Public Meeting, 24 July 2018 6.30-8pm, Lumen Church, Tavistock Place
On 27 June, a decision was made by the Leader of Camden Council to close the north end of Judd Street (junction with Euston Road) to motor vehicles, as well as the south end of Hunter Street (continuation of Judd Street) at the Lansdowne Terrace / Guilford Street junction. Despite seven deputations against the proposals (with only 2 in favour) Councillor Georgia Gould gave these proposals the go-ahead.
BRAG was formed in 2016 to give residents a Voice, so it seemed appropriate to organise a time and place where local people could come together to express their views. This took place from 6.30 to 8pm on Tuesday 24th July at the Lumen Church, 88 Tavistock Place, WC1
The meeting was well attended by over 60 people - including residents, small business owners, a journalist from the Camden New Journal and a representative from the RMT Ranks and Highways, representing taxi drivers. One local resident represented London Living Streets, the campaign group for promoting everyday walking.
As we are encouraging the Council to be much more "joined up" in its thinking, it was good that residents came from all three local wards: Kings Cross, Bloomsbury and Holborn & Covent Garden. There are knock-on effects and the issues ripple out much further than one single street - as the Chair of the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Forum, who attended, clearly articulated. Her comment, "the devil is in the detail" also resonated with the audience.
After a welcome by BRAG's Chair, there was a short presentation about what is actually happening to local streets. Some decisions have already been made (closures to junctions in the Holborn area), some are still to be made (Frederick Street / Princeton Street).
1. DETAILS OF THESE TRAFFIC SCHEMES & ACCESS TO INFORMATION ABOUT THEM CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE.
There was then a presentation about the validity of the consultation process, which took place over 2 years ago, and the mis-reporting of results in the Officer's Report.
This was followed by a presentation which questioned whether the timing of the Judd / Lansdowne closures will prejudice the outcome of the very expensive 4 week Public Inquiry on the Tavistock Place trial scheme (that took place in autumn 2017), which is due to be decided by Camden's Cabinet on 5 September,
3. THE SLIDES CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE
The main part of the meeting was dedicated to an open discussion on how the Judd / Lansdowne closures will affect residents living in specific streets.
The area was divided geographically in order to get contributions from residents who attended and live:
West of Judd Street and north of Tavistock Place (including Duke's Road, Woburn Walk, Burton Street, Upper Marchmont Street, Sandwich Street, Thanet Street, Judd Street);
East of Judd Street and north of Tavistock Place - and beyond (including Bidborough Street, Hastings Street, Argyle Square, Crestfield Street, Whidborne Street, Wicklow Street);
South of Tavistock Place and the wider area (including residents of the Brunswick Centre, Marchmont Street, Lamb's Conduit Street, Great Ormond Street, St James Street, John Street, Southampton Row, Russell Square and Calthorpe Street, on the other side of Gray's Inn Road.)
DETAILS OF THIS DISCUSSION CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE
Several residents who were unable to attend the meeting sent in comments, THESE CAN BE VIEWED HERE.
The meeting concluded with two resolutions that we will take back to Camden Council, along with a report on the issues that were brought up during the evening.
The first was endorsed by the majority of people at the meeting, though not all (four against) and there were a couple of abstentions.
This public meeting calls on Camden Council to reconsider its decision to close the north end of Judd Street and the south end of Hunter Street at Lansdowne Terrace, on the grounds that:-
significant numbers of local people and businesses did not have an opportunity to express their views because they did not receive the 2016 consultation papers.
the consultation papers did not explain clearly how these road closures would displace traffic onto small quiet streets and cause significant harm and inconvenience to local residents and businesses
the interval between the 2016 consultation and the reporting of its results in 2018 breached government guidance that consultations should be reported on in a timely fashion
the 27 June decision was made on the basis of options which differed significantly from those consulted on in 2016 and must be considered unsound as a consequence
The Public Inquiry on Tavistock-Torrington Place was based on the premise that the decisions on Judd Street and Lansdowne Terrace would be made AFTER the decision on Tavistock-Torrington Place. Taking these decisions prematurely risks rendering the Public Inquiry meaningless.
This meeting calls on the council to reconsider this decision in the context of other adjoining schemes and other options; and to undertake fresh consultations, with genuine engagement with local people. There are other options that could accommodate both the needs of local people and the needs of transient road users.
That BRAG should form a working group to draw up a consultation code of practice to be followed by Camden Council.
The second resolution was endorsed by all present, with one abstention.
This is now being progressed actively, with a view to having some proposals for discussion with Camden in the autumn.
FOR INFORMATION: email addresses of Ward Councillors in our area CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE