Tuesday, 21 October 2008


(Above) This obstructive and unsightly advertising panel has been installed slap bang in the middle of the pavement on Wood Street E17.

Ah, who remembers the council’s great anti-clutter initiative of 2004? It was one of those projects which exist for the purpose of providing a few councillors and officers with a photo opportunity. Once the publicity session is over, the project can be safely put on the back burner and left to fizzle out. It's spin that counts - not substance.

Over the past decade both Transport for London and the London Borough of Waltham Forest have spewed out endless policy documents about improving the walking environment. Packed with pious aspirations, they are essentially worthless documents because their recommendations are never implemented.

Here’s a sample of one, on the topic of street clutter.

Community safety measures will be implemented such as the removal of unnecessary street clutter and overgrown vegetation which could provide physical and visual barriers to pedestrians... The Borough’s anti clutter initiative will assist with the improvement of key pedestrian routes in the borough by targeting street clutter in town centres and busy shopping areas in Waltham Forest.

Source [PDF format] here.

In reality the council is actually adding to street clutter and obstruction, not getting rid of it. The footway is seen as a commodity, not as a space for walking. Footways are used for advertising, storage and car parking and pedestrians are left to negotiate a route through this intrusive and unpleasant clutter.

(Below) Pavement clutter on Winchester Road E4

(Below) Palmerston Road E17. BT have just stolen some pavement for this obstructive advertising panel, which nicely matches the council's own advertising panel a bit further along. Incidentally the council never sought or obtained planning permission for their advertising panel at this location.

What does obstructively cluttering the pavement matter when there's money to be made from selling advertising space?

Advertising which is aimed at passing drivers - yet another distraction for motorists.

(Below) pavement clutter on Coppermill Lane E17

(Below) The brazen impudence of Cllr Bob Belam in touting his climate change strategy and emitting his windy aspiration to see this council the greenest in London is remarkable since Bob is responsible for all the clutter here on this narrow pavement on Browns Road E17. Bob recently decided that cars could be parked on the pavement here, where it was previously unlawful. By turning pavements over to car parking Bob Belam is promoting greater car ownership and use, as well as the ownership of larger vehicles. He's also doing nothing about wheely bins which are left on the pavement seven days a week. And he's contemptuous of minimum footway width recommendations for pedestrians with a mobility handicap.

Cars before pedestrians, even on pavements.