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Future of historic Abbey Road crossing in doubt

PUBLISHED: 11:08 14 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:22 07 September 2010

Sanchez Manning LOCAL politicians have vowed to continue fighting for the zebra crossing made famous by the Beatles Abbey Road album cover to be moved – despite Westminster Council ruling out the idea. Some St John s Wood councillors say the crossing has

Sanchez Manning

LOCAL politicians have vowed to continue fighting for the zebra crossing made famous by the Beatles' Abbey Road album cover to be moved - despite Westminster Council ruling out the idea.

Some St John's Wood councillors say the crossing has become an accident hotspot and an annoyance to residents with the increasing numbers of tourists visiting the area.

But the council maintained that the road was no more dangerous than any other and dismissed plans to tamper with the iconic attraction.

The row over the future of the crossing comes just days after the 40th anniversary of the Fab Four being photographed outside the Abbey Road studios in St John's Wood.

Cllr Cyril Nemeth, who represents the Abbey Road ward, said that despite Westminster Council's position he still wants the crossing to be relocated for safety reasons.

He said: "First we want to try to have parking on just one side of the road.

"We'd like to move the crossing away from the junction and we'd like to discourage tourists from coming along at rush-hour times."

His fellow ward councillor, Lindsey Hall, agreed that something needed to be done.

She said: "It's a really difficult one. You don't want to be a killjoy and take away such an iconic and historic place. But on the other hand it's causing grief to the local people.

"We recognise we're facing a dilemma because it's become such a popular tourist destination that it's getting out of control."

Council figures show that accidents in the area around the crossing have been rising steadily over the past 10 years.

The number of accidents reported to the council in the 1980s and 1990s remained steady, with 18 being reported during this period.

But since 2000, there has been a sharp increase in the numbers, with 22 accidents reported so far in this decade alone.

One of the most tragic cases occurred last year when 10-year-old Jack Duval was killed by a car while crossing Abbey Road.

The issue of moving the crossing has also split residents who live close to the famed crossing.

One 88-year-old resident, who preferred not to be named, said: "The crossing is very difficult for someone as elderly as me. I always have to wait to cross because people are always there.

"I think they should move it because we now have hundreds of people coming every day."

But Kevin Sheriden, who lives in an apartment block next to the crossing, said: "The tourists don't do any harm and it's part of history. At first you think it's a nuisance but now it would seem odd if the tourists weren't there."

A spokesman for Westminster Council said: "There's nothing to indicate any more cause for concern than on any other road.

"The issue with that particular crossing is the busy junction. We have looked into a redesign of the junction itself where the iconic crossing would be saved.


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