Liveable Streets: Councillors remove some Brick Lane closures after 'backlash'

Brick Lane

Road closures had been in place as part of the Liveable Streets initiative but cabinet members agreed to reverse some in the southern section of Brick Lane - Credit: Google

Some road closures as part of the Brick Lane Liveable Streets scheme have been scrapped after opposition from residents and businesses.

Tower Hamlets Council introduced the Brick Lane section of the scheme in August on Thursday and Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays.

But after a review, cabinet members agreed to remove the southern most closures along Brick Lane between Chicksand Street and Fashion Street, Fournier Street and Princelet Street and Princelet Street and Hanbury Street.

The rest of the closures will remain but will be reduced to Saturdays and Sundays between 12pm and 11pm.

On November 24, cabinet members also approved the restoration of the one way east bound operation to Fournier Street and the one way east bound operation of the western section of Princelet Street between Wilkes Street and Brick Lane.

Forty-six businesses responded to the consultation and around three-quarters said the scheme had negatively impacted their enterprises.

A council report said the plans address the concerns while reducing the number of vehicles using Brick Lane at weekends.

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Councillor Peter Golds told the meeting that he raised concerns about diverting traffic from Brick Lane onto the Chicksand estate at a previous cabinet meeting. 

He said: "In future events when these are being prepared they (officers) look at the demography of the area and we don't have a situation whereby vehicular traffic is shoved onto and dominates one of the poorest areas of the borough."

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Peter Golds raised concerns about the impact on the Chicksand estate - Credit: Mike Brooke

Mayor John Biggs acknowledged Cllr Golds' comments but felt the reality was "more complicated".

He told the meeting: "I think one of the biggest issues with Brick Lane is the amount of through traffic that goes from one end to the other - using it as a bypass for some of the busier roads in the borough.

"Obviously people have journeys they want to take through Tower Hamlets and Brick Lane provides one of those opportunities but it's also a heavily pedestrian area with the restaurants and other trade.

"So I guess the thinking about it was the impact on local economy and on the local community but there was quite a backlash against it and I acknowledge that."

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Mayor John Biggs admitted there had been a 'backlash' against some of the closures - Credit: Mike Brooke

The whole Liveable Streets scheme was introduced to change the travel behaviour of residents, businesses and visitors to the borough.

The school streets, improvements to Brick Lane and a public realm scheme on Buxton Street were not part of the review, the council said, and are set to be delivered during this financial year.