Recently the Norwood Action Group helped to facilitate a meeting for local businesses to raise concerns about the changes undertaken by Streetworks along Norwood Road. At the end of the meeting a motion was passed calling for additional car parking spaces to be instated or reinstated, including six on the widened pavement along Norwood Road, with abandoned cars on side roads also identified and removed.
Streetworks is a community-led project to improve Norwood and Tulse Hill. The project is funded by Transport for London and supported by officers at Lambeth Council. The plans to change the layout of Norwood Road have been decided by the community over a number of years of engagement work and pubic design workshops, with community members from diverse groups. You can read more about the process of consultation here and here.
The aims for the scheme are far reaching, we want to make West Norwood and Tulse Hill places where people would want to walk and socialise, ensure better air quality through reduced short car journeys and queuing traffic, reduce accidents for both walkers and cyclists, improve public health through an increase in walking and cycling, and improve the cycling experience (although the scheme could not accommodate segregated travel – as the road is not wide enough in all places for this, instead improved sight lines had been provided and the danger from opening car doors much reduced). With these aims in mind the Streetworks Steering Group has had to make some difficult decisions based on the feedback from the community and through the co-design workshops. For example, some people wanted more space for cyclists, others wanted more parking, and there was a call for wider pavements; compromises had to be made when designing the scheme.
The public meeting with NAG was held during the programme to undertake the works, and some refinements such as signage, street furniture (benches and chairs), diagonal crossing markings and highway resurfacing works have yet to be completed or started.
The Streetworks Steering Group has taken the motion passed by local businesses extremely seriously, and has discussed the points raised. Further feedback will also be carefully considered as the scheme progresses.
Whilst the scheme design has removed 12 car parking spaces from the main Norwood Road, we have always planned to add this number of spaces to side streets – ensuring the scheme is parking neutral. After the public meeting, we have worked with the Council to speed up this work, ensuring that 12 new spaces have now been allocated (details of these, and a map showing locations is below).
The Steering Group had always intended that the replacement parking should be provided before the pavement widening was undertaken and it is a matter of deep regret that logistically this did not prove possible. Furthermore, the Steering Group is discussing further how to further improve the general environment at Waylett Place where some if these extra spaces are located.
In the light of both the priorities set out by the Mayor of London and Lambeth Council, and after considerable debate, the Steering Group has gone over the decision-making process for the widening of the pavement. It was decided that the benefits of the wider pavements (as identified by the community at the series of co-design workshops) outweigh the need to reinstate the spaces, not least because an equal number of spaces have been created in close proximity on side roads.
However, we will be committing to working even more closely with local businesses, BID and West Norwood Feast going forwards, not least to ensure that Norwood Road becomes an attractive place by adding trees and benches for local people. We have been invited to attend the newly formed Trader Community Group which is being organised by the BID. We will also be producing a series of maps and leaflets for local businesses to display showing the location of the new spaces, helping inform customers of where they can park.