Council hits back at Staveley Road protesters

16 September, 2020 / by Matt Smith

Hounslow Council has hit back at residents who stopped workmen dismantling a traffic island and installing a diagonal barrier across their street on Monday 14 September. 

The installation was part of planned changes aimed at stopping commuters using the residential streets of Grove Park as a rat run.

The Council issued a statement outlining the support they have received from other local residents for the initiative, saying that the comments they received in the survey they carried out all agreed that currently Staveley Road is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists alike and that the existing traffic calming measures (20 mph signs painted on the road) are not effective.

A small group of residents came out to protest and after talking to them, the team from Hounslow Highways packed up and went on to their next job.

The group, calling themselves the Park Rd Residents Group (the planned works are at the cross roads of Staveley Rd and Park Rd) said the planned changes would not make the roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians and that the removal of the traffic island would actually make things worse. Their main complaint is the lack of consultation.

The council says the Staveley Road / Park Rd scheme is being introduced on a trial basis, which they will be “carefully monitoring” after implementation. They say they had to act quickly in order to secure the funding from the Department of Transport and Transport for London to introduce the ‘safer streets’ initiative. All councils have had to follow statutory guidance from May, which requires them to act as ‘swiftly as possible’ to change travel habits before COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

Other traffic restrictions being introduced in Chiswick are also meeting opposition, particularly the closure of Devonshire Rd and Turnham Green Terrace to through traffic. Chiswick’s Conservative councillors recently wrote to the Transport Secretary, Grant Schapps, asking him to reverse the recently implemented restrictions across Chiswick.

Image above: residents protests at the junction of Staveley Road and Park Rd; photographs by Harry Simpson and Tim Mack

Physically stopping works is ‘not acceptable’

The Cabinet Member for Transport at Hounslow Council, Councillor Hanif Khan, said:

“I want to reassure residents that, as with all of our Streetspace schemes, this is a genuine trial and that officers and Councillors retain an open mind as to whether this is the right solution for this location. We do however continue to believe there is merit in the proposals as a way of achieving the objectives of the Streetspace programme, and would like to implement this as soon as possible to get the trial underway so that we can understand the effect of the scheme and amend if necessary in the light of actual impact.

“It’s important to remember the bigger picture about what we’re trying to achieve. We want to reallocate space on our roads to enable people to walk and cycle safely, reducing air pollution and supporting more active, healthy lifestyles and stopping people using residential streets as rat-runs. This may inconvenience some, but we know that many residents support this scheme too.

“We very much value feedback provided by local road users on this and other schemes which will be an important consideration in determining whether or not to make this arrangement permanent. We expect to take the decision in the first half of 2021.

“We know there will be some people who are inconvenienced by Streetspace measures, and we know many people are very supportive of them.  However, it is not acceptable for people to physically stop these trials just because they don’t want them. Please air your views using our consultation or by emailing our transport team, rather than putting yourselves and our Highways Team at risk”.

Image above: Councillor Hanif Khan

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Councillors write to Transport Secretary protesting Chiswick’s traffic changes

See also: Staveley Rd residents stop Hounslow Highways installing road barrier