The Cut, Westminster Bridge Road to Borough High Street corridor

Closes 31 Dec 2020

Opened 1 Jul 2020


As London continues to respond to the Coronavirus, we’ll need to find new ways to travel. Making social distancing possible on public transport will mean it should only be used when absolutely necessary; everyone who can do so will need to find alternative ways to travel. However, if the number of trips taken by private vehicles increases, London will grind to a halt, with essential deliveries and emergency services stuck in gridlock and an increase in air pollution.  

The Cut and its neighbouring streets combine residential, retail, educational, cultural and leisure uses on a key walking route to and from Waterloo Station. It is vital to the local economy and our changes will support its important contribution to a locally led economic recovery from the Coronavirus, creating a more pleasant environment for people and businesses. The scheme builds on the financial support provided by both Lambeth and Southwark Councils to businesses on The Cut and in the wider Waterloo area, totalling £1.85 million since March 2020.

We anticipate that more people traveling to and from the area will walk or cycle, including local residents, people visiting from nearby parts of Lambeth and Southwark and those continuing their journeys from Waterloo station. This means we must act to support these changes and make walking and cycling as safe as possible. This has been done with routes leading to The Cut, with The Cut itself remaining as the key link to address.  

The map below gives an overview of the changes we will be making:  

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The Cut overview map (PDF 2.97MB) 

Very large numbers of people travel to and from Waterloo station each day: it is Britain’s busiest National Rail station and the third busiest station on the Tube network. We are broadly seeing the same amount of cycling now as before lockdown, with this set to increase as more people return to work and social activities.  

There are cycling facilities from Westminster Bridge Road to Borough High Street and along part of the route on Baylis Road, and the eastern end of Union Street, but in other places the area is difficult for cyclists to navigate. Furthermore, the corridor has recently been closed to through traffic for approximately six months due to a burst water main at the junction of The Cut with Blackfriars Road. Repair work has now finished, but the reduced traffic levels on The Cut during this time were appreciated by local pedestrians.  

The temporary changes we will be making are:  

  • Introduce a road closure for all vehicles except emergency services, bicycles and permitted loading at the junction of The Cut with Short Street to the junction with Hatfields, facilitated using signage and Automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) cameras
  • Introduce a road closure for all vehicles except bicycles at the junction of Greet Street and Cons Street to prevent vehicles accessing the closure from side streets
  • An exit route will exist for loading vehicles via Hatfields and Short Street to prevent the need for vehicles to reverse out of the corridor after making deliveries
  • Reallocate remaining carriageway space (not occupied by cycleway) to businesses on the corridor e.g. cafes, pubs and restaurants
  • Carriageway space would be wide enough to permit emergency vehicle access
  • Pavement build out on the approach to Blackfriars Road from Joan Street on The Cut
  • Introduce a “Permitted Traffic Only” sign at either end of The Cut to discourage traffic

Construction will happen in two phases:

Phase 1 - the central section will be created using temporary materials between 16 and 19 October 2020.  

Phase 2 - the central section will begin to be replaced with longer-lasting temporary materials (rubber kerbs and asphalt infill) around the weekend of 31 October/1 November 2020.  

These are described in more detail in the pack of maps below.

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The Cut layout maps (PDF 185KB)  

The changes will make it easier for people to cycle, including people who have not previously considered giving it a try. We will widen pavements in the area and this will also help people to safely social distance.   

Although we are not undertaking a formal consultation on any Streetspace schemes, we would like to know about your experiences of them. If you have any comments about the effects of our scheme, or suggestions for changes or improvements we might make, please let us know at:

We will continue to monitor the effects of these temporary changes over the coming months. This includes their effects on traffic flow, road safety and cycling and walking rates. We have written to local people, businesses and other stakeholders to explain what changes we have made and encouraged them to provide us their views and experiences of the changes. We will listen carefully to the feedback we receive. 

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