Information on the Dr Johnson Avenue Proposal
I’ve posted below answers to commonly asked questions compiled by Cllr Candida Jones, and a letter the Labour Councillors wrote to the Leader of the Council rising issues of concern about the consultation, and the response we received today. There is also a map of the consultation area.
Q and A
The answers below have been provided by Wandsworth Council in answer to various questions it has been asked and by Ravi Govindia, the Leader of Wandsworth Council
Motivation for the proposals
Why propose these changes? Dr Johnson Avenue’s tarmac could be removed and be replaced with grass and trees, creating a larger open space and providing a safer route for pedestrians and cyclists.
Does the Council intend to start charging for the car park at the end of Dr Johnson Avenue? There are no powers currently available to the council to control the use of the car park. One option that has been mentioned is that if Dr Johnson Avenue is blocked up and re-designated as common land then a land swap could take place with the car park and if that became re-designated as highways land instead of common land then parking control measures could be introduced following statutory consultation. However, there are no proposals for this at present.
Which roads were included in the modelling? Aldrington Road, Bedford Hill, Bushnell Road, Church Lane, Elmbourne Road, Fransican Road, Furzedown Road, Garrad’s Road, Mantilla Road, Mitcham Road, Mitcham Lane, Moyser Road, Rectory Lane, Ritherdon Road, St James’s Drive, Thrale Road, Topsham Road, Trinity Crescent, Ullathorne Road, West Drive.
What does it show? Big decrease for Thrale Rd, West Drive. Big increase for Garrads Rd – around 30% in both directions for both rush hours. Over 40% increase in Northbound traffic on Mantilla Rd in the evening rush. Up to 28% decrease in Elmbourne taffic in the two rush hours but an increase of 34% in the morning and 65% in the evening for Southbound traffic in Elmbourne Rd.
How many responses were there to the first consultation? 678, of which 58% in favour of closing Dr Johnson Avenue
When does the current consultation end? April 15
How many responses received by the Council so far?1,451
Which roads have received leaflets from the Council about the consultation? Adams Mews, Avoca up to Topsham, Balham High Road (up to Elmfield Road), Barringer Square, Bedford Hill (from Elmfield to Garrad’s Road), Birchwood from Furzedown Drive to Daleside, Brandreth, Brookview, Bushnell, Carmina, Cheriton Square, Chetwode, Childerbert, Church Lane from Mantilla Road, Clairview, Cloudesdale, Colson Way, Dafforne, Dr Johnson, Drakefield, Elmbourne, Foulser, Foxbourne, Franciscan up to Mantilla, Furzedown Drive to Moyser, Furzedown Road to Church Lane, Garrad’s Road, Gracedale, Heritage Estate, Hillbury, Holderness, Huron, Louisville, Mantilla, Manville, Montana, Moyser from Furzedown Drive to Ribblesdale, Mulberry Close, Netherfield, Nimrod and Ribblesdale from Moyser to Thrale, North Drive, Parklands, Pringle Gardens, Ramblers Close, Ritherdon, Ritherdon, Romberg, Sainfoin, Stapleton, Streathbourne, Terrapin, Thrale to Ribblesdale, Tooting Bec Road down to Topsham, Tooting Bec Road from Ambleside to Tooting Bec tube, Trinity Crescent, Ullathorne, Veronica, West Drive, Wheatland, Woodnook.
Can a larger area be consulted? (all of Furzedown and more of Bedford and Nightingale, for instance?) The number of paper consultation documents delivered was increased following the February meeting of the Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (CSOSC) with some 6,800 having been delivered. About 30% of the responses have been from the SW16 postcode, Furzedown.
Why wasn’t the no right-turn into Elmbourne Road included in the first consultation? The initial public engagement carried out in August 2015 was to seek an early indication of the local opinion before committing further resources to investigate the finer detail of the proposal.
