Last November the campaign group E17 Streetsforall lost its court case trying to stop the "mini-Holland" scheme in the London borough of Waltham Forest. The transcript of the court case is now online, and makes for interesting reading.
Justice Holgate refused permission for the campaign group to appeal. Solicitor Sarah Williams, a representative of E17 Streetsforall, will have to pay £12,000 in costs.
"I am going to refuse permission to appeal," said the judge. "The … way in which the application is made shows the unfortunate tendency in this case for the claimant’s argument to shift."
The Labour-run council was taken to the High Court in order to overturn road remodelling in Walthamstow village. The objection was that the council had not consulted sufficiently with local people, a claim rejected by Justice Holgate.
Last year a street protest was organised by E17Streets4All, with a coffin safely carried down the traffic-free street the campaign wished to see blocked with motor cars again. 17Streets4All’s Facebook page – which has not had any postings since October 2015 – said: “We are a group of Walthamstow residents and business owners [who have] come together … to challenge the implementation of the Mini Holland scheme in its current form and achieve the implementation of a sensible, redesigned scheme acceptable to the majority of people living or working in the area.”
Waltham Forest, like most London boroughs, has lower-than-the-uk-average car ownership levels.
The campaign’s website, e17streets4all.co.uk, is run by Don Mapp, a gardener in Walthamstow. He has previously campaigned against the council’s controlled parking zone, believing the public highway in front of his house to be his part of the road.
Justice Holgate said some of the objections raised by E17Streets4all were "absurd."
A parody twitter account – E17streets4Cars – poked fun at the car-centrism of the anti-mini-Holland campaigners.
While cycle use is currently low in Waltham Forest and Walthamstow the council is determined to increase it, and it was one of the three London councils to accept £30m from Transport for London to instigate a mini-Holland programme.
The council had stated that its aim with the mini-Holland scheme was to "redesign the town centre to make it genuinely excellent for cyclists."
The council operates a cargo-bike hire scheme. “We want to give parents who normally drive their children to school the opportunity and support to try cycling as an alternative to the car,” said the council.
The free hire scheme uses Christiania bikes from Copenhagen.
A council statement said: “By allowing residents and businesses to use them for a week or so they can decide whether they might find it useful to purchase one.”
With this court victory Walthamstow is now able to become far more welcoming to pedestrians and cyclists. In his judgement Justice Holgate pointed out that ‘Walthamstow’ is "taken from the Anglo Saxon word ‘Wilcumestowe’ or ‘place of welcome’."