Plans for a 4.2km running path, which would run through the City of London and through the Grade II-listed Barbican complex have received criticism from residents, who have branded the plans ‘unnecessary and outdated’.
The ‘SquareMileTrack’ would have a synthetic rubber surface and would, according to the proposal website, ‘enhance the range of free sporting facilities available to those who work, study, visit and live in the City, while retaining the use of all the footway surface for pedestrians’.
According to the proposal, ‘the route has been developed with due regard for the safety of runners and walkers, and the avoidance of conflict with pedestrians and vehicle traffic’. City councillor and retired engineer John Edwards has backed the plans and is coordinating the consultation process.
The proposed tack would link the Thames riverside with the Barbican Podium - the raised pedestrian area of the Barbican, and St Paul’s Cathedral. It would have a synthetic rubber surface which would be flush with the pavement.
Reportedly, the plans for the path have been met with criticism from residents, who have said the pedestrian paths of the Barbican Highwalk would be ‘overwhelmed with City workers’ and runners.
According to Homes and Property, Hilary Sunman, chairman of the Willoughby House residents’ group, said in an email to Mr Edwards: ‘Our main concern is that a running track at podium level would be intrusive for the residents. The Barbican residents cherish the calm of the highwalks. There are other concerns — for example, is this appropriate for a Grade II-listed site?’
Those behind the proposed track believe that it would encourage more people to incorporate exercise into their daily lives. The closest soft-surface running location to the City is currently St James Park, which is around 20 minutes from Bank on public transport.
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