Out consultants Urban Movement have now completed their work and submitted their final report. Based on in-depth conversations with local residents, businesses and organisations, the report sets out a community-generated ‘design charter’ of 15 elements that any scheme to reduce the impacts of traffic in Dartmouth Park will need to achieve. We are presenting our the report to Camden Council to consider as they make proposals to address the area’s traffic issues.
Following a couple of useful online meetings with Karin and Colin of Heath Hands, we agreed to meet for a walk along the fringes of The Heath abutting the DPNF area and also to look at some of the existing green corridors within our area linking the Heath, Highgate Cemetery, Holly Village, Holly lodge Estate, the Nature Reserve and Dartmouth Park reservoir.
Both groups are looking at ways of supporting each other’s work and aims, as we know that wildlife moves across boundaries and needs help from all of us to survive and thrive.
DPNF engagement and consultations over the 7 years leading up to the Plan’s acceptance, indicated that residents, businesses and visitors especially appreciate the green and semi-rural nature of much of the area and asked for this to be preserved and enhanced. This is reflected in our Plan and our Greening Group objective of involving as many people as possible within our community in this shared initiative.
Heath Hands are keen to increase links with local groups on the fringes of The Heath, to share their specialist knowledge, help create new green corridors between The Heath and residential areas, and to get more support and understanding of the work they are doing from the wider community. see link: https://www.heath-hands.org.uk/wildlifearoundheath,
We met at the Swain’s lane entrance. Jo and Rory of Heath Hands (Colin called away for a First Aid emergency) and Eileen and Catharine of the Greening Group (Kathleen detained by a work deadline)
We walked along Highgate Rd just inside the hedging, while discussing the impact on The Heath of the extra footfall during Covid. From the pavement we noted the vertical planting on the new La Swap building and the young Holly & mosaic Hedging and wildflowers and shrubs along the boundary fencing- all very positive.
Catharine mentioned the project at Parliament Hill School for pupils to plant an Orchard circle of Apple Trees surrounded by a wildflower meadow. This was facilitated by Camden Think & Do and Kentish Town Transition supported by a grant from PUNL Community Energy Fund. See the H&H for article & photos. Heath Hands are also working with William Ellis school.
Turning into Lissenden Gardens, we saw the efforts by residents to nurture various “natural areas” (plenty of bumblebees and some nesting birds) and maximise possibilities for community growing. (Grow Lissenden are very active.Two further ideas were mentioned: A) small round holes in the base of the fencing separating Parliament Hill School green space and Lissenden Gardens could allow hedgehog circulation. B) large wooden pallet style planters on the flat areas on either side of the main entry door to mansion blocks for flowers. Kira of HH has Lissenden connections. This could be explored further, once refurbishment is completed and scaffolding removed.
Before turning into Glenhurst Av (with its mix of street trees and front gardens), near where the Heath meets Mansfield Rd, we mentioned the nature reserve by the railway (an ACV) and the Murphy’s Yard redevelopment.
We noted the importance of the “Highgate Enclosures” on both sides of the main road with mature trees before turning into Woodsome Rd with some well planted up and cared for tree pits. Eileen mentioned that some sorbus had reached the end of their life span and emphasized the importance of proper watering of newly planted trees.
Moving on into York Rise and then Croftdown, we considered the water courses running under some of these streets (visible and audible through gratings) and the green areas of LSU behind Brookfield Park.
We spent some time looking at the front gardens, trees and hedging of the “Homes for Heroes” group of streets including Kingswear, Croftdown and St Alban’s. One major issue is the different approach by Camden Council in terms of maintenance of trees and hedging between social and leaseholder tenants on this estate area. This has contributed to poor maintenance of some garden trees and replacement of hedging with ugly fencing.
It would be helpful if Camden could encourage and support the reinstatement of the original hedging to improve biodiversity and restore the special nature of these streets.
In addition, we discussed the value of supporting tenants in the mansion blocks wanting to have window boxes-something suggested by a new member of the Greening Group who lives there.
