The Elephant and Castle western cycle bypass, one of London’s oldest bits of cycling infrastructure, which was incorporated into Cycle Superhighway 7 two years ago, could be used by a developer as an HGV delivery route if plans go ahead.
Lend Lease, the lead developer of the Southwark regeneration scheme, who recently published new renders of the development, are demolishing the existing leisure centre and replacing it with a new leisure facility and residential tower. They have proposed to use parts of the on-street bypass along Brook Drive as a route for HGVs involved in the construction and demolition for approximately four years. The bypass was originally opened in 1982 by Southwark Council after concerns about safety were judged to be deterring cycling through the junction. This is the junction Boris Johnson famously described as "fine, if you keep your wits about you" despite being the site of 89 serious injuries in three years, according to TfL figures.
Lend Lease opposed proposals made last year for an eastern bypass for the Elephant and Castle roundabout through their scheme area, as they did not wish to encourage fast commuting through their development.
Local resident Crispin Hughes, who has started a petition to oppose the proposals, told us "Everyday I see hundreds of cyclists streaming safely past on the Cycle Superhighway on their way to work, college and school. Routing lorries down Brook Drive and Churchyard Row will endanger them all."
A further meeting between developer and residents is planned for 4 July. Lend Lease told Kennington People on Bikes that they "have now met with TfL and it was a very positive meeting. They discussed the residents' concerns, many of which are shared by TfL and the project team. The team is now working hard with TfL to find a much improved solution and are hoping to have an alternate access proposal".
This threat to the Elephant and Castle scheme follows further criticism from cyclists about the efficacy and cost of the £4 million a mile Cycle Superhighway scheme. Four more are due to open next year: CS5 from Lewisham to Victoria, CS9 from Hounslow to Hyde Park, CS11 from West Hampstead to Marylebone and CS12 from Muswell Hill to Angel.
Users of the Elephant and Castle Bypass or junction are encouraged to join the user group to stay up to date with developments.