Opponents of Cycle Superhighway blast leak of public consultation figures
PUBLISHED: 13:56 01 April 2016 | UPDATED: 19:04 01 April 2016
The campaign co-ordinator against the CS11 scheme has blasted the leak of the public consultation results and has written to the Secretary of State for Transport to express his concerns.
Daniel Howard, who started a petition against the scheme, said he is “extremely concerned” that members of the press, including the Ham&High, were given the results ahead of their official publication and during the “purdah” period before the mayoral elections
Mr Howard questioned the validity of the figures as he believes that the 4,000 signatures on the change.org petition have been treated as a single objection.
He said: “We are very concerned that it would appear that figures relating to the public consultation for TfL’s catastrophically ill-planned Cycle Superhighway 11 scheme have been leaked during the official Mayoral “purdah” period which came into force on Monday March 21.
“We do not accept or recognise the figures leaked to the press and do not believe they form an accurate representation of the entirety of views submitted, given the short period of time in which they have been assessed since the consultation ended just 11 days ago.”
Mayoral candidates have been under pressure to say whether or not they are in favour of the scheme, with Green candidate Sian Berry so far being the only one of the main four contenders to state her categorical support.
Conservative Zac Goldsmith, Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon have all said they support the expansion of cycling in principle, but have not taken a clear position on CS-11.
The scheme will connect Swiss Cottage to the West End, and proposes the removal of the Swiss Cottage Gyratory as well as the partial closure of four gates to Regent’s Park, with the aim of eliminating “rat-running”.
Opponents say that narrowing several major roads will cause cars to back up, creating more pollution and bringing gridlock to the area.
The leaked figures show a total of 6,200 responses, including around 400 email and written responses - of which 58 per cent support and 7 per cent partially support the scheme, with 35 per cent against.
On closing the Regent’s Park gates, 61.2 per cent are in favour, with 38.8 per cent against.
A total of 62.3 per cent said they are in favour of removing the Swiss Cottage gyratory, with 37.7 per cent opposed.
A TfL spokeman confirmed the figures were accurate initial figures, but said: “They are not finalised and we will publish a full report after the mayoral elections.”
Hampstead solicitor, Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who is helping to spearhead the campaign against CS-11, said that it is “mathematically impossible” that the figures take into account the 4,000 signatures against the scheme.
She said: “If you do the maths, there are just over 6,000 responses, and only 35 per cent are against, that means there are only just over 2,000 objections, which means they cannot possibly have counted the 4,000 signatures on the petition.”
Mr Howard believes the consultation process was “fundamentally flawed” because of TfL’s failure to include any reference to the construction of the High Speed 2 rail line, which will surround the proposed Cycle-Superhighway route.
Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq has echoed campaigners’ calls for TfL to run a fresh consultation once they have included a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment and comprehensive data relating to HS2.
Official results will not be published until a new Mayor is in power at City Hall after the election on May 5.
Consultation on CS11 ended on March 20, one day before purdah began.
During a heated public meeting at St Stephen’s Church in Hampstead last month, cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan told the jeering crowd they weren’t necessarily representative of the views of the silent majority.
He said: “Let’s wait and see the results of the consultation. People who don’t like these schemes tend to come to meetings like these, whereas people who do like them tend to stay at home.
“It’s about finding out what the community as a whole thinks and not the people who come to public consultation meetings.”
Mr Gilligan is a former BBC journalist who was hired by Boris Johnson to work for The Spectator in 2004, before going on to work for the Evening Standard.