Local residents plead for an end to discord as minority pro-LTN backlash puts council officers under pressure
LTN supporters living inside the former traffic management scheme area have staged demonstrations and disrupted the work of hard-pressed councillors and officials. Their behaviour threatens to hold up essential work in a Council already experiencing heavy commitments and staff shortages.
Claims that a majority of local residents supported the scheme are misplaced and misleading. A 70% consultation response in favour of the scheme only represents views within Hills and Vales, home to the main beneficiaries of the scheme. But the figure has been widely touted in the press and social media as a majority of all local residents.
Objectors have pressed for the decision to be governed only by residents in the protected area. In Tweets, Matthew Pennycook MP asked for transparency in future decision making, but was clearly influenced by calls for greater weight to be given to the beneficiaries in the small and affluent protected area.
In other social media posts, others uphold the actions of Cllr Sarah Merill in taking a lead in listening to all voices in the debate, and proposing a wider more thorough analysis of traffic issues in the borough.
How the consultation became more inclusive
The second consultation, which closed on 18 February, was publicised to a defined 'consultation' area including East Greenwich, Greenwich Town Centre, Blackheath Hill, Greenwich South Street and the Ashburnham Triangle, in addition to "Hills and Vales". Open to anyone with net access, contributions also came from key workers travelling into the area, and included former residents living in distant parts of London and elsewhere.
Consultation users had to log their post-codes to enable analysis according to locality. A majority of residents living in Hills and Vales, which has benefitted from the closures, were in favour, while large majorities against the scheme were registered for those living in neighbouring parts of the consultation area, including boundary roads. The '70% majority' located within Hills and Vales has been widely touted in social media as representing all local residents.
No experimental scheme for East Greenwich
The Council announced on 20 January that no experimental LTN would be trialled in East Greenwich. The decision follows last summer's overwhelming public rejection of proposals in the Westcombe Park area. The Council planned to place a road barrier along the route of the Greenwich to Woolwich railway line, preventing all vehicles from crossing, except for buses and emergency services.
All plans for experimental LTNs across the north of the borough have now been dropped.
Scrapping the West Greenwich scheme could open the way for the Council’s more recent promise of a broader, fairer borough transport strategy.
Royal Hill experienced 18 months of 'boundary road' traffic during which people shopping and going to work and to school on foot have been threatened by heavy traffic, including large goods vehicles. Statistics showed additional traffic in the afternoons here and on Blissett Street.
The scheme was one of the causes of life-threatening additional pollution and congestion on boundary roads such as Blackheath Hill. (see: Tenants and their children living on boundary roads take the strain on this page.)
It held up emergency vehicles and essential journeys over a wide area and put pedestrians at greater risk of accidents. From Creek Road to Westcombe Hill, the West Greenwich barriers cause delays, pollution and extra mileage - harming livelihoods and people dependent on car travel.
Greenwich Council did not consult on the scheme prior to installation and failed to heed the warnings and objections of the emergency services.