History of the Association

Based on a contribution by Don Feesey.

(New!) Streatham Vale Yellow Box


Prior to the development of Streatham Vale in 1924, the land to the south of Streatham Common Station was occupied by open fields, orchards, woods and farms. Kidners Dairy Farm and Greyhound Lane Farm produced arable crops for sale in London and included two gravel pits in the area now occupied by Aberfoyle and Broadview Roads. Further south was Elm Farm where Farmhouse Road now stands. The old farmhouse is thought to be the Vale Veterinary Clinic.

Crossing the Vale from Norbury to Mitcham the green banks of the River Graveney meandered through the fields. Although shallow, the river was prone to flooding and in the 1950’s there were still residents who could remember wading through the rising water by the old Hermitage Bridge on the present A23, built on the site of a ford going back to Roman times. To the north of the ford part of the Roman road was uncovered some years ago under the front gardens of the houses adjacent to Hepworth Road.

Towards Norbury, the sports ground of the National Westminster Bank [now NatWest] was situated on part of the site of the Victorian racetrack which, from 1868, held the ‘Streatham Races’ in the fields forming part of the old Lonesome Farm. The race meetings attracted huge crowds of racegoers, bookies and other notorious characters. The course also included a water jump across the River Graveney. Sadly, this exciting but disreputable period of history came to an end in 1878 when the Racecourse Licensing Act banned racecourses within a radius of 10 miles of London. The only reminder of the track today is the slopes up to the platforms at Norbury Station which were used for moving the race horses on and off the trains.

Until 1924, the muddy rutted track that was to become Streatham Vale was a continuation of Greyhound Lane, previously known as Greyhown Laine, the Vale itself known as Lonesome Laine – an ancient route from Streatham to Mitcham. In the 19th century the failed Village of Lonesome was built as a speculative venture in the vicinity of the present Leonard Road. Nearby were Pain’s fireworks factory, Mizzen’s farm and Potter’s Lavender fields. In 1924, when the development of Streatham Vale began at the top of the Vale, the road crossed the bridge over the railway at Streatham Common Station where the existing 19th century urban development ended. In nearby Eardley Road, St. John’s Church was built in red brick [now used as a balloon factory], and subsequently the Streatham Vale Library was built there. All the present houses on the south side of Eardley Road between the Vale and the railway arch and in Edgington Road are included in the Association area.   


Early Days

The first houses were built in Aberfoyle Road. As the Estate grew the rough roads were laid out with old railway sleepers set into the ground to provide a firm surface and by 1928 nearly 2000 houses had been built. Once Streatham Vale had been tarmacked, the London General Omnibus Company agreed to run a service from Streatham Common to Lonesome where the Salvation Army Hall was built. It was soon extended to the Horse and Groom Public House at Mitcham Common [now a health centre] and a private bus company ran a ‘pirate’ bus called the Reliance which was fast and also stopped where passengers wanted.  


In those days hardly anyone owned a car and bicycles were the principal means of transport to work, although some could afford a tram from Streatham to Westminster for 2d [1p], or a workman’s return on an early morning train for 9d [4p]. There was no inflation and prices remained constant until the outbreak of the Second World War. The new residents on the Estate were nearly all poor. Most were first time buyers with money laboriously saved since the First World War plus, to them, what must have seemed huge mortgages to top up their savings to the £500 or so needed at the time to buy a house.


Few people could afford a telephone in their homes so the Association campaigned for telephone kiosks and pillar boxes throughout the Estate and for a Post Office and an automatic dispenser for postage stamps. [One bought stamps singly in those days!]. There was no electricity. Street lights were powered by gas, with a man on a bike going round to turn them on at night and off in the morning. Visibility at night was poor and the street lighting useless in the frequent winter fogs. Unlike the road surface we have today the roads were periodically stripped down to the bare concrete by the Council and tarred with hot tar from a mobile tar boiler. The road was then covered in fine gravel pressed into the tar by a huge steamroller.     

Houses were heated by coal fires and although two bedrooms upstairs were fitted with small gas fires few people were able to afford the extra shillings for the meter. Cooking and lighting was by gas and the gas lights in the rooms were fitted with fragile mantles to diffuse the light which often disintegrated and had to be replaced with care.

