Old Ford Road West - Public Consultation FAQs

    Why is the Old Ford Road West Consultation happening?

    The current consultation in Old Ford Road West is part of the Liveable Streets initiative which aims to improve the area for all Tower Hamlets residents by making changes to the street infrastructure. Over a 4-year period, 17 areas across the borough have been identified for the scheme.  By reallocating road space to walking and cycling, the scheme will encourage changes in travel behaviour which will help to improve people’s health and well-being.

    What’s happened so far?

    The Liveable Streets engagement programme for Old Ford Road West ran throughout March 2020. We undertook an online early engagement survey, as well as two drop-in sessions in March 2020. The results of the engagement activities are detailed in the Early Engagement Report.

    During the early engagement period, from 2 March to 29 March 2020, you gave your feedback through an online survey, interactive map and drop-in sessions. In total more than 500 comments were generated from across the interactive map and survey, and around 40 people attended the two drop-in sessions.

    Following early engagement, we then held online co-design workshops, with 44 residents across four workshops. Three of these workshops were held from the 23 July to the 29 July 2020, and an additional workshop was held on the 8 September 2020 due to demand, where the project team worked together with the community to develop the proposals. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and following government guidance at the time of planning, all workshops were held in an online format via Microsoft Teams.

    We have put together a report reflecting the feedback which you can read: Co-Design Workshop Report. Feedback from the workshops was incorporated into the final proposal options. We have also published the presentation data from the Co-Design Workshops: View the presentation.

    What is being proposed?

    A total of four of schemes have been developed to improve walking and cycling, create better public spaces, discourage through-traffic and improve air quality.

    We are proposing traffic changes and calming measures to make local streets safer for everyone. This includes crossing improvements, better street lighting, tree planting and school streets. The links to the details of each of the four schemes that are being proposed are below:

    Why are these proposals important?

    Every day thousands of vehicles are travelling through the area and not stopping. These vehicles are contributing to the already unacceptable levels of air pollution on your streets, outside your schools and around your local shops.

    These proposals are also planned to work together with the approved Bethnal Green scheme and proposed changes in the Bow Liveable Streets area.

    This scheme in the Old Ford Road West area will provide essential links by creating improved active travel routes for everyone. The Liveable Streets proposals will help improve road safety, public spaces, and air quality. However to achieve this some local residents who want to drive may have to travel longer distances.

    All properties will still be accessible by vehicle, but people will also have greater choice on how they get around by removing barriers to walking and cycling.

    How can residents and businesses be involved in the design of their local area?

    The programme is currently in the Consultation phase. Including the Consultation phase, there are three remaining phases:

    • Consultation – We request feedback on the proposed design that has been developed in conjunction with residents and businesses.
    • Detailed co-design – Some elements of the design may require further community input to shape the designs to best fit the desires of locals.
    • Implementation – If the projects are approved by the council, the design will be constructed over an agreed timescale.

    The public consultation is an opportunity for the people who live, work and go to school in the Old Ford Road West area to provide feedback on our proposals. Your views are important to us please, have your say by filling out the survey on this web page.

    If you require information in another format or have any further questions, contact us at: 

    Email: liveablestreets@towerhamlets.gov.uk
    Phone: 0203 092 0401 (weekdays, excluding public holidays, 9am - 5pm)

    Write: Liveable Streets 

    6th Floor Mulberry Place 

    PO Box 55739 

    5 Clove Crescent 

    London E14 2BG

    Can cyclists still travel through road closures?

    When people talk about the 'road closing', they mean 'closed to motorised traffic': that is all cars, vans, motorcycles, lorries etc. They are still 'open' to pedestrians and cyclists. Some closures will also allow access for emergency vehicles.

    How will timed restrictions be enforced?

    A timed road closure will be enforced by a camera system.

    What is a continuous crossing?

    A continuous crossing or footway is an uninterrupted pavement that extends across a side road. The section of footway crossing the road is at the same level as the rest of the pavement, meaning motorists and cyclists must travel up and over it - helping to keep vehicle speeds low and giving visual priority to pedestrians. It also makes crossing easier for vulnerable pedestrians and those travelling with prams, pushchairs, wheelchairs, mobility scooters or trolleys.

