Categories
Ealing and Northfield

The road to hell is lit with Victorian lampposts

Yesterday the BBC picked up on the Hanwell lamppost saga also seen at Ealing Times here. This is a case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

All the street lights in Ealing are due to be replaced with modern lighting over a five year cycle under a PFI deal signed by the previous, Labour, administration. There was little consultation on the original deal, any consultation being limited to conservation panels in conservation areas. In order to save money a small number of modern “heritage style” columns were procured under the PFI for conservation areas.

Bizarrely one of the places these new heritage columns went in was the post war Cuckoo Estate, a conservation area but one where Victorian style lighting was no use to anyone.

As the PFI got rolled out the new Tory administration was made aware by various residents/campaign groups that the loss of heritage street lighting was of concern to residents, notably the SEAL campaign. Council leader, Jason Stacey, has put a deal of effort into meeting residents and taking their concerns on board, see report of meeting with SEAL last year. As a part of the budgeting process the council have made funds available (£456,000) to save as many of the original columns as are salvageable. The concept we came up with was to concentrate these in a heritage area adjacent to Ealing’s central parks and Pitzhanger Manor. This would have the benefit of saving the lights and enhancing the council’s investment in Pitzhanger Manor.

At the start of March the council announced:

  • £2.821 million investment towards the restoration of Pitzhanger Manor House and Gallery
  • £456,000 investment to restore the antique-style heritage lighting and bring it up to modern standards
  • £300,000 investment to improve facilities in Walpole and Lammas Parks.

We are keen to ensure that all areas of the borough are well lit and we should bear in mind that for every vocal street lamp hugger there will be ten people who will quietly welcome the feeling of reassurance and security that higher light levels will bring. According to our recent survey resident satisfaction in street lighting has risen from 29% to 72% since 2004 (coinciding with the streetlighting replacement programme). To achieve our objective less streets will have the refurbished heritage lights as we will have to increase the number of lights per street to achieve the required light levels, we will also lose some columns in the process which cannot be refurbished due to damage or wear and tear. This means that however we allocate the refurbished lights some streets will lose their old columns to populate neighbouring streets – this is one of those issues where someone will end up unhappy. Some people in Northfield or Hanwell may feel that their few lights should remain in their immediate area. That would still mean that one road would lose its lights to populate the neighbouring road and the heritage lighting would be reduced to the odd street here and there rather than a single district where it will have an impact. For those roads with a majority of heritage columns funds have been made available to give them the modern heritage style columns – like Mattock Lane which looks great.

The Hanwell activists have effectively gone from not talking to the council at all on this issue to getting their pictures in the paper and trying to physically obstruct people going about their lawful business. What was great about dealing with the SEAL people was that however emotional they were about their streets they have bought their concerns to councillors and have always been happy to talk – and Jason has put a lot of time, and cash, into meeting them half way. The Hanwell people, led by a Labour activist, have gone straight from silent to nuclear at the implementation of Labour’s PFI. Jason’s efforts to come up with a workable solution have got Ealing in the news for the wrong reasons. Don’t believe the hype.

12 replies on “The road to hell is lit with Victorian lampposts”

Are so this is the nub of the argument. the Wall’s deliberately tried to keep parties out of it. We are a mix of residents (all Parties) who just care about the local area and when you look at the March 2008 Conservation Area document it shows how little regard has been taken of the following points.
From Hanwell Village Green Conservation Area Character Appraisal – March 2008-

Section 5.4 Page 22

The public realm in general is uncluttered and reads
as a neutral backdrop to the buildings. Street
lighting is a mixture of reproduction ‘Victorian’ lamp
standards, usually painted black, as on Church
Road, and older swan-neck lamps, as on Manor
Court Road. Both are appropriate in this setting.
The Borough Council has recently commissioned a
private contractor to replace all of the street lighting
in the Borough and it is hoped that existing fitments
of merit in the CA will be retained.

Further down it says:-
Older street lights would benefit from painting

So that is the results of consulation when Ealing Coucil say one thing then ignore their own findings.

