Hounslow Council’s decision to make the closure of Church Street, Isleworth to motorised traffic, permanent, has been highly commended with an Urban Transport Design award.
Published: Tuesday, 12th September 2017
The closure followed a 16-month trial in which the Council took on board opposition, including issues raised by local businesses on the impact it had on trade.
With overwhelming support for the closure from residents in the road, plus strong support from several environmental charities wanting to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians using this route, the decision was taken to implement a permanent closure.
Now the Council’s transport and traffic team have been presented with the award, by the Transport Practitioners.
Judges for the award found that while the decision was “simple” it was not “easy.”
There were strong arguments amongst the local community both for and against, but judges found that on balance, the Council had made the right resolution as it “prioritised pedestrians and cyclists and the safety and quality of life for residents who live on what was described widely as a “notorious rat-run.”
The award also highlights the way the Council managed to efficiently implement a scheme that has a far greater impact then many projects in terms of achieving national, regional and local policy targets to reduce motorised traffic, encourage walking and cycling and assist in delivering ‘healthy streets’.
It was also found that the Council’s approach to resolving the issue in the best interests of both those who were for the closure and ensuring those who were against it, had their views taken into full consideration, was the right way to proceed with such an “emotive” issue.
Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said: “This was always a difficult and contentious decision. On balance, though, I believe the one we have made is right going forward in terms of improving safety and encouraging more people to walk and cycle. It is great to have this now formally recognised by experts in the field with this prestigious commendation.
“As I said at the time I would like to thank everyone, from residents and local businesses to all those in the community for or against the closure, who gave us their feedback and were involved in the trial and consultation period.
“Those against the closure can be assured that the concerns that did come up will still be looked at. The success of the scheme shows how important the role of London boroughs will be if the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s vision for a low car capital set out in his draft transport strategy is to be achieved.”
The decision to close Church Street has also been shortlisted for the Healthy Streets Proposal of the Year award 2017 which will be awarded at the end of September.