Campaigners press for action on accident blackspot

Pembury Circus junction, cyclists crossing Dalston Lane

Pembury Circus junction, cyclists crossing Dalston Lane. Photograph: Action for Pembury Circus. Free for use by partners of BBC news wire service

Campaigners are calling for swift action to improve an accident hotspot at a busy and polluted Hackney town centre junction.

Hackney Council was awarded £19m Levelling Up funding from the government this year to transform Hackney Central. Plans include improvements to the square in front of Hackney Town Hall and redesigning Pembury Circus.

The east and west sections of Dalston Lane and Amhurst Road, and Pembury Road meet at the busy Pembury Circus junction.

In 2020 a 35-year-old cyclist died after a collision with a car on Pembury Road.

A woman in her 60s suffered serious injuries in February 2017 after her mobility scooter was in collision with a bus on Amhurst Road.

Pressure group Action for Pembury Circus is anxious to see the council’s plans for the £9-10m allocated as part of the government’s Levelling Up funding to transform the busy junction, and for work to get underway.

So far 400 people have signed a petition calling for the council to “accelerate the long-promised and fully funded improvements to Pembury Circus junction and involve the local community”.

They are concerned that the Levelling Up money needs to be spent by the end of March 2025 and want to see the council’s proposals for the junction.

The group is calling for an improved road layout, protected bike lanes and “pedestrian-first” designs.

Georgia Carey from Action for Pembury Circus said the busy junction has one of the worst pollution levels in Hackney and air quality breaches three World Health Organisation regulations.

She said a lot of school children, residents and commuters using nearby Hackney Downs station cross the junction regularly.

“There are six schools in the vicinity and there have been more than 80 collisions at the immediate junction in the last six years.”

She said there have been 142 casualties in the last six years.

Carey asked Hackney Council’s cabinet meeting on Monday 27 November if the £4.3m budgeted for Pembury Circus this year was cut or if it would be transferred to the next financial year.

She also asked if the council would redesign the whole junction or Amhurst Road from Pembury Road to Mare Street and Pembury Road only.

The council is currently consulting residents on plans to reduce traffic along Amhurst Road to Mare Street and transform it into a green route with pocket parks, greenery, and seating.

“We want to make sure the plans are not piecemeal,” said Carey.

“The residents are just concerned about it. We’ve been waiting such a long time.”

The council expects to start work on Pembury Circus in 2024 and has carried over the funding.

Mete Coban, cabinet member for climate change, transport and the environment said: “The current design of Pembury Circus poses huge problems for pedestrians but for cyclists as well. It’s a very dangerous route.

“We know it’s been a huge issue and we’ve had lots of accidents.”

He said the council lobbied hard to secure £10m from Transport for London (TfL) in 2017. This was cancelled after TfL lost 95 per cent of its income from fares during the pandemic.

The scheme would have included two-way protected cycle lanes on Mare Street, a ban on general traffic at the south end of Amhurst Road, and making three dangerous junctions safer, including Pembury Circus.

Coban said he will bring a “very ambitious scheme” for Amhurst Road and Pembury junction to next month’s cabinet. (DEC 11)

He pledged: “It will be completely redesigning what the public realm can look like and what safer roads can look like.”

Guy Nicholson, cabinet member for an inclusive economy and regeneration, said “significant investment into Hackney Downs station” is on track. He said this would include better access to the station, with disabled access to the platforms from the street level and improvements to the main entrance.