Added: 1 February 2021
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in the Osterley and Spring Grove (OSG) Area
The Government and TfL have provided funding for councils to install low traffic neighbourhoods in areas such that drivers can only use major routes other than for access – effectively turning many side roads into cul-de-sacs. Not every London borough has taken this up, but Hounslow has. The way of implementing these would be by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) like in the cul-de-sacs round the Nishkam School, or by planters blocking off the roads.
- Osterley’s LTNs
The effect on Osterley and Spring Grove is that there are seven LTNs planned for the area, of which 3 only cover cul-de-sac vicinities like the Wyke Estate. The key ones are therefore the top four.
- LTN 22b Whole of main Osterley Village area up to Wood Lane
- LTN 26a Osterley St Mary’s Church and Spring Grove area (called Isleworth North)
- LTN 26c Burlington / Spencer Road area plus a couple of cul-de-sacs off Thornbury Rd to the West
- LTN 26d Northumberland Estate
- LTN 66 Sidmouth Avenue
- LTN 57 Wyke Estate
- LTN 56 Oaklands Avenue
You can see a map showing these by clicking here.
The current state of play is that none of these has actually been implemented yet, and our local Councillors tend to support the option of ANPR rather than planters. The Osterley Village LTN is further back in the implementation timetable than the Isleworth North one and neither are now likely to go ahead before the London Mayoral election this May and there should be far more consultation than previously, especially with regard to the Osterley Village one, as instructed by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
- Survey conducted by OWGRA
OWGRA ran a survey in the autumn of 2020 to see how much support there was for the LTNs in the area, with the following results (summarised version thereof):
The results of the OWGRA survey were as follows:
General Principle of LTNs:
Other Response: 6.5%
Clearly this is an anti-LTN majority. Comments included – ‘if residents support then yes‘, and ‘it depends on the proposals’.
Method of LTN enforcement:
Planter / Blockage: 22%
Various comments included ‘No monitoring‘ and ‘They shouldn’t be‘ and other similar negative comments – one of the more positive ones included ‘More speed humps and speed cameras‘ and suggestions of using better road signs so that people are not confused. One pro ANPR comment said that residents should have free passage through.
These responses effectively confirm that people want ANPR access to their own area and planters are unpopular.
The repeated theme is for ‘rigorous consultation‘ with several respondents taking the opportunity to say again that they don’t want it.
One particularly cynical commenter observed that there should be no ‘cherry picking green propaganda‘
- At least one person is in favour of the council car reduction and active travel policies
- Several people say the area is ‘already low traffic‘ and thus the LTN is not needed.
- More than one respondent expresses specific concern about the prospect of queues tailing back on Thornbury Rd at the junction with the A4 if that becomes the only way through the area. During the past year the traffic on Thornbury Road has reduced, unsurprisingly, such that, about 5pm one day in the summer, there were hardly any cars in the queue, whereas when Osterley Road was closed for safety works, the queue was tailing back to Church Road. Of course, if people in the Isleworth North LTN could all get out through Osterley Rd, that would make life easier for them specifically.
- Several people suggested speed humps on St Mary’s Crescent possibly because it could provide a route through the Osterley Village area to avoid having too many cars going past the shops and Osterley Park gates if Jersey Road is permitted as a through route.
- At least one respondent mentioned the lack of public transport in the area as underlined by the poor PTAL (Public Transport Accessibility Level) rating. Another person mentioned that improving public transport should be part of a wider strategy to reduce car use rather than just the LTN method on its own.
- The disastrous fallout from the Northfields and Hanwell LTNs has not gone unnoticed by Osterley residents, with more than one respondent mentioning we need to beware the kind of design that has bedevilled them.
- One respondent does mention the prospect of the LTNs only operating during peak periods – this would reflect the School Streets approach.
- The Northumberland Estate LTN does get a specifically favourable comment
4. LTNs outside Osterley and Spring Grove
The only actual implementation of this type of restriction in the broader Isleworth area is the closure of several roads near West Middlesex Hospital to through traffic going from London Road to Twickenham Road to enable more walking and cycling. These are the parallel roads Teesdale Gardens, Teesdale Avenue, and Amhurst Gardens. That means you can’t drive down these roads from London Road at one end to Twickenham Road at the other unless you are accessing someone’s home or business premises, such as the Tesco Express car park. From Osterley, you thus need to go down St John’s Road or down to Busch Corner to get to Twickenham Road. This is despite relatively heavy footfall round the London Road and St John’s Road shops and the train station, and round the two Green Schools at Busch Corner. At least one Osterley resident has said that this increases their journey to work at West Middlesex Hospital. The roads are set up to be policed by ANPR so that the residents themselves can come and go from both ends and drive round the block. This helps reduce any traffic queues from the type of worst-case scenario that residents in Hanwell and Northfields have seen in their LTNs (in Ealing).
5. Scrutiny Committee Review within Hounslow
Such were the concerns of Chiswick Councillors and our own Councillor Richard Eason, amongst others, that the Council’s programme was taken to the Scrutiny Committee of the Ccouncil on November 30th, 2020.
The grounds for the call-in were:
- Inadequate consultation with stakeholders prior to the decision;
- Inadequate evidence on which to base the decision;
- The action was not proportionate to the desired outcome;
- A potential human rights or equalities challenge.
The Committee considered the grounds for call-in and made the following recommendations:
- There had been inadequate consultation prior to the decision. The Committee considered that Ward Councillors had not been consulted properly nor had stakeholders, people who are digitally excluded and people with protected characteristics.
- There was inadequate evidence on which to base the decision. The Committee believed modelling should have been done prior to the decision.
- The action taken was not proportionate to the desired outcome. Based on the evidence, the Committee found that in the design of Phase 3 local need and impact should have been considered.
- There were grounds for a potential equalities or human rights challenge. Based on the evidence they received, the Committee considered the equality impact assessment was inadequate.
Further details of the Committee’s decision can be found via this link
- Implications of recent court case relating to black cab access to Bishopsgate (in the City)
Recently a court case found that the general principle of these LTNs could be regarded as discriminatory towards people with protected characteristics. The specific findings of the case, providing TfL are unable to successfully appeal, are likely to mainly benefit cab drivers, which may include Uber or minicab drivers in the suburbs. However, if individual borough pressure groups have the same kind of success in local court cases against Councils, the LTN rollout may be halted.