Waltham councillors get the hump over speed humps

Calls for Waltham Forest Council to review the impact of speed humps on residential properties were dismissed by Labour at a council meeting last week.

The meeting saw two residents from the north of the borough, which has seen a number of new speed humps and tables installed in recent years, directly addressing councillors with complaints about noise and vibrations as vehicles pass over recently installed traffic measures.

Labour rejected a follow-up Conservative motion calling for an “independent review” of what effect speed hump related vibrations have on nearby buildings.

While several Conservatives urged the council to “test” the bumps in response to complaints, only one Labour member, deputy leader Clyde Loakes, spoke before his group dismissed the motion.

Cllr Loakes said speed humps and tables are the “only option” the council has to slow down vehicles and make neighbourhoods “safe for all”.

He added that a “clear and strict” design code governs the traffic measures but failed to address the question of what impact vibrations might be having on residents’ homes.

Emma Best said: “We’re not saying take the humps out, just test them, then we can have it in black and white and you can have it.

“Ask yourself why hundreds of residents are getting together and why people have come here tonight.”

During the meeting, it emerged that at least three Chingford residents who had asked to address councillors about the impact on their lives were rejected by council officers

Instead, council staff organising the meeting gave two of the four available public speaking slots to residents who spoke strongly in favour of anything “traffic calming”.

Chingford resident Shanta Prasad, who has played a key role in raising concerns about the impact of the traffic measures, said the council had used “unscrupulous methods” during the public consultation to push them onto residents.

She added that the evidence underpinning the council’s support for humps as an effective way of slowing down traffic was decades out of date and not relevant to East London.

Yvonne Johnson, resident of Waltham Way, where several speed humps have recently been installed, said they fail to slow heavy goods vehicles down while causing “earthquake-like” vibrations in her home from as early as 4:30am.

The debate over the Conservative motion became heated at moments, with Cllr Best interrupting Cllr Loakes mid-speech to complain that he was not directly addressing the issue.

Cllr Loakes in turn shouted “come on” at Mayor Roy Berg, who chairs full council meetings, in the belief that he had been denied extra time to speak due to Cllr Best’s interruption.

The final Conservative speaker, Cllr Jemma Hemsted, said it was “astonishing” that no Labour members had volunteered to speak during the debate, despite voting to dismiss the motion.

Cllr Hemsted also singled out her fellow Valley ward councillor Elizabeth Baptiste, suggesting she “couldn’t even be bothered” to reply to residents’ concerns.

To watch the full meeting, click here: https://civico.net/walthamforest/18118-Council


Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter