Brick Lane proposals FAQ

    What has happened so far?

    The Brick Lane project is part of our Liveable Streets programme that started in 2019. So far, we have: 

    • Early Engagement: 24 June - 31 August 2019 

    An online survey, interactive map and drop-in sessions were delivered and almost 400 comments and ideas were received and around 50% of these responses came from residents within the Brick Lane area.

    • Co-design Workshops: 25 January - 5 February 2020

     Co-design workshops took place with residents, businesses and community groups on concept designs and understand specific issues, such as business access and deliveries. 

    •  Streetspace for London scheme (Brick Lane) - 17 August - 5 November 2020

     The Streetspace for London scheme was trialled during Summer 2020 as a response to Covid-19 pandemic to enable social distancing and safety with temporary road closures in Brick Lane. Though this scheme was not part of our Liveable Streets programme, we ran a survey from Wednesday 4 November 2020 to Monday 30 November 2020 to seek feedback on the trial scheme to help shape the Liveable Streets proposals. 

    • Public Consultation: 17 March - 14 April 2021

    Our current proposals were developed based on feedback from residents, businesses, and local community during previous phases and additional engagement took place with key stakeholders pre consultation to understand impacts e.g. access and delivery.

    • Post Public Consultation and Construction (Current stage): 26 July - completion

    Following construction, Cabinet approved our proposals on 26th May 2021. Following this construction and implementation has been scheduled to start over August into September. 

    The project construction and implementation are being phased over 3 stages. Phase 1 includes pedestrian only timed closures and the implementation of one-way systems on certain roads. The preliminary works take place from 26th July and the timed closures come into force on 5th August.

    What has been approved by Cabinet?

    Post consultation, the consultation feedback was analysed and shaped the final scheme proposals, which were approved by Cabinet on 26th May 2021. 

    • Scheme 1: All the proposals were approved
    • Scheme 2: Was approved for restricted pedestrian zones for Thursday and Friday evening closures and weekend closures. 
    • Scheme 3: School Streets have been approved for timed closures between 8:15 - 9:15am and 3 - 4pm during term times.

    Please refer to the cabinet report and results booklet for further details. 

    What does the first phase of works include?

    The first phase of works will commence from 26th July 2021, this includes the addition of new signage and road marking changes on Brick Lane. Further changes that will be implemented are:

    • 2nd August - converting Fashion Street, Fournier Street and Princelet Street into one-way streets
    • 5th August - the Pedestrian Only Zone will come into force.

    When will the other phases of work commence?

    A construction timeline for the further phases of work on the Liveable Streets Brick Lane project is currently being finalised, and any details and dates will be highlighted on the website prior to any works taking place. A construction letter to the residents and business within the surrounding where the works will be carried out will be sent prior to any scheduled works. 

    What does the Pedestrian Zone restrictions mean for residents and businesses on Brick Lane?

    The Pedestrian Zone restrictions, which were enforced on 5th August 2021, means that certain parts of Brick Lane will be subject to time road closures. The timed closures will be live on Thursday and Friday evenings between 5:30pm and 11pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11am (8am for Sunday Market closures on Quaker Street) to 11pm. These closures aim to help increase the footfall within the area while making it safer for those visiting and residing in Brick Lane when travelling around. More details on the closures can found in the construction letter located here. 

    Who is exempt to the pedestrian zone restrictions?

    Emergency Services, Blue Badge Holders, and residents directly affected by the closures (i.e within the closure zone) would be exempt to the time restrictions. Apart from Emergency Services, those eligible for exemption would have to apply though our dedicated exemptions page here

    Why are certain roads now being made one way?

    Fashion Street, Fournier Street and Princelet Street are being made on way to accommodate the restricted pedestrian zones and to allow for changes made during the further construction phases to be implemented. This would ensure that any changes that are made would not restrict access to residents or increase safety concerns in the area where the changes are being made. 

    Are delivery drivers or taxis exempt from the restrictions?

    No, delivery drivers or taxis are not exempt from the pedestrian only zone restrictions. Outside the hours of the restrictions, delivery drivers and taxis can move freely though the area. There will also be no changes to the loading and business bays on the side streets next to Brick Lane where the restrictions are not in place. 

