Marchers protest over pedestrianisation of Mare Street in Hackney Central tonight
PUBLISHED: 14:39 26 March 2014 | UPDATED: 14:39 26 March 2014
A protest against the pedestrianisation of one of Hackney’s main shopping streets is due to take place tonight.
Dozens of residents are expected to take to the streets to oppose a council decision to permanently close the top end of Mare Street, known as the Narrow Way, to buses after a seven-month trial.
Demonstrators are set to march from the top of Mare Street to the town hall with a petition signed by thousands of people opposing the closure ahead of a full council meeting.
The move to close the road to all traffic except bicycles has shocked residents, with many traders saying it has harmed business and commuters claiming it has lengthened journey times.
Pawan Chawla, proprietor of Designer Baby, Mare Street, said: “The council keeps saying we are in favour of it and we want to tell them we are not. The regeneration is geared towards big businesses and not towards small businesses like us.”
Harvey Odze, chairman of the Hackney Conservative federation which is leading the march, said: “It’s a nightmare for the elderly and disabled people to get down the Narrow Way because there are no buses.
“Before we had cars going down Amhurst Road and buses going down the Narrow Way. Now both buses and cars are going down Amhurst Road. It’s increased traffic flow and pollution.”
Cllr Feryal Demirci, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “An independent survey conducted for the council spoke to 48 businesses and a total of 960 residents, shoppers and visitors, the vast majority of whom supported a car-free Narrow Way.
“A further 310 comments were received by the council from residents, shoppers and traders at community events, by phone, online and email, which showed overwhelming support for the scheme which forms part of our strategy to transform Hackney Central into a safer and more attractive place.
n. Protestors will gather at the top of the Narrow Way at 5.30pm and leave at 6pm to walk to the Town Hall to hand in a petition against the closure.
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