A Bloomsbury Vision – Feedback from Camden Council

Backdated from previous BA website

Camden have produced results of the consultation with stakeholders on the Farrell Report – A Vision for Bloomsbury. The BA is pleased that in general, stakeholders approved the concept of future improvement in consultation with all stakeholders in the area and we hope this document will form the basis for future discussion.

LONDON BOROUGH OF CAMDEN    WARD:
Bloomsbury
  REPORT TITLE:
  BLOOMSBURY – A STRATEGIC VISION – CONSULTATION FEEDBACK
REPORT OF:
Acting Director of Culture and Environment
FOR SUBMISSION TO:
Executive (Environment) Sub-Group    DATE:
19 July 2007
SUMMARY OF REPORT:

The report summarises responses to a stakeholder consultation on ‘Bloomsbury – a strategic vision’. The vision document sets a framework for the area and identifies some possible areas for improvements to the urban realm in Bloomsbury, and results of this consultation can help inform officers of how to proceed with using the document to guide future proposed schemes.


Local Government Act 1972 – Access to Information

The following items were used in the preparation of this report:

Bloomsbury – A Strategic Vision

The above documents may be inspected / copied by contacting:
Contact Officers:  Christopher Nicola
Street Policy Team
                            Culture and Environment Directorate
                            Camden Town Hall
                            Argyle Street
                            WC1H 8EQ
Telephone:          020 7974 5144
E-mail:                christopher.nicola@camden.gov.uk


RECOMMENDATION:
To consider the outcomes of consultation with stakeholders, and how these will guide future public realm objectives for the Bloomsbury area




Signed by Alex Williams : ……..…………………………

Date: …………………………………………….



1      BACKGROUND

1.1    Bloomsbury is of international significance as a piece of formal 18th century planning and development – this was recognised nearly forty years ago when Bloomsbury became one of England’s first conservation areas and the district now has one of the greatest concentrations of listed buildings in London.  The street patterns and squares are largely intact as are many of its buildings both institutional and domestic.  Later developments have largely respected the character of the area and with a few exceptions, contributed to its richness.  Having said this, however, the coherence of Bloomsbury has been partially lost through unsympathetic development on certain sites, the unplanned growth of some of the institutions, and an ad hoc and piecemeal approach to traffic management, circulation and streetscape design.  The fact that there is such a rich cultural heritage within the Bloomsbury area is an important consideration when developing the public realm so that future public space projects (transport planning, traffic and highways schemes) and other developments do not compromise the local character and integrity of the area, but instead contribute to maintaining and enhancing a coherent identity for Bloomsbury.

1.2    Bloomsbury is a mixed use area comprising of residential, academic, commercial and private land use functions. 30% of Camden’s workforce are located within the Bloomsbury area and the area attracts 4.5million visitors each year. These figures are likely to continue grow significantly in the future in light of planned developments such as the Channel Tunnel rail link to Kings Cross, the Cross River Tram and the 2012 Olympics. It is therefore increasingly important to identify how through-flow and pedestrian movement within the area will be managed sustainability, balancing the needs of different traffic modes and ensuring a high quality functional and attractive urban realm.

1.3    In 2005 ‘Bloomsbury a Strategic Vision’ was commissioned from Farrell Associates by the London Borough of Camden, University College London and the London Development Agency in recognition that an area of Bloomsbury’s importance needed a vision to guide projects to strengthen and enhance the public realm.

1.4    The main objective of the strategy was to restore a coherent urban identity to Bloomsbury and to consider ideas for future improvements to the public realm in the area of Bloomsbury that is bounded by Euston Road, Tottenham Court Road, New Oxford St/Bloomsbury Way and Southampton Row/Woburn Place. This study area does not cover the whole of the Bloomsbury ward, mainly due to cost limitations. The brief that was commissioned to Farrells identified the following project objectives summarised below:

•    Produce an urban realm plan, setting out options to provide a safe comfortable and attractive urban environment, reinstate a sense of place and identity, improve balance of movement between vehicles and pedestrian traffic, identify opportunities for development of spaces.

