High Street Kensington cycle lanes

Kensington cycle lanes could cost nearly £700k as council considers another U-turn

Controversial cycle lanes in Kensington risk costing nearly £700,000, after the council said it will consider a second U-turn at a meeting next month.

The cycle lanes were completed on October 15 2020 for around £320,000, but were removed just a month and a half later on 2 December, which the council estimates cost up to £40,000.

Now the council will consider installing them again, but did not say whether this could cost another £320,000, possibly bringing the total cost of the cycle lanes to £680,000.

The decision to reconsider will likely please Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who allegedly went ‘ballistic’ after hearing the council had decided to scrap the lanes, MailOnline reported.

Elizabeth Campbell, the leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, said: “It is important we consider the most up-to-date information and views we have available, and so officers have been asked to prepare an up-to-date report for us to consider at our meeting in March. 

“I know the depth of feeling on both sides of this issue, so it is important we make the time to consider this further and understand how the council can be a leader in all forms of active and sustainable travel.”

The pop-up cycle lanes on High Street Kensington were part of the government’s £250million active travel fund announced in May last year.

The decision to review whether to reinstall the lanes came after volunteer campaign group Better Streets for Kensington & Chelsea initiated protocols for a judicial review on the scrapping of the lanes.

Many Kensington residents opposed the cycle lanes because of the congestion it caused, while some shop owners suggested the lanes caused a loss of revenue since they took the place of street parking areas. 

However, others wanted the lanes to protect cyclists and promote cycling over cars, which are bad for the environment.

In a bid to show their support for the cycle lanes, children had even ‘adopted’ cycle bollards along the street.

Other groups, including the London Cycling Campaign, opposed the decision to remove the cycle lanes.

In a statement, London Cycling Campaign said: “The case made by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea against its own cycle tracks on Kensington High Street looks more and more flimsy, less and less sane, with every day that passes.”

The council said although it will not consult the community it will take into account any material considerations that are relevant.

The council will revisit the decision in a meeting on 17 March.

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