    Will I still be able to access my property if I have a car?

    Yes. All areas are still accessible by vehicle, however it maybe via a new route.

    How will these projects impact emergency services?

    We listen to the needs of our emergency services and as a result of feedback to date, amendments have been made to our proposals to ensure they can have access in an emergency. We will continue to engage with them as the project progresses.

    How will the outcome of road layout changes be measured?

    Following the analysis of the consultation results, should the scheme be supported, it will require approval from Cabinet to proceed.

    The Liveable Streets scheme within the Old Ford Road West area will be implemented on an Experimental Traffic Order which has a duration of 18 months. This enables the council to make changes, remove or make the scheme permanent after the scheme has been implemented.

Coronavirus Related Information

    Why is the council consulting during the Coronavirus pandemic?

    We are passionate about maintaining an ongoing and robust engagement programme at this time to move forward with the programme and to ensure the public is aware and fully informed of the Liveable Streets objectives. The programme has simultaneous benefits for the health of our residents and the sustainability of the borough in the face of both the Coronavirus pandemic and the climate emergency.

    The government has contributed a £250million emergency walking and cycling fund for local authorities to make these alternatives viable. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London have also announced plans to transform parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world.

    Why is the Liveable Streets programme important right now?

    The Liveable Streets programme is crucial to the health and wellbeing of Tower Hamlets residents now more than ever. We want to contribute to minimising the cycle of car use, exposure to air pollution and the subsequent increased risk of coronavirus. By continuing to live in air polluted areas, our residents remain vulnerable to poor health generally and especially now during the current pandemic.

    Social distancing may last for years, and public transport capacity is predicted to drop by 85-90% to curb the spread of the virus through social distancing. In response, people may opt to use private motor vehicles. As the fastest growing population in London, this would be an inefficient use of limited road space and oversubscribed car parking facilities.

    What is Streetspace?

    In line with the coronavirus response and the easing of some movement restrictions, we have seen an increase in people walking and cycling in some streets in Tower Hamlets. Crowded pavements and cycle lanes will make it difficult for people to maintain social distancing as they return to work or education. Public transport must only be used when necessary to ensure that people making essential journeys can get around as safely as possible.

    The council are working with Transport for London to identify places where temporary changes are needed to support social distancing or that would benefit from cycling and walking improvements. The changes could include but are not limited to the widening of pavements, a change to the road layout or the introduction of dedicated cycling space. For more details, visit the Streetspace for Tower Hamlets page.

    Is it okay to deliver a leaflet to my house during Coronavirus?

    We believe it is crucial, along with all Post Office and Parcelforce deliveries, that our Liveable Streets engagement material continues to be distributed to the people living within the project boundaries. Our leaflet distributors actively monitor the latest guidance from Public Health England, and we are confident in their compliance with safety measures and legislations. We were also reassured to learn Public Health England have advised there is no perceived increase in risk of contracting the coronavirus from handling post or freight.

    As postal and freight sectors are permitted to operate during the lockdown under the governments key workers stipulations, we take our responsibilities very seriously during this time. From their experience with other coronaviruses, these types of viruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters, parcels or identity documents. However, it is sensible to wash your hands thoroughly after contact with anything outside of your home and to avoid touching your face.

    With regards to the handling, printing and preparation of the materials delivered on behalf of the Liveable Streets programme, face shields with adjustable foam headbands are worn at the print and fulfilment facility, in tandem with social distancing measures on site. Latex gloves are worn while on the premises and hands are washed, in line with government guidelines, on entry and exit from the building.

    I am considered a high-risk person; do I still receive engagement material?

    We understand and respect each residential property has a unique set of wishes and requirements during the lockdown and our distributors have reiterated they will not deliver to an individual who has requested not to receive material.

    Where can I find more information?

    If you have any concerns or further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Liveable Streets team below.

    liveablestreets@towerhamlets.gov.uk  (External link)

    0203 092 0401 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)

    Liveable Streets 

    6th Floor Mulberry Place 

    PO Box 55739 

    5 Clove Crescent 

    London E14 2BG

Liveable Streets FAQs

    What are the benefits of the programme?

