Church Street Isleworth to Remain Closed

Despite 74% of respondents wanting it open


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Church Street

In what was a packed meeting at Isleworth and Brentford Area Forum (IBAF) on Thursday night councillors voted after a long discussion to keep Church Street closed.

7 in favour: Cllrs Mel Collins, Guy Lambert, Ed Mayne (proposer), Sue Sampson, Steve Curran, Theo Dennison and Katherine Dunne (seconder)

4 against: Cllrs Peter Carey, Sheila O'Reilly, Tony Louki and Myra Savin

1 abstention: Cllr Linda Green

Church Street has been the subject of an eighteen month closure trial with extensive monitoring of traffic flows and air quality. The length of trial was to give traffic an opportunity to get used to the change in flow and adjust.

The data analysis, comments and independently commissioned reports are available for a lengthy read at the IBAF page.

The short summary of the data, as was clear at the meeting, is that the data is inconclusive with regards to air quality and traffic flow. There are marginal changes in both directions with more significant increase in journey time at peak travel (a 3 minute increase on a ten minute journey for the 267). There were a number of buses terminating early but reasons weren't provided so it is not possible to assess their relevance.

Mark Frost, Head of Traffic and Transport for Hounslow, reiterated that all the data was collected and analysed independently. He did acknowledge that there was a clear difference between the data and the perception of many residents.

Cllr Louki made the only mention of future impact of new schools, both planned and provisional with the Green School for Boys expected to be at Busch corner and the Bolder Academy on the former Grasshoppers site. Despite best intentions, parents will drop children off by car.

Cllr Carey said said they should abide by the wishes of the strong majority who wanted Church Street re-opened.

The discussion started with a presentation in support of Church Street closure which referred to the increase in cycling and walking around Church Street. The closure has received the support of various cycling and walking groups, is on the Thames Path and Capital Ring. With 2/3 of traffic banished it's a lot more pleasant. The road is too narrow for safe two way traffic and payvements and any redesign could not comply with modern guidelines. Other solutions have been tried and found wanting. There is no other solution to closure.

An email from Ruth Cadbury MP was quoted on a short video saying that closure is a "win win" for all.

Will Tyler Managing Director of Octink, a printing company on Commerce Road that employs 100 people has quantified the loss to his company of £84,000 over the trial. He is losing staff who are citing extended commuting time. The manager of Wyevale Gardens in Syon Park said they were looking at relocating to Slough with sales decreasing by 12% last year, as have customer numbers. Data shows that most customers are now to the east of Syon Park. Staff are having trouble getting to work. David O'Connor spoke for Brentford and Hounslow Chamber of Commerce. Temporary events like Decorex in Syon Park bring in £350,000 in two days to surrounding hotels and other businesses who cannot afford to lose these events. Staff and customers are struggling with the traffic and with the length of journeys and onward travel it is not possible for everyone to cycle. At peak times a journey to Brentford can take an hour rather than the ten minutes on clear roads. Dr Sarah Connolly expressed concern at the value of the data, whether all the relevant roads were included in monitoring and the precise location of the monitors.

The Mayor London wishes to include Church Street as a Quietway and funding would be available to improve Twickenham Road. Quietways are a network of radial and orbital routes through London. The first seven should be complete this year. They will provide a continuous route for cyclists along back street routes, through parks and other low-traffic routes. This was the deal breaker for Cllr Mayne who moved for permanent closure.


March 24, 2017

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