Camden Council have made nearly half a million pounds from unsuspecting drivers in Queen Crescent over the past 2 years.
In a Cost of Living Crisis nearly 9,000 individuals have had to pay a fine resulting from incoherent traffic restrictions in the Queen’s Crescent Area: Queen’s Crescent itself, Grafton Road and Weedington Road. How is this fair? No-one chooses to fall foul of these arbitrary restrictions.
What happens to the money that Camden takes? 8,929 people have felt the pain. For what gain?
Key dates setting out the flow of public funding towards QC public realm improvements
- 2018 — £1.1m Good Growth Funding for Public Realm improvements
- 2021— the GLA upped their grant by £800,000 to £1.9m
- 2022— the headline total to be spent on QC is increased “over the lifetime of the project” to £3m (FOI)
A July 22 paper to Cabinet sets out the differences between the current experimental traffic scheme and the permanent one which is going to be installed soon. A few comments in the report are slightly shocking because they indicate common sense:
- This change has been consulted on and proposed in response to feedback received during the trial that the extent of the pedestrian and cycle zone was making motor vehicle access difficult for businesses, such as those that sell bulk goods like Halal products, and community destinations, such as the Queen’s Crescent Community Association, Le Jardin des Dyvrande Bilingual Nursery and Ashdown Crescent sheltered housing
- Remove the motor vehicle restriction at the junction of Allcroft Road/Queen’s Crescent to improve local access and enable better vehicle circulation in the area
The Queen’s Crescent traffic scheme around Queen’s Crescent itself has gone through the following evolution:
Camden likes to focus on Active Travel e.g pedestrianisation, LTNs, School Streets, “Green Mobility Hubs” (to be funded by the latest “Levelling Up” grant), cycle-lanes and so forth. It has a financial incentive to do so because it attracts grants and because of the income from penalty charges.
But, it has not been demonstrated at all that the vitality of the Queen’s Crescent neighbourhood is improved by all the paraphernalia and instrumentalization of public space (island bus-stops, cycle-lanes, blocked streets etc) associated with the active travel agenda.
No business on Queen’s Crescent or nearby within the Queen’s Crescent traffic scheme has enjoyed a £500K spike in sales.
Material obtained via an FOI notes “Work to define the future strategy for Queen’s Crescent Market has started, but is not yet completed“.
An overall strategy for economic development is needed — a proper theory about neighbourhood business which should be supported by the massive housing schemes around Queen’s Crescent. As the monitoring document brought to light notes, uncompleted work on economic strategy is “Providing challenges to the development of the public realm design and risks not maximising economic development benefits from the funding“.
Three million pounds is a lot of money. There has been a good return to Camden Council from fines but no evidence of any return to local businesses, a key component of what’s often called a “vibrant” community.
May 2023- sign still not visible