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Protesters set to grill council over latest Stoke Newington road closures

PUBLISHED: 17:35 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:49 12 January 2018

Traffic in Nevill Road. Picture: Hackney Council

Traffic in Nevill Road. Picture: Hackney Council

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Campaigners fighting plans for more road closures in Stoke Newington will get their chance to grill council chiefs at a meeting on Monday night.

Dozens of people who live in the Wordsworth Road area oppose the plans. (Picture: Ed Gyurko).Dozens of people who live in the Wordsworth Road area oppose the plans. (Picture: Ed Gyurko).

The town hall says there has been a surge in “aggressive driving” in Walford Road, Brighton Road and Nevill Road as a result of closures around nearby Wordsworth Road in October 2016.

Those initial measures, intended to make the Cycle Superhighway 1 (CS1) route safer, sparked protests from some neighbours, including a doctor’s surgery that said its patients would need to take a longer route.

And the second round of closures proposed have brought more complaints, many from 1,000-plus who have already written to criticise the original closures.

“The council were warned by residents that the first set of closures would cause traffic displacement,” campaigners said in a letter seen by the Gazette. “In fact, their own 2016 consultation report admits this could happen but does not provide any solutions or mitigation.

“Predictably, traffic on these roads has doubled, with an upsurge in road rage and pollution on specific junctions that has to be addressed.”

The William Patten School in Church Street has also urged parents to respond to the consultation, with head Karen Law saying the plans would see more cars around the school, undermining the work the school has done to reduce air pollution in the playground.

The protesters have suggested the original closures be reversed so the town hall can “look at the entire traffic picture”.

"We have to enable more walking and cycling and reduce local emissions – removing through traffic from residential streets is a tried and tested way of doing that."

Cllr Feryal Demirci

But the council has other ideas.

Transport chief Cllr Feryal Demirci said the whole point of the scheme was to “reclaim roads from motor traffic congestion”, not divert drivers.

“We take air quality extremely seriously and want to do everything we can to reduce children’s exposure to toxic air,” she said. “We have installed a detailed continuous monitoring station by William Patten school and will publish the results of an audit with recommended actions to reduce pupils’ exposure to air pollution.

“We have to enable more walking and cycling and reduce local emissions – removing through traffic from residential streets is a tried and tested way of doing that.”

Cllr Demirci said there would be a maximum increase of 5 per cent in eastbound traffic and 7pc westbound, which would “not result in any appreciable worsening of air quality outside the school”.

She added the town hall is also looking at moving the bus stop outside William Patten and expects air pollution to actually improve in the area over the next year as a result.

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