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Thursday, 9 February 2012

Let there be light!

Last night at the Southfield ward forum myself and my two fellow ward Councillors discussed a number of proposals which the ward might fund.

The main items were:
  • Traffic Calming on The Vale and Larden Road
  • Cunnington Street Road Safety study
  • Crossing on Southfield Road near to the Recreational Grounds
  • Lighting of paths on Southfield Recreational Ground

A traffic speed study was comissioned by the ward forum to investigate the speed and frequency of the traffic at the junction of  The Vale and Larden Road. The officers showed the speeds were not higher than average and so we agreed that no actions should be taken.

Councillor Andrew Steed gave an update that the road safety study to look into solving problems with a blind corner at the junction near Cunnington Street and Wolseley Road, would be done in the next month or so.

In December the Council conducted a consultation to determine whether a crossing on Southfield Road near to the Recreational Grounds was wanted and what residents views on the matter were. A large proportion of the respondents (about 85%) were in favour but residents were concerned at a loss of parking spaces and the location of the proposed crossing. We agreed that this should not go ahead but if suitable changes are made, in the future the issue could potentially come back to the meeting.

Perhaps of all the major projects we could have spent money on, lighting some of the pathways on Southfield Rec is the most controversial. Residents reported that they were fearful of using the Rec when dark (there was a very serious attack a few months ago). The police said that lighting a park may increase the number of homeless people coming to the park and the Council's park department said lighting the Rec in the night will harm wildlife.

After much consideration we agreed that parts of the Recreation Ground should have lighting (the pathway from Southfield Road to Mansell Road plus the pathway going from the playground to Hatfield Road).

Southfield Recreation Ground is a great local amenity, and we want people to use it as often as possible. It is also used by many people as a travel route: many Chiswick residents access The Vale for on-going travel and many Acton residents walk to Turnham Green Station. The consultation paper attempted to measure the impact of lighting, would it encourage people to use the Park more, either for recreational use or as part of a journey to and from work? There was a perception, and this was apparent in the responses the council received, that the area was not safe when dark, and people went out of their way to avoid it.

There were concern about the impact of lighting, on local wildlife, and as part of a greater concern for the environment. We will work with the Council to ensure that the lighting pollution is minimal by taking up the suggestion of using timers to provide seasonal flexibility. This was an excellent idea which came from the consultation process.

This recommendation now goes forward to be approved by the Leader of the Council, who 'signs off' all ward forum decisions across the Borough. Hopefully the Council Leader will implement this decision as soon as possible and we can all get extended use of the Recreation Ground.

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