Labour Councillors have called for any decision on the Baker Street Two-Way proposal to be taken by the full Council rather than by one Councillor who has already been publicly strongly supportive of the controversial proposals which are being vigourously opposed by local residents and businesses.
In a letter to Charlie Parker, Chief Executive of Westminster City Council, Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour’s Built Environment spokesperson, says;
I am writing to express my concern that, as the prime ‘cheer-leader’ for the Baker Street Two Way project, Councillor Davis will also be the sole decision maker for this project.
Although there has been public consultation on this project, it is clear from Councillor Davis’ public statements that he is far from being impartial on this proposal. The two examples below clearly show that Councillor Davis is very supportive of the project and has been active in promoting what he considers to be the benefits.
For example, Councillor Davis’ quote in the Consultation leaflet strongly promotes the proposals:
“This public consultation gives you the chance to have your say on our proposal to return two way operation to Baker Street and Gloucester Place. Using modern traffic engineering techniques, under the proposed project vehicle flow should be smoother and less congested, without attracting more traffic to the area. This would reduce the dominance of vehicles along both streets and provide greater access, connectivity and useable space for local residents, businesses, workers and visitors. The proposals would also reduce the impact of convoluted journeys that are caused by the current one way system.”
Councillor Robert Davis DL
Cabinet Member for Built Environment
Westminster City Council
Similarly, Councillor Davis’ contribution to the Baker Street Quarter website is equally positive about the proposals:
Cllr Robert Davis said: “Baker Street is one of the top locations for visitors to this city, with Regent’s Park, Madame Tussauds, the Wallace Collection and the Sherlock Holmes museum nearby.
“It is only right that we seek to make the area a far more welcoming place for everyone that lives in, works in and visits the area. Baker Street is one of our key commercial districts and we want to give those that work there a more pleasant environment. The planned designs will re-establish and rejuvenate the area and bring back two way flow for the first time in almost 50 years, easing congestion in the area and creating better public spaces.
“I suppose Mr Holmes would have described this project as being elementary, but it is far from it. We think this is an exciting opportunity that will require many different parts of the community to work together to achieve success. So this consultation is important, and the project reflects the innovative way in which the public and private sectors can come together to find solutions to benefit the lives of those living and working in London, and we want everyone to play a part.”
As you know, there is considerable opposition to the proposals from local residents and businesses north and south of Marylebone Road, some of whom have put it to me that Councillor Davis cannot be considered to be an impartial decision maker in this instance and may have already made up his mind, notwithstanding the results of the public consultation.
With this in mind, and given the importance of this matter across a wide area, I suggest that this matter be considered by the full Council rather than by an individual Councillor.
I hope you will give this your full consideration.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Labour Built Environment Spokesperson”