Hounslow Council


Agenda item

8.00-9.30pm - Church Street, Isleworth - Traffic Management Monitoring Report

21.03.17 – Appendix N – St John’s Road Worple Road flow comparison: Addendum to report attached with electronic agenda pack and circulated to members.  Copies available at the meeting.

 

27.03.17 – Presentation slides from the meeting attached with the electronic pack for reference.

Minutes:

See submitted reports from the Head of Traffic and Transport, Agenda Item 4.

The Chair reminded members that he had allotted 15 minutes each for speakers in objection and support in respect of this item.  Once both sides had presented their submissions the officers would be invited to introduce the report, following which questions would be taken from members and those in attendance. A total of 90 minutes had been allocated for this item.

With the permission of the Chair Mr Matt Koster-Marcon, Church Street Residents Association addressed the meeting in support of the continued closure of Church Street.  Using PowerPoint and having circulated to members an information pack in support of the continued closure of Church Street to traffic, Mr Koster-Marcon referred to responses to the consultation, the physical geography of Church Street and the traffic calming measures already trialled by the Council to address residents’ concerns. 

Mr Koster-Marcon referred to the strong support by a number of local residents’ for the continued closure, which he suggested had benefitted the area in terms of opening up the riverside, reducing pollution and generating fewer car journeys on the local network.  He also drew attention to positive feedback from local businesses and statutory agencies including the London Apprentice public house, Cathja and West Middlesex University Hospital.  Mr Koster-Marcon acknowledged that there were still improvements to be made, such as better signage for motorist and improved cycle lanes.  This was an opportunity to look positively at alternatives for businesses on the Syon Estate, such as the possibility of reopening the London Road access.

In closing Mr Koster-Marcon asked the Area Forum to look at the evidence, listen to officers and take into consideration the alternative to keeping Church Street closed.  He thanked Ruth Cadbury MP for her support and read out a brief statement on her behalf.

Again with the permission of the Chair the case against the continued closure of Church Street was presented by Will Tyler (Octink), local residents Dr Sally Connolly, Topher Martyn and Annie Aloysius, David Lazenby (Wyevale Garden Centres) and David O’Connor (Brentford and Hounslow chambers of commerce).  Between them they presented the following case:

·       Mr Tyler attributed staff losses and falling revenue as a direct result of the closure of Church Street.  He stated his opposition to the closure, which he said only benefitted the minority. 

·       Dr Connolly stated that those living in Syon Park had not been consulted.  She referred to a petition of over two thousand signatures supporting the reopening of Church Street and drew attention to the fact that sections of Park Road were as narrow as Church Street.  She added that pollution monitoring was not being carried out correctly, indicating that the monitoring equipment had been set too far back from the roadside.  Members should take into consideration the level of residential development in the wider area, which would further increase pressure on the transport network.  Dr Connolly suggested the public transport data in the submitted report was misleading.  In closing she suggested that members were being asked to vote on something that three quarters of residents did not want based on poor data and asked the Area Forum to listen to the majority of residents who supported the re-opening of Church Street.

·       Annie Aloysius, Twickenham Road, echoed concerns in relation to air pollution levels and stated that, despite requests, Hounslow Council had not released the raw data for the first two months of the trial.  More than 70% of the electorate in Isleworth and Syon wards were opposed to the closure. 

·       David Lazenby, Wyevale Garden Centres, attributed the negative impact on the business and the resulting drop in visitor numbers to the closure of Church Street.  He echoed Mr Tyler’s comments on longer commuting times for staff, adding that the business was exploring opportunities to relocate offices to Slough, which was likely to entail losses from the locality of between 200-250 jobs.

·       David O’Connor, Chamber of Commerce, noted the importance of local jobs for the local economy.  He suggested that reports from local businesses during the trial closure evidenced the negative impact as a direct result of the closure. 

·       Topher Martyn, longstanding Isleworth resident, pointed to longer journey times and noted concerns at the data presented in the officer’s report.  He drew attention to the negative impact the trial had effected on the local community and called for everyone to move forward and heal the divisions once members had made their decision at this meeting.

Mark Frost, Head of Traffic and Transport, and Lee Deacon, Steer Davis Gleave, and Surinderpal Suri, Environmental Strategy, presented the submitted report.  Members were assured that every effort had been made to compile independent data including bus journey times, air quality data and collision data, which collected by the Metropolitan Police Service and only released retrospectively. 

