About Me

"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Is crazy paving Wandsworth's answer to community cohesion and urban regeneration?

All around Clapham Junction the streets are being paved - not in gold, but in some rather expensive-marble-looking multicoloured patchwork quilt effect.
Sous les pav├ęs, quoi? New crazy paving for riot-torn shopping street - St John's Road, Battersea, being repaved by Wandsworth Council

Yes, urban regeneration is afoot, street furniture is being torn up and rep[laced with more street furnitutre. The old, bloodstained riot-age pavings and railings are being torn up in hugely disruptive stages.

That whole area - St John's Road, Battersea Rise, Lavender Hill, Falcon Road - is undergoing a very thorough post-riot tarting up. Except that I think it all started well before the riots. But that would spoil my entry.

So what they - Wandsworth Council - are doing is covering the pavements and roads in that sort of marble paving, three colours, different sizes, the un-crazy paving of a million architect's impressions.

It looks quite nice at first, and then you see more and more it it, and you start to wonder why - what is this saying to us all, post riot?

That this is now a nice place, like those desirable residential developments in provincial towns or new-build gated retirement resorts on the Algarve, or the patios of gangster-villas in Marbella or Bishop's Stortford, all the better for burying dissenters beneath?

The new paving stretches several hundred yards from the epicentre of the August 2011 events, up to the LIbrary on Lavender, all the way up St John's Road, and large tracts of the worst-hit street are now getting this harlequin-check treatment.

Two or three uncharitable thoughts: first,  it must cost.

Second, is it worth it? Already, where this new paving has been in use for a few weeks, the staining is  just the same as  the old pavements, the unmistakeable chewing gum blots and McDonald's grease spots. The vomit-splashes and urine trials.

Third - most urgent - where are the new bike racks? They've taken down all the old railings around Arding & Hobbs, etc - and so far only a dozen or so new individual bike stands have appeared. These are mostly of the dismal 'n' design, hopeless for attaching more than one bike. And this at a time when the numbers of cyclist-commuters in London  is growing at record rates.

No comments:

Post a Comment