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Council taking wrong turn with roadworks

PUBLISHED: 14:42 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:42 07 September 2010

SAFETY measures on a major West Hampstead road have been slammed as misguided by residents. New speed limits, a zebra crossing and other traffic calming measures have been planned for the area around Mill Lane. But traders and transport groups

Ed Thomas

SAFETY measures on a major West Hampstead road have been slammed as "misguided" by residents.

New speed limits, a zebra crossing and other traffic calming measures have been planned for the area around Mill Lane.

But traders and transport groups think the money could be better spent on other schemes.

"The council is doing work without consulting in the locality," said architect and chairman of the Mill Lane Traders Association, Yiannis Pareas.

"They should be coming out here and talking to us, as we are all very keen to talk about Mill Lane and the pockets of streets in the area.

"We have been crying out for loading bays outside some of the businesses, like Brandon Tool Hire. Vans have to stop on the road and then block buses and traffic.

"And so many people are complaining about the traffic lights installed on the junction with West End Lane.

"They only let three or four cars through at a time, then cars are queuing up and send pollution right into the school."

Simon Wakeling, manager of the Brandon Tool Hire shop, fears he will go out of business because of the measures.

He said: "They widened the pavements and got rid of parking and loading bays, so we have to park our vans on the road to unload heavy machinery.

"We get tickets every day, at £60 a time. And customers are getting ticketed as well, so they don't use us anymore.

"We've been here 20 years but we can't go on like this. The council is driving us out of business."

On top of the new measures there is already confusion over the speed limit on the road with one sign for a 20mph zone and another for 30mph zone within yards of each other.

There are also ongoing Thames Water works in Sumatra Road, Pandora Road and Narcissus Road causing traffic tailbacks.

Virginia Berridge is the chairwoman of West Hampstead Amenity and Transport group (What).

She said: "We are worried the council's consultation has merely been formulaic.

"It was a tick-box exercise and bosses haven't given enough attention to the comments people gave.

"We understand traders would like more loading bays on Mill Lane. But we are also concerned for pedestrians and about the tail-backs from the unwanted traffic lights at the junction with West End Lane.

"A study into pollution levels affecting the school was carried out and we have been asking for the results, but so far they have not been made available."

Camden Council insists proper consultation was carried out. A spokeswoman said: "We are improving Mill Lane to make it better and safer for pedestrians using the shops and community facilities in the area and the majority of local residents and businesses supported the proposals during the consultation.

"The proposal is for two new zebra crossings, some raised entries off Mill Lane to slow drivers down and a reduced speed limit on some side streets to 20mph to match Mill Lane."

ed.thomas@hamhigh.co.uk

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