Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Unite the Commons - Dr Johnson Avenue

So sadly, but not too surprisingly, the proposed trial to see if Dr Johnson Avenue could be converted into a path and unite two sections of Tooting Commons has been blocked.

At this point in time, I think it's too soon to see a report on the views. What seems clear to me, is that the consultation has been morphed into a 'referendum'. This poses significant questions with regards to local governance. When listening to the views of local residents, where those views may conflict with evidence based views of engineers a balanced judgement needs to be made.

Both parties representing us at Wandsworth Council approved the paper giving the go-ahead for the trial to be consulted upon. Yet, once that was done, the local Labour group ramped up fears about traffic gridlock.

The discussion locally became one about traffic and almost completely ignored the purpose which was to see if we could unite the two sections of Tooting Common. Those opposed seemed to have the benefit of 20/20 vision of the future as to how the proposed trial would work out. Suddenly everyone seemed to be a traffic engineer and had the ability to do the work for which the council employs staff.

With the by-election now taking place in Tooting, some have suggested that the wider political climate has made this all too contentious to challenge the strongly held beliefs through a trial.

The local Labour group have stated their alleged commitment to the principle of trials. Yet, not in this place. Without them specifying where, when or how they would support a trial happening creating safer streets in and around Tooting will take a while longer yet.

If you'd like to get involved, do drop me a line, or join the Lib Dems. It's only by working together that we can really make a difference in our community. The local team is growing. If you join us, we can make a real difference, together.