Agenda item

Croydon Healthy Neighbourhoods

The report makes recommendations regarding the future seven Temporary Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) that were implemented in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Statutory Guidance issued by the Secretary of State for Transport and calls to address the speed and volume of traffic in certain local access streets/unclassified roads.


The Head of Strategic Transport, Ian Plowright, introduced the Report and spoke to a Presentation on the Croydon Healthy Neighbourhoods (CHN) Proposals. He outlined the following:


·       In parallel to the COP26 goals, the International Transport Forum was echoing that carbon emissions from transport should be addressed.

·       It was children and young people that were most affected by emissions and would benefit most from the implementation of the CHN proposals. Statements from the Climate Change Youth Conference called to hold decision-makers to account.

·       Cabinet had previously considered the report of the Croydon Climate Crisis Commission, which included a recommendation to implement Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs). The Cabinet agreement of the recommendations included caveats in relation to overcoming the issues that arose when initially implementing LTNs in Croydon and across London.

·       There was 129,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted from vehicles on minor roads in Croydon in 2018. A large CO2 reduction needed to be achieved in London  to achieve national binding legal commitments.

·       In 2018 the Croydon Cycle Strategy was developed during the council’s third Local Implementation Plan (LIP) in relation to the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. Within the Cycling Strategy, reasons were set out as to why the council desired to pursue and encourage people to cycle, which additionally broadly covered the benefits to walking. Benefits of which ndid to only cover the individual health of a person, but savings to the NHS services.

·       The recommendations for CHNs were part of a far wider programme of measures agreed by Cabinet in the Local Implementation Plan on 26 July 2021.

·       Questions had been raised nationally about LTNs which the government had sought to address in its ‘one year on’ update on the walking an cycling plan for England.

Ø  Research of LTNs recently undertook found that in relation to concerns over displacement in traffic, that there had been increases on some boundary roads however on the majority of traffic flow had fallen.

Ø  Responding to claims that LTNs caused worse air quality in areas which already suffered as a result of displacement, in recent years the Nitrous Oxide levels in London had improved. Other measures introduced by the Mayor, such as the strengthening and expansion of Low Emission Zones (LEZs) and Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ), air quality levels were expected to further improve.

Ø  In response to claims that local government funding was at risk if they were to not implement the government’s active travel priorities, it should be noted that during the summer there were high profile cases of six London local authorities who had their funding withheld. These were pending discussion with Transport for London (TfL) as to their progression and implementation agenda, however those outcomes were not publicised.


The Head of Strategic Transport told the Advisory Committee that the officers recommendations outlined in the report were to cautiously replace the temporary LTNs into time limited Experimental CHNs. He explained this was in order to engage further with residents and gather clear evidence to the effectiveness of the schemes.


The Head of Strategic Transport informed the Advisory Committee that since the agenda was published, further representation submissions had been received. One of which was a letter from Steve Reed MP which highlighted the headline findings from the survey conducted in the summer in areas of Croydon North. He called for the council to listen to the view of residents in those areas. Secondly to highlight, there was a representation received from Open Our Roads (OOR) which posed a number of questions for consideration and there was an online petition attached (not formally verified) referring to concerns from residents regarding the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology. He stated all of the representations received would be made available to the Chair for consideration ahead of any final decision taken.


The Chair thanked the Head of Strategic Transport for his introduction and then invited members of the public who registered to speak to make their representations in turn.


Jarmila Whiteley spoke in objection to the implementation of an Experimental CHN at the Holmesdale Road area and highlighted the following:


·       Since the temporary LTN were introduced there had been in increase in traffic and there was reduced access in an area she had lived for 48 years.

·       Her job as a rapid response carer for end of life care meant that she drove between south London boroughs and she said that healthcare professionals endured daily struggles to navigate around the LTNs

·       This meant carers were wasting time sitting in stationary heavy traffic. They saw an increase in vehicle fuel costs and large fines incurred for entering streets that residents lived needing care.

·       She claimed that the displaced traffic was causing increased emissions in other areas which resulted in worse health outcomes for other residents.

·       She asked if there would be exemptions for healthcare workers and if the council was expecting residents to register a vehicles number plate for every visit made.

·       She asked why the council on occasion automatically refused Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) cancellations, which carers to endure a time consuming paper trail to rectify. She noted that she experienced an incident following this process where her PCN appeal request was declined. The payment of £65 fine was the equivalent to one days pay only due to initially mistakenly driving in to an ANPR zone to attend a family crisis of a dying loved one.

