Tag Archives: Popes Rd

Ice Rink to move to Brixton

Streatham Ice Rink is to move to the Pope’s Rd Car Park in Brixton, councillors decided yesterday at a Lambeth Planning Applications meeting. The decision to host the ice rink in Brixton for three years while Tesco builds the Streatham Hub was voted in three to one, despite massive opposition from parents, Brixton market traders and campaigning groups. The traders in Brixton Market depend on the car park for custom from outside Brixton – figures released last year showed that trade had already suffered from the closure of the car park in 2009.

Below are notes made during the meeting by the valiant Richard Pope [he also posted them on urban 75 – see here for the forum debate]. He didn’t stay for the decision itself, but this gives brilliant information about what was discussed:

Welcome from the chair Diana Morris (Labour, Thornton Ward). Members
of the committee introduce themselves. 4 Labour, 1 Lib Dem. Then
council officers.
First item – declarations of interest. Cllr Brathwith child attends
school related to the application. Chair has been ice-skating before.
Go her! Hardly a major declaration of interest though.
2 items unrelated to the ice-rink/carpark. Getting those out of the way first.
Some Tunnels in Waterloo where the council officers haven’t done their
homework properly. Then something about types of brick (staffordshire
blue buff or something) and for Dunraven School. Looks quite nice.
OK, on to the 3 applications relating to the Streatham Hub / Brixton carpark
First up is the bit relating to a new carpark on Porden Road which is
supposed to provide more parking for people using the market (in place
of the multi-story).
Officers are presenting an overview, followed by something specific on
Porden Road. In 2002 planning ok’ed for Streatham hub including an
icerink, a swimming pool, public square, housing, and a Tesco store.
There was a 106 legal agreement which guaranteed onsite ice rink

They are now proposing a temporary off-site ice rink which requires
the 106 to be varied. AS well as the 106 there are 3 applications
which will be taken in turn.

The officers note that Boris is not happy and is opposing the
application (although acknowledge he has no power to direct them).
Also Streatham businesses are happy with temporary ice rink as the
Streatham Hub will happen faster. Also Sport England have objected.
TfL have no objection. Various other extra/late comments from Friends
of Brixton Market, and others.

Finally (and interestingly) Tessa Jowell contacted officers urging
caution given the level of local opposition.

Council officers then show lots of pictures and maps (very slowly).
Heckling from the audience when council officer gets the size of the
new rink wrong (he says temporary rink would be same length,
apparently he’s wrong).

No direct mention of Tesco so far. They Who Must Not Be Named.
Porden Road Residents Group are up. Chair is trying to make 3 of them
speak as one in 3 minutes. Audience not impressed.

Increased noise, pollution and traffic in Porden Road if the temporary
car park goes ahead. They say they know this because the area was
previously used as a works depo when the town centre was being
redeveloped. Points out that 3 years isn’t very temporary!

Community safety has not been considered – only one camera – already
have a problem with drug dealing/use.

John Gordon from Market Traders Federation is up. Points out that the
foods people buy are specialist and bulk. The committee is presented
with a huge sack of rice and a huge barrel of oil. Porden Road is too
far away. Most shoppers are women – invites members of comitee to lift
up barrrel and sack and walk about with them. Also suggests the
members borrow a child (there are several in the room) and try
carrying them at the same time.
Ben Tunstall from FBM says that there is an incline on Acre Lane; It
is in a distinct area of the town centre. people will just go to
Another resident of Porden Road is up. Point of Order that there is
are discrepancies in the application – different areas and names used.
Development plan makes no reference to new parking and will actively
seek to reduce parking near Tesco. Making the officers look a bit
stupid. He’s done his homework.
The applicants for Porden Road (Cllr Sally Prentice & and someone from
some kind of Lambeth regeneration department) are invited to respond
to the complains form traders and residents.

The council has a commitment to deliver Streatham Hub. The temporary
ice-rink is a way of doing this, but needs more parking, hence Porden

The committee get to quiz these two:

Q: “What guarantee that it really will be 3 years”

A: Within Brixton Master Plan; Tesco will be compelled to remove ice
rink after 3 years then they will do something ill-defined else with
it; Won’t need car-parking so that will also go after 3 years.

They refuse to guarantee that car-park will be gone after 3 years.
There could be another application in 3 years.

Cllr Palmer then points out that it will be very hard to actually
manoeuvre into the proposed car-park. Transport Officer responds that
it is possible. Doesn’t sound very convincing. Denies that it is on a
cycle route dispute the evidence of lots of cycle signs. Sounds like a

Cllr Brathewaite asks what lighting will be available and points out
hours will make it very noisy for residents. Applicants offer to close
it earlier.

