31 October 2010

Welcome for more 343s - but they must slow down



A consultation is currently underway on proposed changes to the 343 bus route (see the letters above). For residents of the Nunhead part of Peckham Rye the good news is that the frequency of buses may be increased. However, local residents are constantly telling us that they are concerned about the speed at which many 343 buses travel through residential parts of its route. I've pasted my response to the consultation below, welcoming the increase in frequency, but asking TfL to take decisive action to deal with this issue.

_____________________________


Dear Sir/Madam

What follows is my personal response to the consultation to the proposals for the 343bus route. I'm not sure if I need to "declare an interest" regarding consultations of this nature, but in the interests of clarity and openness I should say that I live at 340 Ivydale Road, which is serviced by the 343 bus.

I'd like to give my qualified support for the proposal to increase the the frequency of the service on weekdays between 7am and 7pm to one every 6 mins. The 343 bus is very well used by residents of our ward and the increase in frequency will relieve overcrowding, particularly during the busy morning and after-work periods.

The qualification that I would like to add relates to the speed at which buses travel, particularly through the largely residential part of the route taking in Cheltenham Road, Ivydale Road and Mertins Road. Many residents that I and my ward colleagues have spoken to on this part of the route have voiced their concern about the noise and vibration caused in their homes by buses travelling at excessive speeds. This area is part of a controlled 20 MPH zone. When these double decker buses pass over speed humps and potholes at high speeds they can cause houses in the area to shake. When buses slow down to the speed limit, the level of vibration is perfectly acceptable.

I understand that the issue of vibrations from the buses is not entirely related to their speed. There are ongoing issues with road resurfacing which are still to be resolved, but which are not directly related to this consultation.

Some residents are also concerned about road safety, particularly for children, because of the speed that some 343 bus drivers drive through this residential area. At times I have been shocked at the speed that some bus drivers travel, far in excess of the 20mph speed limit. I have even been told of bus drivers "chasing" one another whilst driving buses. Obviously, this increases the chances of an accident.

If the issue of 343 buses speeding remains untackled, an increase in their frequency might increase these problems. Consequently, I would support the proposal but would ask that TfL (and their contract holders) take decisive action to ensure that bus drivers drive within the speed limit.

Best Wishes,

Gavin Edwards

28 October 2010

Joint Letter to Boris on the 63 extension

Prior to the local elections in May, one of the promises we made to residents of Peckham Rye was that we, if elected as your local councillors, would campaign hard to extend the 63 bus route to Honor Oak Park Station. We said we would get Southwark council to put its weight behind the campaign and seek to force TfL to look again at this issue. The extension would link up local bus users with the East London Line which now travels from Honor Oak Park. It is small change that would make a big difference.

Since the election we have pushed the issue forward in a number of ways. At the last Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council Traffic and Transport Sub Group (or NPRCCTTSG as it is catchily and affectionately known by all!) we decided to ask our local Assembly Member, our local Member of Parliament and the Leader of Southwark Council to write to Boris Johnson about extending the 63.

Specifically we wanted them to write to him to demand that TfL look again at the financial assumptions on which they are basing their refusal to extend the route. Their current position is that the extension would not pay for itself because not enough extra people would use the service to get to Honor Oak. We think this assumption is based on pre-East London Line passenger numbers.

I am very pleased to say that your representatives, Val Shawcross, Harriet Harman and Peter John have all agreed to sign the joint letter, the text of which is below. We'll let you know as soon as they get a reply...

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Dear Boris,

We’re writing to ask for your assistance in improving transport links in our part of London. For many months now residents in the East Dulwich, Forest Hill and Honor Oak parts of Southwark have been contacting their local representatives to find out if the 63 Bus route could be extended by just a few stops to Honor Oak Park Train Station.

As you know, Honor Oak Park Station is now serviced by the East London Line. As a result, many local residents wish to travel to the station via the 63 bus and continue their journey by train. The route currently finishes quite close to the station, but not quite within a reasonable walking distance, particularly as the route is over a steep hill.

As you will see from the attached letters, correspondence between Southwark Council and TfL has so far proved fruitless. TfL is claiming that it would not be financially viable to extend the route because the additional costs would not be covered by additional bus use. We believe that TfL’s position is based on an analysis of demand prior to the opening of the East London Line.

