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Conservative councillors say people going for brunch are 'ruining cycle lane experiment'

“Driving through it or having brunch here is not knowing how Chiswick works, you have to know it as a resident or a worker”...

People who visit Chiswick for brunch are 'trampling' over local residents views' by using a new cycle lane, say Tory councillors. 

The row comes as the Labour-run Hounslow Council turned down a Conservative challenge to the Chiswick High Road cycle lane - built in February 2021.

The TfL-funded cycle lane is intended to promote healthy travel, increase safety and discourage car use.

The Chiswick Conservatives organised a 'call-in' on August 4, asking the council to re-think its decision to keep the cycle lane for another six-months, reports My London.

But all members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted to push ahead with the new lane.

> West London council votes to make temporary cycleway permanent - for next 18 months at least

Turnham Green's Tory councillor Joanna Biddolph, said: “We continually have decisions made about Chiswick that are just imposed on us by people who just do not know it.

“Driving through it or having brunch here is not knowing how Chiswick works, you have to know it as a resident or a worker.”

Chiswick Homefields councillor and Tory leader Gerald McGregor said: “This current scheme, and the new Experiment Traffic Order is hopeless.

“There is a perceived lack of fairness, Chiswick residents feel they have been trampled on. The democratic deficit is clear here.”

The new cycle lane plan was 'rubber stamped' by Hounslow’s leadership and 'uses weasel words and lacks transparency', Cllr Biddolph argued.

> Huge growth in number of people including families riding bikes on West London protected cycleway

Defending the scheme, Hanif Khan cabinet member for transport, said London Mayor’s have consistently encouraged active travel.

He added: “The council transport strategy set out to reduce the dominance of cars on the road and we see that everywhere, where possible we want to take necessary steps to provide amenities to encourage walking and cycling.

“The pandemic has further highlighted the need for the benefit of urgently providing high quality cycling infrastructure.”

Council transport officer Jefferson Nwokeoma, revealed that between February and June 2021 average weekly cycle lane users increased from 1,239 to 2,316.

Mr Nwokeoma emphasised that the council was going 'above and beyond' by engaging with the public for 21 days before starting the new temporary cycle lane.

Defending an alleged 'failure to consult' in the last seven months, Mr Nwokeoma said 8,000 letters were sent to Chiswick’s 45,000 residents, as well as stakeholder emails and 'town hall type events'. 

Speaking about the plans last month, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said: “[The] data shows the huge positive impact cycle lanes can have not only in enabling more people to cycle, but also in reducing road danger and improving air quality.

“Chiswick High Road has been transformed by the trial lane, with cycling on weekdays up by almost three quarters and bikes now making up a fifth of ‘vehicles’ using the road during the day.

“We will continue to work with Hounslow Council and boroughs across London to do all we can to ensure a greener and cleaner recovery from the pandemic.”

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