QUIETWAY 7: LETTER FROM CLLR BRATHWAITE TO CLLR BRIGGS
Dear Tim I wanted to let you know that I have decided to withdraw the decision “Quietway 7”.
A north-south cycle route to the east of the borough is a substantial project that has the potential to benefit the lives of tens of thousands of our residents, workers and visitors. Its introduction will help this Council to deliver on our commitment of being the most cycle-friendly borough in London. The majority of our residents do not have access to a car yet the road network remains primarily designed around the needs of motor vehicles. Quietway 7 aims to change that balance, providing an environment that reduces the threat that cyclists sometimes feel, so promoting more people to cycle with the clear benefits to health and air quality that this will result in.
My decision to approve the route and outline design of Quietway 7 on June 12th was made in the knowledge that much of the detailed design had yet to be finalised. I had confidence that the Council’s officers, TfL and their consultants would continue with the extensive consultation and engagement with the hundreds of stakeholders who have contributed so far and use this to refine their final designs to a degree that would mitigate the large majority of respondents’ concerns.
It is clear, however, that the appendices that were attached to my decision do not provide the level of comfort that some of those who responded to the consultation are seeking. In particular, some consider that the degree to which their contribution has informed the design is insufficient and disproportionate to the significance of the issues they have raised. On that basis I have decided to withdraw my decision and to review the responses to consultation to ensure that all relevant considerations have properly been taken into account. I am aware that two call ins have been submitted and have been advised by Democratic Services that these call ins will not be considered on the basis that there is no decision to call in. As mentioned the consultation will continue so please do contribute, if you would find it helpful officers can provide you with a briefing or answer any questions you may have.
Although not stated in the report supporting my decision, the plan for Quietway 7 had been to deliver it in three phases:
Phase 1 comprised the simple non-contentious schemes towards the south of the route that required no detailed design, i.e. proposed traffic calming between Myton Road and Hamilton Road. These works had been scheduled to start in August with public consultation limited to that which is required by statute to make changes such as installing road humps or marking a cycle track. As a result of my withdrawing my decision, work on this will be paused.
Phase 2 was to comprise schemes south of Hamilton Road that were for the most part not contentious but required more detailed design. Where we did not include a detailed design in last year’s consultation (e.g. Gipsy Road/Gipsy Hill junction), these were to be the subject of public consultation later this summer. Officers considered that the design of these elements would mitigate all issues raised at last year’s public consultation and there was confidence that, as a result, construction works would start in October. As a result of my withdrawing my decision, detailed design will still be completed and consulted upon but no decision will be made to construct until the issues arising from Phase 3 have been resolved.
Phase 3 included the components that proved most contentious in last year’s public consultation (e.g. Park Hall Road/Rosendale Road, Rosendale shops and Turney Road/Rosendale Road). Officers, TfL and their consultants advised that whilst some of the issues that had been raised by consultees would necessitate substantial redesign to what we had consulted on last year, there were none that warranted a wholesale change to what had been proposed. Recognising the time needed to develop an iterative detailed design in consultation with our stakeholders we were not expecting these elements of the route to be on site before 2018.
Because TfL’s funding for this scheme expires in March 2018 we must move swiftly to address the issues that you have raised in your call-in form. To this end I have already put in place the following:
LBL has directed Sustrans (the designer) to where in the Response to Consultation further explanation is required as to why the design team recommends that respondents’ concerns should be set aside.
Revise project timeplan and the stakeholder management plan to take into account a 4-6 week engagement period for public meetings or exhibitions, staffed by officers with the support of councillors
Assemble Sustrans’ detailed designs to date and have them reviewed by LBL Senior Traffic Engineer to determine which could be granted technical approval and which need some adjustment to the design prior to progressing to Member engagement
Hold a page-turn workshop of the Response to Consultation with ward members at which the work-in-progress detailed designs are tabled and the designer describes how respondents’ views have shaped detailed design
Use the above as a lessons-learned to modify the model stakeholder engagement plan for future major public realm projects
Notwithstanding my decision to withdraw my decision, and subject to the consultation process currently underway, I remain committed to delivering this key improvement to Lambeth’s infrastructure in 2018 and look forward to working with you, our communities and stakeholders to that end.
Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite
Cabinet Member for Environment & Housing