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Success in Removing Dangerous Temporary Cycle Lanes on Kensington High Street

26 November 2020

Dear Resident/Business


I am writing to let you know that I have asked Council Officers to begin removing the temporary bicycle lanes on Kensington High Street from 2 December 2020. In the spring, different layers of Government instructed the Council to build a ‘pop up’ route “within weeks”. We had hoped that a scheme might help local businesses attract shoppers to the high street; and that residents would regard as useful an east-west path. Alas - more than two months after installing temporary ‘wands’ on the road - it is clear that large majorities of local businesses and residents do not think the experiment has worked. Kensington Business Forum and Kensington and Chelsea Chamber of Trade and Commerce have asked the Council to take out the lanes, so that they can make the most of a busy holiday season; as have our resident associations across the high street, due to increased congestion. We understand this ask is supported by disability groups, such as Action Disability K&C, who are anxious about impacts on their members (including visually impaired people); as well as by Felicity Buchan MP and Tony Devenish AM, who ran a local survey on the subject. We want to listen to local businesses and local people. That is why we have acted to get the high street moving again. Nonetheless, we know there are some residents who liked the project. We will continue to promote cycling and walking in the borough. To that end, we want to build on popular actions - from upgrading quiet bike routes on side streets, to a trial closure of Portobello Road on 'market days'. We expect work to take the lanes out will last five days. Some of the work will depend on weather, but I have asked our engineers to progress as quickly as it is safe to do so. have also asked for non-emergency highways and utilities works along the road to be suspended in December. I wish you all the best - and a happy Christmas - in these uncertain times. Yours faithfully, Councillor Johnny Thalassites,

Lead Member for Planning, Place and Environment, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

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