StreetWorks: How it all Started
My name is Saleem Patel and I am Project Manager, working for Lambeth Council’s Neighbourhoods and Growth department. But I am also a West Norwood resident who regularly shops, eats and drinks in the area. I have a background in implementing public realm schemes.
The public realm is defined as the space around, between and within buildings that are publicly accessible, including streets, squares, parks and open spaces.
I managed the recruitment, design and implementation of Phase 1. I also managed the bid for funds, recruitment, design and implementation of Phase 2
The current StreetWorks project is an extension of work that original begun inn 2013 (phase 1). Phase 1 was funded the Outer London Fund, which was provided by the previous London Mayor to revitalise outer London town centres. Lambeth’s Regeneration and Growth department made a successful bid to this fund to improve, enhance and increase trade in the ‘town centres’ in Streatham and West Norwood.
West Norwood was prime example of an outer London town centre that was failing.: Knights Hill, Norwood Road and Norwood High Street act as major traffic routes, with 10 bus routes using these roads. Consequently, West Norwood was dominated by vehicles and uncomfortable for pedestrians. Footfall was falling and trade decreasing.
It was decided to focus on the area bordered by the either side of Hannen Road heading north down to Chestnut Road and Lansdowne Hill. The vision was to make West Norwood better, safer
and more attractive for pedestrians, engendering a sense of ‘place’ and consequently increasing footfall and improving trade.
This was achieved been using a variety of interventions, including pavement widening and side-road entry treatment, introduction of green-man pedestrian crossings (especially across Robson Road, which was difficult and dangerous to cross), feature lighting for the church, cemetery and old library, enhancing the frontages of shops, greening and de-cluttering on the pavements.
There were a number of difficulties with this scheme, including opposition from Transport for London’s traffic division to the green-man crossing (because of potential traffic delays), opposition from local residents and resident groups, who felt (not without reason) that they had not been adequately consulted and not least the difficulty of carrying out the work in West Norwood whilst keeping traffic moving.
It was a particularly challenging project, but its success was demonstrated by being ‘commended’ at the Charted Institute for Highways and Transportation Award and coming second at the London Planning Awards.
On the back of phase 1, Lambeth Council made a successful bid to Transport for London’s ‘Major Scheme’ fund to continue the work done in Phase1 further north all the way down to Tulse Hill Station.
A major factor in receiving this £2 million plus worth of funding was being able to show what had been achieved in Phase 1. As a result of what was felt to be inadequate consultation in phase 1, the ‘StreetWorks’ steering group
was set up, so that residents and businesses could be involved from the very beginning in the consultation and design, and the community would have additional benefits (e.g. training in tender evaluation and project management) and a sense of ownership of the scheme.