Protests in Staveley Rd as workmen return to install barrier

There were about 30 protesters in Staveley Rd at 10.00 on the morning ofTuesday 22 September, as a Hounslow Highways team returned to install a barrier across the road. The protesters, who are residents of Park Rd, stopped the workmen from installing the barrier a week ago, but this time the Hounslow Highways team  returned with support from the police.

Images above: Staveley Rd protest. Photographs Dawn Wilson

One protester, representing a group of residents in Park Rd, who preferred to remain anonymous, described the council’s tactics as “bullying”. He told The Chiswick Calendar that the Grove Park Residents Group had arranged protests every day for the past week. There were only a handful of protesters initially, but their plan to alert others by What’s App to join them if the council workers came back worked perfectly.

“The workmen showed up at about 8.30am and within 15 minutes we had 12 people here”.

Another local resident, who lives on Staveley Rd, told The Chiswick Calendar they had a perfect right to come back and install the barrier and described the protesters as “selfish”.

The diagonal barrier is designed to stop motorists driving all the way along Staveley Rd. Instead they would have to turn off into Park Rd. The council’s traffic officers expect it to deter drivers just using the road as a short cut. By making them take a detour it would cease to be a short cut. But in the short term at least, there would be more traffic on Park Rd.

Julian Dunn said:

“The whole basket of measures needs to implemented simultaneously, not just in this street or in Grove Park, but all the traffic measures across the area south of the A4. It might take a few months and there will probably be some short term pain for the residents of Park Rd but I think it needs to be done, You can’t do one bit and not the rest of it. It may take a couple of months for drivers to get used to the idea it is no longer a short cut, but then it will be better for all of us”.

To see the background to this story, read previous stories on The Chiswick Calendar.

Images above: Staveley Rd protest. Photographs Mark Dodd

Involving the police “unnecessary” – Cllr Sam Hearn

Mark Dodd, who also lives on Straveley Rd sent us an interview with Cllr Sam Hearn, whose own house is on Park Rd and who has been attending the protests.

“The council have decided to impose various traffic measures. This one is a diagonal barrier across a junction, but it involves ripping out pedestrian islands. A lot of residents think it’s a particularly daft idea. They’ve petitioned the local council… It’s going to divert traffic from a large wide road into one minor road and push traffic down towards the station, which is always a busy area…

“What we did over a week ago, by demonstrating like this, was to prevent Hounslow Highways from doing their work – not by doing anything illegal, simply by our physical presence. That’a obviously become unacceptable to Hounslow Council and they have involved the police. It’s all a bit unnecessary. What we would like is for the Cabinet Member to actually talk to local councillors and to local residents. So far he’s refused all our invitations and they’re not replying to our letters.

The Chiswick Calendar’s reporter Matt Smith has been talking to some of the local residents.

Edward lives on Park Road, his wife is disabled (that’s her scooter next to him); he’s protesting against the lack of consultation and mainly the fact that his wife relies on this traffic island to cross the road – the next crossing is 150 yards away.

“I find it extraordinary that this is going ahead without any thought or consultation we have had no official information about what was happening and my particular concern is pedestrian safety, my wife is disabled and – how are you supposed to get from here up to the park? It means getting across this road with these refuges gone, there’s no way to get across.”

Images above: Protesters on Staveley Rd. Edward (left). Photographs Matt Smith

Another resident who preferred to remain anonymous told Matt she’s protesting today

“Because there hasn’t been a safety audit done in the road changes the council want to make in this area – there hasn’t been proper consultation – what they want to do is illegal and we want to try and protect this crossing for all the people in and around Grove Park.”

Matt asked how can police enforce the changes if the plans were illegal.

“Well that’s why the councillor is here to debate with them” she said. Both the Conservative councillors’ spokesman Sam Hearn and fellow Riverside ward councillor Michael Denniss were at the protest.

Matt asked whether she was prepared to get arrested.

“I don’t think it will come to that” she said.

Jane from Staveley Road told Matt:

“Consult with us and we’ll help them to come up with something – they’re literally taking a hammer blow to the islands, sticking a couple of red and white plastic barriers in the road. It’s not dignified, it’s not intelligent and some intelligence need to be applied to this and Hounslow sit in their Ivory tower and they think they can decree and dictate to everyone”.

At about 11.45 both police and the Hounslow Highways team left, promising “we’ll be back”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Protests on Staveley Rd continue daily

See also: Park Rd residents stop Hounslow Highways installing road barrier in Staveley Rd