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Split views revealed over ‘pedestrianisation’ of Primrose Hill idea

Social media suggestion leaves businesses fearing customers will not be able to get to Regent's Park Road

03 July, 2020 — By Bronwen Weatherby

Regent’s Park Road

A PROPOSAL to “pedestrianise” Regent’s Park Road has split opinion in the neighbourhood.

It has been suggested on a social media group dedicated to the area that pedestrianising part of the shopping street in Primrose Hill over the summer would be beneficial to businesses struggling after the Covid-19 shutdown.

However, those advocating the idea have yet to release any information detailing what they would like to see happen, and when approached for comment the spokeswoman for the group Pam White said they had “no comment”.

Opponents are warning against any plan that would reduce street parking spaces, which they say is vital to ensure customers can visit the street.

But, it is claimed most restaurants and cafes located are in favour of the idea, as it would allow them to increase diner seating outside while limits on the number of customers are in place.

Owner of boutique shoe store Spice, Gerard Levy, said: “I’m really concerned because we’ve only just got ourselves back on our feet after the pandemic and now I feel like we’ve got another battle on our hands. I think it could be the end of us completely. When you ask them for any information or to be sent some sort of plan so we can discuss it they just come across sheepish.”

“The pity is I can see it already beginning to turn neighbour against neighbour,” he added.

Florist Patricia Fitzroy, who has run Fitzroy’s Flowers for 26 years said: “The majority of us are very much against it. It would be a disaster and no doubt see the closure of independent shops. It’s all well and good to reference Covent Garden and other such places but they have a tube and they have tourists. In Primrose Hill we don’t and there’s very little parking, if you take that away people won’t bother to come.”

Others have said the idea is “not realistic” as pedestrianising some of the road would mean deliveries and rubbish collections could not be made and there would be no parking for either residents or business owners.

Tony Evangelou, who has run popular Greek restaurant Lemonia for around 40 years, said he would be in favour if it helped the village recover.

“Not only hospitality but everyone has suffered and anything that can help would be a bonus,” said Mr Evangelou.

“We haven’t seen the plans yet so we don’t know officially what they really mean. Will it only be pedestrianised in parts? Will we lose parking? All we know is it’s going to be tough when we reopen, I just hope we can see a way forward.”

Camden’s environment chief Councillor Adam Harrison said: “There are currently no plans to pedestrianise Regent’s Park Road, however we are looking at the possibility of widening the footways at key locations to help pedestrians maintain social distancing. We also want to support businesses as much as we can so as the lockdown eases for the hospitality sector this weekend, outdoor seating will be in place again and we are looking to widen the footway outside some of these premises to ensure there is enough space for pedestrians moving through the area.”

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