Did TFL Get Cold Feet?

No show at Boston Road re route meeting leaves residents none the wiser

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To participate in the campaign being run by Old Residents of Hanwell email savehanwell@hotmail.co.uk

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Christopher Dean, Project Director, westlondontram@tfl.gov.uk

Save Ealing's Streets 020 8998 7360

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Last night residents held a meeting to hear more about TFL's proposals to convert the one-way traffic system on Lower Boston Road and Boston Road to give the tram priority.

But TFL didn't add much to the debate – Christopher Dean, TfL’s project manager for the tram project, pulled out at the last minute. The reason given was that TFL were worried Council Leader Jason Stacey's attendance at the meeting might turn it into an anti tram debate rather than one on the road conversion.

The surprise no show might have left residents speechless, had there not been so much they needed to say on the subject. And it turned out the tram didn't dominate – the subject was the one the meeting had been called for.

“In the event, the meeting was excellently controlled by the chair - Jon Manel and did not stray from the intended subject," said Malcolm Weller of the Olde Hanwell Residents Association. "As a result we discovered an almost unanimous objection (bar two people out of roughly 200 people) to the scheme from the local residents and businesses. What we did not find out was any further detail about the scheme, which we hoped TfL would provide. The list of unanswered questions remains unanswered."

The TFL plans involve converting the one-way traffic system on Lower Boston Road and Boston Road to two-way traffic to give the tram priority along a short, narrow section of the Uxbridge Road through Hanwell.

Malcom had voiced his concerns before the meeting: “This will result in the traffic congestion of the Uxbridge Road being added to the existing traffic on these roads, part of which is supposed to be a conservation area,” he said. “This will be dangerous for the children attending St. Marks School and probably require the demolition of a number of buildings to allow large trucks to pass in both directions.”

And, with no imput from TFL, the concerns were still the same at the meeting's close. Eric Leach, Vice-Chair, West Ealing Neighbours summed them up:

“Many local residents expressed their worries about safety, potential grid lock, rat running and even more parked cars in the narrow roads to the west of Lower Boston Road, and the lack of consistent consultation by TfL,” he said. “The vast proportion of the audience (by show of hands) live in Hanwell. The local school said they had not been consulted; the local Ambulance Station said staff there were concerned about not being able to get to accidents quickly; local businesses baldly and very sadly said they would surely go bust if the road went two way. No-one knew how the E8 might be re-routed.” 

He added: “The utter shameful contempt shown by Transport for London and Christopher Dean personally for the people of Hanwell is almost beyond belief.”

May 2, 2007