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Row over east London cycle route

Not near our back yards, say residents

A ROW over a cycle route in east London has seen residents call for cyclists to 'ride over' a football pitch rather than close to their houses even though, as reported last year living close to a cycle route can actually boost the value of your property – particularly in London.

Plans to complete the Roding Valley Way through Wanstead were first put forward more than seven years ago as part of a scheme to improve cycling and walking links from Essex to the River Thames.

But no-one has been able to agree which of three options would be the best for the last section of the route, between Redbridge Roundabout and Empress Avenue, in Aldersbrook.

According to the Wanstead Guardian, members of the Redbridge branch of the London Cycling Campaign (LCCRG)- and half of all respondents to a public consultation on the scheme - favoured Route A, which would run behind a row of houses in Royston Gardens in Wanstead.

But at a recent meeting councillors chose to back route B as a compromise to residents in Royston Gardens who complained that route A would cause 'increased security risk' to their properties.

One resident, Masood Mirza, said they were justified in opposing route A.

He said: "There's enough problems with kids damaging fences and graffiti here already.

"Why can't (the cyclists) just ride across the football pitches. There's no need to go so close to people's back gardens."

Chris Elliott, joint co-ordinator of the LCCRG, said route A was the best option for cyclists and that their presence was actually more likely to help improve security in the area.

He said: "We favour route A because it's more open and safer. It runs high along the side of the river in a clear area where you can see what is around you. The other routes have problems. They run right next to the motorway which will be really noisy and unpleasant. There are also real security issues with the other routes.

"I don't see how cyclists could be seen as a security risk. I'd argue that having cyclists going past would improve security on route A."

Only two of the 13 Royston Gardens residents who responded to a public consultation on the plans backed route A - with a large majority opting for route C, which would run alongside the A406 past a disused allotment site.

No Royston Gardens residents voted for route B. 

Snaresbrook ward councillor Peter Goody said: "Given the concerns of residents and the needs of cyclists we would suggest route B as a compromise for the way forward."

Planning permission will now be sought for the scheme.

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