Agenda item

Crystal Palace and South Norwood Low Traffic Neighbourhood


The Committee considered a report which outlined the evolution of the Temporary Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) at Crystal Palace and South Norwood, implemented in stages in response to the ongoing Covid19 Pandemic.


Ian Plowright, Head of Transport, Planning and Strategic Transport, and Rachel Flowers, Director of Public Health, introduced the report and gave a presentation. This can be found on the following link:


Public Speakers


Eliska Finlay, representative of Open Our Roads, addressed the Committee and explained that the response rate from the consultation was high, and clearly showed that residents wanted the scheme to be removed entirely. She raised concern that despite fewer residents voted in favour of the scheme, the recommendations to the Cabinet Member of Sustainable Croydon were to continue. Local residents and the local primary school had explicitly asked the council to not install Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera technology; however, the consultation period and engagement with the residents had appeared to have broken down as residents were feeling powerless and their quality of life issues were being dismissed. She requested that the Cabinet Member did not extend the scheme, and instead, re-consulted with the four key boroughs, local schools, local businesses, and residents to design a scheme which was appropriate for the area. A specific transport and traffic management strategy was needed for the area, which included full data to measure the success or failings of a new scheme being introduced. Eliska Finlay concluded by stating that residents would welcome a scheme that improved the environment and reduced the reliance on cars, as long as it was suitable for the area.


Stuart Aitken addressed the Committee in his capacity as a local resident of Patterson Road, Bromley, and explained that the residents of Patterson Road and neighbouring streets had been effected with an additional large amount of traffic that Croydon Council had diverted through when the scheme was implemented. He noted that the residents had sent multiple emails, over 1000 people had signed a petition to remove the scheme, two videos had been sent of over 50 cars queuing to leave the area, and of two very serious incidents of road rage. He explained that these had felt ignored by Croydon Council. He concluded by reading a story, which had been sent to Croydon Council in September 2020, written by his neighbour who had lived on Patterson Road for 20 years:


“I got a call at 9am telling me my mother was dying. I jumped into my car in a state of panic. The normal 10 minute journey took me 40 minutes because of the heavy traffic Croydon Council had caused. As I walked into her room, she took her very last breath. I cannot tell you the pain and suffering you have caused me. I wasn't there to hold her hand and tell her how much I loved her. Because you decided to close off the roads of only a few privileged people impacting the majority of us, but also me, very, very personally. I now hate my job. I hate where I live. And I can honestly say that I've never felt so let down and full of despair as I do right now. You have been sent all of these stories, and yet you have ignored them. Muhammad in 2018, you were voted in with just 2820 votes. 2896 people voted to remove this scheme. More people voted to remove the scheme entirely than voted for you. It's time to listen.”


Angus Hewlett, representative of Croydon Cycling Campaign, addressed the Committee and explained that they welcomed the scheme, but had a few concerns. He noted that the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) were of the few that any cycle routes where road space was shared with general traffic must carry fewer than 2000 vehicles per day with 85% compliance of a 20mph limit; this was so cyclists felt adequately safe on the road. The roads within the LTN carried over 5000 vehicles a day in each direction, with 85% illegally breaking the 20mph limit; this had reduced significantly since the introduction of the LTN, which consequently, had helped people feel more comfortable cycling on the road. He gave examples of families with children as young as six cycling together on the road and feeling safe to do so, nine year olds cycling to school independently, the bike racks at the local primary being fuller and older people rediscovering the joys of cycling short trips. Angus Hewlett explained that they hoped and expected that the ANPR scheme, even with exemptions and some non-compliance, would remain within the LCC ad TfL zone safety threshold, and that the 18 month trial would enable many more local trips by bicycle. He expressed one concern regarding the bus gate; the closed segment of Auckland Road was currently carrying approximately 200 vehicles a day in each direction. The 200 vehicles a day was currently within the LCC and TfL thresholds; however, there were approximately 4000 homes in the area and an increase on the 200 could be detrimental. He concluded by stating that the Croydon Cycling Campaign welcomed the extension of the scheme, provided that there was a commitment to thorough open traffic counts and monitoring on all affected roads. Further support should also be provided to residents by offering secure cycle storage, grants for ebikes, and continued engagement throughout the scheme.


