Ladywell businesses protest pavement ban

Ladywell shop owners have been ordered by the Council to stop putting advertising boards, planters or tables outside their premises, in order that the newly-enlarged pavement can serve as a cycle lane. They're not happy. They write:

Ladywell businesses have been battling to survive the disruption caused by more than 13 months of streetworks. Thankfully these now appear to be coming to an end. But throughout this difficult time local traders fought hard to sustain viable businesses as fooftall fell sharply. At least two shopowners pulled out of the high street because of the difficulties they experienced. 

But it now comes as something of a shock to find that the council can now turn round and show complete indifference to the plight of local businesses. Business conditions remain tight and competition between Lewisham's smaller "town centres" intense. Advertising displays, planters with flowers, and tables outside the cafes remain, even in the age of Twitter and Facebook, essential tools in the promotion of small businesses. They also help make the high street a more interesting and welcoming destination in the neighbourhood. 

To deny small businesses recourse to this simple promotional tool in a far from benign business environment appears to us heavy handed. It suggests the council is out of touch and lacks an understanding of the difficulties facing small businesses like ours. 

Ladywell's small businesses are the lifeblood of the high street and provide important local employment. We urge the Mayor and his councillors  to consult with local businesses and rethink this blanket ban on A-boards and planters. 

If the measures hurt a fragile local business ecosystem, they should be reconsidered. There's no reason why cyclists should get priority over shoppers through the middle of this little town centre. The mayor and deputy mayor have agreed to come to Ladywell on Friday to discuss the issue.

47 comments:

Willis said...

Research from Bristol shows that provision for cyclists (cycle lanes, bike stands etc) is actually more beneficial to retailers. Cyclists spend more in local shops then car drivers.
http://www.cycling-embassy.org.uk/sites/cycling-embassy.org.uk/files/documents/eev68.pdf

Anon said...

Pavements are for people to walk on, they're not commercial spaces nor cycle tracks. As a disabled person it can be difficult enough getting along some pavements, especially in Brockley, and I resent having to deal with commercial obstructions and adult bike riders every day.

Van Halen said...

Perhaps I'm not understanding this properly but why would cyclists be whizzing past on the pavement where the La delice patisserie has its planters and tables? Where families with small children walk. I'm a cyclist but wouldnt dream of cycling on the pavements there in case I hit someone. These Council people are so out of touch and clueless in my opinion.

saltydog said...

"These Council people are so out of touch and clueless in my opinion." Exactly, which is why they removed the anchor from Deptford on spurious grounds: 'it attracts drinkers' , 'it's too heavy for the pavement' etc etc.

Tim said...

I'm confused as well. Isn't cycling in pavements illegal?

Magic Geoff said...

That is nuts - I'm a cyclist as well and why would I be on the pavement where the planters are?? I should be on the road (and am!)


These businesses trying actively, and at their own cost, to improve the area should be encouraged by the council, not bashed back by micro-managing the pavement. Idiots.

Brockley Nick said...

Not if you put a cycle lane on them.

GoLadywell! said...

I think that the tables and plants outside Le Delice and Oskars are lovely and should be encouraged as they help brighten up the area. The stock outside the hardware shop is also quite nicely arranged. But perhaps they could crack down on the unsightly brown crates with fruit and veg on the shop at the corner as these often get left out overnight and don't look particularly nice (the same goes for the badly spelt handwritten sign outside the kebab shop that pops up at lunchtime to entice school children in), but things that brighten up the area and encourage people to shop and come to the area should definitely be something that the council promotes.

ricenpea said...

You wouldn't know that walking around South London.

kol said...

It might've helped if Lewisham Council had actually allowed some space for good quality on-road cycle tracks on Ladywell High St. Some room could easily have been given to cycling from the massively widened pavements, but instead we have a narrow road (in which parking is prioritised) packed with traffic at all hours of the day - all in all, a very unpleasant environment for cycling, and even for people. Who wants to sit outside taking in the fumes and noise from the neverending stream of cars?

This London-wide penchant for pavement widening/road narrowing as a means of calming traffic is not at all good for cycling. Someone needs to point out to councils that using cyclists as a means of human traffic calming is simply unacceptable.

Sally said...

