Quiet Streets scheme launched as residents claim it doesn’t fit Barkingside’s needs
PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:00 18 September 2020
As the first of the Quiet Streets planters have been installed in Barkingside, a group of residents have expressed their objections to the scheme.
Quiet Streets, which launched on Monday, September 14, is aimed at reducing rat runs and encouraging people to walk and cycle more, but some residents say it doesn’t fit Barkingside’s needs.
Cllr John Howard was on hand to inspect the new planters when a dozen residents told him their concerns about elderly people not being able to get around and how traffic could get clogged now that direct access to the main roads are blocked off at a number of points.
Andy Campbell, who has lived in Veronique Gardens for the last 20 years, will be cut off from directly accessing his garage around the corner on Ashurst Drive.
He said the real problem in the area isn’t traffic but crime and that the already quiet streets are what attract criminals there to begin with, adding: “Our local drug dealer rides a bike so there’s nothing stopping him from continuing to set up shop.”
Warren Grynberg, who has lived in the area since 1977, compared the feeling of being hemmed in to stories his dad would tell him as a Holocaust survivor.
He said: “It’s all come back to me, I’m terrified of being locked in.
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“When I’m in the car and I see a road closed sign, I feel horrified.
“It may sound ridiculous to someone in 2020 but that’s how I feel as a second-generation Holocaust survivor.”
Barkingside councillors have been inundated with messages from residents opposing the traffic scheme with some saying they will express their views at the ballot box if it becomes permanent.
Barkingside Ward Labour councillors Judith Garfield, Khaled Noor and Martin Sachs all welcome the scheme and said they recognise it has drawn some early opposition but are anxious to calm residents’ fears.
In a joint statement they said: “We strongly encourage residents to take part in the public consultation exercise.
“This really will influence the final location of the closures. We have three months to develop a really good scheme for South Barkingside”.
Cllr Linda Huggett, leader of the Conservative group, has called for the scheme to be halted until a proper consultation takes place.
Dan Kelly from cycling charity Sustrans, which is helping to deliver the project, said it was unfortunate that public consultations could not be done in Redbridge before the planters went up due to the emergency funding from TfL to address Covid-19.
He added: “Inaction is no longer an option.”
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