Walking down the quiet streets of Waltham Forest on a summer evening is a pleasant experience. People are out enjoying life, strolling in the sun, some visiting pubs or restaurants.

This idyllic setting was what greeted a group of us on a recent Redbridge Cycling Campaign organised guided tour of the mini-Holland scheme now operating in the borough.

The scheme seeks to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport over cars, lorries and other vehicles. The project returns the streets to the people, with community gardens abounding.

The transformation is certainly something to behold, with the changes breathing new life into previously concreted, polluting streets. The gains are already coming through in terms of improvements in health – physical and mental. There are the commercial gains as well, with new and varied businesses coming into what are now thriving areas.

Perhaps one of the most important things in making this all happen is community spirit.

The sight of neat gardens across the borough, with signs saying this or that community is taking care of the flowers, was evidence of real community engagement.

Redbridge Council has now come up with a new plan, whose philosophy takes much from the mini-Holland culture. The Local Implementation Plan seeks to put the London Mayor’s transport strategy into action. The overall aim is to get 80 per cent of travel to be undertaken by foot, cycle or public transport by 2041.

The plan is being rolled out neighbourhood by neighbourhood. The guiding principles are cutting speeds, by introducing 20mph zones, bringing in one-way streets and narrowing junctions. Rat runs are to be addressed by using traffic calming measures, deploying planters to close cut-throughs and introducing some one way streets.

Cycling and walking will be encouraged.

There will be more parking permit schemes introduced plus school streets.

There will also be a big increase in the installation of electric charging points to encourage electric vehicles.

These are the broad principles, but it will be for residents to shape what exactly they want via the upcoming consultation process.

In Wanstead, it is intended to roll out some of the ideas next year.

It is this type of imaginative thinking that offers a real way forward. There are parts of our borough that really do look like lifeless concrete jungles – whether that be shopping centres or streets where the majority of front gardens have been paved over. Other parts of the borough are already applying a more holistic approach – the Wanstead Environmental Charter is one example.

Key though to success is community involvement. The mini-Holland approach has only worked in Waltham Forest, and other boroughs where it has been introduced, when the community has bought into and participated in the process. It has to be the community totally involved in bringing about change, not something being done from outside. The results when the principles contained in the plan are properly enacted will be dramatic and for the good of all.