While it may not be at the Radical end of the revolutionary spectrum ‘street clutter’ is something of a pet hate for us. And Blackheath village has quite a bit of clutter to get us agitated. Here’s a quick run-down of some of our favourites. Let us know what you think – including that we should get a life!
First of all – and perhaps most controversially – are the railings though the centre of the village. Though it’s true to say they’re not offensively ugly the real question is why such bulky railings are needed in a 20mph zone that has plenty of ‘traffic calming’ measures?
In addition to being unnecessary they’re also a danger for cyclists who have no where to go when larger vehicles get close. And as the excellent Simon Carter (@kingofcufflinks) recently found, the position well in from the curb makes the pavements narrower than they need be and consequently a real effort to make shop front changes, like adding a new shop sign.
Is this a matter for the council? And perhaps we’ve got this one wrong and the railings really are necessary, but it’s worth asking the question as they represent a large part of the street clutter in the village and it’d be great to see how the place looked without them or with a more appropriate design that did not restrict so much space on the pavements.
Now, signage. There’s lots of it and not all of it is necessary and that which is necessary is not always presented as well as it might be. For example, no doubt there is a need to warn drivers of the width restrictions on Tranquil Vale but: (a) must the sign be this large; and (b) must it be located right outside the station, obscuring the vintage sign behind it? Why not place it by the mini round about at the top of the village?
And talking of signs by the station, this conflagration is a particular favourite.
As much as the location is annoying, it’s the randomness of the size and direction of each sign when placed together in the way they are. It always reminds this Radical of a game of Jenga – perhaps that explains the feeling of dread when they come in to view.
Some signs, like this one to the now closed public library, just need to be removed – along with the post.
Talking of poles – why are there so many that have such small signs on them? Just look at this classic – one of many, often featuring parking related signs of which there are way too many in the village.
If there is the need for some parking signs, as there surely is, then there are plenty of lamp posts around that could be used without having to install these over-sized monstrosities.
Here’s a favourite: the Prince of Wales Road sign has never been quite straight for as long as we can remember. Perhaps it’s an attempt to fit in with the deliberately wonky sign for the pub?
And, as far as we can tell, the sign for cyclists pointing them to Eltham is in fact pointing in exactly the wrong direction. Again, it could always be deliberate!
Nearby, what exactly are these things for and why are they do they look so worse for wear?
Okay, enough ranting. What, if anything, should be done about this? It’s perfectly possible to argue that life’s too short for this sort of stuff. But at the same time, when local residents go to such great efforts to keep the place clean – as they did this past weekend – should we not also take an interest in this sort of state funded litter?