Camden Council is asking residents for their views on whether to make permanent the outdoor dining and drinking spaces on Cleveland Street, Goodge Street, and Warren Street, along with a number of other changes to the streets, in a public consultation that closes on 1 November.
Camden installed outdoor eating and drinking areas known as “streateries” at various locations in Fitzrovia during the early part of the Covid pandemic to support the hospitality businesses due to restrictions on indoor eating and drinking.
“Streateries remove parking to create additional space for outdoor seating in the road for al fresco dining, protected by barriers. In Fitzrovia Streateries have been installed on Warren Street, Goodge Street and Cleveland Street first as temporary measures in 2020/2021 which were then continued as trials under Experimental Traffic Order (ETO) for a further 18 months (until December 2023),” says Camden
The streatery plans were originally put forward by the Fitzrovia Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) who lobbied Camden Council to make highway changes “to facilitate social distancing” to help businesses.
In making its decision to introduce the streateries Camden Council did recognise the concerns of residents about the increase in noise nuisance, especially where alcohol is being consumed.
“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 in the summer of 2020.
With those Covid restrictions no longer in place, the council is now holding three separate public consultations this month on whether or not to make the streateries permanent.
In Conway Street, Camden removed a streatery earlier this year after complaints from residents about drinkers blocking the footway and causing a noise nuisance. A council report on the decision stated that “the streatery exacerbates the problems” of outside drinking.
In a previous consultation on extending the streateries programme the “biggest concern among consultees was disturbances such as noise, antisocial behaviour, smoking and dropped litter which impacts on residents’ amenity. The majority of these related to Cleveland Street and Warren Street,” stated a council report in 2022.
The Charlotte Street Association residents’ group has criticised Camden Council for prioritising businesses over people living in Fitzrovia, and many residents view the council’s control of noise nuisance from outside drinking is woefully inadequate.
After the consultation, Camden says it will “carefully consider all the responses alongside other information, to help us decide whether or not to go ahead with the permanently proposed changes”.
If a decision is made to retain the streateries and the other proposals it would be done through a permanent Traffic Management Order.
Cleveland Street proposals
At Cleveland Street Camden is proposing to permanently retain some streateries, but remove others that are no longer required by businesses by making a number of changes.
Camden is proposing to make permanent the streatery spaces outside 124-126 Cleveland Street, but reduce the size by five metres; and permanently retain the streateries outside numbers 70-72, 80 and 96 Cleveland Street.
The streatery spaces outside 68, 82 and 100 Cleveland Street would be removed.
A loading bay and the hours of loading, outside numbers 74-78 Cleveland Street would be made permanent.
An island for a tree and four cycle stands would be installed outside 126 Cleveland Street, and two bike hangars for residents outside 128-134 Cleveland Street.
A number of changes to parking restrictions would also be made to improve sight lines and visibility for all road users at the junction with Maple Street.
Goodge Street proposals
At Goodge Street, Camden is planning to keep the streatery spaces outside numbers 7, 29 and 40-42 Goodge Street, and extend and make permanent the loading bay outside number 8 Goodge Street along with the waiting and loading restrictions.
A cycle lane which runs along the outside of the extended loading bay (outside Tesco at 10-16 Goodge Street) is also to be made permanent — but it will change from a “mandatory” cycle lane to an “advisory” lane.
Warren Street proposals
At Warren Street Camden is proposing to permanently retain the the pedestrian and cycle zone on Warren Street, between the junctions with Grafton Mews and Fitzroy Street.
The zone would be permanently closed to motor vehicles except emergency vehicles, and will be used to place tables and chairs at the kerbside.
Under the plans the streatery outside 25-28 Warren Street, which includes The Smugglers Tavern pub, would also be made permanent.