My parents always taught me to give credit where credit is due so, just for once, my blog today will take the form of a message of congratulations and gratitude to my local council, Lambeth.
Thank you Lambeth and well done!
What, I hear you ask, have they done? Why this show of appreciation?
Well, for once, Lambeth have listened to residents and are doing something nice which will not be of financial benefit to them.
And they are doing it right by my house.
Let me explain.
I live at one end of my street, just by a junction with a main road. As a result we have a large traffic island and pedestrian crossing area.
Early last year I was having a chat with a neighbour from the house over the road and we were talking about gardens and gardening – my daughter had been sorting out some window boxes and planters for the front of our house and he was looking at the small planting area he had outside his house with a view to doing something with it too. Whilst we were talking, one of us, and I can’t remember which one of us it was, said that it would be really lovely if we could get rid of the broken paving stones on the traffic island and plant some flowers and trees and bushes there instead. Neither of us thought it would be possible but it was a lovely pipe dream.
A few weeks later we bumped into one another at our favourite wine bar and, over the course of the evening, we mentioned our chat about the traffic island to the owner, another friend of ours, and he said we should talk to the neighbourhood forum about it because he liked the idea too.
So we did.
And then we forgot about it.
Life moved on, my neighbour moved away, we lost touch, Things changed.
How surprised was I therefore when, out of the blue, about three weeks ago council workmen started to dig up the traffic island with a view to planting it up in exactly the same way that my friend and I had imagined. I have seen the plans and it looks like it will be completely beautiful.
Isn’t fantastic when something you imagined but never thought could really happen, starts to come together and you had no idea it was going to until it started. And isn’t it fantastic when people in authority listen to you and act on your ideas even though they are going to get nothing out of it for themselves. My friend and I can’t be the only people to have thought of something simple but fanciful that looks like it is going to work and will benefit the community. Maybe we will see garden traffic islands at the end of other streets. And not just in my Borough but in other places too.
At present I am hoping that this is not going to be a one-off for Lambeth Council and that they will try out other ideas that other residents in the Borough have thought of.
And, just think. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if other local and national politicians stopped being precious and started actually listening to ideas from the people that voted for them and acting on some of those ideas too. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if, rather than our leaders telling us dictatorially what they are going to do or just doing things unannounced, we were listened to and our ideas were acted upon. My friend and I can’t be the only people in the country who have had and idea that looks like it will work and be special. There have got to be so many more. I hope that people everywhere start having ideas and then that other politicians, councils and, possibly, even Governments, start listening and acting to turn those ideas into reality too.
Well done Lambeth for starting something that could become a people-power revolution and thank you for our garden traffic island. Thank you for listening and thank you for acting. I can’t wait for it to be finished and I so hope it will be the first of many in the Borough, in London and in towns and cities nationwide. Thank you.