‘Silicon Roundabout’ no more: Old Street overhaul gets green light

An artist's impression of what Old Street will look like

An artist's impression of what Old Street will look like - Credit: Archant

Plans for a £25m revamp of Silicon roundabout are set to go ahead, despite complaints it will make the deadly junction more dangerous and lead to more pollution.

An artist's impression of what Old Street will look like

An artist's impression of what Old Street will look like - Credit: Archant

The 1970s roundabout at London’s technology epicentre in Old Street will cease to exist, with one side being paved over to make a large pedestrian square with seating and trees.

The radical re-design will begin next year when the north-western arm of the roundabout on the Islington side of Old Street will be paved over to create a new public space. The Tube station will have a new entrance installed centrally – where the island stands presently.

But while Transport for London (TfL) claims the design will make the junction – where there were 44 collisions between February 2010 and January 2013 – safer for pedestrians and cyclists, Hackney Council and campaign groups the London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets say it could do just the opposite.

Cllr Feryal Dermici expressed surprise the scheme is going ahead with no changes, despite the opposition.

She said: “What’s been my concern from the beginning is they keep talking about this being a very pedestrian and cyclist-led scheme but there are two groups being discriminated against and it’s cyclists and pedestrians.

“It’s terrible for pedestrians because it narrows the footpaths and closes the entrances into the station,” she said.

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“The segregated cycle lanes are too small and could only cope with the current levels of cycling. This is not future-proof.

“Worst of all, that area of Hackney has the worst air pollution, and all the traffic will be put onto the Hackney side.

“I can see the benefits for Islington, but to look for benefits for the area, this is not the scheme you would put in. I don’t understand the drive behind this scheme.”

Out of the 1,331 respondents to a public consultation, 87 per cent agreed that the plans will transform the area for the better for pedestrians and cyclists.

An architect will now be appointed and designs will be shared this autumn.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “We are progressing at full steam with our plans to redesign some of London’s most notorious junctions, and Old Street roundabout is one of the key ones we are determined to completely overhaul as quickly as possible.

These plans will dramatically improve safety for the thousands of cyclists and pedestrians using the junction and also make it easier to access Tech City, which continues to nurture upcoming technology and creative talent from around the world.”