Following pressure from campaign groups and the prospect of a judicial review, Kensington and Chelsea’s council leader Elizabeth Campbell has announced a decision to reconsider removing the cycle lane on Kensington High Street, which it did in early December 2020, only seven weeks after it had been installed, at a cost to taxpayers of £320k. The about turn came without any notice, and despite significant usage of the cycle lane and wide-spread support among residents.
“Many residents are so frustrated by what has always clearly looked like an anti-cycling agenda. Sadly it looks like this now has been confirmed – and must be challenged.’ says Zack Polanski, Green Party Assembly candidate.
In early January, Forbes magazine revealed that council officers had drafted press statements against the cycle lane for local business groups and had encouraged residents to express their opposition. Meanwhile, the council ignored thousands of supportive emails sent to them, with pro cycling campaign groups copied in (1)
Research has shown that the space of the removed cycle lane is now mostly used by parked cars, while travel times along KHS have increased. (2)
In a letter published on the council website, Kensington & Chelsea now seems to admit that the earlier decision was biased and would not withstand the scrutiny of a full judicial review. K&C councillor and transport lead Johnny Thalassitis, who was responsible for the removal of the lane, will not be taking part in the new assessment ‘in the interest of fairness’.(3)
“Taxpayers in Kensington and Chelsea are paying the bill of such unprofessional conduct, while safety on Kensington High Street, one of the most dangerous roads in London, is compromised,” says local Green Party campaigner Fabian Frenzel . “K&C residents deserve better than this.”
The local Green Party wants to see the immediate reinstatement of the cycle lane.
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