The London Borough of Greenwich are proposing to close a number of roads in the Westcombe Park and Maze Hill area to form a new Low Traffic Neighbourhood. This is the area to the east of Greenwich Park – they have already closed roads to the west. See map above of proposed closures.
Some of the closures will be “modal filters” (i.e. via bollards) such as on Maze Hill and Vanbrugh Hill which will be particularly inconvenient as these are key north/south roads between the A2 and Trafalgar/Woolwich roads. More traffic will be forced onto the main roads which are already heavily congested.
The Council is using a Commonplace web site to get feedback (and a badly designed set of questions at that), but that is not a proper way to do public consultation. This is some of what we have said before about that system:
The system is not an unbiased platform in that typically it is used to promote what a Council is planning to do – and that means after decisions have already been made to implement schemes.
It also has the problem that unlike a conventional public consultation only people who are internet enabled, and are even aware of the platform, can respond. This excludes a large number of people such as the elderly who are not internet connected or don’t spend much time on it. So it tends to be dominated by young activists and those active in local politics, i.e. the comments on it are unrepresentative of the wider population. Indeed information received from Lewisham Council about their feedback on the Lee Green LTN said that they received 9,200 comments but they were from only 3,490 respondents. Many of the comments are repetitive and there is no attempt to stop duplicate comments so the system can be exploited by organised activist groups such as cyclists.
Wildly inaccurate comments can also be made on the platform with no “rebuttal” possible – you can only “Agree” with comments, not “Disagree” with them and you cannot comment further in response. Clearly there are many people commenting who are not directly affected, and those that are affected just give very polarised comments. The comments are not helpful in determining a sensible compromise to meet the needs of the majority.
In summary, Commonplace is a system that can be used by Councils to claim they are “listening” to residents when in reality it is not a fair and honest way to collect the views of all residents. It is not an alternative to a proper public consultation and is more designed to promote the views of scheme promoters than collect unbiased information.
But I would encourage anyone affected by this scheme in Greenwich to post their comments anyway – go to: https://greenersafergreenwich.commonplace.is/proposals/westcombe-park-and-maze-hill-area-low-traffic-neighbourhood
There is strong opposition to the LTNs in Enfield. A report on Guido Fawkes web site says that “The leader of loony left Enfield Council has reported the opposition to the police for calling her regime a regime”. Apparently a tweet said that the Conservative Councillors had repeatedly called Enfield Council a ‘regime’ – insults with islamaphobic undertones it was claimed.
Guido Fawkes suggests this is regular political language and that the complainant, Nesil Casliskan, is a complete idiot. This writer agrees with Guido. When there is a deficit in democracy, as there is in Enfield and many other Labour controlled boroughs, then calling it a “regime” is very appropriate.
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