Less than six months into what was supposed to be a properly monitored 18-month trial of traffic-reducing measures, the council has announced a series of ‘drop-in sessions’ for residents to air their views on CHNs.
By PAUL LUSHION, environment correspondent
Jason Perry, Croydon’s pro-pollution, anti-cycling Tory Mayor, could be preparing to roll back the borough’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, schemes which have been introduced since 2020 as a response to covid to encourage walking and cycling, and to reduce rat-running by speeding cars through residential streets.
Pandering to the road haulage and motoring lobby during last year’s election campaign, Tory Perry said, “These LTN schemes have increased levels of traffic and congestion, increased journey times, increased pollution, impacted on business and fined residents for driving on their own roads… These schemes are having a huge detrimental impact on our communities.”
But Perry stopped short of getting the schemes uprooted on Day One of his Mayoralty, citing the £10million to £15million per year forecast in revenue for the cash-strapped council from fines from motorists for driving without permits through the LTNs or school streets.
That income remains an important consideration for the Mayor, but an announcement yesterday of a set of public consultation sessions over the re-branded CHNs – Croydon Healthy Neighbourhood schemes – is suspected by some to be a clear sign that Perry is considering pulling at least some of the schemes currently in place.
If Perry and the council does do a U-turn over safer streets, they risk losing millions of pounds in funding from Transport for London and the Department for Transport. The DfT is understood to be preparing to launch a new fund worth hundreds of millions of pounds next week for councils to introduce more walker- and cyclist-friendly measures.
But such forward-thinking and environmentally-sound measures tend not to appeal to small businessman Perry.
In a recent round of new school streets announcements, one scheme which failed to win approval was on Melville Avenue, even though it is home to three separate schools.
It also happens to be a road parallel to Castlemaine Avenue, where Mayor Perry himself owns a £1million house.
Cycle lane schemes along the busy Brighton Road in South Croydon – Perry’s old stomping ground when he was merely a councillor – have been delayed or only part-delivered, after political pressure from the Tories claimed that the cycle lanes might hamper the interests of local businesses (seriously; we don’t make this shit up).
And, of course, Perry has joined the chorus of Conservative politicians across London in opportunistically opposing the Tory government-approved extension of London’s ULEZ, the Ultra Low Emission Zone.
Now Perry appears ready to have the council do a spot of back-pedalling on LTNs/CHNs.
“I have been clear from the start that we have to listen to residents when it comes to these schemes,” he said yesterday as the council announced public reviews of seven “trial” CHNs.
The trials are supposed to run for 18 months. They were introduced less than six months ago. Of course, if the trial schemes are being properly monitored over the full period, as the council claims they are, then at the end of it all, the facts should speak for themselves.
A council press release yesterday said, “In August, the council made improvements to the original schemes put in place during the pandemic, to open many of the roads to residents living within the schemes, as well as those needing to make essential journeys, such as emergency services.
“These improved schemes are running under a trial order for 18 months, where they are currently collecting monitoring data.
“The drop-in engagement sessions are a key part of the trial process to understand whether they are achieving their intended goals and gather feedback from locals on how they could be improved.”
But an environmental campaigner suspicious of the motives behind the council’s latest moves told Inside Croydon, “Maybe what the Mayor’s doing is finding a way to back down from his previous hostility towards the schemes?
“Removing the LTNs would remove a revenue stream, which the council can ill afford. If Mayor Perry chooses to do that anyway, to score a few cheap political points, the deed would be long forgotten by the time of the next election.”
Each drop-in session last from 5pm to 8pm. In addition, “street audit” walking tours, guided by council officials, will take place following the sessions to provide more context and point out areas for feedback.
- Feb 8 and 9: Dalmally, Elmers, and Kemerton Roads (Addiscombe) at Woodside Primary School, Morland Rd, CR0 6NF
- Feb 15 and 16: Holmesdale Road (South Norwood) at Stanley Arts Café, 12 South Norwood Hill, SW25 6AB
- Feb 20 and 22: Albert Road (South Norwood) at St Mark’s Church, Albert Rd, South Norwood, SE25 4JE
- Mar 2 and 6: Broad Green (including Sutherland Road) at Broad Green Library, 89 Canterbury Rd CR0 3HA
The council says, “Those who are unable to attend in person are welcome to submit their feedback via the council website, where they can also learn more about the schemes.” The feedback page can be found by clicking here.
Further information on the CHNs and the drop-in sessions can also be found here.
Read more: Ignore ULEZ scare stories – it will reduce traffic and save lives
Read more: Part-time Perry is fiddling over ULEZ while Croydon burns
- Inside Croydon – as seen on TV! – has been delivering local community news since 2010. 3million page views per year in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
- If you want real journalism, actually based in the borough, you should consider paying for it. Please sign up today. Click here for more details
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at email@example.com
- Our comments section on every report provides all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content. Our comments policy can be read by clicking here
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as BBC London News and ITV London
- ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine
It would be handy if the govt could vote to reduce the length of time a provisional license is valid from 10 years down to something more sensible like 2 years, to encourage some of these moped learner delivery riders to actually pass their driving test. Or maybe prevent vehicles being used for work purposes by learner drivers. The number of times I’ve been undertaken by learner moped delivery riders is astonishing.
Meant to say, while riding my bicycle…
Croydon Council decided some 20 years ago to self destruct, and it now knows nothing else but continuing that journey. Most of London is following that way too. They do not want people to actually thrive in London. Over time more people will leave these cities and cities will become dead. That is the council’s dream.
The way to reduce trafic is to provide affordable, frequent and timely public transport on routes people need. Labour won’t do that. Tories won’t do that.
Back to square one!
We never left square one. The government needs motorists in all guises to be able to fleece them for tax and duty to supplement other taxes. Were it ring fenced only for transport it could be afforded.
Traffic fines, parking fees and other related income is ring-fenced at council level to only be used for transport purposes.
The way to reduce motor traffic is to make it easier, safer and better for people to walk and cycle from their homes to local shops, schools, shopping centres, transport hubs, offices and other workplaces and leisure attractions.
Try walking or cycling to the superstores on the Purley Way. It’s difficult and off-putting if you’re on foot and that and dangerous if you go by bike. Contrast that with accessing the declining town centre, where short stretches of cycle lanes are interrupted by car parking spaces and roads designed for high speed drivers.
Croydon Council appears to be on the brink of turning its back on transport choice, zero emissions travel and transport policies set by government, the GLA and itself.
The bleak future that will result includes rising traffic congestion, depressed town centre and local economies and, despite the prospect of more electric vehicles, continuing harmful emissions and avoidable road injuries and deaths.
Sadly on foot in Croydon on the pavement you are more in danger from scooters, mopeds electric bikes normal bikes super bikes all on the pavement and all smashing the 20mph speed limit with narry a care for the pedestrian fit or disabled! I am all for more cycles and walking – but sensibly and safely. So widen cycle lanes and seperate them from pedestrians might be helpful?.