2017 Update & downloads
A small group of permanent residents of WC1 founded BRAG in the summer of 2016 to remind our local politicians that “Residents Matter.”
We would like to thank everyone who contributed to our 2016 campaign. This was initiated in order to encourage decision-makers to re-think the controversial ‘experimental’ traffic scheme that was imposed on Tavistock – Torrington Place in November 2016 without prior public consultation. In particular, there was no advance discussion whatsoever with residents who live at the eastern end of the corridor, who have been most affected by the displaced traffic.
We also wanted local people to be aware of the traffic flow proposals being developed by Camden Council, which will inevitably affect the daily life of a very large number of residents who live in the wards of Kings Cross, Bloomsbury and Holborn & Covent Garden.
Changes to traffic flow
The very limited and low-key public consultation on these plans led to a public meeting at Camden Offices on 10th March 2016. This was attended by a large number of angry and distressed local residents and small traders who were shocked that such plans were being foisted on them without proper discussion. Officers seemed to be ignorant of how such proposals would have a major negative impact on residents’ day-to-day lives.
As yet, there has been no decision on whether Judd Street will be closed to traffic from the Euston Road (Ref. 3) or whether Lansdowne Terrace / Brunswick Square will be closed to northbound traffic. (Ref 4). The decision to make Judd Street part of the Cycle-Superhighway 6 (Ref. 2) has been confirmed.
The closure of westbound traffic along Tavistock-Torrington Place will continue as a “trial” until a decision has been made by Camden’s Cabinet on whether to make this permanent, to return to what it was before, or to consider an alternative arrangement.
BRAG’s alternative scheme
BRAG believes that a more equitable solution for the Tavistock-Torrington Place corridor should be considered, so that vehicles can continue to have a westbound route, but that cyclists should have a dedicated lane on both sides of the road in the direction of travel. BRAG’s proposal is being considered by Camden Council, along with other feedback from the public consultation that took place on the trial scheme between 12th September and 21st October 2016. BRAG’s Formal Response to the consultation
BRAG’s Community Planning Day
On 8th September 2016 BRAG organised a Community Planning Day at Thenga Café, One KX, Cromer Street, WC1. This was a participatory event that was set up to harness views from members of the local community through a series of professionally facilitated workshops and smaller discussion groups. The aim was to listen, and record what people said. People who couldn’t stay for long wrote concerns on Comments Sheets.
The Report of the Community Planning Day – which includes 31 individually written comments sheets - has been sent to Camden’s Officers and Councillors and we have been assured by Councillor Jones, at a meeting on 18th November, that its contents will be considered as part of the Tavistock Place ‘trial’ scheme consultation process. The Report is available here
BRAG’s Public Meeting
On Tuesday 4th October 2016 BRAG held a public meeting at St Pancras Church, Euston Road in order to be able to represent residents’ views in the Tavistock-Torrington trial consultation process.
85 people signed in, the majority being local residents, with some local business owners. Attendees included a number of taxi drivers who lived outside the local area. A group of cycle campaigners attended the meeting, a few were also local residents, but many lived outside the immediate area and supported the tracks as a convenient way to get to central London. Most taxi drivers and cycle campaigners left before the end of the meeting
The meeting included a powerpoint presentation by BRAG Committee members. This explained how BRAG started, gave a brief report back of the Community Planning Day, provided details of the impact of the Tavistock-Torrington trial scheme on local residents and commented on Camden’s flawed consultation process. BRAG’s alternative scheme for the Tavistock-Torrington corridor was explained with illustrations. This proposed returning to two-way traffic, with cycle lanes on either side of the road, in direction of traffic. A vote was held at the end of the meeting in support for the motion calling for the Council to consider BRAG’s alternative plan: 41 for the motion, 3 against.
The well attended meeting included a Q & A session, which enabled a variety of views to be expressed, with contributions from cyclists (local residents) who do NOT support the segregated tracks and from cyclists (commuters) who do. All comments were recorded and added to the Presentation feedback, which is available here..
Several local residents have written eloquently about traffic management in London (1), the Tavistock – Torrington trial consultation process (2) and the problem of unloading for residents who live on Tavistock Place (3).
During the summer of 2016 BRAG volunteers distributed a large number of leaflets throughout the WC1 neighbourhood. The flyer introduced residents to the formation of BRAG, alerted people to the Council's plans for the area, and encouraged them to sign the petition.
Once the formal consultation process began in September, residents of Tavistock Place itself, eg Tamar House on the south side of the street, were reminded of the impact and inconvenience on their daily lives, despite the reduction in traffic along the east-west corridor.Click to view
During the past six months the Camden New Journal has published a number of letters from local residents who have concerns about the Tavistock-Torrington Place trial scheme and the consultation process itself. View here
Wider resident concerns
BRAG’s commitment to the voice of residents being heard has spread to concerns about planning applications in the area. This has included:
Supporting residents from Derby Lodge in Wicklow Street who are threatened with developers building a large office block in their courtyard [2016/6356/P]
Writing in support of resident objections to a proposed new basement restaurant in Marchmont Street
Objecting to a proposal to install antennae and associated equipment on the roof of the Generator Hostel, which would cause harm to both the conservation area and occupants of Knollys House in Tavistock Place. The application by Vodafone / Telefonika has now been withdrawn. [2016/5161/P]
Supporting Somers Town Neighbourhood Forum who are trying to save their precious green space from being sold off by the Council for development