    What is being proposed?

    Three schemes have been developed to improve walking and cycling, create better public spaces, discourage through-traffic, improve air quality and support in the economic recovery of businesses within Brick Lane:

    Scheme 1: Enhancing the Neighbourhood

    Scheme 2: Brick Lane

    Scheme 3: School Streets

    Our proposals include environmental enhancements and traffic calming measures to improve accessibility and safety for all and to encourage active travel.

    Our proposals: 

    • Pedestrianising sections of Brick Lane in the evenings and the weekends (Brick Lane will be open to all traffic before 5.30pm on weekdays) to support businesses to trade safely and make use of outside dining space.
    •  Improving the accessibility of Brick Lane with dropped kerbs and new disabled parking spaces.
    •  Enhancing the neighbourhood with improved lighting, planting and traffic calming measures to create a better and safer environment for the local community and visitors to walk and cycle around Brick Lane.
    • Implement school streets to create accessible and safer school travel routes to improve air quality and road safety at the following locations: 
      • Buxton Street, between Deal Street and Vallance Road 
      • Deal Street, between Woodseer Street and Buxton Street 
      • Underwood Road 
      • Hunton Street
    • Safe and secure cycle hangars on Old Montague Street, Chicksand Street, Fashion Street, Hanbury Street and Woodseer Street to encourage sustainable travel.
    • New cycle stands on Osborn Street, Old Montague Street, Brick Lane, and Buxton Street to encourage sustainable travel.

    Why are these proposals important?

    Brick Lane is an iconic area of London which attracts over 18,500 pedestrians every day. This space is also shared with over 4,000 vehicles, many of which use Brick Lane to cut through the area. This means they are not visiting local businesses, schools or places of worship but are significant contributors to the already unacceptable levels of air pollution and congestion along Brick Lane.

    School streets are central to our Brick Lane proposals to address key safety and air quality issues. Our initiatives will create accessible and safer school travel routes by reducing the number of cars polluting the school environment and improving road safety for children.

    These proposals are a key part of Tower Hamlets commitment to support Brick Lane’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and aims to attract more visitors to the area and support businesses to trade safely. 

    What is the difference between the Liveable Streets Brick Lane proposals and the Streetspace for London scheme?

    The Streetspace for London scheme was trialled during Summer 2020 as a response to Covid-19 pandemic to enable social distancing and safety with temporary road closures in Brick Lane. Though this scheme was not part of our Liveable Streets programme, we ran a survey from Wednesday 4 November 2020 to Monday 30 November 2020 to seek feedback on the trial scheme to help shape the Liveable Streets proposals. 

     Our current traffic management proposals are very different from the Streetspace for London scheme that was trialled in Summer 2020, see below: 

    • During the trial there were 24/7 closures – we are proposing timed closures (5.30pm- 11pm Thursday and Fridays and 11am-11pm weekends) during peak visiting times.
    • During the trial Closures blocked with planters to restrict all vehicle access -we are proposing timed closures will be monitored by Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and will allow 24/7 access for emergency services. 

    What improvements are there for me as a business owner?

    • Improved public realm in retail areas to attract visitors.
    • Increase in footfall in retail areas, creating a boost for local businesses in our town centres.
    • Provide new public seating, green spaces and tree planting to create a healthier environment.
    • Encouraging customers to spend more time, feeling safe and comfortable.
    • Pedestrian routes have been improved through wider pavements and appropriate dropped kerbs, allowing easier movement for shoppers.

    Will my customers be impacted?

    Retail is a crucial element of a thriving high street and in line with the Liveable Streets objectives. The programme in Brick Lane is focused on measures to improve the area for businesses and their customers and residents alike - by reducing vehicle volumes and creating optimal conditions for walking and cycling. 

    We believe, by transforming car-oriented streets into more functional public and pedestrian spaces, means there is the potential to create environments that support walking and cycling and economic development.

    Shared and public spaces are vital components of high streets. These spaces are what build community, and are often under-used, becoming simple thoroughfares. Studies increasingly show customer behaviour, shopping habits and social attitudes have changed. To remain relevant and as important to communities and businesses as they have been in the past, the centres of our towns and cities and our high streets have to change with them. In 2020, there is less reason to chase the traditional model of the high street - a place where people come together to shop. Now more than ever with the impact of COVID-19, we need to re-imagine the high street and drive towards a new future where people come together for many different reasons. 

