'Big victory,' says man behind Haverstock Hill cycle lanes legal challenge
- Credit: Amit Shah
A resident who took Camden Council to court over proposed cycle lanes in Haverstock Hill has hailed the town hall’s withdrawal of the scheme as a “big victory”.
Amit Shah, who lives in Haverstock Hill himself, said he was “absolutely delighted” at the council’s decision to remove the project's experimental traffic order. He called for a “proper” consultation on future plans.
The town hall pulled out of the divisive scheme on Thursday due to what it called a “minor technical error” and said it would look again at the proposals.
The U-turn followed a legal challenge against the council by Amit who opposed the scheme after he claimed the initiative – designed to improve cycling infrastructure – could impede his and others’ access to the Royal Free, and that it would damage local businesses.
The 38-year-old told the Ham&High: “It’s now time for Camden to consult with the community on Haverstock Hill properly about this scheme and look at what the alternatives are, and not just to try to impose something on the community.
“Whatever proposal that comes forward should be mindful that it takes into account the needs of the vulnerable and the elderly. That’s a big concern for a lot of people who live around here.”
The chair of Steele’s Village Residents' Association continued: “It's just common sense that has prevailed here because you can’t do things undemocratically and I feel very strongly about that.
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“The support I’ve had from the community shows you the power of this and I think for all of the community this is a big victory.”
Amit, who works two jobs including night shifts for a supermarket, is waiting on further documentation from the council before formally withdrawing his legal challenge.
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He said he was “keeping a close eye” on any future proposals, and how they could be revised and resubmitted by the council.
Amit added: “I am delighted. I am happy not just for myself and for the concerns I have, but particularly happy for people who wouldn't have the ability to fight this but shared my concerns.”
A Camden Council spokesperson previously said: “When we made the decision on the Haverstock Hill scheme we did so to the published guidance at the time.
“However, since then we have looked again at how we introduce these emergency transport schemes and included further public engagement in the process.
“Due to a minor technical error in the order for the scheme, we are looking at the Haverstock Hill plans again.”
The council’s decision follows a recent High Court ruling that TfL’s Streetspace guidance – which the Haverstock Hill scheme is a part of – was unlawful following a challenge by taxi drivers.
Camden said it was “too soon” for it to comment on the wider implications of the ruling on the borough’s existing Streetspace schemes.
TfL itself introduced measures under Streetspace in Finchley Road.
TfL said it plans to appeal the ruling.