Why is Havering being let down on travel? From the long promised improvements to Gallows Corner to improved access for the borough’s cyclists, the people of Havering keep missing out. Is this because it is impossible for local authorities hard hit in a time of austerity and coronavirus to fight for the improvements they need? Should we cut the Conservative led council in Havering some slack, and not criticise them for not being able to make two plus two equal twenty?
Well no, you don’t have to look far to see where improvements are taking place. In fact, you don’t have to look any further than Redbridge. In Redbridge, Redbridge Council has been successful in securing funding from TfL and the Department for Transport for a series of ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ which we are calling Quiet Streets.
The idea of ‘Quiet Streets’ is to create quieter, greener, slower and safer streets for our local residents to enjoy. This will include measures to stop rat running, speeding and unnecessary through traffic. Essentially, we want to help create local streets for local people and create the atmosphere where children can play in the street, without fear of an accident. The atmosphere we want to create is one that will encourage our residents to walk and cycle more. A shift to active travel and turning 10-minute car journeys into ones on foot, will drastically improve the health of our residents and reduce our levels of diabetes and other cardiovascular disease.
This is a council that has been able to argue for and receive £500,000 pounds of investment. This is what politics should look like. So why is Havering being left behind when it comes to transport. It is not only me that has started to notice. This week I joined hundreds of others this Saturday, August 22, to support those groups under the banner of ‘Let Havering Cycle’ continue their campaign for better cycling networks in the borough. These groups are not asking for special favours, or handouts. They are asking for Havering to get its fair share. asking the council to implement some of the measures provided within TfL’s Streetspace for London plan, such as pop-up cycle lanes and the widening of school’s streets and pavements. They are asking the council and the London assembly member to be practical not political.
I know what a borough that works with TFL rather than against it can achieve, after all I am a councillor in one. Why should residents in Havering have to suffer continually losing out? Why are they seemingly always an afterthought when it comes to funding? The truth is that they shouldn’t, and If I win in May they will not have to. The days of petty politicking will be gone. It will be results not rhetoric first. As I always say if you do not see a change away from despair to delivery in four years if I win, then get rid of me at the next London Assembly elections. We have seen what continuity in Havering looks like, it looks like losing out.
Councillor Judith Garfield MBE
Labour Candidate for Havering and Redbridge London Assembly