Borough councils across London are said to be furious after Transport for London (TfL) cut funding intended to maintain and improve borough streets, including Enfield’s Mini Holland grant.
This report in December describes councillors’ reactions to cuts in Local Implementation Plan (LIP) funding. According to Julian Bell of Ealing Council:
“The in-year cuts to funding in this financial year (2016/17) are completely unacceptable. Boroughs have developed their programmes in consultation with TfL on the understanding that the funding for 2017/18 was confirmed. Likewise boroughs have just submitted their plans for 2018/19 which now prove to have been a waste of time and resource, as the interim year settlement for 2018/19, the remaining year before the boroughs start to deliver the Mayor’s new transport strategy in earnest, has also changed and is the year with the most severe cuts.”
This is followed by apparently angry remarks from seven other boroughs, including Enfield’s Cabinet Member for Environment Cllr Daniel Anderson, who described the move as a “kick in the teeth”. Waltham Forest’s Cllr Clyde Loakes does not hold back: “Timing is the main issue… we have started progressing schemes on this – a matter of weeks ago we were signing off – I am shocked – you have hung us out to dry.”
The agreed funds for 2018/19 are cut by at least 22%, according to the report, a financial year when Enfield is planning to complete the Hertford Road (A1010 South) scheme, and deliver ‘Quieter Neighbourhoods’. Worryingly, Cllr Anderson is reported as saying, “delivery will be compromised”.
It’s not clear exactly what’s going on, or the full reasons behind the cuts. This article in Transportxtra pins the blame partly on the planned pedestrianisation of Oxford Street and central London cycle infrastructure, but also on central government cutting Transport for London’s £700 million-a-year grant from April. It also appears that Mini Holland boroughs will get the full grant that was promised, but over a longer time period (so will presumably lose some of its value due to inflation).
But it can’t be a good sign that two of the Mini Holland boroughs, Enfield and Waltham Forest – who are at the forefront of delivering healthy streets in line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy – are this upset and angry. Only weeks ago Enfield and Waltham Forest were praised for being practically the only councils brave enough to confront the car-dominated status quo with their transformational programmes. Surely the Mayor and TfL should offer special support to councils who have made such heroic efforts to create healthier streets, rather than reduce (or delay) their funding at short notice?
We look forward to finding out more, and we urge Enfield Council to show its determination to transform our streets nonetheless, as it continues to roll out the Cycle Enfield scheme.