Loughborough Junction road closures are to be dropped, Lambeth council announced today. But it repeated its belief that change was needed and in its “ultimate vision” for the area.
Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, council cabinet member for environment and sustainability said Loughborough Road, Barrington Road, Lilford Road and Gordon Grove would re-open from Wednesday 25 November.
But Padfield Road and Calais Street will remain closed under a new experimental traffic management order.
Cllr Brathwaite said the closures had been part of a “wider vision” to make Loughborough Junction a safer and more pleasant place to live and to help the area become a destination in its own right, rather than a busy through road.
But, she said: “It appears that a majority of residents remain opposed to particular road closures”.
It had been important to trial the “ambitious” scheme to monitor its impacts. “Having reviewed the evidence and listened to a wide variety of people in the area; it is clear that changes are needed but that the ultimate vision remains,” said Cllr Brathwaite.
She said that she would invite representatives from local businesses, ward councillors, community groups, residents’ groups and the LJ Road Madness to join a steering group to begin design work for “public space improvements”.
“There is money to spend from Transport for London, which if we work together and get it right, can make a positive and lasting difference to Loughborough Junction,” she said.
The experimental nature of the road closures had made it difficult to communicate the “wider benefits and vision” for the area, said Cllr Brathwaite
“Signage in some areas at the start of the trial was either unclear or ignored,” she added.
By focusing communications on the residents of Loughborough Junction, road users who travelled through the area from further afield felt uninformed which undoubtedly led to confusion in the early stages, she said.
An eight-week trial had not given enough time to provide empirical evidence of adverse effects on emergency service response times and the ambulance service and police did not oppose the continuation of the scheme. But a formal objection by the London Fire Brigade and anecdotal reports of increasing response times could not be ignored.
A full council report on the trial is at www.lambeth.gov.uk/lj.
The announcement will raise questions about other planned road closure schemes, including that of New Park Road off Brixton Hill.
It will also highlight the role of campaigners from outside Lambeth.
An activist who produced and distributed his own leaflet to oppose the New Park Road plans is a campaigner who lives in Coulsdon, part of the London Borough of Croydon.
Peter Morgan told Brixtonblog that his opposition to the scheme was not the only campaign he had been involved in. He has also taken part in activity against the Loughborough Junction closures and in Norbury, another part of Croydon.
He denied outright claims – made in comments about the blog’s story on New Park Road – that he was using false identities on the commercial Streetlife website to campaign against the closures.
He said he had “no idea” what the commenters were talking about and denied that it was strange that he had not entered the debate on the forum under his own name when he both knew about it and felt strongly about the issues being discussed.
Morgan said claims about his opposition to restrictions on cars and other political activities made by the Inside Croydon blog were “a pack of lies” and malicious.
He said the blog supported “pro-cycling extremists” and gave extensive coverage to the Communist Party and other far-left groups.
Many people were opposed to the growing number of road plans and trials, he said. They were “all about the rights of people with bicycles”.
He claimed the Brixton trials are part of a London-wide campaign, funded by Transport for London and backed by the cycling mayor Boris Johnson, to close as many side roads as possible to cars. It also involved the charity Sustrans, which Lambeth council is using to run trial road schemes.
He was adamant that the trials “are all about making people ride bicycles”.
He said he campaigned because he was a believer in democracy and free speech and that there was a lack of democracy in consultation about schemes.
Explaining his role, he said that people opposed to road closures “don’t always have the leadership” needed to make their voices heard.
He warned that while “people in power feel safe” now, there would be elections in a few months.