•    Assess patterns of movement within the area taking account of different modes, suggest proposals to reduce severance and dislocation, address conflict between modes, improve legibility and pedestrian routes through the area.

•    Produce a detailed urban realm masterplan for the UCL campus, this would cover land directly owned by UCL and surrounding streets, suggest proposals to improve circulation and public spaces, identify underused sites and sites for future development.

•    Produce a supplement to the Camden Streetscape Design Manual, drawing on good design practice from existing guides by the Commission for Architecture and the built Environment (CABE) and English Heritage.

•    Identify particular sites for special consideration and produce outline proposals for their development.

1.5    The project was funded and managed jointly by Camden, UCL and the LDA, with the majority of funding coming from the LDA.

1.6    Â‘Bloomsbury a Strategic Vision’ is not available as an appendix but can be downloaded from the Council Website at http://www.camden.gov.uk/bloomsburyvision.

1.7    The Bloomsbury vision document is intended to serve as a framework for officers when developing and working on public realm, transport planning and highways schemes in the Bloomsbury area.  It will also act as a guide for external design carried out by Transport for London or others developing projects for the area (e.g. Cross River Tram and the Clear Zones Partnership).  It also raises possibilities for improving access between public highway areas through land owned by local institutions, green spaces and new developments. These possibilities are not for Camden to instigate or take forward, and are not within the Council’s remit to direct, but could be borne in mind in any dealings with the institutions and developers over potential future developments. The document would be used as a reference guide in terms of strategic planning, basic design principles, general streetscape and local character considerations, and possibly use of materials, in order to maintain, develop and plan a coherent identity for the area rather than allowing piecemeal and fragmented development.

1.8    Some consultation with local stakeholders took place as part of the development of the Vision document, but the message from many local groups was that this had been insufficient. Therefore a consultation with local stakeholders on the final Bloomsbury vision document has been carried out in order to assess whether the objectives and principles outlined in the document are in line with stakeholders views. The purpose of this report is to outline the areas of the vision document that have attracted strong support and should therefore be actively pursued in the near future, and to highlight any areas of the vision document that have attracted mixed or negative feedback, so as to inform officers at an early stage that further investigation would be warranted before drawing up schemes based on those areas of the report. The Vision document itself will from now on only be available from the Council on a CD Rom (or via the website) with this accompanying report and appendices as commentary.

1.9    In the case of any Council transport planning, Clear Zone Partnership, traffic or highways schemes, consultation with local residents should be undertaken before developing individual schemes based on any of the principles in the vision document.

2      THE VISION DOCUMENT IN SUMMARY

2.1    The Bloomsbury vision document is intended to be a long-term directional vision for the public realm in Bloomsbury. The document includes some suggested proposals for future development of the public realm. At this stage these proposals are not being consulted on for implementation and are intended to stimulate discussion for possible future schemes that would be consulted on individually. All proposals are dependent upon accessing funding and the timescale is spread over many years. The vision document is split into 9 sections which are outlined below:

2.2    Section 1 outlines the history of the study area and identifies the following key issues:
•    Squares and Landscape; public spaces lack identity.
•    Universities area; due to piecemeal development the area lacks functional clarity and coherent wayfinding.
•    Museums area; wayfinding issues.
•    Traffic; congestion and severance.
•    Pedestrian and cycle movement; poor pedestrian routes to tube stations and barriers created by institutional land uses.
•    Street furniture and signage; poorly co-ordinated signage, street furniture acting as barriers to pedestrian movement.

2.3    Section 2 is focused on proposals for the public squares within the study area. The document suggests that the squares lack individual identity and puts forward several suggestions to improve squares. General suggested design principles involve cutting back of tree canopies to improve light, removal of guard railings and shrubbery at perimeters to open spaces up to public use and improve sightlines. In addition there are several suggested improvements for the squares:
•    Gordon Square; a university green is suggested, with raised area connecting to Woburn Square (suggested as an activity square).
•    Byng Place; removal of segregated cycle track, raise carriageway to a ‘shared surface area’, minimal use of road marking and use of granite setts for the carriageway, soft landscaping and possible public art is suggested for this site.
•    Tavistock Square; is suggested as a peace garden for memorials.

