Council Highways Committee prejudices final decision on the West Greenwich Traffic Management Scheme
A specially convened council Highways Committee on Wednesday 24 February decided to recommend the ‘permanent adoption’ of the West Greenwich Scheme, even though no decision is due until the completion of formal consultation and monitoring. The Committee also appeared to confirm that all public consultation will cease on 3 March (see below on how to respond on time).
The Highways Committee, chaired by Cllr Bill Freeman, agreed that the Council’s Executive should adopt the scheme ‘permanently’, in defiance of the meeting’s stated objectives. Most councillors speaking had no knowledge of the area, or the scheme, and judged it on the basis of believing that it is a ‘low traffic neighbourhood’ or LTN. Greenwich no longer claims this is the case, describing it as a ‘traffic reduction trial’. Traffic is displaced to the A2 on Blackheath Hill and Royal Hill by a dividing barrier along Royal Hill and Blissett Street.
The special meeting was set up to consider the treatment of independent public online petitions about the scheme. But the Committee overlooked a West Greenwich Petition started by local resident David Patrick that has attracted more than 1,300 signatures opposing the scheme. No one was invited to address the Committee on behalf of this substantial number of signatories. Added to this is a major petition originated by East Greenwich residents affected by displaced traffic, with 3,100 signatories who also oppose the scheme. A total in the low hundreds in other petitions were in favour of maintaining the road blocks. Representatives for these petitions, as well as the East Greenwich petition, were invited to address the Committee.
The Officers’ report stated that the public consultation period closes on 3 March, but that further data needed to be considered including traffic volumes, and figures for road safety, air quality and collisions. They also include a ‘review and analysis of public comments and petitions’, further equality impact assessments and ‘feedback’ from the emergency services. Freedom of information responses have disclosed that all three statutory services - the fire brigade, ambulance service and the Metropolitan Police - opposed the modal filter-only scheme on safety grounds last July before installation. This was ignored by the Council.
Despite assurances that monitoring took place before and after the introduction of the scheme, nothing has been made publicly available. Critics argue that pandemic conditions make it impossible to test the impact of a permanent scheme at present and that the scheme should be dismantled for this, and safety, reasons.
Committee members have prejudiced the outcome of the decision-making process by recommending permanent adoption. The meeting is available to view at: https://youtu.be/P4qj_n4oWqY