Queen's Crescent road closure set to be made permanent – but traffic has increased around school

Mother reveals asthma concerns for her son

Friday, 18th March — By Harry Taylor

march Image 2022-03-18 at 13.10.57

A decision must be made on the trial scheme

ROAD layout changes could be made permanent in Queen’s Crescent despite a survey showing traffic has increased around a primary school and a parent saying her teenage son’s asthma has been made worse.

A consultation on road closures to Queen’s Crescent and Grafton Road ends tomorrow (Friday), 10 months after they were introduced in an attempt to cut down car usage. Fines are now given to those who drive between planters on the two roads outside of specified loading times, which businesses say have caused chaos for trade.

And one mmother, Katy Dent, says that the closures have routed more traffic past her house near Allcroft Road and caused her 15-year-old son’s asthma to worsen – meaning he now has to take a host of preventative medicine every day just to avoid having attacks. He had suffered badly from it before as a toddler.

She said: “It was really bad. I didn’t put it down to the traffic when it started again, until those amazing few weeks where the ULEZ came in and nobody could get any petrol, and he could breathe properly. I thought he’d grown out of it. But it can’t be a coincidence that it’s all happening since these changes.

“He has a specialist GP because of his asthma, and she has written to the council’s public health team because she’s concerned about the effect it’s having.”
Ms Dent said her son’s recent increase in attacks have brought back the trauma of watching him nearly die as a toddler.

She said: “It is just terrifying. When you’re in hospital watching your son having an asthma attack, you are watching him die. We’ve nearly lost him twice.

“That trauma never leaves you, and when he started getting the attacks again, it was just like, ‘Here we go again’.”

She added that she supported the roads scheme initially, and still backs the need to cut down on car traffic, but said she fears the current plans will continue to make it worse.

“We have the same objectives. If you ask anyone in the Crescent if they want to see less car usage, then they’ll say yes,” she said. “But the question is how you do it – is there enough cycling provision around the Crescent, like a bike-docking station? Have they spoken to Transport for London about getting buses in? It’s poorly served by both.”

It comes as a report published by the Town Hall, alongside the consultation, shows that while motor traffic levels had dropped in the Crescent and other surrounding roads by September 2021, it has increased in Bassett Street, Rhyl Street and Talacre Road – roads that surround Rhyl Primary School – by up to 40 per cent. Data on nitrous dioxide pollution showed a 39 per cent drop around Rhyl School itself, but from an exercise two months previous.

Headteacher Helen Connor said: “Obviously we are always really concerned about pollution around the school premises because of the impact it can have on children, especially when they are outside in the playground. We know it can cause asthma or other respiratory conditions.”

She added: “We’ve not picked up any increase in asthma or effects, but it’s also not something we have studied closely.”

A Camden Council spokesperson said that the increases in traffic were small numbers, and outweighed by a drop in usage of busier roads including Malden Road.

Camden’s environment chief, Cllr Adam Harrison, said: “The air quality monitoring data clearly shows that harmful nitrogen dioxide has fallen at all 25 monitoring sites in the area in and around Queen’s Crescent, including a drop of 36 per cent in one location. This data is positive and shows the benefits to residents’ health and wellbeing of reducing traffic levels and enabling more walking and cycling.

“I am particularly pleased that air quality has got better in places where schools are present. During the trial, levels of nitrogen dioxide fell 39 per cent on Rhyl Street near Rhyl Primary. Air quality also improved on Malden Road, where St Dominic’s Primary is located.”

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