Prior to the full council meeting on Thursday 22nd October, a noisy protest was attended by around 500 people (note this is from our count – the Met Police estimate was 150 – 200 **) most of whom were unhappy with some or all of the Mini Holland proposals. Placards were waved and speeches made. The ‘We Support Mini Holland’ organisers had previously encouraged supporters to stay away in order to reduce the risk of unhelpful conflict being recorded by cameras filming for a programme called “Britain see red”, so pro Mini Holland attendance was low.
Inside the Town Hall a Conservative motion attacking the council’s Mini Holland and the 20mph programmes, plus a Labour amendment, was debated by Waltham Forest’s full council for nearly two and a half hours. 10 local residents spoke, half in favour and half against, and Conservative councillors expressed considerable opposition.
Many Labour councillors and cabinet members made a strong case for the programme to continue, and made it clear they were not going to back down as they wanted to leave a positive legacy for local people.
So Mini Holland and the 20 mph programme survived, albeit with a sensible decision to make a few tweaks and put some additional emphasis on engagement and consultation via the following wording:
“Council therefore calls upon the portfolio holder and his officers to:
- Continue to build upon and develop the engagement and consultation methodology with residents, businesses and the emergency services around the delivery and implementation of individual Mini-Holland schemes.
- Recognising concerns raised; to prepare a new bespoke strategy for improving the engagement and consultation further with those residents with mobility needs and visual impairments and those who provide services to them around the individual schemes and the opportunities of Mini- Holland.
- Continue to consult and roll out the Council Borough wide 20mph policy as adopted by Full Council in April 2012
- Continue to prepare Equality Impact Assessments for each scheme and recognise that repeated research shows that if you prioritise the highways space and improve the infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians then more incl. those from disadvantaged groups will use these modes of transport.
- To measure air quality through a combination of qualitative and quantitative research throughout the programme lifecycle and beyond including the placing of an additional 18 nitrogen dioxide monitoring tubes in locations across the borough.
- To work with the TfL Health team to develop monitoring frameworks for a number of indicators by which the success of the project will be measured including air quality implications.”
**Two Mini-Holland supporters counted on the night and estimated a turnout of 500. A figure of 150 – 200 was provided by the Metropolitan police following an FoI Request Ref: 2015110000265.