Public meeting and consultation results
The Connaught Village public meeting took place on Thursday 14th September at 2pm, being attended by approximately 40 residents.
At the meeting, an overview of the results of the public consultation were presented (showing overall support from residents), as well as new data on the impact of the proposed one-way on Kendal Street.
The Council also reiterated the aim of the project, which is “to improve public spaces and pedestrian accessibility by creating an enlarged outdoor space for the community with greening, seating and widespread pavement that helps reduce traffic dominance and prioritise walking and cycling.”
The results of the public consultation were:
Strongly in support of the overall proposals: 145
Support of the overall proposals: 43
Undecided or didn’t know: 25
Opposed to the proposals: 33
Strongly opposed to the proposals: 106
In summary this can be presented as: 57% overall support, 43% overall oppose (excluding undecided).
A total of 244 responses were received from W2 postcodes, which were split as follows:
Strongly Support: 108
Undecided or didn’t know: 18
Strongly oppose: 75
In summary this can be presented as 58% support, 42% oppose (excluding undecided).
Naturally it is impossible to check if submitted postcodes are factual. This was questioned at the meeting, with some attendees wondering whether people outside of the area may have supported the scheme whilst purporting to live in the estate. We, however, would incline to believe that the opposite would happen, as any traffic restrictions would more likely inconvenience those outside of the estate who might cut-through the area.
Kendal Street one-way
As can be seen, approximately 40% more local residents support the scheme in its proposed form than oppose it.
Nonetheless, many attendees at the public meeting asked for changes to be made in order for them to then support it, namely to keep the 2-way traffic flow at the Kendal and Connaught Street junction. As a result, our councillors have asked the Highways Team to look at ways to increase pedestrian safety at the Connaught Street/Kendal Street junction, while maintaining two-way traffic along Kendal Street. This would also require the pedestrian area of the Green to be reduced in size in order to accommodate the additional motor vehicles.
Value for money?
HyPER’s view is that given the long-term impact of the project to the future of Connaught Village, that whatever the final proposals are they must fundamentally improve the human experience of the area. There is a risk that the project could end up achieving little more than filling in 3 parking spaces, which makes it look particularly poor value for money. We reiterate that taking an area-wide view of the area’s traffic is the only way forwards and that any changes should fall within such a strategy.
A continued two-way at the Kendal / Connaught junction does not decrease traffic dominance at the junction nor improve pedestrian accessibility or support an enlarged outdoor space and prioritise walking and cycling, as stated in the project’s aims.
Pedestrian Safety, although not a key objective of the project, should always be an underlying criterion. Traffic safety may become more relevant in what would soon become a more pedestrianised area at the junction.