Mr Deacon presented the traffic data, noting that traffic flows had remained largely stable with some increased traffic recorded on Park Road.  He detailed the iBus data collected for a number of bus routes travelling through the area, which was based on GPS tracking used by Transport for London across the capital.  In conclusion Mr Deacon acknowledged that the closure was likely to have some impact on traffic flows, particularly on Twickenham Road and North Street but with little recordable impact on local roads with the exception of North Street. 

Surinder Suri, Environmental Strategy, addressed air pollution concerns and pointed to the recorded reduction in NO2 concentration levels of 10% along the Twickenham Road corridor and 6% boroughwide, based on the 2016 baseline figures.   Responding to members’ questions Mr Suri confirmed that the Council had seven recording stations across the borough, three of which were situated in Isleworth (Busch Corner, Church Street and the junction of South Street and Twickenham Road).  Long-term data collection had begun in 2011 following the introduction of a new road layout at the South Street and Twickenham Road junction and data from these three sites had shown little change in NO2 concentration levels during that period.  Whilst it was noted that air quality levels were affected by many factors on the transport network not directly associated with the road closure, officers were confident in the validity of the long-term trend data available to them, as reviewed by independent consultants.

Responding to Ms Aloysius’ concerns on withholding data, Mr Frost gave assurances that no data had been withheld, adding that the delay to February 2016 had been due to the procurement lag in appointing an independent consultant following the start of the trial closure.  Mr Frost referred to members’ suggestion at their September 2016 meeting that air quality data collected by residents should be reviewed together with that collected by the Council by an independent third party.  Despite requests, however, residents’ data had not been submitted for review.

Mr Frost referred to the consultations carried out with local residents businesses and emergency services.  He briefed members on the case for reopening Church Street and that for retaining the current closure, acknowledging that there were compelling cases for both, and drew members’ attention to the recommendation in the submitted report.

In the discussion that followed the following points were raised:

·       Members heard that some of the monitoring undertaken had shown that there could be up to 2000 fewer vehicle journeys recorded on the local network since the beginning of the trial period, although traffic volumes varied across this period and the most recent data had recorded traffic volumes closer to pre-closure levels.  Officers considered that any changes in either direction would be impossible to attribute solely to the Church Street road closure.

·       Average journey times had been affected, particularly Twickenham Road southbound, although officers felt delays could be mitigated.

·       Officers were asked to provide full financial details of the trial for the next meeting of this Area Forum, including staff costs, commissioning of consultants.

·       Members were asked to take into consideration the fact the footways in Church Street were not made to take the weight of vehicles, should they wish to overturn the officer’s recommendation and vote to reopen Church Street to traffic.

·       Referring to residents’ concerns that bus routes were terminating early, Mr Frost confirmed that officers were in consultation with colleagues at TfL but that there was no suggestion that this was because of traffic delays on Twickenham Road.  It was acknowledged that peak journey times had been affected. 

·        Officers had considered traffic flows in relation to the construction of new developments and schools in the area but had judged the impact on the network to be relatively insignificant.

·       There was an acknowledgement that the majority of those consulted were opposed to the permanent closure of Church Street.

Councillor Mayne moved agreement of the officer’s recommendations, seconded by Councillor Dunne, both of whom made statements in support of the continued closure of Church Street.

9.50pm – Councillor Curran moved suspension of Standing Orders in order to complete the business on the agenda, which was unanimously agreed by all members present.

·       Members were in agreement that Twickenham Road had always suffered with traffic congestion and poor air quality.  Members welcomed the possibility of additional TfL resources to fund improvements and mitigate these issues and suggested there could also be further Council resources to help mitigate air pollution.

The Chair called for a vote on the recommendations, taking each of the three points in turn.  Members voted unanimously to agree recommendations 1.1 and 1.2.

 

Members voted by majority to agree recommendation 1.3 as follows:

For: Councillors Collins, Curran, Dennison, Dunne, Lambert, Mayne and Sampson.

Against: Councillors Carey, Louki, O’Reilly and Savin.

Abstain: Councillor Green.

Resolved:

·       Members of the Area Forum noted the contents of the submitted report regarding the latest traffic survey data, impact analysis and policy compliance associated with the trial closure of Church Street.

·       Members noted the submitted comments to the formal statutory consultation received between December 2015 and 23 January 2017 and the results of the online consultation held during February 2017.

·       Members delegated authority to the Executive Director of REDE to make an order to reproduce and continue in force indefinitely the provisions of The London Borough of Hounslow (No.3) Experimental Order 2015 (2015/56) imposing no entry except for pedal cycles in a section of Church Street, Isleworth.

Supporting documents: