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West Green residents on LTN boundary road claim trial is blighting their lives

Residents of Belmont Road just outside the Bruce Grove LTN have spoken of the low-traffic scheme has led to worsening conditions on boundary roads such as theirs, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

Belmont Road
Belmont Road (credit Google)

Residents of a West Green street claim Haringey Council has “ignored” complaints on the effects of a low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) trial on their road.

The Bruce Grove West Green LTN trial scheme launched in November 2022 with the aim of reducing motor traffic in residential areas to encourage residents to walk and cycle and to create a healthier environment. 

But residents of Belmont Road just outside the LTN say they have resorted to using the back of their houses instead of the front because of increased air pollution from diverted traffic.

While they say they’re not “against the principles” of making spaces greener and safer they question the LTN scheme’s “implementation” and its impact on boundary roads such as theirs.

One Belmont Road resident, Trisha Bonnar, said her husband’s respiratory condition had worsened since the trial came in and she believed the scheme was partially responsible. 

“We’ve had to change the bedrooms around, we can’t use the front bedroom, ever since the LTN came in,” she said. “People can’t open their windows in the front of buildings anymore, which is a problem in the summer.”

Trisha said the increase in traffic had “diminished” and “destroyed” the local environment and clean air on the section of the road that runs along Downhills Park.

She said the council had claimed mainly local traffic would use the road and that this would “reduce” over time but she said this wasn’t the case. 

Trisha said: “It’s worsened because all local traffic is coming up our road and it’s through-traffic as well, it’s people going up to Islington and Enfield, to other places, it’s not just local people.” 

Charlotte Lamb, another resident, said following discussions with the council last summer, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) were stopped from using Belmont Road. However, this meant that the LTN trial had to be extended.

Charlotte said the extension to the trial was unexpected and although she welcomed the restrictions on HGVs, being “constantly stuck” in a “trial situation” was not.

The council says that changes were made via experimental traffic orders (ETO) and “can run for a maximum of 18 months”. The HGV update was implemented in September 2023 and the council said it was “fully explained” to residents. It means the LTN trial could now run until March 2025.

Charlotte said the differences she’d observed since the trial scheme began  include more “damage” to parked cars. She also claimed that cyclists “didn’t feel safe” and were “using the pavement” while she could “taste gas in the air” when walking and was now keeping her windows closed. 

Another resident, Demetrios Hadjidemetriou, who has lived on Belmont Road for 40 years, said the traffic was so heavy it caused houses to “shake and vibrate”.

Speaking on the “restart” of the trial, Demetrious said: “You can imagine our horror, suddenly we’re faced with an indefinite trial. A few months before the end of the trial period, they can make some minor changes and extend it  another 18 months. 

“Here we are with the best will in the world trying to see what we can improve and it’s being used against us, it’s really dishonest, we get fake empathy from the council.”

Demetrios also said during discussions that residents had asked for the data around air quality, but were refused. “They refused twice to give us the data, as it was ‘not complete yet’, but they’ve sent us reports that refer to this data, so it is being used.”

A report from July 2023 cabinet meeting set out data gathered so far from within the LTN, its boundary roads and in neighbouring areas, as part of an “interim assessment”. This included traffic counts, air quality monitoring, along with engagement exercises with local residents, businesses and organisations. The council says that at the time the schemes were in their “early stages” so some data sets were “limited in availability”.

Mike Hakata, cabinet member for climate action, environment and transport, claims Haringey’s LTN schemes benefit the “whole community” and were introduced to “reduce the overall volume of traffic in and around the area”. 

He said: “Working with and listening to residents has been our priority. In September 2023, we introduced a trial HGV ban in Downhills Way and Belmont Road in direct response to feedback from local residents and to counter the impact from lorries.

“Options are also being explored with TfL [Transport for London] to improve the operation of West Green Road/Belmont Road junction, including the phasing of their traffic lights.”

Cllr Hakata added the council would “continue” to listen to what “residents tell us” and claimed current data indicate the Bruce Grove West Green LTN trial is “having an overall positive effect”.