·       She stated that the Labour run council cared more for the additional revenue and that the implementation schemes that detrimentally effected people and created division in the community.


Lynn Stewart spoke in support to the implementation of an Experimental CHN at the Holmesdale Road area and highlighted the following:


·       She stated that she had lived in the area for 18 years and before the implementation of LTNs had noticed a sharp increase in the number of vehicles, accidents from speeding vehicles, excessive noise and pollution.

·       Holmesdale Road was a ‘rat run’ and was used by motorists to avoid main roads which  negatively affected the community. Since the implementation of the temporary LTN, positive change had occurred resulting in safer, quieter and less polluted streets.

·       The reduction in vehicles led to safer experiences for children travelling to Harris Academy and South Norwood School.

·       The number of cyclists, runners, joggers and walkers who used the road increased because it was less dangerous.

·       The was substantial reduction in noise and air pollution

·       The positive improvement in conditions, as outlined, had fostered a sense of community in the area and increased neighbour interaction. She said this was a progressive decision of the council.


Carolyn Kellaris spoke in objection to the implementation of an Experimental CHN at the Holmesdale Road area and highlighted the following:


·       She stated that she had been a resident in the area for over 20 years.

·       The recommendation was disingenuous and dishonest in light of the responses from residents in the survey, where 70% were at risk of having their views ignored.

·       She stated that she was a part of the OORs network and thanked Committee Members for taking the time to read their written submissions and petition.

·       It was clear from residents of Elm Park Road that they were not in favour of an ANPR, to which 50% of residents living on that road signed the petition (not formally verified) against.

·       When collecting signatures, OOR were speaking to residents in the community who were affected. She stated that officer and elected Member’s approach lacked engagement with people living in the areas prior to the implementation of the temporary LTNs, which eroded trust between the council and the community.

·       She claimed that residents were unclear on what problems the LTNs were trying to solve and the statements supporting the schemes specifically in Croydon were lacking any evidence.

·       She claimed that Members did not visit the area to speak with residents and make any observations of the problem they were attempting to solve.

·       Displaced traffic had meant additional traffic in other areas. The proposal for another ANPR would create confusion for residents, vehicle gridlock, traffic accidents and pollution.

·       She stated that taxing the community was not the solution.


Lynn Leathem spoke in objection to the implementation of an Experimental CHN at the Holmesdale Road area and highlighted the following:


·       She explained that she felt her anxiety exacerbated by the actions of the council.

·       She wrote a letter to Steve Reed MP last year when the road closures were initially imposed, who then suggested she wrote to the formally titled Director of Public Realm. She said that his response was not satisfactory.

·       The experience of road closures was causing disruption and detours of road users.

·       LTNs had and would cause increased pollution from idling cars that would not otherwise have been stalled, resulting in extended journey times.

·       She stated that her family experienced distress when the extended journey times were impacting doctors surgery visits.

·       Councillors should be representing the views of residents in the borough and those who were against the ANPR cameras. These actions would be remembered in the May 2022 local election.

·       She stated that quiet streets we not necessarily safer streets, in relation to safety for women. Fewer vehicles meant an increased threat to safety of women using the streets. She had written to Cressida Dick, MET Police Commissioner, to alert her of the dangers of quieter streets.


Karina Fernandez spoke in support to the implementation of an Experimental CHN at the Albert Road area and highlighted the following:


·       She stated that she walked her two young children to the local school, which in the past could be a dangerous and frightening experience involving dodging speeding cars.

·       She noted that there were two schools in the local area to Albert Road. The experience for children travelling to school had become peaceful and safer, allowing for children to develop agency in learning road safety with room for error - which was not possible with the previously consistent dangerous situation.

·       There were also two School Streets in the area, relying on ANPR cameras, which had also improved the traffic in the area.

·       She praised the street planters.


Mark Brown spoke in support to the implementation of an Experimental CHN at the Dalmally Road area and highlighted the following:


·       He stated the he was a resident of Addiscombe and a representative of Wheels for Wellbeing which served over 150 excluded disabled and learning challenged people in the area.

·       They had expanded into operating leg-rides which utilised the LTNs, enabling people who would not normally ride on roads in normal conditions to make sustainable transport choices. The removal of the LTNs would effectively remove the choice for those people.

·       Additionally, he spoke as a grandfather and stated that the LTNs enabled children and families to travel freely, either walking or cycling, to their schools.

