RESIDENTS in Northwood Hills are at loggerheads over proposed measures to tackle rat-running in the Gatehill Farm Estate.

Residents of Woodside Road say lives are being put at risk by speeding drivers who use their road to avoid rush hour traffic – as reported in the Gazette in February.

Hillingdon Council acknowledged there was a road safety issue last June and proposed a no-entry sign at the top of the road, at the junction with Elgood Avenue. But the Gatehilll Residents Association (GRA) expressed fears that the no-entry sign would push the rat-running traffic further into the Estate, onto many roads which have no pavements.

This prompted the council to consider other solutions, however residents from 17 out of 18 homes in Woodside Road signed a petition demanding progress on the proposed no entry sign.

A compromise was reached with an alternative scheme to ban right turns from Elgood Avenue into both Woodside Road and Gatehill Road, which was widely supported.

But just days before the scheme was due to be implemented in April, a petition with 77 signatures was submitted to the council by residents of Ravenswood Park, a road nearby the Estate, requesting the scheme be deferred until a full consultation, involving all residents of the Estate and Ravenswood Park, had been carried out.

An additional petition containing 155 signatures from homes in every road on the Estate, aside from Ravenswood Park and Woodside Road, suggested any solution must be Estate-wide, 'avoiding the potential to divert traffic to other parts of the Estate and must recognise the legitimate interests of all affected residents'.

Residents gathered to discuss their concerns and a possible solution at a Hillingdon Council petition hearing on Wednesday, June 16.

Susan Howells, of Woodside Road, said: "Obviously we were very disappointed that the no right turn did not go ahead.

"Everyone in the whole Estate needs to understand that the only way to deal with it is to make some changes and fundamentally, we still think the best solution is to have a no entry sign or no right turn.

"Every day, residents and pedestrians are put at risk by a high volume of rat-runners driving at hazardous speeds and cutting corners with no regard to oncoming traffic, and a solution must be found quickly, before someone gets run over."

Michael Kaltz, spokesperson for the GRA, said: "On Woodside Road, pedestrians are protected by pavements and grass verges between the pavements and the roads; on the roads which would become at-risk if Woodside Road became no entry from Elgood Avenue, there is no such protection."

"We gather the favoured method is the use of road tables. This has the advantage of discouraging rat-run traffic in both directions.

"If the dangers on Woodside Road really are as great as was put forward in the petition, we cannot understand their objection to traffic calming."

Cllr Keith Burrows, cabinet member for planning and transportation: "We always take road safety concerns very seriously and after listening to all three petitions I have asked officers to consult with residents who live on the estate and work up plans that will address the concerns raised.

"When such plans are available full consultation will again take place will all residents within the Gatehill Farm Estate."

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