Concern over plan to restrict car access near North Mid

Drivers travelling to the Edmonton hospital from Tottenham would be forced to use alternative routes, reports James Cracknell

The main entrance to North Mid is accessed via Bull Lane, where Enfield Council wants to install a bus gate restricting motor traffic
The main entrance to North Mid is accessed via Bull Lane

Motor vehicles will be restricted from using a route near North Middlesex University Hospital as part of a scheme designed to encourage drivers to cycle or walk to the hospital instead.

Enfield Council is currently consulting on the ‘active travel’ scheme for Bull Lane, which runs immediately to the west of North Mid and includes the access point for the hospital’s main entrance. However, residents have complained that the consultation – which closes on Sunday – has not been promoted widely enough and has left them with little time to raise concerns over hospital access.

The plan includes a bus gate at the southern end of Bull Lane, at the border of Enfield and Haringey boroughs, plus two ‘modal filters’ at Shaftesbury Road and Amersham Avenue, which would force private motor vehicles coming from Tottenham to use alternative routes to the hospital – either via the A10 and Wilbury Way, the North Circular Road and Sterling Way, or Pretoria Road and Bridport Road.

A segregated cycle lane would be constructed on the northern part of Bull Lane, providing a connection to the C1 cycle route which now runs through Pymmes Park and Fore Street in Edmonton.

Winchmore Hill resident Neil Littman, who regularly drove his partner from Tottenham to appointments at North Mid before she died in 2019, has described the council’s proposals as “potentially the most badly thought through active travel scheme I have encountered in Enfield”.

Neil has written to local councillors urging them to object to the proposed scheme and said: “A majority of appointments in the hospital where carers and family take people with disability there are journeys made by car, where there is no alternative.

“I know this from personal experience, having taken my late partner from accommodation in Tottenham to over 70 appointments between 2014 and 2019, when she passed away. She was unable to walk any distance and for much of that time reliant on a portable oxygen machine and also needed wheelchair access. Hence [she was] taken by car to the hospital either by myself or another carer, using a registered mobility vehicle.

“No matter how much time we allowed to get to appointments, if she was panicking due to breathing issues it was often a very difficult journey to get her to hospital in a reasonable time. If we had used any other of the available routes she would have suffered a great deal in terms of her health.”

A map of the active travel proposals for North Middlesex Hospital
A map of the active travel proposals for North Middlesex Hospital

For drivers wanting to reach the hospital from White Hart Lane, cutting off the route along Bull Lane would mean using either Pretoria Road or the A10 Great Cambridge Road to reach the hospital, with the former route passing through an industrial estate.

The council was asked to respond to some of these concerns but did not provide a comment before the consultation closing date on Sunday 31st October. It is understood that the chief executive of North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust has written a letter to the council expressing support for the scheme, although this has not been made publicly available.

The council web page promoting the scheme states that its aim is to “deliver a key active travel link which will provide improved access for key workers and visitors travelling to North Middlesex Hospital; provide a quieter, safer, and more pleasant route that will encourage people to use active travel modes for more of their journeys; reduce the volume of motor traffic on the part of Bull Lane south of its junction with Wilbury Way and Bridport Road, in order to encourage active travel”.

The council website adds: “This can result in some motor vehicle drivers having to use different routes to access their destination.”

Find out more about the scheme:
Visit letstalk.enfield.gov.uk/nmh-ati

Update (2/11):

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “North Middlesex University Hospital is an important asset to the community. As part of our response to the climate emergency, the council has ongoing plans to enable more active and sustainable forms of travel across the borough. Following the recent introduction of the new 456 bus service to the hospital, we are pleased to again work closely with the hospital, who are supportive of our plans, to improve the walking and cycling conditions for those who work at and visit the hospital. 

“We have published a map on our dedicated project page which shows the plans, which includes cycle lanes and improved pedestrian crossings. Prior to the consultation we have carried out as range of engagement events which have included working closely with both the hospital and the London Ambulance Service, along with holding in person community events and online webinars. We will carefully consider further comments received through the consultation period.

“The plans will create more travel choices, but people will continue to be able to drive to the hospital via a series of routes, which are included on the project page.

“Emergency services will be exempt from the traffic restriction of the proposed bus gate on Bull Lane and will be able to continue to pass through it unimpeded, therefore enabling improved access to North Middlesex Hospital for critical cases.”