·       As the schemes had been in place for a substantial time period, he asked whether it was reasonable to remove them when residents were accustomed to the set-up.

·       He claimed there were benefits to people choosing to access local trade using sustainable modes of transport.


AhaliNihalani spoke in objection to the implementation of an Experimental CHN at the Parsons Mead area and highlighted the following:


·       She accused the council of ignoring the results of the survey, which flagged the significant resident opposition to ANPR cameras and asked what was the reason for the survey if not to take into account the views of residents.

·       She claimed that the council valued the funding generated by the ANPR cameras above the views of residents.

·       She asked why the council were providing the Traffic Management Order 2021 No. 45 as the legal document to enforce the Parsons Mead restrictions and noted this was not the legal document. She added that both residents and traffic adjudicators were in the position to purposely adjourn appeal hearings to query the relevance of the Order, which was ignored by the council. She asked officers to confirm the legal order that did apply to Parsons Mead and further confirm that it complied with the necessary UK legislation, including Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1984.

·       She asked what analysis had taken place in Croydon on traffic and pollution levels, and into Parsons Mead specifically. Following any analysis, she asked if the traffic level had reduced in the current schemes and how that was monitored.

·       It was clear that congestion in some areas had increased due to displaced traffic and she asked how that would affect the health and wellbeing of those affected residents.

·       She asked what pre-appeal figure of total fines had council issued since the introduction of LTNs. She further stated that the figure should be low if there was effective visible signage and an advanced warning system when entering an area.


The Chair thanked the residents for their representations to the Advisory Committee. He invited officers to respond and provide any relevant clarifications to points and questions raised.


In response to the Traffic Management Order comments, the Director of Sustainable Communities clarified that he was aware of a Traffic Order which was submitted as part of an appeal process which was incorrect. He confirmed there was now an updated Order available on the council website.


For clarification in response to comments made relating to Elm Park Road, the Principal Engineer - Highway Improvements Team explained that when the LTN was initially implemented in Holmesdale Road, there were three road closures along Holmesdale Road and Elm Park Road. In response to those closures, council officers received several emails and requests from residents of Elm Park Road complaining of ‘rat running’ vehicles and asking officers to consider implementation of similar LTN schemes on Elm Park Road. As part of the recent consultation during the summer, this is now why a new ANPR solution was posed for Elm Park Road and is now a part of the latest proposals. The Principal Engineer - Highway Improvements Team further clarified that everyone living on the road and who had a registered vehicle would be eligible to apply for three exemption permits.


In response to concerns raised around access to LTNs for healthcare workers, the Head of Strategic Transport stated that carers, and similar visitors, would be eligible to apply for a long-term permit - not per visit as previously suggested.


Committee Member Questions and Debate


Councillor Appleton thanked officers for their report and the residents for their representations and attending the meeting. She firstly raised concern over residents feeling like they were not listened to or engaged with by their local councillors or officers. She asked for more information in relation to how the air quality monitoring stations would be placed around ANPR zones and where they would be located. She stated that she was not satisfied with the solution for unofficial carers or in unforeseen circumstances for residents needing to make necessary  trips. It was not always possible to know who the three visiting people were in advance, however she commented that it was good there were long-term permits available. She secondly asked officers what the situation would be for residents travelling to their places of worship, work or community centres and how these proposed schemes would affect those cohorts.


The Head of Strategic Transport replied that those in receipt of care would be able to nominate a carer for a permit. He noted that following the references to road closures, in these recommendations every part of the area would remain accessible, including by car. In response to the point raised relating to community engagement, he stated that the report acknowledged the problems and challenges that were created in terms of how local authorities were required to hurry the measures. The Secretary for State for Transport called on local authorities to take swift action, within a matter of weeks, and results of that haste could be viewed as inevitable. In the move to Experimental CHNs, the type of experiment would reflect the discussion heard during this meeting and the earlier representations receive of the plans needing to be more actively engaged with the community. In terms of the engagement plans, the council would be rapidly preparing monitoring plans for these areas and would be implementing traffic monitors that monitor real time, classify real term traffic based on traffic type and vehicle type to include pedestrians and cyclist.


Councillor Karen Jewitt asked for how long would the experimental schemes would be operating before findings and recommendations would report back to TMAC, and if the timeframe could potentially be shortened. Secondly, she referred to the representation in relation to end of life care and stated that various visitors would be travelling to a person in hospice care. She stated that care organisations should be provided with long-term permits and said that in the case of families, during a time of difficulty, it was not realistic to assume that family members were capable of completing paperwork in a time limited situations. There should be a better situation proposed for visitors, those in care and carers. She concluded that she was not against the schemes as a whole, but a better solution should be found for particular challenges.


