Image above: Devonshire Rd
The leader of Chiswick’s Conservative councillors has urged Devonshire Rd traders to object to Hounslow Council’s plans to restrict traffic to the road, in order to fit in with Covid-19 requirements to give shoppers more space. In an email to a group of them, Cllr Joanna Biddolph wrote:
‘It’s LBH (London Borough of Hounslow) who are being lobbied hard by people who are anti-car; LBH is anti-car, too.
‘It’s not illegal as the government has allowed councils to use emergency powers to bring in temporary schemes to meet social distancing.
‘We can fight for better schemes. I made the point that footfall is low so social distancing is possible without these draconian measures. Others need to say that, and other points, too. Traders’ views are crucial’.
She goes on to point out that not many traders have contributed comments to the council’s consultation as yet, even though the council has been asking for the public’s views for several weeks.
When I spoke to traders on Devonshire Rd on Monday they were concerned about the proposed changes, though the restaurants see the car ban as helping them. Allowing restaurant customers to spread out onto the pavement and the road will increase the number of people they are able to serve.
Two weeks ago the councillors published a new policy on walking and cycling. Transport spokesman Cllr Sam Hearn said:
“One of the few benefits of the lockdown has been the improvement in air quality. If we want to retain that benefit to our previously heavily polluted area, we need to avoid a return to normality and a surge in car use.
“The government’s announcement of £250m for urgent measures to promote walking and cycling, to support social distancing in England, is good news. This is an opportunity to move on from the controversy in Chiswick about Cycleway 9 and find a new consensus. I welcome that”.
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See also: Residents and traders react to car ban