Over 5,000 people responded to the public consultation on improvements to four areas spanning west London from Wood Lane to Notting Hill in May, TfL has announced. A large majority of respondents said the scheme would enable more people to walk and/or cycle in the area, the consultation report released today reveals. Over 70 per cent thought proposals would enable more people to walk, 58 per cent more people to cycle. Most respondents also felt the schemes would reduce motor traffic journeys in the area.
Full results for the consultation, appendix documents detailing responses by borough and stakeholders, and the original materials are available here.
A “vast majority” opposed?
Infamously, despite having prior sight of the scheme, Kensington & Chelsea’s Councillors attacked the consultation for the sections in their borough – before the consultation even closed – and disowned the scheme developed with their officers. In opposing the scheme, the council said it “supports cleaner and more active modes of transport in our borough and across London” but… “the vast majority of our residents, whom we are determined to serve and to represent, do not support these proposals”. It turns out, however, this simply isn’t true.
Many residents associations, businesses and celebrities openly waged a propaganda war against the Kensington & Chelsea parts of the scheme, particularly around the Holland Park Avenue section, including some truly hyperbolic and apocalyptic views on what the scheme would do. Despite that, nearly half of Kensington & Chelsea respondents to the consultation felt the scheme would lead to more people cycling, and only 6% said it would lead to fewer people cycling.
Similarly, over one fifth (22%) of residents felt it would lead to more walking and nearly a quarter of residents also said it would lead to fewer personal motor journeys. It’s difficult to see this as “the vast majority” of local opposition that had been portrayed by councillors and the council – indeed, it would suggest that quite a large proportion of local residents (nearly half of all respondents said they were residents “living close to the proposed scheme”) think the scheme will deliver better, safer cycling and walking and lead to fewer car journeys.
Since the consultation ended, residents who are in favour of the scheme are increasingly grouping together in our newly revitalised Kensington & Chelsea Cycling Campaign and the sibling Better Streets for Kensington & Chelsea group. There are clearly many residents in the area who are sick of hostile streets to cycle on, or not being able to cycle at all – and indeed of the road danger on streets like Holland Park Avenue everyone faces. And the new groups include parents keen for their children to be able to walk and cycle to schools.
During the consultation there was widespread condemnation of Kensington & Chelsea’s stance on cycling and the proposals, and indeed of the myths and misinformation being put forward by most of the opposition. And the very real road dangers to both pedestrians and cyclists on Holland Park Avenue were ignored by those against. Will Norman, the Walking & Cycling Commissioner, said at the time that K&C’s opposition was a “cynical political stunt… People will die and suffer serious injuries as a direct result of this.” We hope that K&C Councillors now reflect on the very real need for the scheme and work with the Commissioner and TfL.
TfL is moving forward with the Hammersmith & Fulham section of the scheme as the borough supported it. In K&C, TfL has developed a series of potential improvements that could satisfy many of the concerns raised, most notably protecting 20 out of 25 trees along the route that were originally proposed to be removed. In the meantime, Kensington & Chelsea also declared a climate emergency in October, committing the council itself to be carbon neutral by 2030, and setting an “ambition” for the entire borough to be by 2040. It’s hard to see how the council can simultaneously declare a climate emergency, achieve these targets and oppose schemes aiming to reduce motor car use, boost walking and cycling. Those schemes will be vital to cut carbon, fast – regardless of what some residents feel about their cars.
Since the consultation closed, TfL has held initial discussions with the borough regarding these improvements and will now widen discussions to include “local residents’ groups, businesses and other organisations” before it sets out a path forward hopefully.
We hope the council listen to the broad sweep of opinions rising from the consultation, not just those residents and associations that shouted most loudly against (and as their responses summarised in the report show with volume, but not always knowledge, evidence, or expertise). We hope the council recognises those concerns most voiced have been answered. And we hope the council acts to enable cycling in its borough by moving forward this scheme, with amendments.
Quotes from the press release
Clare Rogers, Community Outreach Worker for central London at London Cycling Campaign, said:
The route along Wood Lane to Notting Hill has long been a hot spot for fatalities and serious injury to pedestrians and cyclists. These new proposals are a much needed safety improvement for everyone already using the route, and will make it easier and safer for many more people to walk and cycle and to leave their cars at home – cutting air pollution, congestion and carbon emissions.
The results of this consultation demonstrate that Londoners agree the proposals will improve conditions for walking and cycling. With amendments now proposed to the plans, to take into account concerns raised, we look forward to Kensington & Chelsea’s councillors, businesses and residents working with TfL to deliver these vital cycle safety improvements.”
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said:
There has been a fatality and a number of serious injuries on this stretch of road over recent years, so these proposals are about keeping Londoners safe and saving lives. I’m really pleased that the consultation has shown such strong support for the plans, with a clear majority of people understanding the difference they will make enabling more walking and cycling, and making the area safer for everyone.
TfL is continuing to work with Kensington and Chelsea on the details of the plans to ensure they are the very best they can be, and they will continue to ensure the views of all residents are taken on board.”
Gareth Powell, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said:
Our proposals between Wood Lane and Notting Hill Gate would make a real difference to everybody in the area, making streets much safer, more pleasant and more welcoming place to be. We’ll continue speaking to local people about our proposed changes and I look forward to agreeing a scheme which works for everyone.”
Londoners support K&C cycle scheme, reveals TfL – LCC
Over 5,000 people responded to the public consultation on improvements to four areas spanning west London from Wood Lane to Notting Hill in May, TfL has announced. A large majority of respondents said the scheme would enable more people to walk and/or cycle in the area, the consultation report released today reveals. Over 70 per… [Read More]