Petition launched to close off Maida Vale road to traffic
A campaign is under way to close a small stretch of Maida Vale to cars and create a community space for residents to enjoy without worrying about traffic.
More than 100 people have so far signed a petition to pedestrianise the section of Formosa Street between Castellain Road and Warrington Crescent.
The small section of the road contains a number of independent shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs with campaigners arguing that closing the road to traffic would create the continental feel of a piazza.
Castellain Road resident Gaia Beugre organised the petition which she is planning on submitting to Westminster Council in December.
She said: “We came up with the idea because we were sitting outside in the summer with our young children and we thought wouldn’t it be more relaxing if there were no cars. There are lots of young mothers in the area and it would be nice to have a place to relax, have some food and be sociable without traffic.”
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A number of businesses on the road have voiced their support for the proposals including Lara Vianini, restaurant manager at Red Pepper.
“It’s a good idea because it will allow shops and restaurants to have tables and chairs outside and create a nice atmosphere,” she said. “As an Italian girl I like the idea of sitting outside.”
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While campaigners claim traffic could easily be diverted to nearby roads, some shops on the street have opposed the plans, arguing that removing cars would hinder their customers and only help cafes.
Sali’s Hair Salon owner Sam Adeeb said: “Fifty per cent of my clients rely on parking outside so unless the council can provide the same parking I’m opposed.
“My clients come from Highgate and all over London and they want to be able to park for two hours. Small businesses need to encourage people to come to them not put them off.”
Little Venice councillor Melvyn Caplan says the pedestrianisation of the road has been discussed for years but the view of all businesses and residents must be taken into account.
He said: “The case is not yet proven in terms of the disadvantages outweighing the advantages.”
He added a compromise could be reached by making the street one-way to traffic.