Councillors set to kick Tavi Place decision down the road


Camden councillors look likely to defer a final decision on the Tavistock/Torrington Place traffic scheme at Wednesday night’s long awaited Cabinet session. The papers for the meeting contain a recommendation that the consultation findings should first go to a formal Public Inquiry which would “further examine the merits of the scheme”. This is likely to delay the decision for up to another six months and could cost the Council as much as £100,000. Opponents of the plans will see this as a final chance to state their case, with those in favour hoping it is just a final hurdle to clear.

It’s understood that the recommendation for a public inquiry is the consequence of an administative oversight by planning officers when the trial was set up in autumn 2015. At that time the necessary copy of the experimental traffic order was not lodged at the Town Hall. This would have left the Council exposed to a possible legal challenge, subsequent to a decision being made. Whether an objection has already been made by a member of the public, or whether the council is taking a safety-first approach to ensure that it doesn’t face a later legal challenge isn’t clear from the paperwork.

In the meantime the trial  layout, with one direction of vehicle traffic and separate east and west bound cycle lanes, will be maintained.

The papers for Wednesday night’s meeting also include a detailed review of the consultation results, at a much more local level than we have seen before. These show  local residents did back the Council’s proposals. Overall 79% of the 15,000 responses  supported the trial layout. Amongst local residents living in WC1 addresses, the majority was also in favour – though by a slimmer 56%.

Local support extends across Bloomsbury. At the smaller-scale four digit postcode level, there was a majority in favour in all postcode areas with the exception of WC1B – which covers the area around the British Museum and Southampton Row – where 68% were opposed. But residents living closest to Tavistock Place and Torrington Place backed the one-way traffic proposal. In WC1H – which includes Judd St – 56% were in favour, whilst in WC1E (around UCL) it was 60% and in WC1N (Russell Square / Great Ormond St) a majority of 53% were supportive.

A lot of detail by types of respondent is also provided in the report, and shows very high support for the trial amongst students (95% in favour), local business employees (92%), University staff (95%) and hospital staff (87%). Even 57% of people providing services and deliveries to local businesses were supportive. The only groups opposed to the layout were patients travelling to nearby hospitals and – unsurprisingly – taxi drivers. 99% of the cabbies to respond to the consultation were opposed. But there were 13 in favour.


9 thoughts on “Councillors set to kick Tavi Place decision down the road

  1. Response from BRAG’s Nicky Coates on this latest development in the Tavi Place story …


    I would like to respond to your blog on the forthcoming Cabinet meeting about the Tavistock trial, on behalf of Bloomsbury Residents’ Action Group (BRAG). BRAG was set up to give residents a voice in the face of all these local changes which have been happening without proper consultation.

    The Council document prepared for this forthcoming Cabinet meeting, Appendix C: Consultation responses: results and discussion, states that there were 15,917 responses; of those which were verifiable, 79% said yes to the scheme.

    However, BRAG maintains that the responses of which the Council should be taking note are those from local residents and voters who are affected by the scheme, not people who live outside the affected area or who are passing through. Residents are affected 24/7, whereas those from outside the area or passing through may be affected perhaps for a few minutes a day, or only occasionally, or, in many cases, not at all.

    With this in mind, it should be noted that, of the Council respondents:
    · 8,012 (50.3%) were passing through
    · 13,698 (86%) were not Camden residents
    · Of those who were Camden borough residents, 1,618 said yes to the scheme, and 575 said no
    · Of those who were Camden residents, only 1,009 were WC1 residents, ie directly affected by the trial
    · Of those WC1 residents affected by the trial, 564 said yes to the scheme, and 430 said no.

    The BRAG petition gathered 1,083 signatures against the trial, of which 831 were from Camden, and 760 were from WC1. Therefore, although the Council data shows only 575 Camden residents against the scheme, the BRAG petition found 831 Camden residents against the scheme. And, similarly, Council data shows 430 WC1 residents against the scheme, whereas the BRAG petition found 760 WC1 residents against the scheme.

