The six councillors for central Chiswick, representing Chiswick Homefields and Turnham Green wards, have jointly called on Cllr Hanif Khan, Hounslow cabinet member for transport, traffic and parking, to visit central Chiswick and see for himself the difficulties caused to residents and traders by the recently imposed road closures.
Turnham Green ward councillor Joanna Biddolph said:
“Residents and traders in central Chiswick – and residents throughout Chiswick – are suffering from the consequences of these ill-thought out schemes that were imposed on our community and which have produced not only chaos and confusion but also had an enormous impact on our ability to shop. The consequences for our hard-working traders in particular have been very damaging.
“We need to find a way to move forward. The objections will not go away and the problems created by the closures will not just disappear. Indeed, when schools re-open the problems may well worsen. We need Cllr Khan to come and engage – in a safe way, recognising social distancing and other COVID-19 requirements – with residents and traders so we can achieve traffic schemes that meet the objectives of supporting greater walking and cycling without wrecking local business and disrupting our lives pointlessly”.
Cllr Sam Hearn, transport spokesperson for the group, added:
“I hope that Cllr Khan will accept that all we councillors in Chiswick want – as I am sure he does – is he best for the community in terms of traffic management. We all understand the pressures that led to these rushed schemes but the imminent three-month reviews of their impacts provide an opportunity for everyone to take a step back. At the moment residents and traders feel the council is ignoring them; by coming and meeting with local people and our shop owners, Cllr Khan would have an opportunity to demonstrate that he and the council are listening”.
Open letter to Cllr Hanif Khan, Hounslow cabinet member for transport, traffic and parking
14 August 2020
We are writing as the councillors for the Chiswick Homefields and Turnham Green wards to ask that you come and visit Devonshire Road and Turnham Green Terrace next month to see for yourself the impact of the closures of these roads on the lives of residents and traders as well as on the Chiswick community and Chiswick’s character.
The hostile reaction to the council’s drastic and unilaterally imposed changes to the road network exceeds anything we have experienced before in Chiswick. What could have been an opportunity to engage with people to find ways to reduce car use and increase active travel, has instead descended into a farcical circus which hasn’t reduced traffic but just diverted it.
We do not doubt the good intentions of the council but we have to question their implementation. Most of these measures have nothing to do with social distancing; will not increase active travel; nor will they improve air quality. Instead the Council appears intent on solving problems that do not exist, and creating new problems on these roads and across Chiswick.
In addition, the loss of passing traffic has been disastrous for shops on Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Road, coming on top of the losses created by the lockdown. Many traders feel that the council is actively hostile to them, not just because of the lack of consultation but also because many were not even told the measures were being implemented. The forthcoming implementation of Cycleway 9 on Chiswick High Road will create further disruption for traders.
The imminent three-month interim reviews provide an opportunity for the council to acknowledge its mistakes, work with local residents and traders to make the schemes better and to show that the London Borough of Hounslow is a listening council.
We ask that you come to Chiswick and meet residents and traders yourself. It must of course be done in a way that reflects the current pandemic restrictions but we do not believe there is any better way for you to find out the impact. How can the interim reviews have any credibility if the cabinet member responsible has not seen and discussed the issues on the ground for himself?
We stand ready to assist in any way we can – it is in everyone’s interest that we move on from past mistakes and get these traffic schemes sorted out.
Chiswick Homefields ward
Cllr Patrick Barr
Cllr Gerald McGregor
Cllr John Todd
Turnham Green ward
Cllr Joanna Biddolph
Cllr Ranjit Gill
Cllr Ron Mushiso