Happy new year!
So this year we have kicked off to a flying start with Lockdown No.3, Brexit and the Capitol riots. Wow. No wonder Dry January went down the pan on day 1. I think it was Martin Amis who wrote that supporting a football team is like cheering for a disaster that you know is going to happen, over and over again. Something along those lines anyway - he's the one who knows how to write, not me. The FCV (Freakin' CoronaVirus) pandemic efforts are getting to feel that way... so let's turn the tide and CHEER for 2021! Keep Smiling and Carry On!
I thought I'd kick off with a few non-LTN things:
- Laptops and tablets for schools - my Son's school has already supplied many of its students with laptops to support their home learning, and they are expecting a further delivery of devices from the Department for Education. At the risk of repeating what you already know given that this has been going on for months, if you have children studying at home due to Coronavirus with limited resources, this scheme might be worth exploring with your school. Topically, Islington Tribune today reports that parents whose children do not have computers to work on at home can send them to school during the national lockdown closures – with the change in policy driving up the numbers heading into classrooms.
- Christmas tree recycling - Islington Council collects and recycles residents' Christmas trees from collection points or directly from council estates and properties. Please do dispose of your tree responsibly!
- Dark kitchens - one of our Offord Road neighbours drew our attention to an application for a "Change of use from Light Industrial (B1(c)) to Commercial Kitchen and Delivery Centre (Sui Generis) (Departure from Development Plan)" at the Roman Way Industrial Estate (application P2019/2774/FUL). Now, this change of use in itself falls outside the scope of our LTN campaign. However, we do strongly oppose through traffic along residential streets. The change of use is likely to result in a marked increase in motorised vehicle trips (delivery mopeds) cutting through residential areas, with associated impact on road danger and noise and air pollution; unless the change is accompanied by a properly enforced condition to use non-motorised delivery vehicles (bicycles/kick scooters). Islington Building and Planning control is accepting comments on this application until 16 January 2021 - here's the link if you want to comment. Anecdotally, the PFS filters now in place are changing behaviours, with many delivery drivers switching to ebikes in order to not incur fines. Motorbikes/mopeds are one of the issues most cited by residents as a cause of street noise, pollution and safety concerns.
Now, let's talk LTNs.
We attended the public meeting for Barnsbury ward partnership on Tuesday 15 December, and we know that many of you did too. A key question was around timing. The Council is busy assessing the Barnsbury & St Mary's area for appropriate solutions - it's a large area with complex issues and no really clear east-west routes, so it's challenging to split into smaller units for LTN implementation. They want to get it right and ensure that traffic isn't inappropriately displaced. So the answer remains: Watch This Space and keep encouraging our Councillors to do the right thing.
Kylie of Healthy Streets Scorecard spoke to our group about Healthy Streets indicators - an objective framework for measurement. FYI, Healthy Streets Scorecard is "a group of transport, health, road safety and environment campaigners who have come together because we understand that the same interventions are needed to achieve all our various goals".
Following our Pedal Me profile back in September, which sparked the idea for our Shop Local initiative, Simon put together a profile with Rollo of Nourished Communities. Discount code included at the end of the article!
In case you missed it, take a look at our latest (somewhat old now) news round-up- next batch to follow soon.
The Council is adapting its process for the roll-out of new PFS areas, by including a survey form about each area when they notify residents about PFS proposals due to be trialed in that area. Check out and comment on the Highbury PFS surveys: here is the survey for Highbury West and here is the survey for Highbury Fields.
The Council continues to monitor and value the Commonplace comments residents are leaving, including the free-text comments, which is a way people can make positive comments about an area once changes have been introduced.
Finally, please do continue "love-bombing" your Councillors with encouragement.
As ever, let us know what else you want to hear about. And if you want to get involved, the more the merrier; please email us on email@example.com.
All our best
Barnsbury & St Mary's Neighbourhood Group