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High street decluttering

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Joined 09-02-2007
Posted on Monday, 26 February, 2007 - 04:16 pm:   

Was just wondering if the council have ever done any work looking at reducing the amount of street clutter in forest hill. Bus stop signage, street signage, street lighting posts, litter bins - all separate when they could be amalgamated to better effect.
Joined 07-06-2006
Posted on Monday, 26 February, 2007 - 04:31 pm:   

I think this would be good, but the main focus is/should be to get more business into Forest Hill first. There are too many empty shops and temporary signs.

Once we have accomplished this then I think your plan for smartening up the presentation would be good.
Joined 21-12-2005
Posted on Monday, 26 February, 2007 - 04:34 pm:   

The answer is probably no. Living Streets recently completed a street audit for Sydenham and some of the photos were very interesting, eg 3 types of bollard on a 20 metre stretch of pavement. See l

Living Streets sell a DIY Community Street Audit Pack (15) if you feel like having a go yourself! p/products.php?pid=1
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Monday, 26 February, 2007 - 06:35 pm:   

I think 2-3 years ago the council did look to see if the number of signs posts etc could be reduced..but I don't know the result, probably still counting.

Authorities love putting up signs, it's their legacy to us. The authorities tend to argue it's ONLY one sign and forget the other 20 or signs that are already in place. There are council erected posts with no signs, why?

TFL insist it is not possible to fix a Red route camera or bus stop sign to a lampost. So we now have solar powered panels to illuminate bus stops which or 2-3 feet from a lampost.

For each new post at least 2 should be removed. The most stupid signs have to be the 20mph ones with a little cartoon snail or something at the bottom. They are too high for children to see and too small for motorists to notice.

Not long ago I found still standing a school sign with a flamming torch symbol probably dating from the 1950's or 60's.

I'm not angry about this but whoever thinks yet another sign is good for the environment should be tied to a post and .... grrrr.
Joined 09-02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, 27 February, 2007 - 11:04 am:   

Could this be something the Forest Hill Society would be interested in looking at, maybe in association with Living Streets? I take your point, Rob, about there being issues about empty shops in Forest Hill (and things seem to be worsening if anything), but I think a pleasant and uncluttered environment is actually exactly the kind of thing that would help draw businesses and visitors into the area. I don't imagine the cost would be *too* prohibitive, and the results could be suprisingly positive!
Joined 22-06-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 27 February, 2007 - 05:49 pm:   

Together with Cllr Peake, I've been taking up the issue of the cluttered shopping streets with the Deputy Mayor and town centre manager, and I've also been speaking with local businesses.

Street signs are part of the problem, as are domestic waste bins and environmental / planning enforcement, and the split of responsibilities between Lewisham and TfL (because of the red route) complicates matters somewhat. However, we're hopeful of reaching some sort of workable solution that will improve the look of the town centre for shoppers and strollers alike.

If you have specific examples of problems in the town centre that falls within Forest Hill Ward, then do please email me at describing the object or problem. Better still - email a photograph. These will help in our discussions with council officers.
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 27 February, 2007 - 07:28 pm:   

Did you know that the little yellow "At Any Time" signs that accompany double yellow lines were deemed unnecessary in 2003? There must be hundreds of thousands of them cluttering up the nation's streets, yet they could all be removed?

Did you know Nottingham City Council appointed a full-time street "clutter-buster" to remove some of the estimated 20,000 redundant items of street furniture and signage in their city?
Joined 09-02-2007
Posted on Wednesday, 28 February, 2007 - 01:01 pm:   

That's what we need! A clutter buster :) Mostly, the problem about signage seem to relate to ingnoring street lights as a resource. They're the obvious place to put signage/bus stop information and so on. But the assumption seems to be 'put a new post in' whenever new signage is needed. I can imagine, however, that this would require co-ordination between Lewisham, the Highways Agency and TFL, and probably others. One person co-ordinating such declutter would seem the answer. Hope you can get things done, Alex :)
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 28 February, 2007 - 01:52 pm:   