Jason Stacey says
“What can we do with this heritage lighting? Have a bit of an area where we can actually say this is something about our history without it being dotted around in individual places.”

So in answer to this is our History just to be ignored and deemed worthless. I myself am a Boris supporter but am baffled as to why this is taking place.

So believe the Hype as this week Jason will be vandalising area and next week it could be something that you cherish that will end up in the Heritage Quarter.

Peter,

Having devoted almost 700 words to trying to explain the situation I am sorry that you are still baffled. We are trying to be constructive but calling Jason a vandal isn’t I think.

You might address my point about how did we go from silence to the TV so quickly?

Dear Mr Taylor

In reply to your article on our lampposts, I copy below an e-mail I sent to Jason Stacey on behalf of our Hanwell Village Green Residents’ Association on the 9th of April. I still await a response from him. My neighbours have also complained about a lack of response to e-mails addressed to him.

We would welcome a response from Mr Stacey to enter into discussions about these lampposts. At the moment a valuable heritage area of Hanwell Village Green is about to lose it’s antique lampposts. Why can it not be stopped and negotiations started with Ealing Council. I also suggest that you read the Council’s Character Appraisal written by Dr Rosa dated March 2008.

Pauline

————————————————————————————-

Dear Mr Stacey

I am extremely concerned about the way the Council is handling the whole affair with the lampposts.

I spoke to Beryl Pankhurst, the co-ordinator of our local Residents’ Association, this morning. You state in your letters that the local Residents’ Association has been consulted, but that they never replied. This is incorrect, as the Conservation Panels were invited to a Conservation Planning Meeting in October 2006 in The George in West Ealing. She attended together with Mary Hall (an employee at Ealing Council), and they strongly objected to replacing our original lampposts, saying that they are out of character in our area.

The only residents that were consulted were those in Church Rd and Cuckoo Lane and they chose the new style heritage lights, to help bring down the number of crimes. This was before it became known that the original lights could be upgraded.

Hanwell Station is a listed building and the three lampposts in front of the station are named in the listing. They have been marked on the street for removal. I am extremely concerned that this may happen!

I would be grateful if you could address the following points:-

1. Please provide us with evidence of consultations in this area you refer to in your replies. I have been on the local Residents’ Association since 2002, and have never come across any.

2. Let us know what will happen to the three lampposts outside the station which we believe may be listed with the station.

3. Since 2006, it has become clear that the lighting on these lampposts can be upgraded, and they are obviously good enough for other areas. The lampposts in Campbell Road date back to 1900. We are in a conservation area, and are not allowed to change the appearance of our houses. Why should the Council be party to removing the Victorian/Edwardian street furniture in this area?

I ask you, on behalf of our local Residents’ Association, to intervene and halt the removal of the lampposts, and engage in consultation with us as to the best way forward.

Yours sincerely

Pauline Tucker
Street Representative

I have just read this and, in general as a founder member of SEAL this is true.
However, the Cuckoo estate, Mattock Lane and Ealing Common and a few streets in Acton were actually completed before the PFI and the general concensus is that these columns are aestheticaly too high and also not effective when tree foliage engulfs them in summer months.
This borough has a lot of trees so it will be a perennial problem.

SEAL have strived to stay out of politics and I have been on this issue for 17 years.
I could not care if we had to deal with Conservative, Labour, Lib-Dem or Monster raving Looney administrations as long as they listen and strive to resolve a problem.
In this case, it happened with this administration.

I have to say that Jason Stacey is the very first council member in all that time to have stopped, listened, researched and acted to find a solution from a binding contract that was completed in secrecy.
Efforts to glean details at the time even using the freedom of information act were met with avoidance and hostility.
That was I have to say, under the previous administration.

I have been saddened by the Hanwell episode, partly because I did believe this particular area was to be left alone and that it’s stock had not been incorporated into any of SEALs estimates but also in the way it has been hijacked into a political issue. It is not and should not be this way.

