June date set for local residents' legal challenge against Lambeth Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme

Image credit: Geoff Pugh - GoFundMe

A court date has been set for the start of a legal battle which will see local residents of London borough Lambeth, take on the council over the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) schemes.

OneLambeth, an apolitical group of residents, are challenging the 'low traffic neighbourhoods' (LTNs) in Lambeth. A spokesperson for the organisation said: “We came together to share our deep concerns over the way LTNs have been implemented in our Borough, particularly the undemocratic way they were imposed and the lack of meaningful consultation with those most affected by them, the apparent conflicts of interest, damage to businesses and traders, and their impact on families and schools on main roads.

“OneLambeth is a grassroots campaign, run by, with and for residents who believe that LTNs are the wrong solution to the wrong questions and that LTNs should not remain Lambeth's Tortured Neighbourhoods.”

In May 2020, Lambeth Council began closing residential roads to create Low Traffic Neighbourhoods without consulting residents. OneLambeth believe that the LTNs now divide communities throughout the borough, discriminate against the elderly and disabled, hamper emergency services, increase congestion, damage businesses and heap pollution on schools and residents near main roads.

OneLambeth rejects the council’s justification for LTNs and considers them undemocratic, discriminatory, harmful and hazardous, a spokesperson said. A court date of 10-11 June has been set where OneLambeth will hope to see the council 'held to account'.

The legal challenge will see one person stand for all residents who oppose the LTNs. This person is Miss Sofia Sheikh who lives on the edge of the Railton LTN. A covid survivor with a debilitating lung condition, Sofia’s access to hospital and the ability of carers and London ambulance service to reach her have been severely impacted by the introduction of LTNs.

On a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds for the ongoing legal battle, a spokesperson said: “As a member of a ‘protected group‘ Sofia's needs should have been considered. They were not. Cycling is not an option for Sofia, and all her journeys are adversely affected by LTNs. Sophia is supported by residents in a number of other LTNs (Oval, Ferndale, Tulse Hill and Streatham Hill) who have provided witness statements.“

So far, OneLambeth have raised £18,000 (including private donations), but have already incurred over £16,000 in costs, with more costs due imminently. The group are now calling for urgent donations to help keep the funding alive.

OneLambeth have disclosed information about where the funding will go to help proceed with the court challenge, as is detailed below:

What will happen to your donation?

“All donations go directly to frontline costs of the campaign: Court filings, legal advice, solicitors and a barrister. We are fortunate to have engaged a great legal team who are representing us at a reduced rate.

“Our campaign is entirely run by volunteers, none of whom receive compensation of any kind. As the campaign grows and the case proceeds, we urgently need additional funding to make sure we can see this through. With your help, we can win - for Sofia and for all.”

What has been paid out so far?

1. Legal advice from solicitor and barrister

2. Submission of pre-action letter to Lambeth Council

3. Advise on Lambeth Council's reply to the letter

4. Preparation of legal grounds and application to court

5. Response to Lambeth Council's defence submissions

6. Preparation and submission of witness statements to the court

7. Preparation of court documents and for 'Proceeding Hearing' 12th

8. Preparation of further witness statement from DASL (www.disabilitylambeth.org.uk)

What Happens Next?

”We'll be sharing email progress updates via this crowdfunding database (if you sign up) and keeping active on social media so you can keep in the loop. We would love to see our donors getting engaged with our work, and always welcome more people coming forward to join our network.”

Full details of the case and funding can be found at GoFundMe.

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