Councillor Marc Francis on Liveable Streets

Liveable Streets Bow Proposal July 2020

This article was kindly sent in by Councillor Marc Francis (Bow East)

The “Liveable Streets” proposals to restrict access to some roads in Bow through is proving as polarising as the EU referendum.  And like Brexit it divides friends, neighbours and even families!  We have another petition against them at the Full Council meeting coming up on Wednesday and so I think it is important to let Bow residents know where I stand on it as one of your local councillors.  

Like most people, I want to reduce the amount of pollution in our air – for our own sake, for the sake of future generations and for the sake of the whole planet.  Reducing the number of car journeys is one of the most effective ways to do that.  Tower Hamlets’ location means it is inevitable many vehicles needing to access central London will drive through.  However, for nearly half a century now tens of thousands of drivers each day have used our residential neighbourhoods as a short-cut instead of using Transport for London’s main thoroughfares – the A12 and A13.  North Bow is one of those neighbourhoods that suffers the brunt of this, with commuters coming off at the Old Ford junction and rat-running either along Tredegar Road, St Stephen’s Road and Roman Road, or Parnell Road and Old Ford Road every morning.   And they head back that way in the evening too.  

So I fully support decisive action to stop this rat-running.  That’s why, as Labour Party candidates at the last local elections, we stood on this manifesto promise:

“Tower Hamlets has many main arterial roads going through it, serving the strategic Transport for London road network.  Through-traffic should by and large stick to these main roads but many of our residential neighbourhoods have seen huge increases in rat-running traffic, making them more dangerous, noisy and polluted.  We will create low traffic neighbourhoods, keeping through-traffic to main roads, in any residential area where residents want them, with an ambition to have started on at least half by 2022.”

Somehow or other though, this laudable and unifying proposal has morphed into something much more extreme and divisive.  As well as stopping that rat-running commuter traffic, our Mayor and Cabinet have agreed to the implementation of a timed “bus gate” at the junction of Roman Road and St Stephen’s Road and the closure of the “skew bridge” section of Old Ford Road.  Anyone driving through the gate in the morning or late-afternoon and early-evening will be fined, including our own residents too.  

Bizarrely this will force my own constituents who need to go west to start by driving east before joining traffic jams on Bow Road or Victoria Park Road – adding 20-30 minutes to each journey and increasing pollution.  And the skew bridge closure will force more traffic on to Roman Road when the bus gate isn’t in operation.  Most Roman Road business seem to be opposed too.  There’s nothing in that manifesto statement above about introducing bus gates to block our own residents’ movements.  In fact, given how live an issue this was in the run-up to the 2018 local elections, you could go further and say we were implying we wouldn’t go that far.  

I’ve been listening over several months now to residents’ descriptions of the car journeys they make now that they wouldn’t be able to do if the bus gate comes into effect.  Journeys to work.  Journeys to drop kids at school on the other side of the Borough.  Journeys to take elderly relatives to healthcare appointments.  Almost all of them seem to have much more difficult public transport alternatives.  I really don’t think it is right for the council to impose convoluted detours around east London to make these journeys unless we have an electoral mandate to do so.  

Supporters of these restrictions and the physical barriers on Coborn Road and Old Ford Road claim there is public support for it.  And the consultation last summer certainly resulted in a significant majority of respondents supporting the proposals.  But a significant minority did not.  And this was never billed as a referendum.  If it was, it should have been conducted independently.  Worryingly, we also saw significant under-representation from some parts of our diverse local community in the responses.  A “Town Hall-style meeting” the Mayor promised us last November to remedy this democratic deficit proved to be nothing of the sort when it finally took place last week.

Despite this the Mayor seems intent on pressing ahead.  We have seen similar situations with restrictions elsewhere in the Borough.  This has provoked real anger amongst many residents.  And the uncomfortable truth is that our community seems to be split on socio-demographic lines.  From the dozens of emails, phone calls and conversations I’ve had so far, those in favour are generally middle-class.  And those opposed are generally working-class and long-standing residents.  This polarisation should worry all of us who call Tower Hamlets our home.  

Given this I think it is time for the Mayor and Cabinet to compromise and allow a resident exemption from the bus gate restriction.  That’s what has been done successfully in Hammersmith & Fulham.  They don’t need to block Old Ford Road either.  Other measures can reduce speeds and improve safety there.  I know this won’t be enough for some people, but it will still ensure thousands of rat-running commuter cars and vans are stopped from driving through North Bow each day.  And that will significantly reduce air pollution locally.  If it doesn’t, let’s see the evidence and look at more radical solutions.  But let’s take this a step at a time and carry the whole community along with us. 

Councillor Marc Francis (Bow East)

96 Comments

  1. Actually Tim, I have been thinking for a long time about these plans and a possible compromise. It’s taken longer than it should because some people have been pushing a 24/7 ban on Bow residents driving their cars, which needed to be rejected before sensible ideas could be seriously considered. If I was only taking the side of motorists I would say no to any restriction, which I have very clearly not done if you read what I’ve written.

    The current approach has not been drawn up with the local community and businesses. It has been drawn up in the Town Hall with some good public engagement in person prior to the pandemic. However, as responses to the consultation came in and a firm proposal began to be drawn up in the Town Hall, we haven’t been able to take these back out to residents for further discussion before a final decision. I think that’s why the Mayor said he wanted a “town hall-style” meeting before reaching a decision. It’s just a shame we still haven’t had it.

    On the point about skew bridge, I think lights would slow traffic down and also make it a less attractive route than Roman Road for all drivers, including locals. In my observation, drivers learn pretty quickly and so the jams you mention really aren’t likely. On the 2019 trial, some drivers were way too aggressive and frankly should have been arrested. But Tower Hamlets Council has to take the blame for imagining two guys from Rineys and a plastic barrier were what was needed to stop the traffic.

    Really keen to hear more views ….

    1. Marc this is the leadership we need right now. The so called “town hall meeting” was an absolute farce. We were told we would “hear all voices” – that never happened.

    2. I didn’t mention any jams Marc, just the inevitable queues that will form behind a red light, which presumably is the entire purpose of the traffic lights you propose. Given that the lights would need to be installed further down on either side of the bridge, how many cars do you think you could you hold at a red light before they backed up onto Grove Rd roundabout, blocking Grove Rd North and South, and Old Ford Rd West? Maybe ten? Fewer with the usual lorries. Come on, it would be utter chaos. Again, no mention from you about pedestrians, residents and cyclists.