Cllr Edbrooke asks if the carpark will actually be used. The
applicants don’t really know, but say they are trying to replace Popes
Road as best they can.

Part 2 – we’re on to Popes Road temporary Ice Rink. Lots and lots of
people queued up to speak (15 ish?).
Brixton Society up first – points out that council change their mind
on replacing carpaking, and will loose 280k a year form parking
charges. Will Brixton people use it? Will they squeeze Streatham users
out? Can we trust Tesco / council to stick to a new 106 agreement?
Waste of energy building a temp rink. Air quality already poor in
Brixton. Points out that members voted 2 weeks ago to reduce crime,
this will increase it.
Person from the Werewolves special needs hockey team are up. Transport
links for users with special needs, in a busy town centre, with heavy
equipment, drop off point for users with special needs is not good
enough. Have the council looked at the equality impact.
A mother who is involved with one of the clubs says they are taking
her job away, she has devoted herself to keeping the club running.
Promises to be a pain in the arse if it goes through.
Another parent points out that some parents are disabled and need
spaces to park.
Ben Tunstall from Friends of Brixton Market again. The next 3 years is
critical for Brixton Market. Indoor market landlord is increasing
rent. Shoppers are down because of the carpark. The market is Dying on
it’s feet. Do the comitee want to be responsible for a massive
insertion of change at this time?
James Gardener – skater at the rink since 1975. Runs the (redskins)
hockey team. Loosing a party room and cafe as well as an icerink.
Popes Road is smaller. Worried about postcode gangs – parents won’t
send their kids. Streatham 1200 spectator seats, Brixton 400. At a
recent game there were 88 cars in the carpark. Kids will get their kit
Mike Dwyer – from another special needs hockey club. No store room for
recycling kit. No free parking. Too many cars in the market, children
nearly run over during the site visit. Cost of parking doubles the
cost for parent up to £360 per season. Even then no guarantee for
John Gordon from Brixton Market Traders. Brixton has to compete with
Peckham market, Lewisham and Tesco (which sells similar food). The
council acknolage the importance of parking in various master plans.
464k square feet of retail in Brixton, based on Tesco that works out
as 3,399 free spaces. Porden Road will be £3 an hour. Brixton is
surrounded by controleed parking zones.
Rosie from Rosie’s Deli. Lives in Peckham were parking is 80p. It takes
hours to get your nails done, costs too much in Brixton.
Coach of under 12’s team. He’s at the rink 3 days a week coaching. His
children and wife figure skate. So he is there a lot. This isnt a
compromise, it’s a surrender. Streatham is still standing. Kids need
to know that their community represent them. Cardiff is using a
temporary rink 5 years later. Brighton and other places have lost
theirs. Tesco is Monty Burns, don’t be is Smithers!.
10 minute break and then it all starts again – shed loads of people to
get through.
Man form Save Skating in Streatham – the survey of Streatham ice rink
missed loads of stuff, didnt even notify the management of the visit
so couldn’t access all areas. Not an equivalent facility, particularly
in terms of parking. The clubs won’t last the 3 years. Tesco should
honor their original agreement.

The secretary of state has sent some kind of letter as places a high
burden on the committee.
Lloyd Leon ex-mayor of Lambeth. 1) crime there was a murder at
Streatham. 2) kids are scared of gang warfare, blood will be on hands
of committee if there is a postcode murder 3) traffic is already a
mess 4) administration is in the pocket of Tesco.
Nicola, Electric Avenue resident. Parking chaos since parking closed.
Has there been an equality impact assessment. Crime risk, the market
has highest crime in Brixton according to crime maps.
Donna Sinclare – Options For Change, introduces a colleague who ran an
Angell Town youth centre. Been trying to prevent gang violence. This
is asking for gang warefare, postcode battles. Postcode warefare is
real. “Not one drop of blood on that ice!”.

Matthew, long term local resident. Concerned about local amenity.
Residential units right next to the proposed rink. Hours are longer
than the rec’. No parking for coaches of visiting teams. Where is the
transport assessment? Any development in Brixton should foster the
market and involve residents.
Chair and Cllr Ling complain about recording of the meeting. Streatham
Pulse and Friends of Brixton Market own up to owning the recorders.
After lots of tooing and frowing they agree to recording.
Lib Dem Councillors present photos of kids struggling with heavy
equipment. Also witnessed a young person nearly nocked over by a car
in Brixton Market. You will be alienating Streatham kids who are
scared of the postcode tag. Temp rink will lose at the same time as
Brixton Academy, pubs and clubs, so what security for the kids leaving
the rink?

Quotes some marketing shite from the Tesco website about community
being important.

