As a longtime Ladywell resident I have often, at busy times especially, opted to get to Blackheath via the Hither Green backstreets rather than sit in stationary traffic on Loampit Vale, writes Robert Sheppard. So imagine my exasperation a few weeks ago to find Leahurst Road blocked by two large planters!
It seems the Lee Green/Hither Green scheme has infact been long in the planning and part of Lewisham Council’s borough-wide traffic reduction programme, known as ‘Healthy Neighbourhoods’ which aims to “change our streets to encourage people to walk and cycle rather than drive”. Its implementation now apparently has nothing to do with Covid-19. The council website says: “By 2041, we want 80 per cent of all journeys in the borough to be made by sustainable modes of transport, such as walking, cycling and public transport.”
The Hither Green Scheme is in fact the first of 18 covering the whole borough and will be followed this year and next by traffic reduction schemes in East Sydenham, Telegraph Hill and Bellingham. Each of these projects starts with community engagement and design, before a trial scheme is introduced. If the scheme works it will be permanently constructed, then monitored.
Like many of us, I know I should be driving less. So my initial frustration at not being able to ‘get around’ easily by car quickly abated. Unless we’re forced to do so (by central or local government), will any of us really change our travel habits? Probably not I suspect. So although the planning, publicity and timing of the Hither Green scheme may be open to criticism, the council’s motivation in doing this is, in my view, sound and laudable.
Unsurprisingly some Ladywell residents are now interested in quickly joining the queue for their own traffic reduction scheme. A number of roads – including Shell, Algernon, Cliffview Road, Tyrwhitt and Tresilllian Roads – have long suffered from ‘rat-running’.
Most of Ladywell is, for the purposes of these Healthy Neighbourhoods schemes, part of a East Brockley and Ladywell (see above). This is a logical approach as it’s an area bounded by major roads – Lewisham Way to the north and Adelaide Avenue to the south, with railways to the east and west. This is principally an area of residential streets that could quite feasibly become largely ‘access only’.
Contact has already been made with Ladywell Ward Councillors and Cllr. Carl Handley has acknowledged some of the rat-running issues mentioned above and expressed an interest in hearing from residents with their ideas. Our three Ladywell Ward Councillors can be contacted at:
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
If you’re interested in joining a campaign to put Ladywell and East Brockley near the top of the list for attention in this way please email LadywellTrafficScheme@yahoo.com and/or email your ward councillors and Council Highways Officer firstname.lastname@example.org