to London eating out in Westminster: they would never have considered Vauxhall a place to spend their leisure time (and money), and Bonnington Square caféthe Riverside or Coriander would not have had a look-in.

The proposed scheme is a huge improvement for pedestrians. Taking out the gyratory and putting two-way lanes means that cars travel at much slower speeds and in a more managed way. Six extra crossings tames the traffic and makes crossing Vauxhall whether you are from Wyvil and want to enjoy Vauxhall City Farm or Ashmole Estate to go to the River.

Thanks to suggestions from KOV we have been able to push TfL to close an extra lane of traffic on South Lambeth Road and reclaim it for wider pavements. There will be a new ‘interchange square’ without traffic linking bus stops, the tube and the overground station. Albert Embankment will be widened and planted for a much nicer public space.

The bus stops will remain together which was something that local Councillors and communities were concerned about in the early days. This has been achieved by TfL and most of the bus routes will have shorter journeys. TfL have helpfully put all the new proposed bus journeys online here so you can check what your regular route will look like.

The proposed scheme is better for cyclists, putting in segregated cycling lanes on South Lambeth road and Wandsworth Road, where at the moment there is huge conflict with pedestrians. It also adds cycling routes from and to CS5 from South Lambeth Road down Miles Street, and added to the slowed traffic and introduction of two-way working, Vauxhall will no longer be a death-trap for cyclists.

Of course there are many for whom it doesn’t go far enough or compromises on their specific issue or for their specific geography. I know some who would love to see cars removed entirely, or for their side of the gyratory to be closed at the expense of more lanes on the other sides.

But as a local Councillor representing the whole of Oval and Vauxhall, the need to balance out and accommodate as many needs as possible has to be my goal. And ultimately it is TfL’s scheme and they are the ones who are going to have to implement it and ensure that such significant changes to the inner ring road do not adversely impact on the wider London road network. No one wants gridlock.

I would urge all residents, employees and those who visit Vauxhall to go to the consultation and give their comments. There are further details here https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/vauxhall-cross

I believe that the proposal which TfL is currently consulting on is a good scheme and has many benefits. Of course change is incremental: it happens over time and at different paces. My Labour colleagues and I will certainly be fighting for more improvements going forward as well as making sure that the implementation of this scheme is done in the right way and provides what is promised.

For now, getting this scheme approved and seeing some very positive things happening in Vauxhall is one I will be proud to fight for.

See the plans here. And make sure that you get involved in the consultation process, that closes 17th January 2016.

Damien, At Last

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Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, SE11 (020 3141 9320) – 10 minutes walk from The Academy – opens on October 8th with John Hoyland: Power Stations, which will run for up to six months. And, it’s free!

Interesting background article here by Nancy Durrant of The Times:

“A few days ago, a work of art called Heaven went on display as part of a new, sea-themed exhibition, The Big Blue, at Ordovas gallery in Mayfair, London. The piece is a new version by Damien Hirst of the artist’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living — otherwise and popularly known as the pickled shark.
And why not? If nothing else, its notoriety alone will almost certainly ensure a spike in footfall for the gallery, which by virtue of its position competes for attention against some of the art world’s biggest fish — Hauser & Wirth, Pace, Gagosian, David Zwirner et al.
No such exotic specimen will lure punters to Hirst’s own establishment, Newport Street Gallery, which opens to the public next Thursday on a quiet back street in Lambeth, south London. Apart from visitors to the nearby Imperial War Museum, the area is so unaccustomed to passing trade that I had to check exactly what it was called, even though I live round there. The gallery will be free to visit and, come the new year, also home to Pharmacy 2, a “destination restaurant” modelled on Hirst’s original Pharmacy (1998-2003) in Notting Hill.
It has been established by Hirst to house exhibitions plucked from his extensive art collection of more than 3,000 works. That collection includes pieces by the likes of Jeff Koons, Francis Bacon and Bruce Nauman as well as Hirst’s YBA contemporaries Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin and Mat Collishaw. There are also pieces by Banksy, whose recent Dismaland project is thought to have brought £20 million worth of business to Weston-super-Mare.
Yet you won’t see any of them next Thursday either. Instead, Hirst has elected to launch his new £25 million gallery — designed by Caruso St John Architects — with a show of work by the now rather underrated British abstract painter John Hoyland, a fellow Yorkshireman (from Sheffield — Hirst grew up in Leeds) who died in 2011 at the age of 76. His is not a name to conjure with, at least as far as the casual gallery-goer is concerned — but you know what? They should go. My goodness they should go.
The gallery is spread across three buildings and 37,000 square feet. There are six exhibition spaces split over two levels and linked at each end by two of the handsomest stairwells I’ve seen since Tate Britain unveiled its Busby Berkeley-style Caruso St John spiral staircase in 2013. Hirst has pulled off something special. You can see the hand of an artist in these spaces, someone who knows how art ought to be shown. They are stunning — and the show itself is something of a revelation.
Hirst first met Hoyland in 1992 — the year the first shark went on display and sold for a measly £50,000 — and started collecting his work in 2009. Hoyland, for his part, was extremely rude about the YBAs and about Hirst in particular, but later became friendly with the younger artist, whose opening gambit of calling him Britain’s greatest abstract painter to his face might have oiled those wheels somewhat.
This exhibition of 33 paintings, curated by Hirst and titled Power Stations, isn’t a full-scale retrospective. It instead focuses on the pivotal period between 1964 and 1982 when Hoyland was at the height of his powers. Hung chronologically, it traces neatly the painter’s development, starting soon after Hoyland saw the 1963 Anthony Caro exhibition at the Whitechapel (he would later describe Caro as the greatest living artist). There, Caro showed for the first time his radical large-scale sculptures in brightly painted welded steel.
At the time Hoyland was hanging out with the likes of William Tucker and the new generation of sculptors coming out of Saint Martin’s School of Art. At once, on entering the first of these huge, light-filled galleries (a wow moment, not just for the space but also for the impact of the colours in the paintings, which seem to vibrate off the walls), you can see the sculptural influence. On enormous canvases, he experiments with space and colour, mucking about with the picture plane so that your sense of perspective is completely thrown.
With their linear structure and floating blocks of colour, it’s easy to start comparing some of the early work here with the titans of American abstraction such as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. Hoyland visited the US on a bursary in 1964 and met both painters (he was rather in awe of Rothko) and in 1967 moved there for a time, seduced by the hype around the abstract expressionists. Yet eventually he found himself getting bored with what he saw as a repetition of format — too much cool, not enough emotion, not enough immediate impact. “Paintings are there to be experienced. They are events,” he later wrote in the statement for his Serpentine retrospective in 1979. Returning, he settled in London and Wiltshire (although he wasn’t entirely in love with England, calling it, in a talk first given in 1994, “a small, bland, mean little island”.)
If you have any love for abstraction, it’s impossible not to enjoy these paintings. The sheer vitality of their zinging colours is invigorating. Even a set of slightly surprising works that were painted soon after an American road trip with the jazz singer Eloise Laws and which have a dominant colour not dissimilar to that of Germolene are evocative of that buzzing desert light.
And even when he’s laying it on especially thick, building up the layers of paint in the later works here, Hoyland keeps his colours vivid and clear, never allowing them to descend into muddiness. When Hoyland is exhibited these days, it’s the paintings from the later 1980s onwards that we tend to see — and rarely in great number. This, then, is an opportunity to re-evaluate.
I’ve always liked Hoyland’s work but I hadn’t quite realised just how good he was. This is exactly, I imagine, what Hirst wants me to think. So be it. I find it rather touching that an artist who has, by his own admission, “always loved the idea of being a painter” but absolutely definitely isn’t, should use his considerable resources and influence to champion one who absolutely definitely is.
There will be those who question his motives, spending £25 million of his own money (yes, every penny) to open a gallery to show art that he has collected. Hirst is unquestionably Britain’s most famous living artist, worth (and estimates inevitably vary) at least £200 million. His 2012 Tate retrospective was the most visited solo exhibition in the museum’s history, proving that sharks and sheep, skulls and diamonds still draw the hordes.
Artistically, however, his star has waned. The old ideas feel old. Money isn’t everything (especially when you have so much of it already) and you could argue that this is an attempt by the artist, now 50, to take control of a legacy that is in danger of falling decidedly flat.
Fine. Less than a fortnight ago the US collector Eli Broad opened in Los Angeles his own museum, the Broad — also to house his collection and also free — to a general hurrah. And he’s a billionaire. In Britain’s economic climate, anyone putting his or her own money into a high-quality cultural institution and flinging open its doors to the public deserves applause and respect.
Granted, Hirst has a fight on his hands to get people in — I can’t stress enough how obscure this spot is, although it’s actually a 15-minute walk from Tate Britain and less than 1 minute from the well-established (but also rarely visited) Beaconsfield contemporary art centre — but the fact is, he’s done it. Who honestly cares why?
And remember, Hirst has previous when it comes to curating. It was at Freeze, the exhibition he curated in a London Docklands warehouse in 1988, that the world came to know of Sarah Lucas, Gary Hume, Michael Landy, Angus Fairhurst, Collishaw and others. Perhaps this new incarnation will prove Hirst’s lasting return to form.”

