Hounslow council spends nearly £50,000 on London ‘rainbow junction’

A London council’s decision to paint a “rainbow junction” across a busy road in support of the LGBT community has cost taxpayers almost £50,000, The Telegraph can reveal.

Labour-run Hounslow council rolled out the feature in Chiswick High Road in February, consisting of four pedestrian crossings painted with the Progress Pride flag, which includes stripes celebrating transgender and anti-racism.

The Telegraph has now obtained the cost of the crossings under Freedom of Information laws, showing it amounted to £48,174 – reportedly making it the most expensive rainbow crossing in the country for which the price is public.

It has infuriated disability campaigners, who have called on the council to rethink its priorities.

‘Councils think they know best’

The borough, which has increased council tax by the maximum amount of 4.99 per cent and supports Sadiq Khan’s divisive expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, has claimed that the repainted junction “permanently recognises our LGBT+ community and raises awareness of equalities”.

But the National Federation of the Blind of the UK said “inclusion must mean inclusion for all, including blind people”.

Sarah Gayton, the federation’s shared space coordinator, said: “We’ve got a man in his 80s who has a visual impairment and uses a walking stick – he says that all these different colours really confuse him when he’s walking on the road.

“People are being left confused and distracted when crossing the street, but these councils think they know best and just ignore these widely-expressed concerns.

“You can have flags elsewhere. That money could be spent on much-needed safety and accessibility for blind and visually impaired people.”

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, a Tory peer, said the crossing “will inevitably cause migraines and trigger epilepsy” and called on the council to “meet to discuss the protection of those recovering from head injuries or neurological conditions”.

Day-to-day services ‘not impacted’

The crossing took a year to develop alongside the West London Queer project, with the rainbow crossing itself costing in excess of £34,000 in addition to £9,000 on resurfacing and road markings, £1,900 on traffic management and more than £4,500 on road safety audits.

Its cost far exceeds other known rainbow crossings in the UK. Nearly the same amount – £46,000 – was the total spent on rainbow crossings in hospital grounds by 20 NHS trusts combined between 2019 and 2021.

Shantanu Rajawat, the leader of Hounslow Council, said: “Important day-to-day services are not impacted by new community initiatives like this.

“Due to our prudent financial management over many years, Hounslow is in a relatively strong position among local authorities and our balanced budget will ensure we will continue to deliver the quality of services and support residents expect and deserve.”


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