In response, the Head of Strategic Transport stated that an experimental order could last up to 18 months, and 12 months was intended for the proposed schemes in order to gather information and data to report back to TMAC with recommendations on the future of the schemes. In response to the emergency access comments, he said that the reason for recommending the ANPR solution was to ensure the roads remained accessible for vehicles and that officers were looking to widen exemptions. He stated that it would be difficult to provide an exemption to an organisation that could be passed between vehicles. The Principal Engineer - Highway Improvements Team added that Parking Services, who managed PCNs, applied leniency to charges on a case-by-case basis and took into account individual situations. Councillor Karen Jewitt challenged those comments in saying that the appeals process was not successful for the respective speaker this evening and she believed there should be more humanity in the process. She asked the speaker to send her details of the appeal case and she would ensure it was re-evaluated.


The Chair stated that, as previously stated by the Head of Strategic Transport, that concerns raised during this meeting would be taken into account by officers. He stated that if the recommendations of the scheme were approved, that residents would not be burdened by the process unnecessarily and there would be other solutions considered and found to implement the restrictions.


Councillor Jane Bennett expressed concerns previously raised in relation to challenges to carers and stated that it was not just those who worked for organisations affected, but people visiting elderly family members or friends and unofficial carers – which also meant there would be an impact to elderly isolation and loneliness. She ask how would the council address that cohort. Secondly, she asked why the findings of the survey, which overwhelmingly did not support the introduction of ANPRs, were ignored. She also asked why residents on Boundary Road, South Norwood Hill and White Horse Lane were not consulted, which were the areas where the displaced traffic would appear. She noted that there were two schools in the zones where traffic, and the negative side effects, would increase.


The Head of Strategic Transport replied that the online surveys were available for residents to respond to who lived beyond the LTN areas themselves. LTNs are designed to create a network of quieter streets, therefore no matter the location of the schools, they would be assisted in part of that daily journey. The matters of the questions were not only raised within Croydon, and the government had sought to address those points through their report on the national walking and cycling strategy, which outlined the evidence to say there was not a significant issue with displaced traffic. In response, Councillor Jane Bennett stated that the traffic flow outside Beulah Hill School was terrible and she thought it would worsen as a result of the proposals being implemented and concluded that children attending that school were receiving a worse deal than other children in the borough.


The Director of Sustainable Communities said that it was not that officers were ignoring the fact that there were some challenges with some schools and added that there were a number of School Streets that were positively progressing.  There were a further 10 School Streets planned in the next tranche of work and they were working to overcome challenges at particular schools of concern.  In addition to the point, the Chair stated that any traffic reduction benefits everyone.


Councillor David Wood firstly asked, in relation to the online surveys conducted, how they differed to professional polling. He secondly asked what were the figures of projected income for the council over next few years and if those income streams would reduce as compliance to schemes increased. He asked if those figures included School Streets, and therefore was it possible to be given a breakdown of the different streams. Lastly, Councillor David Wood asked, in relation to community engagement, would children and young people be included in the surveying going forward as they would be hugely impacted by these schemes.


The Head of Strategic Transport firstly replied that the surveys were designed by council officers and generated data, and a corresponding report, in a short time frame, due to reasons previously outlined regarding the time limitation of implementation. An external company, PGA Consultancy, was employed and their findings were appended to the report. The survey was not an expert opinion polling survey and the methodology used was to analyse a large amount of data, and report, in a short time period. The report today highlighted that the exercise failed to represent children and young people’s views, and that polling was not the right method to attain those views. Going forward, the strategy to attain those views would need to be quickly prepared and include ways of actively engaging with children and young people.


The Director of Sustainable Communities secondly replied that built within the parking management account was a projection of income which was made up of various activities, including ANPR enforcement.  The budget was made up of different workstreams, which included issuing permits and formed a part of the budget setting process. ANPR technology covered box junctions, no right turns, bus lanes and any sort of restricted area for vehicles. That budget projection was £12 million per annum. It was expected as part of the modelling that compliance would increase as road users became more familiar with the schemes and there would be a decline in revenue.


