Croydon could be heading for a bitter, cross-boundary dispute with one of its neighbouring boroughs after the leader of Bromley’s Conservative-controlled council told residents that they have begun legal moves to get traffic-calming measures removed from residential streets in Crystal Palace.
Colin Smith, the Tory leader in Bromley, has written to residents on his side of the borough border telling them that his council has begun legal work to force Croydon to remove the planters and barriers on Sylvan Hill, Stambourne Way and Fox Hill, all of which are within Croydon’s local authority area.
The Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme is funded by Transport for London and was introduced by Croydon Council at the beginning of the month, with short notice and without public consultation, or without advising council colleagues in Bromley.
Using special powers given to the council during the coronavirus emergency, Croydon has introduced the traffic-calming measures, including a bus gate, to divert motor traffic off the residential streets that link Church Road and Auckland Road in Upper Norwood.
Residents on the Bromley side of the borough boundary have complained that their streets have taken the bulk of the displaced traffic, causing them inconvenience, even though traffic levels remain reduced, and before schools traffic returns next month.
And Smith has support in his legal moves from Angela Wilkins, the leader of the Labour opposition at Bromley Council, who has said, “Living on a borough border shouldn’t mean living in hell.”
In a neighbourhood newsletter, Smith was quoted as saying, “I would like every affected Bromley council resident to know that you enjoy the council’s 100 per cent undiluted support in your campaign to have Croydon’s recent actions reversed.
“However well-intended their objectives might have been they have neither been thought-through properly or consulted upon and that simply isn’t acceptable.
“I can confirm that Bromley has this week initiated the first tentative legal steps to try and have the barriers removed by order if commonsense isn’t deployed and their street paraphernalia removed swiftly – as we would clearly far prefer.”
Bromley is relying on Section 121(b) of the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act which prohibits London councils from taking actions which impact roads in another local authority.
And Smith is refusing to discuss the issue with officials or councillors from Croydon until the traffic-calming measures are removed, referring to the “the abject misery and inconvenience they are causing to Bromley residents on a daily basis”.
Wilkins, who represents Bromley’s Crystal Palace ward, said, “Whatever your view of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods this scheme has brought nothing but chaos and increased risk to Bromley residents, which was completely predictable.
“Croydon should have properly consulted us and produced proposals that don’t just dump all of their displaced traffic on Bromley doorsteps.
“I don’t care what the party political affiliations of councils are on this issue. Both have a duty of care to their residents.
“Get it sorted guys because we simply can’t tolerate this any longer.”
But a senior Katharine Street source suggests that what Smith has been telling his residents in Bromley has not been matched with any action – at least not yet. “Croydon has received nothing from Bromley formally, other than an email that issued their official objection,” the source said this morning.
“Council officials in Croydon maintain that they have followed the correct procedure,” the source said.
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