Charlotte Street looking south from junction with Rathbone Street. Photo shows outside dining and drinking areas.
Charlotte Street looking south. Photo: Fitzrovia News

Camden Council is seeking residents’ views on the Charlotte Street “streatery” which it plans to extend for another 18 months to May 2024.

The council says it want its streets to have “more safe space for everyone to walk and cycle, for children to get to and from school safely and healthily, for businesses to be able to flourish, to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles and for you to be breathing cleaner air”.  

In 2020 the council made changes to several sections of Charlotte Street converting parking bays to places “for businesses to place tables and chairs for al fresco dining, protected by barriers”.

Camden is now consulting on extending the streateries for a further 18 months’ trial period to aid the recovery of cafes and restaurants.

“The stretch of Charlotte Street between Goodge Street and Percy Street has about 24 hospitality businesses,” says Camden. 

However, there are also around 40 homes along the same stretch of street and the Charlotte Street Association, which seeks to protect residents’ amenity, is concerned about the noise nuisance generated by outside dining — particularly consumption of alcohol in the evenings.

Camden recognises 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, as well as protecting residents’ interests,” stated a council report in 2020.

Camden claims its safe streets programme allows “more safe space for everyone to walk and cycle” but the Charlotte Street scheme has only created more space for businesses. Cyclists do get a short section of contraflow on the one-way section of Charlotte Street but the only safety measure is a painted white line.

Camden says it wants to reduce carbon emissions but many of the restaurants and cafes are using outside heating on the streateries — adding to carbon emissions.

“We are now proposing to retain the scheme as a trial, using an Experimental Traffic Order (ETO) for a further 18 months, to May 2024 (subject to the business securing a tables and chairs licence), and we want to know your views on this proposal,” says Camden.   

Charlotte Street Streateries for outdoor dining. Consultation closes 27 June 2022.