I'm all for improving things for cyclists but I wouldn't have thought a cycle lane is really needed along there at all, and certainly not at the expense of destroying the benefits from the improvement project.

angus_fx said...

The reason the council have proposed this is to join up the minor roads in the area, which are a north/south leisure cycling route. If I'm going to work, I'd ride on the road, no problem at all, but if I'm riding up the Ravensbourne with my kids, completely different story. The high street is not the kind of road you'd want youngsters riding on.. equally, nobody (myself included) wants fast commuter cyclists riding on the pavement. Compromise and consideration, people!

As to the "A" boards - do they really do that much for business? Would have thought that, for the cafes at least, promoting leisure cycling along the Ravensbourne/Waterlink alignment would be just as good for turnover!

angus_fx said...

It's illegal except where expressly permitted. The idea here is to join up the minor roads, for cyclists who aren't skilled / confident enough to deal with the main road (of which there are many). It would be nice if drivers on the high street were considerate enough for a 7yr old to be able to cycle on the road there, but fat chance of that I'm afraid :(

angus_fx said...

AFAIK they're not proposing a cycle lane, they're proposing that part of the pavement be mixed-use (shared between cyclists & pedestrians), but in order for that to work, they say the "A" boards have to go.

Sally said...

Oh! I was misled by the words "cycle lane" in the article. Shared use outside shops and cafes seems like a recipe for disaster.

angus_fx said...

Not really - we're talking about couples and families pootling up the Ravensbourne valley, not Wiggins-impersonators time-trialling their way to their City desk.

Sally said...

People pootling on Rye Lane without looking are a regular hazard even to my very slow cycling

Dannys1234 said...

As others have said, if the council actually bothered to do a decent job in the first place and installed safe cycle lanes then this issue would never arise. Currently as a cyclist you either have to use your self as a moving speed hump or get dangerously passed by motorists by being forced to the curb side. Millions have been spent and conflict between road/pavement users has been designed in at every level.

angus_fx said...

You mean on the road, on the shared-use bit at the north end, or both? Rye Lane is kind of special anyhow :o) I'd never ride there with the family, but when I use it to get to work I find it's safer to be out in the middle of the lane - the buses are at least somewhat predictable, unlike the pedestrians! And when it gets to the shared-use bit at the north end, a generous application of bell and watch out for the hard-of-hearing and those who have rendered themselves hard-of-hearing-and-seeing courtesy of one of Mr. Jobs' gadgets.

aman said...

The traffic trying to get over the railway bridge is horrid - can't cycle on the there due to the congestion. I'd rather have a shared use path over "FREE ATM HERE'. Nick u need to present this properly ...

Surely space for a few chairs on a shared use path!!

AliAfro said...

I'm no urban planner, but is there not a danger that someone coming out of a shop could be knocked over by a cyclist riding too close to a shop? I would have thought that the A-boards next to the shops provide a bit of a buffer...

Brockley Nick said...

The railway bridge is not the location the businesses are worried about, it's when you get to the shops there's an issue.

I'm not sure what you think I'm not presenting properly. "Surely space for a few chairs on a shared use path!!" Perhaps. The businesses aren't calling for bikes to be kept off the pavement, they are asking to be allowed to keep their chairs. It sounds as though you agree with them.

Brockley Nick said...

I'm not really sure that there's much difference in practice between a "shared space" and a "cycle lane". In both cases, pedestrians and cyclists are asked to co-exist.


I'm a cyclist. I cycle to Ladywell. I'm not opposed to better provision for bikes, but it seems overkill to stop shops from creating a vibrant high street.

Andrea said...

"There's no reason why cyclists should get priority over shoppers through the middle of this little town centre."

How are they getting priority over shoppers? I thought it was the illegal advertising boards, tables etc. that were being removed so that would mean shoppers still have the same amount of space as they do now.

I can understand that a but of al fresco dining is nice but I don't want to see A boards.

Kerry said...

I agree with Dannys1234. If the council wanted the space to be used as a cycle lane they should have designed it and marked it as one fr the start. That way, every road/path user is clear what they are getting. The council have created this problem by making a path into a cycle lane 6 months after pedestrians/shop owners have 'claimed the space'. Sounds like a case of very poor communication from the council.

JPM said...

