23 November 2015

Changes to the Loughborough road closure programme announced by Lambeth

Lambeth council have announced significant changes to the Loughborough road closure programme
following an early review of the scheme.

As Vassall View has reported over the past year, the programme was part of a Transport for London (tfl) funded scheme to improve the Loughborough Junction area which involved the closure of a series local roads in the area for a six month period. Following a lot of feedback from residents, local councillors lobbied successfully for an early review of the scheme this month. After assessing the consultation feedback, Lambeth has decided to reopen Lilford and Loughborough Road, but keep Calias Street closed.

Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, Lambeth cabinet member responsible for the scheme, said:

Having examined all the evidence presented in the eight-week review report, I have taken the decision to re-open Loughborough Road, Barrington Road, Lilford Road and Gordon Grove from next Friday (27 November).

Padfield Road and Calais Street will remain closed under a new Experimental Traffic Management Order.

The road closures were part of a wider vision to improve the public space in Loughborough Junction, make it a safer and more pleasant place to live and help the area become a destination in its own right, rather than a busy through road for traffic to and from central London.

That ambition for Loughborough Junction is clearly shared, even though it appears that a majority of residents remain opposed to particular road closures.

It was important to trial this ambitious scheme as an experiment so we could monitor the impacts closely. Having reviewed the evidence and listened to a wide variety of people in the area; it is clear that changes are needed but that the ultimate vision remains.

I hope to utilise the passion and strength of opinion that has been demonstrated on all sides over the last few months and bring people together to help guide the future of Loughborough Junction.

Over the coming weeks I will invite representatives from local businesses, ward councillors, community groups including LJAG, Loughborough Estate Management Board, Loughborough Estate TRA and the newly formed LJ Road Madness to join me and council officers on a steering group to begin the design work for public space improvements.

We will start with an open mind and welcome all ideas and contributions; there is money to spend from Transport for London, which if we work together and get it right, can make a positive and lasting difference to Loughborough Junction.

The experimental nature of the road closures made it difficult to communicate the wider benefits and vision for the area, and signage in some areas at the start of the trial was either unclear or ignored. Also, by focusing communications on the residents of Loughborough Junction, road users who travel through the area from further afield felt uninformed which undoubtedly led to confusion in the early stages.

However, it is clear from the review that more people are making journeys by foot and by bicycle through the area and I sincerely hope that continues.

Eight weeks was not enough time to provide any empirical evidence regarding response times and the Ambulance Service and Police did not oppose the continuation of the scheme, but the recent formal objection raised by the London Fire Brigade and anecdotal reports of increasing response times cannot be ignored.

That is why we will reopen Loughborough Road, Barrington Road, Lilford Road and Gordon Grove. The process of removing signs and road markings will take a few days so to avoid confusion all restrictions will remain in place until Friday 27 November.

The full report, which includes traffic survey data, official submissions from the emergency services and other important groups, a summary of public representations and the results of survey work undertaken by the Stockwell Partnership, is published online.