Church meeting hears of LTN ‘frustration and despair’

meeting in church

Residents of a “boundary road” to one of Lambeth’s low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) yesterday (5 December) used a Streatham church to voice anger and frustration about the effect the LTN has had on them.

In front of them in St Peter’s on Leigham Court Road – the road in question – were five Lambeth councilllors and Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy.

Organised by residents of the road, the meeting was hosted by the vicar of St Peter’s, Steffan Mathias.

His appeals for bridges to be built and the meeting to be conducted with “respect and kindness” were not always heeded, but most people remembered they were in church.

woman speaking with mic
Georgina: ‘monstrous’ traffic increase

Leigham Court Road resident Georgina began proceedings with a detailed rundown of complaints about what has happened to the road since the creation of the Streatham Hill LTN.

She said traffic was up by more than a quarter – a “monstrous” increase – and that illegally high levels of pollution remained.

Describing the council’s LTN policy as “positive, but wishful, thinking”, she said it had led to “frustration and despair”.

Among many other contributors with questions ranging from pointed to hostile were Graham, who said he was was lucky to be alive after being “wiped out” by a car that mounted the pavement he was walking on.

queueing traffic on suburban road
Sunday afternoon traffic on Leigham Court Road

Local GP Mike pointed out that pollution levels outside Dunraven school remain above recommended levels and listed in clinical detail the dangerous and fatal effects of local pollution from internal combustion engines.

He demanded to know what Lambeth’s director of public health had to say about LTNs.

Other questioners highlighted poor local public transport that is set to get worse as Transport for London prepares for cuts to meet reductions in government funding.

They also pointed to the effects of other Lambeth LTNs, saying traffic in Herne Hill’s Milkwood Road had doubled.

Neil Salt with vicar Steffan
Neil Salt with vicar Steffan Matthias

Neil Salt, chair of Streatham Action’s transport group, complained of “the dearth of information” about the effects of LTNs on traffic and highlighted the big increase in traffic on the South Circular in Lambeth.

He pointed out that reduction in traffic on boundary roads, as well as inside LTNs, is one of the criteria for judging whether or not they are working as intended.

A big future concern for all at the meeting was the possibility of a further LTN – in the Streatham Wells area – that would also have Leigham Court Road as a boundary road.

woman with mic
Bell Ribeiro-Addy

Answering questions were Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy; Dr Mahamed Hashi, Lambeth council  member for sustainable transport, environment and clean air (who shares the job with Cllr Danny Adilypour); Streatham Hill councillors Liz Atkins and Rezina Chowdhury; Streatham Wells councillor Malcolm Clark; and Knight’s Hill councillor Jane Pickard, who was a member of the council’s LTN commission.

Councillors said that LTNs were only one aspect of the cpouncil’s approach to traffic which included the creation of “school streets” to combat pollution outside them.

people at meeting in church
Cllr Mahhamed Hashi (centre) with meeting chair Emma Elliott (l) and Cllr Malcom Clark

Cllr Pickard said that she and Cllr Clark would follow up with council officers the inconsistencies in the data on LTNs being provided by the council, saying “the jury is out” on questionable data.

Cllr Clark also acknowledged that Leigham Court Road was the worst in the borough for vehicles exceeding the 20 mph speed limit.

But he said that the LTN was only one factor among several others, including increased car and decreased public transport use because of the pandemic.

Bell Ribeiro-Addy, a local resident, agreed, adding that local public transport has been “awful for a very long time”.

She also accepted that “consultation has been a problem”.

Cllr Clark pointed out that one reason for this was the way central government has urged local authorities to make changes, setting very tight deadlines for providing funding for them.

meeting in church

Emma Elliott of the residents’ group, who chaired the meeting, said that “no-one is listening to us”.

But, summing up what she saw as its results, she pointed out to councillors that it had been recorded and they would be held to what they had said.

This included:

Data – Better analysis and questions put to people who commission and produce the data on LTNs for the council;

Follow ups – Cllr Hashi to come back to the residents with ideas on how residents’ concerns can be addressed;

New LTNs – “I believe we have a firm commitment. I hope we have a firm commitment” that Leigham Court Road will not be a boundary road for another LTN “until we have sorted out the fallout from this one,” said Emma Elliott;

Local transport links – Councillors would come back with suggestions about what might be possible to improve them;

Public health – Councillors would speak to Lambeth’s director of public health about the unsafe levels of pollution on Leigham Court Road.

