New Piazza for Vauxhall Grove/Bonnington Square

sent in by James Fraser
Dear Friends and Neighbours

                            You may have heard or seen plans drawn up by local resident James Ahmed to close off part of Bonnington Square to traffic and create a Piazza between Italo deli and the Pleasure Garden. This paved area and a similar one next to the cafe would obviously prioritise pedestrians in that area. 
                            This or similar have always been in my mind ever since the original Environmental Improvement Grant in 1984 was meant to do the same.. except a truckload of bricks went missing on route and we ended up with a reduced scheme! 
                            
Why Now? 
 
        Lambeth have a Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme(NEP) where they move to prioritise a different ward every year undertaking initiatives with residents groups to do greening and traffic calming etc. Unfortunately there is only a certain amount of cash to go around and there are 3 or 4 other residents groups after funding for improvements.Discussion and consultation have been ongoing since last year and two weeks ago an Design Event took place where groups got together with LBL officers to discuss plans with members of the public. 
 
       Feedback on this occasion and generally for the Piazza has been 99% positive.James A has done a fantastic job on the design front presenting designs of possible options and it is thanks to him we have a tangible design to present and  take it to the next step. I had envisaged a much bigger scheme to his.. raising the road to the same level from at least The Cafe around to the postbox and keeping traffic access and parking pretty much the same as it is now.Pedestrians would have priority and would claim more of the space for tables and chairs etc. at the same time as keeping the same number of parking spaces available.  
 
Design Details
 
       James has put forward a bolder plan which although less than what I had in mind would close the square roughly between Italo and the post box to traffic completely and diverting those entering Bonnington Sq from Vauxhall Gr around the Square. His draughtsman’s skills have taken into consideration feed back we have received and has presented options for consultation and to take a consensus forward to the next stage. The exact details of what exactly goes where etc has yet to be agreed but thanks to James we have in principle a proposal to present for funding application and final consent. 
 
Funding
 
        Demand for the funding available in the Oval NEP round is likely to be high. It is difficult to compete with other residents groups whose schemes are equally worthy and urgent.Competition will be very tight for what is relatively speaking a small amount of money. However there is a chance that there are enough surplus Chinese granite setts available from an earlier scheme (Van Gogh Walk SW9.. check it out)FREE OF CHARGE which no other group are interested in. If this promise is realised we need to find the funds to do the work and other materials. There is enough to pave approx 180 sqm, more than enough to do what we are proposing.
       Contractors have been asked for the likely cost of this part of the project,roughly estimated at £30k. As I understand it if we were to find the majority of this, say two thirds, the council will chip in the rest. It is a lot of money but a great opportunity for us to bring about an improvement to our quality of life for the future. 
 
       I hope you agree and will help by bringing forth suggestions or ideas as to how these funds could be raised to show willing to take this scheme forward.Unfortunately time is short and the deadline looms….any ideas very welcome! 
       
Any comments,queries or ideas to 
 
Many Thanks..
 

      
  

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