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Southwark approves plans for bold transformation of its streets

6 December 2022

Today (6 December 2022), Southwark’s Cabinet approved a report setting out its bold plans to improve the borough’s streets.

The report outlines the council’s ongoing commitment to, and ambition for, healthier neighbourhoods, cleaner air, thriving town centres and safer roads. Included in a broad range of measures the council has promised are:

  • More cycle storage
  • More trees on our streets
  • More parklets
  • More walking routes
  • More EV charging points
  • Better access to car clubs/car sharing
  • A borough wide network of cycling routes for all cycling abilities

The council will also leave no stone unturned in working with local residents and partners to improve our borough’s public transport offer and ensure it works for everyone; encourage the use of zero pollution vehicles; and give people better options so they can leave the car at home.

Today we launch our Streets for People campaign in the hope that local people will share our vision, and have their say on our plans. Local people are encouraged to tell us what they think as we consult on our Sustainable Transport Strategy. Take part online at

Everyone who travels around Southwark is encouraged to be involved. The new plan takes into account the huge changes in the way people live, work and travel since the pandemic.

Buses are the public transport of choice for Southwark residents with more than 116,000 bus trips taken daily. A priority in the borough, as in many neighbouring boroughs, has been to encourage walking and cycling. The focus on moving away from car use is in line with the Government’s Gear Change walking and cycling plan, priority outcomes from Southwark’s Climate Change Citizen’s Jury, and TfL’s Healthy Streets approach and ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone).

Cllr Catherine Rose, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Streets and Clean Air, explained: “We have a bold vision for our borough. We know our neighbourhoods can be quieter and safer when we reduce traffic and put people first.

“In Southwark most households do not have a car. Yet a rise in traffic through and around our borough made cars, not people, the focus on our roads.

“Streets for People is about finding a better way to use our streets. The people first approach means we have space to add cycle hangars, trees, seating and other important items we can all use when travelling around the borough.”

Local schemes, of which ten are already in place, see some streets closed to through car traffic while remaining open for walkers, cyclists and people who need to drive to their homes.

In Southwark:

  • Most households in Southwark (58.4%) do not own a car
  • Statistics among vulnerable groups show that buses are the transport of choice in Southwark, with 58% of disabled people, 66% of children and young people, 65% of the elderly and 65% of Londoners from ethnic minority backgrounds using this form of transport.
  • Owning and maintaining a car is expensive, 65% of Southwark households earn less than £45k and 15% below 15k.
  • Everyone is negatively impacted by pollution and busy roads, yet the majority of people who live in Southwark are not contributing to the negative impact of car ownership.

(Statistics from Southwark Council’s response to TfL consultation, August 2022)

Positive improvements and changes to Southwark streets already delivered include:

  • 550 cycle hangars installed with more than 3,000 bike spaces, aiming for more than 1,000 hangars (providing over 6,000 spaces) by 2025
  • 26 permanent School Street schemes with road closures in place, ongoing discussion with more than 100 Southwark schools to increase the number of schemes to implement more schemes where it is possible to do so
  • Walking maps for schoolchildren for over 20 schools, with ambition to have walking and wheelchair accessible routes throughout Southwark by 2023
  • Free cycle training for over 3,000 children and adults every year for the past five years
  • 400 electric vehicle charging points, with over 1,000 more to be installed by 2026

Local people in Walworth, where the largest scheme in the borough is based, have had Streets for People changes in place since 2020. Here are some comments from people living or working in Walworth (click here to view the film).

Tracy Crossfield, has been a Walworth resident since the 1980s, and lives on a street with traffic reduction measures that has lowered the number of vehicles on her road. She said: “It’s safer for everybody, there’s a lot less noise, it’s just changed our lives to be honest”.

Father Andrew Mumby, St Peter’s Church, Walworth, said: “The climate crisis is a real priority, we’re trying to work out every way that we can live more in harmony with nature even though we’re right in the middle of the city. So to be getting rid of concrete and putting in trees and plants is bound to be a good thing.”

Chris Greenwood, business owner, said: “We’ve found that a more attractive area helps make people feel more comfortable and more willing to come and enjoy the space both in the day and in the evening.”

Page last updated: 07 December 2022