Udenson Caldbeck Associate’s Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy bid on behalf of Cricklewood Town Team was recently awarded funding by the London Borough of Brent for the Oaklands Road Playable Street Project. Preparatory work for the project has commenced, with civil works due to start in January 2020 and to complete in spring 2020.

Oaklands Road Playable Street addresses the problem of the congested environment, air pollution and lack of public space in Cricklewood town centre. Oaklands Road is a side street with mainly residential use, yet it has Cricklewood’s highest level of footfall crossing the intersection with the Broadway.

The overall aim of the project is to provide an oasis of calm off the busy A5 corridor. The project will pedestrianise part of Oaklands Road by closing off vehicular access from the Broadway to Oaklands Mews, removing the current high levels of illegal parking, idling, and the dangerous pedestrian crossing at the junction. It will also establish a less congested environment for the long-standing fruit and vegetable stall and an accessible footpath.

Cricklewood town centre suffers from an imbalance between trips, freight and public space, with Cricklewood Broadway’s air pollution levels among the worst in both Brent and London as a whole. The junction of Cricklewood Lane and Cricklewood Broadway (the A407/A5), is ranked the 10th worst in London by the Mayor of London’s London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (LAEI) 2013 Air Quality Focus Areas – updated December 2016.

In 2016, a local organization, Clean Air for Brent with the help of London Sustainability Exchange monitored the pollution levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulates in the Cricklewood area, and Cricklewood Broadway’s nitrogen dioxide levels, especially around the junction close to Oaklands Road, were found to be over twice the EU legal limit. The Playable Street project will take a step towards reducing Cricklewood Broadway’s pollution, by introducing street trees, a living wall, and air pollution monitoring and reduction measures.

As a reclaimed street, Oaklands Road will provide pedestrians and residents with access to a calmer, less polluted and more interactive public space at the heart of Cricklewood that fosters an oasis of serenity and stimulating social space for local people, especially families within the immediate vicinity. The project will include an innovative musical installation, Press Play, by award-winning Hellion Trace to launch the new space and promote local participation. Press Play works by installing simple, touch sensitive panels programmed with a musical track, yet to play a whole piece several people must to play together. Udenson Caldbeck Associates, together with Cricklewood Town Team will draw up a programme of activities for the new space to ensure that it is regularly activated.

Cricklewood Town Team is leading the Management Committee and Udenson Caldbeck Associates as project managers, with Brent Council providing the civil engineering works. Information and updates about the project, as well as statutory consultations, will be made available to local residents during the project.