‘How many more of your residents need to be maimed or killed?’: Sadiq Khan responds to Notting Hill cycleway row

The London Mayor has written a fierce letter to the local council, which has blocked the plans

Sadiq Khan has criticised a London council over its opposition to a new cycleway designed to make the road safer.

The plans for a £42million segregated cycle lane in between Wood Lane and Notting Hill Gate in west London have proved controversial after TV star Jeremy Clarkson opposed the proposal.

Clarkson was then joined by Kensington and Chelsea council, which said it would not support the plan due to concerns over air quality and congestion.

London Mayor Khan has now publicly criticised the council, asking “How many more of your residents need to be maimed or killed” before the council takes cyclist safety seriously?

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In the letter, addressed to the leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council Elizabeth Campbell, Khan said: “I am writing to express my profound unhappiness at the actions of you and your councillors at the public meeting on June 13 to discuss the proposals for Holland Park Avenue and Notting Hill Gate.

“I would like to know how many more of your residents need to be maimed or killed by motor vehicles before you accept that this is a serious problem that requires solving.

“Doing nothing about the safety on your roads is not an option.”

The plans for the 4.7-mile long stretch of bike path is part of Khan’s Transport Strategy.

A public consultation is being held to gather opinions on the segregated lane, but the council have rejected the plans before the consultation period has ended.

Some residents have raised concerns about the loss of trees if the cycleway went ahead, with more than 6,000 people signing a petition opposing the plans for that reason.

Host of car show The Grand Tour Jeremy Clarkson said 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?”

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Khan pointed out that there have been 293 collisions along the stretch in the last three years, the majority of serious injuries being suffered by cyclists and pedestrians.

He also highlighted cyclist Eilidh Cairns who was killed in 2009 as she cycle along Notting Hill Gate, saying her death would have been “extremely unlikely” if these proposals were already in place.

Cllr Johnny Thalassites, the lead member for transport and planning at Kensington and Chelsea Council said: “We supported the consultation and waited this long to take a position to allow Transport for London (TfL) to make the case to our residents and businesses.

“In our view, they failed to do so. I don’t believe TfL’s plans are the right approach for keeping people safe on our roads.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.