Controversial road closures and pop-up cycle lanes in Harrow will be scrapped following confirmation by senior councillors – though they stopped short of issuing an apology to residents.

Harrow Council’s cabinet yesterday (Thursday, April 29) approved the suggestion from its traffic and road safety advisory panel that all low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) and new cycle routes implemented last year be removed.

The schemes were introduced under the government-funded ‘Streetspace’ programme, which sought to encourage cycling and walking in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Throughout the six-month trial period, the changes have been hotly debated – while many stressed the wider, long-term benefits of traffic reduction, others criticised the way the measures were introduced and suggested they caused more problems than they sought to solve.

Harrow Conservatives accused the council’s Labour administration of failing to listen to feedback on numerous occasions, with Cllr Paul Osborn (Con, Pinner), leader of the group, suggesting it was “clear these schemes weren’t welcome in the form proposed”.

He said many residents had been left “deeply scarred” by the experience and believes the council has “suffered reputational damage” as a result.

And Cllr Osborn, alongside several of his Conservative councillor colleagues, criticised members of the cabinet for not offering up a “heartfelt apology” for their role in allowing the schemes to continue for so long.

He took it upon himself to say sorry to residents – he acknowledged there were flaws in the relationship between the Government and local authorities in terms of using this funding, but ultimately laid the blame at the feet of the administration who implemented the programme.

In response, Cllr Adam Swersky (Lab, West Harrow), accused the Conservative Group of being “disingenuous”.

He said throughout the process, the council had been clear these were trial measures which would be reviewed, and the feedback acted upon.

“We ran a full and open consultation, all councillors were engaged with residents, and we took a decision based precisely on what people have asked us to do,” he said.

Following this outcome, cycle lanes in Honeypot Lane, Uxbridge Road, and Sheepcote Road will be taken out, alongside planters blocking roads in LTNs in the Pinner View area of Headstone South, Francis Road, Greenhill, and around Vaughan Road in West Harrow.

It is anticipated the cost of removal will be £75,000 – £50,000 for the cycle lanes and £25,000 for the LTNs – which will be covered by the council’s highways maintenance budget.