Councils are always wary of using lampposts for signs, because there are concerns about whether they are strong enough! It's much easier just to plonk in a new post.
Joined 09-02-2007
Posted on Wednesday, 28 February, 2007 - 06:02 pm:   

Don't quite understand - how can lampposts not be 'strong enough'? Can't remember the last time I saw one topple over, or break from the sheer weight of signage ;)
Joined 07-12-2003
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 12:34 am:   


There is almost always much more discipline in the townscape in any European town, and rarely the same random clutter you get here. How do they do it?
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 09:39 am:   

Nevermodern, I believe there was a case a couple of years ago of a lamppost at the end of its twenty-odd year "design life" falling over. It then dawned on councils across the country that there were thousands of similar posts in service, that they hadn't budgeted on replacing. This is still a major problem, and it certainly seems to make it tough getting stuff attached to lampposts. Purely from my own observation, it seems that attachment is most likely to be OK on - you guessed it - big, tough, "overengineered" Victorian columns.

I don't know exactly how European towns do it. But I think it is down to a combination of factors.

First, they've been planning more pedestrian-friendly environments for much longer than we have - and that results in high-quality streetscapes.

Second, they are less bureaucratic when it comes to traffic legislation, especially signage - traffic engineers in this country have tended to confuse official guidance on traffic management and signage with official requirements. They have tended to put in a lot of stuff because they are encouraged to, not obliged to.

And third, perhaps we're more concerned with litigation, or just more risk averse. This means engineers are comfortable with standard practice - a lot of stuff is put in because "we always do it this way".

If you look at the history of the radical changes (for the UK) made on Kensington High Street, for instance, all three of these factors made it incredibly difficult for the deputy mayor to get the streetscape he wanted there.

Maybe that highlights a fourth reason - perhaps their local politicians have much bigger balls. Look at the way Our Ken stood up to criticism when he was planning the original congestion charge - any politicians as tough as that in Lewisham?

But we do have some impressive streetscapes - I was in Sheffield recently, and the city centre is fabulous - the lighting is especially impressive.

And don't forget that your experience of European towns and cities is more likely to be the prestige central spaces, that get more money and attention. There are plenty of duff European suburbs like Forest Hill that we never visit, you can be sure.

But PLEASE don't take that as criticism of lovely Forest Hill, will you?
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 09:52 am:   

I think that's got to be the first time Sheffield and "fabulous" have ever featured in the same sentence!

Today's "fancy that" fact is that the lamppost problem to which you refer happened in Gateshead (IIRC) and was attributed to corrosion at the base caused by dogs peeing on it.
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 09:54 am:   

Strange but true - on both counts, I'm sure, FHssecretary.
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 10:13 am:   

It's the dogs fault. Not only do they leave their poo hanging around, now they've started destroying our street furniture with their pee.
They'll be digging the roads up and burying bones next!
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 12:12 pm:   

Earlier this year in a joint venture with Croydon the council have appointed a sponsor for new and replacement lamposts in the borough.
Joined 09-02-2007
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 12:20 pm:   

The lampposts in forest hill look sturdy enough, despite the best efforts of our faithful four-legged friends. So a lamppost falls down in gateshead and all lamppost-hell breaks loose :) Hm. On my drunken way back on the night bus last night I noticed several highway related signs attached to bus stops, so some amalgamation is happening...slowly :) Can see your points, Paul, but some thing in forest hill could be remedied easily. There are posts that have nothing at all attached, and the same parking restriction signs twice within a couple of yards of each other, separate street signage posts withing yards of each other... they wouldn't take much effort to sort out. What's more tragic, I agree, is that my drunken night out ended with me noticing street signage on bus stops. Ha!
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 12:29 pm:   

Have just heard local council's can now issue ASBO's against dog's called 'Dog Control Orders' apparently Camden Council is taking a lead in the matter.

Nevermodern...sad, you should get out more.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 03:11 pm:   

'taking the lead'....

You crack me up!

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