Fears that new traffic restrictions in Hampstead could create new rat run outside primary school

Christchurch Primary School children protest proposed road layout changes some fear would route more

Christchurch Primary School children protest proposed road layout changes some fear would route more traffic past their school. Picture: Joshua Thurston - Credit: Archant

Objections are mounting against plans to put new traffic restrictions in place around New End schools during the school-run, over fears it will create a rat run elsewhere in Hampstead.

Camden Council is currently consulting residents on the proposals, which would restrict access to part of New End and Streatley Place between 8am-9am, and 3pm to 4pm.

An alternative would be to make New End, from Heath Street to Grove Place cycle and pedestrian only between 7.30am and 9.30am during term time. The restrictions would be enforced by a traffic camera which would record number plates.

Councillors and residents say both proposals could force 300 vehicles past Christchurch Primary School, creating a new rat run.

The changes have been ushered in to try to address parking and pollution problems in the road. The route serves both the private Heathside Prep Middle School, which charges thousands of pounds a term, and state-run New End Primary School.

Paul Delaney, whose daughter Sophie, her husband, and their 2-year-old son Theo are due to move in to their house on the corner of Christchurch Hill and Grove Place in September. Their plans have been thrown into doubt due to the proposals, which Paul told the Ham&High were “obscene.”

“I couldn’t let her move in if this goes ahead, with the traffic belching its fumes out past the school and our house. I’m not against them doing it in New End, but they need to apply the same elsewhere.

Most Read

“They’re kicking the can down the street, but it’s our street they’re kicking it down.”

Hampstead Town councillor Maria Higson said the issue needs to be looked at “more holistically.”

She said: “Hampstead continues to have major traffic issues around rat-running and the school traffic runs. Whilst efforts to resolve this are in principle welcome, they cannot simply shift the issue onto other streets, and there is a risk that the current proposals - which use a bottom-up approach starting with a single street - will do this.

“We want to see a solution which takes a much wider view. This would also look at ways to reduce the overall level of traffic.”

Camden’s environment chief Adam Harrison said the plans would be a 12-month trial, after which a further consultation would take place. He said: “Across the country, concerns are growing about motor traffic outside schools. Camden has led the way in putting in place Healthy School Streets and we want to make sure as many of our schools as possible can benefit from improved road safety and air quality.”

The consultation closes on March 29. People can respond here: https://consultations.wearecamden.org/supporting-communities/newendschool/