Rock and roll, as AC/DC pointed out back in 1980, ain’t noise pollution, but that’s apparently not the case for a newly approved waterside cycle path in north London, which residents claim will constitute an “invasion of privacy” and lead to excessive noise, light, and anti-social behaviour thanks to moped and scooters users along the route.
Enfield Council’s planning committee this week gave the green light to a shared-use cycle and pedestrian path, which will run alongside the New River between Tenniswood Road and Bullsmoor Lane, after extra privacy measures were agreed to protect neighbouring houses, the Enfield Dispatch reports.
The 2.9km off-road path forms part of a new cycling and walking route, built in conjunction with Broxbourne council, which aims to connect the neighbouring boroughs of Enfield and Broxbourne and will include new seating, lighting, cycle parking facilities, and rain gardens. A further 1.8km of on-road cycle lanes will also feature safety improvements including junction upgrades, new crossings, and revised speed limits.
However, plans to enable the public to access this section of the New River drew concerns earlier this year from neighbours worried that cyclists and pedestrians using the path would be able to see into their homes and gardens.
In April, councillors deferred making a decision on the scheme to consider how these concerns could be addressed, with alternatives including a potential re-routing of the path along a nearby road.
At a meeting of the planning committee this week, the Labour-controlled council said that more evergreen hedge and tree planting would be introduced to ensure “considerable protection of privacy” for residents.
Nevertheless, despite the promise of extra plant-based screening, local Paul Hammond told the committee that the new path would constitute an “absolute invasion of the privacy that I currently enjoy in my property at the moment”.
Hammond argued that there was a “clear view” from the proposed infrastructure “right through my house”, and that residents would be forced to endure years of people peering into their homes and gardens.
He also said the scheme would generate “noise pollution” from moped riders using the path, as well as increased anti-social behaviour and light pollution.
Hammond’s concerns were echoed by the council’s Conservative members, with Jim Stevens claiming that scooter users would also be a nuisance on the path, which would be open 24 hours a day.
However, Sarah Whitehouse, the path’s project manager, said that the residents’ privacy concerns had been “effectively mitigated” by extra planting and the removal of benches, and that there would be “significant public benefits” from using the New River route rather than an alternative.
David Hilliard, a cycling instructor and member of Enfield Cycle Campaign, told the committee that the proposed path was a “brilliant scheme” which, when completed, would be one of the few “pleasant” leisure routes crossing the M25.
He also said that the off-road nature of the route would encourage “novice and nervous cyclists”, including women and children, who prefer not to mingle with motor traffic.
Councillors also noted that scooters would not be permitted to use the path by law, and that CCTV cameras would be installed as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour, while not invading locals’ privacy.
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.