    This also means that, although the overall respondent numbers were high, the vast majority were not Camden residents, and the Council data identified, out of these 15,917 respondents, only 564 WC1 local residents who were in favour of the scheme – compared with at least 760 against it. (The Council is cross referencing petition data with its own data but it is likely that there are some Council respondents who were against the scheme who did not sign the BRAG petition, meaning that the number against the scheme would be greater than 760.)

    This analysis demonstrates that the Council consultation (which was patchily distributed) failed to reach many local people who were opposed to the trial, and that the total available data, as set out immediately above, shows that more local WC1 residents are against the trial, than for it.

    There continues to be deep unease about the many ways in which the consultation process has been flawed, and residents excluded from decision which affect them.

    We hope the Cabinet on Wednesday will vote to stop the trial, or, failing that, vote for a Public Inquiry, to allow for an independent assessment of the facts.

    Nicky Coates

    Chair, BRAG

    • Thanks for this.

      I would like to point out that there is a mistake in the blog above, not in your reply, and it could be helpful to rectify it, because it highlights the horrors we,in WC1B, have been experiencing.

      WC1B covers the area between the whole of Russell Square, Southampton Row, Great Russell Street, Bedford Square,Tottenham Court Rd East and Montague Place. This is the 68% opposition area. Any small percentage in favour of the infamous scheme looked in fact impossible.
      WC1N (the blog reports as Russell Square and Great Ormond Street) covers in fact the area of Russell Square Tube Station.

      If, of any use to BRAG action, I would like you to know that none of the residents in my side of WC1B received the consultation and,as the consultation area from the council map did not include the area south of Russell Square, I do not know wether the responses from those residents, included myself, were at all considered. I wouldn’t be at all surprised, the council avoided us very carefully.

      Thank you again for all your work and commitment. Let’s hope in something positive coming our way. As for now it is just a strong opposition result from my area.

  2. Nicky, You claim that the Council consultation is flawed. This claim is somewhat undermined by your own, let’s say “interesting”, use of the counts.

    In your petition – how many people said ‘yes’ to the scheme? I believe it was zero. But we know from the consultation that there are at least 564 WC1 residents in favour. Your petition failed to find even one of those people. Does that failure show that your petition was flawed? Or does it show that your petition was intended to exclude all those people in favour of the scheme? Either way your petition is not useful as a tool with which to understand the feelings of people about the scheme.

    • The petition was not a consultation, it was a petition. I am not aware of petitions going both way. The council consultation was flawed and very likely the results are messed up. If you have a map of the council consultation area you will see that a section of Bloomsbury ward is missing and the area stops South of Russell Square. Consultation papers were not delivered, we had to look for online and of course only few people did so. The council consulted all the way to Kent, but not the residents, neither the emergency services. Furthermore, try asking about switching the traffic lane from eastbound to westbound and listen to what you’ll get. This scheme has nothing to do with cycling lanes.

      • I don’t know who Silvana is but I’m assuming you represent BRAG. Please correct me if that is not the case.

        So, as expected, your petition did indeed deliberately exclude everyone in favour. Nothing wrong with that. As you say, that is generally what petitions do. But when one is adding up those in favour and those against one has to make it clear if some of those numbers came from a biased source. And accept that there is a corresponding, but unknown, number of people in the other camp. Your petition found 760 WC1 people opposed to the scheme but provides no information whatsoever about how many people are in favour. The number in favour is certainly not zero; it may be many thousands. Your petition does not help us at all. The only source of useful, unbiased, information on this matter is Camden’s consultation.

        Concerning the map of the area consulted: What exactly is wrong with it? Obviously it could have been smaller or larger but you’d need to make a case either way and I can’t see it. Why specifically should south of Russell Square have been included?

        Concerning the emergency services: the report says they were consulted. Maybe some chose not to respond but you can’t blame Camden for that. BRAG keeps bringing up this issue. If you really think they were not consulted then you need to do more than just repeat that statement in the face of Camden’s assertion that it’s not true.

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