Consultation on the Streatham Hill and Tulse Hill LTNs closes on 19 December.

7 COMMENTS

  1. LTNs cause more pollution for the majority of Lambeth residents for the privileged few to have a private road . All this if you’re against LTNs ‘ what your proposals are to reduce traffic, increase walking and cycling, and improve air quality’ is a load of bullshit and a distraction from the reality LTNs cause more harm than good.
    LTN advocates gaslight those of us that point out our surrounding roads roads are constantly congested making life worse for the majority of residents

    POISONING WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS WITH MORE POLLUTION DOES NOT HELP CLIMATE CHANGE OR ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO CYCLE

    Leander private road (LTN)  has no schools but plenty of car owners. The adjacent road Brixton Hill has a 1000 kids going to school, plus many other catching buses to go to schools in the surrounding area. All suffer more pollution thanx to Leander private road (LTN), 15 lambeth councilors finally gain from living in an LTN, Their house prices rise as much as the extra pollution they push on the rest of us. 
    Remember LTNs were introduced with the help and advise of the london cycling campaign an institutionally racist organization. Who block people from twitter who reports racism in their ranks. The LCC only took action once the press got hold of the story. The perpetrator directly advised Claire Holland (LTN advocate leader of Lambeth Labour) Interesting to note most LTN are in middle class white areas and they have a detrimental effect on Black and other minorities health. 

  2. If you’re against LTNs, it would be interesting to hear what your proposals are to reduce traffic, increase walking and cycling, and improve air quality. From what I’ve heard, all the anti-LTNs just want business as usual, which already means illegal air quality, zero kids on bikes, and horrendous traffic that’s getting worse every year. LTNs have been put in place all over Europe and are an effective long-term way to reduce car use. Screaming and shouting because they haven’t worked in a few months is pointless because it can take several years to change people’s behaviour. I applaud Lambeth Council for having the balls to implement these schemes.

    • POISONING WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS WITH MORE POLLUTION DOES NOT HELP CLIMATE CHANGE OR ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO CYCLE.
      LTN advocates gaslight those of us that live on boundary roads that have increase traffic

      THe road to hell is paved with middle class gentrifiers who are happy to pollute other people’s children to gain a private road and increase their house prices

  3. The facts and figures Lambeth give out are completely biased. Or course there are fewer cars in the ltn. The roads are blocked!. The displacement of traffic to other roads apparently is not happening. I think they have missed the traffic jams ( and pollution ) on Croxted Road, Norwood Road and Christchurch Road. It’s completely ludicrous to pass within two minutes of my home and have to drive, sometimes an extra twenty minutes. Great for the pollution levels!.

    • 100%
      We are being sacrifised for a few to have a private road while the rest of us endure more pollution.
      The selfish gene is strong in LTN advocates, usually people that have recently moved in the area telling those of us that have lived here for decades the traffic has evaporated.
      Yeah from their private road it has but at the expense of the rest of us

  4. Thanks for reporting this.

    Despite the fact that all Lambeth LTNs have resulted in significant traffic displacement onto many boundary roads Lambeth are proclaiming them as a success as they say that traffic is down across the area. However, this statement appears to be based on unreliable baselines and only TWO periods of 7 day traffic counts in 12 months with no proper utilisation of SCOOT traffic light data to identify idling
    hotspots

    The Council are telling us that they will offer mitigations for the extra traffic on the boundary roads (a situation they have created) including green screens at schools, but what about the congested roads some of these children live on and walk, scoot, cycle along the get to school?

    It’s a real worry that none of the Cllrs present including the LTN portfolio holder knew whether anyone had spoken to Public Health Director about these schemes.

  5. TfL Moto is keep London moving. How do they think making people sit in stationery traffic driving further will help. Any statistics showing less traffic after LTN will be due to homeworking or ulez but will be championed as a result of LTN

What's your opinion?