Trial barriers will be put in residential streets in Lee Green on Monday (June 29), with people getting less than a week’s notice because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Lewisham Council's plans to do a six-month trial had been discussed pre-lockdown, where roads would be blocked off to through-traffic as part of the Lewisham and Lee Green Healthy Neighbourhood plan.   

The scheme aims to reduce rat-running, improve air quality, and encourage greener modes of transport.    

The latest version involves 13 barriers, or modal filters, which will close off the roads so that only cyclists and pedestrians can get through.

The scheme has been divisive, with some residents concerned about emergency services, journey times to the hospital, more pollution around schools, traffic being pushed onto other roads, trains already being at capacity, and access to the South Circular.   

Others have praised the proposed reduction in traffic, pollution, and rat-running, and more space being created for walking and cycling.  

Residents received a letter informing them of the plans dated June 23 – they were originally supposed to get a month’s notice, but the council said due to the pandemic that was no longer possible.  

The majority of TfL funding for schemes has been removed in the wake of the pandemic because of the significant hit to the transport network’s income. 

But the Government has since given the Mayor of London £45 million in ‘Streetspace’ funds for councils, which aims to rapidly transform London’s streets to help facilitate social distancing, cycling, and walking as lockdown eases. 

Lewisham applied for £2.9 million of the plot – it has been awarded just over £20,000 so far. 

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The plans

As of Monday, a modal filter will be place in Manor Lane, the end of Holme Lacey Road and Dallinger Road, in Leahurst Road, Woodyates at the end of Manor Lane Terrace, in Leyland Road, Upwood Road, and Cambridge Drive. 

Four camera enforced modal filters, through which only emergency services, local buses, and bikes are allowed through, will be placed in Dermody Road, Manor Road, Ennersdale Road, and Manor Lane.  

Kevin Sheehan, executive director for housing, regeneration and environment, said in the letter to residents: “In light of TfL’s and the Department for Transport’s guidance we have taken the decision to deliver a package of temporary measures in Lewisham and Lee Green, subject to TfL funding approval. 

“These measures will be implemented using a temporary traffic order as we seek to protect public health and address safety concerns.  

“TfL has indicated that boroughs will not be required to undertake detailed traffic modelling on the plans, due to the speed of roll out required to protect public health and safety and also the uncertainty around what future traffic levels might be.” 

He said when the council wrote to residents in January, it explained they would be given “at least” a month’s notice before the trial started.  

“Clearly the situation we now find ourselves is very different and there is a need to implement measures as a matter of urgency to protect public health and safety and therefore we unable to adhere to these timescales.  

“The scheme will now be implemented from the week commencing,” he said.  

The council is bringing in a host of emergency measures across the borough in a bid to make Lewisham more social distancing friendly, and to encourage cycling and walking.

Let us know what you think of the plans: