Brent LTN removal set to be financed from 'existing council budgets'

A motorist ignoring LTN block in Olive Road Cricklewood

A motorist ignoring LTN block in Olive Road Cricklewood - Credit: @Nicovel0

Brent Council’s leader is considering how to fund the removal of four unpopular low traffic neighbourhood [LTN] schemes.

In a cabinet meeting on Monday (January 17), the authority agreed to remove the Olive Road, Dollis Hill, Preston Road and Tokyngton & Wembley ‘Healthy Neighbourhoods’, which were installed in September 2020, following consultations. 

The Stonebridge and Harlesden area scheme will remain, except for the restriction at Mordaunt Road, which will be removed.

Consultations with residents showed 91 per cent of respondents opposed the schemes, but Brent Council has a financial headache for how it will remove them. 

The authority needs to find £20,000 for the removal as cash-strapped Transport for London (TfL )is unable to foot the bill with the pandemic having hit its funds. 

This is likely to see Brent Council look to cut costs on other services or find alternative ways to balance the books - although the exact saving strategy has not yet been confirmed. 

The report, which councillors voted to approve, states: “TfL funding cannot be used for the removal of active travel schemes without their approval. The cost of suspending or removing these schemes can be met from existing council budgets.”

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Council leader Muhammed Butt said: “We are living in difficult times, not just because of the pandemic, but also because of the funding situation we find ourselves in. 

“[There is] also the [financially challenged] situation at TFL actually finds itself in as well, where the funding is actually being sort of constrained.”
 
Brent Council intends to continue their perusal of the Healthy Neighbourhoods scheme by looking for alternative traffic calming measures which will drive down emissions and satisfy residents.
 
“The commitment is there from all of us to engage, to work, to come up with ideas, and because no two wards, no two streets are the same, we do need to come up with solutions that work for each of those respective places,” said Cllr Butt.
 
During the meeting Brent Council’s cabinet approved to make the traffic easing measures of 26 ‘School Streets’ schemes permanent. These schemes were implemented at the same time as the Healthy Neighbourhood schemes but have been better received.

A spokesman added: “We need to remember 50 per cent of the borough do not own a car and we have some serious air quality issues. We’re committed to cleaning up Brent’s air, tackling climate change, and making it safer and easier for people to choose active, green travel in our borough. Our Healthy Neighbourhoods were always trials and we promised to listen to local people before we made any permanent decisions.

“Conditions attached to the government funding meant we had to implement these schemes quicker than we would have liked. In addition, for various reasons we could not implement some of the schemes fully. We invested in extensive community engagement over the period of the trials and it was clear that the schemes we are taking out were not supported. However it was clear residents want to see measures that can reduce traffic, improve air quality and improve road safety. They gave many suggestions in the engagement.

“Now, we want to work with our communities on measures that do work for them to create less polluted and more pleasant streets. We’re also delighted that 26 of our School Streets will be made permanent – this shows there is appetite for change, and we will continue to build on that success.”

The council is yet to announce when the LTNs will be taken down.