July 7, 2022
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Cabinet Meeting January | Brent Cycling Campaign

Ahead of the Cabinet Council meeting on Monday 17 January, we wrote to Cllr Butt to express our extreme frustration at the entire process of how many of the active travel trials, especially the Healthy Neighbourhood schemes, have been conducted. Let’s not forget that the pop-up cycle lane was removed abruptly before the end of the consultation for dubious reasons like removing the wands for cleaning. They never made it back. We never had a report or a recommendation on that.

Watch the recording (from 9:54).

As council leader, Cllr Butt bears ultimate responsibility for their failure, as well as a total failure to
implement adopted Brent Council policies and follow guidance from the Department for
Transport (DfT) and Transport for London (TfL).

We have numerous questions detailed in the letter below and are looking forward to reading the reply.

Over £350,000 of emergency funding was awarded to Brent to complete the implementation of 9 Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) schemes by September 2020. By March 2021, the Active Travel Programme was in tatters despite being underpinned by the Council’s Strategic objectives as well as a number of adopted policies. School Streets is all that remains. But, it was always the council aim to roll out these schemes throughout the borough ever since the first two pilots 3 years ago.

Brent Council keeps stating their commitment, while at the same time weakening or removing active travel trial schemes. We need deeds, not words.

Brent Council keeps explaining this failure by having not managed to “bring the residents with us”. But they are demonstrably not understanding the engagement and consultation processes. TfL and DfT guidance provided the framework to effectively deliver LTN schemes based on a mountain of evidence from long-established schemes, research and good practice.

TfL’s ETO guidance: https://content.tfl.gov.uk/guidance-for-delivery-of-experimental-healthy-streets-schemes-oct21.pdf

Questions-to-Brent-Cabinet-January-2022

You can also download the letter here.

Brent Cycling Campaign

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2 COMMENTS

  1. David W Posted on January 22, 2022 at 9:58 pm

    My feeling is that the Preston scheme failed because the council failed to sell it to the car owners. In particular, they based the argument on the idea that people weren’t walking because of the danger from rat running from outsiders, which didn’t seem to me to be a real problem. Once you remove outsiders, it became a threat to the freedoms of the local car owners.

    Whilst it is true that too few people actively participated of those motivated to participate, it was fairly obvious that the majority were against, particularly in the fixed meeting, where most probably came by car.

    What came across to me, quite strongly, was one of the biggest reasons cited for short car journeys was the fear of street crime, even though it is actually a relatively low crime area. People strongly wanted to pick people up from the local stations (no more than about 15 minutes walk, from the furthest point), to protect them from being attacked in the dark. A variation on that probably applies for children going to school, but that wasn’t specifically discussed in the meetings. (My feeling is that, whilst the risks are overstated, car usage has significantly abandoned the pavements to criminals and the poor, and the real way to reduce street crime is for the law abiding to use the streets.)

    I’ll probably have more to say later, once I’ve merged my thoughts with the open letter’s contents (it would have been nice to have that as a proper document, rather than an embedded set of images), although some of that may be about the away it was run encouraging a culture of ignoring laws except when there is policeman or camera present.

    Reply
    1. Sylvia Gauthereau Posted on February 21, 2022 at 7:25 pm

      Thank you David for your thorough comment and apologies for the late reply to it. We will put the letter in a PDF form to download to make it easier to digest for this post and in the future. A lot went wrong indeed during this process and more information in general and in particular for drivers would have been beneficial to local residents. Other boroughs had a map specifically for drivers for instance which helped with making them full participants to change. Your point about the fear of crime is interesting and should have been addressed as part of that conversation as it warrants some sort of reassurances from local councillors and perhaps the local police. It is a shame that we are now where we are, as interventions that prompt more people to walk or cycle about in a neighbourhood usually lead to more natural surveillance and help make a space feel safe when more people are out and about. It is also a deterrent to petty crime.

      Reply
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