      It is demonstrably untrue to say that this approach has not been drawn up with the local community and businesses – we all filled in the forms and attended the workshops! The plans have not been drawn up in the Town Hall, but by a specialist architectural and urban design consultancy, which unlike either of us, are experts. ‘Some people’ have not been pushing for a 24/7 ban on Bow residents driving their cars; Bow residents were consulted and asked for a 24/7 bus gate on a few residential roads and our local high street. In your piece you talk about polarisation, but now go on to inordinately claim that ‘some people have been pushing for a 24/7 ban on Bow residents driving their cars’. I find that careless hyperbole a little galling given this morning you asked whether people ‘accept that these plans are causing a really worrying division within our community’. Will you accept some responsibility then? The responses you have garnered are hardly surprising if that’s the sort of careless and biased language you use when disseminating the aims of the scheme as a local councillor. Anyway, some local businesses were concerned about deliveries through a 24/7 bus gate, and so residents’ wishes have been watered down to the shortest possible bus gate timings. Blue Badge holders will be given access. These plans are the compromise.

      It’s not clear to me what you want. A referendum? Each resident to have a crack at drawing up their own designs for the area? If you want yet another meeting then arrange one, why scrap the proposals yet again? We’ve had endless consultation. Let’s get on with what a majority of residents have asked for and tweak them as necessary. Otherwise we’ll still be in this same position in two years time, and all the worse off for it.

    3. @MC
      Once again, no disabled driver is being asked to give up driving. I don’t know how many other ways there are to say this. And blue badges will get disabled drivers through the bus gate at all times of day.

    4. I have to take issue with the line “some people have been pushing a 24/7 ban on Bow residents driving their cars” – who on earth has been saying that?

      I’ve been following the Liveable Streets saga religiously since the start, and not once have I ever heard that suggested – not even from my most cycle-loving acquaintances in the tree-huggiest circles.

      I’m calling it out because it’s an example of how some very mainstream plans to tame traffic, used successfully in cities across Europe, have been distorted through some sort of Chinese whispers process to seem extreme – and no wonder people get riled up about that.

    5. @Matt,

      Now you want to suggest blue badge access is the holy grail so you can again dismiss concerns. Well, for the third time, I have to ask you once again to stop assuming you can speak for a group of people you know nothing about.

      Here are just some of the blue badge access difficulties:

      – Mayor won’t give clarity on how many cars a blue badge holder can nominate. Sounds like just one so far but it’s not just one car they need to use is it? You’re the one quick to point out many disabled people don’t personally drive so what happens to those who rely on different friends, family members or taxis to drive them?
      – What about those who don’t meet the stringent criteria for a blue badge but *are* impaired? What’s the impact of a longer journey on their health, social inclusion and general ability to participate in normal activities? You won’t have a clue but I do – it can be devastating for some particularly with post exertion malaise and pain that can last many days. It means an already hard and restricted life is made further disabled by the actions of a local council which is beyond outrageous and against the law for a Public body to do.
      – What about those who can’t cope with being put through what is well known to often be a humiliating DWP assessment process to try to score the minimum 8 points just so the council can offer a blue badge?
      – What about family who won’t visit or be able to help with care because of the longer journey times? Like a woman I met who told me she always goes to her mum on her way to work and on the way back to help look after her but won’t be able to if this scheme comes in?

      Need I go on…?

      Your contempt for the needs of others is palpable but once again stop presuming to speak on behalf of others you clearly know nothing about.

    6. @MC and @Jen

      Nowhere at all am I claiming to speak on behalf of disabled people. I would not presume to. It would indeed be offensive if I had. But I haven’t – please don’t claim that I have.

      Also, nowhere have I suggested that you, Jen, can simply hop onto a bike. Please don’t claim that I have.

      My point is that there are also life-limiting consequences to unfettered driving in the borough. The council has to consider this too, not just people who drive.

      The approach the council is taking allows everyone who currently drives to continue to do so, while taking steps to limit the effects of pollution in those with breathing difficulties, to limit the number of people killed and maimed by motor vehicles, and to limit the number of people suffering long term health issues through inactivity.

      The council proposals also make it safer for people with mobility difficulties to cross the road by reducing traffic volumes, and provide continuous and wider pavements to give those relying on mobility scooters easier journeys. And for the disabled people who do cycle, and yes, some do, it will provide quieter and safer journeys.

    7. @Matt I am disabled. I am profoundly deaf and have mobility issues but am not awarded the needed bureaucratic “points” to qualify for a blue badge in Tower Hamlets, I don’t have the energy to beg at assessments when my stacks of medical evidence from my consultants is not deemed sufficient just because I don’t “look” typically disabled. I also do not drive, but I am heavily dependant on my family and friends and their cars to assist me in taking me to the supermarket to help maintain what independence I have.

      I find it offensive that you speak on my behalf as a disabled person. I cannot simply hop on a bike multiple times a week to the local shop – as much as I would love my body to allow me to.

      As a side note I think the council would be very short sighted implementing this, how much do they make from permits, scratch cards, PCNs, parking metres? At a time when they have cut a lot of services (children’s centres, meals on wheels, adult learning disability services) you’d think they’d want to keep the revenue stream going. I live on a main road in Bow, its busy during rush hour (flowing traffic) for a maximum of 90 minutes tops. But I accept and appreciate that some people have to drive to their places of work, or drive as part of their jobs, to drop their children to schools on the other side of the borough, or to travel to care for people in similar situations as me.

      By all means express your own opinion, but please do not speak on behalf of others.

  2. All the money being spent on consultation and temporary closures wy not just shut old ford exit on a12 make it residents and buses just one camera and one barrier. And make it queen Elizabeth park only easy saving millions and collecting fines for council.

    1. Yes I totally agree with you, let’s stop people from outer Boroughs using our roads as a rat run, and let the people of Bow who live in Bow enjoy our roads again and it will reduce so much traffic in the area. 😊Thank you for making sense of the situation and bringing the community and classes together!

    2. Totally agree Fred, but apparently that road isn’t within the council’s control as it is a TfL road.

      I wish the busgate had been put in Tredegar Road as originally planned, but the quite aggressive behaviour from some when that was trialled (for a day!!!) put the stop to that and has led us down this road.

