Judge blocks CS11 bike route after High Court appeal
TfL accused of not doing 'due diligence' over cycle superhighway
14 September, 2018 — By William McLennan
A SAFE cycle route has been blocked by the High Court after an appeal from Westminster Council.
The ruling yesterday (Thursday) on “Cycle Superhighway 11” – which was intended to run north from Marylebone through Regent’s Park towards Swiss Cottage – intensified a dispute over transport policy between the Mayor of London and council chiefs.
London’s cycling tsar Will Norman said: “Once again Westminster Council is obstructing plans that will improve road safety for all Londoners.”
It follows Westminster’s decision in June to oppose Sadiq Khan’s planned pedestrianisation of Oxford Street. The council said it was “happy” with the judgment. It claimed that CS11 was inadequately planned and accused Transport for London of failing to properly consider the impacts on traffic and pollution. It said TfL had failed to share “traffic modelling” data and, as a result, could not “make an informed decision”.
Concerns focused on traffic being forced into the residential streets of St John’s Wood.
The proposals, which won 60 per cent support at consultation and have been backed by thousands, had been mired by objections from residents since it was announced in 2016. TfL said it would consider appealing the decision, shortly after Judge Sir Ross Cranston ruled in favour of Westminster Council on Thursday morning.
Work was set to begin at the end of June on the first part of the route in Swiss Cottage, Camden, before Westminster Council took out an emergency injunction to allow time for the High Court appeal to be heard.
Mr Norman said: “Cycle Superhighway 11 will play a crucial role in making the area safer for cyclists and pedestrians, removing the outdated, dangerous, and traffic-dominated gyratory at Swiss Cottage.
“There is an urgent need for more safe cycling and walking routes into central London, and once again Westminster Council is obstructing plans that will improve the local environment and road safety for all Londoners.”
TfL said in a statement that it was “disappointed” with the ruling, which it claimed “focuses on procedure rather than the merits of the scheme”.
It added: “The scheme that was the subject of this ruling would help to protect all road users and particularly those walking and cycling, whilst significantly improving the area for residents, visitors and businesses.”
Opponents to the scheme had been due to launch their own High Court appeal, before Westminster stepped in.
Jessica Learmond-Criqui, an activist who led the residents’ campaign, said: “This is not and never has been a challenge to the principle of cycleways or safe cycling. It was always a challenge to the unacceptable and high-handed manner in which TfL makes and implements its decisions. The High Court agreed with us.”
Cllr Tim Mitchell, Westminster’s transport chief, said: “It’s clear from today’s outcome, TfL have not completed the due diligence that our residents deserve and the current CS11 proposals need to be assessed in more detail. TfL must consider the effects of the entire route before an informed decision can be made.”
He said the council “supports improving cycling infrastructure” but said that “all traffic and air quality impacts must be properly assessed before a decision is made to construct”.
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