Why are the long suffering people of Winchmore Hill not employing tactics of non co-operation? asks Robert Taylor
on Friday, 11 March 2016. Posted in N21 Community
Robert Taylor, who has lived in Winchmore Hill all his life and is a former traffic engineer with Enfield Council Highways Department is probably more knowledgeable about the Cycle Enfield proposals for the A105 (Green Lanes) than even the Council's own officers, councillors or consulting engineers. He can marry in-depth technical knowledge of traffic management with real local knowledge of his home area.
He has written this article because he believes it is important that the residents and business owners are fully aware of what is being proposed in our local area, regardless of the wishes of local people.
A prelude to a more formal call to action?
At Enfield Civic Centre on Wednesday evening (March 9th) there was meeting of the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee. At this meeting arguments were put forward by Cllr Daniel Anderson (Lab) and Cllr Terry Neville (Con), as to why the Council's Cabinet decision (taken on 10th February) to progress further with the A105 (Green Lanes) cycle lanes scheme should or should not be ratified.
As this Overview and Scrutiny Committee had four Labour and two Conservative voting members the result of the vote was foregone conclusion - the previous Cabinet decision to progress the scheme further was approved. Naturally this does not mean that the bulldozers will be moving in to Green Lanes today. Local government does not work like that! The next stages of the process will be the publication of the legal Traffic Orders. Any written objections to these Traffic Orders must be considered by Enfield Council.
In practice only new objections, which have not previously been submitted to the Council, will only considered. This will, of course, make it difficult for anyone to raise objections to the scheme because most of its predicted adverse effects (of which there are many) have already been brought to the Council's attention - and often ignored or just brushed aside.
By that time the election for a new Mayor of London will probably have been held and the odds are that either Zac Goldsmith (Conservative) or Sadiq Khan (Labour) will be the new Mayor.
If it is the former there is some hope that he might insist that Enfield Council go back to the drawing board. The reason for believing this is that he is knowledgeable about Mini Holland schemes because one is planned in his Richmond Park parliamentary constituency. However it has not encountered anything like the problems that have occurred in Enfield. This was because the Richmond cycling schemes, unlike the Enfield ones, have been designed in such a way that local peoples' views were really taken into account.
Unfortunately Zac Goldsmith has not made an absolute commitment to stopping Enfield Council's present A105 scheme if he were to become Mayor. Specifically has not said that he would undertake to ensure that a new design was produced which not only complied with the diktats of the overbearing TfL organisation but was also fully in accord with the wishes of local residents and businesses. But he might well do so if enough local people made it clear to him that this is what they would like him to do.
On the other hand, it seems to the case that if the new Mayor of London were to be Labour's Sadiq Khan there would be very little chance that he would do anything at all to stop the Labour controlled Enfield Council from proceeding with its current A105 scheme.
Boris Johnston, the current London Mayor, has recently written to David Burrowes MP, stating that the only further consultations that are now necessary for the Green Lanes cycle lanes scheme to go ahead relate to the details of environmental improvements in Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill (Probably he has The Triangle in Palmers Green and the section of Compton Road near to the junction with Green Lanes in mind).
He suggests that these designs should "be developed in conjunction with the local community through co-design workshops this spring".
The question now arises if anyone who lives in the area should actually co-operate with Enfield Council by participating in these proposed "co-design workshops". To do so would only serve to help to legitimize one aspect of the overall cycle lanes scheme that the Council is trying to impose on local people and businesses that overwhelmingly do not want it to be constructed. Why should anyone be of any assistance at all to an overbearing Council which has treated local peoples' views with such contempt?
Possibly some people might hold the view that this is a rather extreme position. The answer to that view is to point out that it is exactly the same tactic as the one used by the Enfield Cycling Club and the London Cycling Campaign in relation to the referendum organised by David Burrowes MP, at the end of last year, which showed that 75% of local people were opposed to this scheme.
Obviously those two organisations were (quite rightly) so worried that this referendum would produce results that would be unhelpful to their case that they refused to co-operate with David Burrowes by providing him with statements expressing their support for the cycles lanes scheme - and he had to use their previously published material.
Why should we long suffering Winchmore Hill people not employ the same tactics of non co-operation?
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Robert Taylor, resident and former traffic engineer explains what how Enfield Council, the GLA and TfL really don't care about the people of Winchmore Hill