What are the councils up to? September 2021 edition

An aide memoire of items I’ve noted from the boroughs where I work, rest and play, in case it is of use to others.

Here’s a link back to July and August 2021’s round-up if you want to rummage backwards.

Consultations closing

City of London

East Sussex County Council

Government / Department for Transport / Professional bodies

Hackney Council

3 Sept: An application for judicial review of Hackney’s low traffic neighbourhoods from a coalition of locals and taxi drivers was rejected on all four grounds (statement by council’s legal team, and decision on BAILII). The campaign had crowdfunded £18,000 against a £30,000 target through a limited company (whose single officer is registered to a traffic filtered street in Romford).

Hammersmith & Fulham

Kensington & Chelsea

Kingston Council

Lambeth Council

London Assembly / Mayor of London

Merton Council

Richmond Council

  • 13 Sept, Transport and AQ – see agenda for lots of papers.  Officers recommend the 2020 trial of school streets be made permanent, and for the next wave to be planned.   There’s consultation results on the A310 Strawberry Vale cycling improvements and East Twickenham scheme – officers recommend detailed design for both.  Most anti feedback related to loss of car parking.

Surrey County Council

  • 1 Sept, Surrey Hills AONB ctteAONB progress report notes the danger where the North Downs Way crosses the A25 (which sounds like Newlands Corner) but doesn’t propose any action.   The Q&A to the June meeting is fun: lots of local whining about mountain bikers, yet as the answers explain with photographs the real damage to local trails comes from 4x4s and motor bikes. 
  • 16 Sept, Highways ctte:
    • Need to submit a bus strategy to HMG before October (under the DfT’s Bus Back Better plan) … focus seems to the A23 corridor, north Surrey and around Guildford. Little detail, but will be interesting to see how links into other active and sustainable transport are planned.
    • New policy on safety cameras (e.g. speeding) across Surrey, to include risk spots that may not have (blessfully) hit KSI thresholds. Lots of info on national policies, benefits of cameras and civil vs police offences.
  • 29 Sept, Mole Valley local ctte, has lots of papers to restrict motorised vehicles and wide horse carriages from Wolvens Lane which is currently a BOAT (byway open all traffic) due to damage to surfaces, hedges and conflict with other byway users.   Generally, most respondees to the consultation support restrictions, expect the off-road motorbikers, and there’s some nonsense from the horsey crowd about mountain bikers causing more damage.   There’s also papers covering 180 years of history discussing whether a footpath legally exists across a pedestrian level crossing on the railway near Leatherhead.
  • Wisley’s Muddy Path and conversion from footpath to bridleway to allow use by people riding horses, bicycles and mobility scooters:
    • 20 Jul’21: appeal court judgement rejecting latest objections – fears about motorcycles are not reason to block access by other modes;

Sutton Council

  • 28 Sept, Business Ctte has papers on the Beddington Farmland scheme, where Viridor (and its incinerator) are paying to landscape the old rubbish dump.  Progress, tho, is slow on the access paths including the north-south cycle route, linking Beddington Park up to Mitcham Junction and Beddington Lane tram stops.
  • 5 Oct, Beddington Local Ctte.  Sutton Council’s attempt to install barriers on the LCN75 cycle route at the Sutton/Croydon boundary has been, rightly, thwarted for now by well-argued objections.  Nearby, off Purley Way, the council want to install 3 K-frame barriers on Roundshaw Downs
  • 7 Oct, Enviro Ctte has the final version of the Sustainable Transport Strategy for sign-off, following consultation back in January 2021.  See agenda for the papers – the appendices are huge, including the strategy itself at 54mb.  The consultation comments fill the usual bingo cards – 194 pages of objections, claiming every resident is a disabled parent delivering fridge-freezers everyday on their daily trip to a supermarket to pick up food for their family of 17.

Transport for London

Transport for London – Freedom of Information requests

  • 6 Sept, cycle counter data with spreadsheet. If the data is the average count across the 29 sites, then that would suggest most sites cluster around 2k cycles/day.  Or maybe the data is something else
  • 30 Sept, commercial hire bike operators do not share data with TfL.
  • I’ve lost count of punters on WDTK asking TfL for smaller and smaller bits of bus journey and SCOOT records where previous answers show that cycle lanes – especially C9 in Chiswick – are not slowing down buses over longer stretches of their routes.

Wandsworth Council

  • Off West Hill, the Ashcroft Trust college (DfT funded academy outside WBC’s control) has published a behaviour policy that bans bicycles alongside pornography and drugs.  In 2005, the school rebuilt facilities and was supposed to install 146 bicycle parking spaces.
  • 26 August, Wands BC announces consultation shortly on sites for 111 bike hangers in 74 streets (yes, one hundred and eleven).   I wonder if there are council elections in May 2022?   The (Labour) MP for Putney has pointed out how few of the new bike hangers have been allocated to her constituents in Putney and Roehampton, despite requests.   Wandsworth’s Phase 2 bikehanger consultation closes 15 October.
  • 15 Sept, Transport Ctte, lots to unpack:
    • 20mph on borough controlled classified A&B roads – consultation results (majority support) and proposal to go ahead.  Some polite arm wrestling with Mayor/TfL re 20mph on remaining red routes such as Wandsworth gyratory – TfL is doing bits, but short of cash (is it that expensive?);
    • School streets, proposes permanent traffic orders for the handful trialled in 2020, and proposes bigger next wave.  Includes consultation results (majority of support for nearly all).  Paper sets out cost dilemma of relying on ANPR cameras vs volunteer marshalls – the latter have taken a lot of abuse.
    • Walking & cycling strategy – ctte paper and draft strategy, to go to consultation during October’21.  The draft is full of nice stuff such as references to LTN1/20 etc, but there lots of gaps e.g. recognition that traffic depresses active travel, but fails to mention politically-toxic low traffic neighbourhoods as a solution.  There’s no dates or targets for delivering anything, so the strategy is basically nice aspirations – similar to the five or so similar strategies published since 2000.
    • West Hill traffic calming – southbound from Tibbets Corner, WBC has been trialling banned left turns off Wimbledon Common, forcing any traffic that wishes to turn left to cross the border into Merton into Queensmere Road.  Merton has objected by letter.  WBC proposes making the scheme permanent anyway but with an exemption list for residents in the West Hill ward – the council’s census data has 7,000 properties with 16,000 residents, making this an expensive administrative nightmare.

Westminster Council

  • 14 Sept, press release announcing that the piazza/pedestrianisation scheme at Oxford Circus is on hold.  Ahead of the May’22 borough elections, cllrs are sensitive to complaints from residents groups that their opinions aren’t being taken into account.  Statement has claims about improvements to walking and cycling which don’t match reality.
  • 28 Sept, Planning Ctte.  Proposed redevelopment of the former Debenhams store on Oxford Street – to include less retail with leisure and office space – will have 500+ cycle spaces for building’s residents, although with vertical racks and Brompton lockers, few look suitable for non-standard bikes.  Also notes the lack of public on-street cycle spaces despite Westminster Council’s £150m Oxford St scheme.  And the Ritz Hotel’s rebuilding project will add 53 new bedrooms – and 4 cycle parking spaces for two-wheeled guests.
  • 7 Oct, Business and Kids Ctte (WCC’s ctte structure is bizarre) – business report notes support for a lot of the alfresco dining schemes which are due to end in October will be considered for permanent schemes next year. And it looks like the summer consultation on traffic filtering around Covent Garden got public support, with results later in October.

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