LTN backlash gives comfort to Tories in London

So-called traffic-calming measures in the borough were responsible for 158 fire truck delays last year, compared to 102 in 2020.

Meanwhile, in London’s East End, Lutfur Rahman – the founder of the independent Aspire Party – wasted no time in pledging to scrap the LTNs after his party took control of Tower Hamlets the last night.

“Our roads have been closed, blocked,” he said. “It’s contributing to more CO2 in the borough when the idea was to reduce it. We will look at our roads, we will consult and reopen our roads. »

In Croydon, a Conservative mayor has been elected for the first time in its history. Jason Perry has been declared the first mayor of the South London borough after narrowly beating Val Shawcross, the Labor candidate.

Mr Perry had campaigned against the Labor-led council over what many saw as serious financial failings.

“We went bankrupt, we borrowed, we got £1.6billion in debt – £15,000 per hour borrowed under this advice,” he said.

Unpopular bike path

“We had developers who went wild in this borough, we built brick by brick on our green spaces and our municipal tenants live in misery.”

In Harrow, Mr Osborn said the Tories now hold all three seats in the Kenton area of ​​the borough, home to a large Hindu community, many of whom opposed the Honeypot Lane cycle route.

A Telegraph investigation found that just seven cyclists took this route in the space of six hours in November 2020.

The council then conducted a formal review and over 80% of residents and workers opposed the three cycle lanes. They were permanently phased out along with the four LTNs in April 2021.

Mr Osborn said: “People are seeing these things appear and money being spent. The Hindu community happily supports us and gives us a chance to do things.

The housing tax growls

“People were also already very annoyed with the level of council tax in Harrow. It has risen more than anywhere else in London this year. There are countless examples of waste.

He added that former Labor voters had expressed dissatisfaction that they had not been initially consulted by the council before the introduction of LTNs and cycle lanes.

“Councils are trying to change the world, but they should just be trying to change the borough. It’s their absolute bread and butter,” he said.

Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, highlighted how the newly elected Conservative Council would introduce one hour of free parking for residents outside shops to ‘offset’ the adverse effects of previous road closures on local businesses.

“It’s an absolutely stunning result. I thought we would take control, but I didn’t think we would get 31 out of 54 seats,” he said.

“The regeneration programs should make money for the local authority, but they have all lost money.”

The council has also suffered a public relations crisis after four Harrow council officials were arrested last month amid allegations of ‘bribes’ being paid to secure contracts with local authorities despite claims that little or no work was then done.

Against the trend

Anjana Patel, a Conservative councilor in Harrow, said local issues have proven key for Harrow to counter the national trend where many voters have turned away from the Tories in protest at Boris Johnson’s handling of ‘turnout’.

“I’ve knocked on doors where people are worried about the constant increase in council tax, but also about dirty streets and tips,” she said.

“It was mostly local issues that they wanted to talk about and that the council was addressing. We only won on council tax and local issues, which people don’t like.

“There was a lot of discontent with Labor over planning permission and that has been happening in Harrow for a long time. The bike lanes kept going up and people kept asking: where did the money go? So people want to give us a chance now.

Labor gains elsewhere in the capital mean there could be a wave of active new displacement schemes, including in south-west London after Wandsworth Labour, elected for the first time in years 70, pledged to create “protected cycle paths”.

The previous Conservative council had suspended LTNs amid concerns that emergency service vehicle response times were being hampered due to increased traffic and congestion.

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