Marcus Boyle, representative of Cypress Cycling Club, addressed the Committee and gave some background to the work the club does within the community, namely, teaching young children how to ride a bike and promoting safe spaces for cycling. He went on to explain that the Crystal Palace and South Norwood area was inaccessible for cyclists, due to the design of the area, unless you were a confident and experienced cyclist. Marcus Boyle went on to quote the following by, Councillor Stuart King in 2018: “Croydon is facing an obesity linked health crisis. Our children are growing up in an in a society where it has become normal to be overweight. In Croydon we rebuilt our street environment around the car which contributes to making us less active. However, the news is not all bad as out of all the London boroughs, Croydon has the greatest potential for cycling and walking.” He concluded by noting that 25% of the residents in the LTN were children; he explained children were unlikely to respond to a consultation period, but there had been a significant increase in children cycling to school since the LTN was introduced, and these statistics should be included.


Agnieszka Harrison, representative of Shape Better Streets, addressed the Committee and explained that she was speaking on behalf of residents who were passionate about the long term vision of reducing vehicle traffic and promoting active travel. She stated that pollution was detrimental to physical and mental health and development, and people had been deterred from walking around this area, due to the danger, and were missing out on exercise. These concerns had been recognised as a problem by all political parties, and the issue had been magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the introduction of the LTN, there had been a significant increase of people walking and cycling rates had tripled since a traffic survey was completed in July 2020 – she noted that this was an increase in active travel on a wet day in November, compared to a warm summer day in July. There had also been an increase in schoolchildren walking, cycling or scooting to school. Her hope was that as more people pursued active travel, roads would becoming cleaner, quieter and safer, for all residents and the local schools within the LTN. She concluded by requesting that Croydon Council keep the LTN scheme in place, to improve the conditions for active travel, and to benefit the whole society by reducing the number of cars on the roads.


Amy Foster, representative of Croydon Living Streets, addressed the Committee and stated that there was ample evidence and research that indicated that investing in walking was good value for money: it supports healthy travel choices; generated new walking journeys; enabled older people to live healthier lives for longer, with increased independence and mental wellbeing; was effective at getting previously sedentary populations to build physical activity into their daily routine, which led to better health; reduced car ownership levels; improved air quality and reduced carbon dioxide emissions; reduced road danger to pedestrians and cyclists; and that healthy travel habits developed in childhood supported future healthy travel choices and better health in adulthood. She explained that all of these had long term benefits, which required years, so was pleased that the recommendations were supportive of the trial continuing. Amy Foster went on to explained that an urban environment, which enabled and encourage physical activity through walking and cycling, was needed and would be a critical part of reducing the huge cost burden of physical inactivity and poor health on local and national care services. She concluded by requesting that an audit on pavement quality within the zone was conducted to understand where improvements were most needed, and for any revenue generated through non-compliance be used to improve the working environment for all.


Catherine Bradler addressed the Committee in her capacity as a local resident of Southern Avenue, Croydon. She explained that she had noticed a steady increase of traffic as a result of Satnavs rerouting main road traffic through residential roads; there were thousands of vehicles using the residential streets as shortcuts every day. She noted that Southern Avenue was effected particularly badly in terms of additional traffic, and that she had met with council representatives, and other local residents, to discuss solutions to reduce the volume of traffic. Before the LTN was introduced, Catherine Bradler explained that there was not a safe space to cross the road, which was particularly dangerous to children and vulnerable people, and that there had been multiple crashes, with parked vehicles being written off. She added that it was also not uncommon for traffic to be gridlocked, and she had witnessed drivers getting aggressive, to the point of physical altercations. She expressed to the Committee that the LTN had transformed the area, for herself, her family, and residents; her family used the car a lot less, and had begun car sharing, and her children aged twelve and nine now had the independence to move around the area unaccompanied by either walking, cycling or scooting. She concluded by noting that the LTN was not perfect, and some residents were not in support of it; however, the scheme only required a few amendments, which could be worked out during the trial period. She disagreed with the comments about traffic being displaced on to main roads, as the Satnavs had displaced traffic from main roads onto our residential streets, which were not designed to for a high volume of traffic.


