A controversial cycle superhighway through Regent’s Park is not “dead”, City Hall insisted today.
Andrew Gilligan, the former cycling commissioner to Boris Johnson, last night claimed that Transport for London was set to publish amended plans that were so watered down as to leave the Swiss Cottage to Oxford Circus CS11 route “effectively dead”.
The original proposals involved closing four of the park’s gates to prevent commuter rat-running. The plans were backed in a public consultation but sparked fierce opposition from a number of residents.
Mayor Sadiq Khan had pledged to find a way to deliver the route when he took office in 2016 but no work has yet started – despite a pledge that construction would start last year.
A spokesman for Mr Khan said today: “CS11 was left for dead by Andrew Gilligan and Boris Johnson, with the community bitterly divided by their unnecessarily confrontational approach and all the stakeholders in disagreement about the plans.
“The new Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, has been working extremely hard to salvage this scheme and provide a better route to improve walking and cycling through Regent’s Park.
“We’ve had positive consultation results but still need to get full agreement from all the responsible authorities in order for the plans to proceed – this work is ongoing and involves rebuilding the relationships that were severely damaged by Andrew Gilligan.”
Justin McKie, of Regent’s Park Cyclists, who has been closely involved in negotiations on the proposed route, said he feared objections from Westminster council to restricting vehicle access to the park would result in a “very watered down version of CS11”.
He believed the amended plans would not be as poor as Mr Gilligan believed, but added: “Overall, these plans appear to be disappointing. After three years of discussions, we had a workable solution to Regent’s Park. But the Westminster pro-car lobby has been working in overdrive to scupper the plans.
“Westminster really should hang their heads in shame, their policy of fighting against all pro-cycling projects will mean that their roads will remain the most polluted in Europe.”
- An edited version of this story appears in tonight’s Evening Standard.