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Plan for total car ban is on road to success

PUBLISHED: 16:00 16 February 2007 | UPDATED: 14:27 07 September 2010

CAMDEN High Street could be free of cars and buses in 10 years time after plans for a two-way tram system on the road were given the thumbs-up

Katie Davies

CAMDEN High Street could be free of cars and buses in 10 years time after plans for a two-way tram system on the road were given the thumbs-up.

Camden Council has cautiously welcomed London mayor Ken Livingstone's £600million Cross River Tram scheme from Peckham to Camden Town.

In a response to Transport for London (TfL), a council report has found in favour of a high street scheme that would in all likelihood rule out any other traffic on the road.

The report says: "Effectively the route would become a public transport corridor and not a through route for general traffic."

Traders are backing the move and say the tram - which should be running by 2017 - would be a boost to the environment.

Camden Market trader Philomena Card said: "I think it would make this area a lot better - it will be a little more like Amsterdam.

"The traffic at the moment is non-stop and this would make it much cleaner. But if deliveries can't be made, I think other traders would oppose it big time."

Henry Lennard from market owners Camden Lock Ltd, said: "In the past, we have all lobbied for a more pedestrianised high street but it was opposed by the local council and TfL. It is something we have always supported."

But Olga Calnan from residents' group Camden Town Speaks said: "I think this whole thing is a ridiculous and redundant scheme. It is expensive - just to do with Ken Livingstone's legacy - and would bring chaos.

"Where is the traffic going to go? On the residential streets surrounding the high street? That would entirely change the character of the area."

The council report also opposes the tram route linking up Euston and King's Cross stations via Somers Town.

This opposition was welcomed by residents in the area who have been asking TfL to drop plans for a route via Polygon Road and Brill Place.

Instead, the council said the tram should run through Eversholt Street, Crowndale Road and Pancras Road.

Ward councillor Roger Robinson said: "There are lots of estates which would be affected on the Crowndale route so there is still going to be a disruption.

"But this is good for Somers Town residents. That is one battle won but now we have to win the war."

Council chiefs also urge caution in the report that will be considered at a town hall meeting tonight.

Environment boss Councillor Mike Greene said: "There are likely to be substantial traffic effects and that is why we want studies done soon and commissioned by Camden and TfL jointly."

katie.davies@hamhigh.co.uk

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