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West End Project and UCL

The West End Project (WEP) is a London Borough of Camden project that will significantly improve the public spaces in and around UCL’s Bloomsbury campus.

West End Project

12 June 2020

UCL Estates is working with the London Borough of Camden to minimise and mitigate the impact that the WEP will have on the UCL community during its construction. Programme details are subject to change at very short notice. These works are outside of UCL's control. UCL will communicate urgent changes as they happen.

What’s Changed Since February 2020?

The Covid-19 situation saw the suspension in March/early April of all external works which might affect UCL. These suspensions are currently being reviewed.

The West End Project restarted on 28th May in the Princess Circus area. It is anticipated that the outstanding works that will affect UCL will be on Gower Street. Currently installation of light columns are underway and resurfacing of the road between Euston Street and Gower Place will take place once other works in the West End Project and High Speed 2 have been completed.

HS2 recommenced work in North Gower Street on 11th May and, on the same date, commenced work in Gower Place.

What is the West End Project?

The West End Project (WEP) is a £35m public realm refurbishment project being undertaken by Camden Council to improve the roads, cycleways and pedestrian areas in the West End, many of which are in and around UCL’s Bloomsbury campus. The changes of most significance to UCL are:

  • Tottenham Court Road changed from one-way traffic to two-way traffic during Easter weekend 2019.
  • All buses moved to Tottenham Court Road during Easter weekend 2019. From this point it will be used primarily for buses with other traffic mainly being allowed only for access.
  • Work to widen the pavement along Gower Street.
  • Dedicated cycle lanes will be constructed along Gower Street.
  • A new, wider crossing will be created on Gower Street between the main gates to the Front Quad and the Cruciform building.
  • Gower Street is due to change from one-way traffic to two-way traffic in 2020

Camden Council run the West End Project website with further information, including the sign-up point for the newsletter.

When is it happening?

Construction started in March 2018 and is currently scheduled to be completed April 2020.

Completed work

  • The works to Tottenham Court Road are substantially complete and traffic flow is now two-way
  • Buses have been diverted from Gower Street to Tottenham Court Road
  • Cycle lanes have been installed in Gower Street in the segment starting south of the junction with Grafton Way to just north of 66-72 Gower Street. This segment has also been resurfaced.
  • The vehicle entrance to the Front Quad has been re-surfaced in York Stone and control of access to the Front Quad has been handed back to the UCL Logistics Team.

Current and future works

WEP intend to start work on the lighting columns in Gower Street. The project plan has been reviewed to take into account social distancing measures for the contractor workforce with the consequence that Gower Street will be reduced from two lanes of traffic to one lane and pedestrians will be diverted from the footpath onto the closed-off lane. It is not anticipated that there will be any restriction in access to UCL premises.
These works are expected to commence on or shortly after Monday 15 June.

The contractor for these works is Eurovia.

The resurfacing of Gower Street between the Euston slip road and Grafton Way has been rescheduled to take place between 13th and 19th of July. Gower Street will be closed for the duration of these works.

The conversion of Gower St from one-way traffic to two-way traffic will take place after the completion of the works and is likely to take place in August (if not later) – the weekend of the August Bank Holiday being most likely. 

How will WEP impact on UCL?

The potential impacts on UCL as the WEP works progress along Gower Street may be:

  • Noise and vibration from roadworks
  • Disruption to logistics, including waste collection
  • Disruption to unloading/deliveries to UCL
  • Disruption to events using UCL’s main entrance, Front Quad and Wilkins building
  • Diversions for pedestrians during work to widen pavements.
  • Disruption to traffic flow
  • Reduction in parking/loading provision in Gower Street during and works – and after completion

How is UCL Estates engaging with the West End Project?

UCL is one of a number of organisations that meet regularly with the WEP. Outputs from the meetings are discussed at the monthly impact assessment and mitigation group, which has been established to understand and minimise the impacts of the HS2 programme on UCL’s teaching, research and support activities.

How will UCL Estates keep the rest of UCL informed?

While UCL can try to influence the WEP’s programme of work, it is not in control of the programme’s schedule.

However, UCL Estates will be updating the UCL community about the WEP. It will be the interface between WEP and the university. We will be liaising closely with those departments and activities most acutely affected by the programme of works. Aside from this web page, we will be providing regular updates to the Schools’ Estates Strategy Boards. UCL Estates Area Facilities Managers will also be working closely with Building User Groups in those buildings most affected.

If you have an activity or event that you think may be affected by the WEP, please contact Tony Overbury via e-mail t.overbury@ucl.ac.uk, UCL Estates WEP Liaison.