Kensington and Chelsea council is to remove a temporary cycle lane thought to have cost around £700,000, after bowing to pressure from local businesses.
The council said it was ‘listening to concerns’ that the experimental scheme on Kensington High Street was not working but did not cite any objective analysis.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling Group claimed that the route had led 'to a doubling in the number of cyclists within a matter of weeks'.
However, Kensington Business Forum and Kensington and Chelsea Chamber of Commerce both wrote to the council to ask that the temporary lane be removed in time for Christmas shoppers to visit the High Street.
Work to remove the cycle lane, which was only installed in September, will begin on Wednesday (2 December).
Johnny Thalassites, lead member for transport, said: ‘The cycle lane was a trial scheme to help those hopping on bikes during lockdowns and encourage shoppers to the High Street. Businesses and residents have told us loud and clear that they believe the experiment has not worked. We are listening.
‘By removing the temporary lanes as lockdown lifts, we hope to help get the High Street moving again and give our local economy the best possible chance of a good December.'
Tom Frost, chair of Kensington Business Forum, said: ‘Unfortunately it has not helped our High Street businesses attract customers at a vital time for them, so it is good news that the lanes will be removed.’
The council’s decision was also supported by Action Disability Kensington & Chelsea. Chief executive Jamie Renton said: ‘We have around 1,000 disabled members who are experts by experience, so it’s good to see the Council listening to our experiences and removing the temporary cycle lanes on Kensington High Street.
'We were worried about fewer safe places for cars to drop off disabled passengers and confusing layout changes, especially for visually impaired people.’
The Council said it has introduced other measures ‘to protect lives and livelihoods during the pandemic’, with a 20mph speed limit being introduced across the borough and seven new traffic-free school streets.