    3. Totally agree Fred. But that is a TfL road and not within the borough’s powers to do.

      I wish they had gone for the original Tredegar Road busgate, but the rather aggressive opposition to that has led us down this road

      John

    4. John, The Tredegar Road bus gate bottled up traffic in Bow East. Once it’s on the A12 it’s gone. We had a family staying with us on a rare visit with small children and a car full of stuff. On the day of the bus gate they left to go up the M11. Instead of being able to join Tredegar Road at the end of our street they had to go the opposite way, up St Stephen’s Road, west along the Roman, down Grove Road to Mile End, left to the Bow flyover, and left again up the A12. This should have taken 3 minutes. That bus gate created enormous amounts of pollution.

  3. Dear Marc,

    Thank you for listening to all constituents, it is appreciated and will be remembered. I’ve never contacted the Mayor or a councillor in my life but I am so concerned about these proposed changes. I’m profoundly deaf (bilaterally) and suffer with an associated disorder that effects my mobility. Even so, I feel I am very unlikely to qualify for a blue disabled badge from LBTH. I fear going out alone not just due to the communication difficulties I have but as I have also been knocked over by a cyclist in the past that I didn’t hear approach me from behind. I’m not anti-cyclist at all but I am increasingly feeling I cannot comfortably walk a lot of places within my own neighbourhood without great anxiety, not just due to my mobilising but also the fear I have in not hearing cyclists approach. The parks and canal towpaths are no-go’s for me as it is as I cannot hear the ringing of bell etc…please help stop making the road outside my house another cycle throughway. I appreciate my health afflictions are “my problem” and I’m not expecting anything to change just for my benefit but I would appreciate very much if I could be considered too? As so far I feel the consultation process has been skewed to suit the pro-cyclist lobby, which doesn’t seem to reflect the majority of responses I’m hearing from our community. I don’t even drive or own a car but I am dependant on people assisting me to the shops or hospital appointments. I’m also concerned the effect this will have on people being willing to visit me too if its made difficult accessing me in the borough, even with a resident permit permission through the bus gate. I just want a fairer consultation where all our voices are considered. The official responses so far from LBTH doesn’t seem to at all reflect the majority of residents feelings in Tower Hamlets, just the middle classes who have moved here.

  4. There is a huge amount of issue with privilege in this debate which has made individuals feeling really resentful. This has just led myself feeling enormously stressed and upset – the mixed messaging from Chris Harrison and others just made this a lot worse. We were told that all voices would be heard. That absolutely has not happened the so called “town hall meeting” that the mayor did was so bad. Some of the dithering and zero clarity really led to division in our community. That questions were asked how to ‘educate’ people who oppose but not ask a question from a worker who has lived in Bow all there life was wrong. The boundary of the proposals is 3 miles more than double the boundary of the Wapping Bus Gate (1.5 miles). It is a radical proposal for any LTN in Tower Hamlets and has caused so much controversy for ordinary residents who just want to get on with their lives and need a car for necessary things. It is much more controversial than the one in Wapping as it divides two communities but the Mayor doesn’t want to know. It doesn’t make sense for workers who have to travel everyday to now be put in rush hour traffic every mornings and evenings and the ideas that everyone has come up with has caused such animosity in our communities. I genuinely thought the Mayor would take a reasoned approach on this when he was looking at exemptions, but this has not happened causing a huge division and catered to the campaigns and not the needs of community.

  5. A hundred or a thousand or a hundred thousand vehicles banned from using a ‘rat-run’ and forced to use other streets will not cure pollution. It’s still the same number of vehicles, just that now they are being concentrated so pollution at (A) might be very very slightly reduced but at (B) will be markedly increased because of stagnant congestion and that stuff called breeze or wind will move the contagion back to where Cllr Francis is trying to eradicate it. This is a communal problem created by the social need for transportation and movement and will not be resolved until the the social need is resolved. The answer? I don’t pretend to know, but I know what it ain’t.

    1. You might think that would be the case, but it isn’t.

      For example in the Waltham Forest scheme there was a small amount of displacement of motor traffic initially to boundary roads, but a significant overall drop of motor traffic across the whole area (that’s the boundary roads *and* the ‘filtered’ roads).

      They saw a large reduction in the number of households exposed to maximum permitted levels of Nitrogen Dioxide. And a recent survey found only a tiny proportion of residents would take the traffic filters out.

      I know the proposals from Tower Hamlets may seem counter-intuitive, but we know from other parts of London and Europe that they work, and that’s why they are right to push forward with them.

    2. Evidence shows this logic of the same number of vehicles being shifted on to other roads doesn’t hold. Some traffic evaporates.

      Also, trunk roads can soak up extra traffic much more than a relatively narrow road like St Stephens.

    3. Matt, Waltham forest is certainly not Tower Hamlets, Tower Hamlets is City Bordering Borough not a leafy backwater full of Middle Class terraced dream houses. The stats that keep getting banded by PCL around the WF Scheme have been debunked over and over again, Also the way PCL presents facts is also bordering on Trump style Alternative facts. They even have a pamphlet on how to manipulate and coerce Govt Officials etc. WF Scheme has delivered more pollution on Poorer main rd community’s, The cross referencing of before and after figures and sample size polling is ridiculous as to mean anything. WF has not worked, dont continue the lies. The Whole argument pushing WF scheme as a precedent of good practice and ways forward can be consigned to the dustbin of history. For all the reasons we state.

    4. @Bob

      There is indeed only one Tower Hamlets, but it’s a convenient excuse for inaction to say that our borough is so unique that nothing tried anywhere else can possibly work here! I’ve got an idea – let’s actually try it and then we’ll know for sure.

      Contrary to your assertions, the success of the Walthamstow Mini-Holland scheme has not been ‘debunked’. It stands as an example of a courageous council showing leadership and implementing a policy that benefits *all* residents, rather than pandering to a noisy minority of inflexible drivers.
      Air pollution is down, traffic levels across the area as a whole are down, and residents’ life expectancy is up.

      And please, let’s give all this ‘Middle Class’ rubbish a rest. The ward that includes Waltham Forest’s ‘mini Holland’ is the 80th most deprived out of 625 in London. More than a quarter of households are in receipt of benefits. It’s hardly Hampstead. Not that class matters in the slightest. ALL kids of whatever class deserve safe streets, and lungs that are given a chance to develop normally. To even need to have to state this depresses me hugely!

