Elderly and disabled residents protest at Dulwich LTN which stops family and friends from visiting

Elderly and disabled residents have protested against road blocks which are stopping them get about.

The group, Age Speaks, want Southwark council to scrap the Dulwich Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) measures.

Around 30 elderly Dulwich residents, many with disabilities and mobility issues, took part in a demonstration at Southwark council’s offices on Tooley Street on Tuesday (7th December).

They called on traffic chiefs to listen to their needs and rethink the proposed traffic orders in Dulwich.

The protest was organised by Age Speaks, a group with nearly 100 members, set up specifically to highlight the difficulties the LTN road closures are having on elderly people and those with disabilities in the Dulwich area.

Other Dulwich residents, dismayed by the effects of the LTNs on the elderly and disabled, also came to support the demo.

Age Speaks members protesting about Dulwich Low Traffic Neighbourhood at Southwark Town Hall

Some members took part in a deputation to the Cabinet meeting inside, at which they highlighted the many hardships inflicted on older and disabled people by the traffic orders, imposed 17 months ago, and implored the council to reconsider the proposed permanent traffic orders.

Age Speaks spokesperson Jo-an Evans said: “Many of us have hidden disabilities and poor mobility, so we rely on our cars to get to our GP and hospital appointments and to visit our friends in other parts of Dulwich.

We have written as individuals to Southwark Council about how the closures discriminate against us but they have ignored our needs and prioritised people who are able to walk and cycle. That’s unfair.”

“I am in my seventies,” said another, who did not want to be named: “The consequences of the LTNs on my medical services has had a hugely detrimental impact on my quality of life.”

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), were introduced in Dulwich in June 2020, incorporating both 24/7 road closures and timed restrictions.

“Those living on boundary roads have suffered increased traffic, congestion and pollution. “Journeys take up to an hour longer which is making life hell for older people with mobility problems who have to use their cars as there is such poor public transport in the area and no east-west bus service.

There is no good reason why Southwark Council cannot allow exemptions for elderly people and those with disabilities to go through the Dulwich Village junction and other camera-controlled restrictions.”

Many older people say they are getting fewer visits from friends and relatives and some no longer leave their homes for fear of getting stuck in traffic or incurring fines. They talk of increased social isolation, despondency and their fears for their future if the LTNs are made permanent.

Those dependent on social care and family support say their carers are finding it difficult to get to them on time and some carers are now no longer willing to work in Dulwich because of the excessive timed restrictions and fines.

 


 

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