Why introduce the no right turn into Elmbourne now? In order to prevent drivers from using Elmbourne Road as an alternative route, the proposals include a ban on vehicles turning right from Tooting Bec Road, ensuring northbound traffic could not access it, while further measures could be put in place to deter southbound traffic from making the corresponding left turn.
When will the results of the current consultation be published? There will be a considerable amount of analysis required when the consultation closes. The elements of the scheme have purposely been separated in the questionnaire to enable people to answer to individual aspects and then allow us to carefully consider the results and to differentiate between views on the closure of Dr Johnson Avenue and the popularity of the other measures.
Will the council consult again after the trial period? The CSOSC will consider this matter including noting the result of the consultation. Should the CSOSC decide on progressing to a trial closure of Dr Johnson Avenue an Experimental Traffic Order would be made which would include a specific address and email for people to contact. The period it is open for comment or objection is up to six months which can loosely be considered as another consultation period. The experimental order would be in the local press and laminated copies will be displayed on site with the contact details on.
Will the Lambeth residents and/or Council be consulted?
Letter to the Leader of the Council:
Dear Cllr Govindia
Complaint about Process of the Consultation on the Closure of Dr Johnson Ave
We sent the following letter on 9th March, and are now copying it by email.
We have serious concerns about the way in which this consultation has been conducted, and received many, many complaints from the local community. We ask you to make urgent changes to the consultation so that
– it will adequately represent the views of all local residents for whom this will potentially have a big impact on their daily lives and so the outcomes must be credible by local residents
– it will stand up to scrutiny if either the consultation shows a that local people do not want this and this part of the grant has to be returned to the Heritage Lottery Fund, or if the majority do want this but a significant amount of local people remain very inconvenienced and subsequently question the process.
1. To repeat concerns from last year, the consultation was done very last minute, very rushed and during the summer holidays. It should not have been used as the basis for the Lottery Fund Bid as did not adequately represent the local community, and references to the consultation last summer are met widely with questions about who saw this. This should have been conducted with plenty of time and very wide publicity before the funding was applied for. The outcome of this consultation could very well be a rejection and therefore the opportunity to include items that the community all really want in the bid could be lost.
2. The consultation is currently being delivered in a very plain unaddressed white envelope which is easily overlooked and discarded especially given the amount of junk mail we all receive everyday – so even where it is delivered it is not being seen.
3. The consultation is not being conducted widely enough – all roads in Furzedown should be included, all roads on the Heaver Estate, and all parents of St Anselms School (which is very near to the Elmbourne Rd junction) must receive this as they will be very directly affected – or benefit from the changes.
4. The consultation is not being done with active users of the Common beyond the nearby roads. The affected residents should be seen not only as road users but also users of the Common for all sides of the project to be represented in the consultation.
5. The box to fill in on the consultation is too small and does not allow people to record their views and concerns about the potential results of the closure to be felt.
6. A sizeable number people who are in favour of the trial of the Avenue closure are not in favour of the ‘no right turn’ into Elmbourne Rd, given that there is no right turn at Tooting Bec either. There is concern about what would happen at this junction, but the ‘no right turn’ should not have been the only option given. The results should clearly show who doesn’t want the closure at all, who does want the closure and no right turn, and who wants the Avenue closure but not the ‘no right turn’. Currently there is very real likelihood that people are objecting to this plan because of the ‘no right turn’ and therefore an opportunity to trial this is wanted but cannot continue because of a secondary aspect of the proposal. Again this would be wasted opportunity for funding for another project for Tooting Common.
7. The consultations have still not been delivered to all roads on the plan and these should be urgently delivered as the final two weeks of the consultation are during the Easter holidays.
8. Finally, if the trial goes ahead, the plan to ask people to ‘write in’ their comments about their experiences of the trial will be chaotic. Who will they need to write to, by when, and how will these be collated? Please can a central plan to receive the communications be set up during the trial, with a clear deadline before the end of the trial.
Please urgently make plans to improve the consultation and make it more widely known.