      Source: https://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Ward%20summaries%20consultation%20amended%20190208.pdf

  6. Wow, lots of comments to wake up to! Thanks for the support from some. Thanks also for the tough questions from others. Dialogue is how we move things forward. Hopefully, my answers might help build consensus

    Matt, John, Iain, Abz – I agree with Carl that the best place for a bus gate is at the Fairfield Road / Tredegar Road junction and I argued for that for months to colleagues and the consultants. Frustratingly, the shambolic trial in summer 2019 put everyone off that location. My piece didn’t argue for no change on Old Ford Road – airily or otherwise! If the bus gate is at Roman and St Stephen’s, we can put one in on Old Ford Road too. Residents and local businesses would be exempted from both. Skew bridge really should be one-way at a time anyway. Maybe traffic lights. Officers should definitely enforce the existing weight restriction. End result: certainly nowhere close to the 27,000 you suggest. LBTH Parking Services already has most residents’ and local business vehicle registrations. If Hammersmith & Fulham can do it, I don’t see why Tower Hamlets can’t.

    One question back to you if I may? Do you accept that these plans are causing a really worrying division within our community here in Bow and the wider East End?

    1. Marc, with respect it is perfectly clear your thinking comes only from the perspective of motorists. Leaving Skew Bridge open would do nothing to address the fact it is not fit for pedestrian use, and would mean absolutely no provision for cyclists across the entire scheme, which I’m sure you would agree would be unfair. Skew Bridge indeed only has room for safe(ish) manoeuvre one way at a time, but a one-way traffic light system would leave permanent queues of cars on residential streets backed up to Grove Rd roundabout and beyond, and to Fairfield Rd and onto St Stephen’s in the opposite direction – this just isn’t a serious proposition which you obviously haven’t even begun to think through. As ever, it is easy to glibly caveat everything with ‘of course I want to save the planet as much as the next person’ and criticise detailed schemes that have been consulted upon and devised with residents and businesses for over two years – but coming up with workable, serious alternatives that have material effects upon an area are quite another thing.

    2. Tim is right. The proposal works as a whole not as isolated elements. With respect to Cllr Francis, at some stage you have to back a plan and not think you alone have the answer and the ‘best’ compromise. Bemoaning the fact that many motorists and taxi drives don’t like the current scheme doesn’t solve the problem that will divide our borough, city and country in the long term: environmental crisis and growing rates of pollution.

    3. In answer to your question: “Do you accept that these plans are causing a really worrying division within our community here in Bow and the wider East End?”

      I think what’s at the root of the division is not the plans themselves, but the amount of traffic, pollution, and road danger that we’ve allowed over the decades to be imposed on all residents, whether they drive or not.

      The council’s necessary attempt to ameliorate these issues has brought them out into the open, but they were always there.

      A lot of the division is actually being stoked up by frankly ludicrous posturing about class war (not from you, Marc). Considering that the least wealthy residents in Bow do not have cars and yet suffer disproportionately from the pollution and road danger that they cause when given free rein, it’s a funny old world to see the council’s proposals framed as somehow an attack on the poorest in society.

    4. Tim Cant disagree enough with the comment about backing up Traffic, If we only let residents through that will cut out over half the traffic on Old Ford rd, thus we could have lights either side of skew bridge with a narrower rd and wider pedestrian and cycle provision. Your scaremongering that Traffic would be backing up is unfounded on what we propose.

    5. Marc,

      Apologies for only just replying, I was waiting for the video of the “Virtual Ask the Mayor for Liveable Streets Bow Meeting” to be released (see https://t.co/TbzwDwtbj4 ).

      You asked “Do you accept that these plans are causing a really worrying division within our community here in Bow and the wider East End?”.

      My answer is a massive YES.

      At the ask the Mayor, my question to the Mayor was purely on this issue:
      “This scheme has caused lots of division on many levels: cars vs bikes, rich vs poor, old vs young, and lots of other ways. What will you do to reverse this division?”

      I have on numerous times now witnessed HATE SPEECH being put about by several members of the anti-LSB lobby group, where it is acceptable to spout hatred against those who are aren’t born in the borough, or don’t drop their “aitches”, who live on certain streets, are ASSUMED to be middle-class.

      You said: “From the dozens of emails, phone calls and conversations I’ve had so far, those in favour are generally middle-class. And those opposed are generally working-class and long-standing residents”.

      I truly find putting people in boxes like this lazy stereotyping and actually quite offensive. The anti-LSB lobby have shaped this as locals against middle-class, and by defining those supporting the scheme as “middle-class” that makes it acceptable to spout hatred against them.

      Palestine, the Berlin Wall, Nazis, fascists, working-class, neoliberalism, middle-class scum, Oxbridge £4 latte-drinking self-serving councillors have all been thrown about by some who want revolution. All on the anti-LSB side. I have seen these people lie repeatedly to “win” arguments. Their Xenophobic views are “thinly-disguised racism” (and that is a key shop owner on the Roman’s words not mine).

      At the start of this consultation I went out of my way to be neutral and enabled residents to hear both sides. Now having seen the extremely divisive approach by key [opportunist] members of the anti-LSB group I find it very difficult to listen to their arguments without thinking of the divisiveness they have caused.

      John

    6. I think the division arises when people behave in a childish manner and start assuming everyone who is supportive is white, a cyclist, able-bodies, a homeowner in the posh bit of town, has no caring responsibilities. I’m none of these and I am hugely supportive of the scheme as the antisocial driving, noise and lorry traffic wakes up my family most nights. We can’t afford a car but bear the effects of commuters but also residents who drive to spend out of our neighbourhood rather than walk 5 mins to shop local.

      I am frustrated that ‘gentrification, disability and race’ has been thrown around when it suits. The people using these terms for their own gains are not my allies and I have been offended often by them using people like me for their cause. I witnessed the behaviour of those blocking the first trial and that childish bullying has persisted ever since.

      The council said this was going to be a robust programme with chances to tweak it later. That seems sensible. What’s not sensible is abandoning the scheme, or adding a million exceptions before people have tried and adjusted to a new scheme.

    7. So many people have been reasonable and asked for dialogue for this. Asking for discussions that have not happened. The ‘childish’ behaviour comes from the uncompromising positions and behaviour of some councillors and cycling campaign groups that for far too long had to much control and influence. It is very obvious why they do not want resident exemptions and it has nothing to do with pollution but covert control and believing they have the right to dictate people’s lives.

