Gazette letters: Road closures and Dixon Clark Court

The sun casts a shadow from a bike stand in Upper Street. Picture: Archant

The sun casts a shadow from a bike stand in Upper Street. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

1. As a life time Islington resident I have not had any notice of these changes personally or any chance to oppose these changes.

2. Islington has a hideous crime rate so why are you making it even easier for criminals to evade police capture as no chase will be possible? You are not making the streets safer as I would feel even more vulnerable walking at night where no cars are even driving past so gangs will feel safer to go about their business

3. I live on a main road in Islington which will now be like a car park with fumes pouring in my window all day and night. Do you think that is fair and correct? Who is this helping?

4. I care for my elderly mother who lives in Elizabeth ave so with the road closures plus her road having the no entry pedestrian rule this will make it really awful for me helping with her needs and getting to her in an emergency (which has happened numerous times) will be near impossible.

5. Ambulances, fire brigades. I had a terrible fire a few years ago and could have died if the fire brigade had not got to me within three minutes as they did. How will they do that with back-to-back traffic and road closures now? My son was stabbed in Islington and the ambulance got to him quickly and saved his life so how will that happen now? Four minutes later and he would have died. This will cause loss of life. Please explain?

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6. We are in the midst of a terrible pandemic which has changed everyone’s life for the worse. Times are very hard and so you decide to jump in and make us all feel even more unsafe, fearful and ordained. Please explain why.

7. Why were we not consulted first? You say you are listening and acting on residents’ requests? Which residents? I have not spoken to one person who thinks this is a good idea! I get you need to make money but this is a joke!

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I need you to explain how you ever thought this would be helpful to anyone except the council who can fine people who do not realise the rules have changed and drive through the barriers.

I live on Southgate Road, an Islington resident since 1996, and we don’t have any ‘people-friendly streets’ measures in place for our street, but yet again we will be affected with more cars, noise pollution and traffic resulting from new measures proposed in neighbouring areas, writes M Speirs, Southgate Road, Islington.

It’s simply unfair how some get to breathe fresh air whilst other routes are impacted with more traffic and no monitoring systems put in place to assess the impact.

Southgate Road is still suffering from increases in traffic due to previous road closures/narrowing/calming in both Hackney and Islington, most recently the new enhanced cycle routes through De Beauvoir that have created additional road closures in the area.

Southgate Road is a boundary road so we also have measures happening simultaneously in streets in De Beauvoir, Hackney.

I also understand the street is managed by TfL, and whilst now considered a main road it does not have a bus lane (but has buses) has no cycle lanes (but has cyclists) and has no speed cameras like neighbouring Kingsland Road and Essex Road which makes it the fast route for police, ambulances and everyone travelling north/south.

Traffic has increased considerably on Southgate Road and is definitely worse than before lockdown. Speed levels are now appearing to increase, yet I have never seen traffic police on this route.

I’d like to know whether Islington will be monitoring traffic pollution levels or speed levels on Southgate Road during the implementation of these measures? How they will mitigate the impact, and should Southgate Road become busier, I would like to know what is considered a reasonable amount of pollution for us to breath so that others have clean air?

I’d also like to understand what measures are being planned to slow or to calm traffic on Southgate Road.

Additionally I’d like to know whether conversations with Hackney have happened during this process to understand the joint affect of their closures combined with yours (Islington’s)? In particular the calming measures on Ufton Road/Southgate Grove.

Suggested improvements:

The traffic lights at Downham Road and Southgate Road do not allow enough time to cross. The timings need adjusting to allow more time for pedestrians to cross safely. Traffic lights do not currently have provision for cyclists to start ahead of other vehicles and this would assist in making it safer for cyclists on Southgate Road.

We need an additional crossing or lights from the shops/pub De Beauvoir Arms, The Cure across to the De Beauvoir Deli, (you currently need to walk north of Northchurch Terrace to do this safely and it is extremely dangerous.

We also need speed cameras installed, cycle lane provision and shorter waits at crossings where there are lights (Englefield + Downham).

If some of these elements have been outsourced to TfL, could the council nominate someone to work with me and local residents to campaign for changes from TfL to assist in calming traffic levels on Southgate Road?

