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Next steps on Liveable Streets announced

Today the next steps on Liveable Streets have been announced following a short review of the seven schemes currently underway. These schemes are in Bow, Bethnal Green, Wapping, Old Ford Road West, Shadwell, Brick Lane and the Barkantine Estate on the Isle of Dogs.

The Liveable Streets programme, which aims to create safer, calmer and cleaner streets, was paused in July to consider issues and concerns raised by some residents and businesses. Following this review there will be some changes to make road access easier where a problem of access was identified. These will be subject where necessary to consultation, but mostly the schemes will proceed as planned. Once completed, as the schemes bed in, we will monitor and review their operation.

Work will proceed on the existing Liveable Streets proposals that have been consulted on, where no changes are proposed. Officers are continuing to work on the review of elements where changes mean further consultation and discussions are needed with Transport for London. This includes the impacts of proposals on buses in Bow and Old Ford Road West.

The Liveable Streets programme, which was launched in 2019, has been based on the principle of consulting residents first and devising schemes with them, rather than some Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes in London which consulted after the schemes were introduced. Nearly 50,000 people were consulted in Tower Hamlets with 9,000 responses given to help design schemes.

The ambition of individual schemes depends significantly on local responses and problems and while some areas have seen quite comprehensive changes, in others they will be more minor. Liveable Streets also invests in electric vehicle charging points, cycle hangars, pocket parks and general improvements to pavements and the street environment.

The council is continuing to deliver School Streets, which can include road closures outside schools during drop-off and pick-up times to improve air quality and safety, with 20 School Streets already in place and 30 more on the way by spring 2022, reaching most primary schools in the borough. 

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:

“I’m pleased to announce a way forward with the Liveable Streets programme today. We’ve always been committed to the benefits of safer, calmer and cleaner streets, but it’s important to consider the issues that some residents and businesses have raised.

“We’ve taken those concerns on board and are adapting the schemes in a few places but mostly we are going ahead as planned. Our review was about finding the right balance for our community to deliver the cleaner air and safer streets that our residents deserve, while making a small number of changes to address problems that had been identified.

“Tower Hamlets has one of the highest levels of motor vehicle traffic in the country. This is partly due to vehicles travelling through the borough. Liveable Streets was brought in as one of several ways to help address the issue of congestion and air pollution that is linked to chronic illnesses including heart disease, strokes and respiratory diseases. With the average lung capacity of a child in Tower Hamlets up to 10 per cent less than the national average, it’s vital that our work to clean up our air continues.”

Cllr Kahar Chowdhury, Cabinet Member for Highways and Public Realm, said:

“Like all London boroughs we face the challenge of a growing population and more vehicles on our roads. Through our Liveable Streets programme we are beginning to address issues caused by growing levels of traffic while ensuring residents are able to make essential journeys.

“We are continuing to deliver improvements across Tower Hamlets through investing in our public spaces, delivering school streets and additional electric vehicle charging points and bike hangars to make the borough an even better place to live.’’

Full details of the planned works can be found on the Let’s Talk Tower Hamlets website. Find out more at talk.towerhamlets.gov.uk/liveablestreets

Posted on Monday 25th October 2021