Barclay Rae addressed the Committee in her capacity as a local resident of Lancaster Road, Croydon, and explained that he was speaking on behalf of five sets of neighbours in the local area. He noted that he had lived in the area since 2005 and had seen the traffic significantly increase during this time, causing severe safety issues, as the area had become a “rat run”. Residents feared for their children’s safety, as cars were constantly speeding and driving recklessly from the roundabout on Southern Avenue; speed bumps had been needed before the introduction of the LTN. He further added that the pick-up and drop-off times at Norwood Harris Academy increased the volume of vehicles in the area, which had come close to causing accidents. The introduction of the LTN had been a great improvement for the local residents in terms of environment and safety; he explained him and his family had been doing more fitness, in particular running and walking in the area. He concluded by noting that in addition to the safety of the neighbourhood, traffic pollution needed to be reduced to protect the environment. The damage to the environment was at a critical point, and these schemes needed to be debated and considered.


Councillor Angela Wilkins, Bromley Councillor for Crystal Palace Ward, addressed the Committee and noted that she was representing her residents, and had been lobbied by both sides in regards to the LTN. She explained that nobody had disagreed that there were too many cars in the area, and that something needed to be done to improve the current situation; however, the delivery in this scheme was not conducted correctly. She noted that this included: the introduction of the scheme whilst the scaffolding and temporary traffic controls were still in place on Church Road; angering residents by not listening to the general consensus from the consultation; the impact the scheme had had on Belvedere Road, Cintra Park, Patterson Road and Milestone Road, whilst these residents had not received any of the benefits from the scheme. She concluded by explaining that the residents on the border of the two councils, in the Fox Hill area, were suffering, as both councils had different views on the benefits of LTNs


Councillor Stephen Mann, Croydon Councillor for Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood Ward, addressed the Committee and explained that he and Councillor Pat Ryan were in favour of trialling a bus gate, but he had reservations about the planters. However, since the removal of the scaffolding on Church Road, he had now concluded that an ANPR trial was the correct solution for the area. He explained that there were longstanding issues in the Crystal Palace area, due to the design of the streets, with regular gridlocked traffic and large tailbacks of cars. He noted that there were conflicting views from the residents on the LTN, reflected in the speakers at the Traffic Management Advisory Committee, but he believed that the ANPR was a solution that would benefit many residents, with the removal of the planters. Concerns had been raised by some of the businesses situated within the “triangle”, but 14 new businesses had opened in recent months, so there was not a decline in local businesses in the area. He recognised that many residents lived on main roads and more work needed to be done to understand the levels of pollution and traffic on these roads, and to mitigate these. He concluded, by requesting that the Committee and Cabinet Member for Sustainable Croydon considered the following points:


-       For proper air quality monitoring along main road network and the “triangle” was undertaken, and appropriate resolution was looked at for the entire area.

-       To look at the levels of toxic air on the main roads, caused by the high level of traffic.

-       To ensure safe routes on the edge of the LTN, and to consult further with the London Borough of Bromley regarding this.

-       That engagement takes place with car club providers to ensure adequate provision with the LTN, and for these cars to be treated the same as private vehicle owned within the zone.

-       For the council to engage proactively and continuously with residents and businesses through the Crystal Palace area forum.

-       That detailed activity was taken within the “triangle” businesses, including customer travel surveys and analysis of travel and traffic levels.

-       That further work was done to explore genuine exemptions, including delivery services, and zero emission vehicles.


In response to the representations received, the Head of Transport, Planning and Strategic Transport noted that concern had been raised regarding the expectations following the consultation; he clarified that the results of the consultation were always to be brought back to the Traffic Management Advisory Committee, in addition to all other considerations. He noted that this was stated in both the street notices and in the letters that were delivered to residential properties and businesses and their properties in the area and the surrounding roads.


Questions from the Committee to Officers


Councillor Karen Jewitt raised concerns regarding the doctor’s surgeries, and noted that there should be provisions in place to allow drop-offs for appointments, and also for carers working in the area. In response to these queries, it was explained that Croydon Council had been in discussions with the NHS regarding the support of care staff, to ensure the service was not impacted on; care staff who worked for the NHS would receive permits, and those who needed to visit patients regularly would have resident passes. In regards to private caring agencies, the resident would need to apply for a permit on their behalf, which would be a virtual pass. Croydon Council had also met with the doctor’s surgery to discuss the impact of the LTN and the bus gate, and in response to these conversations, access would be provided to both sides of the surgery; the bus gate would be moved to begin by the north side of the surgery, and two disabled bays would be at the south side of the surgery.


