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London Fields road closure plans look set to be scrapped

PUBLISHED: 16:38 27 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:38 27 May 2016

Middleton Road at 8.30am during rush hour

Middleton Road at 8.30am during rush hour

Archant

Hackney Council looks set to scrap controversial plans to shut off 13 roads in London Fields to through traffic, after a report found “a high level of opposition from those who would be affected”.

The five options in the consultation:

• Option 1: Closing 13 junctions to motor vehicles

• Option 2: Closing Middleton Road to through traffic at two locations

• Option 3: Lansdowne Drive bus gate with possible Middleton Road closure

• Option 4: Middleton Road width-restrictions

• Option 5: Residents were also asked to suggest alternative proposals

Last September the council announced the area was set for lock-down – with a trial penned in for January – in a project dubbed “one of the largest and most progressive of its kind in London” to deal with rat-running and “high volumes of non-local motor traffic using the residential streets”.

But neighbours were up in arms about the plans, and in December public pressure forced the council to concede to a consultation before ploughing ahead with the trial, because of “very strong feelings on both sides”.

While the eco-conscious welcomed a ban on traffic, others questioned whether there really was a “rat-running” problem in the area, and feared closing off 13 roads could exacerbate traffic on the main surrounding streets.

There were 2,063 responses received in the consultation, 1,288 of which were from addresses within the affected area.

Today it was announced a recommendation will be made to adopt option four of five, to introduce width-restrictions in Middleton Road – which is already part of TfL’s Bloomsbury to Walthamstow quietway, which aims to create a safer environment for cycling.

The report found there was a “high level of opposition” to closing 13 roads to motor vehicles from residents who would be most affected by the scheme.

But it states: “Significantly more responses from within the catchment area support option four rather than oppose it. This option would mean a reduction in traffic on Middleton Road and would remove the largest vehicles, which pose the greatest risk to cyclists.”

Town Hall sustainability lead Cllr Feryal Demirci said: “We have had a full and informed conversation about traffic management in the London Fields area with local residents as well as people from across Hackney.

“We have listened to and answered questions from residents throughout the discussion.

“Residents have told us the option they would prefer that we test out, so I will be taking a report to cabinet recommending this option is taken forward.”

Cabinet will discuss the report on July 18 and decide which, if any, of the options, to make a reality.

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