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Brian Paddick: We Want New York-Style Policing | Londonist

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Brian Paddick has said that, if elected, he would allow Londoners to patrol their own streets and decide how police are deployed.

With crime and policing high on the agenda for all candidates, Mr Paddick aims to give some of the power back to residents. Back in January, he visited Bonnington Square in south London, whose residents launched their own crime-fighting patrols to combat a spate of muggings and a carjacking.

via Brian Paddick: We Want New York-Style Policing | Londonist.

Bonnington Café

Bonnington Café is a vegetarian and vegan cafe in a homely old shop, selling tasty, healthy and reasonably priced food. Run by a co-operative of chefs from around the world – whom you can ‘meet’ online before visiting – this seemed to me what local food should be. Started in the 1980s, it has blossomed from its roots as a squat café providing cheap meals for the community.

As we sat in the café, admiring our surroundings and the sense of tranquillity, complete with magnificent large window looking out onto the street, I realised that until I took my friend along to last month’s food co-op she didn’t even know what one was! As we ate and she enthused happily about the quality of food, I felt I’d started something. To my interest, she continued to tell friends we bumped into on the way back home about it.

Just around the corner from the café, Bonnington Square is a little piece of paradise amidst the throng of Vauxhall, with a community-run garden, which has spread its green tentacles among the neighbouring streets.

Bombed in WWII, for many years the square possessed a couple of token municipal swings and later became a centre for dog mess and vandalism, the council apparently forgetting about it. In the 1990s, plans were made to redevelop the site.

With a sense of community already in place, locals fought, and won, the right to transform the area into a community garden, which is now successfully run by volunteers. With the garden’s towering exotic trees, you half expect to see the odd monkey swinging past on a vine. Here residents have taken real ownership of their slice of the city, a natural progression from the café’s roots.


Two towers plan for Vauxhall

Friday, 21 May 2010

An artist’s impression of the Vauxhall Cross towers

Sam Masters
DEVELOPERS have revealed £170million plans for two towers in an area where community campaigners have bitterly fought high-rise developments.
The project at Bondway in the heart of Vauxhall Cross is being funded by the chief executive of Middle Eastern oil company FAL Oil.
Developers Kylun Ltd own the site, and have financial backing from the United Arab Emirates-based company director.
The development will see a 42 and 31-storey tower erected with views over the Thames.
But community campaigners have fought previous applications to build high-rise apartments in the area.
In March, residents demanded a Lambeth council planning committee reject the Octave Tower development in Bondway.
They said the high-rise buildings would “condemn” Vauxhall to become like Manhattan in New York.
Jane Michelson from Bonnington Square, Vauxhall said: “We are going to fight developments like this all the way, right down the line.”
The Octave application was rejected by councillors.
The new “elegant” design has been created by architects Squire & Partners. Michael Squire, from the firm, said:
“Our proposals are designed to deliver a new focal point for Vauxhall connected to bus and train stations.
“We are focusing on improving the ground-level environment and providing new animated retail and restaurant frontage.”
The project would create 310 apartments and a 180-bed hotel with a “sky bar” open to the public on the 14th floor.
The developers said the scheme would create more than 450 new jobs in Vauxhall.
Adrian Owen, from property consultants Montagu Evans which is representing Kylun Ltd, said:
“This key site has previously been neglected.
“In its current state, it does nothing for the local community aside from being an eyesore as you emerge from the Tube station.
“We hope to be able to deliver a scheme that reinvigorates this part of Vauxhall.”
* A public exhibition will be held at Vauxhall City Farm today from 2pm to 8pm and tomorrow from 10am to 3pm.
Planning applications for the development are expected to be submitted to Lambeth council this summer.

Eco Eatery Review: Bonnington Cafe

The Bonnington Cafe by Ewan Munro
Nudged into action by the launch of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, Londonist embarks on an eco eating crawl.

The bohemian Bonnington Cafe started life as an Eighties squat and is now run as a co-operative, sitting prettily in the leafy surroundings of Bonnington Square in Vauxhall. Run by member cooks, with no single person in charge, it obviously aims to operate sustainably, while the decision to exclude fish and meat makes it a good choice for the eco conscious eater.

Dinner at the Bonnington Cafe isn’t simply a matter of turning up. First you have to contact the chef and see if they will have you. Different people cook every night, each with their own specialities and eccentricities. We wanted to dine on a Saturday night which meant we were to be cooked for and served by Margarete. We sent her an email, swiftly followed by a text (in an over keen moment), and our minor bombardment concluded happily with an 8pm table reservation.bonnington

We ended up arriving a little early, still over keen, which was, Margarete assured us in a rather stern voice, better than being late. It’s BYO – the communal corkscrews hang near the piano – so we cracked our bottle open and settled down to look over the short menu that offered two starters (£3), two mains (£7) and two cakes (£3), all suitably healthy sounding, except perhaps the cake.
We chose chickpea tagine with two salads, followed by coffee and cake. The stew arrived fast and was piled high. It was hearty vegetarian fare, all brown rice, quinoa, pulses and leaves. It was good, fresh and homemade, which made the distinctly unglamorous presentation forgivable, but it definitely didn’t look or taste gourmet. The coffee and cake that followed was alright, nothing special.
The food wasn’t amazing the night we visited but it was wholesome and incredibly cheap, and actually we fell a little bit in love with this place as it danced with shadows in the candlelight. It has a lovely atmosphere and interesting history. We’ll definitely return, to try out different chefs’ cooking and see how it changes with the seasons. Summer must be wonderful when the gardens are at their best, while in winter there’s the promise of a roaring open fire.
The Bonnington Cafe, 1 Vauxhall Grove, SW8 1TD