I am offering the public an opportunity to have their say on the plans for cycle lanes along Green Lanes. The plans have been exhibited and are now open for feedback via cycleenfield.co.uk. Whether you are a supporter or opponent of the plans there is no doubt that the £30 million scheme is the most significant transportation project for Palmers Green and the A105 corridor including Enfield Town.
Given the scale of the project and its impact it is a surprise that the Council is not more widely and directly consulting. The proposed changes in road layouts and junctions will affect constituents far beyond Green Lanes and the A105. The ambition is for all the borough to be changing their transport behaviour and making greater use of cycling. Council taxpayers will also be topping up the Mayor's award with several million pounds. When the Council plans to introduce changes to bus stops or a controlled parking zone, consultation takes place directly with affected residents and the results are carefully analysed before proceeding. However this far larger more significant project does not involve the Council directly asking each household whether they agree with the plans or not.
I am therefore planning to fill the gap in consultation by hosting 3 public meetings along the affected route and inviting as many constituents as possible to attend. 17th September at 8pm at the United Reformed Church, 77 Compton Road, Winchmore Hill N21 3NU; 22nd September at 8pm at The Intimate Theatre, 521 Green Lanes Palmers Green, N13 4DH and 28th September at 8pm at the Revival Christian Church, 47 London Road, Enfield EN2 6DS.
Over the next month I will be out and about on my bike seeking your views about the plans, so do stop me when you see me. Check out my website or Facebook for details of where I will be. I am also writing to everyone in Palmers Green, along with neighbouring wards seeking your views on the plans. I will then communicate the results to the Leader of Enfield Council and the Mayor of London. I am clear in my mind that there needs to be strong local community backing for the cycle lanes to proceed. I will do my best to impress upon the Council and Mayor to also be clear and let the public decide.
An update from David on ‘Cycle Enfield’ following his meeting with Andrew Gilligan, Mayor Boris Johnson’s Cycle Tsar
"I am pleased that the Mayor's Office is listening to concerns raised to me by constituents and that we will now see the retention of parking along the Winchmore Hill stretch, the scrapping of the ban on left turning traffic into Station Road from Green Lanes, and an extension of the consultation relating to Enfield Town to allow for a full economic impact assessment. I am also pleased that constituents are engaging with this significant issue with so many attending my public meetings. Andrew Gilligan has also agreed to help me with my referendum of constituents which will help determine whether constituents support the cycle lane scheme, and therefore whether it goes ahead or not. I am determined to ensure that my constituents have their voice heard by Enfield Council and the Mayor."
Two packed public meetings have already taken place, and David will be chairing one more on Monday 28th September at 8pm at the Revival Christian Church, 47 London Road, Enfield EN2 6DS.
The public exhibition of the Enfield Town part of the Cycle Enfield scheme is taking place on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between 3pm and 8pm at the Dugdale Centre. David will be there on Friday between 6.30pm and 7.30pm if you wish to speak to him.
Statement from Andrew Gilligan, Mayor Boris Johnson’s Cycling Tsar
I’m very sorry not to be able to be with you in person tonight. I will be at the next meeting in Enfield Town on Monday if anyone would like to speak to me then. I met David Burrowes, Terry Neville and Jo Laban this afternoon to discuss the mini-Holland and for anyone here who cannot make it on Monday, I wanted to update you on what we are doing from the Mayor’s end to make sure that people’s concerns are listened to and addressed.
At the Palmers Green end of the scheme, I met opponents of the plans earlier this year and heard their concerns. After that meeting I asked the council to engage better with opponents and to ensure that there was no net loss of parking in the town centre. They have done this - there is now a net gain of parking in the town centre. Although there’s been a reduction in on-street parking spaces, there are more spaces in the car park directly behind the shops.
In Winchmore Hill, I’ve asked the council to reinstate some or all of the 17 on-street parking spaces that are proposed to be taken away. I’ve also asked them not to ban the left turn from Green Lanes into Station Road. I’ve spoken to the council leader tonight and he has agreed to these changes. They’ll be worked up in detail in the next few weeks.
In Enfield Town, people have expressed concerns over the economic impact of the plans. I’ve asked the council to lengthen the consultation to allow the consideration of an economic impact assessment of whatever option is chosen. They have agreed this.
I hope these changes to the proposals show that we haven't just decided what to do and we're going to do it anyway, whatever people say. I’m working hard to address concerns that people have told me about. And I totally support the constructive role being played by your MP in trying to get as much consensus as possible. But I know that even if we address all the concerns, there will never be total consensus. Some people will always be against. That’s completely their right, of course. But are we really saying that Palmers Green, Winchmore Hill and Enfield Town are as good now as they ever can or will be? Are we really sure we can’t make them better?
This is the largest town centre programme ever funded by Transport for London. It’s a huge amount of money to make town centres in Enfield more pleasant places for everyone, not just cyclists. In every town centre where it has been done before, people warned that reducing on-street parking and improving the streets for cyclists and pedestrians would hit retailers. In every town centre where it’s been done before, that didn’t happen. Trade went up, not down, because those towns were more pleasant places to shop.
So provided we can get the details right, and I’m completely committed to getting the details right, I think this is an opportunity, not a threat.