Hounslow Council abandons proposal to reopen access from A316 to Burlington Lane

Image above: Hounslow’s Cabinet members voting on changes to the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood scheme on Tuesday 18 April

Changes to improve access for carers come into effect 1 July

Hounslow Council’s Cabinet has decided to abandon the proposal to reopen access at Burlington Lane, while making a number of changes to the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood scheme.

Councillors voted to implement various measures suggested by Cllr Katherine Dunne, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Climate, Environment and Transport Strategy, which are meant to facilitate better access to the Grove Park area for carers and improve awareness of the schemes.

A week before the meeting, the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee had rejected a Chief Officer Decision to reopen access from Burlington Lane from the A316 and instead, impose School Street restrictions on the road just at the beginning and end of the school day.

The Chief Officer Decision was proposed following complaints about difficulties that visitors, including carers, delivery drivers, and taxis, faced in accessing the area. Most residents were exempt from restrictions on Staveley Road and Hartington Road, but unlike a scheme in Hammersmith & Fulham, it was not possible to gain access for visitors.

The chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee reported back, saying that reopening Burlington Lane would create a rat run. Cllr Dunne conceded the proposal should be abandoned. Instead, the Council would proceed with issuing permanent Traffic Management Orders for both the Staveley Road and Burlington Lane restrictions.

Cabinet members unanimously supported accepting the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s recommendation and the decision to issue permanent Traffic Management Orders for the restrictions at Staveley Road and Burlington Road, along with the recommendations on carer permits and other measures put forward by Cllr Dunne, which will come into effect on 1 July.

Cllr Katherine Dunne addresses Cabinet

Exemptions to be extended to all carers and district nurses

Cllr Dunne said she was unwilling to consider a visitor permit scheme, despite calls from local resident groups. She proposed the extension of exemption to all carers working in the area irrespective of whether they hold residential parking permits. In addition, the Council planned to align its approach for carers and district nurses and review the method for granting parking permits.

Cllr Dunne said a letter would be sent to all residents within the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood Scheme, including a map outlining the restrictions and some “myth-busting” about the measures, along with answers to frequently asked questions.

In addition, to help tackle rising complaints about speeding in the area, more vehicle activated signs are also to be installed in consultation with local resident groups.

The Council plans to formally ask the Metropolitan Police to engage with the community over ways to tackle the problem, as well as review and add where necessary 20mph roadsigns. A speed survey will be carried out within 12 months to ascertain whether instances of speeding have fallen.

Cllr Dunne said the signage audit at junctions with the A316 would remain high, and there would be an audit to see if any road markings needed renewing. Signs highlighting exemptions for black cabs would also be added.

Cllr Peter Thompson addresses Cabinet

Conservative Leader and Grove Park residents group welcome the decision, with reservations

Peter Thompson, the Chiswick Riverside councillor and leader of the opposition, addressed the Cabinet meeting and broadly welcomed Cllr Dunne’s recommendations, but remained sceptical over the practicalities of Cllr Dunne’s proposal, as carers usually work for private companies and staff change on a day-to-day basis.

Cllr Thompson called on the Council to involve ward councillors earlier in the decision making process, rather than briefing them on decisions already made. He said the fundamental problem had been the piecemeal approach adopted by the Council, adding that the schemes continued to cause issues.

An unintended consequence of the access restrictions has been an increase in speeding, he said, as the restrictions have created relatively empty roads which encouraged drivers to drive faster.

The Grove Park Group echoed his approval of the decision, saying:

“The Grove Park Group welcomes the decision by the LBH Cabinet not to channel 8,500 cars a day through a few streets in Grove Park. Such a move would have undermined the whole purpose of Hounslow Council’s scheme, and created an injustice to those living on streets which would take all the traffic that once ran through the area.

“However, the Cabinet has failed to act on resident feedback once again, and taken only cursory notice of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations. After two years of poor service we have little confidence that Hounslow Council’s Traffic team will take the necessary steps to make the best of what has been imposed on the area.

“Whilst we welcome the Council’s commitment to finding a solution for carers, the proposal to use a permit type system is too inflexible for care needs and they refuse to explore an existing app based system which solves this for carers. This would also give the legitimate access also needed for trades, visitors etc.

“The action promised on speed is too little and a review within 12 months is too late.

“Likewise, we welcome the improvement of signage, but more is needed, such as repositioning of signs and visible road markings at each access point to prevent drivers being trapped, particularly on Staveley Road which has seen the very significant level of fines issued.”

Decision ‘balances the views of residents alongside our policy position as a council’, says Katherine Dunne

Cllr Katherine Dunne said after the meeting:

“This will mean that we retain the current no-entry restriction from the A316 and we will proceed with a permanent Traffic Management Order that is brought in by 1 July 2023. The existing Experimental Traffic Management Order will remain until this permanent order is brought into operation. This will see the implementation of a permanent measure at the junction of Burlington Lane and the A316.

“I am very grateful to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, on the view that the Committee formed on the each of the recommendations in the Chief Officer decision prior to the Cabinet meeting last evening.

“Cabinet accepted the recommendations proposed by Overview and Scrutiny Committee and in addition proposed and agreed a number of other recommendations to reflect community feedback on carers, speed, signage and communications.

“These additional proposals, in addition to the earlier changes, demonstrate that we continue to consider and balance the views of residents alongside our policy position as a Council on our ambitions for transport, climate and public health.

“We will be updating our website shortly to reflect these recommendations and residents in the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood will be written to outlining the final permanent scheme.”

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See also: More details released on Hammersmith Bridge proposals

See also: Teenager convicted of series of violent bike thefts near Richmond Park

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