We passed the Whittington Estate and noted the green corridors of planting along the tiered walkways and pointed out Ricky’s Wood That Works which now operates from the basement area looking onto the cemetery. There is also the “Secret Garden“, on the curve between Balmore & Doynton which may be used in future as an outdoor classroom for Brookfield primary .
We continued along Chester Rd and mentioned the Highgate Cemetery’s 25-year plan for improving biodiversity and dealing with ash dieback. Passing the green oasis of Holly Village, we walked back towards the Heath while considering the importance of Waterlow Park and the Holly Lodge Estate in terms of the variety of planting and trees.
It was disappointing to see that a couple of the front gardens on Swain’s Lane were now wholly given over to paved or gravel car parking. We noted a couple of newish trees by the shops and agreed that more shrubs and green screening could improve this hub.
Camden planning could also encourage several large properties (including a housing association) across from Swain’s Lane shop hub to reinstated hedging
What did we learn from our walk?
We saw that greening and green corridors can develop and spread through lots of small additions and improvements as well as larger schemes.
We noted the value of various groups, large or small working together with residents, businesses and schools and sharing information and ideas.
We agreed that it was worth developing two or three simple ideas for engaging our local community:
- Asking our DPNF residents, schools and businesses via a newsletter and website to look out for and report sightings of hedgehogs to us and Heath Hands.
- Heath Hands will provide us with simple advice on how to encourage hedgehogs into gardens and estate & school green spaces (tunnels, hedging, small holes in fencing etc) We will publicise this on our website and encourage all who can, to find out more about volunteering and supporting Heath Hands.
- Trying to encourage hedge and house sparrows with advice on planting or improving hedging and providing nesting boxes in the right places, disseminated via our website and newsletters
Note: A link to Hampstead Heath 150 years biodiversity initiative is on the Greening project page of our website: https://www.heathandhampstead.org.uk/heath/biodiversity/
I would like to record our thanks to Heath Hands for giving us their time and expertise.
Catharine Wells 26/04/2021
Design Charter and Streets for People Engagement report
May 4 2021
Our consultants Urban Movement have now completed their work and submitted their final report. Based on in-depth conversations with local residents, businesses and organisations, the report sets out a community-generated ‘design charter’ of 15 elements that any scheme to reduce the impacts of traffic in Dartmouth Park will need to achieve. We are presenting our the report to Camden Council to consider as they make proposals to address the area’s traffic issues.
DESIGN CHARTER UPDATE
Sixty-six members of the local community came together on 23 February to discuss the Draft Design Charter that has been drawn up by Urban Movement after the two Community Conversations in January (a recording of the session is below):
Earlier the same day, Urban Movement also spoke to a group of pupils at Brookfield Primary School.
They are now writing up the findings of the engagement, which we will share here soon.
A number of snap polls were taken during the session, as presented here: Polls page
Contact: Ben Castell, email@example.com
COMMUNITY CONVERSATION ON STREETS AND TRAFFIC
In January, Urban Movement hosted two Community Conversations online. These sessions were aimed at gathering local opinion on traffic and streetscape issues in Dartmouth Park, and identifying key parameters that any potential interventions for the area will need to meet to address. The sessions were well-attended and garnered interesting and passionate discussions, and Urban Movement and Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum would like to thank all who attended for their contributions. For anyone who was not able to attend the sessions, recordings of both are below:
At each session attendees were introduced to baseline data for the area, followed by a presentation around the balance of place and movement functions of streets, and were asked where they would like the streets in Dartmouth Park to be on this scale. The results of these polls are as shown below:
Following this, attendees were asked to post their questions and/or comments in the Zoom chat, which were then addressed in turn by the facilitators – with commenters being asked to further discuss their thoughts and opinions. Further conversation was also had amongst attendees in the meeting chat here:
Some key themes emerged as a result of both sessions and Urban Movement are now working on the ‘design charter’, a draft of which will be published here soon.
