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Pedestrians set to rule the roads in EH initiative


English Heritage and the Government Office for London are aiming to empower the pedestrian over the car in the capital, following a new report which details sweeping changes to be made to the St Giles Circus area around Centre Point.

eh has taken a lead on a forthcoming report on the area as a follow-up to the 'Quality in Town and Country' initiative by former environment secretary John Gummer. It could mean road closures, a new public plaza and a reworked Tottenham Court Road underground station.

eh consultant Eddie Booth told the aj that the pilot project report, written by the Bristol office of Land Use Consultants with Ferguson Mann Architects and Cluttons on land-ownership details, will be published in the coming weeks. 'It's a whole range of ideas about improving the public realm,' he said. 'What we want is for the pilot to be an exemplar for London in an analysis of areas and the problems of pedestrian and vehicle conflict.'

The subject of the study is a conservation area on the borders of Camden and Westminster. Booth said that Andrew Borde Street, to the south of Centre Point, was 'an obvious candidate' for closure to enable the creation of a new public space and to force traffic beneath Centre Point's bridge. 'It's an area that's so focal, and yet so abused,' he said.

This kind of analysis could be exported to other areas of London such as Golders Green, with advice on the short-, medium- and long-term measures to be taken to improve traffic-dominated areas, Booth said.

The St Giles Circus area is in the spotlight, with Hawkins Brown working on the entries and exits to the Tottenham Court Road underground station. The practice is understood to be drawing up £30 million plans to treble the size of the current station's ticket office by building underneath what would be the new plaza created by the road closure. The scheme is in its early days, however, and would be subject to acquisitions.

Allies and Morrison, meanwhile, is drawing up a scheme for the entrance to Centre Point. There are also said to be moves to create a music museum in the locality, believed to be by Rolfe Judd, to draw on the heritage of the nearby 'Tin Pan Alley' area.

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