Chiswick Homefields ward councillor John Todd on his week
Councillor John Todd
Councillors Sam Hearn and myself have formally called in a Hounslow Council (LBH) Chief Officer Decision (COD) titled ‘Covid -19 Transport Response – Interim Review of Streetspace Phases 1 & 2a,’ dated the 27 August 2021 which will be heard by a sub- committee of the LBH Overview and Scrutiny (O&S) Committee this Thursday (23 September).
The approval of this call-in by the LBH Governance A/Director, immediately suspends any implementation of the schemes approved or confirmed in the COD. If the O&S sub-committee find in the applicants' favour they can recommend to the Cabinet that they withdraw the COD completely or partially. However the Cabinet can though ignore any recommendations made by their scrutiny councillors.
The COD interim review highlighted above seeks to make permanent a number of earlier implemented Experimental Traffic Management Order schemes (ETMO) located in Grove Park, Strand on the Green and elsewhere in the borough where, in specified roads, access by motor vehicles has been either restricted or blocked. The COD also seeks to approve 23 School streets trial access schemes which restrict parking and access in roads close to specified schools normally for an hour in the morning and afternoon. A fresh amendment to the current Chiswick School scheme again using an (ETMO) is also included as is the suggested closure of Burlington Lane at its junction with the A316.
The link to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee agenda is here.
The meeting will be streamed live on YouTube for residents who wish to watch from home. They can use this link.
All the public seats at this meeting have now been applied for.
The full grounds justifying the call-in are in the O&S report mentioned earlier
I’ve drafted the following precis to enable readers to understand some of the important key issues and the related significant disruption to so many residents and businesses. Their demonstrable anger and frustration is readily evidenced by an open air public meeting of 150 plus on Tuesday 14 September last, a related petition of over 1000 signatures on the LBH website, link and hundreds of emails to councillors, LBH Cabinet members and senior council officers. Cabinet members say they are listening. There is no evidence or actions that indicate they are.
Its most important that your views are known by LBH and your councillors. Some will face significant difficulties if this scheme proceeds. Here are the details of the sub-committee hearing the call-in and other connected individuals you can contact:
Overview and Scrutiny panel
Councillor Javed Akhunzada: : Javed.Akhunzada@hounslow.gov.uk
Councillor Richard Foote: vice chairman firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Gurmail Lal: : email@example.com
Councillor Ron Mushiso: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Daanish Saeed: chair, email@example.com
Councillor Hanif Khan: cabinet member for transport and traffic: firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Traffic
Jefferson Nwokeoma: email@example.com
Traffic department: where strength of opinion is recorded in numbers: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Hearn’s call-in submission deals with those experimental schemes in his ward, Riverside.
I’m challenging the closure of Burlington Lane and the significant changes to the Chiswick School’s street scheme. There are some overlapping issues.
The publication of the COD on the 27 August was without prior notice to councillors, residents and businesses in my ward Chiswick Homefields.
Also included was an amendment to the Chiswick school scheme which currently permits closure to Staveley Road via the Great Chertsey Rd/A316 between 8-9am and 2.45-3.45pm to all motor vehicles except the E3 bus. The new scheme extends the hours of this closure to between 8am and 5pm Monday to Saturday. The E3 remains an exception to this additional hours restriction as are a new group namely allotment holders in Staveley Road and 1370 CPZ Permit holder motorists who reside in the Grove Park and Fauconberg Road CPZ. None of these new exempt group of motorists will have to comply with the current road closure hours namely when pupils arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon. Some days after we queried the new scheme prohibition list, access was granted to the cemetery and school car park.
LBH say ‘The new trial will test whether the modifications can better balance the need to provide access to residents and businesses whilst reducing through traffic from the roads that border Chiswick school and other streets in the area.’
The new significant extended times of closure of Staveley Road combined with the prohibition of access to Burlington Lane and the restricted access to Hartington Road means that on the Great Chertsey Rd A316 between Chiswick bBridge and the Hogarth roundabout there is no entry to Grove Park at all.
The group of 2234 residents (255 over 65) and businesses most impacted by this draconian set of road closures or restrictions are those who live in the area east of the Great Chertsey Road/A316 which includes Dukes Meadows, Corney Reach Estate, Staveley Gardens, the Edensor and Alexandra Estates and an alms house, convent and primary school. They only have two roads to access the A316, Edensor Road and Riverside Drive the latter leading directly to Staveley Rd. There is only one small shop in that location so access to Grove park is crucial. Located there are two doctors surgeries, pharmacist, a vet, 2 small supermarkets selling fresh produce, CTN, restaurants, a pub, physiotherapist, hairdressers, several places of worship, several schools and nurseries, and very importantly the station all crucial parts of the community.
Cllr Dunne, a LBH cabinet member with responsibilities for climate emergency response, told one of my elderly constituents, ‘Access to the Grove Park area will be possible via the A4. This will take you a few minutes longer, should you choose to drive’.
