Quiet Streets scheme under fire after Ilford pensioner collapses while waiting for ambulance

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 October 2020

The Quiet Streets scheme has come under fire once again after a pensioner collapsed whilst waiting for an ambulance that was stuck in traffic in one of the affected areas. Picture: Roy Chacko

The Quiet Streets scheme has come under fire once again after a pensioner collapsed whilst waiting for an ambulance that was stuck in traffic in one of the affected areas. Picture: Roy Chacko


The Quiet Streets scheme has come under fire once again after a pensioner collapsed while waiting for an ambulance to arrive at his Ilford home.

Mohammed Akram, 81, is a dialysis patient who has suffered two strokes in the past five years.

His daughter-in-law Saniya Wasik explains that her husband Wasik Akram called an ambulance around 8.45am on Friday (October 2) after his dad reported feeling unwell.

While they were waiting for it to arrive at their home in Stanhope Gardens, the pensioner collapsed.

Saniya says the ambulance was unable to reach her father-in-law due to being “stuck in the traffic” on the junction between Stanhope and Highland Gardens.

“My father-in-law was lying shivering in the shower and we couldn’t pick him up. One paramedic came before the ambulance and as soon as he saw him, he called to check where the ambulance was. It took a good 15-20 minutes for it to arrive. The paramedic told my husband they were in traffic for 15 minutes until they had to get off to help it move.”

Mohammed has since been taken to The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, but due to coronavirus restrictions, his family couldn’t accompany him to the hospital. Describing the situation as “horrible”, Saniya says the entire family feel “helpless” while they sit at home.

This incident comes amid sustained and intense opposition to the Quiet Streets scheme which launched on September 14, with Stanhope Gardens part of the Cranbrook West area in which it operates.

A petition to remove the traffic-diverting planters installed in side roads has reached almost 4,000 signatures, and a group of Conservative councillors have requested that Redbridge Mayor Councillor Zulfiqar Hussain (Lab, Clementswood) hold an “extraordinary council meeting” to debate the trial.

Residents have been voicing their frustrations on the Barkingside Chaos facebook group, and more than 150 people did the same by attending a “Barkingsidechaos” meeting held on September 23.

The scheme continues to divide Redbridge Council; Labour remain in favour, with the Conservative group staunchly against.

Both groups have reacted to Friday’s incident — a spokesperson for Redbridge Council said: “We sent our highways team out immediately to assist with the build-up of traffic in the area and to help ease congestion.

“We were very sorry to hear about the unfortunate incident concerning the gentleman in Stanhope Gardens, and we wish him a speedy recovery. This particular area does tend to suffer from early morning traffic during the school run, which is normally exacerbated when you have exceptionally wet weather like today.

“The purpose of the Quiet Streets Scheme is to ultimately reduce traffic, rat-running, and pollution in residential streets. The whole scheme is a trial, and changes will be made based on resident feedback and assessment of their outcome. To officially submit feedback, we are asking residents to please go to our website:”

The Conservative group leader, Cllr Linda Huggett, reiterated her call that the scheme be reversed: “Redbridge Conservative group have requested an emergency council meeting where we have a motion calling for the reversal of the flawed Quiet Streets scheme.

“I have seen the video of the incident where an ambulance was severely delayed in reaching a resident who needed urgent medical attention. I understand that the ambulance driver had to leave his ambulance in order to try and attempt to move heavy traffic in the road.

“This is totally unacceptable and is yet another example of the chaos caused on many Redbridge roads by this scheme which does not have residents approval and nor were they properly consulted prior to the introduction of the scheme.

“London Assembly member for Havering and Redbridge Keith Prince described the situation as “ideology gone mad”: “The government money was meant for oven ready schemes but Redbridge Council saw the money and greedily used Sustrans to cobble together a poorly thought out scheme and then rushed it through without consultation.

“Having met with many residents now it’s clear they do not want it what’s worse we have seen a number of cases of the blue light services getting stuck and worse still we have seen a sharp rise in traffic accidents and people being seriously and fatally injured.

“I thought we lived in a democracy clearly not in Redbridge.”

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