2.4    Section 3 focuses on the Universities area. Malet Street is identified as a possible ‘University High Street’ due to the many academic institutions located along the street. Main proposals include reducing carriageway widths, improving pedestrian footways and crossings, introduction of pavement activity, some shared surface areas, improving entrances to the British Museum both North and South, removal of coach parking from Montague Place, provision of a new pedestrian link through the Main Quad (south of the UCL owned Wilkins building).

2.5    Section 4 discusses route-finding to the museum, wayfinding improvements are suggested, along with improvements to help raise the profile of the north entrance to the museum on Montague Place. This includes possible use of banners, introduction of street activity such as cafes, raising the carriageway to a shared surface, removal of two way cycle track, and minimising coach parking.

2.6    Two-way traffic for Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street is suggested in Section 5. This is currently being modelled in detail as part of another project investigating bus route improvements and related traffic impacts of the redevelopment of Tottenham Court Road Station/Centre Point Plaza. Two-way traffic is also suggested for Russell Square along with removal of traffic islands and installation of raised tables at junctions.

2.7    Section 6 looks at pedestrian movement and wayfinding. Signage is suggested along with new routes through public and private spaces including through Senate House. Street clutter reduction (the removal of unnecessary signage and street furniture) is also suggested.

2.8    Section 7 suggests some general streetscape design principles, with section 8 and 9 providing overview and concluding comments.

3    CONSULTATION AND ANALYSIS

3.1    Consultation was carried out for six weeks between January 19th and March 5th. Consultation was by letter, inviting comments on the vision document. All local residents groups/ organisations from the study area were consulted. Ward Councillors and various other stakeholders including statutory groups and emergency services were also consulted. The Georgian Group was mistakenly omitted from initial consultation so was consulted late with an extended deadline, however no response was received. A list of those consulted is available in Appendix 1.

3.2    Exhibition boards summarising the vision document were displayed to the public at the Building Centre, Store Street as part of a New London Architecture exhibition. Officers also attended several meetings with the Bloomsbury Neighbourhood Forum (an umbrella body), The Walking Cycling and Road Safety Advisory Group, the Camden Cycling Campaign and Bloomsbury Conservation Area Advisory Committee.

3.3    In addition the Bloomsbury vision document was available to download from the Council website

3.4    A total of 13 written responses to the consultation were received, however some of these responses represented more than one group or organisation. A summary of the results of the consultation is available in Appendix 1.

General Comments received
3.5    A common theme that arose from the consultation was a general feeling that the vision document was too focused on institutions, and that the document does not highlight the residential population as significant stakeholders in any future developments. There were concerns raised over the relationship between public and private space.

3.6    There were some other comments regarding elements that were not considered or mentioned enough in the report, these included:
•    The needs of mobility impaired people when considering design.
•    Impact of planned developments such as Cross River Tram and the Eurostar link.
•    Cycling and London Cycle Network+ (LCN+) routes.
•    Impacts on neighbouring areas.
•    Social problems.
•    Lack of a definition of what is meant by the term ‘shared surface’.

3.7    The recent development of Bedford Square was commented on several times as a good example of a successful public realm improvement in Bloomsbury.

Objections to elements of the vision
3.8    There were strong objections received relating to development of Bloomsbury’s squares:
•    Stakeholders were in agreement that guard railings around squares should not be removed.
•    There was agreement that the ‘University Green’ concept for Gordon Square was not appropriate.
•    There were general objections over developments relating to any of the Bloomsbury Squares, several groups mentioned that the design concept of assigning each square an individual identity was unnecessary as the squares already have individual characteristics and suggested design principles were not sensitive to the historical character of the squares.

3.9    There were several objections to the route through Senate House including from landowners (University of London). There were also concerns raised by English Heritage relating to access provision that would be required for disabled users.

3.10    There were objections from the Bloomsbury Area Advisory Committee (BCAAC) and English Heritage regarding the use of banners on Montague Place.

Support for elements of the vision
3.11    Three groups said that they supported the general vision for Bloomsbury presented in the document.

