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Camden High Street: Council launches pedestrianisation consultation



Camden High Street: Council launches pedestrianisation consultation

By Liz Jackson & James W KellyBBC News

Getty Images Image from 2021 showing crowds walking down Camden High Street, with the green and yellow Camden Lock bridge graffiti behind themGetty Images

Camden High Street can see 40,000 people on it at peak times, according to the council

Camden residents are being asked for their views on council plans to pedestrianise the high street as part of a new consultation.

Under the proposals, Camden Council wants to create a “motor traffic-free” section of the north London road, from the junction with Parkway and Kentish Town Road, to the junction with Jamestown Road and Hawley Crescent.

On its website the council said the area “can get overcrowded” and “high levels of motor vehicle traffic can lead to conflict with pedestrians… worsen air quality, and negatively affect visitors’ experience”.

If passed, the scheme would first be introduced for an 18-month trial.

Getty Images Image from 2022 showing people crossing a road in the Camden High Street areaGetty Images

The council said the area “can get overcrowded” and “high levels of motor vehicle traffic can lead to conflict with pedestrians”

Councillor Adam Harrison, Camden Council’s cabinet member for sustainability, told BBC Radio London the high street often gets “so very, very crowded” with visitors.

“There could be up to 40,000 on the high street at peak times,” he said. “We know there is a real potential for collisions between civilians and vehicles.”

Mr Harrison said the move would accommodate more people visiting the area and help support hospitality and retail businesses.

In the proposal, the council said the scheme would create “a safer and more enjoyable environment for pedestrians”, which would help people “to spend more time on the high street and support local businesses”.

It added the plans would also encourage “more active and sustainable travel, like walking, wheeling or cycling”.

“This would mean no access to motor vehicles to this section of Camden High Street, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, except for emergency services and some refuse collection vehicles. Northbound cycling would be kept,” the council said in a statement explaining the scheme.

Camden Council A map showing changes in red yellow and blue to bus and traffic routes in the Camden High Street areaCamden Council

The scheme would result in changes to bus routes and loading and delivery arrangements

If the plans are implemented in full, bus routes passing through the area will need to be changed, as well as loading and delivery arrangements, while Jamestown Road will be made one-way.

Asked whether preventing cars from accessing the high street could actually harm trade, Mr Harrison said: “That’s not particularly the experience we’ve had. We have so many people coming already – many by bus, by Tube, by the Overground to Camden Town station.”

He added access would be maintained for disabled people from side streets and the additional space would make it easier for wheelchair users to move around.

On Wednesday, BBC Radio London spoke to people on Camden’s streets to get their views about the plan.

One van driver said: “Too many people are walking on the street so this would be nice.”

A woman said: “I walk on to the road when tourists are here so I wouldn’t mind it.”

However, she added that making the streets traffic-free may just attract increasing numbers of visitors, leading to more overcrowding problems.

A pop-up event will be held for residents to give their views on 16 July outside Buck Street Market.

Camden Council said if the scheme was approved for a trial, a full public consultation on whether or not to make the changes permanent would be carried out after 12 months and the data would then help inform the council’s decision.

The consultation is being run until 30 August.

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