      • A network of pedestrian-friendly, low traffic zones connected by formal crossing points, to make walking safer, easier and more accessible.
      • A more pleasant walking environment with improved pavements, planting trees and shrubs, improved lighting and public art, to improve the attractiveness of walking routes and reduce fear of crime.
      • A network of cycle-friendly, low traffic zones connected by formal crossing points, to make cycling safer, easier and more accessible.
      • Increase in cycle facilities, such as secure parking at public transport hubs and shopping areas, hangars in residential streets
      • Improved public realm in retail areas to attract visitors, such as greenery, street furniture, street lighting etc.
      • Provide new public seating, green spaces and tree planting to create a healthier environment.
      • Encouraging customers to spend more time, feeling safe and comfortable.
      • Wider pedestrian routes, allowing easier movement for shoppers of all ages and abilities.
      • Improved local streetscape with reduced noise and road danger.
      • Residents will be able to access better connected routes to the borough’s town centres and to neighbouring boroughs.
      • More opportunities to allow school streets, play streets and areas for community events.
      • Schemes will remove potential risks by calming traffic and providing quiet and/or segregated routes for active travel 
      • An increase in cycling and walking among residents will reduce demand on the local road network and public transport services, particularly at peak times.
      • Less traffic will reduce toxic emissions, improve air quality and road safety, and reduce noise pollution – creating a more pleasant environment for all.
      • Increase opportunities for physical activity.
      • More pleasant public spaces will make the borough more attractive to residents and visitors.


    How will you increase the number of people choosing to walk or cycle? How will this be achieved?

    Providing safer, better-connected routes throughout the borough will enable people of all abilities and ages to walk and cycle. This will also be supported by promoting free cycle training and other relevant complementary measures.

    This will be done through a variety of on-street infrastructure projects across the borough, such as changes to road layouts to give priority to walking, cycling and public transport. These projects will be supported by complementary measures to promote active travel.

    What is an active travel complementary measure?

    Complementary measures aim to reduce barriers to walking and cycling within the community. Barriers include lack of secure cycle storage in residential areas and public transport interchanges; safety fears about cycling; access to a bicycle; and maintenance of bicycles.

    Complementary measures such as walking tours, historic walks, free cycle training, free access to Dr Bike (cycle mechanic) at council events, the installation of cycle hangars and hubs will help mitigate against these barriers. This will increase the number of users choosing sustainable modes of transport.

    What areas does the programme cover?

    Seventeen areas were chosen, covering approximately 60 per cent of the borough. These areas have been split into four phases of work across the next four years. The map below shows the project areas and phases. 

    Liveable Streets programme area

    How were the areas selected?

    The rationale for selecting these areas is:

    • Phase one: Substantial work on traffic management reviews has already been carried out in these areas. Following public consultation several schemes have since been built. The public consultation generated many more suggestions for further public realm improvements and provides a strong basis for exploring further changes in these areas.
    • Phase two: These areas tie in with the council’s strategic plans developed by the town centres team, as well as other traffic management reviews that are due to be implemented around the same time.
    • Phase three: Three of these areas are planned to tie in with known Transport for London (TfL) proposals for complementary measures, including cycle routes. New areas have been added to extend the geographical scope of the works into areas where there are known complaints and wider issues that need to be addressed.
    • Phase four: The areas in this phase seek to tie in with development masterplanning due for construction around this time.

    When does each phase of the programme start and finish?

    Details of the overall programme, including the dates for each phase and area, can be found on the Council’s website with links to each project area.

    What kind of improvements might be implemented?

    Improvement projects will vary in each area but are likely to include some of the following:

    • Widened footways
    • Planting trees and shrubs
    • Modal filters (features, such as bollards or signs, used to limit access to streets, to certain methods of transport) / road closures
    • Parklets / pocket parks (parks created on small plots of land, that are accessible to the general public)
    • School Streets
    • Facilitate requests for play streets from residents and community groups

    How can residents and businesses be involved in the design of their local area?

    Throughout the programme, there are several stages when residents and businesses can provide feedback on improvements they would like in their area. These stages are:

    • Early engagement – residents and businesses make comments and suggestions on an interactive map of the area
    • Workshops – Residents and businesses can provide feedback to influence the design of their area
    • Consultation – We request feedback on the proposed design that has been developed in conjunction with residents and businesses.
    • Implementation – If the projects are approved by the council, the design will be constructed over an agreed timescale.