All attendees of both sessions as well as those who were not able to come along are invited to attend a final DRAFT Design Charter Workshop on the 23rd of February 6-8pm, where Urban Movement will be presenting the draft design charter. Attendees will have the chance to feedback on the charter and raise any points that may not have been covered already. The workshop will be hosted online via Zoom, anyone who wishes to attend can sign up here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMscuuqqjIuE9XFrCJxuZctxZNyX9b_o6zv
Some key pieces of research were mentioned in the sessions, links to which are provided below:
Information / studies on the economic impacts of providing for walking and cycling:
- The economic benefits of walking and cycling – A report outlining the impacts walking and cycling schemes can have on the economy (2019, TfL): http://content.tfl.gov.uk/walking-cycling-economic-benefits-summary-pack.pdf
- The Pedestrian Pound – A report outlining the business case for better streets and places (2018, Living Streets): https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/media/3890/pedestrian-pound-2018.pdf
- The Complete Business Case for Bike Lanes – An article reviewing 12 studies on the impact of cycle infrastructure on businesses from around the world (2015, Bloomberg): https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-13/every-study-ever-conducted-on-the-impact-converting-street-parking-into-bike-lanes-has-on-businesses
- The Economic Benefits of Sustainable Streets – A study outlining the economic benefits of streets improvements and how to evaluate them (2013, New York City Department of Transportation): http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/dot-economic-benefits-of-sustainable-streets.pdf
- The Healthy Streets: A Business View – A report surveying London’s Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to understand the importance of the Healthy Streets Approach to business performance (2019, TfL): http://content.tfl.gov.uk/healthy-streets-a-business-view.pdf
- The Cycling and the Housing Market report – A report examining the relationship between high-quality cycling infrastructure and the housing market, including new developments (2017, TfL): http://content.tfl.gov.uk/cycling-housing-market.pdf
- The Segregated Cycle Infrastructure evidence pack – A presentation compiling monitoring and evidence about the impacts and benefits of TfL’s cycling programme (TfL): http://content.tfl.gov.uk/segregated-cycling-infrastructure-evidence-pack.pdf
- Place Value Wiki – A reference site hosting a range of research evidence that links ‘quality’ and design of ‘place’ with value added in different terms (2021, UCL & Bartlett School of Planning): https://sites.google.com/view/place-value-wiki
- Commuting and Wellbeing – A study on the impact of commuting on wellbeing (2017, University of the West of England): https://www.uwe.ac.uk/research/centres-and-groups/cts/research-themes/influencing-behaviours/commuting-and-wellbeing
- The association between commuter cycling and sickness absence – A study to determine whether cycling to work has an impact on worker absence due to sickness (2010; Hendriksen et al, National Library of Medicine): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20580736/
- The Market Cycles – A report by the BCO on the impact of growth in cycling on office specification as well as occupier and investor demand (2017, The British Council of Offices): https://www.bco.org.uk/Research/Publications/The_Market_Cycles.aspx
Information / studies on the impacts of reducing / removing through-traffic:
- Disappearing traffic? The story so far – Research on traffic evaporation (2015; Cairns et al, NACTO) https://nacto.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/disappearing_traffic_cairns.pdf
- Results of a scheme to remove through-traffic on neighbourhood streets and surrounding streets (2020, Lambeth Council): https://love.lambeth.gov.uk/new-independent-analysis-shows-traffic-levels-cut-by-a-over-a-quarter-in-railton-area/
- ‘Removing through-traffic – A business perspective’ – Article examining the impact of three LTN schemes (2020, The Guardian newspaper) https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/16/i-got-it-wrong-since-the-changes-its-become-more-vibrant-life-in-an-ltn
- Pave The Way – Report outlining the impact of LTNs on disabled people, and the future of accessible Active Travel (2021, Transport for All): https://www.transportforall.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Pave-The-Way-full-report.pdf
- LTNs for all? Mapping the extent of London’s new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods – Report on the impact of LTNs in London (2020; Aldred & Verlinghier, Possible): https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d30896202a18c0001b49180/t/5fb246b254d7bd32ba4cec90/1605519046389/LTNs+for+all.pdf
- The Impact of Introducing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on Road Traffic Injuries – Research on traffic collisions in LTNs (2021; Laverty et al, Findings Press): https://findingspress.org/article/18330-the-impact-of-introducing-low-traffic-neighbourhoods-on-road-traffic-injuries
- The Street Appeal report – A study measuring the impact of improvements to the street environment in London town centres and high streets (2017, TfL): http://content.tfl.gov.uk/street-appeal.pdf
- ‘LTNs Do Not Cause Gridlock, Finds Traffic Count Analysis’ – Article outlining results of traffic count analysis before and after the introduction of LTNs (2020, Forbes) https://www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2020/11/23/ltns-do-not-cause-gridlock-finds-traffic-count-analysis/?sh=5e7cb1d72109
- ‘Low-traffic schemes benefit everyone, not just better-off’ – Article outlining the benefits of low-traffic schemes (2020, The Guardian newspaper): https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/16/claim-low-traffic-schemes-only-benefit-better-off-debunked-in-new-study
STREETS FOR PEOPLE SURVEY
Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum undertook a survey of local people and businesses to test the water on the community’s views on traffic and travel in our area.
