Pro-Cycling Group Disputes That CS9 'Will Put Local Shops At Risk'

Responds to Councillor's claim that Enfield's 'Mini Holland' hit local trade

enfield cycle lane
Part of the Enfield cycling scheme


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A local cycling group has disputed Cllr Jo Biddolph's claim that the proposed CS9 cycle highway will negatively affect Chiswick traders. Cllr Biddolph visited the Enfield cycling scheme and you can read her full report here.

The Hounslow Cycling Group have responded with this statement:

"It’s encouraging to have a councillor as committed as Cllr Biddolph and we are delighted that she spent time to visit Enfield’s “mini Holland” scheme. However, it seems that she may well have visited with a predetermined agenda and has consulted only a select audience. For instance, there is a group called Better Streets for Enfield, who represent a coalition of residents who walk, use public transport, cycle and drive and who support the changes for healthier, safer, better streets in the area. Unfortunately they were not approached by Cllr Biddolph; perhaps she didn’t try very hard to get a balanced view.

"Had she spoken to Better Streets for Enfield she might have discovered that there are many shopkeepers who are supportive of the new infrastructure, or believe it has made no difference. Unfortunately, because of the toxic and vitriolic way the campaign against the scheme was conducted in Enfield, shopkeepers are reluctant to speak out and 'put their head above the parapet'. One shopkeeper said that an opponent of the scheme wants my business to fail so they can say 'I told you so' to the council.

"And of course the last year has been bad for High Road business everywhere. Using Cllr Biddolph’s logic that cycling is 'seriously and adversely' damaging Enfield, one could equally conclude that car traffic is doing the same to Chiswick’s retailers, given that over twenty have closed down this past year. Doubtless their comments too would make 'grim reading'.

"There is ample evidence that making streets more attractive to people walking and cycling and reducing the dominance of motor traffic means more people visit, and stay longer. Footfall is up and vacancies are down in the Waltham Forest mini-Holland scheme implemented just prior to Enfield. Recognising that Chiswick’s cycle lanes will not be commuter highways, as the councillors claimed, but will also serve as local safe routes, CS9 has been re-designated as Cycleway 9.

"Cllr Tracy Moore, also a Conservative councillor (Tunbridge Wells), visited the Waltham Forest mini Holland today for research purposes and came away with a completely different perspective. Maybe she went to genuinely find out how the scheme was working, rather than looking for issues?

"Knee-jerk reactions blaming economic issues on better facilities for people on bikes are not supported by the evidence, and it would be sensible to look at the data before jumping to conclusions. Cllr Biddolph has flipflopped about whether she accepts research and data (depending on whether it suits her case), but the TfL report on CW9 contained the following:

"The low number of people coming by car, and the high proportion of people travelling a short distance would suggest that bikes could provide an ideal mode of transport to encourage more people to visit Chiswick High Road, and if a reasonable number of people were to use foot, buses or bicycles, this could leave the roads freer for those needing their cars, such as the elderly, disabled or those carrying heavy loads. We have heard from a local bike shop who has seen a large increase in sales of cargo bikes to families who do not want the expense and hassle of a car.

Enfield side roads

"We agree with Cllr Biddolph that more people shopping in Chiswick High Road - particularly independent shops - is to be encouraged, and we very much support this aim. Enabling this requires making the street safer and more attractive for people walking and cycling. Chiswick High Road has experienced almost weekly closures - as have other high streets around the UK - with no cycling facilities whatsoever for anyone to blame. Doing nothing and trying to preserve a motor vehicle dominated environment isn’t the answer.

"It is a pity that Cllr Biddolph is using her laudable intentions to promote independent shops in Chiswick as an excuse to promote an anti-CW9 agenda. Meanwhile, we await her long-promised alternative solution for ‘more and better’ cycling along Chiswick High Road.

"The irony is that the more wrong Cllr Biddolph is about CW9, the better it will be for Chiswick."

March 23, 2019

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