‘Council must do better’: Streatham LTN launch marred by days of gridlock traffic

A Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) trial launched on Monday had “the worst start possible”, as traffic backed up onto a high street for days in a row.

The Streatham Wells LTN trial, which will run for 12 to 18 months, immediately came under fire from residents as gridlock traffic backed up for at least a mile along Streatham High Street on Monday and Tuesday.

A Thames Water emergency repair at the corner of Leigham Court Road and Streatham High Street contributed significantly to the traffic, though residents pointed out the area regularly has road works.

A video taken on Monday showing the extent of traffic in Streatham High Street (Video: Alexi Anstey)

Videos posted on social media showed cars and buses stopped, with some residents complaining that car journey times had tripled.

The new LTN covers Leigham Avenue, Culverhouse Gardens, Valley Road, and Gleneldon Road.  

One resident, Geraldine Brady, who lives inside the LTN in Leigham Court Road said Lambeth council had implemented the wrong policy and that she was planning to move house because of it.

“It’s bonkers,” she said. “They have turned these areas into private roads. Even within the LTN you can’t drive around in it [as certain roads have traffic filters]. It’s insane.

“Not one thing can fix this problem you need lots of different solutions. It’s about tackling the traffic in the morning and afternoon when it’s busiest.

“People are not going to stop driving, they’re just going to sit in their cars for longer creating more pollution.

“Leigham Court Road is always being dug up for one reason or another. Traffic is going to be a continual problem with the LTN. I can’t wait to get out of here.”

The events planner also blasted the council for its poor signage around the new LTN, which she claims contributes to the idea it is simply a “money making scheme”.

A sign in the Esso petrol garage in Leigham Court Road advising drivers the Streatham Wells LTN begins at Knollys Road has been criticised for its “poor visibility”.

Elsewhere, residents put some old kitchen cabinets with signs on them warning drivers about possible fines in Valley Road, inside the new LTN, as they claim Lambeth council made such a poor job of providing proper signage.

Home made road blocks in Valley Road (Picture: Desmond Colfer)

“Drivers are completely confused about where they can and can’t drive,” said Desmond Colfer, a resident on the street.

In the nearby Streatham Hills LTN, in Amesbury Avenue, residents believe the arrival of the Streatham Wells LTN has brought vandalism to their streets, as a camera used to detect cars was cut down on Monday.

Christopher Lambourne, a resident of the street, said the LTN improved the area but he did not understand why it was such an important issue for people.

The stump of the cut down camera pole in Amesbury Avenue (Picture: Christopher Lambourne)

“I’m quietly pro [the LTN] but not in every case,” said Mr Lambourne. “People should be able to speak their mind and say they don’t want them and where they cause enormous hardship I think that’s right.

“I’m open minded to them being too much of a cost to somebody but I’ve never really heard a compelling argument for it.”

In 2020, the council released early data from the Streatham Hills LTN which showed traffic around the area had increased by 26 per cent, with a later study showing it had gone up by 19 per cent.

The elected Streatham Action Committee, who represent views of the community to Lambeth council, say they have been waiting for months on recent evidence of the volume of traffic and air quality from the town hall for the Streatham Hill LTN.

Neil Salt, chairman of Streatham Action’s transport group said it had “clearly been a very difficult start to the [Streatham Wells] LTN”.

“No one could have predicted a burst water main which necessitated Thames Water coming to do major repair work. Nobody would wish that on any local council to have to deal with an issue like that.

“Luckily it’s been half-term week but you wouldn’t have noticed that on the flow of traffic. There have been significant issues on Leigham Court Road for a year and a half with some very old pipes. Lambeth council have known it is susceptible to failure all the way up the road.”

Mr Salt said there had been “huge vitriol” towards the LTN plans at Streatham Action’s public meeting which resulted in a petition signed by 1,300 people asking the council to pause its plans. The council said it was going to maintain its strategic direction.

The real test will come on Monday when half-term ends and students return to school, Mr Salt added.

Deputy Leader of Lambeth council Rezina Chowdhury, said: “The trial Streatham Wells LTN will have a dramatic impact on traffic volumes and associated toxic emissions that pollute the air, while helping us make our streets greener and more sustainable.

“This is not about pitting different groups against each other, rather it’s about giving everyone equal access to their local streets and not prioritising one group over another.

“Lambeth’s streets are dominated by traffic, whether its vehicles using them as short cuts or rows of parked cars that increase road danger for everyone, especially the most vulnerable.”

Pictured top: Traffic backed up in Streatham High Street (Picture: Alexi Anstey)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

3 thoughts on “‘Council must do better’: Streatham LTN launch marred by days of gridlock traffic

  • This is most ridiculous thing council could do! That doesnt make any sense. Journey which usually took 15 minutes now takes over an hour. Dont have to be scientist to know that engines forced to stop and go every few meters as they do in such traffic emitting more pollution than engine which runs continuously. Blocking bus lanes was dumb idea in first place now road that were used to discharge most of congestion are also blocked causing total chaos. Lambeth always was and always will be worst council in London.
    Nothing else but we need to fight stupidity!

  • These LTNs that the council have unilaterally introduced are definitely just money making schemes. People don’t want them. All the polls not run by the council reflect this. The benefits are questionable and the harm measurable. It’s horrible and cruel.

  • What an awful idea by the council – everyone email and complain about this rubbish idea


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.