Friday, July 10, 2009

Small is beuatiful

Well, I am pleasantly surprised to report that Superdrug has swung into action, and given the most excellent customer service. Good on them, and so please, go and spend money with them:

Dear Mr Cannings,
As promised, our store assessment team have visited the St Margarets store regarding the valid concerns that you raised and the following actions have now been put in place:
1. No deliveries will be made prior to 09:30am.
2. Our shortest length articulated vehicle (10m trailer) will be used as the team feel this should fit the loading bay without causing issues. However, this will be reviewed on the next delivery and an alternate option put in place if the overhanging problem is still evident.
I hope that you find the above actions satisfactory and that you will contact me directly if you have any further concerns. May I take this opportunity to thank you for your valued feedback and be assured of our best interests at all times with regards to the local communities where our stores are situated.
Yours Sincerely,
Simon Reynolds
Unit 1
Prologis Park
Arenson Way

Friday, July 03, 2009

An accident waiting to happen, happened

I made myself somewhat unpopular when I suggested to the Council that they get a licence to use the CCTV camera at the station for parking enforcement way back when. I did suggest they sent warning letters, and not a sheaf of parking tickets, but nonetheless they did get the licence and use it, and now there are many fewer cars, vans and lorries blocking the sight-lines into Broadway Avenue.

Was it justified?

Well, I've just got the accident statistics for the stretch of road up to the A316. In the last 3 years, there have been only 4 accidents involving the injury of pedestrians on St Margarets Road up to the roundabout. One was someone falling getting onto a bus. Two were at the top of Amyand Park Road (if you've crossed there, you understand), and the other one? A driver turning left into Broadway Avenue hit a child.

Tell me it's not worth keeping traffic out of the way on that corner.

Superdragged into the fray

Well, I have to say I have surprised myself this time. I sent Superdrug a long letter the other day with a load of photos of what their lorries were up to, and got a near immediate response as follows:

Dear Mr Cannings,
Thank you for your letter dated 30th June 2009 relating to concerns with deliveries to our store at the above address, the matter has been elevated to our planning management team who will now re-evaluate the way in which we deliver to this store.
Our immediate intention is to send a member of our store assessment team to visit and feedback best practice to the planning department who will ensure that all local restrictions and hazards are taken into consideration and ultimately abided by.
It is not the policy of our company to cause disruption or dangers within the local communities and assure you that a satisfactory conclusion will become evident to the local residents.
Due to the nature of the information you have provided full focus will be now be applied in order to ensure that measures are put in place as soon as practicably possible.
Again, thank you for your feedback and be assured that when the new delivery profile is established it will be communicated to you accordingly. If you have any further concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours Sincerely,
Simon Reynolds

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Limping back into action....

I am amazed to see that my last post was in 2007.

I sat back and waited for the TfL review of the crossings, and predictably got nothing apart from an unofficial agreement from two TfL engineers that the crossings were dangerous, and that cars regularly mistook the red crossing lights for the red filter light for oncoming traffic.

To my shame, I then didn't do too much for a while, until in a burst of enthusiasm, I started writing letters again.

TfL's response was very simple. No-one's been killed or injured, so we won't spend the money. But we will spend money upgrading the lights to be exactly the same as they are now (a process that started a few weeks ago). So, we are staring at an accident waiting to happen, and when it does, they will try to prevent the next one!

I now have a copy of the accident statistics, and it is true that there have been no reported injuries, although there may be others where there was a near-miss, which fall outside of the stats (A really big thanks to the fine officer at the Met who responded in a quick, helpful and friendly manner to my request.)

It feels a little Kafkaesque. The Council wants to help, and use some of its ill-gotten station camera money to make changes to the crossing, but as it's a TfL piece of road, they can't. And as TfL is very good about never giving you a real person to talk to, pestering them is proving difficult.

Next step is to gather some more stats from local residents who have seen issues at the crossings, and then off to the papers again. The Rich & Twick were great in the Tesco fight, and got us syndicated to the Standard and even the Guardian in the end. Maybe they'll do the same now?

God, it's no wonder so few people bother to complain. How do we get the time for a day job?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Less cross

Hurrah! TfL has confirmed a full review of the crossings at the A316/St Margarets Road junction - Perhaps they might even deign to talk to us, but I shan't hold my breath...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Still cross

The crossing situation is getting no better. I am pleased to say that one of my neighbours has reported a car that sped through the lights to the police. Let's hope they do something.

I have e-mailed Geoff Pope the Lib Dem vice-chair for transport at the GLA. He wrote to me a while ago to give me the (somewhat useless) TfL response. I've also been in touch with the Rich and Twick so hopefully they can help as well. They certainly seemed interested a few weeks ago.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Get a life, Nigel!

