Our Town Hall reporter, KEN LEE, on the latest twist in the saga of the borough’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes
Pat Ryan, the veteran councillor for Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood ward, has been removed as a member of the Traffic Management Advisory Committee, ahead of a crunch meeting tonight to decide the next steps for the borough’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes.
No official announcement nor explanation has been given for the removal of Ryan from the committee, which tonight will consider the use of CCTV cameras on key side streets off Church Road in Upper Norwood to reduce traffic and deter rat-runners, while making the streets less hostile places for pedestrians and cyclists.
“It’s probably meant to spare Pat from embarrassing himself and voting with the Tories again,” a Katharine Street source said today.
At the previous meeting of TMAC, Ryan, a former Labour chief whip at the Town Hall, voted with the opposition Conservatives, who themselves managed to vote against the traffic-reducing policies of their own government.
In the past, Ryan has been appointed to positions at the council by Tony Newman, the disgraced former leader of the council who was suspended from membership of the Labour Party last week, pending an investigation into his role in the financial collapse of the council. Ryan is also a staunch supporter of Progress MP Steve Reed OBE.
Recently, Ryan’s conduct has become increasingly eccentric, including going out leafleting during the latest coronavirus lockdown, ignoring the law and his own party’s instructions, while his outburst at a branch meting last year, which resulted in two women volunteer officials resigning, is subject to an investigation.
Since the last meeting of the traffic management committee, physical barriers, such as planters, have been removed from the LTNs in Upper Norwood and South Norwood.
Tonight’s meeting is expected to approve plans for a 12-month trial using ANPRs – Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras – which issue fines to the drivers of any vehicles using designated roads without a valid permit.
During last year’s initial trial, which used an ANPR at a bus gate on Auckland Road, the camera was subjected to regular and repeated vandalism – something which Councillor Ryan “liked” on social media.
Following a recent High Court ruling in favour of black cab drivers opposing a scheme elsewhere in London – a decision which is being appealed by Transport for London – Croydon Council has now introduced so many categories of vehicle which should be allowed a permit that some supporters of LTNs feel that the measures have been rendered virtually worthless.
An addendum to the report to tonight’s meeting “recommends increasing the categories of vehicle to which Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera technology… shall not apply, to include, taxis and buses, including Dial-a-Ride vehicles.”
Also exempted from the LTN restrictions are to be “Vehicles of staff employed at Cypress School and Harris Academy Crystal Palace”, “Vehicles used by care-givers of sick and/or disabled residents within the area of the LTN”, and “Vehicles registered by Blue Badge holders”.
Read more: Court ruling forces removal of Crystal Palace traffic measures
Read more: The next battle in the culture wars? Traffic bollards
Read more: London’s toxic air is ‘a public health emergency’ says charity
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