This reminds me of the issues with the cycle lane in Ashby Mews (between Manor Avenue and Wickham Road, on the right hand side of Ashby.) Cars entering this road travel from Manor to Wickham only. The cyclists are supposed to use the small lane to the right. Unfortunately, as this is only a "courtesy lane", drivers regularly (rightfully) park on it.
Result: cyclists and motorbikes head against the cars - in the freaking car lane. Bonkers! Accident waiting to happen.
We really must support the shopkeepers on this - as cyclists should cycle in the road. Hopefully in the same direction as the traffic..

Simon said...

The only people that think shared pedestrian and cycle paths/pavements work are lazy planners who feel compelled to add a cycle provision but don't really give a .....

You can see this attitude where they think that simply painting a picture of a bike on the road means they have provided some sort of facility.

As a cyclist I would much rather be on the road, provision of these half hearted facilities only reinforces the view of ignorant motorists that you shouldn't be on the road but on the 'cycle path' provided.

Cyclists should not be on pavements, shared or otherwise.

Kissa said...

I thought the inner section of the pavement was non-highway, but fell within the boundary of the freehold property, where shop owners traditionally would display their wares? Didn't the Council have to reach an agreement with freeholders to include this area in the makeover?

Sick O'Crap said...

I would tell them to f off the little hitlers! Talk about trying to create problems for busy people, the moronic Council should get back down to Catford and keep pushing their paper.

El said...

If you are a cyclist and you think it's a bad idea to promote cycling on the pavements through Ladywell by creating a shared use space, please could you sign the petitions in Oscars and Slater & King, stating why you think it's a bad idea. The Council are only likely to listen to cyclists point of view - any commercial interest is unlikely to get acted upon.
If you're a pedestrian who thinks this is a bad idea - please sign too!
Thank you!

Brockley council please said...

The jobsworths at the council knows next to nothing about highway planning. Can we not secede from the tyrannical Lewisham council?

Old Hat said...

I see more people on their feet in Ladywell than on a bike. This is just another jump on to the cycling bandwagon buy an out of touch council. I've got nothing against cyclists, but I fail to see why they have all of a sudden become a national priority. Why should a transient individual's rights take preference over those who actually live in the area and use & support the local highstreet?

Old Hat said...

The cycle lanes in Bristol are at the edge of the roads, they do not infringe on the pavement. How is this relevant to Ladywell?

Whole hog said...

Everyone I know who walks through Ladywell says how nice the shop signs are on the pavement and especially the La Delice plant containers and chairs and tables outside. The Council seem to be determined to destroy anything which is pleasant and I can see why the shop owners are so fed up with the Council. If there was more serious political competition in this borough then perhaps Labour wouldnt act so complacently, in my opinion they do the very bare minimum are lazy and unentrepreneurial.

Dannys1234 said...

You've really missed the point here. This is not an issue of certain groups being prioritised over others or pitted against one another.

It has been standard practise for traffic engineers in the UK recently to narrow roadways as a way of slowing traffic through high street areas. However this is a totally flawed practise as cyclists are then put in a situation where they are either used to physically slow the traffic (by having to position themselves in front of vehicles to prevent dangerous overtakes) or they are forced up the inside of queuing vehicles.

Neither of these options are safe or appealing to novice cyclists. So instead of actually designing safe bike paths into the existing road these traffic engineers create shared use pavements for bikes and pedestrians. This, as already pointed out is bad for everyone for reasons already stated. The council are now asking for signs, seats etc from the shops to be removed (as if this is the real issue!) to allow for cyclists. Obviously a stupid idea and a kick in the teeth for shop owners you've had to put up with a lot here recently.

Leaving this behind, you say that you see more people on feet that on bike in Ladywell? This is true, and if the road had been designed well then you'd see even more people on foot and on bike as they'd not be driving. A high street with decent cycling facilities (not what is being enforced by the council here) is a more prosperous place and a much nicer place to walk, shop, eat, etc.

"they have all of a sudden become a national priority". Well that's because cycling has been a marginalised form of transport and has never been catered for properly or taken seriously. So now that there is a very small amount being done you will notice it.