More concern about safety for the kids – Lambeth’s own plans describe
the area as a no-go area. Tesco will benefit if the market fails.
Woman from a group representing ice dancers in Stretham. Since this is
the only option available, and Tesco will just wait so Brixton is the
only option and we have to try and make it work. Not happy that hours
are so short because training for ice dancing has to happen after
hours, promises they won’t be noisy.
Cllr Kazanthis – his daughter was pictured on the SLP aged 6
campaigning to save the ice rink – she is now 16! It’s a far from
perfect solution, but is the only option. No fan of Tesco, but needs
to go ahead.

Sounds like Tony Blair. Is telling the committee what they want to
hear though. All nodding.
Matt Parr – Labour councillor for the ward in question. Regrettable
that the council has got it’s self in this position where a new
facility is generating public outrage. He is very concerned about the
effects on Coldhabour and the market. Some of the best shops in
Brixton have gone, we need to keep the rest.

He objected officially saying it shouldn’t go ahead is the parking
situation could not be sorted. Says the council officers have gone
along way on this. We’ve lost a lot of spaces.

Parking provision was always going to go down when the carpark shut.
We want to reduce car use, but you can’t do in in one go. The concerns
of traders have not been addressed so he maintains his objections.
The planning advisers for Tesco are to make a presentation (which is
brave or stupid).

Tesco are committed to delivering the Streatham Hub (really?). They
had to reevaluate the scheme because of the economic climate and
change the build time. They are just reading out the planning
application and mentioning public transport links.

These guys are really slimy.

Committee as some questions of them:

Cllr Brathwaite: shortening of the build period for Streatham Hub – how
much will be saved and how much time will be saved?
Tesco: they need the time to relocate a bus depot [that’s a new
excuse?] save about 6 months, and then 2 years on build time. Claim
they have helped by keeping the skates in their current home for so
long. The last thing Tesco wants is for a club to fold. Contradicted
himself saying it would save 1 year. Didn’t answer what the financial
saving would be.

Tesco admit it was originally going to be a 3 year build, so we are
back where we started?

Cllr Brathwaite: repeats the question about costs.

Tesco: All the savings are going to pay for the tempoary ice facility.
So no savings in financial or time terms.

Tesco will get 2 years additional trading. This so doesnt go down well
with Cllr Brathwaite.

Cllr Palmer: there is no parity. Parking hasn’t been solved and the
officers report is poor in relation to parking. e.g. no mention of %
of staff parking or special needs. The only swimming pool in the
borough is in Brixton so Brixton is already over stretched.

Tesco: staff have to use public transport.

Council officers: the report refers to the Werewolves (special needs
hockey team) situation. The car park could be closed just for them.
Suggesting people can use the surrounding roads.

Tesco: commit to werewolves that 23 spaces will be made available or
Tesco will pay their tickets. [what about other users?].

Council Officers: coach parking to be sorted later. Park on Coldhabour Lane.


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Opinion: Streatham Hub – “sit up and take notice”

Kevin Rye, from Save Skating in Streatham, explains why he’s campaigning against proposals for the ice rink to be temporarily moved to Pope’s Road in Brixton

‘Streatham Hub’. Two words that strike fear into the hearts of Lambeth Council. The project that is supposed to regenerate the site of the old Streatham ice rink has been a long-time coming, and it has got people in Brixton and Streatham rather hot under the collar.

Indeed, had you been shopping in Brixton Market last Tuesday you would have noticed that the usual fruit and veg stalls were replaced with rivers of plastic sheeting and protest signs from a group opposing the development. The group includes a wide range of interests, from high-street chains, individual businesses and concerned residents, to organisations such as Friends of Brixton Market and Transition Town Brixton, to The Brixton Society and Brixton Market Traders Federation.

It all emanates from the ‘Streatham Hub’. Tesco bought the site of the current Streatham ice rink almost ten years ago and in 2001 agreed to develop a ‘Hub’ with new leisure facilities, a new supermarket and 250 new homes. But last year, Tesco indicated it might not be able to follow through on the plans, in particular building a new ice rink. In they end, they agreed to provide a temporary ice rink between the closing of the old one and the opening of a new one. The big question now is where that temporary rink will be situated. Lambeth Council has proposed the site of a car-park in Popes Road, Brixton, which is deemed vital both by the council itself (in a 2003 Cabinet document) and desperately needed by traders (whose turnover is down 50% while council rents are up a similar amount).

But this plan is in direct contravention of the Section 106 finally signed in December 2008 by Tesco, after years of wrangling. In fact the deal was pretty much tied-up in December 2004, but Tesco have something of a reputation of dragging their heels.

