Fresh row over LTN as consultation reopened

Enfield Council gives residents another chance to submit views on controversial scheme in Palmers Green and Southgate, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

The low-traffic neighbourhood scheme in the Fox Lane area is aimed at encouraging residents to walk and cycle instead of drive
The low-traffic neighbourhood scheme in the Fox Lane area is aimed at encouraging residents to walk and cycle instead of drive

Residents are being given another chance to submit their views on a low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) scheme after what a local campaign group claimed was a botched traffic order by Enfield Council.

The consultation on the Fox Lane low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) in Southgate and Palmers Green has been reopened for a further two months, but One Community Against The Fox Lane LTN claims the failure to reopen it earlier means the public were “significantly prejudiced by having their statutory right to object denied to them” after the original consultation closed in July.

In response, a council spokesperson said that “all objections received to date will be considered”.

The Fox Lane Area Quieter Neighbourhood was introduced by the council in September last year in a bid to improve air quality and road safety by stopping rat-running motor traffic in the area. Like other LTN schemes, it has seen residential streets closed to through traffic using a mixture of enforcement cameras and physical barriers such as bollards and planters. 

The LTN was implemented using a legislative tool known as an experimental traffic order (ETO), which can be trialled for a minimum of six months and a maximum of 18 months. The council subsequently modified the Fox Lane ETO in November last year to remove a modal filter in Conway Road and replace it with a camera.

One Community – an affiliation of residents and businesses opposed to the LTN – claims that in May this year, one of its members pointed out an error in the description of the traffic order to the council which meant it needed to be amended and the consultation run for a further six months. But it wasn’t until 27th October that the council emailed One Community to confirm it would reopen the consultation until 11th January.

Conservative councillor Maria Alexandrou, who represents Winchmore Hill ward where part of the Fox Lane LTN is situated, revealed she was not given advance warning about the consultation reopening.

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The council put posters in Fox Lane saying people can object until 11th January, but they did not tell the councillors. I had residents ringing me telling me this. I had no idea this was going on. They [the council] sent an email the next day.”

Cllr Alexandrou added that because she hadn’t known about it, she had been unable to give residents information about the consultation extension, which left her “absolutely fuming”. 

A council spokesperson said: “The Fox Lane Area Quieter Neighbourhood was implemented as a trial under an ETO, and the project has been under review since its implementation.

“Restrictions on travel due to Covid-19 were lifted fully in July 2021 and with schools returning in early September, a further set of traffic data was collected towards the end of that month to help assess the impacts of this trial. The council is now reviewing this data with the intention of publishing a report in the next few months.

“Following the comprehensive consultation that has already taken place, the council will continue to accept any feedback on the project until 11th January 2022. The project page on the council’s website communicates how residents can share any further comments. All objections received to date will be considered. 

“Letters have been distributed to homes and businesses in and around the area. The council will be providing a response to [the] One Community group in due course. We welcome engagement from across the community on these trials.”

One Community had previously threatened the council with legal action over what it considered to be flaws in the original consultation.

To take part in the Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood consultation:
Visit
https://letstalk.enfield.gov.uk/foxlaneQN