I am emailing you regarding the proposed road closures in Islington, wrote Melanie Horton to Islington Council.

Firstly, I would like to know whose opinions these changes are based on? I am an Islington resident and the first I heard of it was on social media. A few days later I received a leaflet and to be perfectly honest I think that it is an absolute disgrace. Neither myself, my neighbours or any other residents that I have spoken to were invited to take part in a consultation.

You say that you have been listening to local people but what does that mean? Do you or any of your families live in the borough?

The road closures are completely shocking. Already Essex Road and Southgate Road are backed up with traffic, causing extensive pollution and adding hours to journeys.

The emergency services are now going to be delayed and I think we all know how vital even a couple of minutes can make to someone’s life when they are waiting for an ambulance, fire engine or police assistance.

Looking at the map of the proposed road closures it states that all roads leading from Essex Road will now be inaccessible, also all roads leading to City Road. In order to complete a journey that would take 10 minutes will now take an hour.

Have you considered residents who have disabilities and rely on carers? Isolation is sky high at the moment due to Covid-19 but will increase tenfold as journeys will take longer.

Have you considered the safety of residents? Crime will soar now as thefts and muggings will increase as the perpetrators will have an easy escape route, safe in the knowledge that they will not be chased, especially if they are on bikes!

On a personal note these changes will have a massive impact on my life: My elderly mother lives in Kent and I regularly drive there to see her, the journey will now be extended by at least one hour. A simple trip to Hackney or the surrounding boroughs will take a lot longer.

Mental health in Islington is at an all-time high, as I am sure you are aware, and implementing these road closures is causing the residents of Islington an unprecedented amount of stress and anxiety.

Many people rely on their cars to get to and from work and their journeys will now be my longer. Buses will be overcrowded and cause more congestion on the roads.

Signs have and will be put up around the borough but unless you have an in-depth knowledge of the changes residents are going to be fined, adding even more stress and hardship to a borough that has an extremely high rate of poverty.

The residents of Islington are angry that they have not been consulted on these issues and their opinions have not been heard!

I expect a full and detailed response from you.

It is disgraceful that the residents of Islington have not been consulted on this matter!

“As you know, every individual perceives information slightly differently, depending upon the context and their particular interests, writes Meg Howarth, Ellington Street.

It is always possible therefore that the wording of Minutes does not reflect the perception of every interested party, but that does not necessarily mean that the Minute is incorrect.”

This gobbledy-gook came in a response from Islington’s Council’s democratic services and governance to a request that the minute of the planning committee decision granting permission for new homes to be built on Dixon Clark Court (DCC) be amended to reflect accurately the numbers of additional social homes planned for the site (Campaigners rally to save mature tree felling in Islington housing development scheme, July 9).

Correspondence sent to the council’s new CEO, Linzi Roberts-Egan, and the environment and regeneration departmental head had been ignored for weeks when two follow-ups were sent.

The month-long silence continues to emanate from the two council bosses, junior officers being passed the revolving reply-buck, as in the pitiful nonsense above - or “managed democracy” as a fellow-resident has commented.

Islington Council’s executive members refer regularly to the party’s manifesto promise of ‘550 new council homes by 2020’. Since figures are being cited, the Minute of the planning committee should be accurate, and the misleading figure of “27 much-need new homes” be amended to make it clear that this equals a net increase of 25 social homes - two existing council flats in the DCC block are to be repurposed as storage facilities.

The misleading figure was repeated in a letter sent last month to Jeremy Corbyn from the council’s new build team. Concerned about the loss of the Highbury Corner “little forest” of seven mature trees, a constituent had contacted her Islington North MP. She would be none the wiser about the actual number of additional homes on the site were it not for campaigners trying to save the trees by shifting the for-sale flats which would replace them a few metres along.

The executive member for housing has summarily dismissed the suggestion.

Planning committee is a quasi-legal body, and a minute - the document which residents and others may wish to consult - can be lawfully amended. Misleading information doesn’t cut it. It’s to be hoped the CE and her senior colleague may yet respond directly

Democracy demands active-citizen scrutiny. On the matter of DCC additional housing and the little forest, the council is failing the test.

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