Southwark Green Party has responded to Southwark Council's proposals for the Old Kent Road. We will be keeping a watching brief on plans for the area and working with local residents and businesses. The full response is below.
1. Do you agree with the overall vision for the Old Kent Road? YES/NO
Southwark Green Party welcomes the development of the Old Kent Road based on appropriately scaled development, backed up by improved transport infrastructure, sufficient social housing, high quality public spaces and built to zero carbon standards.
2. Do you agree with the strategy of transforming the industrial land and retail parks around the Old Kent Road into mixed use neighbourhoods which provide homes and jobs? YES/NO
Southwark Green Party welcomes the commitment to build new council homes and notes that increasing the amount of social housing and commonly owned housing represents the best way of ensuring an availability of affordable housing. The borough-wide target for new development to provide a minimum of 35% affordable housing is much too low.
Instead of favouring cartels of big developers such as Lend Lease, the Council should prioritise the sale of public land to custom-build projects, allowing smaller housebuilders to enter the market, and giving residents more say over the design of their homes.
Where homes are demolished, residents should be guaranteed replacements that are social rented with secure tenancy, not “affordable rent” (i.e. up to 80% of the local market rent).
3. Do you agree with our proposals to give greater protection to the area’s heritage and create interesting and attractive neighbourhoods with high quality streets and public spaces and well designed buildings with a range of building heights? YES/NO
Southwark Green Party believes that all new buildings should be built to carbon neutral standards, including not just district heating but passive solar gain and air circulation systems for cooling, solar panels and ground source heat pumps.
We should also like to see the Council exploring opportunities to add additional storeys to existing blocks, adding lifts where necessary, as an alternative way to gain new homes without needing any demolition or loss of open space, again subject to proper process. This has been successfully implemented in other London boroughs.
The Green Party would like to see green spaces and gardens on housing estates given the same level of protection as private back gardens. Local authorities should work to create and enhance London’s woodland and street trees, including protecting trees from felling and overzealous pruning, promoting tree conservation areas and establishing a supported network of community woodlands.
We are dismayed that the Council appears to have little appreciation of the importance of the borough’s green spaces, either in terms of biodiversity or in promoting residents’ physical and mental wellbeing. We note, for example, that open space at the Elephant and Castle has been reduced by more than two-thirds as a result of “revitalisation”, while plans to redevelop Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries would sweep away woodland and wooded areas.
4. Do you agree that the Bakerloo Line extension should be a key part of our overall vision for the area? YES/NO
Southwark Green Party supports the extension of the Bakerloo line from Elephant and Castle, to Camberwell/Peckham and the Old Kent Road. If funding is not available for both these routes, then priority should be given to Camberwell/Peckham, and a tram line constructed along the Old Kent Road.
5. Do you agree with transforming the Old Kent Road into a modern boulevard with improved public realm for pedestrians, protection for cyclists and improved bus infrastructure along its entire length? YES/NO
Southwark Green Party welcomes redevelopment of the Old Kent Road with greater accommodation for pedestrians and cyclists.
Southwark Green Party supports Southwark Cyclists' position of a segregated cycle track to cater for the increasing demand from cyclists. In addition, any improvements to the Old Kent Road itself should be linked to a neighbourhood network of streets with permeability and connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists. This will ensure, amongst other things that pupils at new schools can safely travel to school by walking or cycling. This is also in tune with TFL priorities which include reducing private car use for local journeys.
More pedestrian crossings would also make it easier and safer for pedestrians to navigate the area.
6. Do you agree with our proposals for improving green infrastructure and compliance with measures to improve the environment? YES/NO
Improvements for cyclists and the reduction in private car use would contribute to better air quality in the local environment, a problem which is of particular concern around schools.
Southwark Green Party would like to see the borough’s network of streets used predominantly by pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, to improve air quality, safety and liveability for residents.