Date: 28th January 2021
It is with much regret that I have concluded that I must resign from the Chair of FLDRA and my capacities of Website and Newsletter editor/publisher. This is a decision not taken lightly. For nearly 35 years as a resident I have been a member of FLDRA committees and for the last three years, chair of FLDRA.
During my tenure our area has been confronted by serious issues – Quieter Neighbourhoods and now the LTN. And the role of chair has become increasingly challenging. The LTN has not only deeply split residents within the LTN boundary, but significantly impacted residents and businesses outside it. I believe all should be given a say. The FLDRA committee has struggled to take a neutral line to date. But it has become clear that this has become increasingly difficult, not to say impossible. And most recently, opinions expressed within the committee have become rancorous. I therefore feel that I can no longer act as your Chair.
For myself I do not support the LTN, though I understand the views of those who do. Pollution is a problem. I do however support traffic calming. But our streets are part of the common wealth, as our city is a network of interconnected homes, businesses and facilities and much more. But we do not own these streets. I do not believe that we have a right to create what is effectively a private estate. Our enjoyment should not come at significant cost to others. Especially those living and working on and near the boundaries. In ending, I hope that we can resolve the divisions within and beyond the FLDRA community.
Date: 28th January 2021
I am aware of the Council agenda item under Opposition Priority Business tomorrow, and many others have already written to you. As a directly affected resident living in the Fox Lane area Low traffic Neighbourhood (LTN), I would like to add my voice regarding the roll out of the highly divisive LTNs in Enfield by its deputy leader, Councillor Ian Barnes.
Towards the end of 2019 when the scheme was first announced, my wife and I started a campaign to oppose it. All we really wanted was a widespread, fair, honest, and open debate and for Enfield Council to listen and be truly responsive to opinion, rather than impose something from above to an unwilling and aggrieved population.
So, we delivered a flyer to virtually every household in the area with a letter and window poster to see what the response would be. At the time, we were expecting political party activists would soon be roaming the streets canvassing for votes ahead of the London Mayoral and Assembly elections and though that a poster would raise awareness and become a talking point. Supporters of the LTN, many of them part of the so-called Better Streets for Enfield Campaign (BS4E), soon responded with a flyer and window poster of their own, with a proposal for a fundamentally similar, but revised scheme. Cllr. Barnes himself has been active in BS4E and is still close to and in regular contact, with them, whilst refusing to engage properly with, and disrespecting those with other views, merely sending out meaningless stock responses to those who take the trouble to write to him, and instead choosing to attack them on Twitter, whilst also blocking those who disagree with him.
It quickly became clear from the number of posters in windows, that there was likely to be far more opposition to, than support for the scheme.
To allow opinions to be expressed in an open forum, I chaired a packed public meeting in January 2020, that was publicised on social media and by word of mouth. Although BS4E, attended in force, it was clear there was large majority present opposed to any form of Low Traffic Neighbourhood. Despite that, and the hostility between the sides, I could see that there was an opportunity for residents at a grassroots level to come together and reach a comprise proposal.
This we did, forming a working group and after about 4 meetings before the first COVID-19 lockdown, we presented our proposal to Enfield Council. The proposal would have created a Low Traffic Neighbourhood but given a degree of lassitude to residents of the area. It was also contingent on greening measures for peripheral roads to mitigate the impact of increased traffic on them, and there being proper and meaningful ongoing consultation by the Council with all residents.
Cllr Barnes did have the grace to meet us but, unfortunately, our proposal – itself radical - did not meet the extreme criteria set by him, which seems to amount primarily to a war against car use, no matter what the collateral damage is in respect of worsened air quality outside and on the periphery of LTNs, the local economy, a deteriorated bus service and difficulties for emergency services, battling through congested main roads. The worsened air quality is something endured daily by my family because the congested peripheral roads are unavoidable for much of my son’s walking route to and from school.
So, for these reasons I ask that councillors support the suspension of the Fox Lane area LTN.
The Western Bowes LTN should also be suspended and the proposed bus gate on Brownlow Road should be ditched. Brownlow Road is a B class road. That means it is expected to carry substantial volumes of traffic. All other main roads nearby are hugely stretched and forcing yet more traffic onto them is absolute madness. There is no evidence that either of these schemes are supported by many residents other than on Warwick Road. Whilst there was a longstanding problem of Warwick Road being uses as a so called “rat run,” this was in essence created by previous road closures and entry restrictions, elsewhere. It demonstrates that poorly planned road closure schemes merely move the problems elsewhere and exacerbate it overall.
The proposals for the Connaught Gardens area will mean the closure of access to the Eastbound A406 through Oakthorpe Road and Callard Avenue. This will divert yet more traffic onto Green Lanes, Hedge Lane, Powys Lane and Wilmer Way, the last three of which are predominantly residential too. It will worsen pollution in those areas and impact adversely on journey times and the ability of the emergency services to operate as effectively. For, this reason, they too are flawed, and should not be implemented in their current form, or anything like it,LTNS are being implemented in Edmonton too. They should also be properly scrutinised, having regard and compensating for the likely lower responsiveness of residents there to any engagement (or more appropriately, consultation) process, due to the local demographic diversity and high levels of deprivation.
