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Planters blocking off Redbridge roads as part of controversial ‘Quiet Streets’ trials will be removed over the next two weeks due to widespread opposition.
Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal announced on Twitter this morning (October 16) that the schemes in Barkingside South and Cranbrook West were being scrapped.
In mid-September, the council began blocking off residential roads in two areas to funnel traffic down main roads, inspired by Waltham Forest’s Mini-Holland.
It was expected that the trials, which aimed to reduce traffic, pollution and accidents, would last until “roughly the end of the year”.
The schemes have been unpopular with many, with more than 4,000 residents signing a petition against the Barkingside trial alone.
An email from a Barkingside councillor last week said the barriers would be replaced by CCTV after a fire engine was delayed reaching an incident.
However, Cllr Jas Athwal (Lab, Mayfield) announced today that the two trial schemes would instead be scrapped completely.
He wrote: “While this (scheme) has been successful, residents expected and deserved a thorough consultation prior to installing the schemes, which was not possible due to time restrictions placed on the council.
“As a result, many people were frustrated and I have heard this frustration.
“We are here to listen to our neighbours’ views and deliver the services, projects and infrastructure you want and deserve.
“In this case, you told us the Quiet Streets pilot was not working and, as a direct result, we are withdrawing the scheme.”
Cllr Athwal added that the council had received “some positive comments” and “significant support for the scheme’s principles” but would honour the “overwhelming response”.
He felt the schemes were successful in their intention to “reduce traffic in and around residential areas and stop rat-running”.
He also thanked both local residents for their feedback and ward councillors for passing residents’ comments on to the council.
Barkingside Action Team chairman Kartik Parekh, who spearheaded local opposition to the scheme, said residents “have been campaigning and opposing this for a month”.
He expressed his thanks for “the efforts of all residents” and London Assembly Member Keith Prince, who has raised questions twice at Mayor’s Question Time about the scheme.
He also thanked Conservative councillors Linda Huggett (Monkhams), Ruth Clark and Howard Berlin (both Fairlop).
Conservative councillors have been vocal in calling for an end to the scheme, with five submitting a request to the Redbridge Mayor for an “extraordinary council meeting” on the topic.
Mr Parekh added: “I just want to close by saying look at what we have achieved and say thank you to everyone for their support in this decision and U-turn by Cllr Athwal.”
The planters will be removed from the streets over the next two weeks and “repurposed”, although further details on what they will be used for were not given.
Last week, Cllr Martin Sachs (Lab, Barkingside) wrote an email, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, stating the planters would be removed “in response to the difficulties the emergency services have been experiencing”.
On October 3, the London Fire Brigade were delayed attending an incident in Mulberry Way after the wrong lock was used on a bollard, meaning the padlock had to be smashed open.