Bid to stall progress on latest low traffic schemes in Enfield rejected

Scrutiny committee votes to reconfirm Enfield Council cabinet decision to move to phase two of plans for LTNs in Edmonton Green and Bowes Park, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

Nesil Caliskan (inset left) and Alessandro Georgiou (inset right) clashed over the latest LTN proposals for the borough
Nesil Caliskan (inset left) and Alessandro Georgiou (inset right) clashed over the latest LTN proposals for the borough

A scrutiny committee has rejected a request to review the decision to progress with plans for two new low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in Bowes Park and Edmonton Green.

Conservative group leader Alessandro Georgiou led a call-in of the Enfield Council cabinet report which progressed the latest plans and, in his speech at an overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Monday (15th), said he wanted the decision reconsidered.

Cllr Georgiou said his issue wasn’t with the “principle” of LTNs but the “strength” of the report, consultation, engagement and what had been “included and excluded”. 

He added the initial responses to the call-in from the council had been “very poor” and “didn’t engage” with the reasons for the call-in. 

Listing the problems, the opposition group leader said the public consultations on the two LTNs was “entirely business focused” and hadn’t sufficiently considered the views of residents and impact on them. 

The schemes were subject to an initial public engagement last autumn and then a public consultation in February

The ‘Bowes East Quieter Neighbourhood’ will encompass seven streets to the east of Green Lanes and south of the North Circular. The proposed area is close to the existing Bowes Primary Area Quieter Neighbourhood, first installed in 2020 and made permanent in 2022.

The ‘Edmonton Green Quieter Neighbourhood’ is much larger and will cover more than 50 residential streets in total. The area is situated to the east of Fore Street and north of the North Circular.

Both schemes will introduce a range of measures with the aim of restricting traffic to residential vehicles and improving air quality and road safety within the designated areas.

The two LTNs introduced in Palmers Green and Bowes Park four years ago both proved highly contentious locally.

At Monday’s scrutiny committee council leader Nesil Caliskan acknowledged that LTNs could be controversial and different views being held was a “given”. 

But she said she was “confident” in the cabinet member’s decision and the  decision-making process, and expected if it was referred back for reconsideration the outcome would be the same, suggesting this was a “time wasting” move.

In response to the comment the public had not been engaged with sufficiently and especially compared to businesses, she said there had been a demand on previous schemes for more business engagement. 

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Cllr Caliskan said: “To emphasise, this is phase one of the engagement and in previous traffic schemes there was strong feedback that officers and local authorities needed to put additional effort into engaging with businesses, which is why there was a renewed effort in doing that this time.

“I don’t believe it was at the expense of residents, I think it was proportionate.”

Cllr Georgiou also claimed LTNs “reduced” response times for emergency services and would increase traffic and pollution levels on surrounding roads, using Green Lanes as an example of a boundary road to the existing Fox Lane LTN that suffered from a “high level” of traffic. 

Businesses were still affected, he said, as he explained he’d spoken with a business owner on Myddelton Road who had experienced a “significant drop in trade” as a consequence of the existing Bowes Park LTN.

Cllr Georgiou said: “This is what I can’t stand about these reports – ‘yes we’ve noted it’, ‘yes these people have said’ – [but] we need the mitigating factors up front rather than ‘we’re going to put them in’.

“With the greatest respect that hasn’t happened with consultations to date.”

He also claimed that the council’s equality impact assessments hadn’t been thorough, as he believed the LTNs would negatively impact protected groups. 

In terms of reducing access to emergency services, Cllr Caliskan said “no scheme” would be signed off by “this local authority” if it was objected to by emergency services. 

“It’s not just me saying that, it is the law, we cannot, if there is a statutory objection from the blue light services, then we don’t go ahead with the scheme,” she said.

“To date there has not been an objection to it. I have to say, delays to blue light services are probably more to do with the state of public services in this country and less about LTNs.”

The council leader added that saying something was “fact” didn’t make it so, and that delivering LTN schemes was a well-documented process. 

In terms of consultation stages, she added that, so far, phase one of the consultation had taken place and phase two would focus on the design. She accepted people wanted “as much” information upfront as possible and it was “hard” to generate the level of engagement the council would like.

She said the point was to allow “co-design” and “co-production” and to allow residents to take part and mentioned “crucially” the traffic modelling process was set to take place and happened before phase two. 

“This report that is being called, the report itself isn’t a sign-off on any scheme, it’s about getting the key decision in place so the next phase as part of the consultation process can happen.

“Of course there would have to be a statutory consultation anyway, a key decision before this scheme could be implemented.”

When it came to the vote, committee members voted along party lines to reject the Conservative group’s call-in and reaffirm the Labour administration’s original decision.

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