New shops were opened in the Vale. In those days many more goods and services were delivered directly to people’s homes than today. There were the daily deliveries of milk, bread and newspapers. Groceries, greengrocer and meat were delivered from local shops by boys on specially adapted bicycles. Coal and firewood were delivered by horse and cart and carried through the house to the ‘coal shed’ in the back garden in huge hundredweight sacks on the backs of the coalmen. Washing was almost always done on Monday mornings by hand in the kitchen sink and those that could afford them had cast iron ‘mangles’ in the back garden for wringing clothes. There were no domestic refrigerators and all fresh food was kept in the ventilated larder built into every house.

Formation of the Association

In the 1920’s, Streatham was within the boundary of Wandsworth Borough Council.   

In 1926, when Wandsworth Council began to levy road charges to pay for the properly surfaced roads and pavements they were then making up, the residents got together to form an Association in order to contest the charges. 

The inaugural meeting was held in Eardley Road School on 13 January 1926 when the ‘Streatham Vale Estates Property Owners Association’ was formed but had no proper constitution so, in 1927, the Streatham Vale Estates Property Owners Association 1927 was formed. [The word ‘Estates’ and the date of 1927 were dropped in 1931]. As a result of Association representations the road charges were reduced and the Association went on to oppose high Rateable Values and high Council Rates on the properties. As there was no Church Hall in Streatham Vale Annual General Meetings of the Association were held in St. Andrews Church Hall in Guildersfield Road. The Rose was made the Association emblem in 1930 and has appeared on stationery, medals and other official tokens ever since. The Association also lent out decorating equipment including a coloured cement spraying machine for brightening up the outside walls. Road Stewards held a stock of tap washers and stopcock keys for dealing with dripping taps and other plumbing problems.

The Association was in business!

Road Steward Organisation

From its inception the Association has maintained a Road Steward organisation throughout the Vale for the delivery of Vale Topics, collection of annual subscriptions, and maintaining a bridge between the membership and officers of the Association.

Streatham Vale Library

As there was no library nearer than the Tate Library in Streatham High Road the Association petitioned for one to be opened locally and this was built by Wandsworth Council in Eardley Road in the early 1930’s. This was closed by Lambeth Council in March 2000 having served the Vale well for 70 years and the building is now a children’s nursery. The Association continues to campaign for a new library to be opened elsewhere in the Vale [see Association Campaigns].

Streatham Common Railway Station

First opened in 1862 as Greyhound Lane Station, it was renamed in 1875 as Streatham Common Station. The present station building facing into Station Approach was erected in 1902. After the building of Streatham Vale the Association campaigned for an entrance to be constructed on the corner of Eardley Road which opened on 21 May 1929. Having served the residents for some 60 years it was closed by British Rail in 1989 as being unsafe despite strenuous opposition from the Association which then launched a campaign to reopen the entrance. This became one of the longest running campaigns in the history of the Association, involving our Member of Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Keith Hill MP, local Councillors and many others. The campaign almost succeeded in the late 1990’s but the train operator, Connex, lost its franchise. In 2006 agreement was finally reached with Lambeth Council and South East London Trains [SELTRANS] for the total demolition of the old structure and the construction of a superb new entrance. See item on reopening the station entrance below.


Streatham Vale Football Club (New!)

The Streatham Vale Football Club was founded in 1928 and occupied a football ground and grandstand on the ‘’Tudor Sports Ground’ bounded by what is now Windermere Road, Chilmark Road and Hassocks Road. A newspaper report dated April 1931 refers to them having taken two seasons to have won the sectional championship of their division of the Streatham and District Football League. The photograph below which shows the team in the 1933/34 football season recently came to light in a car boot sale. It is not at present known when the club ceased and today the land is covered by housing laid out to form Oxtoby Way and Byards Croft. [with ack. to John Brown and the Streatham Society].

Streatham Vale Football Club

Vale Topics Magazine

In October 1927 our magazine ‘Vale Topics’ was first issued as a joint venture with the Streatham Vale Sports and Social Club. Donations were sought in 1928 for a Maintenance Fund but in July 1929 donations ceased to be needed as the advertisements generated sufficient money to finance the magazine. Originally it was delivered to every house on the Estate but, as printing costs rose, it could only be delivered to members and, in the 1960’s, it became a charge to Association funds.

