A major South London project to divert traffic flow and encourage market trade on Venn Street in Clapham has been completed. The Lambeth Council improvement scheme began in June of this year and was chiefly initiated with the facilitation and expansion of Venn Street market in mind.
The market; previously only held on a monthly basis, was established in 2009 as the result of a partnership between Lambeth Council and Market Operators ‘Sourced Market’ and hosts many local businesses and niche suppliers which have diversified trade in the Clapham area.
The physical improvements have allowed part of the main road to be closed to general traffic every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which in turn, has facilitated Venn Street market going weekly this month. Lambeth Council’s Regeneration, Planning and Strategic Transport cabinet member, Councillor Nigel Haselden, said that the improvements are “fantastic for the market” which has become tremendously popular, giving the local area “a real buzz.”
The redesigning of the street brings significant public realm benefits to the Clapham area. The fresh façade features a significantly de-cluttered street with lanterns and signs fixed to the walls and the introduction of mature olive trees, which beautify and naturalise the area. The new central paved section which runs outside the Clapham Picture House is now at the same level as the road itself. This shared surface has created a more harmonious and cohesive environment for traffic and pedestrians.
The new congregational space has been further improved by the removal and relocation of unnecessary and unsightly streetlamps and signage, which were previously of detriment to both the practical and aesthetical function of the street. This de-cluttering will accommodate the extension of the market, housing stalls selling a wide range of fresh produce, as well as a diverse range of plants and garden accessories. Deputy Chairman of Transport for London, Daniel Moylan said: “These improvements have made a significant contribution to the transformation of the Clapham area. They improve the quality of life for people throughout the borough, whilst simultaneously recognising and encouraging the importance of local business contribution.”
The Venn street rejuvenation falls under the Clapham Gateway scheme, which aims to improve the area between Clapham Common Station and Clapham Old Town. This is part of the Mayor of London’s Better Streets agenda, a guide which details a vision for the revitalisation of all aspects of the public realm within the capital. The project is one of around 80 public realm improvements scheduled for completion between 2009 and the 2012 games and is compartmental to capital-wide improvement-implementation plans with an estimated cost of around £355million.
The project was managed through a number of local stakeholders and independent consulting firm, Urban Initiatives were on hand to consult with the Clapham locals and assist the team in developing a detailed design for the new street layout. The completion of Venn Street signals the closure of phase 1 of the Clapham Gateway Project and future proposals for the area include the potential removal of the Old Town eastern carriageway, to make way for the creation of a new piazza area.
The Venn Street project and others like it go towards ensuring that London becomes known as a ‘great world city’ and are designed to encourage visitors to go and enjoy the area and spend their leisure time there. Most of all, the plans are intended to help improve the quality of life for those living in the capital and the expansion of the popular street market is therefore a considerable step in the right direction.