Hammersmith Society warns against flawed “Cycle Superhighway” plan

Recently I wrote about the flawed “Cycle Superhighway” plan from Transport for London.

Now Tom Ryland, the Chairman of the Hammersmith Society, has written to his members expressing concern and urging them to respond to their consultation.

He says:

I personally have talked to a number of local residents and cyclists who without exception are unhappy with the scheme as it stands.

In addition to the points of objection set out below, the following issues should also be noted :

1. The consultation exercise is flawed in that only residents near the route have been notified, but these proposals will affect all users of Hammersmith and Chiswick. (For example, no TfL letters have been sent to residents living north of Goldhawk Road). 

2. On other existing Cycle Superhighways, TfL concede that levels of pollution have increased because of the slowing of the traffic.

3. There will be a loss of at least 6 mature trees (3 in Hammersmith : 3 in Chiswick). Other trees are also likely to be endangered where the new cycle route will be laid over tree roots.

4. In Chiswick, where some pavements will be narrowed, there will be insufficient space for the existing café tables.

5. The arguments against using the largely unused wide verges adjacent the A4 seem to revolve around pollution (Is it really that much worse than adjacent the other busy roads?) and that there are too many ‘turnings’ (But on the Hammersmith section, there are only Weltje and Rivercourt Roads and the petrol filling stations).

6. TfL say that their plans take into account their previous consultation in 2016 on the cycle routes on the broadway – but this was flawed because it only addressed the northern half of the Broadway and ignores the A4 and Fulham Palace Road.

So here are main objections/concerns : 

– It does not seem that there is proven need for such a drastic scheme along this route. (TfL argue that it will attract cyclists).

– Cycle Superhighways encourage high speed relatively long distance commuter cycling and would be of no benefit to a town centre such as King Street that is already struggling.

– High speed cycling can be very intimidating to pedestrians and slower cyclists (Many cyclists I have spoken to tell me they will not use the Cycle Superhighways because they are intimidated by the other cyclists).

– The main ‘high street’ section of King Street including its already very narrow. The scheme will involve further restrictions on footway widths for pedestrians and road widths (single lane) for buses and traffic generally. There will be no allowance for passing, stopping off, breakdowns and emergencies, deliveries and servicing to shops and banks or parking in King Street. This will almost certainly lead to regular traffic snarl ups in King Street and delay bus times.

– The slowed or stationary traffic will lead to an increase in pollution levels.

– Some existing bus lanes will be removed and bus stops relocated sometimes onto ‘traffic islands’, which will be intimidating for users, particularly the frail or elderly and users with pushchairs.

– The closing off and restricted use of some turnings off King Street (Eg. British Grove) will be disruptive to local residents and businesses and often quite impractical.

– The existing cycle contraflow in King Street does cause problems to cycle users and pedestrians but as an alternative to the two-way Cycle Superhighway, it could be retained (as a ‘Quietway’) and extended for the rest of King Street and onto the Broadway.

– The use of other roads (Eg Glenthorne Road/Blacks Road) and the A4 verges must be considered.

– The Cycle Superhighway should not be bulldozed through as an end in itself but should be considered in conjunction with long term re-organisation of the Broadway and King Street which although part of the draft Local Plan seem to have been kicked into the long grass.

Transport for London TfL who are promoting and consulting on the scheme will potentially drive it through unless there is a groundswell of opinion against the scheme.

This scheme must be rethought : Please make your views known to TfL and Hammersmith and Fulham Council before the deadline of 31 October 2017. (And of course let us know).

Full details of the scheme including several computer generated images, and how to comment can be found at:
consultations@tfl.gov.uk/cs9 or you can write to them at FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS.”

All good points. But Tom didn’t mention the money. This disastrous scheme would cost £70 million. Just imagine the alternative ways that cycling could be advanced with that funding without causing all this disruption to others?

For instance in 2013, under the previous Conservative administration, Boris Bikes were introduced to Hammersmith and Fulham. There was a significant cost in setting it up – there were a lot of “docking stations” and the technology is rather sophisticated. That cost or £2 million was covered through Section 106 payments from property developers. What about spending another million or two to increase its availability into the north of the borough? The Council refuses even my modest request for docking stations at Starch Green and the junction of Brackenbury Road and Goldhawk Road.

The “Men’s Shed” is a great idea

Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:

I love this idea of the “Men’s Shed”. Particularly if it allows older men to transfer traditional skills that they may have to a younger generation.  As well as talk, bond, and chat.  The creation of additional “shared space” that people can go to is so important in this crowded-but-can-be-lonely city.    This is from Fulham Good Neighbours:

You are cordially invited to join us at an organisational meeting for Fulham Men’s Shed on Tuesday, 7thNovember 2017 at 6PM at Rosaline Hall, 70 Rosaline Road, London, SW6 7QT

We want to help create a meeting place for local men (and women), where ‘Shedders’ can engage in wood work or other activity, or simply in putting the world to rights over a cup of tea.

The Men’s Shed movement originates in Australia and there are quite a few already established in the UK.  In the words of one ‘Shedder’: ‘From a young age, boys are taught to ignore their feelings, that emotions are a sign of weakness, and, in short, to ‘man up’. In later life, when confronted with life changes like retirement or divorce, it’s no wonder that many struggle to cope, and are faced with isolation and a loss of self-worth. This is why Men’s Sheds are absolutely vital; providing men with a sense of purpose, new friendships and encouraging talents like carpentry and metal work, skills perhaps unused for a number of years. Having an outlet like Men’s Sheds to combat negative feelings can be a life saver.’

So why not come along and bring all your mates who might be interested in taking part together with your ideas on getting the group going to:

Fulham Good Neighbours

Rosaline Hall

70 Rosaline Road

London, SW6 7QT

Tel. 020 7385 8850

Email: info@fulhamgoodneighbours.org

If you cannot make that date or this information reached you too late, please email or call Fulham Good Neighbours and they will bring you up to speed.’

Foxes: friend or foe?

Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:

A number of residents from around the Brook Green area have told me they are suffering from increasing nuisance from foxes.  I’ve asked the Council if it is within its remit to provide assistance and / or for other advice.  Did you know that foxes are not pests but wild animals?  Here is the Council response below.

Legally, foxes are classified as wild animals and not pests and therefore is not an issue that is dealt with by the Council’s Pest Control Service. The Council has no statutory powers or legal rights to eradicate foxes on private or other land. Any landlord of a housing block also does not have a responsibility to control foxes.

The most practical advice we offer to concerned residents involves fencing their own gardens to a standard that physically excludes foxes. It is also possible to discourage foxes by removing the various attractions that draw the foxes to some areas e.g poorly managed domestic refuse and neglected and overgrown gardens.  Residents should ensure refuse is stored in suitable containers so that it cannot provide food for any fox in the neighbourhood and should also make sure that gardens are not so overgrown that it could provide harbourage for foxes.

 If refuse and waste seems to be a problem please report this to our call centre and they can pass this on to the relevant council department to investigate. Their telephone number is 0208 753 1081.

The Fox Project has been assisting local authorities with humane, non-lethal solutions to fox nuisance and is willing to talk to local residents about fox deterrence and about simple steps that can be taken to resolve specific issues. You can contact the FOX DETERRENCE HELPLINE on 01892 826222.

Also, our website contains additional info on foxes:

 https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/environment/pest-control

How long will the King Street shops stay boarded up?

Local residents are growing understandably impatient that premises intended to be used for shops at 407 King Street are still boarded up.

The Council’s planning policies fail to account for the housing shortage – that inflexibility has caused the derelict Ravenscourt Hospital site to remain an eyesore for ten years when allowing change of use for housing would make more sense.

There also needs to be an acceptance that with more of our purchases being done online fewer shops are needed. With many existing shops struggling the viability of insisting on yet more shops being included in new developments is rather doubtful. Of course each case will have particular issues to consider but overall we already have more shops than we need.

The Council’s planning department tells me:

“Generally, we would not be in favour of residential development at ground floor level on a busy road, as the quality of the accommodation would not be great.”

I understand that point. Also I appreciate the symmetry of having a row of shops along a high street. But then the boarded up shops aren’t great either. Wouldn’t it at least make sense to allow flats on the corner?

Anyway the Council’s planning enforcement officer tells me:

“The planning enforcement team have recently written to the developers advising them that they are required to remove the hoardings and install the glazed shopfronts in accordance with their planning permission. If they fail to do so they will be liable to enforcement action.”

So I suppose that would be better than nothing.

 

Ravenscourt Park tennis courts to be upgraded

The tennis clubs in Ravenscourt Park are being upgraded with the improvements being funded by the Lawn Tennis Association in a deal between Queen’s Club and Hammersmith and Fulham Council

The Council’s Parks Manager tells me:

“I can confirm that the LTA will be funding the improvements in Ravenscourt Park.  The works will consist of a new surface, and new exterior fencing and access gate.  The proposed improvements are still to be tendered but we’d anticipate the works commencing in early 2018 and being completed in time for the summer rush of tennis players.  In terms of priority booking, this is only applicable to the courts at the Virgin Active centre in Normand Park.  The link to Queens Club for Ravenscourt Park, is that in working with the LTA at the Virgin Active centre, this allowed us to bring in additional funding from the LTA to deliver the proposed improvements at Ravenscourt Park.”

Good news.

Ugly new street lighting preventing residents getting to sleep

The Council has been “rolling out” ugly new street lights – rather in the style of floodlights used on football pitches. It is excellent that there is switch to LED lighting – they use only half the energy and thus save the Council money as well as helping the environment. But there is no reason why the design of street lighting for them has to be so hideous. LED lighting could being used in a traditional lamp post.

Another difficulty is that the new lighting has been too bright – in some cases (such as Rylett Road) making it harder for people to get to sleep. “We are able to address problems of light leakage into residents’ homes where this occurs, if residents notify us of this,” the Council tells me. But getting this achieved in practice is proving a slow job. Absurd as if excessive brightness is avoided this means the financial and environmental benefits would be greater.

All this has been done without consultation – yet again making a mockery of the Council’s mantra about doing things “with people not too people”. I have asked for a schedule of when the new lights are being brought in to each street.

I have written previously about the Council refusal to allow residents to switch form the ugly, modernist “tooth brush” lamp posts to the traditional lanterns. The was something that was allowed for Black Lion Lane and St Peter’s Square when the Council was Conservative-run but others are being prevented from following the example.

The toothbrush lamp posts are ugly enough. Not content with blocking residents from adopting a more attractive alternative the Council is imposing replacements that look even worse.

Let’s bring in LED lighting but at the same time let’s have lamp post designs that make the borough more beautiful rather than  more ugly.