More than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for several recently implemented road closures in Harrow to be reversed.

The petition, launched by Atish Anand on, criticises Harrow Council’s decision to create low-traffic neighbourhoods as part of its ‘Streetspace’ programme.

As part of the new measures, street planters have been installed to prevent cars travelling down certain roads which, the petitioners argue, has created major traffic issues elsewhere.

In the petition, Mr Anand suggests the low-traffic neighbourhoods are causing “distress and anxiety” for many and are “creating far more problems than they could ever hope to resolve”.

These, he explains, include congestion as drivers look for alternative routes, delays to emergency services, reduced parking options, and increased pollution.

He suggests this is having a wider negative effect on society, with businesses suffering and home deliveries – something viewed as particularly vital during the Covid-19 pandemic – being disrupted.

And he believes any increase in the number of pedestrians and cyclists using these routes – one of the key aims of the schemes – is yet to be realised.

The petition states: “Whilst it is widely appreciated that there is a need to consider lower traffic, less pollution, safer cycle networks and quieter streets, this is obviously not the way to do it.

“Other alternatives such 20 mph zones, APNR (automatic number-plate recognition) cameras, making certain roads one-way, staggered bocks and give-ways – could all be more widely acceptable and less disruptive.”

The council introduced the Streetspace programme, using from funding from Transport for London, as part of its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

It is intended to promote social distancing, improve health and reduce reliance on public transport by encouraging cycling and walking.

In a newsletter sent out on Tuesday (October 20), Harrow Council leader Cllr Graham Henson called for patience when it comes to seeing the outcome of these measures, and he noted they will be reviewed after a six-month trial period.

He said: “We have a real chance to help pedestrians and those on cycles or scooters keep apart, while encouraging people to use alternatives to public transport and their own cars.

“We understand there have been some frustrations and increased traffic issues over the past few weeks since the low-traffic neighbourhoods were implemented.

“From talking to some of my fellow leaders in London who have implemented low-traffic neighbourhoods previously, this does settle within a few weeks and then we can start to enjoy the benefits.”

At a council traffic and road safety advisory panel meeting earlier this month, environmental campaigners gave their support to the Streetspace schemes – including low-traffic neighbourhoods – but called for more measures to support cyclists and pedestrians.

Emma Bradley, who has campaigned for a low-traffic neighbourhoods in Headstone South, said the council must revamp its communications and engagement with residents when it comes to having fewer cars on the roads.

She suggested it should be made clear that, while one of the results of implementing low-traffic neighbourhoods is traffic disruption, this is an issue that is “likely to self-resolve in the medium to long term”.