Council gives green light to Healthy Schools Street scheme in New End - despite a consultation rejecting it

Christchurch Primary School children protest proposed road layout changes some fear would route more

Christchurch Primary School children protest proposed road layout changes some fear would route more traffic past their school. Picture: Joshua Thurston - Credit: Archant

Plans to quieten streets near New End Primary School will go ahead, but Camden Council has been criticised for backing a scheme that residents are opposed to.

It also took the decision without telling ward councillors, who were one of many groups to raise concerns about the impact on elsewhere in Hampstead.

The council's plans merge the two outlined in a consultation which took place earlier this year. A Healthy School Street scheme will come into force at the top of New End during the school run.

There would also be a closure of a section of New End from the Heath Street junction during the morning rush hour.

A nearby car club bay will also be torn out, and a crossing point will be created. The changes will also affect nearby private school, Heathside. The £70,000 scheme will be paid for by Transport for London.

The measures will come into force from September, for the new school year.

During the consultation in March, 47 per cent of neighbours consulted said they did not back a hybrid of the two plans. Only 39pc supported it. Yet Camden is going ahead with the plans.

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The situation will be familiar to Highgate locals who rejected plans for tougher parking restrictions by a thin margin, but saw the council look to extend them instead.

Neighbours in Christchurch Hill said it could create a "rat run" with cars using the road as a shortcut to drop their children off nearby.

The council rebutted concerns about traffic displacement, by saying the plan aims to cut down car usage, and traffic monitoring will take place, with changes being made after three and six months.

Hampstead Town councillor Maria Higson said residents had not been listened to and urged the town hall to take a "holistic" look.

She said: "Neighbours are very concerned. For them to be dismissed in an officers report is not acceptable.

"The overwhelming feeling is that we need to reduce the level of traffic outside schools, but if it doesn't work because there hasn't been proper engagement it will make it harder for schemes in the future."

Councillor Adam Harrison, Camden's environment chief said: "Residents increasingly ask the council to take steps to cut the amount of school run traffic on our roads.

"The problems it generates are particularly visible in Hampstead. Camden's Healthy Schools Street scheme aims to achieve this while also reducing road danger near to schools and improving air quality there.

"We gauge local opinion to help inform our decision alongside a variety of other considerations, including our mission to reduce school run traffic. Given this context, we decided to proceed with the plans, which are a trial."