A lot of what the efforts of SEAL have achieved is from a few members spending long hours poring over rules and regulations, specifications and guidelines, all in their spare time.
We provided the solution possibilities and for the first time in my memory, a council accepted what we had discovered and has acted.

The responsiblity then passes to the Officers and the electricity supply authority and we are all very much in their hands.

SEAL was formed after the PFI when residents all over the borough realised what was happening. Prior to that, the Ealing Civic Society had made many representations but much effort went down the drain with constant changes of LBE personnel.
SEAL were and are committed to saving all gas columns that remain and are continuing to look for cost effective and practical solutions.

I did feel that perhaps a compromise can still be struck in Hanwell that would sacrifice two streets to save the remainder. And have put this forward but with plans being implemented that were based on decisions and funding made some years ago it may be too late.
I hope this makes things a little clearer from a non-political position

How on earth can you say that we were consulted on this I have spoken with upwards of 30 people in the immediate area and none of them recall being consulted – utter bunk Mr Taylor!

Thankyou Mr Taylor for your response. The Vandalism occurs when something gets ripped out of the group.That will no doubt happen soon. We have heard Councillors/Officers quoting that when removed up to 70-80% of Lamps are damaged beyond repair. So it would appear that for every 4 Lamps taken from Campbell Road we would be lucky to see one in Northfields is quite bizarre. In effect we will see in one road a silly state of a mixture of Lamps as Councillor Rosa Popham described to me. I know that the 3 Lamps at the station were reprieved on Friday but the consequences of that are a mish-mash. We are supportive of the idea/theory of a Heritage Quarter but think that the whole Borough has Heritage to Cherish. The workers pointed out that there was one Lamp in Campbell Road that was in a poor state of repair and could possible be a risk. They also let us know that the 3 Lamps at the station were to be saved. When Southern Electric can let us know but the Council can’t communicate with us that is a sad state.

I would say that a reprieve and a discussion on Heritage could energise many in the Borough!!

Eddie,

You did not read what I wrote. I didn’t say anything about consultation beyond: “There was little consultation on the original deal, any consultation being limited to conservation panels in conservation areas”.

Thankyou for at least answering. My main point is that this will cause a split between the people who care about the community and the council. Once that happens the council takes a siege mentality and no real progress is made. We have had little or no repsonse from your Council colleagues. We have porposely avoided getting our MP involved to try to ensure that we can work in a bi-partisan way with the council.

Dear Mr Taylor

I read with amusement your statement that “The Hanwell people, led by a Labour activist, have gone straight from silent to nuclear at the implementation of Labour’s PFI.”. Perhaps you refer to my wife, Pauline Tucker (a devoted reader of the Daily Telegraph, and who voted for a Conservative councillor at the last election) who has been bending my ear every day for the last few weeks as to the lack of response from Jason Stacey and Ealing Council. Or perhaps to Carolyn Brown (another Daily Telegraph reader), whose effectiveness at raising the issue’s profile, following the unsympathetic response residents have had from Jason Stacey and some of this ward’s councillors, has caught everyone unprepared.

Forgive my ignorance, but what exactly is the point of moving lamposts around anyway? It doesn’t sound like a great use of resources.

Couldn’t the new Victorian-style lamposts go to the Northfields/West Ealing area?

Liz,
This whole issue can not be helped by asking obvious questions like that. You will not get an answer. In Hanwell we have Poirot’s Sidekick helping us and we are still confused by the logic. But keep trying you may get an answer.
peter

I am horrified at the new street lights in our road.
My house is now flood lit, preventing me from watching TV in my lounge and sleeping at night. Inches from our houses, we are incapable of seeing out and our rooms are now lit up for all to see from the road. This is utter madness, and has removed my right to live in my home peacefull and unobtrusively. I feel my privacy has been totally removed and someone has to step in and stop this light pollution. Houses are now either shrouded in darkness or lit up like beacons. Its an appauling lack of judgement and encrouchement of my quiet enjoyment of my home. I now literally need sun glasses to watch my own tv in my own lounge.

Comments are closed.