Branksome Road in Lambeth

Lambeth Council announces strategy to reimagine kerbside space in the borough

Lambeth Council’s cabinet approved innovative plans to reimagine the borough’s kerbside space yesterday. 

The Kerbside Strategy is one of the first of its kind in the UK and commits the council to reinstate the side of the road as a public space to be enjoyed by all residents.

Its four key priorities are enabling accessible and active travel, creating more social spaces, reducing transport emissions and traffic and improving the borough’s climate resilience. 

The kerbside is the largest public space controlled by Lambeth Council and spans an area equivalent to 1,158,000 m2, or 194 football pitches. 

Around 94% of this space is currently taken up by car parking and management, despite the fact that 60% of residents do not own a car. 

This ambitious strategy aims to reclaim at least 25% of the kerbside from vehicle parking for more climate-friendly purposes, fulfilling a key pledge set out in the council’s Climate Action Plan.

The plans also form part of the council’s commitment to reach Net Zero by 2030, a target set after Lambeth became the first London borough to declare a climate emergency in 2019. 

Councillor Rezina Chowdhury, cabinet member for Sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air, said: “We want to reimagine our streets, the way we travel and the way we arrange our lives.

“In return, the benefits will be healthier, more sustainable, equal and enjoyable lives – and who can argue with that?” 

Key strategy commitments include all households being within 50 metres of free cycle parking and trees every 25 metres on every street in Lambeth.

Under the plans, pavements will be made clear and accessible for those with mobility impairments and local businesses will be able to apply to use the kerbside for outdoor seating. 

REIMAGINED SPACE: e-bikes will have designated kerbside bays to free up pavement space across Lambeth. Image Credit: Eve Bennett

Car parking spaces will be converted into electric vehicle charging points and shared e-scooter and bike bays, and sustainable urban drainage systems will be installed to reduce flood risk. 

It also allows for the largest community parklet programme in London, which will enable residents to apply to set up small neighbourhood gardens on the kerbside.

The strategy was officially announced on January 13th and has been met with praise from local residents on social media, with many from other London boroughs urging their council to follow suit. 

However, some residents argued that the strategy would distract the council from tackling other pressing issues in the borough.

In response to these concerns, Cllr Chowdhury said: “I want to stress that the Kerbside [Strategy] is not replacing anything – it is one aspect of the council’s work that will have a positive impact on people’s lives.

“Housing, education, health – these are all areas that the council is doing so much work on.

“This is one small project. It’s an ambitious project, it’s an amazing project, it’s pioneering – but it’s not the only thing the council does.” 

Following cabinet approval yesterday, the next stage will involve a consultation process to hear residents’ views. 

Cllr Chowdhury added: “We want to make sure this is inclusive, and everyone has a chance to have a voice.

“Our ambition is to roll this out as soon as we possibly can.”
You can read the Lambeth Council Kerbside Strategy in full here.

Featured Image Credit: Eve Bennett

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