Radcliffe Road resident explains to Enfield Council why the Green Lanes cycle lane consultation is unsafe
Dear Councillors, Mr. David Burrowes MP and Cycle Enfield.
I would like to bring your attention to what I see are serious flaws in the Consultation Process for the A105 (Green Lanes) Cycle Scheme.
Publicising the Consultation
The first flaw concerns lack of information provided to residents. With almost 350,000 residents in Enfield, the council decided it was necessary to directly inform only 14,000 residences of the A105 cycle scheme. This figure came from an email from Rachel Buck of Cycle Enfield on 27th July 2015 in which she states:
"We made our best efforts to inform residents living within 400m of the proposed route. Letters and brochures were delivered to 14,000 residencies. Unfortunately, due to the scale of this it does appear that some flats/houses were missed, perhaps yours was one of them."
Having enquired of households in our road, none had received any information directly from the council, even though some are within 20 metres of Green Lanes! How many other roads were "missed"?
Perhaps Cycle Enfield don't realise that Green Lanes is used by ratepayers other than those who live on its fringes.
The Feedback Mechanism
There are also a number of factors that have made it very difficult for residents to submit their views. The main Consultation feedback is computer-based. Many people don't have computers and many that do are not computer literate enough to navigate to, and cope with, what is an overcomplicated website.
Paper copies of the consultation feedback form have not been available for the whole period of the consultation process. Only late in the consultation period have paper copies of the forms been available. Even then, their existence or availability has been denied to some of those requesting them.
These paper consultation forms in themselves consist of many pages and are overcomplicated. They do not include plans on which to base comments.
After having gone to the trouble of putting my comments in an email to Cycle Enfield and councillors, I was still left with the impression that only web-based feedback would be "officially recorded" - again this is taken from Rachael Buck's email:
"Please can I encourage you to take part in our online consultation, so that all your views can be captured and officially recorded."
This gives me the impression that any "views" given in emails, letters and comments made at exhibitions or forwarded through councillors will not be considered.
The Information Events
Furthermore, there are severe concerns about the clarity and amount of information provided about the proposed scheme. The information displays at The Fox in Palmers Green (and more recently at The Dugdale Centre) presented plans that were understandable only to persons with knowledge of technical drawings.
Staff available to answer questions on the displayed plans were behaving like salesmen; neither inviting questions (often even deflecting them) nor giving satisfactory answers. Surely as part of the consultation, they should have been noting suggestions and criticisms, rather than dismissing these. (Some advice: get your staff to make notes – at least it makes them look as if they are interested in visitors' views!)
The Council have shown plans, produced artist's impressions and made statements on the benefits to businesses, the environment, transport and the local communities. However, objector groups have also made counter claims on these aspects. Despite this, it appears that Impact Assessments on these aspects have not been completed or made available by the Council. Without these, the whole scheme has as much credibility as their artist's impressions. (If I am mistaken, then please direct me to where I can view these.)
So in essence, we, the ratepayers, residents and electorate have been asked to make decisions on a scheme without being presented with the necessary facts on which to base those decisions. If that is not bad enough, the feedback system is (perhaps deliberately) over-complicated, badly designed and not useable by a large number of residents. More people have heard of the scheme from groups who oppose it than from the Council who would happily use our rates to disrupt our lives for a small number of cyclists, rather than spend it on maintaining services which we all need.
I believe a reasonable consultation has not been performed despite almost £2,000,000 of Enfield ratepayers' money already having been spent.
A Radcliffe Road resident explains why there are very serious problems with the A105 (green Lanes) cycle lane scheme