      The lies they have put that says ‘resident exemptions will cause more traffic’ is false/ scaremongering and not the reality of schemes of Hammersmith and Fulham. I cycled there yesterday and there was never one traffic jam and it was an attractive place to cycle with the restricted road have hardly and very few cars using it and they have all taxis, busses and all resident exemptions in Hammersmith and Fulham have access using it. The sad reality is that these self appointed campaigners behaviour will kill communities in Tower Hamlets and will displace families that have lived there for years and harm local businesses. I have been gaslighted and patronised so much in all my life by these campaigners and even made fun of by them. It is really sad to me that they hold such high virtue in the eyes of some councillors and that residents like myself have continuously felt ignored.

      Whatever your views are on the Bow Proposals it has been the most toxic 9 months of my life. I have never felt so much frustration and anger at how things have played out. No reasonable person would be so ardently against resident exemptions, but for some self appointed campaigners this is just a game for them and for residents like myself this has led to huge anxieties and real anger.
      I don’t think it is fair to say that the only unreasonable behaviour has been from those opposed to the scheme as I believe it is utterly disgraceful that the only reason Better Streets Tower Hamlets and the London Cycling Campaign are so ardent about not wanting resident exemptions is for political reasons. They even admit that it is political why they don’t want resident exemptions and not for the needs of the community. The only reason they are ‘very happy’ or so called ‘content’ about these proposals is because they know that making Roman Road the only through road at out of peak times will lead to utter chaos, more congestion and will make their plea for 24/7 hour bus gates more attractive for the councillors who have special abilities in the council. That is not only divisive but toxic behaviour. And they have had reassurances that it could be the case in the future that it could possibly be 24/7. That to me is sickening for our community who are not stupid and know exactly what these groups want. That has caused more division than any person against the Liveable Streets scheme. And yes the unfortunate reality is that most of these self appointed campaigners are white middle class men.

    8. Hi @Matt,

      As someone who has been made fun of by you. I will keep this short and sweet, the other LTN’s that use resident exemptions are very safe for cycling infrastructure. If this was about reducing speeds of cars to all 20mph I would agree with you. I said in this “process” if you read again, which I think you know what I am speaking about.

    9. I haven’t made fun of you, L. I’m not sure where you’re getting that from.

      You didn’t use the word “process” in your comment.

      Your comment did, however, throw around a load of wild and unevidenced claims about “kill[ing] communities, displac[ing] families and harm[ing] local businesses, when all we’re talking about here is getting the minority of residents who drive to sometimes enter their streets via a different route.

      Lowering the temperature and reducing the stress and toxicity starts with cutting out the hyperbole.

    10. Hi @matt
      I won’t lower my tone as I am pretty fed up of being told how I should behave by white middle class men. The polarisation comes from you, when you make ‘carer exemptions’ seem extreme and masquerade to other councillors to not make any compromises. I don’t think we will agree on this but this is about control for you and you don’t care about who are hurting from it.

    11. It really isn’t – I’m not sure where you’re getting that from. You know nothing about me.

      Forget about this strange class non-issue, and try to think of the children in the area, of whatever class. Let’s make the roads safer enough for them to walk and cycle to school, to the park and to their friends’, like their grandparents used to, so we can cut the damaging rate of childhood obesity that will put pressure on the NHS in the decades to come. Children are among the many thousands injured in our borough’s streets – let’s stand together and say that’s unacceptable. Children are having their lungs malformed by the levels of pollution in the borough – we can fix that.

      Let’s balance our personal eagerness to get places a couple of minutes quicker with our responsibility as a community to the next generation.

    12. Matt again you are missing the point and making extreme comments, about something very reasonable. The truth is we can tackle pollution, make the streets safer and cycling attractive by resident exemptions which would radically lower the levels of rat running and congestion in the area. It is not a few minutes and that is one of the most frustrating thing about this. I agree we have to do something about pollution and make the roads safer but your unwillingness to see others in this is quite worrisome. I don’t think we will agree on this as you have been ardently opposed to carer exemptions. Also please stop gaslighting others and believe that it is your duty to control what others should and can do. I don’t think we will agree on this nor change ones mind. Have a lovely day.

    13. I’m not “gaslighting” or attempting to control anyone.

      In society we all have to rub along together, accepting a very slight loss of our own freedom [in this case to drive exactly the route we might like], so that other people do not come to harm from our actions.

      That’s not “control.” That’s neighbourliness. It’s being considerate. It’s selflessness.

      Have a lovely day too.

    14. You evidently don’t know the word ‘selflessness’ means. So you believe that an elderly woman with severe arthritis should be in additional pain and travel 3 miles to her local GP because of your admittance of no exemptions for carers in peak hour traffic. Gosh you have shown your true colours and it is truly pathetic. Also your comments are doing is the epitome of Gaslighting and you might be have high virtue in the eyes of my ward councillors, but you certainly disgust me with those comments. This is about control for you and you don’t give a damn about the people you are hurting. I won’t respond to your pitiful comments that don’t care about the communities you are ruining and the division you are causing.

    15. Dear “L”,

      The majority of locals who responded to the consultation support the scheme and want to see Bow become a healthier and less-polluted place to live. Liveable Streets was part of the manifesto Biggs was elected upon (and in fact ALL of the mayoral candidates signed up to the local cycling group’s “manifesto”. See https://www.towerhamletswheelers.org.uk/campaigns/cycling-manifesto-2018

      When you say folk asked for discussions and they have not happened, I don’t know quite what you are referring to ? There have been numerous meetings both online and in person, over many months and in fact years. Plenty of cabinet and general council meeting time has been devoted to it and the Mayor has been quizzed by numerous residents who know how to get their anti-LS points across very well as I have witnessed multiple times.

      I don’t think using labels such as “self-appointed campaigners [that are] white middle class men” is useful. Labels just serve to divide the community. We all need to live together as citizens regardless of colour, gender or [perceived] socio-economic status.

      Regarding your numerous comments that this is about “control”, then if it was, then I too would find that unpalatable. Occasionally some cyclists are evangelical, but that is true of some car-drivers too who see driving almost as a basic human right. The majority of us locals lie between these two extremes and just want less pollution, less traffic, and for Bow to be a healthier place to live whoever you are.

    16. Dear John,

      I agree we do all need to live together as citizens regardless of colour, gender and class. However, I have tried to be respectful of differences in this but when people have contacted councillors asking them for no exemptions for blue badge holders and carers that is where the real anger comes from. This isn’t about cycling vs driving it is a much deeper issue. I cycle more than I drive and the power structures in this process has led to real resentment.

