Wednesday, March 18, 2015

McDonald's Rejected

Very good news. Ealing Council's planning committee voted tonight to reject the McDonald's Drive-Through restaurant. The refusal to grant planning permission was carried by 3 votes to 2. Eight committee members abstained.
Ealing Cycling Campaign opposed the application because the access road would have cut across the planned East-West Cycle Super Highway, posing a danger to cyclists. This decision is unusual in that eight weeks ago, the planning committee voted to approve the restaurant. However, it turns out that no planning consent exists until a consent form has been signed.  This gave council officers the opportunity to reconsidered the safety issue, and when they realised that TfL had given the Cycle Super Highway the go-ahead, they changed their recommendation.
A big thank you to Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor's Cycling Commissioner, who intervened at a crucial stage, to all of you who lobbied your councillors, and finally to Jonathan Notley and West Acton Residents' Association who turned out in force on the night to give their support.
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Did McDonald's Application Mislead Council?

Here's a curious thing. As part of the planning application to build the drive-through on the A40 McDonald's consultants, ADL submitted a traffic assessment to Ealing Council. The assessment should show how the scheme meets the requirements of the London Plan. Only in this case... there's something missing. Conspicuous by its absence is the line "Developments should: c) facilitate the Cycle Super Highways shown on Map 6.2." (The East-West Cycle Super Highway is on the map.)

Although the Traffic Assessment refers to improving the cycle track alongside the A40, it makes no reference to the planned Cycle Super Highway. Did TfL fail to tell McDonald's it was planning a Cycle Super Highway alongside the A40? It's scarcely believable that McDonald's planners didn't know about it. After all, it was in the Evening Standard. So why the glaring omission?
(click on image to see details)

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Good news on McDonald's drive-through on Cycle Superhighway

Some very good news. The McDonald’s planning decision is going back to Ealing Council’s Planning Committee. This time the officers' recommendation is to refuse planning permission. The reason for the new recommendation is that the status of the East-West Cycle Superhighway changed only a few hours before the planning committee meeting.  On the morning of 4th February the TfL board approved the East-West Cycle Superhighway, meaning that the number of cyclists using the route past McDonald's was likely to be significantly more than originally anticipated. However this information wasn't passed on to council officers before the planning committee meeting on the evening of 4th Feb, in which councillors originally approved the scheme. The officers' view now is that the "proposed location of the access from Western Avenue poses a significant conflict to working arrangements of the Cycle Superhighway and the safety of cyclists and vehicles and it is for this reason that it is therefore recommended that planning permission should be refused." The officers consider that Ealing Cycling Campaign's recommendation that access and egress could be made via Leamington Park would be a feasible solution, but so far McDonald's have not been prepared to change their plans to accommodate this. The planning committee will make their decision on Wednesday 18th March.
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lorry Safety

After a successful trial, Ealing will become the first council in the country to fit the Cycle Safety Shield warning system to its entire fleet of large goods vehicles. The system recognises pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and warns the driver if a collision is about to occur. In particular, it should help prevent injuries from lorries turning left. In the trial 15 potentially serious collisions were avoided. The system can also save money. By monitoring the way the vehicle is driven it provides feedback that encourages the driver to accelerate and brake in a way that reduces fuel consumption. The trial showed it could save £1,000 per vehicle per year. The system will be fitted to 39 Murrill construction vehicles and 63 Amey refuse and recycling lorries.  ECC is very pleased to see the council leading the way on this. If other councils and contractors follow it could dramatically reduce cycle casualties. 

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

McDonald's Drive-thru Update

Ealing Council planning committee approved the McDonald's Drive through at tonight's meeting. But it seems the project should never have got to this stage in its present form. Ealing Council's planning department said that TfL had approved the plans, but Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor's Commissioner for Cycling tonight called them "well below cycling superhighway standards and potentially unsuitable for both pedestrians and cyclists." The good news is that Pat Hayes, Director for Regeneration and Housing at Ealing Council, and responsible for planning and transport, has acknowledged the current scheme would have considerable negative impacts on cyclists. He has promised to make sure that the design is changed and that the superhighway is not compromised.
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