Camden Council has approved plans for “streateries” and “boozeries” in Cleveland Street and Warren Street to help the hospitality trade during Covid-19 restrictions.
The move follows on from other schemes in Fitzrovia approved by Camden and Westminster councils, where on-street car parking is removed and eateries and drinking dens can place tables and chairs in the carriageway once they have the required licence from the councils.
The Fitzrovia Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) put forward the plans. “The proposals for a ‘Streatery’ agreed with Fitzrovia BID include providing highway changes to facilitate social distancing by about 25 businesses” in Cleveland and Warren streets says a council report.
In Warren Street a short section of the street will become a pedestrian and cycle zone between Grafton Mews and Fitzroy Street. Bollards already prevent through motor traffic at this location. “It is intended that the eateries in this stretch can use the entire pavement space outside their premises and pedestrians can walk in the carriageway.”
The report states that the pedestrian and cycle zone will cause some difficulties for deliveries and access to premises by motor vehicle and “therefore may create a disadvantage for some protected groups, however the measures proposed are not considered to create any unlawful discrimination,” according an equalities impact assessment produced by Camden.
Nowhere in the report is there any consideration for residents living in Warren and Cleveland Streets about noise and other nuisance associated with outside drinking, and having to get past people sitting or standing outside their homes. However, a previous report did recognise some of the issues.
“There is concern that outdoor dining can lead to noise and disturbance on the street, especially in the later part of the evening, therefore it is necessary to achieve balance between helping businesses to recover, and providing more capacity to support walking and cycling as well as protecting residents’ interests,” says a Camden report included with the decision signed off by Bloomsbury ward councillor and cabinet member Adam Harrison earlier in the summer.
The report claims that the measures will improve the environment for walking and cycling. In Warren Street the real improvement was achieved several years ago when through motor traffic was removed by putting bollards across the carriageway. The current proposals make little difference for people moving around on foot or cycle. In Cleveland Street there are no restrictions on through traffic.
Many residents will however welcome the removal of motor cycle and parking bays, though whether they will end up outside someone else’s home is anyone’s guess.
The scheme benefits the cafes, restaurants and pubs by increasing the amount of trading space they can use — the main aim of The Fitzrovia Partnership BID.
The “streateries” are due to be launched from Friday 4 September. “The road closure of Warren Street between Fitzroy Street and Grafton Mews is being undertaken through an Experimental Traffic Order. The Council will consult after 12 months to make the situation permanent.
“Should any of the premises want outdoor dining next year, then a new application will be required. At this time the council will consider the traffic changes required and if recommended then a new report will be submitted for approval,” says Camden.
“The cost of funding the traffic management measures for Cleveland Street and Warren Street Streatery schemes will be financed from a combination of Section 106 funding and Camden’s Reopening Highstreets Safely Fund. The estimated cost of delivering the traffic measures is £30,000,” says Camden.
Camden Council decision details: Cleveland Street and Warren Street “Streateries” in response to COVID-19.