Protest planned at meeting due to consider validity of changes
Access from Burlington Lane to the A316 to be restricted. Picture: Google Streetview
An attempt is being made by a group of Chiswick councillors to force a reconsideration of the recently announced planned changes to traffic management in the Grove Park area.
The council is proposing to restriction access to the A316 from Burlington Lane and limit access all day on the eastern section of Staveley Road.
They are arguing that the proper procedure for making such a decision was not followed and that the consultation on the measures was so inadequate that it makes the changes invalid
As a result they have ‘called-in’ the decision for a review by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee which takes place at Hounslow House on 23 September. A group of Chiswick residents plans to hold a protest outside the meeting after finding that places to attend were fully booked.
It is argued by the councillors that the changes proposed should be classed as key decisions which would change the process by which they are approved. They say this view has been confirmed by the Assistant Director of Governance at Hounslow Council and that therefore the measures cannot be introduced based on the decision of a council officer alone and should be subject to a review by the council cabinet with a report submitted to lead members.
Other reasons for the call-in include inadequate consultation with residents and other stakeholders. The councillors claim most residents unaware of engagement sessions and online surveys held in the borough and alternative ideas and options have been rejected by officers with no good reason being offered. It is argued that the closure of access from the A316 to Burlington Lane and the extension of the time during which Staveley Road is restricted are new ideas on which there has been no consultation with residents, local businesses, the local school most affected or councillors.
The call-in forms have been submitted by Cllrs John Todd and Sam Hearn. They dispute the contention by the borough that schemes to be made permanent can be judged to be successful. The period during lockdown saw changes in the mode of transport by local residents that may not be sustained and the councillors say that the council’s own officers admit that the evidence the impact of the changes on air quality and modal shift is inadequate to reach any firm conclusions.
The form states, “The measures are divisive and undermine community cohesion across the borough but particularly within south Chiswick and the wider Chiswick/ Brentford area. According to TfL’s own data much of the South Chiswick area has the worst levels of access to public transport in London i.e. PTAL level 2 (poor) and below. The measures that the report proposes to be made permanent cause huge distress to those vulnerable and elderly people whose quality of life is dependent on unfettered access to motor vehicle transport. This issue is not addressed in the report. Not proportionate to the desired outcome. These unnecessarily complicated schemes have generated excessive quantities of fines and have caused great distress to residents caught up in their intricate workings. Many residents and local businesses find their daily activities distorted and disrupted by the oppressive physical barriers and the seemingly random application of ANPR technology. The impact of the detours to residents’ daily journeys made necessary by these traffic measures are out of all proportion to the benefits that can possibly accrue to other road users and pedestrians. The additional air pollution generated by these detours must be greater than any conceivable benefit from modal shift to other forms of transport. “
As the councillor for Chiswick Homefields ward, John Todd has raised concern specifically about the difficulties that will be faced by residents who live south of the A316 between Chiswick Bridge and the Hogarth Roundabout if the two schemes are implemented. The last Census showed there were 2,334 residents, 255 over 65 and 490 under 16 who reside in 1,000 plus houses and flats in this part of the borough. Following the closure of Hammersmith Bridge to vehicle traffic in April 2019 the A316 has carried significant additional traffic and this regularly causes serious back-ups of traffic from Hogarth Roundabout to Kew Bridge. It is also pointed out that Cavendish School, which is near the A316, already features in the list of the top 50 schools in London with the highest level of air pollution.
Cllr Todd says, “These excessive new measures, if implemented, will deny easy access by car to residents (leaving via Edensor Rd or Riverside Drive) to many local facilities such as; four parades of local shops (including a post office), a chemist, a railway station, two churches, two primary schools, two doctors’ surgeries, a dental surgery, a physio therapy surgery, a veterinary surgery and pubs and restaurants. There is only one shop and restaurant south of the A316. Residents currently rely on the services and facilities located on the other side of the A316. If these traffic measures are implemented many will shop elsewhere damaging the medium term viability of these facilities. An allotment shop in Staveley Rd opens on Saturdays, if this scheme is implemented there will be a material restraint on its ability to trade.”
A Park Road Neighbours Group spokesperson said, “We peacefully protested last year about the Staveley Road/Park Road barrier being put in. We were right to do so and the Council should have listened to us then, rather than continue with their ill thought through schemes.
“It is no surprise to us that there is increasing anger across Grove Park and the whole of Chiswick. Residents and businesses have been ignored, with the Council even ignoring their own online surveys heavily against these schemes and failing in their duty of care.
“The Council have brought these protests on themselves. We will be joining fellow resident groups from across Chiswick on Thursday at Hounslow House.
“Local residents have proposed much better solutions that work, are better value for money and would get community support.”
The council says the proposed trial will test whether the modifications can better balance the need to provide access to residents and businesses while reducing through traffic from the roads that border Chiswick School.
Previous traffic measures implemented by Hounslow Council have been called-in by Chiswick Councillors. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee has a Labour majority and has now previously made any recommendations to the Cabinet to amend schemes.
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September 19, 2021