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LEYTONSTONE – BUSINESS LOW EMISSIONS NEIGHBOURHOOD (BLEN)

SCHEME OVERVIEW
The Leytonstone BLEN is focused on the main commercial/ retail town centre area located along Church Lane, High Road Leytonstone and Kirkdale Road. The project aims to reduce exposure to road transport generated pollutants and improve overall air quality through a range of active and sustainable travel infrastructure improvements, traffic management measures that prioritise low and zero emissions transport options, behaviour change initiatives, and increased green infrastructure.

More specifically the objectives are to:
• Reduce emissions from motorised vehicles, leading to improved air quality and public health
• Increase levels of walking and cycling within and around the area
• Increase bus patronage and reliability
• Reduce road traffic collisions and casualties
• Improve the quality and resilience of the public realm
• Increased uptake and vehicle km for low and zero emissions vehicles
• Facilitate more efficient utilisation of kerbside space, with priority on low and zero emission vehicles
• Reduce motorised traffic within the project area while mitigating any impacts on the surrounding roads/ areas.

SCHEME PROPOSALS
Click this link to view the BLEN-Leytonstone-Initial Bid Masterplan (subject to change)
The Leytonstone BLEN will focus on the following proposals:

  1. Key active travel infrastructure and public realm enhancements including:
    a. Extension of the existing Gainsborough Road/ Grove Green Road cycle tracks towards the Green Man roundabout to provide connectivity with current cycle infrastructure in High Road Leytonstone and support journeys to the town centre by bike.
    b. Creation of Green Links between the Town Centre and Wanstead Flats to make routes to and from the town centre, from adjacent residential areas, more attractive for walking and cycling.
  2. Intensification of green infrastructure within the BLEN area including Micro-Parklets to re-purpose the kerbside, removing visitor parking capacity while incorporating green infrastructure and features that will encourage visitors to stay longer, supporting local businesses.
  3. Kerbside activity and servicing study to understand current kerbside use and utilisation, and business servicing activities and requirements. This will include meeting a sample of businesses in the area to discuss their current servicing patterns and requirements in addition to kerbside data collection. This study will be used to inform a number of the other proposals set out in the original bid, and aid in the development of further ideas to minimise vehicle based servicing activity and encourage low emissions alternatives where possible.
  4. Investigation and scoping study for an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) restriction zone and ULEV priority parking controls in the town centre area. A ULEV restriction zone could make significant improvement regarding motorised vehicle trips and distance driven in the area.
  5. Increased cycle parking provision within the town centre area through additional on-street visitor parking – with emphasis on providing parking solutions on-carriageway to minimise impact on pedestrians and reduce on-street car parking capacity.

SCHEME PROGRESS
Since early 2020 we have been developing all the above elements of the scheme, which should be delivered by late 2022. Please find more information below:

Micro-Parklets
In late 2020 we started introducing lower scale interventions in Church Lane, which includes the installation of new Micro-Parklets and also replacement of the red and white barriers with more aesthetically pleasing items of street furniture (granite boulders, cycle stands, oil drums with trees and planters). We are currently looking at installing Micro-Parklets in various other areas in High Road Leytonstone.

Green Links
In October 2021, the project team met with the local community in a series of two online Teams meetings to help develop the existing Preliminary Design; and to collaborate on planting specifications and future maintenance.

Green Links-Statutory Consultation
In November 2021, the project team arranged two “Green Walks” with the local community to help understand local concerns and aspirations; and to assist with further development of the scheme.
Waltham Forest Council and What If architects have now completed the detailed design stage for the Green Links schemes, which can be accessed by clicking this link Green Links-Detailed Design.

Following recent scheme development and community engagement, Waltham Forest Council has now completed the Statutory Consultation stage for the Green Links schemes. Overall, feedback was largely positive. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond, and who participated in the previous meetings and site walks.

The Green Links schemes will now progress to the construction phase, with the highway works starting in early March 2022. Construction will take place in phases, with multiple sites being built at the same time. The landscaping and planting phases will follow and take place at various times according to the type of species being planted and their associated planting season.

Further construction information will be posted to all properties in the near vicinity of the construction work prior to commencement.

High Road Leytonstone Cycleway Improvements
As part of the BLEN scheme, we are proposing to introduce improved cycle infrastructure on High Road Leytonstone between Gainsborough Road and Bush Road. This will provide a better link from the town centre to Bush Road and the existing off-road walking and cycling network at the Green Man roundabout, in turn providing better access to Whipps Cross and Redbridge for people cycling.

We have identified a number of improvements that need to take place along the cycle route to address key issues and barriers and ensure it is as safe, accessible and continuous as possible. These include junction improvements, sections of segregated cycle track and public space improvements.

As improvements are only being planned at a number of specific locations along the route we are engaging with local residents and businesses closest to each of the proposals rather than on the route as a whole. This ensures that we are getting any feedback from those who are most directly affected by each of the proposals. The scheme will aim to implement the improvements shown on the map in this link.

Statutory consultation: The scheme will now progress to the Statutory Consultation stage and we would like to receive your feedback on the scheme Statutory Consultation will start on 24 February 2022 and will be open for comments for three weeks until 17 March 2022.

If you would like to send any comments, please email the Enjoy Waltham Forest Team quoting “BLEN-Cycleways” in the subject line of the email; and send it to the email address below before 17 March 2022.

What happens next: Following Statutory Consultation, we will analyse the responses and include suggestions if feasible. We will then aim to commence construction in early 2022 and we will notify all addresses in the vicinity of the construction works before it starts.

GET IN TOUCH
If you have any questions relating to Enjoy Waltham Forest, do get in touch.
Email – enjoy@walthamforest.gov.uk
Write to – Enjoy Waltham Forest Team, Waltham Forest Council, Low Hall Argall Avenue, London, E10 7AS
Phone – 020 8496 3000. Monday to Friday 9am–5pm