    Creative thinking, in line with the current design proposals for Brick Lane, is needed so these spaces can become the focal point for the social interaction that is the heart of the high street experience – an area that is enjoyed by all members of the local community. Pedestrianisation is arguably one method of improving public spaces and high streets. Positive results have been found in recent years in locations such as Walthamstow Central.

    How will the scheme provide economic recovery to the local area?

    As well as helping to improve road safety, public spaces, and air quality, our Liveable Streets scheme will also provide the space for restaurant businesses on Brick Lane to apply for a Tables and Chairs license to provide an outside socially distanced dining experience for customers.

Scheme 1: Enhancing the neighbourhood

    What planting will be installed within the scheme?

    If the scheme is supported by the community and approved for delivery, the detailed design stage will look at what specific planting species should be installed. There will be a number of factors that will be considered, including maintenance, the local surrounds, flowering, the site, and key stakeholders that may need to be engaged.

    What is a parklet?

    A parklet is a small seating area with green space and planting on the pavement. Two new parklets are proposed in the scheme to provide additional space for the local community and visitors to enjoy Brick Lane safely.

    How will the project improve accessibility?

    The investing in Brick Lane project aims to improve accessibility to Brick Lane either by bike or foot.   The project includes: 

    • Relocating motorcycle parking on Brick Lane, at the south of Buxton Street, to enable pavement width for a pushchair or wheelchair.
    • Adding dropped kerbs to create safer crossings within the area.
    • At each timed closure point junction, surface treatment is proposed. This will be a coloured surface in contrast with the road surface, so drivers are aware they are crossing/entering the timed section.
    • Creating new disabled parking spaces on the Chicksand Street, Fashion Street and Fournier Street.
    • Upgrade street lighting on Buxton Street, Underwood Road and Code Street to create a safer walking and cycling route. 

    What is the benefit of the Southbound one-way section along Deal Street between Underwood Road and Woodseer Street?

    Traffic counts show that many residential roads experience high levels of motor vehicle traffic every day. Residential streets like Deal Street currently have more than 4,100 vehicles using them every day. A high percentage of these are non-residents cutting through your area leading to noise, air pollution and road safety issues. Our proposals aim to reduce cut through traffic and vehicle movement at the junction of Deal Street and Hanbury Street to improve air quality and road safety.

    What cycle improvements are you implementing in Brick Lane?

    To help encourage more local residents to cycle we are implementing a number of improvements: 

    Safe and secure cycle hangars on Old Montague Street, Chicksand Street, Fashion Street, Hanbury Street and Woodseer Street.

    New cycle stands on Osborn Street, Old Montague Street, Brick Lane, and Buxton Street.

     

    To register your interest in a cycle hangar or receive more information, please tick the box in the survey or email LiveableStreets@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Scheme 2: Brick Lane

    What does a timed road closure mean?

    A timed road closure means ‘the road is closed to motor vehicles’ during certain times, this includes all cars, vans, motorcycles, and lorries etc. The road will be open to pedestrians, cyclists, and emergency services at all times.

    Why are the timed closures proposed?

    The times of the closures are based on feedback from the community, businesses, and visitors during previous engagement. We want to provide a safer environment for pedestrians during evenings and weekends during Brick Lane's peak visiting times, and still ensure businesses can continue to receive deliveries and collections during the day on weekdays.

    Can cyclists still travel through the timed road closures?

    Yes, cyclists can still travel through the proposed timed closures, alongside pedestrians.

    How will timed restrictions be enforced?

    The timed closures will be monitored by Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, which will restrict vehicle movements but still allow access for emergency services during hours of operation.

    How will these projects impact emergency services?

    The emergency services are key stakeholders. The ambulance services, police and fire brigade have been consulted early in the engagement process to ensure their access needs are not impacted. Our project will allow 24/7 access for emergency services. 

    We will continue to work closely with the emergency services to make Brick Lane an even safer place to live, work, study, and visit.  

    Will I still be able to access my property if I have a car?

    All proposed timed closures are sections of less than 50m in length, this means that residents will be able to pick-up/drop off passengers within close proximity to the closures. 