The Government is actively encouraging local measures to reduce traffic in residential areas, including implementing ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ (LTNs), which are springing up across London. We wanted to know what our neighbours thought about the principle of an LTN and other measures in Dartmouth Park.
The survey took place over 2 weeks in late July 2020 and was completed by 401 people. We are very grateful for this amazing response.
Responses were received from a broad range of people:
- Living on 67 different streets
- 44% under the age of 50
- 45% have children under 18 in their household
Regarding issues experienced:
- 82% think there was too much traffic in Dartmouth Park before lockdown
- 70% think there was too much traffic on their street before lockdown
- At least half of respondents say that their immediate local area suffers from:
- noticeable pollution
- excessive rat-running
- excessive speeding
- 94% appreciated the fall in traffic and improved air quality during lockdown.
Regarding possible interventions, the following number show how many respondents say they are very supportive and quite supportive of each measure:
- 77% support removing obstructions from pavements for people with disabilities
- 75% support reducing through traffic
- 73% support trialling a Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme in Dartmouth Park
- 71% support cycle lanes on busy roads such as Highgate Road and Gordon House Road
- 69% support banning through traffic so long as traffic is not displaced onto other local residential streets
- 68% support restricting through traffic at peak times
- 64% support pedestrian/zebra crossings across main roads
- 62% support widening pavements where practical
- 62% support changing some streets into pedestrian areas
- 61% support play streets – temporary closure of residential streets to allow children to play
- 60% support vehicle-activated speed signs
- 55% support rephasing traffic lights to benefit pedestrians
- 54% support more cycle parking hangars
- 50% support removing pavement parking
- 47% support extending bike hire into Dartmouth Park
- 46% support more cycle paths on Hampstead Heath
- 46% support removing parking from Highgate Road to allow more space for cycling
- 45% support more one way streets
- 39% support secure parking for cargo bikes
- 39% support traffic calming such as speed humps
- 34% support more brightly lit streets
When people were asked what measures they would support to help the businesses and enable safe community interaction in our 4 local centres:
- For Swain’s Lane:
- 78% support more cycle parking
- 77% support more places to sit
- 77% support more planting and environmental improvements
- 76% support new public toilets
- 74% support closing to traffic at weekends to allow businesses to put tables and chairs in the street
- 72% support restricting traffic access to improve the environment for pedestrians and outdoor customers
- 68% support removing some parking to allow businesses to put out more tables and chairs
- For York Rise/Chetwynd Road:
- 66% support more planting and environmental improvements
- 65% support removing some parking to allow businesses to put out more tables and chairs
- 65% support closing to traffic at weekends to allow businesses to put tables and chairs in the street
- 61% support restricting traffic access to improve the environment for pedestrians and outdoor customers
- 55% support more cycle parking
- 54% support more places to sit
- For Highgate Road (around Parliament Hill Medical Centre):
- 74% support more planting and environmental improvements
- 70% support more cycle parking
- 65% support new public toilets
- 56% support more places to sit
- For Chester Road:
- 68% support more planting and environmental improvements
- 60% support more cycle parking
- 54% support more places to sit
We have shared the findings with Camden Council to enable them to decide how to respond to them.
Armed with these findings, we will campaign for measures to improve the neighbourhood for residents and businesses.
We are seeking funding to explore the issues raised in the survey with the community in more depth.