Community and living, Community Safety, Cooperative Council, Environment, Leisure, Planning, Regeneration, Transport and streets

Cleaner, greener, safer street named Vincent Van Gogh Walk

Isabel Street in Stockwell is renamed Van Gogh Walk in honour of its former resident. It will be officially opened on Saturday, March 30, on the birthday of its namesake.

The renaming follows Lambeth council’s work with residents to transform a dimly lit back road that some were too scared to walk at night, into a cleaner, greener, safer street.

Vincent Van Gogh lodged in Hackford Road, round the corner from Isabel Street in 1873-74, while working as an art dealer in Covent Garden.

His time there, including his unrequited love for his landlady’s daughter and his walks to work in central London, was documented in the play Vincent In Brixton.

Working with Lambeth council, residents group Streets Ahead launched the Grass Routes project to transform the area around Isabel Street.

Grass Routes chairwoman Elaine Kramer said: “This project has transformed a little-used backstreet where some had been scared to walk at night.

“Now it’s a fantastic community street for all neighbours to share. The campaigning, consultation, planning and hard work have been worth it and we are proud to be making our streets greener, safer and more pleasant for everyone.

“The new name for this inspiring new space puts our area on the map for positive reasons.”

Councillor Imogen Walker, cabinet member for environment and sustainability and Stockwell councillor, said: “This project is a great example of residents and the council working together in a truly co-operative way, and has delivered not only a cleaner, greener and safer street for our current residents, but also one that honours one of the borough’s most famous past inhabitants.

“Vincent Van Gogh is part of Lambeth’s rich cultural background, and I’m delighted that we have been able to commemorate him like this, while making the area even better for the local community.”

The transformation of Van Gogh Walk is part of a programme of neighbourhood-wide improvements whose £420,000 cost was met using money from the developers of the nearby Freemans catalogue building on Clapham Road and part of the council’s annual Transport for London grant.

Residents wanted a street that felt safer to walk down at night, with less traffic and giving people more opportunity to rest meet and allowing children to play outside.

The design reflects Van Gogh’s interest in walking, gardens and nature.

Walls have been decorated with words Van Gogh wrote to his brother talking of his love of London.

Features include:

•         A 20mph speed limit on surrounding roads.

•         A zebra crossing outside Reay Primary School.

•         Part of Isabel Street closed off to traffic.

•         Trees, shrubs and flowers planted.

•         Play equipment.

•         Lockable bike sheds installed for residents

Saturday’s celebration and official opening of the road will also be marked by music, dance, street art/performance, sunflower crafts and more, featuring children from two local primary schools.



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