Cllr Fleur Anderson (Bedford), Cllr Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (Bedford), Cllr Candida Jones (Furzedown), Cllr Leonie Cooper (Furzedown), Cllr Mark Thomas (Furzedown)
Response received on March 21st:
Dear Councillor Anderson
Thank you for your email dated the 14th March regarding the on-going consultation about a proposal to close Dr Johnson Avenue to through traffic. I wish to assure you that the consultation is being carried out in a thorough manner being available to all, without restriction, online and reinforced locally by the delivery of paper copies. You would not wish me to undermine the integrity of this process but I want to reassure you that if the broad consensus is against the closure of Dr Johnson Avenue and not reinstate the area as part of Tooting Bec Common, the Council will not want to fly in the face of that opinion. The results of the consultation will be made public through a report to the Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee giving ample opportunity for councillor and public scrutiny.
1. The initial public engagement carried out in August 2015 was to seek an early indication of the local opinion before committing further resources to investigate the finer detail of the proposal. It was undertaken online with notifications published more than once via the Council electronic newsletter 24/7, micro –blogging together with notices displayed on the common. In addition, Tooting Common MAC has been kept informed. The consultation ran from 25th July to 30th August 2015. Whilst if at all possible the summer period is avoided when carrying out consultations, there was a need to continue with it back then and I believe the duration of this particular consultation would have given very many people the opportunity to respond. There were 678 online responses which would indicate the message was heard by local people who responded with their view. In addition, the Heritage Lottery Fund was submitted on the basis that a more formal consultation would be carried out at a later date, which is currently underway.
2. You and I both know from our experience, as people who post literature through letterboxes, that people often throw it away before reading it. This consultation document was purposely delivered in a white envelope instead of a brown one in an attempt to avoid ‘auto-binning’ in accordance with previous advice of the government. A number of paper consultation responses have already been received and many more online responses, a total of some 1,451 to date.
3. I do not agree that the consultation is not wide enough. The online consultation is of course boundless. The number of paper consultation documents delivered was increased following the February meeting of the CSOSC with some 6,800 having been delivered. I feel you are unnecessarily concentrating on paper consultation documents when there has been a general call for online consultations to be carried out, including at the CSOSC. About 30% of the responses have been from the SW16 postcode, Furzedown, so the message is out there.
4. Posters advising of the consultation have been placed in and around the common to invite common users to participate, including Dr Johnson Avenue, Elmbourne Road, Hillbury Road and noticeboards within the common. As noted above, the Tooting Common MAC is also aware and will no doubt be putting the message around. I reiterate that the online consultation is open to all without boundary. The consultation document asks if they are responding as local residents, common user, driver and allows for multiple responses if people feel they are within more than one category.
5. If respondents feel that they have additional comments they are welcome to submit these via email or post or more simply attach another sheet to the paper consultation. There is plenty of space on the online version. It has been found that online responses tend to have more written comments, regardless of the amount of space in a paper / online consultation document.
6. There will be a considerable amount of analysis required when the consultation closes. The elements of the scheme have purposely been separated in the questionnaire to enable people to answer to individual aspects and then allow us to carefully consider the results and to differentiate between views on the closure of Dr Johnson Avenue and the popularity of the other measures.
7. Delivery of leaflets in the Furzedown area were completed on the 10th March and the closing date for returns was extended to 15th April 2016 to ensure that residents have ample time to respond.
8. The CSOSC will consider this matter including noting the result of the consultation. Should the CSOSC decide on progressing to a trial closure of Dr Johnson Avenue an Experimental Traffic Order would be made which would include a specific address and email for people to contact. The period it is open for comment or objection is up to six months which can loosely be considered as another consultation period. The experimental order would be in the local press and laminated copies will be displayed on site with the contact details on.
I trust you are now assured on the depth and reliability of this consultation and that your queries have been answered.
Councillor Ravi Govindia
Leader of Wandsworth Borough Council