Councillors debate the pros and cons of Square Mile ‘car free’ day


Shutting parts of the City for an international ‘car free’ day later this year would offer a “good opportunity” to show what it would be like without traffic.

Transport for London has asked if the City of London Corporation will back the event in September, which would involve closing London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

Councillor Marianne Fredericks told colleagues at the Corporation’s streets and highways sub committee: “If we really want to experiment about how we remove traffic from the City this is a good opportunity.”

The event, planned for 22 September, would coincide with the popular London Open House weekend, which attracts thousands of people to get a peek behind doors of buildings usually closed to the public.

Officers showed councillors on a map where they proposed extending the car free area on the day, including streets around Guildhall and Bank. Another option could see roads around Leadenhall Street and St Mary Axe being out of bounds.

Cllr Fredericks (Tower ward) said she thought the car free idea was terrific but had concerns if traffic was bumper to bumper on Mansell Street, which is part of the Inner London Ring Road with the “largest area of housing”.

In response officers said they could manage that area sensitively.

Councillors also asked if the restricted area could be extended to Postman’s Park and St Paul’s, but were told it could cause problems for essential access around St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Cllr Randall Anderson (Aldersgate) added: “The purpose here makes a lot of sense. In my view car free should be about showing what it could be like.”

However, some councillors said they were concerned about closing the two bridges for the day.