    All areas are accessible by vehicle outside the proposed timed closures (5.30pm- 11pm Thursdays and Fridays and 11am-11pm (includes 8am Sunday Market Closures at Quaker Street)  weekends).

    Can I park my vehicle in Brick Lane?

    Parking within the timed closure points will not be permitted during the hours of operation

    (5.30pm- 11pm Thursdays and Fridays and 11am-11pm weekends (includes 8am Sunday Market Closures at Quaker Street)). Details of the parking relocation will be found on the online parking map (talk.towerhamlets.gov.uk/LSBrickLane).

    Will the whole of Brick Lane be operating timed restrictions?

    No, some sections of Brick Lane will stay open at all times for access requirements. These are: 

    • Between Wentworth Street and Chicksand Street to ensure access for Spitalfields Health Centre and residential car park. 
    • Between Fashion Street and Fournier Street to enable access to Heneage Street and Seven Stars Yard. 
    • Between Woodseer Street and Buxton Street for deliveries and access to the public car park. 

    Will I still be able to receive deliveries to my business?

    There will be no changes to the loading and business bays on the side streets next to Brick Lane. Businesses access to load and receive deliveries on these streets will remain during the timed closures hours of operation (5.30pm- 11pm weekdays and 11am-11pm weekends).

    Will the timed closures be permanent?

    Following the analysis of the consultation results, and approved project at Cabinet, the Liveable Streets scheme within Brick Lane will be implemented on an Experimental Traffic Order (ETO) which has a duration of 18 months. During this time Tower Hamlets will review the project, make changes, remove, or make the scheme permanent after the scheme has been implemented.

Scheme 3: School Streets

    What is a school street?

    A School Street is a Street outside a school with a permanent or temporary restriction on motor vehicles during mornings and afternoons on school days to allow children, parents, and staff to arrive and leave the schools in a safe and healthy environment whilst encouraging more active travel.

    Why do we need School Streets?

    School streets aim to: 

    To improve road safety - Unfortunately, children are some of the most vulnerable road users. As part of the School Street, we look at the design of the roads and pavements to make it as safe as possible for children on the way to and from school. 

    To protect children from pollution - Harmful air pollution affects the health and well-being of children. Children’s lung capacity can be reduced by breathing toxic air which can affect all organs in their body and their long-term health. Find out more at www.towerhamlets. gov.uk/breatheclean 

    To encourage active travel - Busy roads can make it feel unsafe to walk and cycle. We can widen pavements, introduce crossings, and calm traffic to allow more children to safely walk, scoot and cycle. Where possible, schools can provide space for storing bikes and scooters safely. Find out more at www.towerhamlets. gov.uk/cycling

    Where are school streets?

    School Streets are at the following locations: 

    • Buxton Street, between Deal Street and Vallance Road 
    • Deal Street, between Woodseer Street and Buxton Street 
    • Underwood Road 
    • Hunton Street 

    How are school streets enforced?

    The School Street will be enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and vehicles entering not exempt, will automatically be issued a penalty charge notice.

    Who is exempt from a school street?

    Access for residents & businesses of those streets, school staff, blue badge users and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) children will be allowed if the vehicle is registered for an exemption. This can be requested free of charge by complementing the online form online, please visit: www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/schoolstreets 

    All other vehicles not registered for exemption will not be permitted to enter the School Street during operational hours between 8.15am-9.15am and 3pm-4pm on school days. 

    All vehicles parked within the School Streets will be permitted to leave the area at all times. 

    What are school street initiatives and how can I get involved?

    School initiatives create a more attractive environment for children on their way to and from school. 

    We proposed: 

    • Planters outside Osmani Primary School on Vallance Road. 
    • Planters and community area outside Thomas Buxton Primary School on Selby Street. This will require the loss of an existing loading bay and solo motorcycles bay. 

    As the proposals were approved, school workshops will be arranged. The design was developed through workshops to create a design that understands children’s journeys to and from school, air quality impact, health, and well-being improvements. 

    If you would like further information on Tower Hamlets School Streets initiatives, please visit: www. towerhamlets.gov.uk/schoolstreets

Investment in the area

    What are Liveable Streets programme complementary measures?

