At a Full Council meeting on the 26th November, Harrow Conservatives proposed a motion which called on the Labour administration to remove all of their Street Space schemes. Harrow’s Conservative Councillors submitted this motion due to the thousands of residents who have signed petitions demanding the removal of these deeply flawed and unpopular schemes.
The Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) have increased journey times for thousands of residents, created bottlenecks at junctions, delayed emergency services, and left people feeling trapped in their streets. The Council’s strategic cycle lanes, according to the Council’s own data, are used by very few cyclists. But these cycle lanes have increased congestion and traffic jams on Harrow’s roads, which has worsened air quality as well as creating further stress for residents on top of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite numerous residents in the meeting criticising and condemning the schemes for the disruption and chaos they have brought to Harrow, the Council’s Labour leadership chose to disregard, patronise, and demean the concerns of residents. It is incredible that the Labour administration would so blatantly ignore the large and growing concerns of local people about these schemes.
Cllr Paul Osborn, Leader of Harrow’s Conservative Councillors, said “These schemes lack a democratic mandate due to the minimal engagement with residents prior to their implementation. The schemes should all be withdrawn so that there can be a thorough review, as well as a meaningful consultation with residents. Then, and only then, should any of these schemes be considered for reimplementation.”
Cllr Janet Mote, of Headstone North ward, raised concerns about the effect of these schemes on the mental health of local people. There is already a mental health crisis due to the drastic changes to daily life caused by Coronavirus. Cllr Mote worried that the stress and anxiety caused by the dire effects of the Council’s Street Space schemes has only exacerbated the problem.
Cllr Marilyn Ashton, Deputy Leader of Harrow Conservatives, stated “As a result of their decision not to extend the meeting, Harrow Labour prevented any discussion on the two other important motions about The London Living Wage and our motion to reduce high rise developments within Harrow. It is a shame that Labour Councillors felt that they could not stay up for another fifteen or thirty minutes to debate these important issues.”
Cllr Anjana Patel, Harrow Conservatives Environment spokesperson said “It is sad to see that the local Labour Party have become so out of touch with the concerns of local people. Harrow Conservatives will continue to challenge and scrutinise the Council’s flawed Street Space schemes, and Harrow’s Conservative Councillors will always work with residents to ensure their views are properly heard in the Council.”