A report deleted from Hackney Council’s website has caused concern among residents about the “state of local democracy” in the borough.
The document, a report on a consultation on parking controls in Stamford Hill, was taken down after Twitter users pointed out it references to contentious road closures in the Walford Road area as if they were definitely going to happen, when in fact they have not yet been voted through by councillors.
The Town Hall says the report, which was taken down as it contained “an error”, also referred to the closures as having not yet been “finalised”, but readers online wondered whether the language in the consultation review had “let the cat out of the bag early”.
Jenna Fansa, of family website StokeyParents said: “What does it say about the state of local democracy that even before a vote has been taken, officers have effectively announced in a separate document that road closures are happening? It’s even more worrying when that document is later hidden.
“There has been a lot of ‘human error’ in this road closure process, but when you add it all together it points to something much more worrying.
“It points to councillors being so hellbent on doing something that they’re not listening to the very valid concerns of a community and it points to officers treating the closures as a foregone conclusion.”
The passage in the deleted February report reads: “It has also been identified that the council’s Streetscene department are implementing a scheme which will involve some road closures in the area in order to reduce traffic and air pollution in the area.”
The proposals are not due to come before Hackney Council’s cabinet until April.
Replying to concerns online on 21 March at how such a decision referred to in the report could have been come to without councillors using their votes, Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville said: “A decision on the Walford Road area will be going to April cabinet and the council will shortly be publishing the results of the consultation & air pollution modelling, alongside engagement with key stakeholders later in Mar/April.”
Glanville went on to invite Twitter users who had spotted the passage to make a formal representation on the matter to his office.
Fansa added that “convenient errors” made by the Town Hall over the closures, including the mismeasurement of distances between pollution monitors and school facades, served to “downplay the picture of school pollution”.
The Walford Road closures are designed to end ‘rat-running’ down residential streets, but have caused anger with some parents in the borough concerned at the potential impact of diverted traffic on air quality at nearby schools.
Aled Richards, Hackney Council’s director of public realm, said: “We have removed the Zone E Review Delegated Powers Report (DPR) from the council’s website due to an error in the report and will be reissuing a corrected DPR shortly.
“No decision has yet been made on the proposed Walford Road closures. The DPR reiterates this in section 3.44, which is unchanged from the original, where it reads: ‘ …the road closure proposals have not yet been finalised and remain subject to change’.
“We expect the Walford Road proposals to go to the Council’s Cabinet in April.”
The council says the report will reappear on its website with the passage amended to read that the Streetscene department “is considering implementing a scheme which may involve some road closures in the area”.
The report had not been uploaded at time of publication.