Low Traffic Neighborhood attacked by businesses who fear Christmas closures
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Low traffic Neighborhood schemes have caused delays to vital deliveries and seen customers turned away due to the confusion and added travel time. The schemes were launched in many communities to encourage local residents to cycle and walk instead of taking public transport.
They were also installed to detract from mass car use post-lockdown which would have caused heavy congestion in major cities such as London.
However, many local councils and London Boroughs have been forced to U-turn on the scheme after heavy opposition.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Fair Fuel UK Founder Howard Cox said the changes “cannot work” alongside businesses which rely on the income generated by traffic.
He said: “Residents are split in opinion with those enjoying the lack of traffic being peaceful, and others angry at not being able to park near their properties, receive deliveries and white van services.
“All are worried that emergency vehicles are being hindered/blocked for access.
“These are reasons why so many schemes are being ripped out and because there has been a lack of consultation with the main stakeholder, drivers!
“These LTNs and businesses in the main cannot work alongside each other. Businesses rely on footfall, paradoxically delivered by cars, vans, buses etc.
“Even electric vehicles are being blocked. LTNs prevent efficient business operations and so local economies will wither and die unless there is some common sense and joined-up thinking.”
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Hackney in East London has seen some of the highest levels of opposition to the scheme after 20 roads were closed for changes.
Eleven of the routes were known by the council to be routes used by road users desperate to avoid the main roads.
Sasha Murdock, owner of Juniors Caribbean Cuisine in Hackney is fearful the changes could be responsible for closing down her business.
She told Express.co.uk: “Coronavirus already had an impact on my business so the road closures have kind of doubled that.
“The alternative routes are congested with traffic so people are like ‘I can’t be bothered, let me go and eat somewhere else’.”
“I understand that we have a pollution problem but I just don’t think it’s the right way to go about it.
“If I have to live with this for 18 months I’m not going to be here because I’ll be closed and bankrupt.”
Ken Solomou, owner building company KS Limited echoed the concerns after claiming that no one wants to come to help with jobs due to the severe delays.
He told Express.co.uk: “None of my plumbers wants to come out because it takes one and a half hours to get in and one and a half hours to go back home it’s just not worth it for them. It’s ridiculous.”
“I’ve got deliveries coming in every day and it’s delayed or no one wants to come, none of them can get to my jobs because they just closed the roads off just like that.”
Residents have openly opposed the changes with some protesting against the move which has caused some journeys to take “three times longer”.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Tracy Prescott, a campaigner from the Horrendous Hackney Road Closures group said: “It’s causing pollution in the poorest areas of Hackney and also making it tough for our emergency services. No doubt people’s lives will be risked.
“I have been affected by the road closures, it’s taken three times longer to get anywhere in Hackney, especially as I have a disabled daughter that needs to get to important appointments.
“The majority of the Hackney community are against the road closures.”
Hackney Council have claimed the changes were being installed for a maximum of 18 months to see how the closures work in practice.
However new schemes were introduced between London Fields and Kingsland Road from the start of September.
Some residents are concerned the 18-month trial will be extended with the scheme eventually made permanent.
Mr Solomou told Express.co.uk: “Believe me, nothing is temporary. They wouldn’t spend that kind of money if it was temporary. How can it work, they’ve divided the community like that.”
A recent YouGov poll found that 26 percent of ross users across the UK strongly supported the introduction of LTN schemes while 31 percent “tended” to agree.
This was compared to just eight percent of road users who opposed the changes and a quarter who said they didn’t know.
In a new statement to Express.co.uk, Councillor Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm said the scheme was being introduced to “support residents”.
He said: 70 percent of Hackney households do not own a car. We are introducing new trial low traffic neighbourhoods to support more residents to walk, shop and cycle locally in the wake of the pandemic, and prioritise public transport for those who need it.
“Throughout this time, residents and businesses can continue to access all areas of the borough by car.
“We are listening to feedback from residents and businesses, who can have their say online or in writing.
“These schemes are being introduced in line with Department for Transport guidance on supporting people to walk, cycle, and use public transport, and are consistent with the manifesto we were elected on just two years ago.”
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