    17. I’d add to Mark, L, that I too have been deterred from engaging in discussion as when giving my opinion I’ve been asked (in no particular order), if I’m male, a cyclist, working class, white, a resident, how long I’ve been in the east end… As if the answers make views more or less valid. Assumptions are made about me. That’s where the discrimination is coming.

      I’m not a driver or a cyclist. Maybe the ‘for’ discussions have been pushed by cyclists, but the ‘against’ discussions have been pushed by car owners / outside taxi drivers. What about those of us who are neither – just ‘residents’?

      Most of my day is not spent on travel. I spend most of my time in my home, breathing fumes, hearing revving and large lorries, sleep disturbed by asbo speeders at 3am (not commuter rat runner). And I have to ask – surely an attempt at something different has to be better than this?

  7. 16,452 cars daily, don’t believe that for one second but heh can’t argue with the facts right? Please!
    Utter hypocrisy the same people spouting about doing this for the sake of our health only has to look at the volume of people pounding the streets (Globe road, Roman Road., Old Ford Road) and in Victoria park on the weekend in the midst of a pandemic with no social distancing in sight.. all exercising with one other person..eye roll much

    1. The two week window when these figures were collected was and is unusable as Bow was undergoing a huge road resurfacing project during that period forcing traffic through the counters on Roman and Old ford also two major incidents on Mile end road closed that area for long periods. The data sets are corrupt. Old ford is an emergency artery for the 8 residential skyscrapers in Bow East and now we no longer have a local fire stn even more so we cannot have physical barriers increasing journey times for our Emergency services. We need a road that is usable without delay to be kept in place no matter what happens!

  8. This whole scheme is yet another sop to the self entitled, mainly male, cyclists. Look at Burdett Road where the bus lane has been removed inconveniencing bus users – mainly women, meanwhile the cycle lane is hardly used because there are 2 routes already for cyclists, through the park and along the canal. And even then you can barely walk along a pavement without being nearly mown down by a cyclist.

    Where’s the equality impact statement on these measures? Why was the consultant -someone called Harrison- behaving like a Council Officer at the last meeting? Why was everyone in favour of the measures? The whole thing has a really bad feel about it and should be scrapped.

    Electronic entry systems are used in supermarket car parks, these would be a far better solution.

    1. Jane, The Burdett Road cycle changes are TfL not the council. The Burdett bus stop reconfiguration is seen as a disaster by pretty much all sides.

      Mile End Park and the canal towpath are leisure cycle routes, not for commuting. There is an ongoing campaign to shift cyclists from the towpath to roads.

      “Self-entitled” is applicable to many car drivers too.

      Supermarket-style systems are prone to vandalism, cost lots to maintain and administration

      John

  9. What I don’t really understand is the concluding two sentences. Why the reluctance to go bold with the first iteration if the measures are, as Clr Francis notes, potentially changeable?

    Why not start with a full scheme amid these covid times where people shouldn’t be out, give the measures and sat navs time to adjust, and then reflect and potentially introduce exemptions for the carers or workers or residents?

    The majority of residents are pro doing something to solve the noise, pollution and dangerous driving that goes on (by all drivers, not just commuters). Why miss the chance to actually try something that might work?

    1. Was not in the manifesto, is not democratic, affects the most vulnerable adversely, Is a bad scheme that increases pollution, divides community on social and economical grounds, puts back the green agenda years, is a total farce. I hope that gives you the reasons why….

    2. It was in the manifesto (as the article itself says) and the council were democratically elected. In Bow, more respondents were in favour of the scheme than against and we’re in favour of stronger measures than those going ahead. Most of us hopefully understand the survey isn’t a referendum, as too are petitions.

      Again it boils down to fear of supporting giving the scheme a fair go because it might be the case that residents prefer or benefit from the change. It’s a missed opportunity to be bold and ‘push the green agenda’ from a strong start.

    3. Absolutely agree. We’ve had two years of consultation for God’s sake, let’s actually get on have a go at something. The Mayor’s already undertaken to review and adjust as time goes on. Marc’s proposals are likely to achieve very little in the grand scheme of things, and at great financial cost.

    4. Abz It was not in the manifesto, there was a vague statement about reducing “Commuter” Traffic, not stopping Locals and business going about their daily lives.

  10. The most frustrating thing is that this is not about residents or the needs for people in our community. It is all about control and that has led to residents being so resentful of these proposals. The people of the East End are fed up of sympathy and workers being seen as collateral damage who have lived here for all there lives. We are angry that a couple of campaigners masquerading as residents believe that it is there duty to control what working class residents can and shouldn’t do. When we start to normalise gentrification policies that have huge implications on residents who work and need to support families that is when the people become resentful.

  11. Skew bridge closure (introduced under false and dishonest pretences of covid safety measures) has proven beyond any doubt the damage this project can cause to the local community.

    Despite limited lockdown traffic at the time and reduced bus services the traffic jams along Grove Rd and Roman Rd were unbearable.

    The longer and much slower journeys not only increased pollution and frustrated drivers but led to almost a total collapse of public transport’s reliability. Timetables of 277, 425, 339 and D6 got invalidated with several runs terminating short due to delays. Emergency services got regularly delayed, cyclists ended up riding on the pavement, constant honking could be heard for hours.

    This was during a significantly reduced traffic period.

    Is it really fair, reasonable and wise to suffocate part of the community to enhance the quality of life for a few?

    I took part in the consultation process with some pro-closure residents. It was really refreshing to see them acknowledging that they have not really considered how changes they advocate would impact other residents. As soon as they learned about the experience of Skew Bridge closure among people living in Roman Rd/Grove Rd they voiced their concerns and demanded more balanced and holistic approach.

    There are clearly a lot of middle class people who want to increase the value of their properties or just want to have fewer cars passing by their gardens. Majority though do not realise or have not been made aware of the wider impact of this scheme.

    From my experience, a lot of them are not religiously anti-working class or obsessively environmental, they just see things through their personal gains and very localised advantages. When educated, presented with balanced and honest view, they tend to prioritise community cohesion over liveable streets blue sky thinking. Cllr Francis’s intervention is therefore very welcomed.

    1. @Peter,

      The Skew Bridge closure was the Skew Bridge closure.

      What is proposed now is an area-wide scheme. The whole idea of the bus gate on Roman Road is to prevent through traffic simply being displaced from Old Ford onto Roman, as it indeed was during the Skew Bridge closure. We have to tackle the area as a whole.

