Protest a Success Despite Low Turnout Say Campaigners

Demo demanding changes to South Chiswick traffic measures poorly attended

Earlier protests had attracted more people. Picture: Tim Mack

Campaigners who held a protest against Chiswick traffic measures outside a meeting of Hounslow Council this week are claiming it was success despite what is widely seen as a low turnout.

A group of local resident associations held the demonstration to coincide with the first meeting of the newly elected council on Tuesday 31 May, They were hoping to persuade it to makes changes to some of the restrictions implemented in the Grove Park and Strand on the Green areas over the last two years.

Estimates of those in attendance ranged from 18-35 but the organisers declined to give a figure for the total turnout.

The Strand on the Green Association and the Grove Park Group, along with associations of Burlington Lane and Park Road residents, wanted to draw the attention of the new administration to the opposition to the Low Traffic Neighbourhood measures implemented by the previous council in the South Chiswick area. They say surveys that they have carried out show that 80% of residents want the current arrangements changed. This figure is disputed by supporters of the measures who say that the surveys were self-selecting and not reflective of the true state of opinion in the area.

Revisions they would like to see include any exemptions to access restrictions to be given to all residents and access to be given for deliveries, visitors and taxis. They would also like to see restriction times adjusted to match the hours when traffic is the heaviest.

A proposal has been put forward by the group for an ANPR scheme which would allow access to the area for all journeys other than vehicles cutting through the area. They are also calling for the Staveley Road barrier to be reviewed following the implementation of changes which they say make it unnecessary.

Richard Griffith, Chairman of the Strand on the Green Association said, “Yesterday’s demo certainly did show to the Borough Council the level of opposition to the South Chiswick traffic measures, even if it wasn’t quite what the organisers intended. It was a very successful demo on that score, and I’m sure the Council took due note of it.”

One local resident who did not attend the protest said, “This issue is not as polarising in this part of Chiswick as many suggest with most people recognising that there are good things and bad things to come out of the measures. It is not that people are indifferent but most people in the area regard the changes as mildly annoying rather than something to man the barricades over. The exception to this are people who regularly need to access Grove Park via the A316 and don’t have an exemption. Forcing them to go via the A4 is a non-trivial inconvenience with additional journey times of over half an hour not exceptional. It is hard to see how this can be good for air quality and people are having to consider moving home or changing job as a result. This is what the campaign and the council should be focused on avoiding and, while the ANPR camera proposal was well-intentioned, it wasn’t really practical.”

Councillor Katherine Dunne, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Climate, Environment and Transport Strategy said, "Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) are designed to create an environment which increases the number of walking and cycling journeys, and reduces air pollution by restricting vehicle traffic.

“LTNs help promote public transport as a sustainable form of transport, in preference to private cars, which is a key part of Hounslow’s green and sustainability priorities.

“We will continue to engage with the communities affected.”

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June 1, 2022