Enfield Council under Cllr. Barnes’ direction has failed to carry out Equalities and Economic Impact Assessments, proper air quality monitoring and consequently all these schemes are being implemented without regard to their wider effects. They are also clearly intended to be permanent changes and therefore the Council is misusing Experimental Traffic Orders as a way of avoiding their duty to fully consult, before implementing what is instead a predetermined and permanent agenda.
The Council’s Conservative Opposition, whilst demanding that Enfield Council removes the Fox Lane area and Bowes LTNs seems to have neglected others of equal significance. They have also ignored the Westminster Government’s role in this, by providing funding for such schemes in the first place whilst failing to set strict or appropriate criteria as the basis for funding. I therefore ask Conservative Councillors to use their connections, through the Conservative Councillors Association and elsewhere to make their feelings known to the Transport
Date: 28th January 2021
The Green Lanes Business Association pleads with Enfield Council to reverse its Lower Traffic Neighbourhoods and road closures.
The high street has been suffering from decades of assault. First, it was superstores, then malls followed by retail parks and in the past decade the increasing dominance of the online giants. We were formed 30 years ago at a time when Palmers Green Town centre was in decline, to fight a proposal of a red route which would have removed all on street parking - this would have devastated trade. We fought back and common sense won.
Like high streets elsewhere, it survived by being reinvented. Gone are small grocery stores, butchers, greengrocers and haberdashery stores. Gone are ladies and gentlemen’s outfitters along with shoe shops. So too, the traditional confectioners, tobacconists and newsagents. Some, such as pharmacies cling on by a thread, providing a vital service to the community. Though, even they are under threat, with most that they sell also available in supermarkets and the arrival of prescriptions by post. The banks too have moved most of their services online and with an increasingly cashless society branches are set to close at an accelerating rate.
Over the past year, the high street has had to endure the COVID-19 pandemic forcing shops to close for months on end and hastening the trend away from high streets and even retail parks, superstores and malls, to the internet.
Today’s high street has become a mix of convenience stores, cafes, restaurants, hairdressers, barbers, charity shops and highly specialist stores. Whilst all our members welcome local residents, none can rely solely on just them to survive, let alone thrive.
It is therefore vital that high streets are accessible, not just by foot or on a bicycle, but by car and bus too. This means parking facilities and regular and reliable bus services. But it also means that traffic must remain relatively free flowing.
In Palmers Green, where our members trade, congestion has increased in recent years. The narrowing of carriageways, junctions and pavements to make way for protected cycle lanes has reduced capacity,
causing queues of traffic which flowed freely before and increasing hazards for vulnerable pedestrians. Pollution, which would otherwise have decreased because of cleaner engine technology, has added to the discomfort, making the high street a more unpleasant place to linger.
Some traffic sought to avoid the high street by using residential side streets instead. The Council had its casus belli against local businesses and car dependent residents – under the direction of its deputy leader Cllr. Ian Barnes, a longstanding anti-car activist, despite being a car driver and owner himself.
Instead of moderate measures to further improve the environment, such as traffic calming supported by a 20mph speed limit and greening measures, Cllr. Ian Barnes - without consultation and despite the opposition of the entire local business community and most residents - has gone the whole hog, closing through roads in the area and leaving only the high streets to carry all the traffic; thereby introducing an LTN (Lower Traffic Neighbourhoods). And there are more and worse still to come.
This has had a devastating impact on the already struggling businesses in the area, making it harder for the public to visit the shops in Palmers Green. Many have gone elsewhere. This has all taken place at the worst possible time for traders and shopkeepers, suffering either from enforced lockdowns because of the COVID-19 pandemic or from impossible traffic and pollution exacerbated by the LTN. Thus far, Fox Lane, Connaught Gardens and Bowes Ward have had or will soon have the LTN scheme imposed on them – take into consideration along with this, the traffic that comes into the area from the North Circular road; this creates an extremely congested bottlenecking of vehicles which will be idling for most of their journey into and through the Palmers Green area.
Other local authorities are using the Government’s Active Travel Fund to implement less extreme measures, including Low Traffic Neighbourhoods to encourage walking and cycling without the extensive collateral damage being wrought by Enfield Council.
There has been one successful legal challenge against a similar scheme in the City of London and more are due to be decided.
Enfield Council is destroying our high street – as the elected representatives of the borough we call on you to stop destroying our high street and put an end to the LTNs.
Chairman of Chairman of the Green Lanes Business Association
For and on behalf of the Green Lanes Business Association Committee and Members
Feel free to contact us with your questions about Palmers Green business, ideas or suggestions.
490 Green Lanes,
London, N13 5PA
Call: 020 8245 8180