Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11) has been blocked by a High Court judge. Sir Ross Cranston said that Transport for London (TfL) could not start work at Swiss Cottage without consent for all other parts of the scheme as, “the cost benefit/analysis is premised on the whole scheme being implemented.”
Westminster Council said that its residents were “overwhelmingly opposed” to proposals for some parts of CS11 but argued that despite multiple requests it had not received necessary traffic modelling and mitigation measures from TfL such that it could make an informed decision about its installation.
The borough therefore sought a judicial review of work that was about to be undertaken at Swiss Cottage in the neighbouring London Borough of Camden on the grounds that it was part of the same scheme.
Ham&High reports that following a judicial review hearing on Thursday last week, Sir Ross found in Westminster’s favour.
In his written ruling, he said: “The cost benefit/analysis is premised on the whole scheme being implemented. Thus one benefit of a cycle superhighway is said to be continuity for cyclists, but if neither the Avenue Road section nor the Portland Place section can be delivered, that will affect the whole benefit and potential use of these parts.”
On Twitter, former London cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan said: “As the judge made clear today, and as I warned would happen, he has blocked CS11 due to Sadiq’s half-baked approach of doing only a small part of the scheme consulted on. A huge blow for all cycling in London, but an entirely avoidable one.”
Elsewhere in his ruling, Sir Ross said: “While ultimately the mayor in this case may have the whip hand in implementing his [transport] strategy [of which CS11 is part], at present he has not even taken up the reins.”
He added: “In the present case, there is no local plan in respect of the mayor’s transport strategy of March 2018 [and] no direction by the mayor [...] requiring that Westminster prepare one.”
Tim Mitchell, Westminster Cabinet Member for Environment and City Management, said: “Westminster City Council supports improving cycling infrastructure, but as part of the planning process all traffic and air quality impacts must be properly assessed before a decision is made to construct.
“It’s clear from today’s outcome, TfL have not completed the due diligence that our residents deserve and the current CS11 proposals need to be assessed in more detail. TfL must consider the effects of the entire route before an informed decision can be made.
“As a result, we’re happy with the judge’s decision and call on TfL to work collaboratively with us and other stakeholders to ensure all impacts of CS11 and similar projects are fully assessed for the benefit of everyone, including residents, before they go ahead.”
A TfL spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with today’s ruling, which focuses on procedure rather than the merits of the scheme.
“This junction in Swiss Cottage is one of London’s most dangerous. The scheme that was the subject of this ruling would help to protect all road users and particularly those walking and cycling, while significantly improving the area for residents, visitors and businesses.
“We will take the judge’s findings into account and are also urgently exploring all the options available to us to reduce danger around the Swiss Cottage gyratory, which includes considering appealing the decision.”
The mayor’s walking and cycling Commissioner, Will Norman said: “Cycle Superhighway 11 will play a crucial role in making the area safer for cyclists and pedestrians, removing the outdated, dangerous, and traffic-dominated gyratory at Swiss Cottage.
“There is an urgent need for more safe cycling and walking routes into central London, and once again Westminster Council is obstructing plans that will improve the local environment and road safety for all Londoners.
“Cyclists, pedestrians and Londoners desperate to see improvements for cycling and walking will be disappointed by the stance of Westminster Council.
“Westminster’s objections to this important and much needed safety scheme were upheld by the judge on a procedural point. We will consider how to progress with CS11 having reviewed the judgement in more detail.”