‘They’re your figures Feryal’: Stoke Newington traders blast Hackney Council over ‘eco’ road closure plan

Traffic backed up along Stoke Newington Church Street

Traffic backed up along Stoke Newington Church Street - Credit: Jenna Fansa

A row about whether road closures will increase air pollution in Stoke Newington Church Street resurfaced at a council meeting last week.

The town hall wants to shut Walford Road and surrounding streets to through traffic to stop cars using residential streets as rat runs, which it claims will improve air quality and make the Cycle Superhighway 1 (CS1) route safer.

But although the council initially predicted an increase of 5pc to 7pc, or an extra 564 vehicles a day diverted to Church Street, revised council figures released in July showed it could see more than a 20pc increase.

The traders’ petition comes a year after parents at William Patten primary school handed in their own petition against the plans, when their representative also came head-to-head with deputy mayor Cllr Feryal Dermici.

This time around Matthew Dillon presented a deputation on behalf of Heidi Early of Earlybird Cards, complaining the council had turned the issue into “Church Street versus Walford Road”.

“We want a scheme that unites the whole community,” he said. “The cyclists, parents, businesses - not to make things worse for people who are already suffering. Many parts of the borough suffer from poor air quality, but these plans, according to Hackney’s own analysis, will move traffic from a relatively quiet area that has relatively good air quality, to a much busier one that has perhaps the worst air quality and highest levels of congestion in the area.

“The traders depend upon having a pleasant environment for people to enjoy.”

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Cllr Demirci told him: “We have admitted the initial assumptions were underestimated, but equally the figures quoted in the petition are overestimated. Any traffic modelling involves a degree of assumption rather than predictive certainty, however the figure quoted in the petition is an over simplification of a more detailed conversation and does not take into account real world area wide traffic modelling.”

A frustrated Mr Dillon exclaimed: “They’re your figures! They’re your figures! They’re your figures!”, as she continued speaking.

Cllr Sophie Cameron from Clissold ward said: “I am disappointed at the additional monitoring analysis isn’t available yet and results from last January are still not published.

Cllr Dermici said the air quality modelling data will be published 28 days ahead of a decision, which is expected next month.