It's a comment that I have heard increasingly the older I have become. Is it just me, or has the world just become a more irritating place to live in?

I am sure that there is a secret department out there devoted to doing things that get my goat.

The latest example:

I came home late last night from a long day at work, and though I was hallucinating. There is a huge, soon to be illuminated, sign blocking the pavement where the phone box used to be on St Margarets Road, near Westbourne Close.

Not only is it very close to a bike rack, which will make getting a buggy past very difficult, it is vile.

I assume that someone at Richmond Council must have known about this, as I suppose you can't go digging up large parts of pavement without telling someone.

I have asked for clarification, but if you notice a large paper bag over it one day, it is probably me...

Small world

These parking tickets are getting everywhere.

I went to a show yesterday, and met someone who lives in St Margarets who, guess what, just got a parking ticket through the post! Doesn't that make me popular...

Anyway, I just got the following e-mail from one of our ever helpful councillors (and unusually for me, I say that without even a trace of irony. God forbid, I am thinking that I might end up voting Liberal next time round...)


The signs were placed at the following locations prior to start of enforcement but we take your point and Cllr Geoff Acton has requested another sign be put near Tesco


Cllr Ben Khosa

445 The Barons
446 St Margarets Road
447 Crown Road
448 St Margarets Road
449 Bridge Road
450 Amyand Park Road

I have written back, asking that they be big signs, not those silly little CYA signs they usually put up about CCTV!

Monday, June 11, 2007

When good ideas go bad

The council recently applied for permission to use CCTV images to issues parking tickets to people misusing the loading bay, bus stop and double yellow lines outside Tesco. This is a move that I have been advocating for some time, if only to show the true scale of the problem.

Sadly, it has been implemented in rather an unfortunate way.

Ideally, a notice would have gone up warning people that CCTV was being used for parking control, as the ideal number of parking tickets would have been zero, as people moved on to park or load legally.

Instead, a large number of tickets seem to have been issued, in some cases, several to the same car as a batch of images has been analysed.

Sadly, this makes the whole exercise look like a cynical revenue raising scheme, rather than a positive way of reducing the traffic issues in St Margarets.

The Council needs to erect prominent signs along that stretch of road so that people are aware that CCTV is and has been used to issue parking tickets, to deter people before they get a ticket, not after.

Not everyone is aware of the restrictions, and some people assume that because everyone seems to park there with impunity, the restrictions do not really apply, which is the Council's fault in the first place!

Oh well, you try...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Price of Protest

About 75p a day at the moment.

Using my specially purchased laminator, I produced some rather fetching posters to hang around the offending crossings to solicit local opinion (actually, to get fellow protesters involved, which when you think about it is a whole different thing)

It took me a little while to master how to tie them around the poles at the crossing (It's a real science. Unless very well secured, they spin in the wind)

Anyhow, I was pleased with the results, and a number of people stopped to read, and to comment about how they too felt the crossing was dangerous (and one suggested it depended on whether you pushed the button or not. Thanks for that mature consideration, mate).

So, I strolled off to the station this morning, and guess what. In a fit of unusual efficiency, the rubbish guys have taken them down. Can I get the Council to pick up my rubbish once a week without spilling it all over the road? No. But a legitimate piece of local protest literature. Whipped away as if it had never been there. Now I understand why people paste posters on now (which is genuinely messy and hideously illegal).

So, it looks like 75p and 10 minutes a day out of my life for the next few weeks, and I do battle with that most unlikely enemy of democracy, the road sweeper...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Cross about the Crossing

My battles against bureaucracy in St Margarets are not limited to Tesco, although you could be forgiven for thinking so.

My latest fight is again Transport for London (TfL) . There is a pedestrian crossing just near our house, just north of the A316. In theory, my son is of the age that he can walk to school by himself, which is not much use as he has a younger sister at the same school who needs an adult. But it would be useful for coming home after late school activities

To do this, he has to cross a footbridge, and this one pedestrian crossing.

In theory, you press the button, the traffic light turns red, the green man goes green, and then you cross, saf in the knowledge that the cars have stopped. That has been my experience of pedestrian crossings up until I met this one.

It is in a funny location, just north of a major arterial road, but on a sharp corner. And you often can't see people waiting to use the crossing.

But even that in itself is not the biggest problem.

The way the lights are phased, the pedestrian crossing turns red, as the lights on the A316 go green. So lots of impatient motorists, pull away on the green light, and only by the time it is too late to they realise that they are now on a red going north.

