Decision details

Kingsbere Rd Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO)

Decision Maker: Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and Transport

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

To determine the outcome of the experimental road closure in Kingsbere Rd.

Decision:

To revoke and remove the current Experimental Traffic Regulation Order in Kingsbere Road.

Reasons for the decision:

Decisions regarding Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) including Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs) are delegated to the Portfolio Holder.  An ETRO can run up to a maximum of 18 months and therefore a decision is required in regard to the future regulation of traffic in this area.

The Portfolio Holder has considered the results of consultation to date, the evidence he has received relating to operation of the closure and the wider implications for the traffic network, the national and local transport policy, and has had regard to the views of the local Ward Councillors and the advice given by Officers. On balance the Portfolio Holder has decided that the experimental closure of Kingsbere Rd should be revoked and removed and has set out his reasoning below. 

In taking this decision regard has been had to the Council’s duty under Section 122 parts 1) and 2) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

Portfolio Holders stated rationale:

My starting point on decisions like this is to support the view of the relevant Ward Councillors. I then consider the benefits and disbenefits to see whether, on balance, there are sufficient reasons to take a different approach.

In this case, the two Ward Councillors have expressed opposing views on whether to make the closure permanent or remove the measure: Cllr Rice wanting it made permanent and Cllr Miles wanting it removed.  Accordingly, I have made an assessment which is that the benefits of closure do not outweigh the disbenefits. I have therefore decided to revoke and remove the measure.

In coming to that conclusion, I have considered all the representations received during the consultation. The main factors I considered (although other factors were not ignored) are:

The measure does create a quiet route with low motor traffic; however, many residents report that the measure displaces traffic onto the alternative routes.  Logically, it appears to me that if the same journeys are made by motor vehicles locally, then those vehicles are likely to have to travel slightly further and this may generate additional traffic, congestion, noise and pollution on the alternative routes that may be greater than the reduced traffic benefit on Kingsbere Rd itself.  It is true that over time the measure might foster more travel by sustainable modes and that would be a positive outcome.  However, during the trial there was no direct evidence of that occurring and even if that did begin to increase over time, my view is that any increase is more likely to be fairly marginal and would not outweigh the disbenefits caused by the local displacement of traffic.

I have carefully considered the responses of the public to the consultation and note that overall there were more responses from the local area against the proposal than for it.  Although the residents in Kingsbere Road itself are on balance in favour of the measure, far more residents on surrounding roads do not want the measure to be retained and I have placed significant weight on this, whilst keeping in mind that the Ward Councillors held opposing views on this matter. 

Whilst this measure does help create a quiet route on Kingsbere Rd itself, and this does in that sense align with wider transport policy, the specific route is not identified as being a key part of any current strategy.  It is a secondary route on the LCWIP (Local Cycling and Walking Implementation Plan) however because motor traffic flow was low, before the introduction of the measure, it is not fundamental in regard to making the route a satisfactory secondary route.  In that context, whilst the lower motor traffic on this route may help promote active travel, it is also possible that increased traffic on alternative routes might also have the opposite impact. 

I am concerned too that while the delays caused are small, the effect of the closure does seem to have increased bus journey route lengths and times. Longer journey times are well known to disincentivise people from using buses; and changes which have this effect are not aligned with the Council’s commitment to make bus travel a more attractive option.

I am mindful that whilst transport policy is an important consideration, the Council also has a policy objective to consider the views of individuals in the communities that are effected by any proposals.

In addition, certain groups with protected characteristics, including the elderly, females and disabled people appeared, on balance to be adversely impacted by this measure.

I therefore believe that the short and possible long-term benefits of this closure do not outweigh the disbenefits and my decision is therefore to revoke and remove the experimental measure.

I also note that the ETRO closure in Kingsbere Road was introduced as an attempt to counter some of the traffic displacement caused by the Darby’s Lane closure into minor residential roads. The public were also strongly against making the Darby’s Lane measure permanent.  In that case, however, the measure did directly lie on a route that is identified as a sustainable travel corridor under the LCWIP and is also a route that the Council currently has significant funding to improve and incorporate as part of a wider plan under the Transforming Cities funded programme (TCF).  In my judgement, that objective and programme is not compromised by a decision to re-open Kingsbere Rd in line with the consultation outcome.

Publication date: 27/07/2022

Date of decision: 27/07/2022

Accompanying Documents: