Sunday, May 22, 2011

People power wins victory on Edge Lane

Residents of Botanic Place, off Edge Lane, Kensington are celebrating upon hearing the news that their campaign to fight unsuitable traffic plans has been successful.

Proposals were to close the central reservation on Edge Lane (opposite Botanic Park) to "aid the flow of traffic heading into town". This however would have meant a very lengthy detour for residents in the 40 houses in this little cul-de-sac off the north side of Edge Lane. Householders wishing to travel into town, or onto Botanic Road or Durning Road would have been obliged to drive all the way to Laurel Road and execute a u-turn and then come back along Edge Lane (a move currently banned, but this would have been lifted if the plans went ahead), or drive in a big square via Deane Road, Kensington and Holt Road, over traffic calming and through three sets of traffic lights.

At peak times this would have meant delays of up to ten minutes on their journeys.

Residents coming home to Botanic Place from the east along Edge Lane would also have been obliged to execute a u-turn at the planned new junction at Holt Road.

The plans were first mooted about a year ago and were immediately rejected by residents. They had experienced the problems caused when the reservation was closed due to road works recently, so they knew how difficult this would be for them.

And as they made clear with their objections, they were there first! These houses have been there for nearly 100 years and residents have been coming into and out of the road, safely and without incident since there were horses, carts and trams using Edge Lane. To disrupt their lives every time they left their house, for the benefit of people who were merely passing by, was to put motorists before residents, to put cars before our duty of care.

We have already witnessed the disgraceful and shameful spectacle of people forced out of their houses on the south side of Toft Street 100 yards west of Botanic Place, under a LibDem administration. Houses compulsorily purchased and demolished, not because there was anything wrong with them, nor indeed were they actually in the way of proposed key-worker flats on this site (if they ever get built, given the Tory/LibDem Government's scrapping of HMRI). They were knocked down because LLDC (a forerunner of Liverpool Vision) felt, with the demolition of the grander houses on the front of Edge Lane exposing their rear elevations, passing motorists would not want to look at what were described as "Coronation Street" properties. Such arch snobbery was unforgiveable in my view and I objected to the CPO for Edge Lane in support of Toft Street residents but we lost that particular battle.

With that memory still searing, the Labour councillors for K&F supported the residents' campaign to have the traffic plans squashed, writing letters of objection and also inviting the project managers to meet them and hear their concerns first hand.

So we were all absolutely delighted to hear that the council had listened this time and the plans had been dropped.

One resident told Wendy and me that it was a waste of time opposing the plans, or writing a letter of objection because the little people never win against the bigger organisations, but now he knows different!

Thanks to everyone involved in the Edge Lane plans, the Labour Council, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Highways, Regeneration, 2020Liverpool and Liverpool Vision for their pragmatic decision and for listening. You have done the right thing and you have made a lot of people very happy and restored their belief in community and democracy.

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