Councillor Jade Appleton asked if the data was available to identify how many properties had vehicles registered in each LTN area, and secondly, what was impact was if each of those households claimed three permits. She stated that she could not see how the schemes could be effective without that information. In response, the Head of Strategic Transport stated that a household would have the ability to apply for up to three permits if they had three registered vehicles at the address. CHNs should not add to the amount of traffic in an area and without physical closures, shorter journeys would be made by residents. He confirmed that no modelling had been conducted and explained that there was not enough time to due to the timeframe of the overarching strategy from government. The government also stated that it was unclear at that time what scenario should be modelled. He confirmed that the council had not gathered data as to where vehicles were registered in Croydon and the numbers to each address relied upon the last Census data (2011).


The Corporate Director of Resources addressed the Advisory Committee. He firstly clarified that the proposals were transport policy decisions for the primary reasons of improving the health outcomes for residents, and enforcement was a secondary result.  ANPR cameras generated income for local authorities which was ring fenced for traffic management related spending in the borough.  In relation to the budget, the Corporate Director of Resources told the Advisory Committee that the Council set and agreed the budget on 8 March 2021, which approved growth and savings. In Appendix A of that budget, the projected ANPR income was included. The income figure was not a target for the council, but an impact from transport policy implemented for health benefits of residents. He stated that if the budget was not delivered as agreed, the ability of the council to deliver its services within the budget for the year would be impacted for the next three financial years. A decision to not implement the schemes, and forgo the projected income generated, would increase the gap in the council’s budget and impact the ability to secure the next tranches of the captialisation direction from central government and the current and future stability of the council’s finances. 


Councillor Patsy Cummings thanked members of the public for their contribution to the meeting. She stated that it was important to carefully review the issues raised that would affect residents. In relation to comments made against poor engagement from councillors with residents, she said that was not the case and that they had been knocking on doors with council teams and the Police to monitor the traffic. She asked, for the benefit of any residents watching remotely, how would a temporary LTN move into an experimental LTN.  In response, the Head of Strategic Transport stated that when an Experimental Order was published, that a six month objection period would commence. Any representations received within that period relating a the scheme being made permeant would be considered. Those representations would be balanced with other evidence gathered during the operation and incorporated into a report back to TMAC which would set out the recommendations as to the future of the schemes.


Councillor David Wood stated that he had received representations ahead of the meeting in relation to the Holmesdale Road scheme. These expressed a desire for the scheme proposals to be expanded, specifically to Dixon and Whitworth. He asked how requests for additional or expanded schemes were considered by the council and what tests they were based on.  Secondly, he asked if there was any data in terms of the traffic flow on existing schemes recorded whether journeys began or ended in the zones or were passing through areas.


In response, firstly, the Principal Engineer - Highway Improvements Team confirmed that expansion was possible, however the disadvantage for Dixon and Whitworth would mean access for visitors and deliveries would be restricted. Secondly, the Head of Strategic Transport stated that they did have access to that data which gave an indication of traffic passing through an area and they reviewed that as baseline findings for the LTNs. He noted that this data was an indication, and not a fully accurate picture.


Councillor David Wood stated that given the experimental orders would be reviewed by the TMAC in 12 months time, and the opportunity for further consultation in the interim, he was assured by the responses from officers. He commented that more needed to be actioned to reduced traffic on the roads, particularly in light of improving health outcomes for residents.


The Chair drew the debate to a close and thanked everyone for their contribution.




Councillors Jade Appleton and Jane Bennett  stated that they did not endorse the recommendations made to the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Croydon.


Councillors Karen Jewitt, Patsy Cummings and David Wood endorsed the recommendations made to the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Croydon; however, they indicated that challenges discussed this evening should be reviewed further by officers.


Recommendations outlined in the report:


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

1.1        (subject to Spending Control Panel approval) to replace Temporary Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) with Experimental Croydon Healthy Neighbourhoods (CHNs) at:

(i)          the ‘Dalmally Road area’

(ii)         the ‘Elmers Road area

(iii)       the ‘Parsons Mead area’

(iv)       the ‘Sutherland Road area’

(v)        the ‘Holmesdale Road area

(vi)       the ‘Albert Road area’

(vii)     the ‘Kemerton Road area’


by the making of Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs) to operate for up to 18 months as detailed at Paragraph 2.7 and Appendix 4 of this report, with exemptions as described at Paragraph 2.7.


1.2      to delegate to the Director of Sustainable Communities the authority to vary the provisions of the ETROs including the exemptions to the restrictions and the lessening of restrictions as deemed appropriate as part of the experimental trials.


Supporting documents: