Devonshire Rd reopened to vehicular traffic

Image above: Devonshire Rd – New signes installed Monday 26 July 2021

Devonshire Rd has been reopened to through traffic between the hours of 8.00am and 5.00pm, and will be closed to traffic overnight from 5.00pm to 8.00am except for access, following consultation with shopkeepers and members of the public. And as Johnny Nash once said, there are more questions than answers…

As the Chiswick Calendar rang round shopkeepers and restaurateurs on the day the planters were being removed and the signs changed, there was uncertaintly and a little confusion. So after a call to LB Hounslow Member of Cabinet for Transport, Cllr Hanif Khan, with reference to Hounslow’s traffic officers, here, hopefully are the answers you seek.

Q: Can I drive down Devonshire Rd now?

Yes you can, between the hours of 08.00am and 5.00pm. After 5.00pm you will only be able to do so for ‘access’.

Q: What does ‘access’ mean? 

If you live in the one way bit of Devonshire Rd, or in Prince of Wales Terrace and your car is registered to that address, you will be able to access your property by car at any time. Taxis and Ubers will also be allowed to pick up / drop off, as will delivery vehicles. ‘Access’ means that they can stop outside the address they are delivering to.

Q: What about access for the businesses?

Access for loading and unloading in the loading bays: the loading bays are exempt from the restrictions, as they will now operate ‘at any time’. The loading bay signs will be changed to reflect this.

Q: What about parking for customers?

There will be some parking available during the day until 5.00pm. Access to disabled parking after 5.00pm remains, but there will be no parking otherwise after 5.00pm.

Q: What about the restaurants which want to use parking bays for outside seating?  

There are five parking bays available for outdoor dining, between nos. 8 to 22 Devonshire Rd. These will be suspended as parking bays and available for outdoor dining both during the day between 08.00 am and 5.00pm and in the evening after 5.00pm. Other restaurants not in this bloc will only be able to use the parking bays outside their restaurant for seating after 5.00 pm.

Q: What about residents of the Glebe Estate and Devonshire Rd south of the one way bit?

They will have to find alternate ways to access their property by car between the hours of 5.00pm to 8.00am

Some 10,000 individuals took part in the consultation, both in writing and in a series of online engagement events organised by the Council, including events aimed specifically at businesses. Following the independent reviews, the Council announced a number of changes to Streetspace in May and promised further engagement with regard to the trials on Bath Road, in Hounslow, and Devonshire Road in Chiswick.

The changes which are now being brought in are intended as a compromise, to accomodate competing interests. Opinion in Chiswick was split when the decision to partially reopen the road was announced. Leading the charge to get the road reopened for vehicles was Cllr Joanna Biddolph.

READ ALSO: Devonshire Rd set to reopen for traffic during the day

On social media @ChiswickHighRd posted sarcastically, in reference to climate change and our reliance on cars:

‘Huge congratulations to @JoannaBiddolph for getting car traffic back into Devonshire Rd. In other news, flooding related to climate change closes 2 London hospitals. Chiswick High Rd shops are still mopping up last week’s floods’.

Paul Campbell commented: “Powerful images of the environmental damage caused by Chiswick Conservatives. Every vote for one of them next year is a vote for global warming”.

Images above: Gone are the planters from the parking bays; going soon are the loading signs – loading will now be ‘at any time’

Reaction from businesses in Devonshire Rd

Chris Couch, who manages Tribe Rugs at the Chiswick High Rd end of Devonshire Rd, told us:

“I think it’s a good compromise in terms of common sense so both types of business (hospitatlity and others) can function well. I think it’s a victory for common sense”.

Tony in W4 Bathrooms told us the road closure hadn’t really been the problem that they anticipated:

“It wasn’t really bad for us before, but this will make it a bit easier”.

Grace, working in Chiswick Pets at the other end of the shops, said:

“We have found it more difficult with the road closure on top of the Coronavirus. It has definitely hindered the business. People have stopped buying in large quantities – especially dog and cat food. They’re buying it online instead”. (They don’t sell online).

“Also fewer people are coming down the road to have a look at the shops and get to know us”.

Hazel Gardner, owner of the gallery Frivoli, said:

“I cannot understand why close it at 5.00pm when most of the shops are still open and residents don’t go to bed then either”.

From those in the hospitality trade, Kate Frobisher at Urban Pantry told us she was in favour of pedestrianisation of the road:

“more from an aesthetic point of view than anything, but I don’t feel strongly enough about it to campaign for it”.

She doesn’t have outside seating in the road

“but if it was an option we’d like it, as we are always turning people away”.

Image above: Casa Dino can only put tables outside in the parking bays after 5.00pm

“This is unfair and it’s ruined my lunchtime business”

Dino Kastrati, who owns Casa Dino, is furious. The tables and chairs and planters and little bit of astroturf he’d put in the parking bay outside his restaurant at no. 38 have been removed.

“It’s so unfair” he told us. “It’s ridiculous and it’s ruined my lunchtime business.

“They told me I could l put tables out after 5.00pm but what I am going to do if someone parts there at 4.30pm?

