By Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has been called on to step in and personally resolve a messy cross-border traffic dispute between two South London authorities.
Bromley council leader Colin Smith confirmed yesterday he had written to the transport secretary in a bid to resolve the situation at the Crystal Palace triangle.
Anger from residents on the Bromley side of the border remains high after Croydon council installed road-blocking barriers on three of its streets, part of a £250m London-wide push to cut down on vehicle use and encourage walking and cycling.
However, the road closures have instead wreaked havoc on the Bromley side of Crystal Palace, resulting in traffic backing up for miles throughout the borough.
Bromley leader Cllr Smith last month revealed the council had initiated “the first tentative legal steps” to have the planters in Fox Hill, Stambourne Way and Sylvan Hill roads removed.
And this week the Tory leader confirmed he had approached Mr Shapps to step in and resolve the situation.
“Not only is Croydon’s scheme grievously unfair on the Bromley residents living along the affected roads in particular, it holds the potential to create concentrated additional rat running across a significant number of other back streets locally as people decide to divert,” Cllr Smith said of Croydon’s actions.
The Bromley leader also raised concerns the road closures, if combined with emergency utility works on the arterial A213 road, would result in a “complete seizure” of the whole road network in the north-west of the borough – creating a potentially disastrous situation for emergency services on the roads.
“However well-intended this scheme was, or wasn’t, at the outset, the evidence is clear and public opinion even clearer that it simply isn’t working and needs to be reversed without further ado. Urgently so, as well,” he said.
Mr Shapps said earlier this month he would personally step in to scrap the worst examples of low traffic neighbourhoods where local authorities have ruined high streets and residential roads.
Compounding frustration for Crystal Palace residents was the lack of consultation from Croydon council on the changes.
It was something acknowledged by Croydon’s cabinet member for environment, transport and regeneration, Stuart King, who conceded it was a “regret” in correspondence with residents, saying: “Croydon highways team should have reached out to their counterparts in Bromley (before diverting traffic) and I regret that this did not take place”.
However Cllr King appeared to rule out an immediate removal of the barriers, but did signal openness to amending the Low Traffic Network (LTN).
“We have asked Bromley council to work with us on amendments and improvements to our LTN scheme, for the benefit of residents in both areas,” he said.
“We remain keen to work with Bromley to see if amendments and mitigations can be introduced by either authority to deliver benefits to the widest number of residents locally, regardless of which borough they live.
“Working with the support and engagement of Bromley council widens our collective ability to improve the situation.”
Pictured top: Fox Hill, one of the roads in question
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