Putney Society puts forward series of radical ideas in discussion paper
The Putney Society has just published a discussion paper called 'Enhancing Putney High Street'. They make a wide-ranging series of proposals which would transform the centre of town in response to a high level of local dissatisfaction with the current state of the main shopping road in the area.
The Chair of the Society - Carolyn McMillan - has written to Cllr Jonathan Cook at Wandsworth Council sending him the discussion paper and and calling for a meeting to discuss what might be done using this as a catalyst for ideas going forward.
Carolyn told PutneySW15:"The discussion paper on how to enhance Putney High Street was prepared by David Irwin for our Transport Panel. It gives just one example of many possible solutions to the problem of pollution and congestion in our High Street. We welcome the Council's latest consultation on HGV loading and parking to improve air quality and TFL's updates to the bus fleet travelling along PHS to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions. But more is still needed to make Putney High Street even better, and we look forward to sitting down with the Council and all stakeholders to discuss what might be done, using this report as a catalyst for new ideas."
In her letter to Cllr Cook Carolyn states that:
'Putney High Street is the principal shopping centre of Putney but heavy traffic, congestion and air pollution can make the experience of people using the High Street unpleasant and stressful. David Irwin is a town planner with considerable experience. He has studied Putney High Street in depth, and he conducted a user survey last year which showed high levels of dissatisfaction with the heavy traffic and associated pollution, overcrowded narrow pavements, shabby appearance and lack of greenery. Our findings were later confirmed by a subsequent (unpublished) survey carried out by the Town Centre Visioning exercise that the Council commissioned.'
The Putney Society has requested the Council
The report breaks down the salient features of Putney High Street as:
• A narrow, confined stretch of road with shops fronting either side.
• The carriageway varies from 2 to 5 lanes. Between Disraeli Road and Felsham Roads traffic converges to a single lane in both directions on a carriageway width of approximately 9.5m.
• Putney Station forecourt has the highest pedestrian flows. Other busy sections include the narrow section between Disraeli Road and Lacy Road (particularly on the east side).
• There are only two trees tree on the entire length of the High Street and no soft landscaping. However the Council have recently planted 5 saplings with mixed success.
• Multiple services beneath the footways complicate the planting of trees.
• Due the narrow width of footways provision of seating is limited.
A survey was carried out to ascertain what
pedestrians thought of the High Street. 159 persons
were interviewed. Of these, 69% expressed
dissatisfaction with the environment of the High
Street. Their opinions are summarised as follows:
• 39% gave a traffic related reason, which included concerns about pollution and heavy
• 22% thought that footways were too narrow/crowded and that the bus stops create congestion, especially outside of Boots.
• 20% were unhappy with the range and quality of shops.
• 14% felt that the general environment was poor, lacked vegetation/planting, had ugly shop fronts and needed improvement.
The Society believes that their proposal accords with government policy, as stated in Re-
imagining Urban Spaces to help Revitalise our High Streets, “Our
high streets cannot simply rely on retail - they have to offer
something new and different… with creative use of public spaces
and a vibrant evening economy. The Government's response
lays down a challenge for local partners to re-imagine their town
centres and high streets. It also outlines a new package of
measures to help high streets reclaim their role at the heart of our
One example of how this might be achieved, for all users.
• Between Disraeli Road and Putney Bridge Road
it is proposed that the High
Street be made a pedestrian priority zone in which
drivers are aware that they must give way to
• resurfacing the entire road (building to building)
with an appropriate durable material that
indicates to drivers and cyclists that they are
entering a pedestrian priority zone,
• signs informing drivers shall be placed at all
entrances to the zone,
• narrowing the road carriageway to 6m, sufficient
for wide vehicles to pass one another,
• demarcating the carriageway with different
coloured paving with an edge defined by a
sloping kerb in decorative brick or stone,
on either side of the road carriageway (where
appropriate) there shall be a 1.5m “reserve” for
vehicles to pull off the road (when emergency
vehicles pass), or to park when making
deliveries. The reserves shall be demarcated in
a different colour/textured surface material.
• greening the environment by placing planters at
intervals along the reserves. These will prevent
the reserves being used as an additional vehicle
• inducing a maximum traffic speed by means of
design features together with a general
wariness of drivers to a different environment,
• removing all traffic lights and railings, apart from
crossings to facilitate the blind and disabled to
cross the road,
• replacing the street lights with more attractive
lamp standards fitted with hanging baskets of
flowers and installing seating at convenient
cross section through a narrow portion of the street and shows potential gain for pedestrians
cross section at a bus stop 8m to enable buses to overtake one another without impeding oncoming vehicles
The report does not give an estimate of cost: "Paving is not cheap and underground services may
need to be realigned. However, at very little cost,
the proposal could be tested prior to any substantial
financial outlay by merely painting white lines on the
road to delimit the road carriageway."
However it does identify that local businesses could sponsor
planters on the
understanding that they will maintain them in return
for advertising rights and that Grant funds are available;
• Following the Portas
Review the government has offered a £1million “Future High Street X-Fund”, for effective and
innovative plans to bring town centres back to life.
• Also, the Mayor of London has an “Outer London
Fund” for high street improvements
We have invited the council to comment and will add when available.
September 5, 2014