72% of Chiswick Residents say 'no' to the tram
Most responded before they were aware of traffic diversion plans
The debate about the popularity or otherwise of the West London tram scheme continues to rage after the publication of two contradictory sets of figures. Transport for London is still claiming the scheme has broad support in West London but their own report on the recently concluded consultation shows 63% of people living in areas alongside the proposed route and 72% of Chiswick residents against the scheme.
On the other hand new market research commissioned by Transport for London has yielded a positive result for the scheme yet again, although this did not cover the Chiswick area.
An analysis of the consultation results by a local expert in market research shows that the opposition to the tram was even higher than the 59% originally publicised if areas not adjacent to the line were included. 63% of residents on the route did not want the project to proceed with only 28% in favour.
Even this high number may understate the level of opposition because the consultation report shows that people opposed to the scheme were less likely to give their full address details.
Detailed analysis of the consultation results show that a disproportionate amount of responses came from the Ealing, Acton and Chiswick areas with all of these being solidly against the tram. The 72% opposition in Chiswick came before most residents were aware that the plan envisaged directing traffic from the closed Uxbridge Road through the area. This proposal was not in the original consultation documentation that most people responded to. In the Ealing area 78% of respondents were against the scheme.
The level of responses in areas which were in favour of the scheme were much lower. In the UB2 area of Southall only 81 people responded in favour of the scheme.
The report also shows responses given on-line were far more likely to be negative than those sent in by post. This was a phenomenon mirrored in the earlier consultation on the Western extension of the congestion charge zone and may explain Transport for London's lack of enthusiasm for promoting the consultation effort through the internet. Although the spending on the consultation was a six figure sum, none of this was spent on any of the local web sites operating in the areas affected by the tram.
Local Liberal Democrat transport spokesman, Gary Malcolm said, "a tram scheme that is not supported by local people is unlikely to be successful since the customers of tram schemes are those who live in the near vacinity. Ken Livingstone and Ealing Council need to listen to people's views since there are too many problems highlighted to make the tram scheme feasible."
Ken Livingstone and Transport for London have dismissed the results of their own consultation as unscientific preferring to focus on specially commissioned polls by market research firms which purport to show that there are more people in favour of the tram than against it. A new survey shows that 48% of people in the project area support the scheme compared to 37% against. Out of the six town centre covered areas, support outweighs opposition in Uxbridge, Southall and Shepherd's Bush, is split in West Ealing / Hanwell and Acton; and in Ealing opposition outweighs support. The Chiswick area was not covered by this survey. The results suggest that the scheme is favour ed by young people (under-25s) and people on lower incomes.
Head of Major Projects at TfL , David Howarth said:, "Support for the proposed West London Tram is strong, particularly among people from lower socio-economic groups. These are the groups who would benefit most from the greater access to jobs, education and services that improved public transport in West London would bring."
Ealing Council voted to become a joint promoter of the bill at a stormy Council meeting on June 21st. The Labour group pushed the measure through by 43 votes to 19.
Responses to West London Tram Consultation
Latest Market Research Commissioned by TfL
June 22, 2005