"A transient individual's rights take preference over those who actually live in the area and use and support the local high street". This is where you sound like on of those internet trolls. Funnily enough I don't imagine that the cyclists you see travelling through Ladywell are all doing their daily London to Brighton ride. People on bikes are just like you, but instead of walking or driving they are cycling. They spend money locally (studies show cyclists spend more locally than car drivers), and are probably equally concerned about having a thriving high street and a safe pedestrian environment as you are.

Please don't fall into the trap of certain groups taking preference over others. The council need to be made aware that what they've built is inadequate for all.

Headhunter said...

Why shouldn't cycling become a "national priority". For too long driving has been prioritised. Driving is a polluting, inefficient, expensive way of getting around. Cars, vans, lorries etc take up a disproportionate amount of space on the road forcing cyclists and pedestrians to the edges, they do a disproportionate amount of damage to road surfaces which, contrary to popular belief they do NOT pay for and damage our health both through pollution and a lost opportunity for exercise.


Time to open our minds and ask not why cyclists should be catered for over pedestrians and motorists but why motorists have been prioritised for so long over pedestrians and cyclists...

Headhinter said...

Yes, I've always thought this is ridiculous however are you sure it's a "courtesy lane"? It is marked as separate from the carriageway by a thick, unbroken white line which usually means that traffic should not cross it. Another problem is that cyclists are allowed to turn right from Wickham into this lane to head towards Manor Ave yet this is not clear to motorists and even though I have the right to do this, motorists frequently honk at me when I do this...

Tim said...

Totally agree. What's the answer? Vote anyone but Labour to introduce some competition to the council.

Jon from SE4 said...

What I am planning to do. I am a Labour voter, but this council has been inept from the beginning. They need to be held accountable.


Other councils appears to be doing better despite charging less council tax! I have nothing against paying a higher rate, but it appears that all our monies are merely lining up the pockets of these useless jobsworth, while our roads are never cleaned!

Old Hat said...

Don't think I have. Cyclists are road users just like motorists, and more needs to be done to penalise ignorant drivers who don't give other road users (read cyclists) equal respect. Turning pavements into cycle lanes at the expense of small businesses and locals' enjoyment of the high street is the wrong way to go about it.

Cycling is a good thing, I agree, the most efficient mode of transport ever created, and the number of road incidents involving cyclists is worrying. However, tearing up high streets to accommodate them at the expense of everyone else is only going to build resentment, which is not what is needed to build a cohesive positive attitude towards cyclists on our roads.

Dannys1234 said...

No one is tearing up high streets to accommodate them. The council are (wrongly) asking businesses to remove stuff from outside their shops because they have badly implemented a shared use pavement. This shared path is on the original Ladywell improvement plans and it's only now coming to light how inadequate they were and are.

Ladyboy said...

Lady...where?????

NotProperBrockley said...

1) it's not a town centre, its a parade of shops.
2) why would they put cycle lanes on pavements when there are perfectly serviceable (for the most part) roads they could use
3) everything about this makes me angry

Steve said...

Here's an idea. Why not designate two back roads as cyle lanes. Going through Ladywell towards Lewisham turn left into Gillian Street (by the Kebab shop) and exit in Algernon Road (opposite the Post office).... If travelling in the opposite direction turn left by the supermarket on the corner of Malyons road and travel along the quiet lane at back of Ladywell Tavern. Both effectively bypass the busy Ladywell road and should appeal to cyclists as being quieter and safer roads. We should also call on local bike groups (Lewisham cyclists?) or Sustrans to have an expert look at this as with a bit of creative thinking this may be easy to solve.

Mark said...

Well this is what happens if you continue to vote for one party for the council; start spreading your vote around.

Magic Geoff said...

Mo Pho - Coulgate Street
Fishy Business - Harefield Road


For a longer stay:
The Orchard - Harefield Road
The Gantry - Brockley Road


There may be others people wish to recommend!

prox said...

So, yes, this thread is 6mths old now but I wondered what the consensus was now about the shared-use pavements in Ladywell? I'm a cyclist and frequently use the shared path to get to the park when approaching from Algernon Rd - I do so at a slow walking pace and give way to pedestrians. I have also done this using the road but waiting to turn right into the park just over the hump on the railway bridge with cars passing you either side is not fun whatever the weather and now the nights are drawing in I'd much rather make use of the shared path and toucan crossing.

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