In response to Councillor Pat Ryan, it was confirmed that exemptions would be given, but these would need to be limited as concerns had been raised about how many people would be using the route, and the impact this would have on cyclists. Councillor Pat Ryan requested that professions such as the teachers and head teachers from the local schools and effected NHS staff were considered.


In response to Councillor Michael Neal’s query regarding statistics on air quality, the Head of Transport, Planning and Strategic Transport explained that due to the scheme being implemented during the pandemic, there was not the opportunity to collect a high level of air quality data. When air quality data was last collected in Croydon in 2016, nitrogen dioxide was the only pollutant above the national required limit value. The Director of Public Health added that these scheme would significantly cut down the pollution, and the reduction in car use and feeling safer would encourage residents to be more active; this would improve the emotional, mental and physical wellbeing of residents, as well as the air quality in the area.


In response to Councillor Neal it was confirmed that approximately 65% of responses came from outside of the LTN zone, and 35% in the LTN zone. Croydon Council had delivered over 6000 letters to the LTN zone, and from these 1523 had responded. It was also explained that only one response which was identifiable from Cypress Primary School was very negative and from a member of staff; if it was agreed by the Cabinet Member for the scheme to be trialled, then active engagement would be sought with the school.




Councillor Karen Jewitt noted that the timing for introducing the scheme was wrong, particularly in regards to the scaffolding being put up on Church Road, and the work taking place; Croydon Council should accept this and apologise, as it had upset a lot of residents. She also stated that the questionnaire and engagement had with residents could have been improved. The length of the trial could be up to 18 months, but she requested that the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Croydon considered trialling the scheme for just six months, as too many residents were not happy with the scheme. She also requested that officers consider doing a door-to-door consultation, if permitted during the COVID-19 pandemic; alternatively, a second leaflet drop to all residents in the area to ask how the LTN had impacted on their lives.


Councillor Luke Clancy stated that few residents who lived within the LTN had benefitted, due to essentially living within a gated community; however, he noted that the scheme diverted traffic through surrounding areas, negatively impacting on particular communities in the borough. Councillor Karen Jewitt expressed concern at the statement as she felt that it was untrue and unfair to state that particular communities were being negatively impacted. She explained that she lived in the area, and it was a mixed community where its diversity was celebrated. Councillor Luke Clancy responded by explaining he was not implying that it was the intention of the scheme, but an unintended consequence.


Councillor Luke Clancy explained he was in favour of reducing reliance on cars and reducing emissions and pollution, and to also encourage walking, cycling and using public transport. However, he noted a large number of objections had been received from the London Borough of Bromley, the MPs, and local head teachers. One Headteacher had explained to the council that teaching staff were seeking work elsewhere due to their extended commute caused by the LTN, which would have an impact on the quality of education being provided. He requested that the Cabinet Member completely withdraw the scheme, as it was not suitable for the area.


Councillor Paul Scott noted that the timing of the scheme was unfortunate, as it coincided with traffic controls and the scaffolding being erected. Residents had also been unable to experience “normal” traffic rates to see the full effect of the scheme, due to the pandemic and lockdowns. He was of the understanding the scheme would make a positive difference, and that the revised scheme should be trialled; he proposed the scheme should be 12 months, as 18 months was too long but six months would be too short to see the full impact. This scheme would positively impact the environment, and he noted to the Committee the current climate change emergency and the danger this was having, and how the council would need to make some difficult decisions to change the way of living. The Government and Mayor of London were promoting streets being regained for communities, and he explained he wanted more LTNs to be introduced across the borough. He concluded by highlighting the strong opinions heard at Committee by residents, local groups, and cycling groups making a case for why safer neighbourhoods were required, and for improving the air quality where they lived. He urged the Cabinet Member to consider a 12 month scheme, which should be fully consulted on after the pandemic.