Neighbourhood Parking Restrictions Implemented (At Long Last)

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After much delay and faffing, as of last week there are now parking restrictions in place for Bonnington Square, Langley Lane, Lawn Lane and Vauxhall Grove between midnight and 6.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays and between midnight and 8.30 am on Saturdays and Sundays (the parking places and single yellow lines currently operate between 8.30 am and 6.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays). Its objective, in brief, is to help reduce the impact of the anti-social behaviour of the clubbers and allow residents living in those streets to get a good nights sleep. The parking restrictions will be in place for eighteen months before a further review. Any residents in the area wanting to purchase 24-hour parking ticket vouchers for visitors should contact Lambeth Parking.

Here is the relevant order in full:



(Note: This notice is about extending the operational hours of the Kennington “K” Controlled Parking Zone in the roads specified above. The changes will be introduced as an experiment in the first instance and objections may be made to it being continued permanently – see paragraph 7).

  1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Council of the London Borough of Lambeth on 2nd September 2015 made the Lambeth (Kennington) (Parking Places) (No. 1) Experimental Traffic Order 2015, the Lambeth (Free Parking Places) (Limited Time) (No. 1) Experimental Traffic Order 2015 and the Lambeth (Waiting and Loading Restriction) (No. 1) Experimental Traffic Order 2015, under sections 9 and 10 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, as amended. The Orders will come into force on 14th September 2015 and will continue for up to 18 months.
  1. The general effect of the Orders will be to extend the operational hours of part of the Kennington “K” Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) so that in Bonnington Square, Langley Lane, Lawn Lane and Vauxhall Grove all the waiting restrictions that are indicated by single yellow lines and all the on-street parking places (with the exception of the car club parking place in Langley Lane) would apply between midnight and 6.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays and between midnight and 8.30 am on Saturdays and Sundays (the parking places and single yellow lines currently operate between 8.30 am and 6.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays).
  1. The Orders provide that where it is necessary in certain circumstances, an appointed officer of Lambeth Council or some person authorised by him or her may suspend the Orders or modify or suspend any provision contained in them, while the Orders are in force.
  1. The Orders are necessary to protect the available on-street parking space for residents, their visitors and local businesses in the controlled parking zone area and to reduce anti-social behaviour, so as to improve safety and the immediate environment.
  1. For further information, please telephone the Council’s Transportation Group on 0207 926 9318.
  1. A copy of each of the Orders and documents giving more detailed particulars about them (including a map) are available for inspection from 9.30 am until 4.30 pm on Mondays to Fridays inclusive (except bank/public Holidays) from 4th September 2015 until the Orders cease to have effect, at the offices of the Transportation Group, 5th Floor, Blue Star House, 234-244 Stockwell Road, London, SW9 9SP. Please telephone 020 7926 0209, to arrange an inspection.

7     The Council will be considering in due course whether the provisions of the experimental Orders should be continued in force indefinitely by means of permanent Orders made under sections 6 and 45 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. Any person may object to the making of the permanent Orders for the purpose of such indefinite continuation within a period of six months beginning with the day on which the experimental Orders come into force or, if the Orders are varied by other Orders or modified pursuant to section 10(2) of the 1984 Act, beginning with the day on which the variation or modification or the latest variation or modification came into force. Any such objection must be in writing and must state the grounds on which it is made and be sent to Barbara Poulter, Transportation Group, London Borough of Lambeth, 5th Floor, Blue Star House, 234-244 Stockwell Road, London SW9 9SP. Any objection may be communicated to, or be seen by, other persons who may be affected.

  1. If any person wishes to question the validity of the Orders or of any of their provisions on the grounds that it or they are not within the powers conferred by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, or that any requirement of that Act or of any instrument made under that Act has not been complied with, that person may, within 6 weeks from the date on which the Orders are made, apply for the purpose to the High Court.

Dated 4th September 2015

Abu Barkatoolah

Head of Transportation

Tfl Road Closures 3rd – 17th August

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Eastbound closures of the A202 Harleyford Road/Kennington Oval – 3 August 2015

Here: Tfl Road Closures

Our Area – It’s On The Rise

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In case you’d missed the fact that there’s a building boom going on between The Academy and Battersea Park, primarily along Nine Elms, here’s:

a link to an interactive 3D map.

Damien Hirst – Newport Street Gallery – Opening 8th October 2015

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The Newport Street Gallery is opening with a John Hoyland solo exhibition (“Who’s he”? – Ed.)

I’m sure this will be worth it. Possibly. Maybe. If you can stand queuing. And modern art. Plus, it’s free.

newport street

Otherwise there’s a nice pub nearby, The Dog House, 293 Kennington Road (A23), 10 minutes walk. If anyone calls you can always say that you didn’t like the exhibition, as a result of which you’re in the Dog House.

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