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'Absurd' opposition to Waltham Forest mini-Holland revealed in court documents

Locals who brought complaints to High Court forced to pay £12,000 in costs

The court documents for the failed case to stop Waltham Forest's mini-Holland scheme have been published online, with the judge ruling against any possibility of appeal saying: "The ... way in which the application is made shows the unfortunate tendency in this case for the claimant's argument to shift."

The damning court evidence, which can be found here, comes after last November’s case, where we reported how the group E17 Streets for All had an attempt to have the initiative blocked thrown out of court.

E17 Streets for All claimed that the borough had not followed the consultation process correctly, but was ordered to pay the council costs of £12,000.

Solicitor Sarah Williams, its representative, was given 28 days to pay the costs.

In a statement sent to road.cc at the time, Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment at Waltham Forest Council, said: “Our Mini-Holland programme is designed to improve the borough for everyone and we are pleased that the High Court has dismissed the arguments put forward.

"The Council appreciates that people have concerns and hope that this provides another opportunity for us to reassure everyone in the borough that we take seriously the need to meet all the appropriate legal requirements.

"We will continue to work with the community to develop the programme, which encourages walking and cycling, as we roll it out across the borough,” he added.

The local council, which is Labour-run, was taken to the High Court over concerns that there had not been sufficient public consultation on the plans to make the streets safer for cyclists.

The project has long been contentious, with the issue being discussed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in 2014.

One local woman told the programme: “It changes the feel of this street particularly so there would normally be cars parked here but now there’s just seats.

"It’s so much more open and now you can take in your surroundings a bit more rather than being a bit stressed by all the cars. Just look at this dad with his kid on the back of his bike – two kids on the back of his bike in fact!”

But a man living on another road in the area said: “They’re just creating a new rat run in my street here. My quiet residential road is now effectively a main road.

"It’s a great idea on theory but there needs to be more consultation with residents,” he added.

The campaign's website, e17streets4all.co.uk, is run by Don Mapp, a gardener in Walthamstow. He has previously campaigned against the council’s controlled parking zone, believing the public highway in front of his house to be his part of the road.

Justice Holgate said some of the objections raised by E17Streets4all were “absurd."

He added that: “In my judgment, there was nothing particularly complicated, or indeed complicated at all, about these issues. Therefore, the Council is not to be criticised in the way suggested. I see no realistic prospect of success in relation to that matter either.”

 

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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