The access way to the estate and for deliveries of Westminster Kingsway College, situated between Sidmouth Street and Heatcroft Street, allowed cyclists to bypass the busy Grays Inn Road on much more quiet and safe roads. This passage was part of a cycling axis connecting Doughty Street – Mecklenburgh Square – Seaford Street – Argyle Square. In fact the route was so well known and accepted, that Camden has even put up a blue sign at the exit on Sidmouth Street showing cyclists the way to Kings Cross. Is it possible that everybody knew except the developers, or was this done on purpose?
Up until this week there was only a barrier that disallowed cars to enter without the barrier opening, but cyclists were able to move through unhindered, although about a good year ago the passage was slightly tightened already through fencing.
Now new metal fences have been put up that close off and prevent any through access, even pedestrians can only pass through by bending underneath the barrier.
Crest Nicholson developed Bloomsbury Gardens on land that Westminster Kingsway College had sold during its own redevelopment. The planning applications concerning this land were initially opposed by locals and delayed for years as it was to become yet another private student home. In the end a private estate was agreed to, but it seems there is no intend to blend in with the local community now that the estate has been finished and the first residents have moved in. Instead it appears to become the latest example of a gated community without a clue of local conditions. Presumably they fear Kings Cross residents are undesirables and cyclists dangerous surpassers, or so one has to conclude about this strange step.
But it is not to late. Hopefully Camden Council will immediately start to negotiate the reopening of this crucial route in direct talks with Westminster Kingsway and Crest Nicholson, which not only helps commuters but also children on their way to and from school and nursery on roads without much traffic and pollution.
This is a part of London that actively seeks to promote cycling and reduce car traffic and we had our Kings Cross road victims too, so a closure of such an essential safe passage is simply not acceptable.