Brick Lane pedestrianisation ‘could hurt businesses’

Brick Lane houses the Curry Capital of London, in Bangla town ward.

Brick Lane houses the Curry Capital of London, in Bangla town ward. - Credit: Archant

A season of “summer Saturdays” during which Brick Lane is being pedestrianised has been criticised amid warnings businesses could actually lose out as a result.

The road is being transformed into a continental “piazza” for four Saturdays in August, culminating in a weekend of celebrations at the end of the month.

But some residents expressed fears that the scheme is part of a pattern of the area’s night-time economy being prioritised over people living there.

Now, some business-owners are circulating a petition opposing the plan.

Labour’s Mayoral candidate John Biggs said: “Whilst the scheme may bring benefits to some businesses it is clear that others will face serious disadvantages and could easily suffer loss of trade.

“No thought has been given to the problems of antisocial behaviour widely experienced in the area at busy times, particularly at night.

“The idea of pedestrianising the street has been around for many years but on its own achieves little, and for some businesses will cause rather than solve problems.”

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The first of the pedestrianised Saturdays will take place this weekend.

And Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman said the scheme will increase visitor numbers and boost business. The road, which runs from Shoreditch to Whitechapel, could be pedestrianised permanently if the trial is deemed a success.

Mayor Rahman added: “We can inject new life and vibrancy into the beating heart of Tower Hamlets.

“As well as limiting through traffic, there are plans to bring in face painters, jugglers, stilt walkers, and puppeteers during the day to cater to families.

“At night, the street will be transformed with caricaturists, illusionists and comedy helping to create a thriving night economy atmosphere.”