Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 17:27 UK

'Museumland' road plan approved

artist's impression Exhibition Road
An artist's impression of the pedestrian-friendly revamp

A plan to give the streets around some of London's most famous museums more of a 'village' feel has taken its first key step forward.

Kensington and Chelsea Council has approved dismantling a one-way system around Exhibition Road.

This is the first step towards having cars and pedestrians "share" the road.

The busy area around west London's South Kensington Tube is home to the Victoria and Albert, Science and Natural History museums.

Borough deputy leader Daniel Moylan said residents and visitors should notice the difference within a year as an initial 3 million is spent on redirecting the traffic.

The overall aim is to recreate what the council sees as a "village" feel in the hectic area.

He said support for the ambitious longer term move to making the streets around the museums into a shared space for vehicles and pedestrians has received wide support.

Naked roads

"There has been tremendous community support," Mr Moylan said. "A great deal of design and consultation has gone into this and good progress has been made."

He added that support for the redevelopment has crossed political lines.

Once work on the one-way system is complete - and providing that funding is in place - the council plans to eliminate the kerbs and remove safety barriers to force traffic to slow dramatically in the area and make crossing the road less daunting for those on foot.

The concept is also known as "naked roads", where physical differences between car and pedestrian spaces are removed, causing drivers to slow down.

Mr Moylan said the bulk of the money will have to come from other levels of government as the project progresses, but insisted that worsening economic conditions should not interfere with the plans.

He said given the tourism income generated for London by the high number of visitors to the area, making the streets safer and more user-friendly is an investment in the capital.

Mr Moylan said the Conservative council's scheme has the support of Mayor Boris Johnson.


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