RESIDENTS WHO FEEL UNHEARD

Recommendations Based on Submissions to
Harrow Council, Presenting Perspectives of
Harrow Residents About LTN – 26/01/21

Harrow residents have lost trust in their councillors. Evidence shows Harrow Councillors exclusively discussed issues concerning their streets with a handful of selected activists and lobby groups, for years (since 2018), excluding others. Elected councillors did not have the courtesy to consult residents who live on streets selected for LTN, about traffic measures. They imposed LTN on residents prior to impartial consultation, prior to research exploring how forced restrictions imposed by LTN barriers affected residents’ quality of life, and discriminated against them, using Covid as an excuse. Council behaviours concerning the streets of Harrow were biased and not independent. During TARSAP online meetings, residents who offered feedback, to highlight their concerns, said they were interrupted, muted, silenced, and left in waiting room. Residents live in a democracy, not a dictatorship, and they expect full consultation from their elected councillors. They request impartial,
unbiased, independent behaviour from elected representatives.

Executive Summary: Recommendations

1. Democratic Behaviour. Harrow Residents have lost trust in their councillors. They have been heard by local Council, but not listened to. Residents are living in a democracy. They do not living in a    dictatorship, and must not be treated as though they do.

2. Removal of LTN. Residents recommend all LTN are removed immediately. Our supporting recommendations set out below.

3.Consultation. Residents must always be consulted before any event is imposed on them, that affects their lives, or restricts freedom of movement along their streets. Feedback after an event has taken place is not consultation. A team of residents must be involved in future consultation, to ensure they are meaningful.

4. Bias. Harrow Council must be seen to act without bias, both in public & private meetings, listening to all residents equally. Councillors must declare any conflicts of interest which may bias their decisions. Residents must not be silenced or muted during meetings. All residents must be treated fairly and equitably.

5. Healthy Streets for All. Any project which manipulates traffic from side streets, and forces it onto main roads, where residents are living with their children is unfair, inappropriate, causes more air pollution, and must be stopped with immediate effect. Residents insist on healthy air and clean environment for all, and abhor the current wealth divide according to street location. Residents do not want artificial bottlenecks in their roads. Cyclists’ are important, and they are now forced to use gridlocked polluted main roads. Journeys by bike are made worse by LTN, which must be removed with immediate effect.

6. Emergency Access. Ambulance, Fire Engines, and Police must have emergency unrestricted access to all local properties. The current system of narrowed access must be removed immediately. Bottleneck access at certain times of day mean residents are critically delayed. LTN must be removed.

7. Safety. Consideration must be given to do no harm to pupils of Vaughn Road School, Bladen Gardens Residential Area, and Wilson Gardens Young Adults. Safety of all residents is paramount. All residents now have to drive past Vaughn Road School to continue with their lives. School Headmistress and Residential home managers and carers were not consulted, and must be consulted now, as they are concerned for safety of their vulnerable wards. The pedestrian crossing by the rear school entrance, which parents of Vaughan school fought for years to put in place, is now obstructed by the planters. This has now been closed off all together. School children cannot cross the road
safely there. The new crossing by train station has no road markings, and isn’t safe, especially for wheelchair users. LTN must be removed immediately.

8. Discrimination. Any project which discriminates against elderly and less able residents, must be removed at once. LTN which stop residents attending their doctor, chemist, physio or local park, unless they are fit and able, must be removed at once. Dividing the community and forcing the less able to make extended journeys to attend services is inappropriate, and not equitable.

9. Discrimination in Consultation. Any project which uses obscure online feedback data collection, discriminates against those people who are unable to go online. Consultation means every resident must be contacted in person by letter, of any project that impacts their lives, with a stamped addressed envelope.

10. Damaging Business. Any project which damages businesses in the area, by reducing residents’ access to them, must be stopped. Council must take action not to damage local businesses. Compensation must be offered and discussed with those who have lost trade. Residents using online services to order food or other essential products, or requesting AA assistance, or an uber taxi to travel to essential work, find the area between the LTN04 bollards is black-listed. This is not equitable.

11. Biodiversity and Environment. Harrow Allotment Holders care deeply about the environment. They must be treated fairly, and must not be forced to make longer journeys, in order to support biodiversity, grow produce, or carry tools.

12. Utopian Thinking. LTN were developed as part of a utopian philosophy, which benefits fit and health people, and disadvantages residents who have poor mobility or other health conditions. The proponents appear to engage in magical thinking, that somehow with the arrival of LTN, all residents will miraculously become fit and healthy. This philosophy is elitist and discriminates against certain residents, who can only do their shopping, reach their doctor or health care provider, or visit a local
park, with extended journeys along main roads, with gridlocked traffic and heightened pollution. Residents cannot use their own roads. LTN must be removed immediately.

13. Equalities Impact Assessment. The risk assessment carried out in July 2020, treated all groups of people with protected characteristics equally, rather than equitably. It states (1.b) “There are wider benefits to all members of the public and all people within the protected characteristics groups.” The assessment literally attached equal importance to all those with protected characteristics, rather than considering, the quality of life of disadvantaged residents who use the streets of Harrow with LTN in place. This is not equitable.

14. Risk Assessment & Elite Practices. Healthier streets and improved air quality initiatives are for an elite who live on the right side of LTN in side streets. It is not for those residents who live along main roads, or the wrong side of an LTN. It discriminates against residents who live on the wrong side of LTN with protected characteristics of Age, Disability, Pregnancy and Maternity, who can’t reach
shops or health provision without a car. LTN must be removed immediately to support those with protected characteristics whose quality of life is most negatively impacted.

15. Lost Trust. Residents have lost trust in their councillors, as they do not honour their written word. They send newsletters to a select group, but not others, write that they will speak up on LTN, then remain silent. 16. Undemocratic Voting System. Residents acknowledge the harm done to trust and respect, by a political system which supports fixed voting. This must be changed.