3.12    In general there was strong support over introducing improvements to Byng Place, respondents felt that the site was in need of redesign and improvement but there were also concerns over how traffic would be managed with any ‘shared surface’ design.

3.13    There was strong support for the removal of the segregated two-way cycle lane, although the Camden Cycling Campaign (CCC) expressed concern over any changes that involve a break in the route, for example with shared space surfaces and how cyclists would respond to this. CCC also noted that any changes to the route should be careful to maintain a high standard of comfort, safety and convenience for cyclists as this is an LCN+ route, there was also concern over breaking the route at shared space areas

3.14    There was strong support for the introduction of two way traffic in Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street, although there was general concern that the traffic impacts of this should be seriously considered and modelled, and concern over how changes would affect surrounding areas in terms of traffic

3.15    There was strong support for 20mph speed limits in Bloomsbury, although many respondents felt that a decrease in traffic volume would also be necessary to improve safety, especially where shared surfaces are considered.

3.16    There was strong support for the development in principle of Malet Street as a ‘University High Street’ although there were some mixed views over pavement activity.

3.17    There was some support for the use of high quality materials shown in the document, English Heritage noted that they should take account of traditional materials used to reflect historical character. There was also some support for removal of street clutter and for a pedestrian route through the British Museum.


Mixed views over elements of the vision
3.18    There were very mixed views over the use of shared surfaces, with majority objections. Due to the lack of definition of ‘shared surfaces’ in the document, it was sometimes difficult to assess whether comments related to the use of shared space for vehicles and pedestrians over large areas or in principle. Some of the comments are highlighted below:
•    Possible safety issues for pedestrians including visually impaired people
•    Concerns over safety for cyclists.
•    Concerns over how traffic would be managed and directed through larger spaces.
•    Concerns over possible conflicts that could be created through spaces shared by cyclists and pedestrians.
•    Comments from English Heritage and the BCAAC over loss of character and heritage if traditional footways with kerblines are removed.
•    Concerns that traffic volume is too high to allow shared surfaces to work safely.
•    Concern over the use of materials and that granite setts should be flush and not cobbled.

3.19    There was general support over development for Montague Place, however there were mixed views over elements of how the development had been visualised in the document. There was also concern over how coach parking could be feasibly reduced, and how vehicles could access the site. The Metropolitan Police did not support changes to Montague place in terms of rationalising coach bays or introducing shared surface. The reasoning included the fact that coaches are in the area primarily to access the British Museum and therefore should be accommodated as close as possible to the destination.

3.20    In general there was mostly support for better signage and wayfinding for pedestrian routes, although there were concerns over the introduction of street clutter and that signage should be sensitive to the historical character of the area.

3.21    There were mixed views over the removal of the corner triangular traffic “islands” in Russell Square, objections were centred around concern for the safety of pedestrians, in particular mobility impaired people.

3.22    There were split views over the pedestrianisation of streets including Coptic and Museum Street. CCC asked that any pedestrianised streets should maintain cycle access.

4    DISCUSSIONS / WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

4.1    Officers consider that the consultation exercise has added a good local knowledge to the vision document. The concerns around insufficient consultation have some merit, and it would have been useful to consult upon a draft document – not least to add a stronger residential viewpoint. Nevertheless, it is recognised that Bloomsbury is a multi-use area and the overall aims of the vision are to improve the area for all users, including residents.

General Principles
4.2    The Bloomsbury vision document will help Officers to work towards several public realm objectives for the Bloomsbury area.
•    Prioritise good quality design, with use of high quality and traditional materials where appropriate
•    Focus on walking and cycling
•    Improve green routes and spaces
•    Express local character and identity
•    Successful management and maintenance

4.3    New development and investment in the public realm should benefit everyone locally, including businesses, institutions and residents. An enhanced public realm should integrate transport and land use, and contribute to improved walking and cycling environments, restoring local identity and character, attracting people to the area and encouraging the use of streets and public places to create diverse, vibrant and lively places. New developments and building design should reflect and integrate with local public realm objectives. Improvements will have overall benefits to the local economy, reduce congestion and improve sustainability for future growth.

