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‘Disaster waiting to happen’: Highgate residents slam council’s road changes ‘creating rat run’ in Pond Square

PUBLISHED: 12:17 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:09 10 July 2020

Pond Square Resident's Association. From left to right: Peter Tenenbaum, Neil Perkins, Edward Stanners, Jeffrey Salmon. Picture: Pond Square Resident's Association

Pond Square Resident's Association. From left to right: Peter Tenenbaum, Neil Perkins, Edward Stanners, Jeffrey Salmon. Picture: Pond Square Resident's Association

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Highgate residents “furious” with council attempts to tackle a rat run in Swain’s Lane say they have only created another in Pond Square.

Residents say the changes to Swain's Lane have only diverted traffic to Pond Square (pictured). Picture: Pond Square Resident's AssociationResidents say the changes to Swain's Lane have only diverted traffic to Pond Square (pictured). Picture: Pond Square Resident's Association

Due to Covid-19, Camden Council has made road changes across the borough designed to aid social distancing, walking and cycling - but some residents and councillors have challenged their lack of consultation.

In Swain’s Lane, to try and tackle speeding and to prevent cars using it as a cut-through, right turns have been banned on to Bisham Gardens and South Grove.

But now, Pond Square Resident’s Association (PSRA) says cars are “forced” onto Pond Square which was “never designed to take commuting traffic”.

Resident Jeff Salmon called the no right turn scheme a “major disaster waiting to happen”.

He said: “Someone is going to get seriously hurt.

“It is a significant danger to children and the elderly. It also affects car owners who have parked outside their homes on these very narrow streets getting the side of their vehicles damaged.”

PSRA member Peter Tenenbaum said he could no longer take his grandchildren to the square over safety fears.

“I would support any scheme to improve the environment,” he said. “But this makes no sense on so many levels.

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“In fact it has increased any problem that might or might not have existed.”

READ MORE: Mixed reaction to Camden’s social distancing road changes from councillors, cyclists and residents

Camden Council says the changes to Swain’s Lane came from residents’ suggestions at the beginning of lockdown.

Issued as experimental traffic orders, the borough-wide alterations did not require public consultation to be implemented, and they are set to remain until the end of next year.

Around June, a public consultation is planned to review Camden’s road changes and whether they will become permanent.

Camden Council’s environment lead, Cllr Adam Harrison, said: “The measures installed aim to discourage Swain’s Lane being a rat run and make the road safer.

“Residents in the village retain access to park and receive deliveries.

“I do recognise the way in which rat-running drivers are behaving in the early days of the experimental arrangement, including them edging their way around Pond Square, which is not suitable for this sort of through-traffic.

“We are therefore looking at ways to discourage this in order to relieve the square and still to try to reduce the Swain’s Lane through-traffic.”

For more information on Camden’s road changes click here.


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