    How will these projects impact other housing estate providers and land owners in the area?

    One of the programme aims is to reduce the overall amount of through-traffic, make it safer and more convenient to get around by foot and bike. As part of the project, it is important that we assess the benefits and impacts to the area as a whole and will work with Tower Hamlets Homes and other housing providers where necessary. Discussions with these groups are on-going throughout the project.

    Where can I submit my ideas?

    For each project area, you can submit your ideas and views through an online survey. We will also be holding events throughout the programme where you can come and talk to us. More information on these events will be provided online as they develop.

    Will I be notified when the engagement starts in my area?

    Each area-based scheme will begin with an early engagement survey. A leaflet will be delivered to each household and business within the area, giving details on how to feed into this survey.

    Schemes will also be promoted through the council’s social media, website and regular newsletters. You can subscribe for newsletter updates on each area via the council’s website.

    Will there be more cycle facilities as part of the Liveable Streets programme?

    Yes, the programme aims to improve the cycle network around Tower Hamlets, increase connectivity in residential areas and provide facilities suitable for users of all ages and abilities.

    Cycle Future Route 5

    TfL is proposing to introduce a new cycle route between Hackney and Westferry. It would connect with the cycle routes between Stratford and Aldgate and Barking to Tower. Parts of this route are proposed through or alongside some Liveable Street areas, and it is expected that TfL will release further information for consultation on the route designs in the coming months.

    What is a School Street?

    A School Street is a scheme where traffic is moved away from the school gate to reduce the impact of vehicle emissions on children’s health and improve road safety. They may involve closing a road to traffic either permanently or at school opening and closing times, or introducing traffic management to discourage idling at the school entrance and reduce congestion.

    By moving traffic away from the school gate we will deliver a safer, more pleasant environment for everyone using the street. At the same time we will maintain access for residents, businesses, pedestrians and cyclists and encourage trips to and from school to be made by sustainable modes. For details of proposed schemes, visit http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/schoolstreets.

    How can my school apply for a School Street?

    Twenty schools have already been prioritised for action, according to air quality statistics, Parking Action areas, the status of their school travel plans etc. In addition, other schools in the Liveable Streets project areas will be reviewed to potentially benefit from a School Street scheme. Speak to school staff regarding the individual School Travel Plan and participation in Transport for London’s STARS accreditation scheme.

    Will buses be impacted by these projects?

    Any works which may affect the bus routes will have to be agreed with Transport for London (TfL). Changes to any routes, bus stops or times can be found on the council and TfL website. We may implement measures to improve bus reliability and we will aim to not affect access to bus services or their reliability.

    Will parking and loading be affected?

    In some areas we may propose to reduce or reorganise car parking to allow the installation of additional cycle parking, new public spaces and infrastructure. Where parking reductions do occur, specific facilities (loading and disabled bays) will be installed to enable loading activity and improve accessibility for disabled users, to ensure businesses can be serviced and easily reached by all customers.

    How will these projects impact emergency services?

    When the council makes any changes to road layouts, the emergency services are included as statutory consultees. This means that the council must consult with them and if they raise objections about the proposals, the council must reconsider the plans.

    Regular meetings will be held with the emergency services to allow them to inform us of any issues that are occurring in the new road layout. This will allow the council to mitigate against these issues promptly.

    Where can I find the air quality levels for my area?

    London Borough of Tower Hamlets operate four real-time air quality monitoring stations in the borough. These are located at Mile End, Victoria Park, Millwall Park and Blackwall Tunnel Approach. The Blackwall Tunnel approach monitoring station is managed by TfL for the council. 

    They measure pollutants in real time which means that the pollution levels are constantly being measured and the results recorded. Results of real time monitoring can be found on the Air Quality England website. In addition to the real-time stations, the council monitors nitrogen dioxide emissions at 90 other locations. For more details, visit the council’s website.

    Further questions

    If you have any further questions about the programme, please feel free to contact us at: liveablestreets@towerhamlets.gov.uk.