A councilor who rallied 3,000 people against LTNs in Oxford says the traffic patterns are “poisoning the local community”.
The decision to make the low-traffic neighborhood scheme permanent in three areas will be taken by Oxfordshire County Council tomorrow, following a public consultation which found the majority of those polled were against the measures to traffic calming.
Despite this, the council recommends making the Church Cowley, Florence Park and Temple Cowley LTNs permanent.
Read more: Cowley LTN fate to be decided this week as petition collects over 3,000 signatures
Independent Councilor David Henwood is fighting against this, having started a petition against LTNs in Cowley, which currently has 3,134 signatures.
He says this LTN trial was “not very well received”.
“The ANPR cameras that have been installed only serve to penalize and separate communities, so I’m really disappointed,” he told OxfordshireLive.
“The system is a top-down solution, it is undemocratic, it has not taken into account the voice of the people or local suggestions.
“I would suggest having a program that involves the whole community and ensures that everyone’s voice is included in the final decision-making process.”
Despite his anti-LTN petition, Mr Henwood said he originally supported the scheme.
“I have supported the idea of low traffic areas in areas like Temple Cowley. I have always been led to believe that LTNs are popular, but it is clear that after listening to the voices of many people and their genuine concerns, it is not a popular scheme.
“That’s why I decided to run as an independent, to represent that voice, the voice of the majority, that needs to be heard.”
He still believes LTNs can be delivered in a way that benefits communities, with his main concern being the ANPR cameras in place.
In his petition, he writes: “Key workers serving the local community and local residents will be fined by ANPR cameras for accessing schools, shops and places of worship.”
However, Mr Henwood thinks a low-traffic neighborhood is “deliverable”. He says there have been “success stories” where the quality of life for people living in “sideways” has improved.
But he claims this scheme was not well thought out or planned, saying: ‘When you close off the main roads or the main arterials to a district centre, which is Cowley, you start creating more problems.
“It’s not only inconvenient, but actually poisons the local community with a toxic atmosphere of nitrogen dioxide gas.”
As a result, he is “very worried” about tomorrow’s decision on the fate of the LTNs.
A decision on the sustainability of the LTN program is expected at 10 a.m. tomorrow (February 24).
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