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Hampstead actress Janet Suzman joins growing protest against Cycle Super-highway

PUBLISHED: 18:13 11 March 2016 | UPDATED: 18:13 11 March 2016

Dame Janet Suzman

Dame Janet Suzman

Polly Hancock

Dame Janet Suzman has added her voice to a 2,500-strong petition against Boris Johnson’s “catastrophic” Cycle Super-highway.

Under the cycle super highway plans Swiss Cottage traffic will be re-routed and four key gates to Regent's Park will be closed at peak times (TfL)Under the cycle super highway plans Swiss Cottage traffic will be re-routed and four key gates to Regent's Park will be closed at peak times (TfL)

Hampstead residents have called an urgent public meeting in opposition to the CS11 scheme to create dedicated cycling lanes between Swiss Cottage and Portland Place in the West End.

They say the plans to reroute the Swiss Cottage gyratory- a major arterial road into central London - and cut lane capacity in half will cause traffic gridlock in Hampstead and the surrounding area.

Dame Janet, who lives in South End Green, said: “This is just so obviously unintelligent. It’s completely insane and punitive to this part of north London.

“The scheme will block a main artery. If a surgeon blocked your arteries he would be hauled before the GMC and accused of murder or GBH.”

Mr Johnson says the plans, which include making Avenue Road bus and cycle access only and closing gates to Regent’s Park to cars at peak times, will open up safer cycling to thousands travelling from north to central London.

But Dame Janet said: “He needs to stop pretending that London doesn’t need cars and vehicles to function. Regent’s Park will become a velodrome instead of a nice park. People will be stuck in traffic for five hours at Swiss Cottage and traffic will be diverted into Hampstead, a school park with so many pupils, and children’s lungs will be poisoned by the pollution.”

Hampstead solicitor Jessica Learmond-Criqui has called the public meeting on Wednesday at 7pm in St Stephen’s, Pond Street.

She said: “If TfL have their way, Hampstead will become a ghetto. The area will become a huge rat run with a constant flow of vehicles leaving Finchley Road.”

Barnet and Camden’s Conservative GLA candidate Dan Thomas has also backed the protest, calling for TfL to think again about the scheme.

He said, “These proposals will cause delays, congestion and pollution. They will seal off Fitzjohns Avenue and Hampstead Town, which are already threatened by the traffic plans for HS2. We need to protect and encourage cyclists but it has to be done in a less disruptive way.”

Riders from Camden Cyclists and Regent’s Park Cycling groups were this evening congregating in Regent’s Park in a show of support for CS11,

Simon Munk, for the London Cycling Campaign, said: “We’re holding this demonstration tonight because many cyclists and residents feel CS11 is a much-needed and vital link and will also encourage many people who would be too scared to cycle down Swiss Cottage into central London to live healthier lifestyles.

“Closing the gates to Regent’s Park at key times will also make it much nicer for everyone, not just families and people who want to cycle together,” Read the full story here.

Click here for the petition against CS11.

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