4.4    In light of the consultation responses, it is possible to identify several areas for improvement to the public realm that could be developed for schemes in the near future. There are also aspects of the Bloomsbury vision document that are not likely to be successfully developed or require extensive consultation and investigation.

4.5    Officers recommend the following aspects of the vision could be developed in the near future, with further consultation with the public.
•    Improvements to Byng Place. Officers recommend that designs carefully consider how traffic would use the area, how cyclists would use the LCN+ route through the square without conflicting with other modes, reduction of speed and traffic travelling through Byng Place, consideration of materials used.
•    Introduction of two-way traffic to Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street with careful consideration given to traffic impacts to the wider area.
•    Introduction of a new public square at Princes’ Circus to provide a pedestrian link between Bloomsbury, Covent Garden and Holborn.
•    Introduction of 20mph limits with the use of raised tables at junctions, however, consideration should be given to where raised tables are used on a case by case basis, in order to retain the character of the area.
•    The development of Malet Street as the ‘University High Street’ with pedestrian improvements including crossing points and extensions to the footway.
•    Improvements to Montague Place but design issues regarding banners outside the museum, any pavement activity and location of coach parking require further investigation.
•    Removal of two-way segregated cycle lane at Byng Place and Montague Street, and possibly other locations. There are currently high levels of use on segregated routes, there is a need retain and build upon the numbers of cyclists in Bloomsbury, but with a critical re-examination of the method of physical segregation as an appropriate tool. This reflects early discussions with Camden Cycling Campaign as to whether the segregated cycle lanes are appropriate or useful. Although groups consulted generally support the removal of segregated cycle lanes in Bloomsbury, care should be taken to ensure that cyclists are still provided with a safe and comfortable route that does not compromise the main principles of LCN+ routes. Consideration should alse be given to usability of the route as a whole if only portions of the segregated route are changed i.e. not to create a fragmented route.

4.6    Officers consider that with regards to Bloomsbury’s Squares, the vision document does not accurately portray stakeholders desired outcomes for the regeneration of squares, and should not be used as a starting point for any future schemes. Any future development of parks and squares should involve extensive consultation with the public and stakeholders, and should take account of local heritage with a stronger focus on restoring original historical design principles. It should be noted that the Bedford, Bloomsbury and Russell Squares are registered parks and gardens of special historic interest, with English Heritage. When determining whether or not to grant permission for any applications for development which would affect a registered park or garden, officers must take into account the protection of the historic interest of the site. Officers do not consider it appropriate to take forward the widespread use of shared surfaces as suggested in the vision document.

4.7    There were very mixed views and a lack of understanding over the concept of shared space. It is clearly evident that shared space proposals need to be considered with great care in relation to safety for all users, and management of traffic. Although the definition of shared space in the vision document is vague, it would seem there is no simple one-size fits all solution and that each site would need to be assessed individually in relation to layout, traffic flow, DDA requirements, and considerations of historical character in consultation with the public.

4.8    Camden has a good track record with involving the public in the development of highways and public realm schemes. Residents were disappointed with the lack of consultation that was conducted with them when developing the Bloomsbury vision document. Officers recommend that care is taken to involve residents and stakeholders in any future schemes in the Bloomsbury area at an appropriate stage.

4.9    The consultation carried out with stakeholders on ‘Bloomsbury a Strategic Vision’ has been extremely useful in gauging general views over some of the proposals in the document. Officers recommend that all feedback is taken into consideration when developing any proposals of the report into actual schemes. Bloomsbury – A Strategic Vision and this accompanying report should be referred to by officers and external developers, when developing any schemes which have an impact on the public realm in the Bloomsbury study area.

4.10    There are several such studies, potential or proposed for local areas in the south of the borough, including a draft for public realm around King’s Cross (Ian Ritchie Associates, sponsored by TfL and the LDA); around St Giles/Tottenham Court Road (Camden, Westminster and Design for London); for the Cross River Tram public realm, and the proposals for the overpass at Tottenham Court Road. Although all may contain good elements, it is procedurally difficult to adopt them formally as planning or other council guidance. Officers are thus looking at creating an overview which draws on the best of all work to provide a long term vision for sustainable, well designed public realm in these busy areas. With an emphasis is on retaining the distinctive character of local areas like Bloomsbury, and on a high quality walking environment, this overview will be brought to members after the summer as a background document to give all the various studies a recognisable context.

