Holland Park Avenue

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Murray Mika/Transport for London

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A petition opposing the scheme was signed by more than 6,000 peole

A proposed £42m cycleway which sparked a petition to save trees along the route has been rejected by councillors.

The scheme, part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Transport Strategy, included 4.7 miles (7.6km) of bike paths between Wood Lane and Notting Hill Gate.

Kensington and Chelsea Council said it would not support the plan over congestion and air quality concerns.

It was criticised for announcing its decision before the end of a public consultation.

A Town Hall meeting on Thursday, attended by about 400 people, heard from Transport for London (TfL) and walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman.

After the presentations, the council said it would not support the plans.

The scheme had come in for criticism from local businesses, who said the cycle lane would damage trade.

‘Cynical stunt’

TfL was also attacked for its “cavalier, careless attitude towards the loss of almost 20 mature trees” in the petition signed by thousands.

Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson was also disapproving, saying on Twitter: “They’re going to take down all the trees to make life easier for cyclists. I mean, who voted for these people? Why?”.

Cycling commissioner Mr Norman said the council “originally supported” an ongoing public consultation on the plans.

The “stretch of road simply isn’t safe”, he said, branded the council’s announcement before the end of the consultation a “disgrace”.

He said “people will die” as a result of the decision, which he called a “cynical political stunt”.

However, Johnny Thalassites, councillor for Transport and Planning, said: “It is not a political stunt to listen to local residents and businesses, reflect their views, and ask for a rethink on their behalf.”

Mr Thalassites said he was “surprised… [by] such an aggressive tone, when around 400 people sat in a hall last night to tell them that their plans don’t work”.

He added the council was consulting on a new cycleway in Holland Park and intended to consult on plans for another cycleway on and around Holland Park Avenue and Notting Hill Gate.

Analysis

By Tom Edwards, transport correspondent, BBC London

The plans of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, for cycling and walking in this part of London lies in tatters. It would be no surprise if he pulls all funding now.

The section of road is very dangerous, with 275 collisions mainly involving cyclists and pedestrians over the last three years.

The wider picture is transport has to decarbonise and making cycling and walking safer is a good way to do that.

But somehow advocates of them need to find a way to convince people of the wider benefits of bike lanes. The debate has become increasingly toxic and divisive.

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