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Improving Borough High Street

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Tuesday 9 May 2006 3.16pm
Southwark Council just got back to me and they have confirmed that
"the shop front licensing report was agreed by the licensing committee in February".
They are providing me with a list of shops that have licences.
Wednesday 10 May 2006 11.15am
easyrecall wrote:
Southwark Council just got back to me and they have confirmed that
"the shop front licensing report was agreed by the licensing committee in February".
They are providing me with a list of shops that have licences.

Hi Easyrecall, I agree with you about how you have to walk along the high street. I always have my head down too! Good observation. Yes, the pavements are very narrow. The street is narrow for people + traffic. Buses appear to be coming right next to you, at some pace, and the airbreaks screech right into your ear! It is quite intimidating. There's a lot to squash in - two pavements, two lanes of, sometimes very large, traffic. If heavy vehicles were routed across the little used Blackfriars Bridge, that might solve things a bit?

Going forward:
We are all coming up with some good suggestions here. They need to be collected, after, say, a set period of time, and sent to a short list of departments for consideration. Then, after those Depts have had a chance to consider the thoughts, ideas, comments; perhaps a public meeting could be held. For instance in the upstairs room at The George Inn, at 5.30-6.30 pm so those who either work or live on and around the High Street can put their thoughts to Southwark Council directly.

A timetable like this maybe:
1. Suggestions collected from here, the Action Network, BBC London - closure date set for comments.
2. List sent to departments/organisations/groups for comment. (Southwark Council, Bankside Residents Forum etc)
3. Meeting organised which gives the departments an opportunity to 'have their say'. Local press also invited to that meeting (BBC London, Time Out, London-se1 etc)
4. Outcome of that meeting and minutes posted back to here, the Action Network, BBC London message board.

Maybe the Bankside Residents forum (via Sue Page, the administrator) might be able to fund the room hire and/or the Council's Local Community Forum? I can't remember the name of the Forum, anybody know and/or got a contact there?

Pavement Licences:
Will be interesting to see which shops do have these licences (mentioned above), good idea to find out. I disagree about the chairs outside the Slug and Lettice; at least the space is being used. It gives the street some life to see people sitting and drinking. I notice that the same thing happens outside Costa Coffee and the bar run by St Christophers (at the other end of the HS). Actually being able to hear the other people above the roar of traffic might limit the wholesale adoption of such practices down the length of Borough High Street. :-)
Wednesday 10 May 2006 11.42am
"Little-used Blackfriars Bridge" - I actually mean Southwark Bridge, but both those bridges would be better for heavy traffic than London Bridge. Another option would be to direct traffic to London Bridge via some of the other feeder roads leading up from the south?
Wednesday 10 May 2006 11.57am
LizzieJ wrote:
Hanging baskets...yes, I am not keen on them myself as they need watering and in the current climate, that might not be such a good idea. Some other greening would be great, but what? Trees would have their branches ripped off by lorries and buses. Cacti??? Palm Trees???

there's a good local example of the type of tree appropriate for relatively narrow spaces along Copperfield Street. I did check out the [latin] name on the label but I've forgotten it - the only other one I recognised was a silver birch! Both trees types are tall and narrow, being about 4m high, the lower trunk bare of branches, and the spread above about 1-1.2m across. Use some of the same type to disquise or replace the surplus metal posts along the High Street, please!

I agree that the comment on the site about 'removing' unused properties is unfortunate. The last thing needed on BH St is more infill building, but I assume the sites are now extremely valuable and replacement [if it is allowed] is a viable [money making] option.
Wednesday 10 May 2006 12.01pm
LizzieJ wrote:
"Little-used Blackfriars Bridge" - I actually mean Southwark Bridge, but both those bridges would be better for heavy traffic than London Bridge.

I'm not sure that I agree that Southwark Bridge is "better" for heavy traffic than London Bridge if you are talking about bridge itself (rather than the roads leading up to it).

The current Southwark Bridge was built in 1912 and designed by (then noted) architect Sir Ernest George. The bridge is actually owned by a charitable trust that is responsible for maintaining and repairing it.

It is considerably more architecturally interesting (and fragile) than London Bridge (also owned by the same charitable trust I believe, but now maintained by the GLA) - built in 1972 of three bit pre-formed sections of concrete.

I seem to recall that Bridge House Estates were considering restricting traffic / speed on Southwark Bridge a while ago to protect the bridge - does anyone know what happened about this ?
Wednesday 10 May 2006 1.15pm
Also, you'd have to think about where the traffic was going to go if you routed it across Southwark or Blackfriars Bridge. I admit I am biased as I live on Southwark Bridge Road but SBR is much more a residential street with some office and commercial functions and sending lots of heavy traffic down it isn't really compatible with that use. Borough High Street has some flats above shops but nowhere near as much and is a busy commercial high street - I'm not sure sending some of its traffic down "little used" routes would really benefit anyone - BHS would still be busy as people want to access buses etc where they are using other facilities and it would make the other streets much less pleasant to live on.
Wednesday 10 May 2006 4.51pm
for once I agree with Janefs ,
its the infill building that spiols the high street.
Wednesday 10 May 2006 5.59pm
Doesn't something like this belong with the 'Better Bankside' BID scheme? I'd worry less about hanging baskets and more about retail premises receiving value for their Business Rates.

Tuesday 16 May 2006 5.45pm

Interesting and rather nice developments:

1. Lovely chat with David Knight from the General Public Agency, local architects, based in Borough Market, who specialise and support regeneration. I will meet them to report on the AN campaign, and other things going on (SLS - see below) on Monday 5th June, during my lunch hour.

2. Clare Armstrong also emailed me to tell me about 'Living Streets' a national campaign, she is a member of the Southwark Living Streets campaign (SLS).

Clare had this to say: "SLS did a community street audit of BHS in June last year - we would be delighted to share this with you if you would like a copy. Since then we have either sent or presented our report to the relevant councillors/officers at Southwark Council, Transport for London (who as you know are responsible for BHS down as far as Lant Street) and the GLA. We have also had a walkabout of the TfL stretch of BHS with the TfL guy responsible and a briefing meeting with Better Bankside and the Bankside Residents Forum, although their patch only extends as far as Union Street."

Clare has invited me to go to the monthly meeting of SLS this coming Thursday, 18th May, so I will go and give a report on the thoughts and ideas of people here and from the debate on London-se1 about Borough High Street. SLS are keen to join forces, which is great. Clare may like to come to meet the General Public Agency with me?

So, with local architects interested and SLS, things are moving forward. I will give updates on this next week for everyone who is supporting this campaign both here and on the BBC's Action Network. It looks like some of the different initiatives could join up; hope so.

Tuesday 16 May 2006 10.21pm
Any chance of getting asking SLS to look at Tower Bridge Road too. It's an arguably more famous name than Borough High Street but from Bricklayers to Abbey Street looks like no-one has thought about "good design" in decades! The shop fronts are a joke and as for the street signs and furniture.....
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