Rival groups of Cycle-Superhighway 11 demonstrators to meet outside Hampstead Theatre tomorrow
PUBLISHED: 15:58 07 October 2016 | UPDATED: 17:46 07 October 2016
Hampstead Theatre is known for its high quality plays, but drama of a different kind could happen outside the famous venue tomorrow as rival sets of protestors come face to face over Cycle-Superhighway 11.
Those in favour of the controversial scheme to connect Swiss Cottage with the West End claim that opponents are an out-of-touch group fighting the will of the silent majority.
The Save CS-11 group has circulated a memo saying: “A small but vocal group, Stop CS-11, are protesting walking and cycling improvements claiming they are opposed by the majority.
“We are calling on all who want safer walking and cycling to come and show support for Cycle Superhighway 11.”
The rallying cry urges supporters: “Do not assume that due to the Mayor’s statement supporting this scheme this is a done deal! Stop CS-11 are putting pressure on local councillors who have the power to block it.
“We must show Westminster and Camden councillors the walking, cycling and public realm improvements are supported.”
The two groups of demonstrators will face off outside the Eton Avenue theatre at 11am on Saturday.
Solicitor Jessica Learmond-Criqui from the Stop CS-11 campaign has requested police presence to ensure the demonstration remains peaceful.
She said: “We are expecting a turn-out of between 400-600 people. I’m not sure how many people will turn up for the counter demonstration, but my worry is they will come from further afield, so it won’t just be Camden people, but cycling groups from all over London.”
The Camden Green Party has also called on its members and supporters to join the demonstration in favour of the scheme.
A meeting held at St Stephen’s, in Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, last week was organised by opponents of the scheme and chaired by Ms Learmond-Criqui.
But several people spoke passionately in favour of the scheme saying they wanted to see proper provision to make cycling safe.
One cyclist said: “There can be very little doubt indeed that the more people are enabled to cycle, the more civilised our London society will be.”
Those opposed to the scheme, which proposes to narrow several key roads, rip out the Swiss Cottage Gyratory and partially close four of the Regent’s Park gates to vehicles, claim it will make traffic and pollution worse by creating “rat runs” around Finchley Road.
Camden Council has said it is in favour of CS-11 “in principle” - but has raised many of the same concerns as Hampstead residents with TfL.
A final decision on CS-11 is expected from City Hall next month - with opponents currently crowdfunding in anticipation of a courtroom battle if it is approved.