The Chiswick Calendar asked Hounslow’s Assistant Director of Traffic & Transport, Jefferson Nwokeoma, to explain the policy.

“I’m afraid that we cannot provide outdoor dining spaces for every business that needs one. And in the interests of safety and practicality, we took the view that restricting a cluster of parking spaces is preferable to a sporadic approach. As such, the spaces outside 8-22 Devonshire Road are the only parking spaces that will be retained for outdoor dining”he told us.

Image above: Vinoteca can use the parking bays outside all day and all evening

Detailed answers from LB Hounslow

The following are questions put to the Council by Cllr Joanna Biddoph, with detailed answers from Member of Cabinet for Transport, Hanif Khan.

Access

Q: What is the logic for the timing of no-traffic given that there will be no outside dining during the night?

A: The timing of the restrictions is not just for the benefit of the eateries, we have also taken into account the feedback we received from residents, many of whom want less traffic on Devonshire Road. Businesses close at different times of the day as such the timing of the restriction is based on widely accepted working hours, with an additional hour in the morning, hence 8am-5pm. We will continue to monitor the efficacy and adequacy of the timing throughout the experimental period.

Q: Why is it access only until 5.00pm and not 6.30pm to coincide with businesses closing then loading cars/vans as they leave, including customers of Capital Motors who need to collect their cars in the evenings?

Businesses close at different times, therefore we have based the timing on widely accepted working hours, plus an additional hour in the morning. We will continue to monitor this throughout the experimental period. Customers of Capital Motors will be able to access the businesses.

Q: Where is the consideration for Glebe Estate residents in the 08.00–17.00 timing?

A: Residents of Glebe Estate, like all other members of the public, shall be subject to the access restrictions. They will not be exempt.

Q: Why can’t residents use Devonshire Road to access their homes at all times of the day and night, which would be a significant step forward?

A: This goes against the object of the experimental traffic order, which is to reduce traffic on Devonshire Road.

Q: Why does Devonshire Road need to be closed overnight, from end of outdoor trading to 8.00am?

A: To reduce the volume of traffic passing through Devonshire Road.

Q: Will all access restrictions be removed for the majority of the months of the year when our weather is not conducive to drinking/dining outside so all vehicles can be driven into the Glebe Estate and down the south of Devonshire Road?

A: The experimental traffic order is not seasonal. While the restrictions will be beneficial to some businesses, it will also benefit residents, many of whom want less vehicular traffic on Devonshire Road.

Image above: Planters being removed

Cycling one-way only

Q: Will Devonshire Road remain a one-way street at all times of the day on every day of the week so that cyclists have to continue to use the Ingress Street/Annandale Road route when travelling north back up to Chiswick High Road (ie: cyclists will not – for safety reasons – be allowed to cycle both ways up and down Devonshire Road, something that the cycling zealots have been trying to get permission to do). Does the council recognise that the more ‘pedestrianised’ Devonshire Road becomes, the more dangerous cyclists riding the wrong way up a one-way street are to pedestrians?

A: To the best of my knowledge, there is no one-way exemption for cyclists, nor is there a contra-flow provision in place under the current measures.

Image above: Changing the layout

Enforcement

Q: If the council intends to carry on disregarding the opinions of Glebe Estate residents, how will the post-17.00 restriction be enforced? More spy-cars or a permanent camera? If the latter then Glebe Estate residents must be offered a white list option, as in parts of Grove Park.

A: The Council intends to enforce the restriction using permanent cameras. As Glebe Estate residents have alternative routes to their homes during the hours of restriction, they are not entitled to an exemption from the measures.

Q: What plans are there to move loading bays to where they are needed so that shops can benefit and cafes/restaurants that do not have parking spaces in front of them are not disadvantaged?

A: There are far more businesses on Devonshire Road than there are loading bays, as such it is not possible to provide loading bays in front all businesses that need them. But we have done our utmost to optimise the location of the loading bays.

Image above: Outdoor drinking and dining in Devonshire Rd

Outdoor drinking and dining

Q: Will outdoor drinking/dining apply every evening, at weekends, during summer months, all year even during months when the weather makes it impossible?

A: This is not a matter for the traffic department. Businesses are at liberty to operate as they see fit, within the terms and conditions of their trading licence.

Image above: Parking is permitted between 08.00 am and 5.00 pm

Parking

Q: Will the free 30-minute stop-and-shop parking be reinstated as before, as it has been on Turnham Green Terrace?

A: The payment terms and conditions will be reinstated as before.

Protecting residents from noise and other disturbances

Q: What time should outdoor drinking/dining end to ensure residents are not inappropriately disturbed by noise from outside drinking/dining (one restaurant stops outdoor trading at 10.00pm)?

A: This is not a matter for the traffic department. We would expect businesses to operate within the terms of their trading licence. Any violation of these terms should be duly raised with the Council’s licensing and regulatory department for investigation.

Q: What time should music, whether live or recorded, end to protect residents, particularly in hot weather when windows and doors might be open?

A: This is not a matter for the traffic department. We would expect businesses to operate within the terms of their trading licence. Any violation of these terms should be duly raised with the Council’s licensing and regulatory department for investigation.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

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