Design Manual Comments
4.11    Â‘Bloomsbury – a Strategic Vision’ suggests a supplement to Camden’s Streetscape Design Manual that specifically relates to the Bloomsbury area. The supplement will not be adopted as part of Camden’s current Streetscape Design Manual but some of the main principles of the Bloomsbury manual should be followed by officers working on streetscape schemes in the area. These main principles along with other considerations for streetscape design are outlined below, but officers should refer to the streetscape supplement and Camden’s Streetscape Design Manual for further information. Some decisions will be dependent on available funding, and therefore may be achievable through new project funding, but changes will not be expected through routine maintenance.
•    Footways; the use of York stone flags and granite kerbs on the footway cannot be adopted as a design principle due to limitations on cost (eg. footway maintenance). However where budgets allow, the use of these materials is preferred.
•    Similarly, asphalt carriageways will remain the standard carriageway treatment, rather than granite setts, although granite setts should be considered for shared spaces, and pedestrianised areas.
•    Resin bound gravel is acceptable for special areas but consideration should be given to underground services; routine maintenance of services could result in the gravel surface being patched up with asphalt.
•    Use of granite setts for cycle paths (for example on raised carriageway areas) should be flush and ensure a suitable surface for cycling.
•    Officers should consider the rationalisation of street furniture when working on the public realm and avoid introducing additional guard railings.
•    All street furniture and lighting should consider local setting and heritage, and should aim to be consistent within the Bloomsbury study area.
•    Signage should be consulted on with local stakeholders and take account of other signage schemes in the local area to maintain consistency and improve legibility.
•    Cycle stands on the public highway should be black (powder coated) and should be ‘Sheffield’ type stands unless approved by the Street Policy Team, to take into account ongoing work looking at designs to reduce cycle theft.

Specific Projects
4.12    Camden has several projects that are underway or have been planned in and around the Bloomsbury study area, these projects will offer up opportunities to take forward elements of the strategic vision and enhance the public realm in Bloomsbury. Some of the projects are listed below:

4.13    Tottenham Court Road two-way scheme: Camden and TfL are currently carrying out detailed traffic modelling analysis to look at options for allowing two-way working on Tottenham Court Road and possibly Gower Street. The scheme is being looked at to improve bus routes through the area in terms of accessibility and time savings on routes. The scheme also links into the Tottenham Court Road Station redevelopment as special traffic arrangements will be required at different stages of the redevelopment to allow traffic to move through the area. Current indications from modelling data suggest that two-way working would be feasible and should this go ahead Camden would seek funding from TfL to ensure that there are significant upgrades and investment in the public realm along the Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street corridors.

4.14    Tottenham Court Road station redevelopment/ St Giles Plaza: TfL plan to make significant upgrades to Tottenham Court Road station to improve capacity. Along with these improvements, Camden is working closely with TfL to ensure that the St Giles junction around Centre-point, is redesigned to a high standard that will improve safety, legibility and accessibility through the area. The “Centre Plaza” above Tottenham Court Road Station will help people to orientate themselves and disperse more quickly from this congested tube station towards Bloomsbury and Covent Garden tube stations and encourage them to walk further distances towards Kings Cross Station or into the West End. This project is being taken forward as part of the Underground station redevelopment. This will transform what is now a dangerous and unattractive junction to a high quality social space.

4.15    Princes’ Circus Public Square: Princes’ Circus at the end of Shaftesbury Avenue will provide a major new public space that connects the British Museum, Covent Garden, Holborn and Oxford Street. This will significantly improve pedestrian movement and wayfinding between Bloomsbury hotels and institutions and West End attractions. Camden already has a significant section 106 contribution towards this work (£2.5m), but require further funding to complete the scheme.

4.16    Central London Legible London Way Finding Scheme: Camden is working with Westminster City Council, to review existing pedestrian signage, propose, design and implement a better solution to help pedestrians find their way around Central London, and improve the provision of pedestrian information.

