Agenda item

Petition to Halt the Planned Road Works on Sutton Court Road


The Cabinet Member considered a petition to halt the planned road works on Sutton Court Road.


The lead petitioner addressed the Cabinet Member and made the following points:


There had been previous correspondence between petitioners and the Council, and there were a number of issues.


The road closure was not listed on the London Borough of Hillingdon website.


The petition was not to halt the planned road works indefinitely, but to halt them while a full consultation was carried out, as petitioners felt that there had been no adequate consultation, no survey, no check of safety regulations or of London Fire Brigade standards for width of road.


The lead petitioner’s previous petition was in relation to pay and display parking. This was related to when the nearby Oak Wood school opened a new entrance on Sutton Court Road and increased its capacity by 375 places. At that time there was free parking available, but this was no longer the case.


Businesses on Sutton Court Road had had no customers for the past five to six weeks since the work had begun, in part due to the road being closed.


The lead petitioner had recently conducted a funeral consultation, which was interrupted by the noise of a pneumatic drill outside.


There had been no planning, no consultation. Air quality would not be mitigated by the planting of eight trees.


Petitioners had not had answers to their questions. Petitioners were still unaware of whether there would be a disabled parking bay or loading bay.


An additional crossing was going to be installed, whereas a zebra crossing was required.


There was no adequate bin provision.


Notice of the road closure was given on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend, and the road was closed from the following Tuesday, which was less than one business day of notice.


The times for pay and display parking were unsuitable for the businesses in the area. The ‘until 09:30 loading only’ time limit was unsuitable as some shops opened at 07:30. Therefore, some customers would have nowhere to park for the first two hours of trade. Also, deliveries did not only come before 09:30.


Petitioners were struggling to pay their rent this month as they had lost so much business.


It was unclear if the shop fronts would be cleaned.


Petitioners had had nothing but hostility from Hillingdon Council. Petitioners had not been supported by their Ward Councillors. The lead petitioner had been in contact with the local MP.


The road width was now 5.2 metres. The average width of a transit van was 2.47 metres. A lot of transit vans accessed the road and they made up a lot of trade of the local businesses. A gap of 30 centimetres to the kerb was legally permitted. A fire engine required 3.7 metres clearance by law. This totalled 6.4 metres, but the road was now only 5.2 metres. The petitioner stated that the London Fire Brigade requirement of 3.7 metres was for a road, and it was 1.3 metres for a gate. The 3.7 metres requirement was in particular for buildings taller than 12 metres. There was a three-storey school at the end of the road. Fire risk was the most pressing concern.


A meeting with business owners could have ironed out concerns. A statement from another business was submitted to officers.


Officers noted that an independent road safety audit would have been completed on the scheme and would have considered access. This would be fed back to the relevant team.


The Cabinet Member had spoken to both the local Councillors and the MP, and they were in favour of the scheme. The Cabinet Member had confidence that the proper approach had been taken but was happy to ask officers to double check.


Petitioners raised a further issue around not being able to park from 09:00. It was noted that customers often arrived between 07:00 and 09:00 and had nowhere to park. If customers could not park, they would go elsewhere. Officers advised that a report on the consultation on possible parking arrangements was currently being prepared, and so a decision on the parking arrangements had not been made. Officers would confirm this and report back to the Cabinet Member. The Cabinet Member noted that often, parking restrictions would apply from 09:00 onwards, and so people would be able to park before 09:00. Petitioners would be informed when a decision on the parking arrangements had been made.


Petitioners highlighted a central island that had been implemented in Ryefield Avenue, and that this had been described as a ‘tried and tested’ type of scheme. Petitioners noted that this central island was disliked by the Ryefield Avenue shopkeepers, and that on inspection, plastic pipes from the central island were broken or missing. The new design would make it difficult for deliveries to unload. The current space between the bakery and library most suitable for unloading, as lorries unloading in front of the shops would block the road. A dedicated loading space was essential for many of the businesses in this parade. A meeting prior to the road works being undertaken could have alleviated stress. The Cabinet Member noted that the parking/ loading measures could be looked into.


Petitioners further questioned why these road works were necessary. The issue of double parking could have been alleviated without the need for a central island.


Petitioners also questioned the cost of these road works, given the loss of business that had occurred for the shopkeepers, some of whom were now struggling with their rent. Petitioners further questioned the consultation.


Another business owner noted that they had opened their business during lockdown but were experiencing worse financial trouble during the past six weeks and had had to let go of two employees. The Cabinet Member advised that it may be possible to apply for temporary discretionary rate relief.


That the Cabinet Member for Property, Highways and Transport:


1)    Met with petitioners and listened to their request for the Council to halt the planned road works in Sutton Court Road, Uxbridge, referring to his previous email exchanges with the lead petitioner;


2)    Noted that a separate report will be produced concerning the outcome of the recent consultation on the ‘Stop and Shop’ scheme; and


3)    Asked officers to review the situation with the central island and parking measures.


Supporting documents: