Forest Radio logo small

Twitter: @forestradioE17

Mini Holland versus common sense ~ Nick Ferrari on LBC, 9th April 2021

Nick Ferrari asks for phone-in comments on a report that Harrow Council has become the first borough council in England to withdraw plans for road closures following public pressure and recommendations from its traffic panel. More than 2,000 people signed an online petition against the plans in Stanmore, suggesting that closing key roads would “funnel traffic through the Broadway”.

The conversation moves on to the massive unpopularity of these so-called Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) including Waltham Forest's "Mini Holland" scheme (which is ridiculed) and the cynical way in which councils manipulate "public consultations" to obtain the answers they want. The controversial Mini Holland scheme was introduced in 2015 to block off many roads in Walthamstow Village and surrounding area with the stated aim of encouraging more people in the area to start cycling and to make the road safer for cycle users. Waltham Forest was a major borough that fitted the criteria set out by the GLA to make it eligible to bid for funding under the 'Mini Hollands' scheme (later re-branded "Liveable Neighbourhoods"), and won the award of up to £30 million towards implementing the changes.

With that kind of money on the table the Waltham Forest Council was, shall we say, keen to present a favourable image of the scheme to the press and its electorate. Consultation forms were worded in such a way that any box people ticked could be and was interpreted as expressing approval of the scheme. And let's face it, Waltham Forest is a borough in which rejection of a planning application as a result of public pressure is virtually unknown. The scheme went ahead, and spread to almost the whole of the borough, until, to the council's amazement, it was discovered that closing practically all the minor roads made the couple of remaining main ones greatly more congested and polluted. Who would have thought it? In the meantime the general principles behind the scheme had spread to other London boroughs and beyond, and only now, it would seem, are people beginning to realise that the situation is a little more complex than they thought, and roads are needed for fire, ambulance and police movements as well as deliveries and lorries that empty the bins, not just for private car owners out for a jaunt sounding their horns in the spirit of Toad of Toad Hall.

We think you'll find the discussion on the Nick Ferrari Show extremely entertaining if rather sad. Where is the pleasure in telling them "We told you so" after the £30 million has been spent?

Back to The title page for Programme 24

Subscribe to our mailing list

Guestbookguestbook icon