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Environment, Transport and streets

Buzzing Venn Street up for major awards after regeneration

A MAJOR project which transformed a traffic cluttered street in Clapham into an urban oasis with a Mediterranean piazza feel has been shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards.

Venn Street in Clapham used to be dominated by cars until Lambeth Council began working with local residents and businesses to develop proposals to transform the road and to stage a regular weekly street market there.

The work has seen a new central paved area introduced outside the Clapham Picturehouse and the nearby cafes and restaurants, using high quality paving to bring the pavement and road to the same level. At weekends this area accommodates market stalls selling a wide range of items from organic fruit & vegetables to garden accessories and plants.

New trees and cycle parking have been introduced, providing a fantastic new environment for shopping and socialising, and signage and street lighting has been fixed on buildings wherever possible to reduce clutter. With the support of local businesses, olive trees were planted to complement the French, Moroccan and Spanish restaurants in the street.

Now the £400,000 scheme, funded by TfL,  has been nominated for a Municipal Journal award in the ‘Delivering Better Outcomes’ category and is also shortlisted for the ‘Streets Award’ by the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation.

Cllr Pete Robbins, Lambeth Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, said:

“Street markets are a vital part of London life and the Venn Street scheme has been a fantastic success story, providing a permanent home for the market and giving the area a real buzz.

“People want markets that offer something a bit different from the normal products found in the supermarkets. They help support the local economy and make our town centres more attractive.

“The local community played a key role in shaping and developing this scheme and I’d like to thank them for helping to make it such a success.”

Canon David Isherwood, whose predecessor at Holy Trinity Church Clapham was the Reverend John Venn, commented:

“Balancing the needs of pedestrians and commercial traffic is not easy and often fraught with difficulties. However, this stunning project has been negotiated sensitively, built imaginatively and detailed meticulously, transforming a quiet side road into a vibrant community. I welcome it warmly.”   

The Venn Street Shared Space was formally opened on 30 September 2011 with representatives from Lambeth, TfL and Venn Street businesses and Venn Street market went weekly from Saturday 1 October.

Venn Street is now a Pedestrian Zone on Friday-Sundays, enabling the weekly street market to operate during the daytime and the restaurants and cafes to expand their outdoor seating areas. On Monday-Thursday it is open to traffic but early indications are that far fewer vehicles are using the street.

The Venn Street market is a result of a partnership between Lambeth Council and market operator Leafhouse Ltd. Suppliers include local butcher Moen’s and London’s first organic bakers, The Old Post Office, which started in Venn Street 30 years ago, and there is always a delicious array of hot foods. See www.vennstreetmarket.co.uk for more

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