Political enemies unite in Barnet to save 384 bus

Elected representatives in Barnet have come together across the political divide to urge the Mayor of London and TfL to drop plans for
radical changes to the route of the 384 bus.

In an initiative spearheaded by Theresa Villiers, Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet, and Andrew Dismore, Labour Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, local councillors from both sides of the political divide have signed a cross-party letter to the Mayor of London, the Deputy Mayor for Transport, and the Commissioner for Transport for London.

The signatories include the Leader of the Council, Cllr Dan Thomas, and the Leader of the Opposition Labour Group, Barry Rawlings.

Commenting on this initiative, which is an unusual one in Barnet’s strongly contested politics, Theresa Villiers said: “There are many issues which divide Labour and Conservatives in Barnet but I welcome the fact that we have come together to make the case to save the 384 bus. The Mayor’s plan to re-route the bus away from so many residential streets in New Barnet and the Bevan Estate will have a massive impact on many elderly and vulnerable residents. People with reduced mobility will find it much harder to get around when they have to walk so much further to catch a bus.”

“I really hope that the Mayor and TfL start to listen to Barnet’s elected representatives and residents, and drop their plans to
radically change the 384 route. People are up in arms that this decision has been announced at a time of national emergency when their ability to campaign to save their local bus is drastically limited by social distancing rules. At the very least, the Mayor needs to look at this issue again and provide further opportunity for residents to express their views, including the public meeting that TfL promised but have not delivered.”

The 384 currently travels through the heart of New Barnet and the Bevan Estate but TfL have announced that from September it will be rerouted away from Gloucester Road, Lyonsdown Road, Longmore Avenue, York Road, East Barnet Road, Brookhill Road, Crescent Road, Castlewood Road and Northfield Road.

The cross-party letter to save the 384 bus has been signed by Theresa Villiers MP, Andrew Dismore AM, Cllr Daniel Thomas, Leader of Barnet Council, Cllr Barry Rawlings, Leader of the Opposition, Barnet Council, Cllr David Longstaff, Deputy Leader of Barnet Council, Cllr Sachin Rajput, Chair of Adults & Safeguarding Committee, Cllr Laurie Williams, Cllr Felix Byers, Cllr Jo Cooper, Cllr Tom Smith and Cllr Stephen Sowerby.

The request for this cross-party initiative came from local campaigners Joshua Yates, Leah Taub (representing 78 households on
Salisbury Road, High Barnet), Ros Howarth (representing residents of the New Bevan Estate, New Barnet), Mira Barrett, Laurance Gordon, Sue Matthews, Pat Hemmens, Caroline Browring, Angie Hudson, Lynne Johns, and Linda Palmer. A statement from these campaigners was sent to the Mayor alongside the letter from elected representatives.