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demonstration in favour of low traffic neighbourhood amberley road n14

Residents of the Fox Lane area gather at the Amberley Road play street to show their support for removing through traffic

As people living in and around Fox Lane await a revised low-traffic neighbourhood proposal from Enfield Council, support for a scheme which would completely rid their streets of the plague of rat-running is growing. At last week's meeting of Fox Lane & District Residents' Association (FLDRA) it was confirmed that the "Red Poster" group, originally sceptical about excluding through traffic, are now in favour. And on Sunday residents used the opportunity provided by the monthly play street in Amberley Road to gather in the road and say "Yes to Low Traffic".

"FLATWG very much support the the Green scheme"

At the "open general meeting" in Burford Hall which followed last Thursday's FLDRA AGM spokespeople from the two groups that had been looking at ways of reducing traffic through the area distributed printed maps showing their proposals and made brief statements. The two maps, produced by the Fox Lane LTN Group (the "Green Poster") and the Fox Lane Area Working Group (FLATWG) were the same as those included the report I published last week and are very similar - in fact, the spokesperson for the "Red" group actually said that "FLATWG very much support the the Green scheme", though she did add that they "very much support Automatic Number Plate Recognition" rather than the physical barriers preferred by the LTN Group.

Meaning that the views of two groups of residents - initially at loggerheads with one another - have now converged around a scheme which would provide many more entry/exit points for cars than the council's November 2019 scheme, but would still make it impossible to cut through the area.

Whether or not the revised scheme that the council is working on is similar is still unknown - but we shouldn't have to wait much longer to find out. At last Thursday's meeting it was revealed that councillors representing areas affected by the proposals will be briefed about the council's plans on Friday (28th February). One of the reasons why the council has been taking so long is the need to analyse the huge amount of feedback from residents about the November plans and draft a report, which will be discussed with councillors before being published.

"Politically castrated"

In fact, it was the question of consultation with local councillors, and consultation procedures more generally, which dominated last Thursday's Burford Hall meeting, to the extent that very little time was left to discuss the principle of excluding through traffic and the specifics of how to do it, which is presumably what the 70 or so attendees were most interested in.

The five councillors present were clearly very angry about what they considered to be very inadequate initial consultation arrangements - Cllr Derek Levy said he felt "politically castrated".

The councillor behind the low-traffic neighbourhood proposals, deputy council leader Ian Barnes, was unfortunately not present at the meeting, despite representing one of the affected wards. In a post on Facebook after the meeting he denied that local councillors had been kept out of the loop ahead of the "Starbucks" meeting in November:

Councillors were informed of the draft plan on 28th October. On 7th November they were notified that plan would proceed. And the public event was on 12th November. Feedback could, and was given (by some Councillors) anytime between 28th October and 12th November.

It appears now that more time is needed in future for Councillors to digest, and that's certainly a valuable lesson for the next phase of the LTNs, but to say that they weren't kept informed about the plans before the public event is disingenuous.

I've been very clear from the start that this is a learning process and each new LTN will provide lessons for the next throughout the entire rollout.

We've had a huge amount of feedback that will inform the next design so I'm hoping that everyone can now join together and push forward to a consensus.&

(This comment was a response to a paragraph in my report published last week which included the sentence "The update acknowledges implicitly that the original consultation arrangements for residents were inadequate and that local councillors should have been consulted and been kept informed about the plans before the November meeting in the former Starbucks cafe". I subsequently removed this sentence from the article. However, it is clear from the anger and upset expressed by councillors at last week's meeting that they do feel that they were not properly consulted.)

"The traffic is beyond ridiculous"

The demonstration on Sunday in Amberley Road was organised by the Fox Lane Low Traffic Neighbourhood Group, which has members throughout the area designated by the council as a "quieter neighbourhood". It has been campaigning for a "low-traffic neighbourhood", a concept originated by Living Streets, a national charity which has been promoting the interests of pedestrians since the 1929 and played an important part in the introduction of speed limits, zebra crossings and driving tests.

