A local campaign group has filed a High Court claim for a Judicial Review into Kensington council’s decision to remove the Kensington High Street cycle lane.

A temporary cycle lane in Kensington High Street was opened last October, but was abandoned some seven weeks later and was fully removed within nine weeks of being implemented.

This was, to put it mildly, a controversial decision.

After looking at the issue again though, the council decided that while it wouldn’t refuse to reinstate the cycle lane, they were also not minded to do so in a hurry and have commissioned a review into how it was installed originally.

In the meantime, a local campaign group, BetterStreets4KC says that it has now filed a High Court claim for a Judicial Review into the council’s earlier decision to remove the cycle lane.

The main argument appears to be that the cycle lane was removed as soon as a few complaints were made, but long before the real impact of the cycle lane on road traffic and pedestrian safety could be properly assessed. The council’s counter-argument is that the cycle lane was also installed before a proper study was carried out as to what those effects might be.

The current review is looking at those issues to find a compromise that may enable a cycle lane to be installed running east-west through the area, if not necessarily on Kensington High Street itself.

This is an increasingly antagonistic fight over a cycle lane with both sides becoming entrenched in their views and refusing to talk to each other except through lawyers.

The council has 21 days to respond to BetterStreets4KC’s application for a Judicial Review.


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  1. Hassan Roda says:

    I would like to say about the cycle lane in Kensington. This lane should not be approved no matter what happens. It’s becauae there is only two lanes on the High Street ,when they did the lane last year they caused traffic jam for hours we had to wait hours to get to my house secondly this jam was causing pollution and lots of car horn sound you cannot stop to drop a disabled person even taxis can’t drop off passengers. Just because of cycles that don’t pay tax nothing while we are resident in the Area we pay everything and now they want us to suffer in this area because of cycles. That is not realistic please .

    • Tube101 says:

      Maybe you should of used the cycle lane yourself. Might have meant you wouldn’t have waited 2hrs in traffic.🙃
      The bike lane on Kensington High St was not completely continuous and did have gaps / breaks in it. A taxi could drop a person with a mobility impairment off in that space if needed.

    • ianVisits says:

      Cyclists and motorists pay exactly the same road tax as each other – namely nothing whatsoever.

      Motorists pay tax to pollute, and as cyclists don’t pollute, they don’t pay a pollution tax.

      As for road congestion — there’s been so many reports published over the past few months showing that converting a lane that is mainly used as a short-term car park into a cycle lane had minimal impact on the other lane which is used for travelling.

    • Daniel Zimmerman says:

      um ur wrong. traffic didn’t go up when they put the lanes in, and the road could move more people bc so many people were using the cycle lanes. also traffic jams for hours… come on now. we’re in london not LA.

    • Julian says:

      If it takes you “hours” to get to your home by car, you might consider switching to a quicker and more sustainable mode of transport next time. Which is the whole point.

  2. JP says:

    A compromise option is the most reasonable answer to this storm in a tea cup.
    Ken. High Street, while wide, isn’t well-suited to cycle lanes and following the above comment, they do make dropping-off more difficult. Also there’s alot of Taxis in this part of the Royal Borough.

    It seems a no-brainer to me as there’s a wealth of quiet and indeed pretty back streets to send bikes down even if it would annoy the nannies.

    • Tube101 says:

      That is not a comprise, what you have described should more like disregard. How is a (in your words) “wide road” not suited to protected cycling infrastructure? That sounds extremely contradictory. As i said in my previous comment, the bike lanes on Kensington High St was not even completely continuous and did have gaps / breaks in it. A taxi could drop off or pick up a person with a mobility impairment in that space if needed. I don’t see why so much is being made out of this issue, when so many other roads in London have cycle lanes and taxis sharing space and there is not a major controversy.

      Furthermore if done correctly adding in a protected cycle lane on a road like Kensington High Street would most likely result in a redistribution of road space (removing traffic islands and narrowing road lanes) rather than removing traffic lanes.

  3. KP says:

    Both a motorist and cyclist, i see both points plus im a resident of RBKC. The lanes caused triple the traffic also a large number of cyclydt don’t respect thr crossing or traffic lights.

    The turning onto Campden Hill Road would eventually cause an accident as cyclydt would mot allow cars on Kensington High Street to turn into Campden Hill Road and motorists would become frustrated and as someone else commented there was a lot of honking as traffic piled up.

    Having continous stationary traffic is not good for the environment or the residents, the cycle lanes although great for cyclist are not appropriate for this specific road. On tge entrance of Holland Park on Kensington High Street, ive seen police many times stopping cyclist for ignoring the lights or riding on the pavement to avoid the lights. As a cyclidt I, even with a cycle lane I dont feel not because of cars but because of many many careless cyclists.

  4. ChrisC says:

    All the JR can decide is if the council acted lawfully when it made its decisions.

    It won’t decide if the lane should stay or go.

    If the court does overturn the council then the council can still make the same decision again as long as they follow the law.

  5. SteveP says:

    I fear many of the comments are from people unfamiliar with this area. First KHSt is more like four lanes wide or wider for the stretch between Earls Court and Kensington Church Street (the bottleneck) and beyond. There’s plenty of space for bike lanes on both sides and laybys for bus stops or taxi drop-offs cou;d be provided – although the pavements might need to be reduced here and there.

    There is no way “around” KHSt – by design of K&C Council. If you are unfamiliar with this part of London, you might think a few quiet back streets could be linked. But there are no connections, and while it might be possible to construct some, it won’t be easy.

    For example, north of KHSt., there is no east-west connector until you get to Notting Hill Gate/Bayswater Road/Holland Park Road. None. There a large park called Holland Park in the way on one side and another called Kensington Gardens (plus the ultra-rich restricted KP Gardens enclave) on the other. There may be some cycle routes here, but not as a commuter route (also hours of opening interfere).

    South of KHSt., there is no east-west connector until Cromwell Road west of Queens Gate. Check it out – nothing but a private staircase access (public use discouraged, locked at night). And even that is far to the south (almost at Cromwell Road).

    This situation is by design,of course. The Council wants to prevent rat runs, and the posher the area, the more it seems actual public use is discouraged. Another issue is that the “quiet back streets” here tend to be narrow with cars parked along the sides, meaning that a cyclist impedes the car drivers (it is uphill south to north) and encouraging unsafe overtaking

    Finally, we always hear of the moan “Oh – the poor businesses will wither and die if people can’t park (often illegally) out front” which is ridiculous (the vast majority of their customers don’t drive to shop – I suspect) and irrelevant because this is a connector – it’s not just “for” the benefit of the few stores along this stretch – it is for all of London as it is the only connection east-west for a considerable distance

    I lived, cycled and drove in this area for over 20 years, but if I have missed some magic solution beyond proper cycle lanes on KH St. please enlighten me

    • JP says:

      Granted, I hadn’t thought of commuter cyclists who’d prefer a directly parallel route to “quiet…back streets.”
      Exactly, it’s a wide arterial route in and out for all users yet isn’t wide enough. Its generous pavements aren’t so when you see the volume of shoppers. Any drop off is a greater hindrance to free~flow with the lane in place and horribly rapidly leads to venting of spleens, beit car drivers, cabbies or cyclists doing so.
      Storm. Tea cup. Every one needs to sit down, have a cuppa and consider the others’ views.

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