Demonstration against weekend roadworks broken up by Covid police

Residents around Tottenham Court Road make plea for a peaceful Sunday

Friday, 4th December 2020 — By Tom Foot

dec3 Image 2020-12-03 at 09.13.35 (17)

Protesters raise placards calling for an end to the noise [All photos: Simon Lamrock]

A DEMONSTRATION against weekend roadworks was broken up by police who warned protesters they faced on-the-spot Covid-19 fines.

The protest, early on Sunday in Grafton Way, Euston, follows months of construction work in the area.

University College London Hospitals is building a new proton beam therapy centre, while Camden Council is pressing ahead with its overhaul of the Tottenham Court Road area, known as the West End Project.

A decision to carry out the works on three successive Sundays leading up to Christmas has left residents “at breaking point”.

Jo Hurford, who lives in Grafton Way, said: “This has been building up for months and months. We just want Sundays off, just give us a break on Sunday. The stress caused by living with such extreme noise during lockdown can’t be emphasised too much. We can’t sleep and people are at breaking point.”

She added: “Police told us we all had to go back inside the building, even if we were wearing masks and social distancing. They said no protests were allowed at all because of the lockdown. They said they would start issuing fines if everyone doesn’t go inside. But there has been no lockdown for hundreds of men working outside. As soon as we want to protest, there’s a lockdown.”

UCLH’s proton beam project is a £100million cancer treatment centre that is nearing completion.

The West End Project is a £35m scheme led by Camden Camden which is aimed at making improvements to roads for pedestrians and cyclists.

A council spokesperson said: “This weekend will be the final weekend of resurfacing work taking place on Grafton Way. We are sorry for the disturbance. Unfortunately the work has to take place over the weekend to limit the impact on the vital access of the London Ambulance Service to UCLH.”

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