Majority of East London residents need highway closures ‘bettering security’ to remain

Majority of East London residents want road closures ‘improving safety’ to stay

A majority of residents living in an East London borough want road closures and traffic-calming measures to stay and not be reversed by the mayor, a public consultation has found. Earlier this year Tower Hamlets residents and businesses took part in a council survey which asked them whether they wanted the Liveable Streets schemes in Bethnal Green and Brick Lane to remain or for roads to open up again.

Despite a majority of residents wanting the traffic calming measures to stay, Tower Hamlets mayor, Lutfur Rahman and his cabinet is expected to decide on the fate of the schemes at a meeting next Wednesday (September 20). Cabinet papers which have been published ahead of next week’s meeting shows 58 per cent of local residents living in Bethnal Green are in support of keeping the traffic calming measures, while 41 per cent would like to see them removed.

Meanwhile 59 per cent of Brick Lane residents who took part in the public consultation would like to see the closures stay, with a 41 per cent turnout wanting to see them removed. The Liveable Streets scheme, which limits road access for cars and other vehicles, was implemented under the council when it was run by Labour in August 2021.

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Mr Rahman of the Aspire party, which won the local election in May of last year, previously said the Liveable Streets scheme was “botched” by Labour and pledged that he would reverse the programme as part of his party’s manifesto. Emergency services such as the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and the London Fire Brigade (LFB) have also found the road closures difficult because they cannot get to an address as quickly and easily.

Although the LFB has been given a special access key which allows firefighters to remove temporary bollards to get to an emergency, the same can’t be said for the LAS. For Bethnal Green road closures, the council’s public consultation notes “there have been multiple incidents across the area where closures have hindered ambulance service and fire brigade access”.

However, campaigners battling to save the Liveable Streets scheme have argued it has made areas safer for pedestrians and has improved “the look and feel” of local neighbourhoods. Met Police officers have also seen a reduction in anti-social behaviour in some parts of the borough where Liveable Streets has been implemented.


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