Anger over 20mph speed limit plans in Hampstead Garden Suburb
PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 January 2016
Hampstead Garden Suburb campaigners have rejected council proposals for a 20mph speed limit to ‘improve school safety’.
A demonstration was held outside Brooklands School calling on Barnet Council to withdraw the plans.
Members of the Suburb’s residents’ association had previously voted against the council’s revised School Travel Plans at a meeting attended by 120 people.
The proposals include a zebra crossing outside Brooklands School with the speed limitations extending from Ossulton Way to Brookland Rise.
Loren Loeb, a resident of Hill Top who attended the protest, explained her priority is stopping the zebra crossing.
Ms Loeb said: “It is due to be installed directly outside my house and most people who know the area believe it will actually be more dangerous to have the crossing there.”
Gary Shaw, secretary of the residents’ association, is also critical of the zebra crossing proposals which he believed would be an “atrocity” in the conservation area.
He said: “The crossing would decrease parking, create light pollution and people who know the area know that it would not actually make it any safer.”
Mr Shaw added that members of the Residents’ Association feel the council is not considering the specific needs of the area.
He said: “There is no need for the new speed limit because driving speeds never exceed 20 during the school drop-off anyway and residents do not want to feel criminalised for driving over 20mph.”
Malcolm Ferguson, a consultant architect who also lives on Hill Top, has written to the council about the “completely unnecessary” proposals which he describes as a “waste of taxpayers’ money”.
The letter contains ten points against the proposals which repeatedly refer to concerns regarding the safety of the zebra crossing.
Mr Ferguson wrote: “The survey has not been adequately researched, paying little attention to how
parents and children arrive at and leave the school and has all the appearance of being a desktop exercise.”
Mr Ferguson’s views are mirrored by many other residents and Mark Swenarton, who was at the meeting, has highlighted his doubts concerning the council’s motivation for the project.
He said: “Many residents believe the proposal does not derive from the desires of either the residents or the schools, but simply to make more money for Capita.”
Much of the frustration of Suburb residents comes from the opinion that Capita, a private company providing services for local authorities, does not have enough local knowledge to draft effective traffic plans.
Funding for the project comes from Transport for London’s School Travel Plan grant - provided for specific school safety projects - and the council proposes to outsource the work to Capita.
Cllr Gabriel Rozenburg, who attended the meeting on behalf of Barnet Council, said the council would “listen carefully” to the views of the residents.
He said: “20mph zones are an important safety measure, but are not always appropriate. The meeting showed that there is a strong feeling that these plans do not suit the particular circumstances of the streets involved. Whatever is decided, the safety of our children will be our top priority.”