Campaigners celebrate bid to move 271 bus terminus from Highgate Village centre
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
It took more than 15 years of fighting, but the much-hated 271 bus terminus is now set to move from the centre of Highgate Village.
Campaigners toasted victory in their battle to scrap the bus stop in South Grove after TfL put forward proposals to move the terminus to North Road on Monday.
For years, residents, parents and traders have feared for pedestrian safety because the 271 buses use a tight turning circle in South Grove, just off Highgate High Street.
TfL previously ruled out a move until this week, when it launched a consultation on plans to move the stand to near Highgate School, where the 214 bus also terminates.
Richard Webber, who leads the Highgate Society’s bus campaign, said: “We are speechless. We used to say that this campaign lasted longer than the Thirty Years’ War, because we thought this battle would go on and on forever.”
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He added: “Coming after Athlone House, another long campaign, we think it’s been a very good few months for Highgate.”
Simon Briscoe, deputy chairman of Highgate Neighbourhood Forum (HNF), said: “An awful lot of people in Highgate have been arguing for changing the terminus for about 15 years and people have dedicated hours and hours to see plans come forward.
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“I think TfL have done Highgate proud, and have come up with a sensitive and pragmatic design.”
Mr Webber and Mr Briscoe can be credited with pioneering the bus stop’s move to North Road, as they first brought the idea to TfL about two years ago and have been in discussions with the government body since then.
Under the plans, the pavement on North Road, outside Highgate School, would be widened and realigned with an existing pelican crossing.
A new mini-roundabout would also be created outside the Red Lion and Sun pub, and the central reservation would be made larger.
The 214 and 271 buses would then use the roundabout to turn around, rather than at the junction with Castle Yard, as the 214 bus does now.
The TfL consultation says: “This not only provides a safer place for the 271 and 214 to turn, but it would help to slow traffic down creating a safer environment for pedestrians and vehicles.” It is thought the new roundabout would make the area safer for pupils at nearby St Michael’s Primary School.
The proposal would make the terminus accessible for wheelchair users, as the stand in South Grove cannot be used by disabled passengers. But the plans would see North Road only have one traffic lane instead of two, to allow the pavements and central reservation to be made bigger. TfL says it would plant eight semi-mature trees “to create a better sense of place”.
Rachel Allison, chairwoman of HNF, said: “It’s a real victory for people power, and for not giving up, and a great victory for communities.”
The bus stand in South Grove has been used by the 271 bus route since 1960. Before then, it was a terminus for the 611 trolleybus from 1939, which in tuurn replaced trams.
TfL is running a consultation on the plans until March 13. Have your say by visiting consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/route-271, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.