“Liveable streets” new workshop for Bow

Installing cycle lanes Old Bethnal Green Road Oct 2020

This is an online workshop on Tues 27th Oct 6 – 7.30pm.

Register to join the Bow Liveable Streets Community Workshop here.

The organiser is called Liveable Streets – Tower Hamlets. They say: “…we have set up a workshop to give groups and residents who may not have had the opportunity to comment on the plans an opportunity to do so.” As most people know plenty of people did comment on the plans before, but were ignored. By running it as a workshop, far from engaging with and listening to residents, this sounds like they’re trying to do the opposite (again).

As a requirement for getting Central Government cash to fund these schemes councils are required to consult properly. Many have not, and lay themselves open to legal challenge.

Brighton Argus Cycle Lanes
Brighton Argus 9th Sept 2020

In Brighton, to get £663,000 from the Government, the council said: “It had consulted on the plans with bus operators, hauliers and local groups representing disabled people ‘as appropriate’.” The council is facing a legal challenge because it screwed up disabled parking along the seafront. It won central Government cash before it belatedly contacted disabled organisations, just before the work started. Part of the new seafront cycle lane has already been removed because buses were being re-routed when they were getting stuck in gridlocked traffic – freshly created elsewhere.

Maybe that’s what this is new workshop is about?

Cleaner Greener Cities The Guardian
Cleaner Greener Cities – The Guardian 18th May 2020

Last Tuesday The Times published an article on how the mayor of Athens pushed through a €50 million scheme during the lockdown to turn half of the central main roads in Athens into pedestrian walkways and cycle lanes. It’s illustrated with a picture of stationary traffic, emitting even more fumes than usual, next to an empty cycle lane.

Athens cycle lanes - The Times
Athens walking & cycle lanes – The Times 20th Oct 2020

The article by Anthee Carassave says: “Theory failed to meet practicality,” and that the project failed to take off, failed miserably and is now being called a fiasco. She said: “The debacle has exposed sloppy preparations and poor research … Experts and residents were not consulted, and no other plans considered.” The plans have been put on hold. Among the various things which outraged residents were the €5,500 cost of each bench along the route. And I’d guess the suspicion of who was benefitting from the profits.

Alan Tucker, Bow.


  1. Hi Alan,

    First of all, good to see you promoting the additional workshop that the Liveable Streets team are putting on to receive further engagement.

    I feel that it is unfair of you to state “As most people know plenty of people did comment on the plans before, but were ignored” as the results of the public consultation have not been released so I’m not sure how you can state they have been ignored, unless you have some insider information? If so, please share! Bow residents are eager to find out the results!

    As the workshop event details state, the Liveable Streets team are “particularly keen to hear the views of our Black, Asian and Minority residents from within the Bow area as it is important their voices are heard.”. Was this not worth a mention in your article?

    You mention in your article that “As a requirement for getting Central Government cash to fund these schemes councils are required to consult properly.”, I think you may be getting mixed up with schemes that are in response to the current pandemic and what Tower Hamlets Council have been working on since June 2019 (https://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/News_events/2019/June_2019/15-million-scheme-to-create-Liveable-Streets-across-Tower-Hamlets.aspx)

    The Liveable Streets schemes are not funded by central government and are not related to the current pandemic. So I’m not sure where the relevance of talking about what money Brighton received has to do with Bow?

    The Bow Liveable Streets started back in April 2019 with an early-engagement survey leading to co-design workshops (you can see the timeline of consultation stages here – https://talk.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lsbow/widgets/13981/faqs#4090)

    The Liveable Streets scheme for Bow could bring about some meaningful changes to the area and whatever the outcome of the public consultation I think it is important to establish the difference between responses to the current pandemic and an overall scheme which has been in the planning since the last local elections.

    1. Ian Marshall

      Ian, thanks for taking the trouble to write.

      I live in Bow and have personally heard from local people their views on the Liveable Streets consultation. There are also many comments on Facebook. Here’s a sample from yesterday:

      “Last time they had a so called workshop only a few were allowed to register to go”

      “I went to the one re Columbia road and old Bethnal Green road. Absolutely a waste of time. They had already decided. Every single person I spoke to there was against it.”

      “I’ve just seen the Fire Brigade cut the lock to a filter [gate?] on Libra Road open. Brilliant firefighters were trying at it for around 5 minutes before cutting it open while responding to an incident on one of our estates… Work on the filter was suggested during the initial planning stage during Liveable Streets but concerning words fall on deaf ears. I actually emailed councillors about this filter because the London Fire Brigade could not access the estates around Libra Road. My councillors have not bothered to respond.”

      We had a practical demonstration last year of the “Bus Gate” on Tredegar Road. It bottled up traffic and pollution inside Bow instead of releasing it onto the A12. That lasted just one day. As it happened we had a family with children who’d been staying with us for a week in Bow. Obviously we all used the Underground that week to visit the tourist spots. But when they came to leave on the day of the bus gate, in their car, they had to spend ages stuck in traffic inside Bow just to get away up the M11. A normally easy trip.

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