Opponents scent victory over Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes in West London

Image above: Map of the West Ealing Low Traffic Neighbourhood – LTN_21_West_Ealing_South_Map

Ealing Council rips out West Ealing Low Traffic Neighbourhood

Ealing Council has ended the West Ealing Low Traffic Neighbourhood trial and pledged to give local people the final say on LTNs in their communities.

The decision to end the trial, which covered the area between Ealing Broadway to the north and Swyncombe Avenue to the south and from Boston Rd to the west to Northfield Avenue to the east, was taken after LB Hounslow decided to close Swyncombe Avenue for a period of two months for roadworks, which says Ealing, makes their scheme ‘unworkable’.

The Council said the decision has been taken to end the trial and remove the LTN over the weekend, before the Swyncombe closure and take immediate steps to restore traffic controls to how they were before the LTN was brought in.

Decision sparks angry debate on social media

‘Absolutely devastating’, ‘Backward’

Predictably the decision sparked angry debate on Twitter, where Mark Eccleston posted:

‘They rip out the LTN during the school run and a kid on a bike has to dodge a crane. It’s truly embarrassing to live in Ealing right now’.

Sarah Jones Tweeted:

‘I feel so upset that this has been the outcome. It feels so backward’.

Ellie Lock added:

‘It’s absolutely devastating. The drivers are already racing down the street honking in triumph. One drove onto the pavement to get round the lorry taking out the planters. They couldn’t even wait that long.’

Warwick Rd Action Group wrote:

‘This is so depressing – what a backward step. So sorry to see the needs of drivers put above the health & well-being of people – especially children who were beginning to get used to safer streets’.

Cllr Gary Malcolm demands Ealing now remove all the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

On the other side of the argument, Chiswick Councillor Gary Malcolm, who represents Southfield ward, wrote to the newly elected Leader of Ealing Council Peter Mason:

‘This LTN as well as the others in Ealing have caused a great upheaval and distress to the lives of many vulnerable users as well as those who need their vehicles as part of their livelihoods.

‘I press you to remove all of the LTNs as soon as possible as well as the Fishers Lane scheme in Southfield. Liberal Democrats and residents will continue to campaign on this vital local issue until every single LTN is removed’.

Cllr Peter Mason was elected as Leader when the ruling Labour party deselected their leader of ten years’ standing Julian Bell ealier this month. Cllr Mason challenged Cllr Bell over his handling of the highly controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes. Protests against them have made national news both on television and in newspapers during the past year.

But opposition to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods does not seem to have translated into votes in the recent Mayoral election. Chiswick swung to Sadiq Khan, giving a Labour candidate the majority after the final runoff in its four wards, for the first time since 2004, when Ken Livingstone was Mayor.

Sadiq Khan campaigned on a range of issues, leading with jobs and housing, but made it clear he was not giving up on his ‘active travel’ strategy. Construction work started in March on new or upgraded cycle infrastructure for four new routes which will add a further 8km to the capital’s network of safer cycle routes and Transport for London is appealing a High Court ruling in January that its traffic reduction policies were unlawful.

Khan was behind after the first preference votes, but saw second preferences, almost all from the Greens and the Liberal Democrats, split 3:2 in his direction, which prompted safe cycling campaigner Dr Edward Seaton to comment:

‘Lib dem mayoral vote in Southfield has halved: 2016 – 413, 2021- 252. And you were third in the GLA vote. Perhaps the aggressive anti active travel stance in our ward is not working out’.

Jubilant reaction to decision to end Turnham Green Terrace trial

Hounslow Council also announced its decision to take out a Streetspace scheme, the controversial trial introduced last June to take out parking spaces and prevent through traffic on Turnham Green Terrace. The trial was effectively ended in November 2020, when roadworks made it unworkable.

The Council announced the decision at the same time as it published the results of a seven month public consultation during which 10,000 people gave their views on the various Streetspace initiatives throughout the Borough. In Chiswick the Streetspace schemes were given an overwhelming thumbs down by those who took part.

Chiswick’s Convervative councillors who represent this area on Hounslow Council described the Council’s announcement as:

“classic face-saving exercise necessitated by a self-inflicted public relations disaster”.

They welcomed “the long overdue announcement that Hounslow Council has begun to recognise the damage that its badly thought through, poorly implemented and potentially illegal Streetspace measures have wreaked on local businesses and the lives of so many Chiswick’s residents”.

‘The Silent Majority has spoken’

OneChiswick, the Facebook group of residents which is taking LB Hounslow to Judicial Review over its implementation of the cycle lane through Chiswick High Rd, said this about the publication of the consultation:

‘The silent majority has spoken. In accordance with the public’s wishes, OneChiswick calls on the Council to reverse all Streetspace Schemes by 21 June’.

‘This local opposition is very understandable and follows on from the judgement handed down by Justice Lang in January 2021 that both the Mayor of London and TfL’s London Streetspace Plan (and the associated Interim Guidance for Boroughs) were unlawful.  Many Councils wisely ripped out their schemes following this judgement. Only the most extreme are holding out’.

Hounslow Council has said final review for the scheme will be published in July 2021, along with decisions about which schemes will be made permanent.

READ MORE: You can read the feedback from members of the public who took part in the Streetspace consultation on the various schemes around Chiswick here:

Council ends Streetspace trial at Turnham Green Terrace.

READ MORE: You can read the full statement from Chiswick’s Conservative councillors here:

Conservative councillors’ response to Cllr Hanif Khan’s announcement 17.5.2021

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

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