Swain's Lane Safe and Healthy Streets

Closed 5 Sep 2021

Opened 6 Aug 2021

Results updated 18 Nov 2021

In August/September 2021 we ran a consultation on the changes we proposed for this area. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their views. We had over 390 responses to our consultation and you can read the decision report relating to this which includes our feedback to the responses.

What was the issue on Swain's Lane?

Concerns were raised on the Making Travel Safer in Camden Commonplace platform about:

  • The lack of space for social distancing
  • Large amounts of through-motor traffic using Swain's Lane as a cut through to avoid Highgate West Hill and Dartmouth Park Hill
  • Issues with speeding traffic
  • Cycling safety on Swain's Lane

As 61% of households in Camden do not own a car and public transport capacity remains much lower than before the pandemic, we know that safe and easy walking, cycling and scooting routes are more important than ever. Supporting and encouraging those who are able to walk and cycle, by creating safer streets will ensure that there is more space available on public transport and on our roads for those who need it the most.

What are the changes we are now making?

Following the consultation we will be removing the banned right turn from Swain’s Lane onto South Grove.

We are proposing to permanently keep the banned right turn onto Bisham Gardens as the results of the consultation showed support for this trial change so we will be making this element of the scheme permanent using a new Traffic Management Order (TMO).

Banning the right turn onto Bisham Gardens will help to prevent vehicles using this route as a cut through between main roads, making it safer for people to walk and cycle. We are now consulting on this and the proposals are available online.

How can you give your views?

Any person wishing to object or make representations on the proposed changes should email or send them in writing to: safetravel@camden.gov.uk or Freepost LBC TRANSPORT STRATEGY (this is the full address, no post code needed).

Objections must clearly state the grounds on which they are made. Please note that you must provide your postal address in order for your views to be considered. Please ensure any comments are received by Wednesday 8 December 2021. Should you have any queries on the proposals detailed in this information leaflet please contact:

Safe Travel in Camden (Swain’s Lane), Transport Strategy Service, London Borough of Camden

Tel: 020 7974 2765



Proposal to make the existing restrictions on Swain's Lane permanent.

About the scheme on Swain's Lane

To help respond to the transport challenges on our streets caused by the pandemic, and in line with our Camden Transport Strategy and Climate Action Plan, we have been making changes across Camden as part of our Safe and Healthy Streets Programme. This included making trial changes on Swain's Lane in late May 2020.

The changes we made on Swain's Lane helped to deter motor traffic from using this residential street as a cut-through to Highgate High Street, by installing a banned right turn from Swain's Lane into Bisham Gardens and also into South Grove.

This consultation now asks local residents and stakeholders to give their views on whether the trial scheme should be made permanent or not, after the end of the 18-month trial period, and to seek their views on any further changes they would like to see in the area.

About the Safe and Healthy Streets scheme on Swain's Lane

We know from listening to local people and conducting traffic counts in the area that there was a concern about the volume of traffic travelling north on Swain's Lane to reach Highgate Village instead of using the more suitable parallel roads of Highgate West Hill and Dartmouth Park Hill.

The volume of traffic travelling northbound on Swain's Lane made the road dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, particularly for those accessing the Cemetery and Waterlow Park, where the pavement is very narrow (as little as 0.6m in some places). These concerns were exacerbated by the pandemic and social distancing rules which meant that pedestrians often needed to step into the road to pass others.

In response to these concerns, we implemented traffic restrictions on Swain's Lane. Site visits to the area showed that the majority of vehicles turned right at the top of Swain’s Lane onto South Grove to get to Highgate High Street, so we banned the right turn from Swain's Lane onto South Grove and also onto Bisham Gardens which could be used as alternative cut-through, which aimed to remove the majority of traffic using Swain's Lane.The details on the trial scheme can be viewed in the decision report which can be found here.

During the trial period  we have been monitoring the scheme and collecting data which can be viewed in detail in the monitoring data sheet in the “Related Information” links at the end of this page. Headline data include:

  • A 17% decrease of total traffic volumes on Swain’s Lane (adjusted to take into account the effects of COVID-19 and the seasonal traffic patterns); 
  • Lower traffic levels on South Grove and Chester Road (both the unadjusted and adjusted scenarios), with the exception of Highgate Hill and Highgate West Hill where traffic levels are higher. Traffic levels have also increased on Pond Square.
  • Data from Lime, the e-bike rental operator, shows that between July and December 2020, Lime bike usage increased by nearly 400% compared to 2019, for trips that either started or ended on Swain’s Lane.

What we are consulting on

Considering all the factors including the monitoring data, feedback received from residents and stakeholders during the trial, and policies outlined in our Transport Strategy, we are now consulting on whether or not to make the scheme permanent as follows:

- make permanent the banned right turn from Swain's Lane into South Grove

- make permanent the banned right turn from Swain's Lane into Bisham Gardens

This consultation now asks residents and stakeholders to give their views on whether these right turn restrictions should be made permanent or not after the 18 month trial period. 

We are also asking respondents for their views on any further changes they would like to see in the area, including modifications to the trial scheme.  Full details can be found in the 'Information Sheet' and the 'Proposed Scheme Plan' links in the Related Information section below.

Why your views matter

Alongside monitoring data, feedback already received, and consideration of relevant policies, this consultation will help further inform the Council’s decision as to whether, at the end of the trial period, the experimental scheme should be made permanent, modified (and, if so, whether with or without changes) or allowed to lapse.

The changes were implemented as a trial under an Experimental Traffic Order (ETO) for 18 months. We committed to undertake a public consultation after around 12 months of the trial scheme, which is now being carried out, to seek the views of  local residents and stakeholders  as to whether or not the schemes should be made permanent after the 18-month trial period. 

The final decision on whether to implement the proposed permanent measures or modify them will be made based on the feedback received during the ETO trial period, the results of monitoring data, relevant policies and other information, and this public consultation.

To view the plans and find out more about each proposal, click on the links in the Related Section at the bottom of this page.

This is your opportunity to comment.

The Council will be pleased to hear your views on the proposals as well as any alternative suggestions or objections you may have to any aspect of what we are proposing.  As part of processing the data, your responses will be confidentially shared with Sustrans who are undertaking data analysis on our behalf. https://www.sustrans.org.uk/legal/privacy

We also want to highlight that traffic issues on Swain's Lane are also being investigated as part of a scheme for the wider Dartmouth Park area which will be subject to a separate public consultation process in due course.

To view the plans and find out more about each proposal, click on the links in the Related Section at the bottom of this page.


What happens next

 As the consultation is now closed, your views, and those of everyone who contributes to this consultation, will be analysed and considered, alongside relevant data available on the scheme and in light of how the scheme aligns with our current policy objectives, in order to put forward recommendations on whether to proceed with the proposals. As part of the processing of the data your responses will be confidentially shared with Sustrans who are undertaking data analysis on our behalf. https://www.sustrans.org.uk/legal/privacy  A summary of this analysis will be provided in the decision report, and will be made available on the Camden Council website in due course.

If you have any other ideas for improvements to make travel safer and healthier in this area, please go to Safe Travel Camden Map  to make some suggestions.


  • Highgate


  • Anyone from any background


  • Transport and streets