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Newham Council halt plans to close East Ham rat run

PUBLISHED: 17:05 29 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:03 30 July 2019

Neighbours urged Newham Council not to 'burn bridges' after the local authority restricted access to Browning Road bridge in East Ham. Picture: Jon King

Neighbours urged Newham Council not to 'burn bridges' after the local authority restricted access to Browning Road bridge in East Ham. Picture: Jon King

Archant

Neighbours who urged the council not to "burn bridges" after it closed a rat run without consulting them are celebrating after the decision was halted.

The protesters numbered about 80 who have slammed the council for not consulting them. Picture: Jon KingThe protesters numbered about 80 who have slammed the council for not consulting them. Picture: Jon King

About 80 people protested on Monday, July 29 after Newham Council barred drivers using the Browning Road railway bridge in East Ham unless their vehicle is registered to an address in one of 18 listed roads.

The ban followed complaints people were using the route as a short cut from Romford Road to High Street North.

Tahir Mirza, speaking after the protest where neighbours shouted "Don't burn bridges", said: "It is people power which has forced them to take a step back for the time being. Residents can turn things around if they are united."

Residents in two nearby parking zones had slammed the local authority for not consulting them, calling for an end to the restriction. People living in other parking zones had been consulted.

Only 18 roads can now access Browning Road railway bridge. But campaigners claimed it was a money making scheme after the council placed the sign warning motorists where people can only see it if they've already crossed. Picture: Jon KingOnly 18 roads can now access Browning Road railway bridge. But campaigners claimed it was a money making scheme after the council placed the sign warning motorists where people can only see it if they've already crossed. Picture: Jon King

They feared journey times to East Ham and beyond would increase, with traffic and pollution worsening where they live as motorists use their streets as rat runs.

A council spokeswoman confirmed that the scheme's implementation would be paused.

She said: "After listening to residents, Newham Council has suspended a proposed traffic management experiment in Browning Road pending further analysis and will undertake a wider consultation exercise with all those affected.

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"Signs erected over the weekend, warning drivers of the Browning Road closure, will be removed.

"The council will work with councillors in the neighbouring wards and engage with residents in the wider area on the details of any revised scheme."

Resident Shaeda Begum, speaking during the protest, said: "We had no say. We want a fair and just [traffic management] system."

Mohammed Khan added: "They are dividing the community. What kind of treatment is this?"

Bushbar Bala warned the restrictions would have made the school run chaos.

And Jema Abdullah asked: "Why were we not consulted? We want answers."

The council had carried out a study before the closure which revealed that more than 80per cent of vehicles travelling from Romford Road used the area as a cut through to High Street North.

Newham sent options to residents, whose responses led to the Browning Road bridge ban.

The council issued 3,143 consultation packs before the closure. Of the 153 comments returned, 98 called for vehicles to be banned or their numbers cut.

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