Local Schools

Many new residents had young children so the Association pressed for new local schools. Granton School was opened in June 1929 and Woodmansterne School in September 1930.

Children from Granton School visiting Swanage on a 'School journey' 1938.

Streatham Vale Park

The site of the Park at Lonesome, just inside the border with the London Borough of Merton, consisted of 5.5 acres of land which had been acquired by R H Miller, the builder of the Vale from Abercairn Road to Eardley Road, from the Ellison Estate [after whom Ellison Road is named]. It was then contaminated industrial land previously used as brickworks. R H Miller gave it to Wandsworth Council in 1925 for the purpose of creating a park on the site.

Having taken the land over at a time of financial stringency, Wandsworth Council had no extra money available and the ground lay undeveloped. No-one can now say how long that would have continued had it not been for Stanley Grist. Stanley, who lived in the Vale, was an early member of the Executive Committee holding a variety of posts from 1925 to 1929 when he was elected a Wandsworth Councillor.

There is no doubt that Stanley threw himself into Association work in general and in particular the Association campaign to build Streatham Vale Park with such effect that, at the opening ceremony on Friday 26 June 1931, the Mayor of Wandsworth paid tribute to him in glowing terms. “Councillor Grist”, he said, “(was) always in evidence and so (pressed) the needs of Streatham Vale that instead of the word ‘Calais’ on the hearts of the deceased members of the Parks and Open Spaces Committee would be found the words ‘Streatham Vale’”. The Mayor also reminded the people of Streatham Vale that the Park was theirs and added that the Council was determined to enlarge the Park as soon as possible by the addition of the adjacent Council dumping ground of Lonesome. Sadly WWII intervened and the Park was never extended.

Upon being opened, the Park consisted of a recreation ground, which had been opened the previous year, and a wide landscaped area. From that time onwards the people of Streatham Vale cared about their Park and looked after it, but, during the War years, much of the Park was converted into allotments after demands by the Association for more land on which to grow produce which continued in use for some years after the end of the War. In 1952 the new bowls green and tennis courts were opened along with a children’s shelter and the Streatham Vale Bowls Club was constituted. Sadly that was forced to close down in 1992.

Today the Association is a member of the ‘Friends of Streatham Vale Park’ and supports the activities of the ‘Friends’ in promoting, improving and safeguarding the Park. 

The River Graveney

The sloping green banks of the River Graveney had often been flooded and now, with houses close by, the London County Council began constructing deep concrete culverts. On 2 November 1930 a torrential thunderstorm occurred and this, combined with the culverting work in progress, caused the gardens of houses between Hawkhurst and Helmsdale Roads to be submerged up to back door level. The Association took the matter up with the LCC who admitted liability and compensated the home owners. 

Street Trees   

In 1927 the Association canvassed residents about having tree-lined roads. As a majority of the residents were in favour of this proposal [1495], Wandsworth Council planted 1137 trees towards which all residents contributed. The Council also agreed to maintain the trees and replace any losses. On 8 February 1930 a special ceremony was held to celebrate the planting of the final tree by the Mayor at the junction of Churchmore Road and Streatham Vale. Subsequently, two more trees were planted outside the Church which was built in 1932. The Association maintained a map of the position of the trees and carried out periodic checks. 

The Church

The Church Hall in Churchmore Road was originally designated as St. Luke’s Church. Later, residents contributed to the cost of a proper Church and the children contributed to a ‘farthing fund’. The Holy Redeemer Church standing today was opened in 1932 and was established as the Church of the Holy Redeemer as a memorial to a Clapham religious sect which had been linked to William Wilberforce and the Bill for the Abolition of Slavery.

In addition there was a Baptist Mission Hall in Leonard Road and a Salvation Army Hall at Lonesome was opened on 14 June 1930. 

Streatham Park Cemetery

Situated in nearby Rowan Road, the Streatham Park Cemetery has over the years been the final resting place of many good people from Streatham Vale. It comprises two sections, one of 70 acres opened in 1920 and an adjoining area opened in 1932 for those of the Jewish faith. A feature of the cemetery is a memorial to variety artists and one to the comedian Will Hay.

World War II

In 1939 War was declared on Germany and the Association prepared to ‘do its bit’ for the war effort. On 23 September the Association set up an Emergencies Committee joining the Streatham Comforts Fund helping to raise money for cigarettes and woolly jumpers for the men on active service.

Anderson shelters were put up in back gardens and a local Vale man invented an indoor shelter that so impressed Herbert Morrison MP, Minister for Home Security, that it was put into production and became known as the Morrison Shelter.

An anti aircraft battery was installed on the Westminster Bank Sports ground. Sadly this did not prevent houses in the Vale from being bombed but the Vale folk were a hardy lot and the Association engaged a solicitor to advise residents on making claims for ‘War Damage’ to their houses.

As the war went on and food shortages became more acute, the Association handed out thousands of self sufficiency leaflets and obtained permission to dig more allotments in Streatham Vale Park and the playing fields of Woodmansterne and Granton Schools. Association flower and vegetable shows continued in the Holy Redeemer Church Hall including one which was interrupted by an air raid. Some residents took refuge in the air raid shelter by the Church and even in the trenches dug in Streatham Vale Park but many remained in the Hall until the ‘all clear’ was sounded. The show then resumed. This was a brilliant example of the ‘London can take it’ attitude of Vale people who, after the War, were praised in the House of Commons by the local Member of Parliament.

Just as it looked as if the German Army was in retreat after the Allied Landings in Normandy, Hitler unleashed his new secret weapon, the V1 flying bomb. Bombs fell on London and Streatham Vale was not spared. Whole blocks of houses were damaged or razed to the ground. In all 154 houses had suffered damage from the bombing and the Association helped home owners to obtain licences for repairs and compensation from the War Damage Commission. A section of Sherwood Avenue between Drakewood and Nettlewood Roads had been completely destroyed and the London County Council set up a day nursery on the site which it decided should become permanent in favour of the rebuilding of the original houses and sought a compulsory purchase order for the site. The Association fought this until the nursery was closed in 1952. The houses were rebuilt and the original owners moved back in to the properties. During this fight the Association met all the costs including the legal costs. It is doubtful that, if the owners had acted individually, they would ever have regained their homes without incurring expenditure which, at the end of the War, they could have hardly afforded themselves.

Association Allotments

The Association Allotment Grounds situated adjacent to the Holy Redeemer Church were purchased in 1930 for £100 and comprise 60 allotments. [A full section on the allotments appears under its own heading on this website.]

Flower and Vegetable Shows

Each year the Association held a Gala Day and Flower Show in Woodmansterne School which included sideshows, demonstrations of various kinds and children’s races. This was transferred to Granton School in the early 1970’s. Today the Association holds two flower and vegetable shows in the Hall of the Holy Redeemer in July and September at which members compete for the Association Cups and Medals.

Transfer To Lambeth Council

In 1965, boundary changes in London transferred a large area of Streatham including Streatham Vale from Wandsworth to the London Borough of Lambeth.

London Motorway Ring Road

In 1966 proposals for a terminal of the M23 and a linked ring road would have cut through the Vale destroying hundreds of houses. The Association set up a new Motorway Sub-Committee to fight the proposals. A public meeting was held in Streatham Baths for residents of Streatham Vale and Norbury with representatives of the Greater London Council and our MP, Duncan Sandys. The Association conducted a special collection from members to build up a fighting fund of £1000 to pay for legal representation at the public inquiry. As a result of strenuous efforts by the Committee and the Association’s legal advisor, substantial evidence was collated in 1973 for presentation to the public inquiry. However the GLC put both schemes on hold until they were withdrawn in 1976.

Notwithstanding the efforts of the Association both the Vale and nearby Norbury suffered severe ‘motorway blight’ during this period. Many small shops in Norbury closed and the character of the area declined. Large numbers of homes were acquired by the GLC who used them to provide temporary housing. Ownership of these houses was eventually transferred to Lambeth Council, many of which have been sold to the original tenants under the right to buy scheme.

Council Rates and the Poll Tax

During the 1970’s and 80’s the Association campaigned strenuously against the unfairness of these systems and the freedom of Councils to levy rates above inflation which in those days was high. Our Member of Parliament, William Shelton, put forward a Private Members Bill for capping the Poll Tax which was defeated by 49 votes. However, the Poll Tax was eventually withdrawn following substantial public opposition and civil disorder in the country as a whole.