No mention of the additional traffic on the A316 because of the closure of Hammersmith Bridge incurring frequent tail backs nor the high air pollution near Cavendish and St Mary’s/Hogarth Schools. Schools identified by the GLA as being in the top 50 schools with the highest level of pollution in London.
It’s not particularly clear why such a large group of residents can’t be given permits to access Staveley Road whilst others are.
64 Blue Badge holders get no permit, concession or assistance nor do the disabled or carers. No justification for this apparent discrimination is provided
Impact on Businesses
Many traders are concerned about their continued viability. The potential absence of so many customers who may now decide to shop in Barnes Richmond or elsewhere. Complaints of deliveries to the elderly being thwarted by new road schemes have arisen.
I discovered a business with a large customer base who are from Mortlake and the Kew Shopping Mall who will be lost post any increase in road closure schemes.
There is confirmed evidence that taxis and Uber cabs are declining to enter Grove Park and adjacent roads because of the uncertainty about getting a PCN. Continued changes to the hours of operation of certain schemes is cited as the ambiguity of ‘Access Only' signs.
The COD mentions at para 30 in a section dealing with Equalities
‘An officer panel chaired by the interim Assistant Director of Transport and Parking was convened to re-examine the effects of the changes that were introduced. The panel identified some disproportionate impacts upon the elderly, disabled and pregnant women on the basis that they would be less likely to be in a position to change their mode of travel to walking or cycling. However it was considered that these disbenefits were outweighed by the overall positive benefits of the scheme.
'Whilst this consequence is largely unavoidable the Council does offer free one-to-one cycle training sessions open to residents with learning and physical disabilities from the age of 10 years upward’
We don’t know who the members of this officer panel were. The senior officer signing off this document is not an interim Director.
I’ve submitted a report to our governance A/director asking her to confirm that the COD and or related Equalities Analysis Form compiled by LBH provide evidence of nonconformity with S 149 of the Equality Act 2010.
It’s significant that there is no evidence of Cabinet knowledge, oversight or challenge to this scheme. No fingerprint evidence at all of the Executive Officers having approved or mandated such an inappropriate equalities response.
They collectively were happy that such a draconian COD could bypass the cabinet process and local dialogue with elected members.
Both the Grove Park Group and The Strand on the Green Association, both excellent residents' groups, have submitted suggestions to and had meetings with LBH officers. Their proposals eliminated the area east of the A316 being isolated from Grove Park.
When these emergency schemes were first introduced, there was a proposal for Edensor Road to be closed for a significant period to protect pupils at Cavendish School. Working with the school, Cllr Hanif Khan and officers we mutually agreed to amend the scheme to eliminate the road closure and still meet the aims to safeguard the young pupils.
I’m a Governor at Chiswick School. Over the years we’ve requested either a zebra crossing or Pelican Crossing in Staveley Rd with steel barriers either side to ensure there’s no alternative route.
I believe this option would eliminate the need for the additional school street measures proposed in the COD without any increased risks to the schools pupils or staff.
I’m meeting with the cabinet member and head of traffic on Monday. We’re hoping we can, as evidenced earlier, reach a satisfactory solution.
The public meeting was organised by Esme and helped by Diane and Nick. Well done and thanks. They had ownership throughout. They subsequently asked the Cllr Khan and the A’Director Traffic to come to another public meeting in Chiswick. Their email remains unanswered.
Extract from Hounslow Community Engagement Review. author CLES. Oct 2020
‘Local residents highlighted a desire for the council to be more transparent in communicating when decisions go against public opinion, and that they would like to see increased transparency about the reasons and justifications behind such decisions,’
‘Truly effective engagement meets residents where they are.’
Cllr John Todd
SURGERIES ARE BACK!
We are now able to hold face-to-face surgeries again and, as before, will be available in Chiswick and in Gunnersbury. Chiswick: Every Saturday from 9.30am to 10.30am at Chiswick Library (the nine Conservative councillors take this surgery in turn). Gunnersbury: First Saturday of the month from 10am to 11am at The Gunnersbury Triangle Club, Triangle Way, off The Ridgeway, W3 8LU (at least one of the Turnham Green ward councillors will take this surgery).
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Most council meetings are now taking place in person at Hounslow House though a few, such as licensing panel meetings, continue to be held virtually. Even if they are held in person, you can watch them live (or later) on the council's YouTube channel . Please check for each committee by looking at the agenda reports pack for each committee.
The key upcoming council meetings are:
• 21st September: Meeting of the Borough Council
• 30th September: Audit and Governance Committee
• 12th October: Chiswick Area Forum
• 14th October: Planning Committee
• 19th October: Meeting of the Cabinet
Chiswick Homefields ward
Cllr Patrick Barr
Cllr Gerald McGregor
Cllr John Todd
Chiswick Riverside ward
Cllr Michael Denniss
Cllr Gabriella Giles
Cllr Sam Hearn
Turnham Green ward
Cllr Joanna Biddolph
Cllr Ranjit Gill
Cllr Ron Mushiso
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September 19, 2021