      That’s why the council’s decision to make the bus gate only part-time is so puzzling. It risks clogging up ‘Roman Road West’ with through traffic during the periods the bus gate is not in operation. It’s self-defeating. We can only hope that the bus gate becomes 24/7 once it has been implemented in its part-time guise and people see the improvements it brings.

      Rejecting the proposal that’s been painstakingly developed over 18 months, Marc Francis airily says “Other measures can reduce speeds and improve safety.” Well I’d love to hear what they are. He says the proposals are “extreme”, yet low traffic neighbourhoods are commonplace, and have been working successfully for decades, not just in London but around Europe. The rhetoric has become extreme, but the proposals are absolutely mainstream.

      And Peter, you ask rather dramatically “Is it really fair, reasonable and wise to suffocate part of the community to enhance the quality of life for a few?” Actually, 90% of residents live on residential, rather than main/boundary roads. Traffic on the main Bow Road, the mayor was saying the other day, has actually *fallen* in recent years, as long-distance drivers are slavishly following their satnavs to shave off a few hundred yards by cutting through our neighbourhood. It’s a dual carriageway, much better suited for carrying large volumes of traffic than our narrow residential streets, with properties generally set back from the road, and with frequent crossing points.

      You complain about delays to buses and emergency services, as if that hasn’t been happening day-in day-out in cities across the UK and the developed world for decades! Not because of pesky LTN schemes but because buses and ambulances are stuck in traffic jams full of cars. Increasingly so. Well we’re finally trying to do something different in Tower Hamlets – making transport options other than cars more attractive, so that buses and emergency vehicles have less traffic to battle. Well done to the council for giving it a go. It’s worked in other cities in Europe – it can and will work here.

      And coming back to your word “suffocate”, look at Waltham Forest where they implemented a similar LTN scheme a few years ago. Nitrogen Dioxide pollution is massively down across the whole area. That’s many thousands fewer households exposed to poisonous air. Yes, traffic levels were up a few percent on boundary roads, soon after implementation, but these things settle down after a while. And very soon after completion, traffic *overall*, taking the boundary roads and the ‘filtered’ roads together, was DOWN significantly. Down. Lower.

      That’s what we’re fighting for – less traffic, less pollution, less noise, less traffic danger. Please don’t impute the motives of people trying so hard to make the area safer and healthier for everyone as simply “middle class people who want to increase the value of their properties” – that’s not becoming of you or this debate.

    2. The closure of Skew bridge was a disaster. There must be riots if necessary to stop this vandalism of the East End road system.

    3. Matt

      You say “That’s what we’re fighting for – less traffic, less pollution, less noise, less traffic danger. Please don’t impute the motives of people trying so hard to make the area safer and healthier for everyone as simply “middle class people who want to increase the value of their properties” – that’s not becoming of you or this debate.” But thats what is happening whether you like it or not, Govt schemes to link local pollution to house sale data proves this also, the large numbers of Social housing on Main rds that vastly outnumber Private housing also plays into this. And remember its poorer people that rely on daily use of cars for income and life enhancement. So however you may want to paint it down here looking up we see it for exactly what it is. your climate conscience now you have the education and money because you father and his raped the worlds resources is being played on the fiddle of the backs of the most vulnerable as always has happened in capitalism. its not on, its not right, its not going to wash. Make the rich pay and suffer the most leave the workers alone and let them climb.

    4. @MC:
      The majority of people in Bow don’t own a car. I know that the majority of disabled people don’t drive. It might even be possible that the majority of parents in Bow don’t drive – I’m not sure whether these figures are collated. But in any case, nothing in the scheme prevents anyone from driving. It doesn’t prevent access by car to anyone’s property. John Biggs is not going to turn up in a few weeks and confiscate your car keys.

      Buses in our area are actually perfectly accessible, with step free boarding. But in any case, the minority of disabled people that *do* drive will be able to go through the bus gate at any time of day, and be able to get to and park outside their properties just as they can now. As I think you must surely already know.

    5. Skew bridge wasn’t the scheme though was it.

      What you are saying is like judging a film by the trailers before it. You haven’t seen the main feature.

  12. I think Marc is correct in saying there is a divide and more importantly this doesnt represents the views of many BAME and other groups within the borough. The ability to have your say if you work in Tower Hamlets also plays a big part in the foolishness of this consultation, people who will not be impacted day to day have a say on something which they don’t need to live with. Nobody is against reducing pollution or making it safer and healthier, however why should residents have to pay the price of rat runners?.

    I have suggested an ANPR system however the people doing the consultation were not interested in hearing this view, so much so they muted my mic when I was on an online consultation.

    I do feel that if other councillors had the courage that Marc is showing we would have a better more balanced approach and ultimately a more united borough.

    Thank you Marc for taking a sensible approach.

  13. Thank you Marc for listening to residents’ views that don’t conform to the consultants agenda. Of course there are other ways – and sensible alternatives have been put forward and ignored.

  14. I would be interested if Cllr Marc Francis could share what other measures can be implemented along Old Ford Road to reduce speeds and improve the safety there and what he would do about the motor traffic using it as a cut-through when the bus gateway is in operation on Roman Road? By leaving Old Ford Road open that would still leave an east/west rat run open along residential streets and thus not be compatible with the aims of the Liveable Streets program of removing through motor vehicles.

    On the topic of a residents exemption, what would the cost be to administer such an ever changing database? In addition, by allowing a residents exemption, this could in fact actually increase locals using their car for short journeys as the roads would have the traffic cutting through removed. This would seem to be counter-intuitive to some of the aims of the Liveable Streets scheme such as making it easier, safer and more convenient to get around by foot, bike and public transport and to encourage more sustainable journeys and to improve air quality and road safety.

    Iain, Bow West resident

    1. A simple couple of cameras On St Stephens rd and wick lane stopping commuter traffic giving residents a pass is all it would take to stop commuters you could even stick another on Skew Bridge if that would make you feel a bit more secure.

    2. Having just looked through some of the data that is shared on the Bow Liveable Streets web page, it notes that along Old Ford Road (between Grove Road & St Stephen’s), there was 16,452 motor vehicles travelling daily along this residential road. If as Cllr Marc Francis proposes that Old Ford Road be left open, this number of 16,452 would likely increase as the 11,202 that was recorded as travelling along Roman Road would highly likely use Old Ford Road when the bus gateway is in operation.

      How is that compatible improving the safety and making it easier, safer and more coinvent to get around by foot or bike along that stretch of Old Ford Road?

