Council's opposition triggers challenge to Haverstock Hill bike lanes
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Camden Council’s decision to give cycle lanes in Haverstock Hill the go-ahead has been formally challenged by the opposition.
The move to approve the bike lanes on August 4 between Prince of Wales Road and Pond Street has been called in by the Camden Conservatives, who want to see the current plan scrapped.
This means that on August 26 the bike lanes will be reviewed by the culture and environment committee, which could recommend the cabinet U-turns.
However this is unlikely due to the committee being composed of a majority of councillors from the Labour Party, which runs the council.
Cllr Oliver Cooper, the leader of the Camden Conservatives, said: "In a democracy, when local residents and businesses overwhelmingly oppose a proposal, councillors should too – and this call-in gives councillors an opportunity to ensure Camden listens.
“If residents are steamrolled on Haverstock Hill, they'll be steamrolled everywhere, from Kentish Town to Kilburn. It will make a mockery of consultation and fatally undermine councillors' abilities to stand up for residents everywhere in Camden.
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"Belsize councillor Steve Adams and I suggested a flatter, cleaner, safer alternative that would give greater benefits to cyclists and do less harm to businesses, pedestrians, public transport users, and drivers.
“Now that the public have spoken, councillors have a chance to ask Camden's cabinet to halt the rejected scheme up Haverstock Hill and look at a better route instead."
The opposition has argued for an alternative route from Prince of Wales Road to South End Green via Maitland Park Villas.
A survey conducted by the town hall showed that 69% of local residents responding - and 78% of businesses - disapproved of the cycle lanes scheme, which is expected to cost around £541,600.
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Camden Council believes the project will boost the borough’s wider transport policies, develop cycling infrastructure, and support travel changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Cllr Adam Harrison, Camden’s cabinet member for transport, previously said: “In Camden, more than two-thirds of people do not have a car, and already more than 8 in 10 trips made by Camden residents are made by public transport, walking and cycling. But we know this can rise further if we make our streets as safe and as welcoming as possible.
“I have been contacted on many occasions by parents asking for much safer travel for their children. With numerous schools on or close to Haverstock Hill, segregated cycle lanes are designed to allow more kids to ride a bike to school, improving their health and making Camden a more family-friendly borough.”