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‘Holloway Road is polluted and ugly. We could make it beautiful and busy’

PUBLISHED: 17:59 22 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:18 25 May 2017

The planning session focused on the area between the Odeon, pictured, and Holloway Road Tube. Picture: David Holt/Flickr/Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The planning session focused on the area between the Odeon, pictured, and Holloway Road Tube. Picture: David Holt/Flickr/Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Archant

Neighbours and community groups joined architects and planners on Saturday to shape a new “vision” for the section of the A1 between the Odeon and Holloway Road Tube station.

The Holloway Road planning session at Resource for London in Holloway Road. Picture: James PitmanThe Holloway Road planning session at Resource for London in Holloway Road. Picture: James Pitman

The event was hosted by Create Streets as part of its “Create Boulevards” programme.

Create Streets has made ripples in the past for advocating the return of terraced housing instead of the tower blocks that dominate many boroughs. Create Boulevards takes the fight to London’s “polluted and ugly” arterial roads, arguing they could be “beautiful and busy” instead.

The meeting began with 20 people, some from groups such as Islington Living Streets and Better Archway, discussing Holloway Road. Not surprisingly, pollution, noise, pedestrian safety and cycle provision topped the list of concerns.

Green councillor Caroline Russell (Highbury East) said: “It is crucial streets like Holloway Road work for people who live and work here so they are not overwhelmed by hostile street environments where traffic, pollution, noise and danger make people’s lives less pleasant.”

Then people discussed “dreams” for what Holloway Road could look like and “solutions” to achieve them.

Traffic along the A1 has inspired years of complaints and consultations – and Charles Campion from JTP Architects admitted it could take decades to put the fruits of the planning session in place.

David Harrison from Islington Living Streets told the Gazette: “The Holloway Road area is like a very wide bit of motorway that doesn’t have much of a purpose as at either end of the Holloway Road it gets narrower.

“So you could take out some of the extra lanes for pavement cafes and greenery, making it an enjoyable place to be.” But he added it was important not to displace traffic onto other roads.

Many agreed simple proposals could be quickly adopted by politicians and pave the way for more ambitious long term plans. One local woman said: “I would just be happy to have a project articulated that has an overall vision. There’s really no coherence between TfL and the buildings. That’s what needs to come together.”

Ideas from the meeting will be exhibited at London Festival of Architecture next month.

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