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New cycle path an “invasion of privacy” that will lead to “noise pollution” and anti-social behaviour, say residents

The council says that scooters and mopeds will be banned from the waterside path, which will create “one of the few pleasant” active travel routes in the area and encourage “novice and nervous” cyclists

Rock and roll, as AC/DC pointed out back in 1980, ain’t noise pollution, but that’s apparently not the case for a newly approved waterside cycle path in north London, which residents claim will constitute an “invasion of privacy” and lead to excessive noise, light, and anti-social behaviour thanks to moped and scooters users along the route.

Enfield Council’s planning committee this week gave the green light to a shared-use cycle and pedestrian path, which will run alongside the New River between Tenniswood Road and Bullsmoor Lane, after extra privacy measures were agreed to protect neighbouring houses, the Enfield Dispatch reports.

The 2.9km off-road path forms part of a new cycling and walking route, built in conjunction with Broxbourne council, which aims to connect the neighbouring boroughs of Enfield and Broxbourne and will include new seating, lighting, cycle parking facilities, and rain gardens. A further 1.8km of on-road cycle lanes will also feature safety improvements including junction upgrades, new crossings, and revised speed limits.

> New cycle paths “like putting a motorway down the high street”, say residents

However, plans to enable the public to access this section of the New River drew concerns earlier this year from neighbours worried that cyclists and pedestrians using the path would be able to see into their homes and gardens.

In April, councillors deferred making a decision on the scheme to consider how these concerns could be addressed, with alternatives including a potential re-routing of the path along a nearby road.

At a meeting of the planning committee this week, the Labour-controlled council said that more evergreen hedge and tree planting would be introduced to ensure “considerable protection of privacy” for residents.

Nevertheless, despite the promise of extra plant-based screening, local Paul Hammond told the committee that the new path would constitute an “absolute invasion of the privacy that I currently enjoy in my property at the moment”.

Hammond argued that there was a “clear view” from the proposed infrastructure “right through my house”, and that residents would be forced to endure years of people peering into their homes and gardens.

He also said the scheme would generate “noise pollution” from moped riders using the path, as well as increased anti-social behaviour and light pollution.

> Popular walking and cycling path "(almost) inaccessible to motorists" blocked by crashed car

Hammond’s concerns were echoed by the council’s Conservative members, with Jim Stevens claiming that scooter users would also be a nuisance on the path, which would be open 24 hours a day.

However, Sarah Whitehouse, the path’s project manager, said that the residents’ privacy concerns had been “effectively mitigated” by extra planting and the removal of benches, and that there would be “significant public benefits” from using the New River route rather than an alternative.

David Hilliard, a cycling instructor and member of Enfield Cycle Campaign, told the committee that the proposed path was a “brilliant scheme” which, when completed, would be one of the few “pleasant” leisure routes crossing the M25.

He also said that the off-road nature of the route would encourage “novice and nervous cyclists”, including women and children, who prefer not to mingle with motor traffic.

Councillors also noted that scooters would not be permitted to use the path by law, and that CCTV cameras would be installed as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour, while not invading locals’ privacy.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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12 comments

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Justanotherhuman | 9 months ago
0 likes

might that be a navigable river? .... so all the canal boats all ready use it 

Avatar
TheBillder replied to Justanotherhuman | 9 months ago
1 like
Justanotherhuman wrote:

might that be a navigable river? .... so all the canal boats all ready use it 

It's a canal (for water supply into London), and there's already a footpath along it. The Wikipedia article https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_River_(London) on it is quite interesting (at least by my standards of "quite interesting").

I hope that the measures taken to exclude nutters on motorbikes work, and that the lighting isn't intrusive. I must admit either would annoy me if I lived there, but the house owners have to realise that you can't rely on adjoining land staying in the same use forever: HS2 getting smashed through the Chiltern countryside to allow people as far north as Birmingham (ie almost the Arctic Circle) to save some minutes on the journey to civilization in Old Oak Common is a good example.

Avatar
mattw | 10 months ago
6 likes

Where is the new path being laid - near or far side in the photograph?

It's an excellent idea, and any invasion of provacy wallahs can put up a 6ft fence or grow a hedge.

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hairyairey | 10 months ago
7 likes

People who complain about burglaries forget that more people being around is a deterrent not an invitation!

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momove | 10 months ago
13 likes

People in London shocked to discover other people may be nearby.

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Rome73 replied to momove | 10 months ago
9 likes

Also you can bet these residents then get in their cars and create 'noise pollution' outside some one else's house. . 

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tootsie323 replied to Rome73 | 10 months ago
4 likes

They probably complain that bikes - which don't have an alternate car--free route - hold them up.

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wtjs | 10 months ago
16 likes

The Rise of the Ultra-NIMBYs. The active travel scum may not look upon the houses and gardens of the ubermensch

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tootsie323 replied to wtjs | 10 months ago
1 like

NIMBY.

Also - not on my Chelsea-tractor commute.

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hutchdaddy | 10 months ago
14 likes

Do I really want to stop and peer into Paul Hammond's boring garden and house or enjoy the beauty of cycling by a river and get safely to my destination? It's a hard choice I have to admit...

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Cyclecynic replied to hutchdaddy | 10 months ago
5 likes

even if it was decorated from Wickes?

sorry seen the advert too many times

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eburtthebike replied to hutchdaddy | 10 months ago
8 likes

It is a sad day for this country when you can't peer into another man's castle.

I blame the EU.

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