Festive furore as council looks for green light on changes to Hampstead zebra crossing

The zebra crossing in Hampstead High Street which may be turned into a pelican crossing under propos

The zebra crossing in Hampstead High Street which may be turned into a pelican crossing under proposed plans. Picture: Harry Taylor - Credit: Archant

Transport for London has unveiled plans to speed up travel through Hampstead for drivers – but pedestrians are putting their foot down.

Travel bosses say motorists in the village are often top-to-toe in tailbacks, with red lights all around.

But a bone of contention for neighbours is a proposed change to the zebra crossing by Oriel Place to a pedestrian crossing to a toucan crossing, with traffic lights.

According to the consultation which is currently under way, TfL and Camden Council believe it will improve traffic flow.

Other proposals include restricting parking and loading on the southern side of the High Street between 7am and 10am and 4pm to 7pm on Monday to Saturday.

There will also be a reconfiguration of the High Street approach to Heath Street, a new pedestrian crossing between Holly Hill and Hampstead Tube station, as well as widening footpaths and introducing a new cycle lane.

However, a chorus of voices opposing the plans for the crossing in Oriel Place hopes to get TfL to change its tune.

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The transport authority says the existing crossing is “very popular and results in vehicles frequently stopping to allow pedestrians to cross.

“This often results in long queues along Hampstead High Street.”

Sebastian Wocker, who publishes the Hampstead Village Voice magazine, described it as a potentially “devastating blow to the local community,” with the existing zebra crossing a “much loved asset”.

Hampstead Town councillor Oliver Cooper (Con), who lives yards away from the crossing, said: “Getting rid of the zebra crossing makes it much harder to cross from one side of the street to the other.

“It would cut the village in half and threaten its village feel.

“Much of the High Street’s character comes from the priority that the crossing gives residents over traffic. Changing to a pelican crossing risks turning the High Street into even more of a thoroughfare.”

The six-week consultation is now open. It closes on January 23. For more information and to respond to it, you can visit: consultations.wearecamden.org/supporting-communities/hampstead-high-street/