Exemptions introduced to enhance West Hill traffic scheme

Published: Wednesday, February 2, 2022

A traffic reduction scheme which has proved highly successful in diverting vehicles away from residential areas in West Hill is to be refined to make it even more resident-friendly, it has been agreed.

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Prominent no left turn signs on approach to the junction with Withycombe Road - local residents are now eligible for an exemption to this restriction

The West Hill traffic management scheme, which has been in place since March 2019, prohibits vehicles turning left from Wimbledon Parkside at Tibbet’s Corner into Withycombe Road and Inner Park Road during the early morning rush hour.

Studies have shown that these measures have led to a drastic reduction in through traffic accessing these residential areas – which also includes four primary schools and one secondary. Traffic levels have fallen by as much as 40 per cent as a result of the council’s initiative, which was strongly backed by local residents in public consultations prior to their implementation.

But in a bid to make the scheme more friendly and convenient for local residents, businesses and people with genuine reasons to access this area, a series of exemptions will now apply – which have been backed by further public consultation. The consultation generated just under 650 responses, with 91 per cent in favour of these changes.

Using the technological advances offered by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, people can now qualify for exemptions from the scheme. This includes:

• Local residents living within West Hill ward.
• School teachers employed by schools in the ward.
• Children with special needs attending school in the ward.
• Staff for rateable businesses within the ward.

These groups can apply for an exemption by registering their vehicles on the council’s website which should be available from the end of this month, with the scheme due to go live next month. Letters outlining the changes and detailing how to apply for an exemption will be delivered to all West Hill ward residents and eligible businesses towards the end of February.

These immunities will not apply however to visitors, traders, delivery vehicles or parents dropping their children off at school.

The council’s transport spokesman Cllr John Locker said: “This scheme has delivered really positive results for local people and ensured their streets are cleaner quieter and safer than before these changes were introduced.

“But we think there are ways it can be improved further and having conducted fresh rounds of public consultation with local people, we are now in a position to enhance the scheme and make it simpler and easier for those who live or work in the neighbourhood to access these streets in the morning rush hour.”

The measures prohibit drivers turning left into Withycombe Road and the northern stretch of Inner Park Road between 7am and 10am on weekdays. A similar left turn ban operates between 7am and 9am on the southern arm of Inner Park Road. Vehicles that ignore these restrictions are subject to a penalty charge notice.