Portobello Market goes car free following trial in the pandemic
Portobello Market goes car free: World famous shopping destination in Notting Hill will close to traffic during trading hours in bid to slash carbon emissions after trial during the pandemic
- Portobello Road in Notting Hill will close to traffic during market opening hours
- No vehicles will be able to use the street from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday
- The road closure had been put in place in April 2020 on an experimental basis
- The closure will not impact Blue Badge holders, residents who can only get into their homes via Portobello Road, or the emergency services
Britain’s most famous market will ban cars completely in trading hours to slash carbon emissions following a trial in the pandemic.
Portobello Road in Notting Hill, west London, will be closed to vehicles between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday, with exceptions for emergency services, Blue Badge holders, and residents who can only access their home via that route.
The closure had initially been put in place by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in April 2020 on an experimental basis, with the council claiming it provided ‘greater mobility and space for shoppers as well as reducing local carbon emissions.’
It has now emerged that vehicles will remain barred from entering the road, with restrictions applying between Westbourne Grove and Cambridge Gardens on Monday to Thursday, and between Cambridge Gardens and Golborne Road on Fridays and Saturdays.
The move is part of a shift among London authorities generally to make the city more eco-friendly, with other areas implementing vehicle-restricting Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), which were expanded during the pandemic.
Portobello Road in Notting Hill, west London, will close to traffic during market opening hours following a trial during the pandemic
Britain’s most famous market will ban cars completely in trading hours to slash carbon emissions following a trial in the pandemic
Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London, 2018. The closure will not impact Blue Badge holders and those with disabilities will be able to access the road for pick up and drop off
Picture of Portabello Road market. The famous market will now be closed to all traffic
Portobello Road is today home to one of the world’s most famous markets along with several pubs, shops and restaurants, but 300 years ago it was a simple winding country path called Green Lane.
It took the name of the nearby Porto Bello Farm, named after the town of Porto Bello in Panama, which the British took from Spain in 1739.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Portobello Road was a not particularly remarkable lane that joined Notting Hill to the south with Kensall Green to the north, but over time shops and markets sprang up in the area, bringing in wealthy shoppers from nearby Paddington.
Terraced houses were built for rich Londoners looking to move to the area, and less spacious housing was rented to workers in the area who found employment as servants for the rich and labourers.
Notting Hill Station, now known as Ladbroke Grove, was opened in 1864, bringing development to the northern end of the area.
Portobello Road’s market had been fairly typical, selling food and essentials, up until the 1940s, when an increasing number of ‘rag and bone’ men and antique dealers started selling goods in increasing numbers.
Portobello market became known for antiques, trading mainly on Saturdays.
By the late 1980s, Portobello Road’s gentrification had seen it change from a fairly run-down working class area to one of the country’s most wealthy and sought after areas.
Antiques are still a primary factor in the market’s popularity today, but vintage clothing shops now cater to the desires of the rich young people who live in the area.
Second-hand items, clothing, households essentials, antiques and food are all sold at the market today.
The closure will not impact Blue Badge holders and those with disabilities will be able to access the road for pick up and drop off.
Residents who can only get into their homes via Portobello Road will also be allowed access and emergency services will be allowed access to the road at all times.
In January, a High Court judge ruled that measures announced last year aimed at boosting walking and cycling in London and reducing traffic in response to the pandemic should be ‘substantially amended’.
Some 89 LTNs were built in London last year, resulting in 62 miles of cycle routes in the capital.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told TfL to spend a minimum of £100million on healthy streets in 2021.
Some councils in the capital have turned to using cameras to penalise drivers for ‘moving traffic offences’.
It is thought drivers do not understand the ‘no motor vehicles’ sign – a motorbike over a car surrounded by a red circle – used to mark out the areas. The sign has been in use since 1964 and is in the Highway Code.
The Department for Transport said councils outside of London will be able to introduce the powers by the end of the year, sparking fears of a steep rise in fines elsewhere.
MailOnline reported claims in July that motorists had paid 250,000 fines worth £14million in the past year for driving in London’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods after ‘failing to understand road signs’.
It is thought drivers do not understand the ‘no motor vehicles’ sign – a motorbike over a car surrounded by a red circle – used to mark out the areas.
The sign has been in use since 1964 and is in the Highway Code.
The Portobello Road decision was made following consultation with and support from residents, businesses, traders and the local community.
Portobello Road market is probably the most well known in the country.
It is said to be the world’s largest antiques market and the road was named after the historic Porto Bello Farm – named after the town of Porto Bello in Panama, captured by the British from the Spanish in 1739, as part of the War of Jenkins Ear.
For much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Portobello Road remained a simple country lane that connected the districts of Notting Hill in the south and Kensall Green in the north.
Vehicles will not be allowed access to the road between Westbourne Grove and Cambridge Gardens on Monday to Thursday and between Cambridge Gardens and Golborne Road on Fridays and Saturdays
View from above the Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill, London, October 1976
More recently: The Portobello Road decision was made following consultation with and support from residents, businesses, traders and the local community
An aerial view of Portobello Road street market, Notting Hill, west London, 2018
Cllr Johnny Thalassites, Lead Member for Planning, Place and the Environment, at the council, said: ‘Making the road closure permanent is a great step forward in continuing to improve the experience at Portobello Market as a world-class destination, making it more accessible for visitors and locals with more space to shop and explore.
‘Reducing vehicle emissions in the area will also improve air quality for residents and traders.
‘Becoming more environmentally-friendly is something we as a council are dedicated to, with our aim to become net carbon zero by 2030.’
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