Survey Highlights Safety Fears of Women in Wandsworth

Feedback given in night-time consultation being held by council

Clapham Junction at night
Clapham Junction at night

September 23, 2022

Women in Wandsworth have revealed they don’t feel safe in parks, local streets and stations at night. One concerned woman said she takes three times as long to get home over safety concerns in response to the consultation being held by Wandsworth Council to make streets safer at night.

Residents have been commenting on places in the borough using an interactive map to help the council create a night-time strategy. The consultation asks residents how they feel about specific places in Wandsworth and what could be improved. Wandsworth Park and Wandsworth Bridge Road are among the places described as looking neglected, feeling isolated and needing better lighting.

One woman said she prefers taking three times as long to get home from Virgin Active on Smugglers Way as she feels so unsafe at night. She said, “I don’t feel safe cycling or walking to or from the gym around here when it is dark. Even though there are new flats over [the] bridge, the area is dark and hidden off the main road. So many easy spots to be attacked. I would rather go back to the main A217 and A3 to take three times as long to get home.”

Another woman said she doesn’t visit Wandsworth Park, including Thames Path, at night and called for “safer walking routes”. She said: “There are no lights in the park at all so going for an evening run [or] cycle is out of the question.” Another local said they had been followed in Streatham Park before and called for more support and a street harassment campaign.

Residents also raised concerns about speeding and rubbish. One resident said cars drive “much too fast” down Queenstown Road at night and called for more streets to be pedestrianised, while another said Wimbledon Park should be open to pedestrians and cyclists all the time. Others said they felt satisfied at night with areas in the borough and called for more venues to stay open late.

Councillor Kemi Akinola, deputy leader of the council, said, “We want to make sure people feel safe in our town centres. Many people work at night, including NHS workers, cleaners and carers, and we want to support them. It’s also important that town centres are as vibrant and resilient as possible, and that there are plenty of opportunities to socialise, eat and drink and enjoy arts and culture.

“It’s a complex jigsaw of issues and we want to hear from as many people as possible. This stage is all about looking at the details of each area and making sure we get a clear picture of how people experience the night time in Wandsworth. That way we can focus on the areas and the issues that people have told us matter most to them.”

Getting home safely an issue for many women in the borough
Getting home safely an issue for many women in the borough

The responses will be used to write a draft night-time strategy which the council will consult on again later this year. It will then be considered by councillors in early 2023.

Charlotte Lillywhite - Local Democracy Reporter