CS11: Judicial review bid launched against Cycle Superhighway

An artists impression of CS11. Picture: TfL

An artists impression of CS11. Picture: TfL - Credit: Archant

A judicial review bid by Westminster City Council against the CS11 cycle superhighway has been slammed as “petty political posturing”, as its future hangs in the balance.

Cyclists in Regent's Park. Picture: JUSTIN McKIE

Cyclists in Regent's Park. Picture: JUSTIN McKIE - Credit: Archant

With less than a month until work is set to begin, the authority has initiated proceedings against Transport for London’s (TfL) scheme, saying residents “overwhelmingly” oppose it.

The project has been contentious since planning started in 2016. Campaigners against the route, headed by Jessica Learmond-Criqui, have raised concerns about increased traffic and pollution as a result of the increased space for cyclists.

However cycling campaigners have said the project will make it far safer to cycle around the city when the scheme is finished.

City Hall has recently announced it will be tweaking its Swiss Cottage plans to allow cars to turn onto Finchley Road from College Crescent, and from Finchley Road into Hillgrove Road.

A source from inside City Hall described the move by the Conservative council as “disgraceful.”

Westminster City Council have recently also pulled the plug on plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street.

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A source from the mayor of London’s office said: “The idea that Westminster Council think they can hold the rest of London to ransom is totally unacceptable.

“Both of these schemes have significant public support. They will make a real difference to making London’s streets safer and cleaner and they shouldn’t be held up by petty political posturing.”

Work will begin on the first part of the scheme, the Swiss Cottage gyratory, next month. When completed, it will stretch from Finchley Road to the West End. The route will cross Camden and Westminster boroughs, as well as Regent’s Park.

Ms Learmond-Criqui, who is involved in the legal action against TfL said: “This news is welcome and the grounds for the judicial review accurately reflect the outrage of residents in north west London at TfL’s decision to build a cycle superhighway at Swiss Cottage.

“TfL had 18 months from announcing their preferred scheme in December 2016 to make applications to the necessary authorities to secure the entire CS11 route. During that time, despite requests from residents, Westminster and Camden Councils and various MPs to provide information on what the locals know to be a deeply flawed scheme, which was ultimately rejected by a majority of people who responded to the consultation of the scheme, TfL failed to supply the information and it never sought their formal agreement to the scheme.

“The works at Swiss Cottage were designed to form part of a whole CS11 scheme and not be executed on a standalone basis. Working at Swiss Cottage alone inflicts all the costs on the local communities in terms of displaced traffic from the 40,000 vehicles per day which uses the Finchley Road and the consequent pollution, while bringing few benefits to cyclists.

“Judicial review is very much a last resort and has been necessary only because TfL insisted on proceeding without agreement from the other relevant authorities.”

A Westminster City Council spokesman said: “We fully support the provision of safe cycling and we are making major investments in the City to provide this, working closely with TfL and the Cycling Commissioner.

“However residents are overwhelmingly opposed to the Cycle Superhighway 11 proposals.

“As TfL is starting to proceed with the Swiss Cottage section without our support for the scheme as a whole, we have been left with no choice but to back our residents and to legally challenge the scheme.”