Calls made for 'CPZ-style' consultation to be carried out
Fisher's Lane is in Hounslow Borough but the restriction is made by Ealing Council
A meeting of Ealing Council this Wednesday evening (22 September) has ratified a recommendation to make the access restrictions on Fisher’s Lane permanent.
The decision came at the same time as the council decided to scrap seven of the nine Low Traffic Neighbourhood Schemes (LNTs) on the basis of a ‘CPZ-style’ consultation. These showed significant opposition in the LTN areas to the restrictions. New council leader Peter Mason made a pledge to consult in this way with residents when he took power.
During the meeting the leader of the Conservative group, Cllr Greg Stafford argued that a similar approach should be adopted for the Fisher’s Lane restrictions. He said thousands of Ealing residents were opposed to the measure. A report for Hounslow Council carried out by independent traffic consultant Steer showed that 91% of respondents opposed the closure (88% indicating strong opposition).
In response Cllr Deirdre Costigan, the cabinet member with responsibility for transport, said that these high levels of opposition were from a time when Turnham Green Terrace was also closed and there was generally a more positive feeling in the area to the scheme since it reopened.
The council is arguing that it is not appropriate to treat Fisher’s Lane in the same way as the LTNs elsewhere in the borough because the Fisher’s Lane restriction is part of a protected cycle route to East Acton.
A consultation will now be held on the Fisher’s Lane closure before a permanent Traffic Order is issued. It is thought unlikely that Ealing Council will take into account local levels of support for the scheme in making its decision.
The three Conservative councillors for Turnham Green ward in Hounslow Borough - Joanna Biddolph, Ranjit Gill and Ron Mushiso - wrote to members of the Ealing cabinet urging them to re-open Fisher’s Lane prior to the meeting.
They said, "We urge you, please, not to confirm this Streetspace scheme because of its disproportionate impact on the residents of Ealing and Hounslow. Far better would be for you to withdraw the scheme and support our call for a full and public consultation.”
Having received no response to their letter they added, “Despite the closure adversely impacting Ealing’s Southfield ward residents, who now experience far higher levels of traffic, and therefore pollution, and of the wider implications of the closure on residents in the three Hounslow wards, it seems that Ealing’s cabinet and council is as dismissive of the views of Chiswick residents as is Hounslow’s cabinet and council. None of the Ealing cabinet members lives in Chiswick. It’s the same with Hounslow’s cabinet.
“As a 2009 map commissioned by Hounslow council of the same consultants as are working with Hounslow on the current schemes, this showed that Chiswick stood out in the borough for its high car-free existence and high levels of environmental awaSeptember 24, 2021, driving only when they need to. Both councils prefer not to recognise this instead pressing ahead with their ideological anti-car policies, ignoring residents’ and business’ views regardless of need and of equalities issues. “
The retention of the Fisher’s Lane restriction was one of the few measures to survive a cull of active travel measures by the council. This may have broader implications for the funding the council receives for transport from central government and has angered some supporters of the measures in the borough.
Nic Ferriday, from West London Friends of the Earth, said, “The decision to scrap LTNs is appalling. Instead of waiting to collect sufficient evidence to make a considered decision, the council has caved in to the ‘Ealing Car Lobby’ and summarily scrapped the LTNs. Instead of acting decisively on traffic reduction, air pollution and climate change, Ealing council has resorted to platitudes about ‘Active Travel’ and evermore consultation. With Labour, Conservative and LibDem councillors all eager to scrap LTNs (as well as opposing cycle lanes), members of civil society must ask themselves whether there is any value in engaging with Ealing council and its councillors. The climate emergency will not wait while Ealing Council procrastinates.”
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September 23, 2021