‘I’m absolutely relieved’: Residents hail decision to suspend LTN that caused havoc

Residents have expressed their relief after a council announced the suspension of a controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) scheme with immediate effect.

The Streatham Wells LTN trial scheme was cut short yesterday following “concerns about public transport delays”, and “anticipated disruption from planned Transport for London (TfL) construction works,” Lambeth council said in a statement.

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

Nick Wojtczak, who lives just off Valley Road, said: “I’m absolutely relieved, I can drive down Valley Road again without taking an hour and 10 minutes.

“This scheme affected all the buses. It caused chaos.”

A video showing traffic in Sternhold Avenue leading up to Streatham High Road at the junction of Streatham Hill railway station (Video: Alexi Anstey)

Recent data from TfL revealed a bus journey along the A23 in the area, which should take around 29 minutes, was taking more than two hours.

While the scheme’s suspension has been welcomed by many, those who were issued fines while it was in effect will still have to pay the penalty.

Councillor Donna Harris, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Lambeth, said: “We are now back to square one, after months – and untold money – wasted.  

“The council must now go back to the drawing board and consult residents properly across the whole of Streatham and the surrounding area about solutions that improve the lives of all who live here, both now and for future generations.”

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

No more fines will be issued, a council spokesman said, with the LTN signs expected to be removed over the next fortnight.

The Streatham Wells LTN trial was introduced in October last year – scheduled to remain in place for 12 to 18 months – in the council’s effort to reduce road danger and make the neighbourhood safer and healthier.

But just days later it came into force the scheme came under fire from residents as gridlock traffic backed up for at least a mile along Streatham High Street.

Deputy leader Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, cabinet member for Sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air, said: “We’ve listened to the concerns raised by local people and recognise the major disruption coming as part of transport improvements on the main road running through Streatham. 

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

“The combination of factors together would cause too much disruption for Lambeth residents.

“Many local people have told us they welcomed the fall in traffic in areas like Valley Road and around Sunnyhill Primary School – but equally, there have been delays in bus journeys on the A23 which has had an impact on many residents.

“The investments that TfL and the council are making on the A23 and the Streatham to Peckham healthy route will set the conditions for future changes to make Streatham a clean, vibrant and climate resilient place where people can lead healthier, happier lives.”

Transport for London will begin a £9million project to upgrade the A23, starting at the end of spring and continuing into 2025, according to Lambeth council.

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

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