“Shockingly irresponsible” decision to start work on Cycleway 9 at Kew Bridge junction


Chiswick’s Conservative councillors have slammed the decision, first read about in Councillor Guy Lambert’s weekly blog, that TfL could start work on CS9 before the end of this year – at Kew Bridge junction, a notorious traffic pinch point which is already even more congested than usual with over 2,000 additional vehicles a day, displaced because of the closure to traffic of Hammersmith Bridge.

Chiswick’s Conservative councillors are demanding that this work be stopped until Hammersmith Bridge has re-opened to traffic because of the impact it will have on main and residential roads in Chiswick, and Brentford. They say starting work in winter makes no sense either with the weather likely to interrupt work, unnecessarily prolonging the disruption and chaos.

“It is hard to think of a more absurd decision than this. It’s winter and the wet, cold weather will undoubtedly slow down progress. Residents in Chiswick, and Brentford, can be sure they will see the route and Kew Bridge severely restricted, therefore even more congested and polluting, but with no-one working because of winter weather conditions. The disruption will be pointless.

“The fact that one of Brentford’s councillors – also cabinet member for highways – cannot see how irresponsible this decision is shows just how little Labour councillors know about, or understand, Chiswick and the way it works. It seems Councillor Lambert doesn’t know how his own ward works, either, if he cannot see the additional impact, on his residents, retailers and businesses, of starting work in winter and while Hammersmith Bridge is closed to traffic,” said Cllr Joanna Biddolph, councillor for Turnham Green ward and leader of the Conservative Group on Hounslow Council.

“His dismissive tone and the words he used to describe the impact ‘no doubt there will be periods of pain whilst the works progress’ demonstrate his lack of concern for residents, workers and the many shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses along this stretch – and beyond,” she said.

Cllr Patrick Barr said, “It is absolute madness that work is due to commence, perhaps before the end of the year, on the Cycle Superhighway’s Kew Bridge section, while Hammersmith Bridge remains closed.

This will have a severe knock-on effect and subsequent impact on the already present traffic chaos in and around Chiswick. On that note, we still await an update on traffic mitigation for Chiswick following a visit by Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, and TfL traffic planners earlier this year to witness the traffic chaos in Chiswick as a result of the closure of Hammersmith Bridge, and discuss traffic mitigation for Chiswick. We were promised this would be looked into in September 2019, when the school year started, for an accurate picture of the problem and steps to solutions. I have still to receive an update, despite having chased Transport for London.

“There is a clear lack of joined-up thinking. I wonder whether Cllr Lambert actually has the full picture or is simply doing what his “comrades” ask of him, with no thought for the residents of Chiswick?” Cllr Barr said.

Councillor Sam Hearn said, “TfL’s decision to proceed immediately with these high-impact and time-consuming road works beggars belief. TfL management appears to be living in some kind of parallel universe that is not inhabited by real people. There can be no justification for starting this work whilst the closure of Hammersmith Bridge is still causing such serious traffic problems throughout the Chiswick area.”

This stretch is part of the section of Chiswick High Road where it becomes the South Circular/A205 (between Chiswick roundabout and Kew Bridge) which is in the TfL road network. There will be consequences for the western section of Chiswick High Road/A315, Ellesmere Road/Great West Road/A4; the North Circular/A406, Strand on the Green, Brentford High Street/A315 and for accessing and leaving the M4 in both directions, as well nearby roads including in Surrey Crescent, Stile Hall Gardens, Wellesley Road, Strand on the Green, on the junction and beyond on Brentford High Street near Kew Bridge.

There are many shops, cafés, pubs and restaurants along the route or very close by, in Chiswick Riverside ward and in Brentford ward including along that section of Chiswick High Road, Strand on the Green, beside the bridge on the west, around the junction. It will also affect Brentford Leisure Centre.

Residents live on all these roads as well as Wellesley Road and Stile Hall Gardens.

“Residents don’t need to be reminded that Kew Bridge is a major route in and out of Brentford, just as it is for Chiswick. It seems, though, that we do have to point this out to Cllr Guy Lambert,” Cllr Joanna Biddolph continued. It’s clear he doesn’t care about disrupting Chiswick’s residents, retailers, workers, businesses and visitors. Is he really prepared to put them through even more traffic chaos by starting work while Hammersmith Bridge is closed to traffic and in the worst of winter?

“We see the effects of Cllr Lambert’s inefficiency every day in Chiswick. He’s cabinet member for highways, recycling and trading companies. Our streets and pavements are covered in slippery wet leaves because he has failed to anticipate that leaf fall and wet winter weather will coincide. Streets have not been swept to schedule. Residents, workers and visitors cannot walk with confidence but instead have to tread very carefully to avoid slipping and falling. Our pavements are treacherous.

“And now he can’t work out that starting work on Kew Bridge while Hammersmith Bridge is closed to traffic will cause even more traffic chaos – in his own ward as well as in the three Chiswick wards. You couldn’t make it up!” she said.

Chiswick’s Conservative councillors have issued a list of questions to Cllr Hanif Khan, cabinet member for transport, traffic and parking, and Cllr Steve Curran, leader of Hounslow Council, that need to be answered including about compensation to traders who, they say, should be given a business rates holiday, and residents who should be given a council tax holiday for the disruption.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: ‘Shameless electioneering’Response by Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council

See also: Decision time for Cycleway 9