Greenwich residents ‘traumatised’ on road where drivers hurl verbal abuse

Larchwood Road, as seen from Southwood Road in New Eltham (Credit: Google Earth)
Larchwood Road, as seen from Southwood Road in New Eltham (Credit: Google Earth)

South London residents have called their road “traumatic” to live on given the amount of verbal abuse they receive from drivers.

Greenwich Council has outlined plans to consider adding a speed limit to Larchwood Road after receiving a petition from residents.

Locals said in the petition that they felt Larchwood Road was being excessively used by speeding cars and lorries.

They added that over 200 vehicles could use the residential road in a 45-minute period during rush hour, with residents experiencing aggression from drivers as a result.

The topic was discussed at a highways committee meeting for Greenwich Council on September 20.

Conservative Councillor Matt Hartley, who represents the Mottingham, Coldharbour and New Eltham ward, said at the meeting that the traffic situation on the road was “intolerable” for residents.

He said drivers often used local streets such as Larchwood Road to avoid traffic at the junction of Southwood Road and the A20.

Sean Martin said he had lived on Larchwood Road for 25 years. The resident said locals were becoming increasingly frustrated with the amount of noise from vehicles using the road.

Mr Martin said at the meeting: “As far as the residents are concerned, it’s very traumatic living on that road. It’s the noise, the speed, the concern for us crossing the road. We have children and pets and cats.

"There’ve been several that’ve been killed, that probably nobody hears about. It’s not something that goes away any time soon so we still have to live with it.”

He added: “The abuse is ridiculous, almost fisticuffs. It comes to blows sometimes and we’ve had enough.”

Another resident of the road, who wished to remain anonymous, said everyone who lives on the road was in agreement that new measures were needed to control the traffic.

They said at the meeting: “I feel that as residents we deserve, and we should be able, to live on our road without feeling that we are going to come across some sort of aggression or verbal abuse just because we want to open our car door or we want to do a three point turn to come out of the road at the Southwood Road end.”

The local said that she pre-empts aggression from drivers every time she leaves her house.

They said parents of a local primary school often use the road to park their cars and she has started to worry about the safety of the children.

They added added: “I fear for those children. They’re as young as three, and it’s just got to the point where Larchwood is being used as a main road and it’s not a main road, it’s not designed to be a main road… A ‘not suitable for [lorries]’ sign has done absolutely nothing. It’s not working. We need you all to be on board with us and try to find a solution.”

The highways committee decided at the meeting that there was currently not enough justification to add traffic calming measures to the road ahead of other areas prioritised by the council.

However, the committee outlined that the area would be considered for a 20mph zone and to be included in the Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme next year.

Council officers will also investigate whether a 7.5 tonne limit for vehicles could be added to the road, as well as flagging to Transport for London that lorries are unable to turn left at the junction between Southwood Road and the A20.

The recommendations from the highways committee will be brought to Greenwich Council for consideration at the meeting on October 25.