Redbridge Mayor to decide on Barkingside ‘Quiet Streets’ trial debate

The Mayor of Redbridge must decide whether to hold an extraordinary meeting to debate the controversial Barkingside ‘Quiet Streets’ trial.

The trial, which funnels traffic down main roads by blocking side streets, began on September 14 and will last until roughly the end of the year.

It is intended to reduce traffic, pollution and accidents, but a petition calling for the council to reverse the changes has reached almost 4,000 signatures.

Five Redbridge Conservative councillors have submitted a request calling for an “extraordinary council meeting” to debate ending the trial.

The Mayor, Cllr Zulfiqar Hussain (Lab, Clementswood), will now decide whether to agree to allow the meeting.

The five councillors propose the scheme stops “until full public consultation has taken place”.

They also propose the council “reverse” any traffic schemes that “do not receive sufficient public support” and “consult fully” on any in future.

A final proposal states the council should “time limit all Covid-19 traffic measures so they are removed when no longer necessary”.

The council’s leadership has never stated the Quiet Streets scheme is purely a response to the pandemic.

Responding to criticisms of the scheme on September 16, Cllr John Howard (Lab, Aldborough), responsible for civic pride, said the council had “anticipated some strong views” but had also received a “range of positive comments”.

He said: “We appreciate there is a certain degree of apprehension around these measures, particularly about the displacement of traffic.

“If anything, research shows that low traffic neighbourhoods do not merely shift traffic from one place to another, but lead to an overall reduction in motor vehicle numbers.

“In a similar pilot carried out in Walthamstow village, there were 10,000 fewer vehicles every day and an overall decrease in traffic.

“The engagement boards that we’ve put up have attracted a lot of interest, and we will fully consider any feedback that we receive.”

The request for an extraordinary meeting was submitted by Conservative group leader Cllr Linda Huggett (Monkhams), Cllr Stephen Adams (Churchfields), Cllr Howard Berlin (Fairlop), Cllr Anita Boateng (Bridge) and Cllr Suzanne Nolan (South Woodford).

A council spokesperson said: “We received this week a request from the Leader of the Conservative Party for an Extraordinary Council Meeting about the Quiet Streets consultation that is currently taking place.

“The request will now be put to the Mayor of Redbridge for his consideration and decision.”

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter