Mixed Reaction to Road Closure Proposals

Councillors and traders urge caution over restrictions on local shopping streets

Bays coned off on Turnham Green Terrace
Bays coned off on Turnham Green Terrace


Sign up for our weekly Chiswick newsletter

Comment on this story on the

The announcement by Hounslow Council that they are planning to bar ‘non-essential’ traffic from Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Road has met with a mixed response in the area.

While many residents have responded positively to the proposals, welcoming the prospect of less air pollution and safer streets to walk on, local councillors and businesses are expressing some reservations.

Cllr Sam Hearn, who is the Conservative spokesperson on transport in Hounslow borough, says the lack of detailed modelling of traffic flows for the roads where closure is proposed would make implementation of the changes ‘irresponsible’. He points out that many of the businesses in the two roads depend on easy vehicle access to be able to trade and their customers need to be able to park close to their premises to pick up heavy goods. The introduction of a 30 minute shop and park scheme was to enable customers to do this but under the proposals this facility would be removed.

The Conservative group are particularly concerned about the consultation process for any proposed changes and believe the decision has already been taken without informing local councillors. Cllr Hearn wants to see ‘a full, open and unbiased consultation’ and believes that the needs of local businesses should be at the heart of the council’s policies pointing out that the pandemic has benefited large online traders at the expense of independent shops.

The council is being asked to submit proposals to the government to be considered for funding from a £250 million package to support walking and cycling in England. The Department of Transport wrote to Chief Executives of local authorities on 28 May to inform them that the first tranche of the funding, £45 million, will be released as soon as possible to allow councils to start work on closing roads to through traffic, widening pavements and building segregated cycle lanes.

Cllr Hearn said, “The restrictions on the capacity of public transport that are a consequence of social distancing represent an opportunity though one we must approach with balance and caution. If we don’t find other ways of enabling people to get around there is a serious risk of significantly increased traffic congestion. As many of the journeys we all make are only for short distances, increased walking and cycling can help to reduce car use and ease pressure on public transport. Acknowledging that Covid-19 has created a real change in our behaviour, we can use this to encourage a longer-term shift towards travelling on foot or by bicycle but we must do so in a way that reflects the needs of all in the borough’s areas and communities.”

He points out that while many residents already don’t use a car to shop in Chiswick there may be legitimate reasons why people will continue to need to do so such as age, disability or the purchase of heavy items.

Paul Sahota of Capital Motors, which is off Devonshire Road, is adamantly against the proposed closure and says it would force his business to close if cars can’t access the garage. He looks after a huge number of the local cars with MOTs, repairs and servicing.

Mike Moran, who runs the Top Hat Drycleaners on Devonshire Road says that his turnover is down by 80% since the lockdown started and added “If this is made permanent, I reckon I will be closed by Christmas”.

Penny Ledbury of Chiswick Lighting said, “I of course understand the need for pedestrians and cyclists to move around Chiswick safely and in these times to be able to socially distance whilst shopping , however this must be balanced with sensibly ensuring business are not adversely affected by such changes. I know that a number of businesses in Devonshire Road do have customers who have to use cars or vans to collect bulky orders or to travel to , not speaking on their behalf but I can think of the Pet Shop, W4 Bathrooms , Tribe carpets, Devonshire Glass, Chiropractors, Top Hat Drycleaners and ourselves Chiswick Lighting to name a few. Small businesses are already facing a huge climb out of the troubles we are in due to Covid-19 and I think they should be spoken to and informed in detail about the plans and listened to .”

A retailer on Turnham Green Terrace commented, “I hadn’t heard anything about this until you contacted me and I can’t give a final comment until we see the actual proposals but on balance this move would reduce sales for us. However, if most of the shops on the street were in favour then we would have to accept that it was going ahead. Two things concern me, firstly what happens if trade is hit by more than we expect, what will be the mechanism for reopening the road and secondly, what protection do we have from the kind of predatory enforcement that we currently see with parking?”

The Conservative group on Hounslow Council recently announced a new policy for cycling in the borough which they say is based on clear principles which they would like to see applied locally. These include that cycle lanes should go with the traffic flow wherever possible, cyclists and pedestrians should be kept separate, with road space used to create cycle lanes and pavements reserved for pedestrians, cycle lanes must not come to a sudden end or disappear at junctions and potholes should be filled in as quickly as possible. They also want to see civil enforcement officers empowered to apply the law to the minority of cyclists who flout the rules.

They also would like the Santander Bike scheme to be extended to Chiswick, or if this is not possible, they want the council to work with a private sector providers such as Brompton Bikes to provide an alternative to the currently defunct dockless bike hire schemes.

In addition they say cycle measures must include north-south roads whilst recognising that some are essential routes for buses, commercial and domestic deliveries, and local car journeys

In a statement the Conservative group says, “The government’s announcement of extra funding for walking and cycling schemes is an exciting opportunity to build a worthwhile legacy from the tragedy of the pandemic. The principles we have set out for government and for our own borough would promote greater walking and cycling and in doing so raise the quality of people’s lives in Hounslow and elsewhere. We hope they will be adopted in full. “

Hounslow Council say, “Giving more people the option of making their journeys on foot or bike will also help keep the roads clear for those that have less choice in making their trips in a vehicle, limiting the cost of congestion as businesses start to reopen.”

Like Reading Articles Like This? Help Us Produce More

This site remains committed to providing local community news and public interest journalism.

Articles such as the one above are integral to what we do. We aim to feature as much as possible on local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, community-based initiatives and even helping people find missing pets.

We’ve always done that and won’t be changing, in fact we’d like to do more.

However, the readership that these stories generates is often below that needed to cover the cost of producing them. Our financial resources are limited and the local media environment is intensely competitive so there is a constraint on what we can do.

We are therefore asking our readers to consider offering financial support to these efforts. Any money given will help support community and public interest news and the expansion of our coverage in this area.

A suggested monthly payment is £8 but we would be grateful for any amount for instance if you think this site offers the equivalent value of a subscription to a daily printed newspaper you may wish to consider £20 per month. If neither of these amounts is suitable for you then contact info@neighbournet.com and we can set up an alternative. All payments are made through a secure web site.

One-off donations are also appreciated. Choose The Amount You Wish To Contribute.

If you do support us in this way we’d be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.

For businesses we offer the chance to be a corporate sponsor of community content on the site. For £30 plus VAT per month you will be the designated sponsor of at least one article a month with your logo appearing if supplied. If there is a specific community group or initiative you’d like to support we can make sure your sponsorship is featured on related content for a one off payment of £50 plus VAT. All payments are made through a secure web site.


June 2, 2020

Bookmark and Share