    3. So a camera on the junction of Tredegar and Fairfeild and one by the Roundabout on Wick lane would stop commuter traffic comeing through Bow both ways, this would make the traffic use Mile end rd, Could also put cameras on Old ford by The Roundabout between the parks and one at the Aberdeen Junction stick a third on Antill and boom your done, let the residents have a pass and problem solved quieter less polluted St’s. As well as this give residents 3 yrs free council tax if they invest in electric vehicle and match fund this by doing a deal with a car manufacturer. Start putting in the real infrastructure needed to charge cars not lamp post trickle chargers. Start putting in roof top solar panels, start removing Gas boilers from homes and replacing with heat pumps. Start building real zero carbon homes. Get cycle proficiency tests back into the school education system teaching people how to share rds safely. Start to Build the consensus locally to move together to a brighter greener future for all not just for some.

  15. Mark hits the nail on the Head, Low paid people have less time and money to afford these luxuries of road closures, we cant stagger our start times or work from home, we work long hrs and cant afford to shop local, we have less leisure time. We also are more likely to live in social housing on the main roads whereby the displaced traffic goes, we are more likely to live in one of Bow Easts 8 Skyscrapers and now we have no local fire stn would be more at risk with less access for Emergency vehicles. This proposal would be a fair compromise and would give us all time to take stock, if it does not work we then can relook and tighten the screw and hopefully other measures such as E Vehicles have become more affordable and widespread. Remember no one in London drives for pleasure, Every Journey is a pain lets not Put a system in that Affects the most vulnerable hardest. Lets all take a breath, come together and move forward with one goal.

    1. Yes but they can afford cars… hmm. Also can’t afford to shop local? Why on earth was there a ludicrous ‘shop local’ campaign pushing for car access and parking on the Roman?

    2. Carl, do you think all 325,000 residents of the borough should be except or just the 28,000 in Bow? It would cost quite a bit in admin – not just the cost of a couple of cameras that’s for sure.

      As usual I have to challenge your persistent statement about the low paid living on the main roads in social housing. If the scheme goes ahead as suggested then extra traffic will go along Grove and Mile End Roads. The houses along these roads cost the earth – typically £1.3 million And the skyscrapers are on estates which are cul de sacs and so not rat runs – they are the original Low Traffic Neighbourhoods 🙂

    3. John White

      Drive along Bow/Mile End road from The Bombay Flyover to Stepney Green Stn and do the Math, Its simple, Very simple not just the little road where you reside.

  16. Thank you Marc. As you know there are grave doubts as to the Consultation having not been legal in many of its aspects, something which requires investigation. As for this article, thank you for opening up the debate. We need an open and honest one. Imho, we need to go back and start again with local input from all constituencies. The polarisation we see should not have happened. This was due to imposition rather than ownership of a process the true majority could buy into and own.

  17. A couple of questions for Marc:

    If , as you suggest, the Old Ford Road bridge is kept open, how will you stop it being used as a rat run? Won’t all the non-Bow commuters just use Old Ford instead of the Roam Road?

    Are you proposing ALL residents of the borough are exempt or just Bow East/West residents?

    John

    1. Let’s call it for what it is – politicking.

      ‘If everyone thinks they’re special, no one is.’

  18. Unfortunately if you put in a residents’ exemption, the initially quieter streets soon get clogged up with more ‘induced’ car journeys from one corner of Bow to another – a recipe to keep pollution, congestion and collision rates where they are, and deny residents the quieter, safer streets they deserve.

    Cllr Francis mentions a socio-demographic split, but we also need to consider an often-ignored demographic group: Bow’s children. Currently their lungs aren’t developing as they should due to pollution. And a simple solo walk or bike ride to school or the park that their grandparents would have undertaken is now too dangerous, because we prioritise motor traffic.

    A large number of journeys in London are short, and are absolutely walkable, cyclable, or can be undertaken using what must be the UK’s most comprehensive public transport network. The more pleasant we can make these modes of getting around, the more we can keep the roads clear for trips that genuinely need to be driven, such as for longer distances, carrying large loads or because of seniority or disability.

    1. Matt,
      – you’re not a parent
      – you’re not a senior
      – you’re not disabled
      – you probably don’t even own a car!
      Yet you presume to know what is best for these groups?

      And, you clearly have no concept of how public transport is not accessible to many.

      You’ve ignored genuine concerns from neighbours for months and pushed for an aggressive scheme. It’s time for a balanced approach. Residents should have access.

    2. Matt, you’ve replied to me above on the wrong thread.

      Anyway, in response to Matthew Antony Hewitt, who is one and the same as the Matt here, I say your comments have helpfully proven my point of why you shouldn’t speak on behalf of disabled people.

      Not only is it highly inappropriate for you as a healthy person to say that disabled people can use a bus just fine, but you’ve also shown your lack of understanding of the difficulties with bus use in your reply.

      Here are just some difficulties:
      – Buses only allow one wheelchair or pram at a time which often means waiting for the next bus. Longer journeys increase pain and fatigue impacting daily functioning fir many days afterwards.
      – Routes do not often always go where needed meaning convoluted journeys of more than one bus with the same negative impact on daily functioning.
      – I personally cannot push my disabled child with my own health problems compounding and carry items so if we relied on buses we’d be highly limited what we can achieve when out.

      In addition, TfL have recently announced bus services may be cut further to save money.

      You make too many assumptions including how you say many disabled people don’t drive. Maybe, maybe not but how many rely on vehicle use? How many disabled people have to be harmed for the number to be significant for you?

      Reality is, under the Equality Act and Public Sector Equality Duty, even if one person with protected characteristics has their lives negatively impacted by the council’s changes then the council have a responsibility to mitigate for that.

    3. The issue in this is that it is middle class people making assumptions about working class people. It started from this toxic idea that no working class person or ‘poor person’ owns a car. It is simply not true and it has led to this division nor is the reality of normal life for individuals. It has led to real animosity and that individuals believe they can make fun out of other people’s situations and feel that they have the right to control what people can and can not do . The council know that closing Old Ford Road will be a mess for Roman Road and St Stephen’s Road it is there way of implementing a 24/7 bus gate and it is as sneaky as it is divisive. The Bus Gate will cause huge issue’s for people and it has led to huge animosity in this community.

  19. I think councillor Marc Francis’ proposal is a much fairer proposal. It also seems that he is listening to residents across the board and not just one cohort of residents (the middle class).

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