Disgruntled locals in Brick Lane have spoken to East London Lines to express how inconvenient road closures brought in this summer have been as the council launched a review into the changes.
The changes – as part of the Brick Lane Liveable Streets project – were put in place in multiple areas including closing roads to motor vehicles on Thursdays and Fridays (5.30pm-11pm) and over the weekends (11am-11pm).
They were a roll back from the Streetspace for London closures in 2020 during lockdown which saw roads closed completely.
Many locals wanted the closures to continue, whilst others wanted traffic to return to the area.
Road closures were between Chicksand Street and Fashion Street, Fournier Street and Princelet Street, Princelet Street and Hanbury Street, Hanbury Street and Woodseer Street, and between Buxton Street and Taylor’s Yard entrance.
The scheme also included parking suspensions during the closure times of operation along Woodseer Street, between Spital Street and Brick Lane, and also between Fashion Street and Fournier Street.
Mehmet Akbal, 23, told East London Lines: “I’m not happy with these new restrictions whatsoever. I work in Brick Lane Saturdays and Sundays, but I can’t get to work with my car anymore because all sorts of routes around the area are closed. It’s causing me to think about finding work somewhere else because it isn’t ideal coming in late (to work) every week.”
Daniel Hussain, a chef in Brick Lane for over 20 years, told East London Lines how the travel restrictions imposed over the summer have impacted local restaurants.
“Due to the nature of the restrictions, especially on Friday nights, this has hugely affected our business,” Hussain said. “We used to be particularly busy on Friday nights and over the weekends but this has slowly faded since the introduction of the restrictions.
“Most people would drive to our restaurant, however the travel restrictions have made their commute to the restaurant more difficult which has seen a huge drop on the amount of people who visit us.”
As well as local workers who haven’t enjoyed the road closures in Brick Lane, there have been those on the other side of the spectrum who have found the changes to be more convenient to them.
Aasiyah Khan, a life-long resident in Brick Lane, told East London Lines: “To be completely honest, I have always known Brick Lane to be really busy, especially in the evenings; the place would be a magnet for traffic.
“Although it does feel weird, I have enjoyed the change. Sometimes it would be so hard to simply even cross a road, or get from point A to point B, because of how busy the area was.”
Tower Hamlets council is currently conducting a review of the Brick Lane Liveable Streets project. The council has provided a survey for local residents and workers in the Brick Lane area to give some feedback on their experiences with the changes which have been imposed over the past months. Eastlondonlines asked the council for comment on the Brick Lane closures but they have yet to respond.
The survey closes on Wednesday October 27 at 11.59pm.