Councillors Accused of Failing to Back Minister's Transport Vision

Group of residents write to Grant Shapps to counter local Tories' letter

Hanif Khan, Hounslow Borough's head of transport

A group of prominent Chiswick residents including eight Doctors, has written to Grant Shapps in support of his announcement putting walking and cycling ‘at the heart’ of transport policy. They allege that the vision of the Minister is being undermined by members of his own party in the local area.

The letter was drafted as a response to an appeal sent by local Conservative councillors urging the Secretary of State for Transport to pause and review a number of traffic measures currently being implemented in the W4 area. In their letter, the councillors claimed that borough transport policy was destroying the town centre retail economy and the local sense of community.

As a counter to the arguments put forward by the ward representatives, the group supporting Hounslow Council’s measures state, “A number of us have been in the front line of public health efforts against the pandemic and welcomed the statement you made on May 9 announcing a £2 billion package to support active travel to help the country emerge from the coronavirus crisis. Given the predicted upsurge in traffic and the virus, the reallocation of road space in favour of walking and cycling is even more necessary now.”

They claim that opposition by local councillors to pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements, cycle and bus-only streets and modal filters to create low traffic neighbourhoods is in direct opposition to government policy and that Hounslow Council has implemented schemes exactly in line with government guidelines.

They say, “We are therefore disappointed that some of our local councillors have failed to back your vision, opposing the measures from our council that are making it a reality.”

They also accuse councillors of misrepresenting the situation in Chiswick when they claim that the problem with rat-running in Chiswick is limited to certain times and say that traffic counts show that residential streets are blighted by rat-running throughout the day.

They point out that the letter that a reference to the “revival of the discredited Cycleway-9 ” concerns a scheme that was initiated by the Boris Johnson while he was Mayor of London.

The notion that retail businesses are under threat from the new measures is also disputed and it is claimed that the shift to shopping locally has triggered a local boom with shops that were long empty finally being let. The first ever Flower Market on Chiswick High Road is said to have triggered the highest sales for years for shopkeepers in the area.

Speaking for all the councillors when their letter was sent, Sam Hearn, the Conservative Councillors Transport Spokesperson said, “There is unanimity across Hounslow Council and amongst Chiswick residents that we want to end the scourge of rat-running, curb excessive speeds and discourage unnecessary car journeys. These are laudable objectives but the complex and draconian measures being imposed under the guise of the Covid-19 emergency are having many perverse effects. Many of the changes are sadly making the lives of residents worse, not better”.

The signatories to the letter in support of borough transport policies are:

Dr Edward Seaton, DM FRCP, Consultant Dermatologist, London
Professor Jeremy Levy, Professor of Medicine, Imperial College London
Dr Mark Esler FRCA, Consultant Anaesthestist, Imperial College NHS Trust
Kate Frayling, Physics Teacher, Local School
Dr David Game PhD FRCP, Consultant Renal Physician, London
Andrew Hurn, Parent Governor, Cavendish Primary School, Chiswick
Dr Sheila Hunt, General Practitioner (within LTN area), retd.
Dr Radegund Norbury MRCGP, General Practitioner, London
Dr Tran Seaton FRCR, Consultant Radiologist, Imperial College NHS Trust
Dr Anna Wilson MRCGP, General Practitioner, London
Dr Karen Liebreich MBE, Author, Director Abundance London
Peter Murray, Architect, Chair Bedford Park Bicycle Club
Professor Tom Pike, Professor of Microengineering, Imperial College London
Christopher Richardson, Architect
Michael Robinson, M.Eng C.Eng MIET, Engineer
Christopher Blishen, Business Mentor
Paul Campbell, Managing Director, Consulting Business
Andrea Carnavali, Filmmaker
Keith Dickson, Emeritus Professor of Technology Management, Brunel University

To have your say on any of Hounslow’s trial Streetspace schemes click on this link or email the transport team on

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September 29, 2020