Plans for road closures to create low-traffic neighbourhoods in Harrow were rejected amid concerns they could have a “counterproductive” impact on the environment.

But Harrow Council’s leader will still have the final say on whether the closures – part of the council’s ‘Streetspace’ project will go ahead.

The council’s traffic and road safety advisory panel held a special meeting last night (August 10) to discuss the Transport for London-funded project to promote cycling and walking and reduce car use following the Covid-19 outbreak.

The panel unanimously agreed to oppose plans for closures in Dennis Lane and Green Lane, Stanmore, and in Byron Road and Princes Drive, Wealdstone.

Plans for similar measures in Vaughan Road, West Harrow, divided opinion, but were approved, while a scheme in the Pinner View area will be further discussed by ward councillors.

The panel’s recommendations are not binding, however, and the leader of the council, Cllr Graham Henson, will make a final ruling.

Many residents opposed the road closure plans since they believe they will cause traffic issues in surrounding roads.

More than 2,000 people signed an online petition against the plans in Stanmore, suggesting that closing key roads would “funnel traffic through the Broadway”.

They added both Dennis Lane and Green Lane are steep hills that would be unattractive to cyclists and walkers, particularly considering there are many green spaces nearby.

Cllr Philip Benjamin, who represents Stanmore Park ward, described the proposals as “unreasonable” and suggested the council “could not have picked two more inappropriate roads” to promote cycling.

“I want to see the Stanmore traffic system functioning effectively, with any alterations made for the good of everyone,” he said.

“All these proposals are going to do is force more vehicles onto the main roads.

“Residents’ lives are difficult enough in these challenging times – why add another layer of complexity?”

The council said all the schemes were designed to help improve the environment, encourage better health for residents through active travel and reduce the spread of Covid-19.

They were supported by Anoop Shah, of Harrow Cycling Campaign, who said evidence suggests people become “more supportive of low-traffic neighbourhoods over time”.

“There’s almost always opposition initially as people can’t envisage the benefits and how to change their behaviour,” he said.

“But they discourage driving for short distances, they make roads safer, and are easy to implement and are low-cost.”

He added these are temporary measures which will be reviewed regularly and are easy to reverse if necessary.

And he encouraged the council to follow through on all its schemes, since he believes it will be easier to secure future funding from TfL and the Government if it shows it is “committed to active travel”.