We would be grateful if you could ask TfL to look again at this issue and analyse demand for this extension in the light of the opening of the East London Line. We feel confident that, if this analysis is done, the financial case for extending the 63 Bus route will become irrefutable.

Local people are extremely eager for this extension to be put in place without reducing the regularity of the existing service. We hope you will look into this issue and we look forward to your response.

Yours Sincerely,

Harriet Harman MP (Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham)
Val Shawcross AM (London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark)
Cllr Peter John (Leader of Southwark Council)

23 October 2010

One O'Clock Club: The official position

For any readers wanting to know EXACTLY what the situation is with the new One'Clock Club, changing rooms and pitches on Peckham Rye Common, the following may be of interest.

I submitted a question to the relevant Cabinet Member for last Wednesday's Council Assembly meeting. The response can be found here in the official council papers, but I've also pasted it below:-

"QUESTION TO THE CABINET MEMBER FOR CULTURE, LEISURE & SPORT AND THE OLYMPICS FROM COUNCILLOR GAVIN EDWARDS
What progress has been made on delivering Southwark Labour's manifesto commitment to turn the plans for a new One O'Clock Club and changing rooms and pitches for local sports teams into reality?

RESPONSE
A development plan for Peckham Rye was completed earlier this year defining sporting facilities and the future development of the cafe area of Peckham Rye Common. This plan has support from the community. The total estimated cost to realise this plan for the Homestall Road Sports Facilities and the Park Central Area Development Plan is £2.1m.

This is broken down into the following:

Homestall Road Sports Facilities and works to park pitches £1,100,000
New one o’clock club buildings £500,000
Replacing the temporary changing rooms with a permanent
facility on the maintenance area £100,000
New play area including water play £100,000
Landscaping and relocating car park to Peckham Rye Common £300,000
Total £2,100,000

To date £209,000 has been secured from the cleaner greener safer capital programme. The council has also sought a further £300,000 from Sure Start and £100,000 from the play builder programme. However since the election of the coalition government the Sure Start programme has been cancelled and play builder has been suspended and is unlikely to be available.

Over the last few months officers have been negotiating with the Harris Boys Academy which is willing to invest £400,000 to improve drainage and refurbish the grasses pitches in exchange for exclusive use of the Homestall Road site at specific times.

A meeting is being held on 20 October to confirm details. This funding would also be able the council to apply for Football Association (FA) funding in the region of £250,000.

Possible funding for this project is therefore as follows;
Homestall Road Sports Facilities
Harris Boys Academy contribution £400,000
FA contribution £250,000
Peckham Rye Park and Common
Current CGS funding £209,000
Total identified funding £959,000

If FA funding and Harris Academy funding is granted, the project is still left with a shortfall of £1,141,000 to complete the entire project. Officers have submitted a bid for a further capital funding for this amount and this will be considered by the cabinet in November as part of the wider council capital programme."

So, decisions are due to be made in November and we will continue to keep a very close eye on this issue.

16 October 2010

Recycling pilot in Peckham Rye


Here's me with my newly arrived kitchen caddy for food waste. If you are taking part in the new food waste recycling pilot you can order a caddy by emailing environment@southwark.gov.uk

So far I'm finding the scheme pretty easy to negociate. Separating food is easy enough, everything else that can be recycled goes in the blue box and we're actually left with very little in our rubbish bin - in fact I think the current bag has lasted 11 days!

There is lots more information about the scheme here and the letters and leaflets we have received have been really helpful. The leaflet has a handy timetable of collection dates on the back of it. If you've lost your's then you can look up your collection dates here.

I've been contacted by a few people asking whether or not they are in the pilot. I'm always happy to check but the collection date search also tells you whether you are included or not. Just to be clear, although many properties in Peckham Rye ward are in the pilot, it's not everyone.

9 October 2010

"Your Councillor" leaflet on its way to your door

In an effort to keep local people up to date with ouir work and council related issues in Peckham Rye, we've produced the first of what we hope will be a fairly regular "Your Councillor" leaflet. A copy will be delivered to every door in Peckham Rye over the next week or so. You can also see the first edition here by clicking on the images below.