Juggernaut threat to tiny Hanway Street?

As noticed by several people this week – after planning permission was granted – an incredibly useful side-street by Tottenham Court Road is due to get revamped.

Not so that pedestrians wisely using it to bypass the congestion at the junction of Oxford St and TCR can do so more easily, but so that it can be used by large lorries to deliver cheap clothing to a retailer on Oxford Street.

Some people are deeply upset at the effect on the range of small independent stores, and while none of them appeal to my (currently sadly depleted) wallet, I like the fact that they exist, and manage to do so right next to a street more commonly known for major brand labels.

Without trying to be snobbish about the fact that the cause of all this commotion is the purveyor of “wear it once and it falls apart” tat, Primark – what is sort of irritating is that a road that forms the main part of a Heritage Area is being churned up so drastically for a mere retail shop, and not some grand scheme that would be of genuine benefit to the area.

Hanway Street may not look it now, but it is a truly ancient relic of early London and follows the line of a footpath, that can be reliably dated all the way back to the time of Henry 8th, although the first significant construction seems to have started around the 1720s.

I wrote rather more about its history a couple of years ago – read more here.

If you are going to churn up an ancient footpath, then please do so for something a bit more historic than a Primark store.

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