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Review of the Year: Battle lines drawn over divisive low traffic neighbourhood scheme 

The divisive introduction of low-traffic-neighbourhoods in July 2020 continued into 2021, with a year of protests, celebrations, and even an attack on a café.

The huge changes were put in place by Southwark Council, but came as a government directive and were soon all over London – pitting local authorities who disagreed with their neighbour’s layouts against each other.

Some of the most vocal opposition came from traders who were struggling to survive the financial devastation wrought by the pandemic, including Melbourne Grove traders in East Dulwich and shopkeepers around Walworth.

One protest this year reached over a thousand people, and further had their numbers bolstered by the elderly and movement-impaired who felt their needs had been ignored by the new directive.

A thousand voices cry out against Dulwich LTNs

This group argued that they were being prevented from the equipment they sorely needed to attend doctor’s appointments and maintain a social life, and took to the council offices to fight their cause this December.

However, it was not all peaceful protests. In one egregious instance of LTN kickback, two moped drivers spent their Sunday morning attacking a café on Calton Avenue after they were told they couldn’t drive down the street.

Luckily no one was seriously harmed in the attack – but it highlighted just how incendiary the issue had become.

‘Complete and utter mayhem’ as moped drivers attack Dulwich café in LTN meltdown

For some in Dulwich, though, LTNs were not the awful imposition from the council that so many protested they were.

As seems to be common among local government policy, however, the issue for many lay not in the concept of LTNs themselves, but rather in the way they were implemented – and, particularly, in the way the people had been consulted on the topic.

In many of the protests, a consistent theme has not been removing LTNs altogether, but accounting for those who cannot adapt so easily to them, as well as making alternative green transport cheaper.

And on Christmas Eve, Dulwich residents were shocked to discover LTNs were likely to become permanent.

Shocking filler: LTN outrage in Dulwich

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