Lewisham Council is “carefully considering” resident-led proposals for a low traffic neighbourhood in Hither Green. 

Lewisham Council implemented the first of its LTNs, Lee Green, in late June – it involves physical barriers and camera-enforced barriers to stop motor vehicles coming through. 

LTNs aim to reduce car usage, with many being introduced across London under emergency measures to help social distancing and encourage more active travel in the wake of the pandemic. 

The Lee Green LTN has been divisive – while supporters praise the drop in rat-running and safer streets, areas outside the LTN, particularly west of the station in Hither Green, have experienced spikes in traffic.  

See related: Residents speak out about Lee Green LTN

Some want the road closures completely reversed, while others, such as the recently formed Hither Green West Group, want them extended to other areas.  

The resident-led group, which “fully supports the council’s drive to develop quieter, safer residential streets and the promotion of active travel”, is lobbying the council to implement a Hither Green West LTN.  

News Shopper:

Residents meet with Cllr Codd

They met with Lewisham Central Ward Councillor on August 27 to raise concerns about the increases in “heavy traffic, dangerous driving, and rat-running outside their homes”, and discussed their proposals.  

They also told Cllr Codd how they supported closing Hither Green Lane to commuter through-traffic using a bus and emergency services permeable filter. 

The group says the changes will bring about quieter and safer streets, resolve the increase in traffic in HGL and neighbouring streets, while “reuniting the divided community”.  

To date, 726 people have signed the petition asking the council take action on their proposal. 

Residents who back the proposals have expressed dismay at the spike in traffic.  

Jeff, who lives in Ardgowan Road, said: “I’m absolutely shocked at the way the traffic situation has changed since June, just overnight.  

“It was a lovely quiet, little family street, but suddenly turned into a rat run. It’s so noisy.” 

Jeff said he’s spotted people doing three point turns on the pavement after getting fed up of the long queues. 

News Shopper:

Kamere, 8, and his mum and grandma - he has asthma and is worried about the impact the increase in air pollution could have on his health

Piers Langendoen and Megan Kelly, who have a young family, moved to Springrice Road just over a year ago and said there has been “a massive increase in road traffic” which is “becoming dangerous”.   

Piers, who said their living environment has become a “nightmare”, said: “I cycle usually to central London every day.  

“During Covid, part of the reason I noticed there being a change in the road system was when I was cycling down my road [and] nearly got knocked off my bike.   

“I just questioned why there was so much traffic on our roads in the first place and that’s how I initially found out about the Lee Green scheme.” 

Megan said said her son will be headed to nursery in a few months and she would “like to know that his walk […] down Hither Green Lane is a safe one without cars and pollution.” 

The mum added that a “clearer roadmap” of future LTNs would be helpful.  

News Shopper:

Ivan Roche, co-founder of Hither Green West said: “Our residents shouldn’t be fearful of crossing Hither Green Lane, choking on pollution outside their homes and our kids unable to play outside just because Google Maps tells truckers and Kent commuters it’s two minutes faster than using the South Circular.” 

Mr Roche said the group is now waiting to hear whether the council will receive backing and funding for their plans from Transport for London and the Department for Transport. 

“Implementing our LTN proposal gives the council the opportunity to reunite Hither Green again, closing the divide they inadvertently opened up, whilst creating the largest Low Traffic Neighbourhood in London.   

“Rich or poor, black or white, whether you live in east or west Hither Green, we all deserve a cleaner, safer, quieter neighbourhood,” he said. 

Councillor Sophie McGeevor, cabinet member for environment and transport, said the council “really welcomes suggestions from our residents who want to help make our streets safer and quieter for all”.  

“Our officers are carefully considering the proposals from the Hither Green West group and are working to understand their plan’s potential impacts and viability.  

“We know that some roads have been experiencing additional traffic as the Lewisham and Lee Green Low Traffic Neighbourhood settles in.  

“We do expect this to be temporary, but officers are monitoring the sites and are assessing other possible mitigation measures if they are required. 

 “I’d like to thank Hither Green West group and other residents for continuing to engage with the council and provide their feedback, which has been invaluable to myself and officers,” she said.