Campaign group takes legal action over Croydon’s low traffic neighbourhood scheme

Open Our Roads Protest. Pic: OpenOurRoadsNow

A campaign group has taken legal action against Croydon Council over new Low Traffic Neighborhoods in Crystal Palace and South Norwood.

Open Our Roads, an independent campaign that represents over 6,000 people who signed petitions against the road closures, filed a judicial review application with the High Court on Monday, November 6 that was supported by Bromley Council.

The judicial review applicant and founder of Open Our Roads, Eliska Finlay said in a statement: “We believe Croydon Council acted unlawfully with the decision to close our roads in Crystal Palace, Upper Norwood and South Norwood… Amongst other failings, Croydon Council did not undertake the necessary impact assessments, nor did they consult key stakeholder groups such as residents, businesses and people with protected characteristics before implementing the LTN.”

She added: “We felt we had no other choice but to seek legal justice for the residents of Croydon and Bromley who have been negatively impacted by Croydon Council’s woeful mismanagement of the traffic network and its neglect of its legal duties as a local traffic authority.”

The measures have been causing problems on the Bromley side of Crystal Palace such as an increase in rat-running due to diversions. Bromley council leader Colin Smith had already written to the Transport Secretary over the dispute back in September.

Councillor for Crystal Palace Ward Angela Wilkins said: “This scheme has brought nothing but chaos and increased risk to Bromley residents… Croydon should have properly consulted us and produced proposals that don’t just dump all of their displaced traffic on Bromley doorsteps.”

The controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhood measures in South Norwood and Crystal Palace are part of TfL’s Streetspace for London campaign that started as a result of the pandemic. Because of this legal action, Croydon Council announced a month long consultation that started on Friday November 6. Residents can choose if the measures remain, are removed or are replaced by alternative camera-controlled enforcement points that allow residents and emergency services.

Croydon is not the first borough to receive backlash over these measures, with residents in Hackney and Lewisham also voicing their opposition to the measures in their boroughs.

Open Our Roads said: “The congestion and pollution [caused by the measures] have had negative impacts on residents’ health and well-being, as well as businesses’ and traders’ ability to operate and economically thrive.”

Croydon Council said in a statement: “Concern for the businesses in Crystal Palace is a key theme from the LTN feedback, and as such, a separate business consultation will be released next week to capture the views of local traders” but still maintain that they have had feedback that “streets are now cleaner, safer and quieter.”

It is expected that the High Court will wait until the consultation has concluded before deciding if it will hear the case. 

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