Sadiq Khan presses ahead with CS-11 but local opponents say they have been 'ignored'
PUBLISHED: 19:01 03 August 2016 | UPDATED: 19:11 03 August 2016
The controversial Cycle-Superhighway 11 scheme was today given the green light by Mayor Sadiq Khan - but opponents say the views of local people have not been properly listened to.
The project was the brainchild of previous Mayor of London Boris Johnson, but those fighting it wanted the new Mayor to scrap it - but Mr Khan today dashed their hopes.
The scheme will link Swiss Cottage to the West End, but opponents fear it will result in gridlock as four of the gates to Regent’s Park will be locked during the day and traffic will be funnelled into a single lane for part of the route.
A statement from TfL said that 60 per cent of 6,000 respondents to the consultation were supportive - or “partially supportive” - of the scheme.
Mr Khan said: “Making cycling easier and safer benefits all of us.
“Cycle-Superhighway 11 will play an important role improving the quality of our toxic air, improving Londoners’ health, and make thousands more people feel comfortable cycling.”
Jessica Learmond-Criqui, a solicitor and vocal campaigner against the scheme, said she felt it was disingenuous to take the 60 per cent figure as proof of “support” for the scheme when many of them were only “partially” supportive.
She said: “We are falling victim again to a sort of one-two between TfL and the Mayor’s office.
“TfL are playing a completely straight bat. No decisions today, no commentary even, just an ostensibly factual report – albeit that partially supportive gets aggregated with supportive when it also means partially opposed.”
And Ms Learmond-Criqui added: “Val Shawcross (deputy mayor for transport) stood up this morning at a cycling summit to say that Sadiq wants to see CS11 happen and they will make it happen.
“It is a fallacy to say that the Mayor is independent of TfL – he is the chair. If he wants it, he will get it. Why continue the charade? This has legal, governance, political and probity issues.”
The maps from TfL’s consultation reveal that support for the scheme was greater the further away from it respondents lived, with those living closest the most strongly opposed.
Resident Clive Beecham expressed his concern that TfL has given the views of those not directly impacted by the creation of the scheme equal weighting with the views of local people.
He wrote in an email to Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq: “I do hope that this map, and the lists of people who were allowed to affect the conclusions of this overwhelmingly localised issue, will help allow you to argue for the benefit of your constituents, whose opinion seems to be pretty clear.
“A cycle highway may yet be implemented, but there is no doubting the local feeling and objections to items such as park closure, Hampstead “rat run” congestion and the Swiss Cottage/HS2 implications.”
The proposals were opposed by Westminster Council, London Zoo and the London Taxi Drivers’ Association.
But they were supported by the Royal College of Physicians - who highlighted the health benefits of reducing pollution in London as well as of cycling - and by the Marylebone Cricket Club.
Camden Council offered only “partial support” for the scheme and raised concerns that it could impact on emergency services around the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.
The Stop CS-11 campaign submitted a petition with more than 4,000 signed by more than 4,000 people - with its founder, Daniel Howard, left furious when it was counted as a single objection by TfL.
But many cyclists and pedestrians backed the plans, including Camden Cyclists, whose chair Angela Hobsbaum said it was vital to make cycling safer in the borough.
Mr Khan said he was “determined” to learn lessons from previous cycle-superhighway schemes which have had a negative impact on residents and motorists.
He said: “I’ve asked TfL to continue to work closely with the local councils and stakeholders to ensure we minimise any disruption to motorists and other road users, both during the construction of the scheme and after it’s completed.
“This includes ensuring changes around Swiss Cottage gyratory benefit car-users who use that busy junction every day.”
The Mayor said that the scheme should make the area “substantially safer for pedestrians” - although those opposed to the scheme say pedestrians could be at risk from cyclists whizzing past at speed.