In response to a number of queries we directed to the Council, challenging the legality of the rights-of-way closures associated with the KALC works, we finally received the following response from James McCool, a Traffic Planner at RBKC:
“There is not currently a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order in place to permit the closure of the north south route across the KALC site. Such an order will be in place from 1 February 2013 to July 30th 2014. Similar orders to temporarily close Station Walk and the east west route to the south of the leisure centre will become effective on 1 February 2013.
Following the construction works, we believe that pedestrian linkages across the site will be greatly enhanced.
The Council is currently investigating how a pedestrian link could be provided to the west of the Academy building on the current alignment of Station Walk. “
Some of the implications of McCool’s response are clear enough, but others are less so.
It is clear, for instance, that the closure of the north/south right-of–way was illegal and should not have happened without the correct permissions having first been procured, and the proper legal procedures having been followed. Needless to say that despite our demands that it should be reopened immediately, there are no indications that the Council, or its contractors, have any intention of restoring our right–of-way through the heart of the site, despite the statement from Mr McCool indicating that the closure was illegal.
The McCool email is also unclear as to whether the Temporary Traffic Regulation Order for the north/south right-of-way has been sought from, and will be issued by, the Secretary Of State, as our independent advice indicates it should be, and it makes no reference to the provision of adequate notice, and no mention of a right–to-reply, for the local community. These details will have to be further queried with Mr McCool – and we fully intend to do just that.
There are also worrying references to the imminent closure of the two other rights-of-way, especially the one along Station Walk. McCool’s email refers to a “similar order” applying to Station Walk. Does this imply that the temporary closure of Station Walk may well be long-term, like the north/south closure? If this is so then what happened to the short-term closure(s) previously indicated in the rather pompous (and we now know erroneous) formal notice signed in December by Councillors Blakeman and Coleridge?
Blakeman and Coleridge assured us that that it was now Council policy for Station Walk to remain open “in perpetuity”, but McCool has cast considerable doubt on this promise by revealing that the Council are still “investigating how a pedestrian link could be provided to the west of the Academy building on the current alignment of Station Walk”.
This seems to imply that the logistics have not yet been resolved and that the promise to keep Station Walk open may be premature at best, and possibly worthless.
Someone in authority needs to sort this mess out – sooner rather than later – and communicate the facts clearly and unambiguously to the Lancaster West community.
The way the Council and its quislings have dealt with this so far has been contemptuous and disdainful of the local community – and grossly incompetent to boot.