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No entry from Boston Manor Road into Swyncombe Avenue to be made permanent by Hounslow Council

Hounslow Council has confirmed that following a consultation of residents, the trial closure of Swyncombe Avenue with no entry from Boston Manor Road is to be made permanent.

Ealing residents, who say they have been impacted by traffic diverting down their roads including Haslemere Avenue, are calling on Ealing Council to implement a new one-way system to improve traffic flow and make it easier for people to get around the local area.

The trial closure commenced in August 2021 and a resident consultation about the measures took place until February 2022.

In total 987 respondents replied of which 749 did not want closure, while 222 wanted it and 16 didn’t provide an answer. 299 respondents gave an address in Ealing and 66 an address of Hounslow of being outside the main area and said they opposed the closure.

According to Hounslow Council, 134 respondents from Swyncombe Avenue took part with 133 in favour of closure compared to one against.

Swyncombe Avenue consultation results
Swyncombe Avenue consultation results

Among the top reasons given by those living in Swyncombe Avenue were: “Happy with the trial, please keep these restrictions in permanently”, “The restriction has had a positive impact on quality of life”,  “Positive impact on the environment e.g., noise and air pollution on the road”, “The restriction has eased congestion and made the street quieter and more pleasant”and “Improvement in road, cycling and pedestrian safety”.

Others living in Boston Road and other parts of Ealing and opposed to the closure gave their reasons including: “Swyncombe Avenue is a wide road and is an essential through route”,  “The needs of the many should outweigh the few”, “This restriction will increase traffic congestion on Boston Manor Road, particularly southbound”,  “Traffic on Swyncombe Avenue was a result of LTN 21 and therefore is not an issue anymore”, “If Swyncombe Avenue stays closed, traffic will be diverted onto other roads, some are smaller residential roads”, “This restriction displaces traffic onto other narrower residential roads” and “Swyncombe Avenue is a wide road, designed to be a major through road”.

In the reason for the decision to make the closure permanent, Jefferson Nwokeoma, the chief officer, assistant director – traffic, transport & parking for Hounslow Council said in the report:

“The no entry restriction was trialled due to concerns raised by Swyncombe Avenue residents over the number of vehicles using the road as a through route. Swyncombe Avenue is defined as a residential road; it is fronted by 80 houses, serves the rear access to further properties and provides access to a playing field and a leisure and sports facility. The borough’s road hierarchy and Highway Asset Management Plan identifies Swyncombe Avenue as unclassified.

“With all this considered the council undertook traffic surveys to determine the number of vehicles using the road, finding 9,800 vehicles on an average weekday; this is not appropriate for a residential road. As a council we have a commitment to the Local Implementation Plan (LIP) to support residents who wish to reduce through traffic on residential roads. This traffic level would indicate that it is not conducive to increasing active travel, good health or spending time there, all of which are key indicators of the Healthy Streets Strategy.

“Information letters and a plan of the proposals were sent to 4510 addresses within the London Boroughs of Hounslow and Ealing. A number of letters were returned that could not be delivered, mainly from the Paragon site. When the consultation was extended for a further two weeks to 28 February 2022 all residents within the original distribution area were sent an update letter. The response rate to the online consultation was 20%.”

One comment referred to Haslemere Avenue and asked: “It would be interesting to see the traffic volumes for Haslemere Avenue”, Hounslow Council said: “Traffic counts on Haslemere Avenue are unavailable however this comment has been sent to London Borough of Ealing for their comments”.

Residents in Haslemere Avenue say increase in traffic since Swyncombe Avenue closed from Boston Manor Road
Residents in Haslemere Avenue say increase in traffic since Swyncombe Avenue closed from Boston Manor Road

EALING.NEWS spoke to residents on Haslemere Avenue who say there has been an increase in traffic on their street.

“Ealing Council knew this would happen and have done nothing to help us on how to manage this,” one resident said. “Even though this was a Hounslow Council consultation, Ealing Council has said nothing to local Ealing residents like us about this.”

Another resident in Haslemere Avenue suggested making the local streets one way.  “These streets could benefit from a one-way system especially now with the increased traffic coming as a result of Swyncombe Avenue being closed.”

Local campaign group Better Streets Ealing in a tweet said: “Making streets one way to motor traffic has its place, but if it’s to “improve traffic flow” be careful of what you think you are wishing for.”

Better Streets Ealing also said: “If there are too many cars, things need to be done to stem the flow, not new courses made to keep it going. One thing that can be done is to make streets safe for active travel so more people feel able to leave the car at home.”

Mark Andrews, a local resident, who stood for the Lib Dems in the last election said: “Obviously, the people that live on Swyncombe are enjoying their quieter road, and who can blame them for wanting to change their through road into a cul-de-sac. From my own personal journeys, I know it has increased the number of times I use Windmill and Haslemere, and so I know this LTN has displaced the traffic onto surrounding areas. ”

Mr Andrews added: “But really the Ealing Labour group brought this on their residence by installing their LTNs with no consultation and no thought of the impact on the surrounding boroughs and areas. It is this lack of understanding of the needs of their own residents and their arrogance about their actions impacts on the wider community that maybe we should focus on. You reap what you sow. Ealing Labour group sowed the seeds for this change when they unilaterally closed an entire estate north of this road, forcing Hounslow to protect its own residents. A Liberal Democrat council would listen to the needs of its residents and act accordingly, and have some foresight and think about how their actions may affect their neighbours. We must also not forget, It is all well and good improving the infrastructure for active travel, but in the meantime, people still have to get on with their lives.”

The full report can be found here.

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