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The traders should be concerned about the impact of a road closure

02 August, 2019

John Papworth, who has had a fruit and veg stall at Chapel Market since the 1970s, says delivery vans must be allowed access

• IN response to your report on Liverpool Road (‘Leave us alone!’ Chapel Market traders oppose Angel pedestrianisation, July 19), in addition to the impact on all traders and businesses on Chapel Market such a closure of the road would:

• Increase north- and south-bound traffic on Upper Street – already congested and risky on the crossing serving the tube. Without traffic going into Liverpool Road that crossing is more dangerous.

• Stop black cabs serving shoppers – often elderly residents who can’t manage buses or make online deliveries.

• Divert traffic from a commercial area directly into residential streets.

The report notes that the Islington Society is a conservation group. I’d say that diverting traffic directly into the Barnsbury Conservation Area doesn’t present itself as an ideal “fit” as conservationists. But then again they also act as a lobbyist.

The society’s chair, David Gibson, talks about the “link” and “wasted space” between Chapel Market and Angel Central.

There is a direct link between Chapel Market and Angel Central – it’s a zebra crossing between the market to the entrance of Angel Central / CBRE’s new anchor client Uniqlo.

As to wasted space, in front of the full extent of Angel Central there is a pub, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Oseyo, pavements and, of course, the road. Presumably the latter is what is regarded as wasted?

Why, after 27 years, is such a scheme being raised again in 2019? It is a very different physical area since Angel Central was built, but the consequences are the same.

The major activity in the area this year is the investment by CBRE into Angel Central – including opening out the frontage of the centre on two levels facing Liverpool Road.

I’d guess CBRE would appreciate the pedestrianisation of a road accessing their two anchor stores and the central plaza after their spend. Maybe more so with the opening of Islington Square later this year – a competing retail destination that’s fully pedestrianised.

If the concern is that “pedestrians clearly have the priority” then a less disruptive idea to closure would be widening and repositioning the zebra crossing.

This can be 10 metres wide, which obviously would meet the aims of the Islington Society and David Gibson “to slow traffic down and make it a place where pedestrians clearly have the priority”.

That said, this scheme is already in the St Mary’s Community plan which gives the “priorities” for each ward with a trajectory for implementation and completion.

With a costing already assigned, it suggests progress on the project is already advanced beyond what is suggested in the report. I think­ traders in the Angel, and residents of Barnsbury and Canonbury, should be concerned.

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