Residents on Maze Hill had been completely unaware of the Council's plans before the 20 August implementation of the west Greenwich scheme. A survey of drivers in the daily Maze Hill queue found most were traders, local residents and essential workers - all losing time and earnings. Trafalgar Road congestion prevents progress at the lights, leading to unmanageable delays. We make common cause in demanding an immediate suspension and review, including broader and fairer consultation and steps to put right the damage done.
The ‘Hills and Vales’ is not a real place: it’s a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) or ‘traffic reduction area’ depending on town hall vocabulary. In reality, it is a triangle of affluent streets bounded by Greenwich South Street, Blackheath Hill and Crooms Hill (adjacent to Greenwich Park). In our wider, complex street network, it is part of the interconnected and vital heart of Greenwich. That is why slicing it in two has caused so much disruption.
Separated by a mile of parkland, with the river to the north and Blackheath to the south, a long-established and fragile road system is under intense pressure not only from this scheme, but also from gridlock in the town centre, substantial roadworks, and the last-minute cycle highway project.
When the scheme was installed in August 2020 no one, not even enclave residents, were consulted about it. For thousands living and working all over the area, who have justifiable expectations of information, consultation and a fair distribution of traffic and access, it came without warning. The council’s lack of transparency goes against democratic principle and breaches official guidance.
From the outset, the scheme suffered from confused objectives.
- Reducing peak-hour traffic inside the enclave.
- Forcing a substitution of walking and cycling for driving inside the area to reduce car traffic.
- Providing pandemic street level support.
None of these objectives is met by erecting a barrier right down the middle of our community.
The traffic scheme means that, added to increased pandemic-related car use and fewer seats on public transport, everyone using the roads faces long diversions, more queuing and stationary traffic. There are delays to emergency vehicles and vital services, deliveries and trades.
Traffic displaced by the scheme means crowding on the periphery and junctions. Stationary queues are more polluting that moving traffic. Life has been made particularly hard and dangerous for pedestrians: those who are older, poorer, disabled or who care for young children. Read more about the social injustice of the scheme.
Many people working in the area are losing earnings. Cyclists and walkers are not made safer just by road closures and when traffic circulates inside the area. Creating a series of long dead-ends means that in narrower streets there are dangerous turning movements and stationary vehicles are damaged.
To see a news clip about the effects of such a scheme in neighbouring Lewisham, try this link: https://www.facebook.com/127439507270196/posts/3943247289022713/?vh=e&extid=0
These effects were foreseeable. But the Council did not measure any of the claimed impacts before the scheme was imposed and is not monitoring them now.
In London, Wandsworth and Redbridge councils have already decided to abandon their schemes. Lewisham council has announced plans to change its Lee Green LTN.
If you agree it is time for Greenwich council to think again, make your voice heard.
You have the right to attend Council meetings, make representations and ask questions (see Royal Borough of Greenwich website to find out how).
Contact your local councillors in Greenwich or Lewisham and tell them how the scheme affects you and your family. (Scroll down the page to see who your councillors are.)
You can make a formal complaint to those in charge of the Council that they did not do their job properly, for instance by failing to ‘engage’ or consult well and in advance, with people who would be affected. The Leader of the Council is Cllr Danny Thorpe and the Chief Executive is Debbie Warren.
You can write as well as use email. This is the address for councillors and the executive:
The Royal Borough of Greenwich,
The Woolwich Centre,
35 Wellington Street,
Woolwich, SE18 6HQ
Add your voice to the Council’s online consultation about the scheme.
It is important to join others, so please sign and publicise these local online petitions. They put our concerns directly to the Council, the London Mayor and Matt Pennycook MP. The more who sign, the more effective we can be. These are our local petitions:
The East Greenwich change.org petition: greenwich-council-stop-east-greenwich-gridlock-end-council-traffic-reduction-trial-impacting-east-greenwich
To petition Matt Pennycook MP and other MPs about the LTNs generally:
Contact us to get updates, to let us know what you think, or to contribute to our blog at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maureen O’Mara: Maureen.O’Mara@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Mehboob Khan: Mehboob.Khan@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Aidan Smith: Aidan.Smith@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Blackheath Westcombe Ward (east Greenwich)
Geoff Brighty: Geoffrey.Brighty@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Leo Fletcher: Leo.Fletcher@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Mariam Lolavar: Mariam.email@example.com
Peninsula Ward (east Greenwich and Trafalgar Road area)
Chris Lloyd: Chris.Lloyd@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Stephen Brain: Stephen.Brain@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Denise Scott-Mcdonald: Denise.Scott-Mcdonald@royalgreenwich.gov.uk