I have seen a large number of vehicles go through, some never realising, some screeching to a halt half way across the crossing. Exactly 10 feet too late to save the life of whoever they have just run over.

Some time ago, I took the matter up with TfL. The first analysis of the situation showed that the crossing was not active for long enough in any event. It is supposed to be red for 13 seconds (the things you find out), and it was only red for 10. So they changed it, somehow missing my point that they needed to re-phase the lights to ensure there was no traffic passing through, not just extend the time they left pedestrians waiting to get knocked over.

So I tried again.

This time they sent a man out for an hour in a bright yellow jacket to see if anyone jumped the lights. Well, hardly surprising no-one did as he looked for all the world like a traffic policemen, and was probably visible from space!

I popped out there for 10 minutes today until I saw someone jump the lights, and then retired, smug. (Yes you white van LC52 NVG)

It's not just me, as a number of other local people have seen the same thing. I am just trying to rally the troops to get something done.

The answer? Another Jiglu space! Yes will be the focus of the latest campaign. I am turning into Victor Meldrew, so help me God. It's when I fight the council to take the apostrophe out of the road sign round the corner (Not St Margaret's, chaps) that you will really have to take pity on my wife...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Corporate Responsibility

The question, I suppose, is who is ultimately responsible for keeping the streets free of traffic outside the local Tesco.

In the old Olivers days, there was never the constant presence of cars there is today. The shop was very local, and almost everyone who used it walked to it.

Today, the demographic is quite different.

You see commuters in cars and vans stopping for cash and other items. What was once a local store is now a magnet for people passing through St Margarets.

So, who should sort out the mess it has caused? Should we have the Tesco chairman camped outside thanking people for their custom, but asking them to be more considerate to the local community. Or should the polluter not pay?

I think that it is a joint problem. Tesco should encourage people to use the parking that is available, or should rent some space over the road. The council should continue its heavy enforcement presence to remind people that they are affecting an entire community with their thoughtless actions.

I am not anti-Tesco, and can be seen there on a regular basis. But I continue to advocate a policy of St Margarets first. Perhaps it's time to watch "Passport to Pimlico" again to see if I can pick up a few tips...

Not quite the Last Post

Not everyone has found their way over to the blog at So an update on the current situation.

The good news is that Tesco really do seem to be sticking to the loading hours, and trying to minimise the number of lorries.

The bad news is that the parking situation is becoming farcical.

The restrictions are pretty clear, and a fairly long strip has double yellow lines. None of this deters people from parking pretty much anywhere along that part of St Margarets Road, including in the bus stop, while they stop for cash.

Things are getting so bad that the overspill sees people parking over the edge of some local roads, making passing near impossible (I saw this last night on the close opposite Bridge Road)

Our new local councillors have been good about pushing the issue of the lorries. Allegedly, the council now has the power to issue Parking Tickets just using the CCTV. I have yet to enquire if they have done so. Get in touch, and tell them how you feel. The details are here

Monday, August 07, 2006

Last ever post!

Ohmygod! You beat Tesco?

No, I just found a better place to do my campaigning - I've moved to Jiglu, the first Blogger to do so, but not the last - Jiglu gives me blogging ability (and by e-mail!), a wiki, a feed reader, the ability to let other people post easily, and it generates automatic tags, straight from the content, linking my blog, dicussion, wiki and feeds together - It's the new wave of e-mail.

Come see us at

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Jobs to be sued over podRage incident?

It seems that finally someone has snapped over that tinny noise you hear from those iPod headphones. It would be nice if Apple spent a little more on headphones that didn't upset passers-by

read more | digg story

Saturday, May 27, 2006

So are Tesco playing by the rules?

Saturday, about 9.45, just on the way to football.

Two Tesco lorries, one in the loading bay, and one waiting outside Oddbins!

Small yellow Mini on the double yellow line, and to complete the picture, a white van swooping round the corner - Totally safe for all those children on their way to Saturday activities!

Friday, May 26, 2006

It's not over - By a long shot

According to one Richmond Council official, all is well in Tesco-land. Parking enforcement is at the correct level and Tesco are playing by the rules.

I don't get into St Margarets as much as I used to during the day, but here are some shots from today, one at 8.30 this morning (when the Loading Bay is supposed to be totally clear), and one at about 2pm - that lorry you notice parked on the corner (notice the absence of driver) is a Tesco delivery. I'm sure he would argue it's not his fault because of the people parked in the Loading Bay.

I have a small amount of sympathy, but if Tesco know a delivery is scheduled, they could easily have a few people waiting by the loading bay, to wave away errant drivers

Instead, I almost got knocked over by someone swinging round the front of the lorry.