The S106 – ‘community kickback’ as it’s sometimes known – guaranteed ‘continuity of provision’ on the current site of the rink over the period that the new combined rink and leisure centre was to be built. Ken Livingstone as Mayor at the time had insisted on this, and so the deal contained clauses that forced them to build the rink and leisure centre first before anything else.

This would guarantee against the precedent set in Richmond, when a property developer (quelle suprise) bought one of the most famous rinks in the country, paid the Council £2.9m to remove similar guarantees (in excess of £5m in today’s money), then knocked it down, built flats and that was that.

But Tesco came crawling back to the council pleading poverty just three months after they signed the S106 and the idea of a temporary ice rink on Streatham Common was – ridiculously in my opinion – put forward. HOOC (Hands Off Our Common) pointed out that the word ‘Common’ actually meant something, and Brixton soon emerged as the favourite.

The big question that I keep coming back to is quite simply: why does a multi-billion-pound turnover business sign off a deal to develop a site it knows is going to cost ‘x’ amount of pounds during deep financial crisis and a period of collapsing property prices, and then ‘suddenly’ realise three months later that they ‘can’t afford it’? Don’t forget thatwhen they got the council to agree to this ‘relocation’ of such a vital element of the site, Tesco also slung in an application to expand the store space by another 56%.

I’ll make a suggestion. This is about Tesco building one of the biggest stores they’ve got. It’s about sewing up the grocery market – and increasingly non-food items – from London to Brighton; most of all, it’s about them ensuring that they earn the maximum return for their shareholders.

And I’ll suggest to you what it isn’t about: it isn’t about communities being provided with the facilities they need; it isn’t about the continuation of one of London’s most well known and oldest leisure and sporting venues.

No matter what Lambeth say about this development, it’s all about Tesco earning money, Lambeth not having enough, and the council trying to do this ‘deal with the devil’ to make sure it gets a project finally built that’s been on the drawing board for years.

In South London alone in recent years we’ve lost Streatham Bowling Alley, Catford Dogs (Greyhounds), Plough Lane (Football), Richmond (Ice Skating). We no longer have speedway at Wimbledon because the track owner decided it didn’t suit their business plan – the famous Wimbledon Dons now race in exile.

I’m no Nimby, really, but London is in danger of turning into a giant housing estate-cum-supermarket chain.

I’m one of many thousands of people in Brixton and Streatham who is no longer going to sit back and witness this particular story play out. And it’s in my power as a local resident to make sure Lambeth don’t make a total rickets of a very simple proposition. And it’s in yours too.

I haven’t even gone into the aggressive behaviour by Lambeth Council officers towards Streatham residents and ice-rink users; or their scandalous treatment of a local councillor – throwing her out of a meeting (a local authority legal expert said he didn’t know how to deal with the incident off the top of his head as ‘this has never happened before’); or the frankly odd behaviour by Tesco – convening meetings with Streatham businesses without telling local councillors.

Whether or not you like ice skating, whether or not you shop in Brixton, if nothing else I hope the behaviour alone of Tesco and Lambeth makes you sit up and take notice.

If you want to know more, Save Skating in Streatham can be found on Facebook and Don’t Ice Brixton Market have their own website.


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Another blow for Brixton Market traders

Diana Godwin with the traders' petition at her stall on Pope's Rd

Market traders have complained that the closure of the Pope’s Road Car Park has drastically cut business since Christmas, just when they thought they were emerging from the recession. The Pope’s Rd carpark was closed by Lambeth Council on December 19 for health and safety reasons.
A council press release in December said that a structural survey had found problems in the concrete walls and ceilings. It was scheduled to reopen in mid-February, but it is now uncertain how long it will have to stay closed.
The carpark served as an important facility for vehicle users coming to Brixton Market.  Diana Godwin, whose family runs a fruit and veg stall on Pope’s Rd, said, “on the weekend, trade is now probably down by about a third. Our customers are parking as far away as Shakespeare Rd and up past Tescos on Acre Lane. A lot of my customers who have signed the petition, especially my Saturday customers, are Croydon people who were probably born in Brixton and still come to shop here. They closed the carpark four days prior to Christmas with no warning to us or the general public and no alternative.”
At a meeting last week, says Godwin, the council stated it would not be able to offer help with alternative parking until mid-May. Godwin and other Brixton traders have set up a petition to protest against the closure and to ask for more immediate help. “We’re asking for them not to leave it for six months. Already two traders in this road have closed since Christmas. Whether it’s got something to do with the carpark, I couldn’t say, but I think it played a part.” The Market Trader’s Federation are proposing that the council establish an alternative carpark on the wasteland just behind the market in Codharbour Lane.
I am waiting on a comment from Lambeth Council, but you can read their statement in the South London Press here.


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