    As part of the Liveable Streets programme the council is developing a number of complementary measures and monitoring. 

    These activities and events will include the following: 

    • Cycle training and maintenance classes 
    • Cargo bike use for businesses 
    • School and workplace travel initiatives 
    • Play Streets 
    • Air quality monitoring 
    • Residential cycle hangars 
    • Electric vehicle charge points 

     If you are interested in play streets, cycle training or cycle hangars, please email us at liveablestreets@towerhamlets.gov.uk

    What other projects are happening in Brick Lane?

    The Council is developing other exciting proposals for further investment in Brick Lane. We have already consulted on a range of improvements and we hope to implement these projects alongside the Liveable Streets proposals, this will be an historic level of investment in Brick Lane.

    This includes: 

    • Allen Gardens
    • Brick Lane public realm


Coronavirus Related Information

    Why is the council consulting during the Coronavirus pandemic?

    We are passionate about maintaining an ongoing and robust engagement programme at this time to move forward with the programme and to ensure the public is aware and fully informed of the Liveable Streets objectives. The programme has simultaneous benefits for the health of our residents and the sustainability of the borough in the face of both the Coronavirus pandemic and the climate emergency.

    The government has contributed a £250million emergency walking and cycling fund for local authorities to make these alternatives viable. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London have also announced plans to transform parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world.

    Why is the Liveable Streets programme important right now?

    The Liveable Streets programme is crucial to the health and wellbeing of Tower Hamlets residents now more than ever. We want to contribute to minimising the cycle of car use, exposure to air pollution and the subsequent increased risk of coronavirus. By continuing to live in air polluted areas, our residents remain vulnerable to poor health generally and especially now during the current pandemic.

    Social distancing may last for years, and public transport capacity is predicted to drop by 85-90% to curb the spread of the virus through social distancing. In response, people may opt to use private motor vehicles. As the fastest growing population in London, this would be an inefficient use of limited road space and oversubscribed car parking facilities.

    What is Streetspace?

    In line with the coronavirus response and the easing of some movement restrictions, we have seen an increase in people walking and cycling in some streets in Tower Hamlets. Crowded pavements and cycle lanes will make it difficult for people to maintain social distancing as they return to work or education. Public transport must only be used when necessary to ensure that people making essential journeys can get around as safely as possible.

    The council are working with Transport for London to identify places where temporary changes are needed to support social distancing or that would benefit from cycling and walking improvements. The changes could include but are not limited to the widening of pavements, a change to the road layout or the introduction of dedicated cycling space. For more details, visit the Streetspace for Tower Hamlets page.

    Is it okay to deliver a leaflet to my house during Coronavirus?

    We believe it is crucial, along with all Post Office and Parcelforce deliveries, that our Liveable Streets engagement material continues to be distributed to the people living within the project boundaries. Our leaflet distributors actively monitor the latest guidance from Public Health England, and we are confident in their compliance with safety measures and legislations. We were also reassured to learn Public Health England have advised there is no perceived increase in risk of contracting the coronavirus from handling post or freight.

    As postal and freight sectors are permitted to operate during the lockdown under the governments key workers stipulations, we take our responsibilities very seriously during this time. From their experience with other coronaviruses, these types of viruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters, parcels or identity documents. However, it is sensible to wash your hands thoroughly after contact with anything outside of your home and to avoid touching your face.

    With regards to the handling, printing and preparation of the materials delivered on behalf of the Liveable Streets programme, face shields with adjustable foam headbands are worn at the print and fulfilment facility, in tandem with social distancing measures on site. Latex gloves are worn while on the premises and hands are washed, in line with government guidelines, on entry and exit from the building.

    I am considered a high-risk person; do I still receive engagement material?

    We understand and respect each residential property has a unique set of wishes and requirements during the lockdown and our distributors have reiterated they will not deliver to an individual who has requested not to receive material.

    Where can I find more information?

    If you have any concerns or further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Liveable Streets team below.

    liveablestreets@towerhamlets.gov.uk  (External link)

    0203 092 0401 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)

    Liveable Streets 

    6th Floor Mulberry Place 

    PO Box 55739 

    5 Clove Crescent 

    London E14 2BG