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2000 Archives

London's Walkway to Health
By Alan Symes

Described as a "green corridor of grandeur for exercise, recreation and stimulation" the London North City Walk has now been inaugurated as an important antidote to city fatigue induced by "noise, dirt and traffic intensity." The route has been selected for its environmental qualities which are due to be enhanced to add to its popularity.

The picture shows a part of the walk in London's Regents Park where organisers of the 10 million pounds sterling scheme celebrated its introduction recently.

The brainchild of architect Anthony Meats, the route's development is being planned by a team of urban designers and architects including: Dan Bone of CIVIX; Alan Baxter and Associates; Arup and Stuart Pearson.

The walkway now exists as a route from, in the south, St James's Park through John Nash's grand design of Regent Street and Regent's Park, to Primrose Hill and Belsize Park leading up to Hampstead Heath and Highgate - a distance of nearly 10 kilometres (six miles).

The London Tourist Board supports the project because "it encourages both visitors and Londoners to enjoy different aspects of the capital, in particular its wealth of open spaces."

Explaining why his concept had come about, Mr Meats comments: "There is a clear consensus in the capital that Londoners should be encouraged to 'get out of their cars'. They can be persuaded to do this only if there exists a safe, convenient and enjoyable alternative which a network of priority pedestrian routes would provide. These routes would be for the citizen, those working in London and the tourist." He added: "The walk is a vision of a humane and civilised London environment in which a boulevard of architectural beauty and classical green landscape is opened up, revealing attractive and secret places."

The walk, which is one of a number of routes supported by Camden and Westminster councils, combines "urban grandeur" with green spaces and offers panoramic views of the metropolis as well as "excellent catering and shopping facilities".

Outlining the route is one thing; combining the various paths into an attractive, integrated project is another requiring considerable investment. It is envisaged that 10 million pounds sterling will be required to complete the whole scheme with new squares and public spaces in the longer term.

A 70,000 pounds sterling feasibility study will be carried out for approval by the planning authorities. Modest improvements are considered to be sufficient to "create a safe and enjoyable experience for Londoners and visitors."

The London North City Walk
27 Old Street, London, United Kingdom, EC1V 9HL
Telephone: +44 171 253 1843
Fax: +44 171 253 5077.

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