4.17    Euston Road/ Tottenham Court Road/ Gower Street scheme: Camden have been working with TfL to redesign and simplify the junction, this will improve accessibility and crossing facilities for pedestrians using the junction, and will also benefit other modes by untangling the traffic movements through the junction. There are many proposed urban realm improvements that would go hand in hand with the safety and traffic improvements for this junction, with funding sought from TfL and surrounding land owners. Proposals include widening the space on the overpass to create a new public space, improved pedestrian crossings and footways and significant upgrade in public realm.

4.18    Southampton Row corridor scheme:  Camden has been successful in obtaining funding to develop some proposals for a “corridor scheme” for Southampton Row/Russell Square/Woburn Place/Upper Woburn Place from Euston Rd to Theobalds Rd. This should take into account road safety and the needs of all modes of travel as well as significant improvements to the public realm. Consideration will be given to the proposed Cross River Tram and the fact that this corridor will form part of the Olympic Route Network for 2012. Currently being considered are suggestions from the Bloomsbury vision to return Russell Square to two way working. In addition other elements from the Bloomsbury vision document, such the additional entrance from Russell Square to Montague Place (to allow easier access to the north entrance of the British Museum) can also be considered and consulted on in more detail. There is no guarantee of funding to then implement the outcomes of the study, as this would depend on a separate funding submission (bid) to TfL.

4.19    Bloomsbury North 20mph Zone: Camden has funding from TfL for a 20mph Zone in the streets around Gordon and Tavistock Square where there are some speeding problems and a history of casualties. In line with the Bloomsbury vision, the zone would aim to minimise traffic calming measures, this would include some raised speed tables, linked to pedestrian access points into the squares, and no speed humps. Design would be influenced by the Bloomsbury Vision but within budget constraints.

4.20    Bloomsbury Streets for People scheme: Taking into account the responses to the consultation on the vision document, and the findings of this report, a Streets for People Scheme is proposed for the Bloomsbury area specifically to take forward some of the ideas proposed in the vision. The scheme would be similar in approach to a ‘Town Centre scheme’ and would focus on improving the urban realm in terms of pedestrian and walking routes, safety (both in terms of traffic and crime), lighting, tree planting, and other general improvements. At this stage Officers are working on presenting a case to TfL to request funding to develop the scheme, this would then be followed by consultation with the public if initial funding was gained and when designs are settled on and agreed, a further funding request to TfL to implement the scheme.

4.21    Bloomsbury Accessibility scheme (2007/08): Taking account of the street-clutter reduction survey carried out by Hyders for the Bloomsbury vision document, the Bloomsbury accessibility scheme will aim to improve accessibility for mobility impaired users. This will involve removing barriers in the footway such as concrete bollards, excess signage etc., as well as improving dangerous footways and introducing dropped kerbs at crossing points. This scheme will improve the walking environment for all users.


5      COMMENTS OF THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE

5.1    The Director of Finance has been consulted in the preparation of this report and comments as follows: The report is considering the outcomes of consultation with stakeholders, and how these will guide future public realm objectives for the Bloomsbury area.  There are no direct financial implications of the report. These will be included in specific reports which deal with public realm schemes in the future.

5.2    The Director of Finance has no further finance comments

6      COMMENTS OF THE HEAD OF LEGAL SERVICES

6.1    The Head of Legal Services (Acting) has been consulted and her comments are incorporated into this report.



7      CONCLUSIONS

7.1    Bloomsbury – A Strategic Vision is a reference document, useful in tying up some of the future developments and proposals for the Bloomsbury area in order to ensure a cohesive identity for the area. The document aims to promote some continuity in design and principles for improvements to the urban realm.

7.2    Findings of the consultation with stakeholders indicate that there are some outline proposals which are likely to be supported by the public but warrant further investigation and consultation with the public. There are also some proposals which have attracted negative or mixed feedback, these have been noted in the report.

7.3    Bloomsbury – A Strategic Vision and this accompanying report should be referred to by officers and external developers, when developing any schemes which have an impact on the public realm in the Bloomsbury study area, taking into account the comments from stakeholders and recommendations in this report.

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