Fishers Lane traffic measures ‘will not be enforced’ by Ealing Council

August 27, 2020 / by Matt Smith

The closure of Fisher’s Lane to traffic will not be enforced by Ealing Council due to ‘financial restraints’, according to Chiswick’s  Liberal Democrat councillors.

Since Fisher’s Lane was closed at the railway bridge to all vehicles except buses at the end of July, drivers have routinely ignored the road closure signs in both directions.

What was supposed to produce a safe cycle route from Ealing to Chiswick High Rd has the potential to be more dangerous for cyclists, encountering vehicles unexpectedly beneath the bridge.

The traffic ban is marked by road signs at both approaches to the bridge, from the north and the south and it has been widely expected that there would be some sort of sanction on drivers who ignore the signs, enforced by the installation of cameras.

The revelation that there is no plan to enforce the new measures came during a meeting between councillors for Ealing’s Southfield ward and Ealing Council’s transport team on 25 August, which was not open to the public.

“I have to say this contradicts all the information that I have previously been given by officers” said Cllr Andrew Steed.

“I also believe that residents will find this pretty confusing. Surely this will only encourage people to continue to use Fishers Lane?”

Summit needed to sort out “unenforceable mess”

Cllr Steed described it as an “unenforceable mess that only brings confusion to the local community.”

Cllr Steed understands that a similar approach is being taken by Hounslow with regard to Turnham Green Terrace and is calling for a transport “summit” between Ealing and Hounslow councils to discuss the recent traffic changes.

He has written to the Transport Planning Service Manager for Ealing, Chris Cole, to suggest a meeting between the two councils’ transport teams and councillors.

‘I suggest that it would be helpful if there could be some kind of summit involving Ealing and Hounslow officers, and Hounslow and Ealing Councillors. I obviously appreciate under current COVID conditions this is awkward, but as clearly it is impossible to discuss Fishers Lane and TGT in isolation, it seems only sensible that an holistic approach is taken’.

“Unpopular, disruptive policies”

In a statement about Fisher’s Lane, Cllr Steed said:

“Ealing Council has a knack of pushing unpopular, disruptive policies at the expense of local residents without any consultation or proper planning. This Fishers Lane mess is sadly, only one of many examples”.

The scheme was introduced, he said, as a COVID-19 prevention measure, to give walkers and cyclists more space, ‘which was always something of a stretch in justifying the scheme.’

At the meeting with transport officers the context was very much focused on the ‘Strategic Cycle Route’, which he said, sent ‘mixed messages’ to residents.

“I think this will cause a problem as it would seem that any future consultation on the scheme becoming permanent will have been pre-determined”.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a review of the traffic scheme, and say it needs to happen “sooner rather than later.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Fisher’s Lane to become bus and cycle only underneath railway bridge

See also: Work starting on temporary Cycleway 9