CS11 cycle plan supporters jump gun in victory claim over Regent’s Park gate closures

Cyclists in Regent's Park. Picture: JUSTIN McKIE

Cyclists in Regent's Park. Picture: JUSTIN McKIE - Credit: Archant

A cycling campaign group has claimed victory in a battle to kick motorists out of Regent’s Park.

London Cycling Campaign (LCC) said on Monday it had confirmation that Westminster and the Crown Estates Paving Commission (CEPC) would not object to closing Regent’s Park’s gates thus giving a green light to the Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11) linking Swiss Cottage to the West End.

LCC said months of deadlock hampering efforts to secure the CS11 cycle route were at an end.

Welcoming the announcement, Justin McKie of the Regents Park Cyclists group said: “This appears to be a step in the right direction.”

But it appears the cyclists may have jumped the gun with CEPC boss Max Jack telling the Ham&High the picture painted by Transport for London (TfL) of a compromise being reached between all parties is “more wishful thinking than fact”.

Mr Jack said a second set of gate proposals “remain problematic” because they reduce closures to “token levels” and risk undermining the traffic control measures the CEPC wants. “The current situation is a very disappointing one. Although TfL has indicated Camden and Westminster are supportive of the latest proposals, there remain a wide range of views. TfL is advocating a compromise without involving the necessary wide level of consultation.” he said.

A Westminster spokesman said the council was not supportive of the original gate closure proposal due to “strong opposition” from residents. “We continue to work with TfL and those responsible for the park who are developing a revised scheme. To date, we have not been asked to comment formally on that,” he added.

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The office of London mayor Sadiq Khan, who in December vowed to press ahead with CS11 in spite of opposition and setbacks, has yet to get permission from the CEPC and Royal Parks.

A spokesman for the mayor said: “We’ve had positive consultation results for CS11 and if all the relevant authorities are now in agreement, we are keen to proceed with the plans as quickly as possible. We will be asking for confirmation and for the highway permissions to proceed.”

But anti-CS11 campaigner Jessica Learmond-Criqui warned: “Daniel Chalkley, Cabinet member for highways at WCC, has confirmed since the LCC report that the council’s position on CS11 has not changed. There has been no decision in relation to CS11 and/or change in opposition to the scheme which was consulted upon some time ago.

“I am unclear why LCC have become so enthused. Their article is selective and results from a restatement of WCC’s position and the facts in relation to decision making responsibility along the intended CS11 route.”

She added the LCC may believe all parties are in agreement but WCC’s statement and that of CEPC say otherwise.

“If Westminster aren’t going to contribute their roads, even if they don’t control the gate closures, TfL would be taking a huge public risk if it builds a highway with a huge gap in it,” she said.