Letters to the editor: 31/08/17

(31 August, 2017) Letters

This week you wrote to us about: the urgent need for more GPs; the EU's discussion on fire-safety after Grenfell; and calls for council to do more to improve road safety in Denmark Hill

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Road chaos in Camberwell

Back in 2015 Southwark consulted on a major scheme for Camberwell that included reintroducing the right turn from Denmark Hill into Coldharbour Lane, eliminated all right turns from Camberwell New Road into Denmark Hill, by rerouting buses via Medlar Street, and generally spreading bus stops over a much wider area.

TfL are currently consulting on the Camberwell New Road / Camberwell Church Street element of the 2015 scheme, as detailed in last week’s Southwark News (17/8/17), but this only goes a few metres up Denmark Hill and leaves the buses only right turn from Camberwell New Road into Denmark Hill in place. Tfl’s consultation made it quite clear Southwark were responsible for works to the remainder of Denmark Hill.

As there has been no consultation from Southwark on any proposals to Denmark Hill only undertakings to proceed independently with Orpheus Street and the reintroduction of the Coldharbour Lane right turn I was surprised to see in the Evening Standard on Monday (14 /8/17) that Southwark had approved £2.5 million road works for Camberwell.  Research revealed that a scheme for Denmark Hill either side of the Coldharbour Lane junction had been tacked on to their “pocket spaces” proposals that had been extensively consulted on.

Study of the Orpheus Street approved, without public consultation, scheme reveals a potentially disastrous plan. The left turn is already dangerous (it’s where cyclist Esther Hartsilver died) and is very difficult for buses and large vehicles to turn when buses are parked on their stand immediately round the corner. Where Tfl in Camberwell Church Street are proposing to move the St Giles bus stop west from Vicarage Grove to improve safety for left turning cyclists, Southwark at Orpheus Street propose the complete opposite by installing  a bus stop right on the corner, where the crossing is at present. In addition the entrance to Orpheus Street is to be narrowed and receive a raised table while leaving the existing bus stand in place to close to the corner.

While Tfl claim their proposed works will make a 40 per cent improvement in safety, in my opinion of Southwark’s approved changes at Orpheus Street will make it 100 per cent  more dangerous for all road users.  As a motorist it’s already hazardous to turn left into Orpheus Street with only a few meters left lane run up. With buses parked right up to the corner, and no run up it will be disastrous. While as a pedestrian crossing Orpheus Street at present from the Post office to Butterfly Walk I only have to watch out for illegally right turning vehicles with the existing crossing stopping left turning vehicles, with the crossing gone and unable to see approaching left turning vehicles along with the danger from illegal right turns crossing will be a nightmare.

Hopefully Southwark will reconsider.

John Marten, Camberwell

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How about naming park Gulliver’s Fields?

Refering to the newly named Mayflower Park on the Fisher FC ground at Lagado Mews and Salter Road, Rotherhithe SE16

May I draw your attention to the opening lines (below) of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

“The author of these Travels, Mr. Lemuel Gulliver, is my ancient and intimate friend…  About three years ago, Mr. Gulliver growing weary of the concourse of curious people coming to him at his house in Redriff”

And to mention that Lagado is here in fictional Balnibarbi, and is name-checked as a mews off  Salter Road, SE16.

Must Rotherhithe stretch the fiction so much that our own Mayflower ship which left Redriff near St Mary’s church in 1620 to take the Separatists and Merchant Adventurers to the New World must also deliver Gulliver to Balnibarbi one hundred years later, in 1726.

Whatever the official name, some will nevertheless call the park Gulliver’s Fields in honour of our great (fictional) adventurer who is barely acknowledged here, while the international Mayflower 400 events in 2020 will still be spoilt for choice for Mayflower named and themed locations in Rotherhithe.

Franny Plimpton, via email

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Jonathan Swift should be celebrated

What’s in a name?

A label a particular place is suited to receive. Thereby helping people to develop a sense of place through experience and knowledge of a particular area.

A sense of place emerges through knowledge of history, geography and geology of an area, its flora and fauna, the legends of the place and a growing sense of the land and its history after living there for a time.

Why one then may ask did London Borough of Southwark  decide to arbitrarily name the new park in the heart of an area with names like Lagado  –  Mayflower?

Any new, green, sizeable public space is a very welcome addition to SE16.

However,  London Borough of Southwark’s failure to seize the unique opportunity to celebrate and promote Gulliver and Jonathan Swift’s connections with Rotherhithe and create a park that would stimulate an interest in education, travel and adventure is something I fear the community will not pardon.

Pauline E Adenwalla, via email

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Make sure Grenfell never happens again

After the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, the European Parliament will discuss for the very first time fire safety in buildings at a meeting where both the European Council and the Commission will speak.

This important meeting will happen on Wednesday 13 September 2017.

We are Fire Safe Europe, a European alliance which aims to raise the profile of fire safety in buildings, and in advance of this debate we are petitioning the European Union to make changes to ensure that tests to evaluate the performance of facades in a fire are based on real?life situations. To introduce requirements to test the toxic smoke from construction products, and to develop a European Fire Safety Strategy.

Grenfell was a tragedy that should never have happened. Let us avoid a repetition.

We would invite your readers to sign online https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/The_EU_institutons_EUCanBeFireSafe/?cyMnlmb

Gary Cartwright, via email

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GP services pushed to brink of collapse

Whilst the announcement by the NHS to launch a new pilot in South East London to recruit more GPs from overseas will provide some much-needed relief for general practice in the short term, it does not go far enough to address the recruitment crisis underpinning general practice.

Overseas doctors make a valuable contribution to the NHS and will undoubtedly alleviate some of the pressure on general practice in the region as staff shortages have left many practices struggling to provide enough appointments and services to the public.

Yet despite repeated promises from the government, the latest figures show only a marginal increase of barely one per cent in the GP workforce in England and many that do work in the NHS are considering quitting the profession as the added stress of working under increasing pressure takes its toll.

To turn around this desperate situation, and both attract doctors trained in the UK as well as from overseas, the government must take urgent steps to reduce the unsafe workload burden carried by GPs and support them throughout their career so as to encourage them to stay before GP services are pushed to the brink of collapse.

Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya , BMA junior doctor committee chair and GP trainee in London

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