London Cycling Campaign (LCC) has branded the City of Westminster’s application for a judicial review of the proposed Cycle Superhighway 11 “shameful” after the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court decision that found in favour of the borough, which Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says must shoulder the blame for the decision.
In his judgment last September, Sir Ross Cranston said that Transport for London (TfL) had acted unlawfully in deciding to commence work on the Swiss Cottage section of the route before consents had been obtained for the whole route from there into the West End, because it had been planned as a single, continuous route.
Work had been due to start in July last year, but Westminster Council and opponents of the scheme succeeded in obtaining an injunction preventing construction from taking place pending the outcome of the judicial review, the result of which was made public in September.
The written ruling 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.”
Besides upholding that decision, the Court of Appeal has also blocked TfL from appealing the case further.
Should TfL wish to progress the project, it will need to carry out traffic modelling for Swiss Cottage – which in fact lies in Camden, not Westminster – which may result in further delays if another consultation is required.
The capital’s cycling and walking commissioner, Will Norman, said on Twitter: “Bad news on CS11. Westminster Council’s legal action means Swiss Cottage junction remains a traffic-dominated menace to people walking and cycling.
“We're still determined to reduce road danger in the area, but with WCC continuing to obstruct us, it'll now take longer than we hoped.”
Khan said it was a “disappointing decision – but blame should be pointed at Westminster Council who continue to block plans for a safer cycling route from Swiss Cottage to the West End.
“We'll consider next steps, but time & investment must be focused on boroughs who want to help make cycling safer,” he added.
London Cycling Campaign (LCC) said it wanted Westminster “to make cycling safer,” but added that “they seem happy with a currently highly dangerous junction. Swiss Cottage was outside their borough, yet they’ve used [a] legal challenge to put resident convenience above safety. Shameful.
It expressed hope that the council would now “work actively” with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Norman and Transport for London (TfL) “to deliver safe cycling on Portland Place, through Regent’s Park and on Avenue Road, rather than continue to accept a far too high level of cycling collisions, injuries [and] fatalities.
It also urged the mayor, his cycling commissioner and TfL to proceed with schemes outside Westminster’s boundaries but within Regent’s Park and at Swiss Cottage in partnership with boroughs such as Camden, the City of London “and others that actively want to deliver Healthy Streets, safer cycling and walking.”
Today’s decision was welcomed by Councillor Tim Mitchell, Westminster’s cabinet member for environment and city management.
Quoted in the Ham & High, he said: “We’re pleased with another decision supporting the council and residents’ right to be heard on CS11.
“We’re worried that CS11 in its current form will cause traffic congestion and lead to poorer air quality. We fully support safe cycling and are making major investments for cyclists within Westminster.
“We’re not anti-CS11 or cycling, but we want TfL to take the time to deliver something that works for both cyclists and residents.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.