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Wharfdale Road will definitely be in the 20mph zone

May 27, 2010

In mid March we reported that Wharfdale Road would be included in a pioneering Borough-wide programme to establish 20MPH zones on all roads and streets – with the exception of a small number of main highways. But last week, it transpired that Council officers had secretly reversed that decision and not told anyone.

In September, the West Area Committee voted to include Wharfdale Road in the list of roads. The Borough’s Highays officers had originally proposed a list of roads that did not include Wharfedale. The West Area Councillors voted unanimously to add Wharfdale Road. The Council published statutory notices which confirmed the decision.

Last week, Wharfdale Road resident John Ashwell got a letter saying that signs and notices were to be put-up in June. Just to be sure, he called the named Council officer and was astonished to be told “this was a mistake” and Wharfdale Road was not in the scheme.

He told Cllr Paul Convery who undertook a quick enquiry which revealled what he called an “outrageous push-back by the officers” who claimed that Councillors had merely ‘recommended’ Wharfdale Road be included in the zone. Someone decided to consult with the police who opposed; Someone then dropped Wharfdale from the scheme. And they did not bother to tell a single elected Councillor representing the area.

So, on Monday night at the West Area Committee, Cllr Paul Smith gave a categoric assurance that the scheme would include Wharfdale Road.

As Rupert Perry, the new chair of West Area Committee remarked “Paul Smith is not just a Councillor on West Area (representing Holloway Ward), he is the Executive member responsible for all highways matters. He says Wharfdale Road is now taken care of.”

“It now seems clear that the previous Lib Dem Council leadership give their assent to Wharfdale Road being excluded from the 20MPH scheme despite the unanimous decision of West Area committee. The new Council Leadership team has made sure that this decision will be honoured and Wharfdale Road will be in the 20MPH zone. There are some administrative and technical details that will take up to 8 weeks to implement and then Wharfdale Road will be included in the scheme.”

Paul Convery adds there is a moral in the story: “With a Labour administration now in charge of the Council, a dodgy decision by Council officers got overturned in just 2 working days.”

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