I write on behalf of Sustainable Hackney. We have discussed the SN gyratory proposals in both our Steering Group and the Green Infrastructure Working Group.
1. In principle, we welcome the proposals. However, we want more opportunity to discuss and develop the proposals with you and Hackney Council. You will recall that we wrote to you early in the consultation seeking a public meeting and a workshop on green infrastructure during an extended consultation period. This has not happened so we now suggest what may be more fruitful anyway - a series of workshops with TfL and LBH to provide continuous engagement after the formal consultation, jointly developing an agreed set of detailed plans for the changes and building widespread support for them. This will avoid a potentially polarising, and false, 'take it or leave it' choice. 'Removing the gyratory' is a means to an end not an end in itself.
Detailed discussions create the opportunity to draw on each others’ observations and ideas and pool knowledge, expertise and local experience/insights so as to come up with the best possible scheme and solutions.
Our concerns that there is no evidence in the proposals that the Mayor of London’s and Hackney Council’s policy and commitments on greening infrastructure have been considered remain. We are facing the most dire consequences of global warming and loss of biodiversity so it is essential we take such massive opportunities as this to build the resilience of our ecosystem. There are many opportunities here to defragment habitat and support the restoration of biodiversity. It is essential that this happens. We request that a Green Infrastructure Audit is undertaken in conjunction with local organisations and residents.
2. These workshops, information prepared for them and reports on outcomes will support a necessary education programme, particularly for local businesses affected by the scheme. We know that the businesses have serious concerns about the impact of the scheme and they have the potential to derail it. TfL has removed several gyratory schemes so you must have evidence of the impacts. We would like you to share this with us, whether positive or negative, so that we can make best use of it in implementing a successful scheme.
3. We have some concerns that two-way working will make the High Street busier and more difficult for pedestrians/shoppers. We would like to see and discuss the evidence from previous schemes you have implemented in relation to this.
4. You propose shared space for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles but the Department for Transport has recently halted any new development of these schemes as part of their mobility strategy. This follows extensive submissions and campaigning by people with disabilities and their organisations because of fear and actual incidents of people being knocked down. What do you propose to do instead?
5. We also want to ensure that people with disabilities can continue to access the High Street. What arrangements will be made for this?
6. We welcome better provision for cyclists and pedestrians. You propose some bus stop bypasses but we are concerned that the intention appears to be that cycles go behind the bus stops. However this would mean that pedestrians would have to cross the cycle lane in order to get to the bus stop. We do not think this will work or be safe. Any raised cycle provision would create similar problems for pedestrians.
7. Closure of Tyssen, Hollar and Batley may well calm the residential streets behind the High Street and creation of ‘pocket parks’ may be an asset. However, there are a number of issues with this:
a. These streets are narrow so cycles coming through any pocket park will limit their usefulness for residents.
b. Businesses' waste bins, including Eurobins, are permanently stored in these spaces. There will need to be a thorough review of waste and recycling facilities for businesses to develop optimum arrangements across the whole area.
c. Close work with the Council is needed to make sure these road closures and pocket parks are well designed and that there is money for maintenance.
8. One of the objectives of the Mayor of London’s blue-green infrastructure policy is to release waterways from culverts and channels in order to create flood capacity. The brook runs along part of the streets to be altered so this should be considered seriously. Stoke Newington Common along Northwold Road is subject to flooding and attention should be given to increasing capacity during these works.
9. Porous pavements should be laid so as to reduce stormwater runoff.
10. As we said earlier, we want a comprehensive green infrastructure audit to be done and maximum advantage taken to integrate defragmentation of habitat and develop green infrastructure as part of this scheme:
a. Major parks and green spaces abut these roads: Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington Common and West Hackney Recreation Ground. Butterfield Green and Nevill Road grassed areas are just a short distance away and there are other green spaces between. We want a serious approach to defragmenting these habitats and improving them for biodiversity.
b. There is an opportunity to improve the planting for biodiversity on the area of the Common west of Rectory Road.
c. The green triangle at the junction of Northwold Road and Rectory Road should be retained and joined up with the rest of the common.
d. There are many opportunities to plant more trees, including large specimens, so as to contribute to the Mayor’s objective of three million more trees in London as well as contributing to defragmenting habitat.
e. East & West Bank Nature Reserve to the north negotiated an arrangement with the railway that the council owned land at the top of the cuttings is not touched when the railway clear growth in the cutting. This scheme has operated successfully for about 12 years. A similar arrangement should be made for the railway running through this area.
f. Biodiversity requires planting rather than planters. There is scope for some wilding and installation of bug and bee hotels. We want to see these initiatives put in place.
11. Interpretative material is essential to support greening initiatives and should be part of implementing the scheme.
12. The road closures, responsibility for adjacent roads and required maintenance after the scheme is implemented require Hackney Council’s input and ongoing maintenance. TfL need to work with Hackney Council to develop a plan for the whole area and maintenance after it is implemented.
13. TfL must be serious about ongoing funding for maintenance after implementation of the scheme. Maintenance cannot just be left to the Council which, like TfL has been subject to savage cuts in funding. How will care and maintenance of the scheme be funded?
14. The bus stop outside 6 Brook Road requires more space. It is already cramped for pedestrians wishing to pass waiting passengers. There is a refuge on the opposite side. That should be taken out and the bus stop / pavement space outside 6 Brook Road widened.
Thank you for developing the proposals. On the whole this is a good scheme but we really want to work with you through a series of workshops to plan it in detail and make sure it is a great success and achieves the wide range of policy objectives and challenges facing us all.
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