Channel Tunnel Freight Train Service

In 1974, plans were proposed for freight trains from Folkestone to be routed through the Vale on tracks at the side of the railway behind Glenister Park Road before going under ground. Examination of the proposals revealed that the trains would have been exceedingly long and slow-moving creating unacceptable levels of noise and vibration. The Association took an active part in opposing these plans.

In 1994 a separate plan was put forward by ‘Central Railway’ for a heavy goods railway line to follow the railway line and, until recently, a member of the Association’s Environmental Committee continued to represent us on the NATCRAG [National Central Railway Action Group] Committee. Although it is now unlikely that the Central Railways proposal will be routed through the Vale, we remain on the NATCRAG mailing list for information purposes.


In 1985 the Association took part in planning a composite health centre which included both medical and day centre facilities which was established in Polworth Road, Streatham, as the Whittington Centre. The Association now forms part of the Steering Committee of the Primary Care Trust in respect of health care in the Vale. [See Association Campaigns].

Road Safety

Even in the 1930’s articles were printed in Vale Topics concerning the dangers of speeding cars. Since its inception the Association has taken an active part in setting up road traffic signs on the Estate as well as pedestrian crossings, traffic lights and guard rails at important spots. Traffic calming measures in some of the residential roads on the east side of the Vale were installed by Lambeth Council in the 1990’s.

In 2004 Lambeth Council imposed a 20mph speed limit in the residential roads and, also in association with Transport for London, installed a bus lane in the northbound carriageway of Streatham Vale [see also Association Campaigns].

Neighbourhood Watch

Crime in the Vale was not much of a problem until 1980 when the Association started to keep in regular touch with the local beat officer. In 1984 a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme was set up. It was one of the first and largest in the country taking in over 2000 properties. As not all residents were Association members, it was not run by the Association but the Association funded it. The scheme thrived and Vale Topics carried many articles advising people how to combat crime and protect property and vehicles.

In 2004 the Association decided to take Neighbourhood Watch directly under its wing. The existing NW Committee continued to meet each month with police officers but now included a member of the Environmental Committee who acted as a bridge with the Association. This arrangement reinforced the existing activities of the Environmental Committee such as reporting dumped cars and graffiti. It was represented on the Streatham Crime Working Group. Through the SVPOA connection with Neighbourhood Watch, matters reported to the Committee by the local police are now promoted widely through Vale Topics.

Streatham Common Railway Sidings

From 1930 to 1977 coal was unloaded at a wharf between the railway and Glenister Park Road. After it closed the ground was given over to a variety of uses before proposals were put forward by Lambeth Council to schedule the land for light industrial use. The Association considered this was inappropriate for a site in the middle of a residential area and lodged objections. Whilst negotiations continued the site became overgrown and derelict and, in 1983, a young boy was murdered there.

A number of other proposals were put forward including the construction of a new Sainsbury’s supermarket. However, after a public inquiry, the Association was able to assist Sainsbury’s to move to their present site at Streatham Common. There then followed more negotiations with Lambeth Council, who still insisted the land should be reserved for light industrial use instead of the proposal by the owners of the Texas DIY chain to build a new store there. Eventually, assisted by the Association, the Texas store was built although the Council refused to allow the construction of the integral garden centre originally planned.

Today the store is Homebase, who have redeveloped the building by raising the roof, adding a new floor and constructing a garden centre. A casualty of this was the demolition of the parade of small shops fronting the site despite an active campaign by the Association to save them. A condition of the loss of the shops, imposed by Lambeth Council in response to a further campaign by the Association and local Councillors, was that Homebase should meet the cost of some substantive improvement to the Vale but in the event they would only agree to provide improved street lighting at the front of the site.

Change of Name

In 2001 the name of the Association was changed to ‘Streatham Vale Property Occupiers Association’ in recognition of the numbers of residents who rent property in the Vale and were unable to become members.

Recent Housing Developments in the Vale

In 1987 Lambeth Council designated the disused railway sidings to the rear of Abercairn Road for new housing. However, the Association was legally unable to object despite having reservations as to the nature of the scheme which included the demolition of four houses to construct an access road. The development itself is outside the boundaries of the Association. Also, in the early 1990’s, a scheme to construct an area of new housing to the rear of Glenister Park Road and the Texas DIY store [now Homebase] was agreed by Lambeth Council and was incorporated into Streatham Vale as Woodgate Drive. In the late 1990’s the old Natwest sportsground was sold. Part of the resultant housing development is accessed from Woodmansterne Road but remains outside Streatham Vale as it is situated in the Borough of Merton.


