Harrow Council’s November Cabinet meeting saw yet more complaints about the Labour administration’s Street Space schemes. 7 questions from members of the public, as well as a petition, were discussed during the meeting showing the distress and anger the Council’s roadblocks have caused. Unfortunately, residents did not receive clear answers to their questions or any promises of action on their concerns, instead the Labour leadership offered excuses and procrastination.
Leader of Harrow’s Conservative Councillors, Cllr Paul Osborn, pointed out that the ill-conceived Street Space schemes have mainly gone ahead in Labour wards because the local Labour Councillors failed to speak up for residents and oppose these schemes. In contrast, Conservative Councillors in Stanmore and Kenton successfully prevented the implementation of roadblock schemes which would have led to chaos on the roads.
Cllr Osborn and Cllr Anjana Patel highlighted the complete failure of Labour’s new cycle lanes in Honeypot Lane and the Uxbridge Road. They stated that these schemes have increased traffic jams and held up emergency service vehicles, while the usage of these lanes by cyclists has been minimal. Cllr Patel asked the Labour Cabinet member responsible if they had data to show the before, after and predicted usage levels of these cycle lanes. Sadly, Cllr Patel received a muddled, waffling answer with no mention of any statistics at all.
Cllr Chris Baxter spoke out on behalf of residents in Manor Way and Priory Way, who have seen a large increase in traffic and congestion due to the roadblocks installed in Southfield Park. He questioned whether a thorough assessment of the roadblocks’ consequences on surrounding roads had been carried out. It was clear from the jumbled answer Cllr Baxter received that no effort had been made to carry out a meaningful assessment of the impact of Southfield Park’s closure.
Cllr Marilyn Ashton, Deputy Leader of Harrow’s Conservative Councillors, again questioned the Labour Cabinet’s rigid aim to build a new Civic Centre. She stated that Covid-19 had clearly changed the residential and commercial property markets and that the Council was at risk of building a multimillion-pound Civic Centre which would be obsolete before it was even finished.
Cllr Ashton also questioned the Council’s commitment to equally challenge the Mayor of London’s proposed development of Canons Park, Rayners Lane, and Stanmore station car parks. While the Council does seem to be making a meaningful effort to oppose the proposal for Rayners Lane, which is in a Labour controlled ward, there does not seem to be the same level of commitment to Canons Park and Stanmore station car parks, which are in Conservative held wards. Harrow Conservatives will always speak up for all Harrow residents, regardless of their politics.