Victory for residents as London council ditches proposals for hated low traffic neighbourhood

21 May 2023, 11:16

Residents have declared victory in their LTN battle
Residents have declared victory in their LTN battle. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

A London borough has ditched a controversial low traffic neighbourhood after residents railed against it.

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Southwark Council wanted to close a junction between Turney Road and Dulwich Village for the car-reduction scheme.

But it has dropped the idea after fuming residents responded to the proposals with anger. It would have been the sixth low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) in the area.

LTNs are designed to greatly reduce traffic in an area, allowing more space for walkers, cyclists and disabled people to get about, which promoters say makes routes safer and nicer to live in.

Barriers like planters are used to restrict traffic to just those who live there, while other drivers have to find alternative routes.

But critics say they could hinder the emergency services and frustrate car journeys, and have proved so controversial opponents have set fire to planters.

Labour in Southwark said introducing an LTN in Dulwich Village would "create more of a village feel" and provide the "safest, most accessible space" for walkers, cyclists and people using "mobility aids".

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Low traffic neighbourhoods have proved controversial in communities
Low traffic neighbourhoods have proved controversial in communities. Picture: Alamy

However, blue badge holders and disabled motorists were not going to be exempted from the restrictions.

This is thought to be the first time a Labour council abandoned plans for an LTN, with just one third of the 1,242 residents supporting its objectives.

Dulwich anti-LTN campaigner Clive Rates said it was a "victory for local residents and businesses" and told The Telegraph it shows "residents reject both the proposed closure and the original, discriminatory LTN".

Read more: Revolt of the resident ‘freedom fighters’ as hated LTN planters are torched - and driver clashes with eco-activists

He claimed Transport for London had said it was the "root cause" of congestion and slowed buses.

Councillor James McAsh, Southwark's cabinet member for clean air and streets, said: "After careful consideration of local traffic data, we have made the decision to retain vehicle access at the Turney Road location for now."

Residents opposed plans for the LTN in Dulwich
Residents opposed plans for the LTN in Dulwich. Picture: Alamy

He added: "We remain steadfast in our borough-wide commitment to improving air quality and lowering emission levels; reducing traffic levels; and promoting alternative travel options such as cycling and walking, but understand the importance of striking the right balance that takes into the views of our diverse community.

"We will now pursue other opportunities to improve the Turney Road environment between Boxall Road and Dulwich Village to support the needs of local pupils, pedestrians, and cyclists.

"We hope to do this in collaboration with local people to make sure new arrangements work for Dulwich residents."

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