Brick Lane could be pedestrianised in time for Olympics

Brick Lane could be closed to traffic to boost business, Tower Hamlets mayor said today during the launch of 2011 curry festival.

After calls for the famous street to be pedestrianised in time for the Olympics, mayor Lutfur Rahman said the proposal had “always been on the table”.

He added: “It’s up for discussion. We would have to consult with residents and shop owners.”

Praising Brick Lane – dubbed Europe’s Curry Capital – for “significant contributing to the country’s coffers” and boosting employment, the mayor also said he wanted to clean-up the area.

Dozens of businesses and visitors turned up to the launch at Shampan restaurant to enjoy a colourful spread of Bangladeshi cuisine, live music and a special appearance from ITV’s Daybreak presenter Tasmin Khan.


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Shiraj Haque, who owns the Clifton group including several Brick Lane restaurants, inferred that the pedestrianisation of the road may not be far off.

He said: “Maybe in the future we can close Brick Lane to traffic. It would be good to do that for the Olympics.”

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The launch of the curry festival, which is in its 11th year, was brought forward from its usual September slot to celebrate the recent unveiling of Brick Lane as Curry Capital for the Olympics.

London 2012 chairman, Lord Seb Coe visited the “Curry Mile” in March and vowed to promote it to the tens of thousands of delegates and visitors coming to the capital next year.

Restaurant owners said the festival, which officially launches on Sunday, does an important job in promoting the area.

Guljar Khan, who runs four Brick Lane restaurants, said: “When you have a lot of people coming here they shop, they go to the pubs, they eat, so it helps everyone. Brick Lane is a partnership.”

Papadoms restaurant owner Shamim Ali said: “The snow last year and the recession hit business a bit but hopefully the festival being launched before the summer and the Olympics will help.”

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