Councillor Michael Neal thanked all the representations received from the public. He explained that the benefits on the long-term health and for school children had been noted; however, he had concerns that there was a lack of long-term air quality data. He also noted the strong objections that had been received, namely from the London Borough of Bromley and the local MPs, who did not agree with implementation of the scheme. He requested that the scheme was not agreed, and that the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Croydon look at alternative schemes for the area.


The Chair of the Traffic Management Advisory Committee thanked everyone for their contributions, and explained that it was an Advisory Committee, and he would be asking Members of the Committee individually if they endorsed the recommendations outlined in the report. He would then make a decision following Committee with, the evidence gathered, the Committee report and appendices, the minutes of the meeting, and the webcast. This decision would be published on the website, and be subject to call-in.




Councillors Luke Clancy, Michael Neal and Pat Ryan stated that they did not endorse the recommendations made to the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Croydon.


Councillors Karen Jewitt and Paul Scott endorsed the recommendations made to the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Croydon; however, they both requested the length of the trial was reconsidered, to either six or twelve months.


Recommendations outlined in the report:


That the Traffic Management Advisory Committee recommend to the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Croydon that they:


1.1     Consider:

a) the responses received to the informal consultation on the options for the future of the Crystal Place and South Norwood Temporary Low Traffic Neighbourhood and other feedback.

b) the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy and the Council’s plan to implement it within the Borough (the Croydon Local Implementation Plan).

c)the Council’s statutory duties, including its duties under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, in particular its duties under s.9, s.121B and s.122, its duties under the Traffic Management Act 2004, in particular its duty under s.16, its duties under the Equality Act 2010, in particular under s.1 and s.149 (the public sector equality duty). .

d) the statutory guidance ‘Traffic Management Act 2004: network management in response to COVID-19’ as updated on 13 November 2020.

e) the other matters within and referred to within this report.


1.2     Agree to the removal of the measures implementing the Temporary Low Traffic Neighbourhood as soon as practicable and in any event prior to the implementation of the recommended Experimental TRO.


1.3     Agree (subject to Spending Control Panel agreeing to the spending of ring fenced grant funding) to implement an Experimental Low Traffic Neighbourhood at Crystal Palace and South Norwood ‘Experimental LTN’ by the making of an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (Experimental TRO) to operate for up to 18 months, to:


1.3.1   prohibit access and egress by motor vehicles (other than certain exempt vehicles) at the following locations:

(a)      Sylvan Hill at the common boundary of Nos.11 and 13

(b)      Lancaster Road junction with Goat House Bridge

(c)      Fox Hill junction with Braybrooke Gardens

(d)      Stambourne Way junction with Auckland Road

(e)      Bus gate introduced at the common boundary of Nos. 86 and 84a(Auckland Road Surgery) Auckland Road


These restrictions to be enforced through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera technology, shall not apply in respect of:

(a)            a vehicle being used for fire brigade, ambulance or police purposes;

(b)            anything done with the permission of a police constable in uniform or a civil enforcement officer;

(c)            a vehicle being used for the purposes of a statutory undertaker in an emergency, such as the loss of supplies of gas, electricity or water to premises in the area, which necessitates the bringing of vehicles into a section of road to which the order applies;

(d)            vehicles to which a valid exemption permit has been provided;

(e)            licensed taxis at the bus gate only.


1.3.2   Introduce two disabled persons Blue Badge parking bays outside Nos. 84 and 86 Auckland Road.


          for the reasons set out in this report and summarised at paragraph 3.12 and 15.3 of the report.


1.4.    Delegate to the Director of Public Realm the authority to vary the provisions of the Experimental TRO including the exemptions to the restrictions.


1.5     Instruct officers to continue to seek to work with those in Bromley Council to mitigate effects predicted to arise from the Experimental LTN in certain residential access streets in Bromley.


1.6     In relation to Equality to agree:


i)            that the equality implications of the recommended Experimental Traffic Regulation Order have been the subject of careful consideration in compliance with the Council’s obligations under sections 1 and 149 of the Equality Act 2010;

ii)           nevertheless there should be further equality impact analysis including through focused engagement with the members of groups with protected characteristics potentially most affected by the proposed change in and around the area of the current LTN during the operation and improvement of the Experimental TRO


1.7     That a recommendation on the future for the Experimental LTN be brought to the Traffic Management Advisory Committee at the appropriate time.

Supporting documents: