Marchmont Association
Bloomsbury London WC1

'Residents and businesses improving
the local area for the benefit of all'

Opportunities for Improvement by rdef

  Opportunities for Improvement


Opportunities for Improvement

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After completing the Marchmont Parade landscaping and public art project and the Marchmont Community Garden, we turned our attention to opening Cartwright Gardens to public use, which we are pleased to say was achieved on 19th December 2016, in connection with the redevelopment of the adjacent student halls by the University of London. We are continuing to seek improvements to the 'sunken garden' site in Coram Street and the public realm opposite Russell Square station in Bernard Street. We also earmarked the disused public conveniences in Guilford Place (pictured), which is currently being refurbished as a restaurant. An opportunity arose, as a result of a permitted change of use at the Woburn Place car park below Russell Court, to landscape the former petrol station forecourt. However, the site remains a glorified car park and the Council seems powerless to bring about the desired landscaping.


Bernard Street: Although the footways were extended between Russell Square station and Russell Square in 2007/8, in preparation for the increased footfall anticipated by the arrival of the ill-fated Cross-River Tram, pedestrian movements have since multiplied due to growth in student numbers, tourists, commuters and shoppers visiting the resurgent Brunswick shopping centre and the very popular Tesco Express and Prêt a Manger retail units. The locality is also a favoured assembly point for large groups of predominantly young tourists. Put simply, there is not enough room on the footway for the volume of pedestrians using it, not helped by the proliferation of 'street clutter'.

To address this problem, the Council agreed to replace redundant bollards with new cycle stands and to remove the old stands from the middle of the footway where they were causing an obstruction, thereby significantly increasing the available space. We are now pressing the Council to get BT Openreach and Arqiva to remove their 'redundant' telephone kiosks, which are simply glorified advertising hoardings. Unfortunately, because this area is not within the Bloomsbury Conservation Area, the Council has no powers to prevent these advertisements, as they have done in nearby locations. BT are reluctant to remove the kiosks, despite admitting that they have been rendered redundant by mobile phone usage, because they are still generating advertising revenue. We lobbied the Council to fill the over-sized tree pits with a more satisfactory permanent material, as they have done in other equally busy locations. This eradicated the trip hazards which formed when the loose gravel was dislodged by pedestrians. Whilst welcoming Bloomsbury Councillors' initiative to improve the public realm outside the station by creating a 'plaza', we are disappointed that Council Officers have decided this is not a priority.

If you know of any sites in need of improvement, please let us know.

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Created On 18 December 2010

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