We heard last night from Cllr Andrew Smith, Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Highways, that the proposed experimental Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme is not going ahead. We are extremely relieved to have been heard by our Council.
There is no great satisfaction in this – the worrying problems of rat running and noise and air pollution remain. For some residents on the Hyde Park Estate, the effects are severe.
But the Council’s proposed scheme did not solve the problem for significant numbers of people on our Estate, and threatened to cause traffic mayhem on the peripheral roads around our Estate, with predicted increases in pollution and detrimental knock-on effects for neighbouring communities.
To those who are disappointed and aggrieved by the Council’s failure to go ahead, please accept our bona fides that we will work as hard to ensure that we address the problem, in a fairer and more inclusive manner, as we have worked in trying to get this scheme stopped. All of the needs of our community must be served, and we cannot support any scheme that severely disadvantages any one group of residents over another group.
We have for years been trying to get the Council to pay attention to our needs and acknowledge that the installation of cycle lanes in the wrong places has had the effect of funnelling traffic into residential areas. You all know that this has been at the top of our list of concerns. It remains at the top of our list of concerns.
But the Council’s having proceeded to invite comments on a proposal we could not support, for reasons we have already explained, has created excitement and expectations for some, while creating dread and sheer rage for others. Sadly, as a result, we have become a divided community.
This, surely, is not how we should be. As neighbours in a small community, we need to work together for the common good, and exercise care and understanding for one another.
A positive consequence of what has just occurred is that the Council has finally acknowledged that the level of traffic running through our Estate is unacceptable. As we have discovered, there is no quick fix, but we have already started working on alternatives.
It has been stated, falsely, that the only way we could have the mooted “Connaught Village Piazza”, is that if people voted for the scheme. In truth, we have been in discussions with the Council and the Church Commissioners for over a year to put a similar scheme in place that would not require the closing off of Connaught Street. CIL money has already been awarded for the design of this scheme. The HPEA has been involved in all of these discussions and will continue to work towards its achievement – it is an idea that excites us.
We would like to thank all of those wonderful people on our committee and from among our membership who worked hard to prevent this scheme from going ahead, or who worked tirelessly to have it changed to ensure that it did not disadvantage any one group. We have met some wonderful people in the process, and we welcome them as new members of the HPEA.
We would also like to thank Westminster Council and our Councillors for hearing our concerns and putting a stop to this scheme. We will work positively and energetically with them and other stakeholders to find a less extreme way of tackling the problem of traffic and pollution.
Please feel free to contact us with your concerns.
Regards to you all,
Dr Allen Zimbler
Hyde Park Estate Association