I sometimes wonder if introducing the no-right turns on Clapham Common Northside is the worse thing the council has ever done.

That was a rhetorical statement, I’m fully aware there are plenty of decisions made by the council that some find very controversial. However, since its introduction the no-right turn has been a consistent source of complaint to me and my ward colleagues.

The no-right turns were introduced following a long running campaign by some residents in the roads between Lavender Hill and Clapham Common Northside. However, perhaps the first sign that it would not be popular was the consultation before the introduction: the returns were almost evenly split between those who supported a no-right turn ban and those opposed.

In other words, whatever we did, we’d annoy as many people as we’d please.

The scheme was introduced for a trial period because the result was so close. The trial period is coming to a close and over the next few days people in the area should be receiving another consultation form to give their opinion.

If my correspondence for the past few months is anything to go by I suspect there will be a more conclusive result. Only a few have voiced support for the scheme, most complaining about significant increases to their journey, extra traffic on the roads without controls and businesses on Lavender Hill who feel they have lost out on passing trade.

But then people rarely rally in support of a status quo unless it is under threat, so maybe there will be another close result.

The consultation letters and forms should be distributed to several thousand homes and businesses in the coming days. Keep an eye out for them if you want to have your say.

The results of the council’s consultation on traffic control in the Stormont Road area (which in reality is most of the roads between Clapham Common and Lavender Hill) were considered by the council’s transport committee last night.

They were, frankly, more an exercise in showing how consultation often doesn’t help anyone come to a conclusion! Of the 2,700+ consultation forms sent out only 457 were returned (around 1 in 6). And the opinion was not terribly conclusive.

One of the ideas was to ban right turns from Clapham Common Northside into the roads in the area. The purpose behind this is to prevent rat-running from people who want to head north but avoid the one way loop around part of Clapham Common that keeps them on roads better suited for higher traffic volumes. For this, 46% of respondents liked the idea… and 46% of people didn’t like the idea!

The other suggestion was to reverse the one-way flow of Lavender Gardens. While this wasn’t as evenly balanced, it was hardly a conclusive result, 33% opposed it, 23% supported it and 45% expressed no opinion (to be fair the result in Lavender Gardens itself was much more conclusive, with 68% against and 32% in support).

On the basis of the results the council will be progressing the introduction of 24 hour no right turns from Clapham Common Northside into the roads, but looking at alternative means of controlling the traffic in Lavender Gardens.

It is proof that the council does listen to consultations. But also evidence that it’s sometimes very hard to hear what they are saying – the voice of Lavender Gardens was clear, but the result on the right turns couldn’t have been closer, and guarantees that whatever the council does it would make half the people unhappy!

A cynic, however, might suggest that the clearest result of all is that 5 out of 6 people don’t care enough to spend a few minutes completing and sending off a pre-paid form.

The full paper and detailed results along with three appendices can be found on the council’s website.