Edgware Road improvement plan scrapped
Sanchez Manning RESIDENTS around Edgware Road have been dealt a crushing blow after a multimillion pound plan to revive the area has been scrapped. The improvement programme, which would have seen the area transformed into something akin to Marylebone Hig
RESIDENTS around Edgware Road have been dealt a crushing blow after a multimillion pound plan to revive the area has been scrapped.
The improvement programme, which would have seen the area transformed into something akin to Marylebone High Street, has been ditched after Transport for London pulled out.
TfL committed millions of pounds to the scheme, but the funds have now been withdrawn and allocated to other projects.
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Although it is believed the decision to claw back the cash was made some time ago, the news comes just one week after it was revealed TfL had invested £40million in the failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing.
Residents and business owners, who have worked with TfL and Westminster Council on the Edgware Road action plan since 2005, are bitterly disappointed to hear of the U-turn.
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Ibrahim El-Nour, chief executive of the Edgware Road business association, said he had not been informed and would be calling for a full investigation.
"We're extremely upset that we've lost the investment because the Edgware Road is very tatty and it's such an old road," he said.
"It's not really safe because of the lack of crossings and the railings in the middle of the road have become a hazard for pedestrians.
"I'm really angry that we haven't been informed that TfL would not be going on with the plan."
Jack Gordon from Hyde Park Estate Residents Association, who has also been heavily involved with the scheme, echoed Mr Ibrahim's views: "We're furious with the waste TfL has made of all the resources and energy that were put into developing Edgware Road.
"It's dog-eared, dilapidated and not fit-for-purpose. You have to be a trained athlete to get across the road before the green man turns red - it's every man for himself."
Under the original proposals for Edgware Road there were ambitious plans to improve the crossings and overhaul the streetscape.
The aim was to create a cosmopolitan image with continental-style alfresco cafes and there was even a possibility for the road to be renamed Hyde Park High Street. TfL claim they committed £2.5million to the Edgware Road scheme, but project partners say that figure is closer to £9million.
Meanwhile confusion reigns over who is responsible for pulling the plug on the plans.
A TfL spokesman said: "In 2006 the then Mayor of London awarded Westminster Council £3m to part fund the redevelopment of Leicester Square. Shortly afterwards the remaining funding for that project, which was being sought by the council, fell through. This led to £2.5m of the original award being redirected to the Edgware Road Street redevelopment scheme at the request of the Council. Westminster Council has since managed to raise the additional money and requested TfL to reallocate the funding back to the original Leicester Square redevelopment."
But Martin Low, Westminster's transport boss, said: "TfL money originally intended for Leicester Square was diverted to Edgware Road by the council to get the scheme up and running, and then back again to Leicester Square once it became clear that TfL's plans for Edgware Road had changed.