Marylebone residents challenge Westminster council plans for two-way streets

Marylebone locals are claiming plans to create two-way roads from Regent’s Park to Oxford Street will turn quiet streets into rat runs and slash the value of their homes.
Marylebone residents are rebelling over plans to turn Baker Street and Gloucester Place into two-way streets.

They claim the £15 million proposal from Westminster council and Transport for London will cause traffic chaos, turn quiet side streets into rat runs and slash the value of their homes. 

The two streets currently form a one-way system running from Regent’s Park to Oxford Street — an arrangement many residents want to continue. 

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A poster campaign has been launched demanding “No Two Ways” and resident Steven Dollond founded the single-issue No Two Ways party to fight a council by-election last month, in which he came second to the Tories. 

Almost 1,500 residents took part in a consultation exercise — a record participation, according to Graham King, head of strategic transport planning and public realm at the council. About 60 per cent objected to the plan, citing congestion, pollution and rat running.

But the council is determined to push ahead with Project Baker Street, with further consultation planned “over the coming weeks”, according to a report by King, followed by a “formal re-consultation” on any changes the authority decides to make to the scheme by the start of next year. Once this is complete, detailed designs will be drawn up, King says.

The Marylebone Association objects to the plan and its website has been deluged by members calling for it to be abandoned. “Obviously, none of these planners live in the vicinity, otherwise they would not be so keen to destroy the peace and quiet enjoyed by the residents of the Dorset Square conservation area,” says local resident Pamela Botsford.

Matthew Fine, director of Hunters Estate Agents, is based in Baker Street, the fictional home of Sherlock Holmes. He agrees that some local side streets could end up with more traffic as a result of the plan, but believes a more pedestrian-friendly road system could improve Baker Street itself.

“I think it could encourage more pedestrians, and greater footfall might also improve the shops,” he says. “At the moment, all we have is coffee shops and lunchtime places.” Fine points out that Baker Street’s weaknesses — compared to Marylebone High Street, with its numerous boutiques and bars — have meant that homes in west Marylebone are, on average, five to 10 per cent cheaper than those to the east.



Westminster council says it is grateful for the volume of responses to its consultation. A spokesman says: “Residents have highlighted a number of issues with the initial designs for the project, but many have also indicated that they are not against the project as a whole.

“So we will look at redesigning various elements before going back out to public consultation at the beginning of next year.”

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