Reopening of the Eardley Road Entrance to Streatham Common Station

On Monday 14th May 2007 Streatham Common Railway Station’s Eardley Road entrance was officially opened by Tom Harris MP, Minister for Transport, in a ceremony attended by residents and members of the Association, The Rt. Hon. Keith Hill MP, and the Mayor of Lambeth, together with representatives of the train and rail operating companies and local Councillors. The reopening of this entrance highlighted the end of a near 20 year campaign by the Association and demonstrated the persistence of local residents over many years to achieve this goal. In particular the late Charlie Ruff who started the campaign in the 1980’s and the late Alan Bedford who, as Chairman of the Environmental Committee, took the campaign forward to its final successful conclusion should be mentioned.

Streatham Common Station - 2003

Before restoration
  Straetham Common Station - 2007

The new entrance

The new station entrance proved not only be of great benefit to train passengers and residents alike approaching from Streatham Vale and Eardley Road, providing a more convenient means of access to and exit from the station, but incorporated an innovative stainless steel and glass design with bright lighting, CCTV and a ticket issuing machine. Unlike the old entrance it did not contain small shops and kiosks so the full width of the available area could be used by passengers and natural light is provided by the large windows overlooking Eardley Road. Facing towards the Vale, a mural of the area incorporating a map, places of interest and historical notes was installed in consultation with local Councillors and the Streatham Society. Improvements to the pavements outside the entrance have also been carried out to make a step free access to the station.

In opening the station Tom Harris MP, said, “I am pleased to see these improvements at Streatham Common Station which will mean easier journeys for passengers and a nicer station for the people of Streatham. This will complement £2.3M of future work in putting a step free route through the station for disabled people.”

Streatham Vale Bus Lane

In 2003 the Association learned that Lambeth Council and Transport for London were contemplating installing a bus lane in the Northbound carriageway of Streatham Vale between Braeside Avenue and Aberfoyle Road. The view of the Association was that due to the narrowness of the Road this proposal was impractical and as the proposed lane was less than half a mile in length and did not connect with any other bus lane it would be ineffective in reducing journey times of the two bus services that would be using it. It was also learned that the bus lane would be controlled by a draconian bus lane camera operated remotely.

The Association’s view was supported by the majority of Streatham Vale residents but despite this opposition the Streatham Area Committee of Lambeth Council voted to accept the proposal. The bus lane was installed in the summer of 2004 but by September the Association was receiving reports that very large numbers of parking and bus lane infringement penalty tickets were being issued and that the Vale shops had experienced a substantial drop in customer numbers. A petition for the removal of the bus lane signed by 500 Vale residents was presented to the Streatham Area Committee on 29 July 2005. A copy was also sent to Valerie. Shawcross our member on the Greater London Council who supported the campaign.

On 30 November 2005 the committee voted unanimously for the removal of the lane. The Vale did however retain the new pedestrian crossing complete with re-installed traffic islands near Bencroft Road, the improved parking lay- by outside the Co-op and the other additional parking installed in connection with the bus lane. The cost to the London council tax payers for the installation and removal of the lane was sadly substantial but demonstrated the folly of local government failing to take account of the views of residents.

