Opposition deflated as Haverstock Hill cycle lanes get final green light
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Cycle lanes will go up in Haverstock Hill – after an attempt to ditch the scheme fell flat.
Camden Council’s culture and environment scrutiny committee backed the town hall’s prior approval of the scheme by a majority decision on Thursday (August 26).
The meeting was triggered after the opposition of the Labour-run administration, the Camden Conservatives, “called in” the decision to give the cycle lanes the go-ahead.
The opposition, led by Cllr Oliver Cooper, posed an alternative route from Prince of Wales Road to South End Green, via Maitland Park Villas.
But the council’s transport lead, Cllr Adam Harrison, claimed the Haverstock Hill route would encourage more people to take up cycling, including under-represented groups such as women.
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Five deputations were heard, including from proponents and opponents of the scheme.
Mervyn Druian, from the London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry, said: "I'm petrified for my practice, I fear we'll close and we’ll have another charity shop on Haverstock Hill.
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“I'm not a politician, I'm a dentist, I'm fighting for the survival of my practice and other local businesses."
Cyclists staged a demonstration in support of the cycle lanes scheme outside the Crowndale Centre before the town hall’s meeting.
John Chamberlain, co-coordinator of the Camden Cycling Campaign, said: "Haverstock Hill is a main thoroughfare and though the wishes of residents and business owners should be respected, they should not have a veto on changes to the road to make it safer."
David Harrison, vice-chair of London Living Streets, said discussion of the cycle lanes had “tended to ignore the very significant pedestrian improvements”.
"The people of the area deserve greater protection from motorists and an opportunity to enjoy walking to shops and local facilities," he said.
Amit Shah, chair of the Steele’s Village Business Association, who launched a legal challenge against the bike lanes last year, said the scheme’s approval “seems like a decision being imposed without listening to the community”.
A survey conducted by the town hall showed that 69% of local residents responding – and 78% of businesses – disapproved of the proposals, which will see parking removed along the hill.
Despite this opposition, including from the disabled and elderly, Camden Labour councillors said people’s safety on the roads had to take priority. They pointed to collisions where cyclists are victims, including a recent fatal crash in Holborn.
The Haverstock Hill scheme is expected to cost around £541,600 and will run between Prince of Wales Road and Pond Street.