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Southwark Council scraps one low-traffic neighbourhood – and starts another a few streets away

Southwark Council is scrapping a planned low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) scheme in Borough because of “safety concerns”, while trialling a new one a few streets down.

The plan was to make the part of Webber Street that runs west from Blackfriars Road to Waterloo and the Cut be just for people riding bikes.

The council unveiled the planned scheme in March this year as part of Sadiq Khan’s streetspace programme to promote safe cycling and other forms of active travel in London. It was due to come into effect around Easter but never did.

A notice published last Thursday, October 28, by Dale Foden, the council’s head officer for highways, environment and leisure said: “The Blackfriars LTN trial is not proceeding in its original form due to safety concerns at the Blackfriars Road/Webber Street junction.” The order came into force on Monday, November 1.

But a separate scheme is due to come in on Thursday, November 4, to promote walking and cycling and discourage people from driving cars around Webber Street, the council said in another notice published the same day.

The trial will make Baron’s Place, which links Waterloo Road and Webber Street, into a one-way street going north east. That means traffic will not be able to turn left into Baron’s Place from Webber Street or come straight into it from Valentine Place.

Cars will not be able to turn left into Webber Street from Valentine Place, although bikes will still be allowed. No one will be able to turn left or right into Valentine’s Place from Webber Street.

A council spokesperson said: “As part of our work to encourage greener and safer travel on the borough’s roads, we had originally proposed a Streetspace scheme that included carrying out changes to Blackfriars Road. As the road is actually looked after by Transport for London (TfL), the proposal was assessed to review the effects on bus journey times on this important route.

“Following discussions with TfL, we’ve redesigned the scheme so the overall layout of the road doesn’t really change. However, there are some new elements introduced to discourage general vehicle use, including a banned turn and one-way roads.”

LTNs have become a discussion point in Southwark since they were first introduced amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Southwark Council cites government guidelines on improving air quality and safety for pedestrians in key areas, but many residents complain that the system simply diverts these issues elsewhere, and discriminates against those who rely on vehicles to get around.

A demonstration in Dulwich last month against an LTN there gathered an estimated 1,000 people. A survey carried out by Southwark Council found that more than 3,000 people in Dulwich – between 64 and 69 per cent – said they wanted the system scrapped, compared with just 800 who wanted to keep them.

The council said the survey was never a ballot. “Restricting traffic and parking is not popular, but it is necessary,” Cllr Catherine Rose, cabinet member for transport, parks and sport, said to the News at the time.


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