  Bus Lane

 GP Clinic Woodgate Drive

On Monday 1 December 2008 GP’s practising in Greyhound Lane transferred their practice to the newly built surgery at Woodgate Drive. This is was the culmination of a campaign started by the Association in 2002/3, in which we put forward proposals for a number of sites in the Vale to ensure that Vale residents were not left without a local surgery when the new group practice was built at Baldry Gardens on the A23. The campaign was complicated by the lack of a fully satisfactory site meeting the criteria of the Lambeth PCT and it was by no means certain that we would succeed. The Association set up a joint steering committee with the Lambeth PCT, raised a petition of over 500 signatures and promoted a letter writing campaign by residents. The Association was supported by Councillors of both main local parties and The Rt. Hon.Keith Hill MP. The Association lobbied the Lambeth Council Health Scrutiny Committee, the Lambeth Streatham Area Committee and persuaded the local papers to print supporting articles.   New GP Clinic May 2009
Official Opening of the New GP Clinic May 2009   As a result of these activities, the Lambeth PCT undertook a survey of possible sites in the Vale and Greyhound Lane and agreed at considerable expense to carry out a feasibility study on the near derelict Lambeth Council allotment site Between Bridgewood and Grayscroft Roads for a combined GP surgery and library. When it became clear that this could not be achieved, the Association put forward its ultimately successful proposal of the smaller site at Woodgate Drive which had previously been granted outline planning permission for the construction of two semi detached houses. The establishment of the surgery opened a new chapter in health care in the Vale, ensuring residents would have a GP surgery within walking distance for the foreseeable future.

The group on the left:
The Rt. Hon Keith Hill and officers of the Lambeth PCT opening the clinic on 1 May 2009


Streatham Vale Yellow Box

The Streatham Vale yellow box was installed by Lambeth Council at the junction of Eardley Raod and Streatham Vale in the 1990’s, however Because of the complexity of the junction it was not difficult for even experienced motorists to be trapped in the box either when the out of sight traffic lights at the greyhound Lane/Estreham/Ellison junction changed causing a tail back over the bridge or when the lights at the Vale /Woodgate Drive junction did also causing a tail back on the opposite side of Streatham Vale. The former caused a welter of letters to the Streatham Guardian in 2007 and the lights were eventually rephased improving the situation somewhat, however this still left the cars turning right from Eardley into the Vale being trapped in the box when the lights changed on the Woodgate Drive junction.

The Association became extremely concerned that large numbers of motorists using the Vale/Eardley junction were being unfairly targeted by Lambeth Council and In 2007 it was found that cars were being issued with penalty notices claiming the yellow box was in Eardley Road when of course it was in Streatham Vale. It was only the CCTV car which was in Eardley Road. This was appealed to the PATAS independent adjudicator by Councillor Julian Heather representing a constituent. The adjudicator concurred that the notice was defective and upheld the appeal.
Streatham Vale Yellow Box

An identical appeal represented by the Association was due to be heard a few days later but Lambeth did not press the case and we won by default. Subsequently we applied to the PATAS adjudicator for costs and £47.00 was awarded by the adjudicator. In so doing the adjudicator commented “…………I find the conduct of the local authority to have been wholly unreasonable”…..and directed Lambeth Council to pay the costs.

In 2008 a local motorist appealed against the issuance of a penalty notice for turning right in the box when turning right from Eardley Road to Streatham Vale. In summing up his reasons for allowing the appeal the adjudicator stated inter alia he was satisfied ”….the appellants car entered the box junction for the purpose of turning right and stopped within the junction for so long as it was prevented from turning right by vehicles which were stationary whilst waiting to complete a right turn…..”

After the SVPOA submitted a copy of this judgement to Lambeth Council through local Councillors it was agreed that:

1. Vehicles would no longer be issued with penalty notices for waiting in the Vale/Eardley yellow box to turn right into the Vale.

2. The yellow box in front of the LEFT HAND lane of Eardley Road would be removed so motorists turning left onto the bridge would not run the risk of being penalised.

3. Motorists would only be issued with penalty notices if they are proceeding up the Vale towards the railway bridge and stopped illegally in the yellow box.

This was victory for local residents, Councillors and the SVPOA and another demonstration that Lambeth Council would do a lot better if it listened to local residents.


The Association Today

Today the Association represents over 2000 residents in Streatham Vale. Its activities are strictly non-party political and range from campaigning on issues vital to the preservation of the Vale as a family housing area to maintaining its allotments. It works closely with Lambeth Council, local Councillors and Streatham’s Member of Parliament, Keith Hill, to achieve these ends. Since its construction in 1924 the Association has defended the area from innumerable threats to its existence. Although standards of living and the value of the homes have risen to a level undreamed of by the first residents of 1924, the Vale has maintained its integrity and still has the feeling of a community amidst the changing face of South London. Whether it continues to be able to resist undesirable changes remains to be seen. The Association is only as strong as the resolve of its members but, from the evidence of the last 80 years, it will continue to successfully defend the Vale for the foreseeable future.


Updated February 2009



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