What Fox Lane LTN members say about their streets

"I can’t let my four boys use their bikes because it’s too dangerous for them, even on the pavement, with all the cars turning in and out of side roads. Being able to do the school run by bike along a low traffic Fox Lane would be amazing!" Amelia Colvin, Amberley Road

"I don’t want my road to be a corridor for cars. I want it to be a place where I can meet my neighbours and my 10-year-old son is able to play independently." Emma Maloney, Cranley Gardens

"The traffic is beyond ridiculous - you have to see it to believe it. Sometimes I come home and park outside my house and have to wait 5 minutes to safely get out of my car because of passing traffic. I’ve also witnessed collisions and I’m surprised there aren’t more with some drivers going at 60mph." Louise Jackson, Amberley Road

"I’ve lived on Devonshire Road for 30 years and rat running has always been a problem due to drivers avoiding the lights at the Green Lanes junction and racing through. One driver came up right up behind my car honking his horn because I was going at 20mph." Rosemary Durham, Devonshire Road

"Our road is a through route for commuters avoiding the M25 or going into London My colleagues at work have told me they use my road as a short cut." Richard Colvin, Amberley Road

While Enfield Council's Quieter Neighbourhoods (QN) programme has been running for several years, it has had limited success in reducing traffic through residential areas. However, last autumn the council's deputy leader, Ian Barnes, took the decision to switch to the low-traffic neighbourhood model for future QNs.

However, it would be a mistake to think that low-traffic neighbourhoods are just the bee-in-the-bonnet of a single councillor in a single borough. Waltham Forest now has several similar schemes completed and a number of other London councils are implementing LTN schemes across their boroughs, usually with funding from the Mayor of London, and recently Islington took the decision to go ahead using its own money.


amberley road bambos charalambous and children

Residents of the Fox Lane area turned out in force to show their support for plans for a low traffic neighbourhood on Sunday 23 February.

Over 75 people - aged from a just a few months to over 70 years - met at the Amberley Road Play Street and unveiled a “YES TO LOW TRAFFIC” banner.

The event was organised by the Fox Lane LTN group, who are campaigning for Enfield’s first Low Traffic Neighbourhood.

Jeremy Hay-Campbell, a spokesperson for the Fox Lane LTN group, said: “Today has been a great display of strength of feeling for proper steps to address the unacceptable number of vehicles and the excessive speed on these residential roads. Amberley Road has over 27,000 vehicles accessing it every week. The vast majority of these – as for all other roads in the Fox Lane area – are simply passing through. The pollution and safety issues we face on a daily basis are no longer acceptable. This has to stop – and it needs to stop now.”

“We welcome the Council’s decisions to trial an effective solution to these well-known problems having recognised their original plan needed some adjustments particularly with too few entry/exit points. We have produced an alternative proposal which seeks to address many of these issues and are working with other groups across the area to develop a successful plan that is acceptable to the majority of residents.

“We look forward to seeing the Council’s next version of their plans and we hope these will meet the needs of residents. We know there is demand for change – and that many people want an effective area-wide solution. These are residential roads not main roads.”

The Fox Lane LTN group proposal seeks to make the neighbourhood safer, less polluted, quieter and greener for adults and children by enabling walking and cycling (and those using wheelchairs or mobility aids) whilst still allowing access for vehicles, but not through traffic. Central to the group’s plans are a series of modal/point-entry filters, enforced with physical barriers on a limited number of roads across the area that will ensure all residents can drive in and out of their roads at any time. Similar solutions are being deployed in other London boroughs. The group believes that this is a practical and deliverable way to address the vehicle issues and which will also allow for changes such as parklets and public seating Anyone will be able to access any road at any time – but some journeys may be slightly longer.

To find out more about the Fox Lane LTN group plans or to support their campaign, please get in touch via  .

Source: Press release issued by the Fox Lane LTN group

Photos: Phil Rogers

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Andy Yianni's Avatar
Andy Yianni posted a reply #5254 25 Feb 2020 22:12
This proposed scheme is preposterous. The problems it seeks to remedy will be worse.
We have to to fight this fight to the very end
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #5255 26 Feb 2020 09:22
@Andy - what problem will be made worse?

