Lambeth council has “tweaked” the location of one of its low traffic neighbourhood planters in Brixton after what one resident described as a “Twitter rant”.
The council agreed through social media that the planter, at the junction of Tintern Street and Sandmere Road in the Ferndale area, created a tight angle “so we’re going to have the planter tweaked”.
Cllr Claire Holland, council deputy leader (sustainable transport, environment and clean air), later said the planter was part of trials of low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) schemes taking place while the council’s emergency transport strategy is in place.
“This is a direct response to Covid-19, to tackle transport and health inequalities exacerbated by the coronavirus and to support a local economic recovery,” she said.
A video of a fire engine unable to pass the planter was widely shared locally.
Social media users also debated whether the cause was the planter or an improperly parked car.
“It is important to ensure those who do not have access to a car – around 60% of Lambeth residents – aren’t forced to walk or cycle on dangerous roads or forced to use public transport whilst the risk of transmission remains high,” said Holland.
“These projects aim to redress this balance, making it safer for everyone to walk and cycle, so that those without a car have genuine transport options whilst leaving our roads clear for those that absolutely have to use them.
“The emergency services were consulted on all the schemes and their designs in advance, and gaps were left at the entrance to roads, to enable emergency access.
“It has now transpired the angle at this junction is tight, so we’re moving the planter to make it easier for emergency vehicles to pass through.
“We’ll continue to be responsive and quickly address any other issues that arise during this trial scheme.
“We understand the concerns of some residents and are fully engaging with all our communities, online, face-to-face and by phone so residents can feedback on the four low traffic neighbourhood schemes we are currently trialling.
“As the emergency strategy makes clear, the temporary measures cannot be made permanent without public consultation and we are fully committed to that.
“As the coronavirus lockdown eases, our residents have told us they don’t want to go back to the ‘old normal’ where Lambeth had some of the worst collision statistics in London and some of the worst air pollution in Europe.
“We have a chance now to make a real difference to avoid lurching from one health crisis to another and address inequalities in our borough.
“I know this is new and different, and we are determined to bring all our communities with us in this push for a cleaner and safer Lambeth because we will all benefit.”