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Avon Place

December 2014: the mural is completed

The final figures along the wall of the British School of Osteopathy are painted to finish the project. TNRA thanks Morgan for all his work and patience designing and painting the mural and Southwark Council for the grant which made this possible.

October 2014: painting begins

We are pleased that work has now begun on the mural on the south wall of the alleyway (see below). Morgan, the artist, is happy to talk to residents while he works and there is a comments book for you to record your views. Or add your comments on the TNRA discussion forum here.

TNRA news September 2014: Improvements to Avon Place

For many years, Avon Place, the alleyway between Borough High Street and Swan Street, has been a poorly lit, unsanitary and unwelcoming and potentially dangerous place, particularly at night. The need for action was confirmed when Avon Place was the location of an attempted rape in June 2013 and was cordoned off for 24 hours by the police. TNRA’s strategy has been to make the alleyway "Cleaner, Greener, Safer”. We have successfully lobbied for a number of measures in the last year or two: improved lighting, new trees and a strategically placed mirror. We also received a grant from the Council for a mural on the south wall of the alleyway owned by Trinity House –  there is a long history in Southwark of street murals being used to enhance public spaces, most famously the Vision of Angels by Stan Peskett in East Dulwich.

After consultations between the artist, council officers, TNRA and Trinity House, work began on the mural earlier this year. Unfortunately, it was at that point that residents of Berwick Court, overlooking the mural, raised an objection, although they had been aware of the plans for a mural well in advance. Work is on hold while Berwick Court representatives explore if the south wall can be cleaned at their expense to the satisfaction of Trinity House and if the owners of the north wall are happy for the proposed mural to be sited there instead.

Extract from TNRA Newsletter Spring 2014

In February 2013, TNRA’s application for a Cleaner Greener Safer grant was approved by the council and £1,000 was earmarked for landscaping the Swan Street end of Avon Place (the alley between Borough High Street and Swan Street). The lighting at the Borough High Street end had been upgraded and was considered to be adequate.

In May 2013 we were still waiting to receive the grant but the decision to allocate it had been deferred because the Highways Department had planted some trees without reference to other council departments. However, in June Nils Battye, Project Manager for Bankside & Borough, agreed to consider painting the walls a bright colour with a floral theme. He then expanded this idea and wrote to councillors suggesting that a mural be commissioned AND putting in extra planting. This was strongly supported by Tim McNally and carried by all other councillors. I contacted a couple of people in Berwick Court, overlooking Avon Place, and they were enthusiastic about the ­proposal.

By September 2013 there were plans to start planting around the existing trees in October or November. However, these plans had to be shelved as the Highways Department has a stringent law requiring a 20-year maintenance agreement which TNRA could not agree to.

In October 2013 Nils and I met with the artist, Morgan, and viewed his portfolio. We agreed that the Borough High Street end of the alley should be painted a light, bright, colour and a mural be designed for the walls at the eastern end. Before this could happen, permission had to be sought from the freeholders and leaseholders of the walls. Nils finally got permission from the freeholder, Trinity House, and the leaseholder of half of the south wall, the British School of Osteopathy. Britannia House who have the leasehold of the other half have not yet responded. The Post Office who have the freehold of the north wall have been unavailable to comment.

Lights at the west end have been repaired and, at the suggestion of councillor Poddy Clark, a mirror has been fitted high up (though so far not well positioned). Trinity House are keen to support the mural and, as it is their 500th anniversary, would like that to be commemorated in some way. To this end we were invited to visit Trinity House to be versed in their history. They were unable to make a meeting this week and cancelled at the last minute so I am hoping to visit, with fellow committee member Patsy Drake, later in March. We do not want the subject matter to concentrate solely on Trinity House and will let the artist submit his designs before a final decision is made.

The council will start preparing the walls as soon as the weather permits. We can only hope that, come the summer, Avon Place will be blooming one way or another.

Annie Wingfield, TNRA committee

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