I look forward to reading about your viable alternative scheme.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #5256 26 Feb 2020 09:48
Written answer to a Cllr question for tonight's (26/2) Council meeting gives some light on thinking and progress:

Could the Deputy Leader give us an update on the roll out of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood programme?
Reply from Councillor Ian Barnes
Low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) are groups of residential streets, bordered by main roads (the places where buses, lorries, non-local traffic should be), where “through” traffic is discouraged or removed. There’s lots of ways to achieve a LTN, but the main principle is that every resident can drive onto their street, get deliveries etc., but it’s harder or impossible for there to be rat running. With through traffic gone, the streets in a LTN benefit from reductions in traffic levels and often speeds too. While residents in a low traffic neighbourhood can still do all their journeys by car if they want or need to, some trips will be a bit more circuitous. This, combined with far quieter, safer-feeling streets, enables residents to switch to more healthy ways of getting around, particularly for short journeys. I see LTNs as an important part of our response to the current climate change emergency.
Currently, our focus is on an LTN for the Fox Lane area, where further local engagement has recently taken place to develop early designs to make sure the approach responds to issues raised by the community. Lessons from Fox Lane will be applied to future LTNs across the Borough to ensure the long-term success of this ambitious and transformative project.
Adrian Day's Avatar
Adrian Day posted a reply #5257 26 Feb 2020 10:08
Andy Yianni - Please explain your thinking - how do you think it will make problems worse? In what way is it 'preposterous'? What is your solution?
Peter Caskey's Avatar
Peter Caskey posted a reply #5264 28 Feb 2020 17:28
I find this subject very interesting, my wife's family lived in Fox Lane for over 50 years , and we also lived there for some years. Just to play devils advocate, if other areas do the same thing, no through traffic will be allowed and consequently traffic will be clogged up on main roads causing even more pollution. Every day Canon Hill and Waterfall Road are is packed with cars collecting Local children from schools, many of these parents could easily walk to and from said schools,,but!!!
If course traffic needs to be slowed down in residential streets, but just stop and think, how many of you use cut throughs on your way to and from work etc?
Once a scheme is put in place that actually means some local people will have to drive for longer to get home or to get on to a main road , the folly of such a scheme will become evident.
David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #5265 28 Feb 2020 22:29
And I find Peter Caskey's contribution to this thread both very interesting and revealing. At a speedy first reading I thought: "Does he not know that children can walk?" But then I quickly realised he had thought of that, and pointed out the underlying problem of achieving it.

But I think that the Council is thinking longer term about encouraging people/parents to walk or cycle and find other routes, and over time creating a situation which where local roads are not so traffic dominated as now. Apart from other considerations traffic has done enormous damage to drivers and walkers/cyclists by creating shockingly poor air quality. And of course the air quality inside cars cars is usually worse than outside because the car's ventilation system drags it in.

Sure some drivers will have to drive longer journeys within this scheme, but hopefully at some time or other the penny will drop, and many more people will remember how to walk or cycle again. Far from creating a folly I'll take a bet that the councillors and their engineer will have thought more about it than he has. After all the engineers have been trained to think about and raise these things.
Adrian Day's Avatar
Adrian Day posted a reply #5266 29 Feb 2020 11:02
Also picking up Peter Caskey's points, the plan is indeed to roll-out low traffic neighbourhoods throughout Enfield (and indeed London - they are planned in many boroughs). Ltns will encourage behavioural change so that more children do walk, cycle and use public transport to get to school (as they do in Holland). It will mean some people driving travel a bit further for some journeys but over time the benefits of the modal shift will outweigh the costs. The real 'folly' would be to not take the great opportunity ltns bring to reduce pollution, noise, danger and address the climate and obesity crises.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #5267 01 Mar 2020 15:12
Putting aside Fox Lane RA MinutesGate, what appears positive is that two pretty diametrically opposed views of the red and green neighbourhood teams are now hearing across border lines and coalescing around a compromised central space. Compare that with the total intransigence – and destructive anger – seen over local cycle lanes and we’ve evidently travelled a long way in a short time.
Why the residents’ traffic workshops, proceeding with such progress on both sides of Green Lanes, were abandoned without comment 5 years or so back until we were faced with planters might warrant Council reflection regarding process; and taking such community interest a stage further, might the 10,000 or so in aggregate who protested against the wheelie scheme, but at heart seemed primarily to want a better chance to recycle, form a highly receptive audience to work with, and through, to the that very end rather than being pushed away? Same ultimate endpoint I’m sure but a very different waste result could have been achieved.