Calls to remove “failed” measures aimed at encouraging walking and cycling in Harrow were knocked back by the council.

Its Labour administration voted against a motion put forward by the borough’s Conservative group at a full council meeting yesterday (November 26), which urged it to immediately reverse contentious ‘Streetspace’ schemes.

The programme, which was implemented with around £680,000 worth of funding from Transport for London, covers new cycle lanes, road closures as part of low-traffic neighbourhoods, increased safety measures near schools and pavement-widening initiatives.

It has been met with support from groups who see it as an opportunity to improve air quality, health, and wellbeing in the borough, but aspects have been fiercely criticised by some councillors and residents.

Cllr Paul Osborn, leader of Harrow Conservatives, said the schemes have caused “chaos” on the borough’s streets and “haven’t worked” as an experiment.

He urged the council to “put politics aside”, “listen to residents”, and admit it “made a mistake” on this issue.

“There are traffic problems that need to be addressed on these roads, but these schemes are not the way to solve them,” he said.

“The time has come to reopen these roads, the time has come to tear down these barriers – we know these things aren’t popular, and the council’s own data shows why people are against them.”

He claimed traffic queues in Headstone Drive, one of the roads affected by the changes, have increased by 108 per cent, while in several other areas, they have got “substantially worse”.

Cllr Marilyn Ashton, deputy leader of Harrow Conservatives, added: “In all the years I have been involved with the council, I have never seen so many people unhappy, so many objectors and so much hurt.

“We are testing the patience of people at a time when things are hard enough.

“Nobody minds if you say ‘we got things wrong’, but it might be a case of too little, too late.”

As well as the comments from opposition councillors, a petition against the low-traffic neighbourhoods was presented at the meeting with more than 5,500 signatures.

Several members of the public also took the opportunity to quiz Cllr Varsha Parmar, who is responsible for the environment at Harrow Council, about the programme.

They outlined the negative impact on residents, noting how many feel “trapped” by the schemes, and called for greater transparency around the data attached to the new measures.

Cllr Parmar said it was important to listen to all sides of the debate, pointing out that the schemes are part of a wider push to improve the borough’s environment.

“It is worth remembering we’ve had several requests for traffic calming measures to be put in,” she said.

“These are your streets, these are our streets, and we want the best outcomes for our residents.

“Therefore, it is important to listen to all views; not just those who are loudest, but also those less vocal, so we can take a balanced approach to the best way forward.”

She was supported by Cllr Kiran Ramchandani, of Queensbury ward, who said it was important to examine the “balance” of this complex issue.

“We will work with all residents to determine, on a case-by-case basis, what should stay and what should be removed,” she said.

“That means working to hear all opinions – those in favour of the schemes, and those against.”

The council said it would continue to review each scheme on a monthly basis before publishing its findings online.