Some readers will already know that at Newham we have submitted a ‘Liveable Neighbourhoods’ bid to the Greater London Authority to create a cross-borough Liveable Neighbourhood which covers part of Forest Gate North ward, part of Cann Hall ward in Waltham Forest, and part of Stratford and Newtown ward. You can read about our initial bid on this Newham webpage here.
In brief though, a ‘liveable neighbourhood’ is the new name for a project that was initially termed ‘Mini Holland’. Not, as the first name suggests, only about cycling, the idea is that funding is available to work with local people to create a big impact over a defined area to make it a better, cleaner, and more pleasant place to walk and cycle, thereby encouraging more active travel and use of public transport, and reducing the number of car journeys. Waltham Forest has led the way in this work, using GLA funds and their own cash for far-reaching public realm projects which have delivered frankly astonishing results in terms of improvements in air quality, and even seen them, I believe, be the only London borough to see its residents walking more than before.
If we are going to address our poor air quality and do our bit to help slow down climate change, we are going to have to make some changes. Thankfully some of these changes, like this project, will also have other benefits, including increasing activity levels, improving mental health, making an area more attractive, and even potentially improving community cohesion and local relationships.
So it might sound negative to report that our joint bid to the GLA wasn’t in fact successful. But we did win funding elsewhere, for a Liveable Neighbourhood in Custom House, and our joint bid with our WF friends and colleagues received very positive feedback, and we were urged to resubmit. As part of that, we ran the consultation process again, and got even more ideas from residents about how we can improve the area that forms the bid. We are very lucky to have Walthamd Forest as our neighbours, so we can see at first hand how they have made their improvements, benefit from their experience and expertise (and some of the things they’ve learnt, which they are very open about) , and also take advantage of our shared boundary bring some of their healthy streets approach gradually down south into Newham, to a group of residents who will already be using the public spaces in Waltham Forest, and will have seen the changes and benefits first hand.
Now, regardless of the funding that may or may not come centrally, we are working with Waltham Forest on Odessa Road, a road that crosses the borough boundary, also crosses the Quietway that runs through the ward, and has two schools on or near it.
If you live within the consultation area, you will receive a leaflet and information about the proposals, all of which I’ve linked below. There is also a drop in session on the 23rd January, from 1 – 4pm, in what is rather intriguingly termed ‘our mobile engagement unit’ which will be on Odessa Road near the junction with Dean Street. (I will be there, and will report back on what this actually is!) Apologies if this daytime session isn’t convenient – I did ask but it’s not possible due to officer commitments to hold an evening session this time. You can however give your comments, thoughts and ideas, and indeed ask any questions you have by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (or email@example.com).
The proposals are detailed on the leaflets but include a 20mph speed limit, new speed bumps (and replacing those that are there), planting, and other traffic calming. I am really pleased and excited to see this work happening in my ward, and am very much in favour of all of this work.
If you’d like to respond to this stage of the consultation (which is itself building on the previous two consultations as part of our Liveable Neighbourhood bid) then I would encourage you to do so.