Fulham’s busy North End Road was made traffic-free for one day only as an initiative to show how a lack of traffic could create a “vibrant, attractive shopping area”. Not a Christmas Market in this very mixed borough though there were the smoky barbecues cooking what has evolved as the traditional finger food for a Christmas market. Nor any street decorations or lights, neither religious Christmas or winter festival. Simply an expanded market filling the space on the street usually occupied by motorists.
Certainly a change of ambience. The barrow boys of North End Road whose venerable calls have competed with traffic noise for the past few generations were relatively muted, perhaps it was the smoke from the barbecues. The new stalls selling “festive presents, hand-made decorations, beautiful crafts, jewellery and art, stylish clothes, delicious cakes, hot food and mulled wine – and loads more” didn’t seem overwhelmed with business either. Nor were there queues for the fairground rides.
But it was a change, North End Road doesn’t need to be a traffic thoroughfare and bottleneck endangering both pedestrians and tempers. A useful initiative very timely and relevant to the re-assessment of the controversial development proposed nearby which would demolish both West Kensington estates and the Earls Court exhibition buildings.
A “unique event”: who knows.