Olympic Games take the bricks out of Brick Lane

pic: Adelle Kalakouti

Residents are split over a plan to resurface Brick Lane with tarmac in preparation for this year’s Olympics.

The controversial face-lift will include new lighting and the complete resurfacing of its famous underfoot bricks.

Tower Hamlets cabinet member for the environment Shahed Ali said: “The new asphalt surface on Brick Lane will be smarter, easier and cheaper to maintain and will help distinguish space for pedestrians from traffic.”

But Brick Lane businesses have greeted the council’s decision with mixed feelings.

Anna Sims of Heba vintage clothes shop told EastLondonLines: “It is a good thing, it needs modernising and repairing. Brick Lane has its history but it is renowned for being grubby. It will still pull the vintage crowds, a road is just a road at the end of the day.”

But Mohammed Maksudul Kabir, owner of the Banoful Cake House, disagrees: “Before, when the road was made of brick it was nicer. Now it is going to lose its character and tradition, it’s going to be like a normal road. There is no need to waste money on that.”

Local supermarket owner Junel Khalikue said:  “The bricks go perfectly with the name Brick Lane. We like it.”

Restaurant and shop owners have welcomed the regeneration but say the works have had a negative effect on business since they began this week.

Others expressed satisfaction with their efficiency, saying works in the past had taken too long.

The resurfacing project, taking place over the next five weeks, will cost about £300,000. It is funded by Transport from London and developer contributions.


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